School board moves first day of school to August 26

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Photo by Crystal Apilado/Winters Express

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The Board of Trustees voted unanimously to approve the proposed changes to the 2020-21 school year calendar at a Winters Joint Unified School District special board meeting conducted on July 30.

Highlights of new changes from the approved revisions to the calendar include:

~The students’ school start date was moved from Aug. 13 to Aug. 26. Students will return to school via distance learning in late August.
~Teachers will return to school on Aug. 18.
~The last day of school for students is now scheduled for June 10.

The two-week period will provide teachers and staff with an opportunity to receive training on the virtual educational platforms, professional development and tech support to help ensure they will be comfortable and confident delivering remote instruction when students begin virtual learning.

Assistant Superintendent Sandra Ayón said the learning experience is site specific since each site has its set of platforms and goals to navigate through in a distance learning environment.

“There’s a lot of new learning that has to happen. We want to make sure that they have time to learn it and practice it for a little bit,” Ayón said.

In a message to families Superintendent Diana Jiménez said the calendar adjustment gives teachers and staff additional “runway” to prepare for the start of a unique school year due to limitations presented by the current coronavirus pandemic.

“The dedicated teachers in our District want to hit the ground running when they welcome students back to distance learning. In order to do so, we will use this time to deliver professional development, so all teachers can grow more comfortable with distance learning instruction tools and strategies, and share practices for ensuring student engagement,” Jiménez stated in the media release.

Parent and Family Resources
Switching to a distance learning format brings classroom and learning into homes and day care facilities.

As we embark on distance instruction and learning, the home-school partnership is critically important. For this to work, we are committed to provide families the resources they

will need to support their child’s/children’s learning,” Jiménez said.

Information about the official bell schedules and the finalized version of what distance learning will look like by site will be presented at the Aug. 6 Winters JUSD school board meeting starting at 6 p.m.

Winters JUSD has also scheduled parent forums where their Educational Service team will present the distance learning plan, schedules and answer questions from families. 

The dates of the parent forums are:

Tuesday, Aug. 11 – English sessions:
~Elementary Parent Forum at 5 p.m.
~Secondary Parent Forum at 6:15 p.m.

Wednesday, Aug. 12 – Spanish sessions:
~Elementary Parent Forum at 5 p.m.
~Secondary Parent Forum at 6:15 p.m.

Winters JUSD is also setting up a Parent/Family Resource Hub to provide answers, tips and tools for parents/families and caregivers so they can help to support Winters students in the distance learning environment. The link for the hub will be made available within the week.

“We hope you can see how this calendar change for the students’ start date is going to allow us to be better prepared to design and deliver the quality instructional plan and essential support services that our families have come to expect from the Winters team,” Jiménez said.

The 2020-21 School Year Calendar can be accessed on the Winters JUSD homepage at https://www.wintersjusd.org/ or downloaded and printed at https://bit.ly/39IvSmn.

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