Superintendent Austin Beutner announced Wednesday that almost 100,000 students have started summer school in the Los Angeles Unified School District, which includes both in-person and online instruction.
To mitigate learning loss due to the coronavirus pandemic, the LAUSD has made summer school available to all students, from preschool through adult school, for the first time.
“We are excited to offer summer school for all students, which includes reading, math, science and English for K-8 students and credit-earning opportunities for high school students,” Beutner said. “We’re offering nearly 200 different enrichment classes for all ages and all grades that literally go from A to Z — from African-American history to zoology.”
Approximately 1,400 preschool students, 38,000 elementary school students, 15,000 middle school students and 43,000 high school students are currently enrolled.
The district is also offering a full-day summer enrichment program through July 30 on 337 elementary and middle school campuses, with in-person activities focusing on academic, physical, creative and social-emotional development. In addition, the adult education summer program which begins July 6 includes career-training and English-language classes.
Some of the most popular enrichment classes from last summer have returned, including Science of Sports with the Los Angeles Chargers, and a Voyage on the Titanic. Fender Guitar is providing an additional 2,500 middle school students a free acoustic or electric guitar, an electric bass or a ukulele as they join the 5,000 students already participating in teacher-led music classes.
Educators are also working with the creative talents at Illumination, the creators of the Minions, to put together a cartooning and animation class where high-schoolers are earning credits for both high school graduation and college admission requirements.
“Whether a student is participating in person or taking advantage of the online connection every family now has, we know all students will benefit from participating in school with their classmates,” Beutner said. “This is another important step in the path to recovery. We’ve demonstrated how our nation-leading safety protocols are keeping schools safe, and we’re happy to welcome more students back onto school campuses this summer.”
More than 50,000 students are participating at schools during the summer, the most since schools were on a year-round calendar due to overcrowding more than a decade ago.
Wednesday’s announcement comes one day after the district’s Board of Education approved a labor agreement with its teachers union for a return to traditional in-person instruction for the 2021-22 school year.
The union, United Teachers Los Angeles, announced last week that after three days of voting, its membership overwhelming approved the proposed agreement, with 94% voting in favor.
Without comment, the school board approved the pact unanimously on Tuesday.
“With the approval of this agreement, schools across Los Angeles will have critical COVID safety protocols in place when we welcome students back to the joys of full-time in-person learning,” UTLA President Cecily Myart-Cruz said last week.”
The deal between the union and district includes standards for continued COVID-19 testing, mask-wearing and other safety protocols.
Among the provisions of the agreement with UTLA are a requirement for COVID-19 testing a minimum of every two weeks and maintaining a public “dashboard” to report all positive cases.
The deal also calls for mandatory symptom-screening of all students, staff and visitors entering a school site, along with continued physical distancing requirements and mandatory wearing of masks — supplied by the district.
The deal also calls for regular cleaning and replacement as needed of classroom air filters.
For students who opt to remain with online learning, the deal calls for elementary students to have three hours of daily live instruction in addition to assigned independent work. Secondary school students will have three 75-minute periods per day with at least 40 minutes of live instruction per period, as well as assigned independent work.
The agreement also calls for all school sites to have a COVID-19 Compliance Task Force.
Board members paid tribute to Beutner at Tuesday’s meeting, his last before stepping down as superintendent after three years — a period marked by difficult labor negotiations and the unprecedented health crisis.
“… Who you are was the right guy, with the right ideas, with the right intensity, at a time when we needed you most,” board member Jackie Goldberg said.
“You heard people. They felt heard and they felt seen by you,” board member Kelly Gonez added.
Deputy Superintendent Megan Reilly will serve as interim schools chief beginning July 1 until a replacement is found.
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