06.24.20

Update from SUHSD Board of Trustees – June 24, 2020

The Board of Trustees takes the findings raised by the Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team (FCMAT) investigation very seriously. As such, in closed session, the Board of Trustees took action to place Dr. Karen Janney on paid administrative leave effective immediately.  The Board’s action is not a disciplinary action, but is to support and ensure an efficient investigation of the concerns raised in the FCMAT report.

We will continue to cooperate with the San Diego County Office of Education, FCMAT, and any other state and federal agencies involved in the matter.  Additionally, the Board took action to appoint Dr. Moises Aguirre to serve as Acting Superintendent to ensure continuity of education and operations.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees and Dr. Aguirre, we thank you for your continued efforts in support of the Sweetwater Union High School District.

06.19.20

Sweetwater District Hosts Virtual Town Hall Outlining Open of the 2020-2021 School Year

On Thursday, June 18, 2020, the Sweetwater District hosted a virtual Town Hall Meeting outlining opening plans for the 2020/21 school year. A huge thank you to all for tuning in to the live broadcast. We had more than one thousand viewers tune in via the districts YouTube channel as plans to open the school year were addressed.

The meeting provided detailed plans of a variety of educational and operational options for students, staff and parents. At this time, the new school year will begin August 3 with distance (virtual) learning as the current option for instruction. Planning for on campus instruction is still being outlined to ensure a safe and secure return for the entire Sweetwater community.

“Part of today’s purpose is to receive input and feedback from parents, families and community members to meet students academic needs,” said Sweetwater District Superintendent Dr. Karen Janney.

The district outlined four guiding principles that steered the town hall conversation in the areas of: health and safety guidelines, flexibility, LCAP Goals and Reinvention. The draft outline reflects the districts plan to address the ever- changing reality to keep students and staff safe while striving for equitable continuity of learning.

For the past several months, the district has worked with LCAP inspired working groups that focused on the current state of family and community engagement, health and safety, systems and equity, and teaching and learning. Through that, the district has and plans to continue to conduct surveys, forums, provide opportunities for committee involvement, circles of collaboration and communication plans to complete that work.

Health and safety essential components were also discussed during the town hall, specifically on district facilities, schools, classrooms, and staff and students. The discussion further detailed plans for implementing social distancing on campus, to potentially detecting/reporting COVID-19 cases.

Distance learning will be supported in several ways, one being the distribution of laptops, iPads and other devices for students in need, as well as mobile hotspots for connectivity. Athletics and use of athletic facilities/equipment will still be restricted until further notice.

Lastly, students will be given the option to enroll fully in the districts online campus, Launch Academy. The virtual instruction option will provide one-to-one online learning as well as college and career support.

We understand not everyone was able to join us for the live Town Hall Meeting. For those unable to attend, the full video can be found via the Sweetwater Districts YouTube channel @  www.youtube.com/suhsdk12

In addition, the district is requesting input from the Sweetwater Community. Input, comments and questions can be provided here:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdpRX1blaOEfLDrupn6_WUpIEvfjJo_sSt6zj3TQwyesaDv0g/viewform

06.02.20

Superintendent Janney Issues Statement Regarding Racism and Recent Events

As we complete a school year unlike any other in our academic history – a year which saw educators teaching students remotely. A year where social distancing became the refrain of public health officials and face coverings and masks the norm. A year which saw the rapid rise in the use of videoconferencing platforms, such as Zoom and Teams, as the primary instrument for teaching and communicating. A year where millions of people have lost their jobs with no guarantee of support or income for their families. A year where over 103,000 U.S. citizens, including countless educators and students, have lost their lives as a result of a global pandemic which has painfully and disproportionately impacted communities and people of color.  And finally a year, where we contemplate whether education will ever be the same, it is the death of one man, George Floyd, whose death was unrelated to COVID-19, that served as a stark reminder of North America’s social complexities and injustices that we, as educators, must continue to address.

We are sure many have asked, what was your reaction when you saw the video of a cop kneeling on the neck of George Floyd? Others have asked, is this just another instance of a White cop killing a Black man? Or, as in the recent killing of Ahmaud Arbery, the case of White citizen killing a Black man (similarities to the Trayvon Martin shooting). Regardless of the questions and answers, the images of George Floyd begging for his life were powerful. The desperate cries for his mother were agonizing. His death was unthinkable and inexplicable. We will mourn his death for years and acknowledge the resultant anger regarding the dubious circumstances. While George Floyd’s family grieves, our nation grieves, and citizens, of all races and ethnicities, are angry. And as educators, we must recognize that many of our students may be traumatized and/or angry by the circumstances related to George Floyd’s death – images which were witnessed on national television and have been shown on national media outlets for the past week (for ways to support our students, families, and colleagues, please check out the resources listed at the bottom of this letter).

Although the images of George Floyd’s death were intense, the power, strength, and capacity of education is formidable. It should be noted, and is generally accepted, that no societal institution, including schools, are perfect and some have even been characterized as biased, discriminatory, or racist. However, there is little doubt that schools and educators have frequently been asked to address social injustices when others have been reluctant. For instance, when society has been slow to address racial integration, schools and courts clumsily stepped in. To address issues of racism and bias in society, schools have introduced multicultural practices, diversity training, and now, antiracist perspectives. And it has been schools and educators who have promoted the inclusion of our LGBTQ communities when the greater society has been resistant. While schools across the nation continue to struggle with such issues as achievement and opportunity gaps, disproportionate suspension and expulsion rates, access to certain programs (e.g., AP classes, Honors Classes, Gifted Programs, etc.), special education placements, and other structural matters, schools have been a place where dialogue on these issues can and has occurred. With the death of George Floyd, it is imperative that schools and educators are now prepared to take on the critical issues of policing, racism, brutality, social injustice and humanity.

The Sweetwater Union High School District believes in a welcoming community that is inclusive and equitable and where relationships between and among students and between and among staff and community matter. We are committed to ensuring a safe and collaborative culture that empowers each student to actively engage in a meaningful educational experience. If school campuses were open, we would ensure students could share their thoughts, feelings and fears in class discussions or peaceful demonstrations. Our campuses are closed, so right now, the most important action we can take is to listen to our students and our colleagues with sensitivity, understanding, empathy and hope.

While we encourage the sharing of resources, books, articles, and other material, we each must start by being introspective. Our critical analysis must consider ways that we or the institutions we serve, have contributed to biased student outcomes. An honest review of our behaviors is necessary to determine if our actions may have inadvertently contributed to a lack of access, inclusion, and opportunities for some student groups and staff. This introspection takes courage and conviction – both of which are traits of our Sweetwater team.

So as another, albeit unprecedented, year comes to a close, we urge you to stay safe and healthy. Please practice social distancing, wear your facial covering and gloves to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. We also encourage our incredible Sweetwater family to help prevent the continued spread of the “racism virus” by addressing and eliminating all personal and institutional practices/policies which lead to social and educational injustices. Lastly, a quote from basketball icon Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is appropriate as he described the demonstrations by stating: “what you should see…in the age of coronavirus is people pushed to the edge, not because they want bars and nail salons open, but because they want to live. To breathe.” Please take care of yourselves, your students, each other and breathe…because breathing is an unalienable right.

In Unity,

Karen Janney, Ed.D.
Superintendent

Joe Fulcher, Ph.D
Asst. Supt. Equity, Culture & Support Services

If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together

05.28.20

Notice Of Public Hearing Of The Sweetwater Union High School District Preliminary Proposed 2020-2021 Budget

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Board of Trustees of the Sweetwater Union High School District at its Regular Meeting to be held on June 8, 2020, will conduct a Public Hearing to consider comments and recommendations regarding the Preliminary Proposed Budget for the 2020-2021 school year.

The Public Hearing of the District will be held on June 8, 2020, will begin at 6:00PM or as soon thereafter as practicable.  Due to the COVID-19 crisis, we are currently using MS Teams for meetings, and the public can view on YouTube and provide written comments prior to the meeting to be read by staff at the meeting. Agenda can be located at the following:  http://schoolboard.sweetwaterschools.org/agendas-and-minutes/

04.13.20

By order of the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, for your safety and the safety of school employees

SUHSD Public Notice

By order of the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, for your safety and the safety of school employees:

* Please do not enter a school site if you are experiencing cough or fever like symptoms.

* No gatherings of any size are allowed.  Please maintain at least a six-foot distance from one another.

* Please do not shake hands or otherwise engage in unnecessary physical contact.

* Visitors are requested to wear a cloth mask or other appropriate face covering when entering a school site.

* Copies of the sanitation ad social distance protocol can be reviewed in Main Office.

We appreciate your compliance as we navigate through better serving our students and community during this time.  It is our hope that the more we follow this guidance, the sooner we can all return to normal operations!

SUHSD Public Notice

04.10.20

SUHSD and Sweetwater Counseling and Guidance Association Agreement Regarding Distance Learning During School Closures Because of COVID-19

Dear Sweetwater School Community,

The Sweetwater Union High School District and Sweetwater Counseling and Guidance Association are pleased to have reached agreement on a comprehensive memorandum of understanding (linked here) related to our provision of distance counseling during the COVID-19 related school closures. We recognize that this may be a challenging time for our students, families and staff, however, we are committed to ensuring a high-quality educational program to support our students academically and emotionally.

The memorandum of understanding’s key points include:

1. District shall establish a Districtwide student schedule to provide a daily routine for our students during the closure, including how to access educational and social-emotional guidance opportunities through remote counseling and supports. Counselors will share with students when they are available to provide assistance.

2. Counselors will determine the best method of assisting students remotely during their work day, such as via email, online meeting or phone, including determining if their student’s needs are better met flexibly outside the timeframe set in the Districtwide Student Schedule. Counselors will share their support plan with administrators weekly identifying their priorities (such as assisting seniors in completion of graduation requirements, master scheduling work, or meeting with students that may need additional supports).

3. District will provide counselors training and supports during the transition to distance counseling that are self-directed and counselor co-created. This ongoing professional development will be coupled with existing PLC and staff meeting structures ensuring site teams can support the school community together.

4. Recognizing that maintaining connections with students during the closure is a team effort, counselors will work with administrators to assist teachers in contacting students who are not participating in distance learning and with whom teachers are unable to otherwise connect.

5. Counselors will not be expected to work on site during the closure, in accordance with the County and Statewide orders and in modeling “stay at home” order to our community. Trips to school sites to gather materials or to access resources need to be pre-approved by the principal to ensure everyone’s safety.

6. Counselors will not have to worry about loss of pay or benefits so long as they are able to work remotely providing quality counseling supports to students.

We appreciate the collaboration during this uncertain time that has resulted in a memorandum of understanding that focuses on meeting the needs of our students, counselors, and school community.

Sincerely,

Karen Janney, Ed.D.
Superintendent
Sweetwater Union High School District

Alfredo Cendejas
President
Sweetwater Counseling and Guidance Association

04.06.20

SUHSD and SEA Agreement Regarding Distance Learning During School Closures Because of COVID-19

Dear Sweetwater School Community,

The Sweetwater Union High School District and Sweetwater Education Association are pleased to have reached agreement on a comprehensive memorandum of understanding ( linked here ) related to our provision of distance learning during the COVID-19 related school closures. We recognize that this may be a challenging time for our students, families and staff, however, we are committed to ensuring a high quality educational program to support our students academically and emotionally.

The memorandum of understanding’s key points include:

1. District shall establish a Districtwide student schedule to provide a daily routine for our students during the closure, ensuring materials are available both online and offline. In some cases, students will need flexibility in order to participate.

2. Teachers will determine the best method of assisting students remotely during their work day, such as via email, online meeting or phone. Teachers will share their individual plans with administrators and students weekly to ensure students know how and when they can connect with their teachers.

3. District will provide teachers training and supports during the transition to distance learning that are self-directed and teacher co-created. This ongoing professional development will be coupled with existing PLC and staff meeting structures ensuring site teams can support the school community together.

4. Recognizing that maintaining connections with students during the closure is a team effort, teachers will work with administrators to assist teachers in contacting students who are not participating in distance learning and with whom teachers are unable to otherwise connect.

5. Teachers will not be expected to work on site during the closure, in accordance with the County and Statewide orders and in modeling “stay at home” order to our community. Trips to school sites to gather materials or to access resources need to be pre-approved by the principal to ensure everyone’s safety.

6. Teachers will not have to worry about loss of pay or benefits so long as they are able to work remotely providing quality educational supports to students.

We appreciate the collaboration during this uncertain time that has resulted in a memorandum of understanding that focuses on meeting the needs of our students, teachers, and school community.

Sincerely,
Karen Janney, Ed.D.
Superintendent
Sweetwater Union High School District

Julie Walker
President
Sweetwater Education Association

04.01.20

SUHSD Senior Students questions regarding requirement of 30 hours of community services

April 1, 2020

Dear Senior Students of the Sweetwater Union High School District,

We know that you have many questions regarding this school year in regards to community service requirements, credit completion, prom, grad night, graduation, and other important milestones. Many of these items are still under consideration and will be addressed in detail in another communication in the near future. However, we did want to immediately address the current requirement of 30 hours of community services. Our official guidance for this school year is that the class of 2020 will not be required to meet the community service hours in order to be eligible for graduation. Because the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency has extended the order to stay home and eliminate any gatherings, and the social distancing requirements remain in place, we do not want to expose students to any potential harm. The community service requirement has been eliminated for this school year.

Thank you and we hope you and your families are safe and well.


​Estimados estudiantes del doceavo ano del Distrito Escolar de Sweetwater,

Sabemos que tienen muchas preguntas con respecto a este año escolar con respecto a los requisitos de servicio comunitario, finalización de crédito, graduación, noche de graduación, y otros hitos importantes. Muchos de estos elementos todavía están bajo consideración y se abordarán en detalle en otra comunicación en un futuro próximo. Sin embargo, queríamos abordar de inmediato el requisito actual de 30 horas de servicios comunitarios. Nuestra orientación oficial para este año escolar es que no se requerirá que la clase 2020 cumpla con las horas de servicio comunitario para ser elegible para la graduación. Debido a que la Agencia de Salud y Servicios Humanos del Condado de San Diego ha extendido la orden de quedarse en casa y eliminar cualquier reunión, y los requisitos de distanciamiento social siguen vigentes, no queremos exponer a los estudiantes a ningún daño potencial. El requisito de servicio comunitario ha sido eliminado para este año escolar.

Gracias y esperamos que usted y sus familias estén sanos y salvos.