The Galt Joint Union High School District (GJUHSD) Trustees heard reports on options of how campuses may be re-opened but no word on when that might happen. Student representatives were sworn in from the three high schools and welcomed by board members and Superintendent Spalding. AP Teachers were honored for their work with students and were noted for the district’s recent honor for outstanding AP offerings.
A number of people spoke during the public hearing portion of the meeting, and each had comments about re-opening schools.
Annette Koontz told how anxious she and her husband are for their children to return to on-campus learning. She also said that many students would feel “muzzled” by having to wear masks.
“Our children can work at grocery stores, fast food but cannot go to school,” Koontz said during public comment. “We fully support you giving the gift of our teachers back to our students.”
Becca Dennis, a teacher at Liberty Ranch High School, had mixed thoughts on returning to campus and many questions for the board.
“Please consider why we are going back,” Dennis said. “At what cost? I’m finally seeing stability with my students at home. What is the purpose of the hybrid? Are we trying to increase learning? They’re going to be split from all their friends. What about the kids that struggle already socially? What is it actually going to look like?”
Danine Phillips is a mother of two high school students.
“One is in an Advanced Place (AP) course and it’s a difficult one,” Phillips said. “The course is done at the end of this semester but the test is not until May. They said they wouldn’t be able to finish the course. What kind of successful outcome will that be?”
Phillips said her other child has a math course that will also not be completed by the end of the semester.
“Only 40% can be covered,” Phillips said. “She’s enrolled for the next math course for next semester, and will she be prepared? Kids need to be engaged with their teachers. If we can get them back right away so they can get back in the labs. Distance learning is just not working.”
Teachers Leslie Meyers and Mark Feuerbach both spoke strongly for getting students back on campus. Meyers works with students who struggle and have trouble being taught through the computer. Feuerbach teaches welding.
“My students haven’t welded in 18 weeks,” Feuerbach said. “My students learn by using their hands. We can do that safely. The colleges are teaching welding and some high schools. My students are ready to go back to school. We’ll do whatever it takes to get back to class.”
Miracle Franco from Galt High, Vanessa Soto from Liberty Ranch High and Tanner Dickenson for Estrellita will represent their schools at board meetings. These student representatives will be able to vote on motions to give their input. Although their votes are non-binding, their voices will be heard, as well as their reports on class events each month.
Director of Curriculum Sean Duncan gave a report on options for re-opening schools. He broke it down into five phases. First to go back will be small cohorts of special learners. Blended learning will follow.
“There’s a lot of work to see what going back might look like,” Duncan said. “There are no dates built into these plans.”