June 15, 2020
Dear Wiseburn Families and Friends,
Last week, we officially ended our unusual academic year with a virtual goodbye. I speak for the District when I say that we are beyond proud of all of our students for reaching the finish line of a year marked with unforeseen obstacles.
Congratulations to all of our students and families, and a special congratulations for our 5th and 8th graders who have been promoted to middle and high school via virtual ceremonies at Juan de Anza Elementary, 138th Street School (formerly Peter H. Burnett Elementary School, see below), and R.H. Dana Middle School. We celebrate each of our students in these milestones, and though we will miss those students continuing their academic journeys into high school, we cannot wait to see them excel in all of their future endeavors.
As we head into summer, the District continues to plan for the upcoming academic year. We will reopen on September 1, and as we prepare for that reopening, I'll be communicating about what to expect, directly with our families and community, through these messages and via Instagram and our new Facebook page. Because we are working to address and be proactive on several pressing areas simultaneously, I have separated this update into sections.
On the District's Finances
- In our last update on the budget, I noted Governor Newsom's budget proposal contained a deficit that could lead to up to $3 million dollars in decreased education funding for Wiseburn. Today, the Legislature is voting on their own suggested budget, which the governor then has until the end of the month to sign. We still do not know what the final budget will look like or if any federal funding will come.
- As the District and school board plan for the budget decisions ahead, we are also considering the expenses that may be necessary for the potential physical reopening, such as the purchase of personal protective equipment and enhanced cleaning protocols to limit the spread of COVID-19.
- We are operating with the expectation that we will see significantly reduced funding and examining all options accordingly. We are doing everything we can to prepare for a challenging funding scenario, but we are hopeful for some positive outcomes. We will continue to update our community as the District navigates this financial situation.
- Our final full gathering of the Wiseburn Reopening Advisory Partnership (WRAP) took place today. We will meet with teachers and staff on the WRAP team on Thursday to discuss, in further detail, some logistics regarding scheduling.
- This committee of over 60 members included parents, teachers, support staff, board members, and members from our administrative team who came together to inform the District's reopening.
- Since June 1, this committee has worked to provide much needed input for a reopening framework based on surveys filled in by parents, students, and staff, and based on the findings of the Los Angeles County Office of Education Taskforce on Reopening Schools that I served on earlier this year. Using this input, we will be creating schedules that we will release next month.
- Per our original 2020-21 academic calendar, we will be reopening the District on September 1. We anticipate campuses will be physically open but on a reduced schedule and scale, with precautions in place to prioritize our community's safety and health.
On Diversity and Inclusion
- On Friday, June 5th, I joined a peaceful protest in our community, where I met Levi, a student who attends what is formerly known as Peter H. Burnett Elementary School. He expressed that the namesake was not reflective of the inclusive community that makes up the school and urged us to take action. Many others wrote to the school board in agreement.
- As I shared in a message on June 11, the school board promptly took it to a vote, and unanimously and enthusiastically agreed to remove the namesake. We will be convening a committee to support us in establishing a new name for the school and aim to have a name by the reopening of school on September 1.
- In the interim, the elementary school will be known as 138th Street School.
- Should you have any immediate input and/or information regarding the name change that you would like to share with the District, you can email us at email@example.com, but we will also be releasing more specific information in the very near future.
- Aside from this step, we are also engaging as a community in anti-racist conversations. Our CARE Team hosted a parent workshop on June 4th that over 130 families, teachers, staff, administrators, and community members attended virtually. Those who weren't able to attend can still access the recorded workshop and the powerpoint slides (which have additional, clickable links to further resources).
- As a follow up to the workshop, the CARE Team is hosting a community circle as an opportunity to process feelings and discuss needs as a group this Thursday, June 18 at 1 p.m. Details on RSVPing to attend the event will be made available today via the CARE Team Instagram at @wusdcareteam.
- The CARE Team also encourages families to access additional race and civil justice resources here, plus the CARE Team's counseling resource folder for parents here.
I'll be in touch with further updates throughout the summer and especially as we get closer to reopening. But for now, I sincerely hope that each of our families have the time and space to create meaningful summer memories. If the past few months have demonstrated anything, it is that this community always finds a way.
Have a safe and healthy summer,
Blake Silvers, Ed.D., Superintendent