Seven weeks after physically shutting down, the Beverly Hills Unified School District (BHUSD) has wrapped up its fourth week of Home Learning 2.0. The plan, which went into effect April 2, includes an increase in face-to-face time between teachers and students, 240 minutes of work at the middle and high school level each week and 60 minutes for elementary students. Teachers deliver two live sessions each week in the form of direct instruction, review of homework, or a Q&A session. “We transitioned to provide students with all of the standards and skills that they will need to be able to progress onto the next grade and or to the next class,” BHUSD Assistant Superintendent of Education Services, Dustin Seemann, told the Courier.
According to Seemann, faculty and students within the BHUSD were in a good position to transition into virtual home learning. The Board of Education had already purchased one-to-one devices for students before the closures and members of the community were trained on how to utilize the technology. “I feel very fortunate that our small bumps and bruises are nowhere near the hurdles that some of the other districts have to clear,” Seemann told the Courier.
Once a week, Seemann joins 93 other Assistant Superintendents on a call with the California Department of Education. Following the large conference call, a smaller cohort of administrators gather virtually to share and brainstorm problems and solutions regarding home learning. “It’s been great to lean on our colleagues, but they’ve also leaned on us pretty heavily because we have a really good home learning plan implementation and they’re trying to use us as a model,” said Seemann. “The Association of California School Administrators had highlighted our home learning plan as one to follow.”
Nonetheless, on April 24, Governor Gavin Newsom acknowledged there have been “learning losses” as parents try to teach their kids from home. He announced that California students might return to their classrooms as early as the end of July or August, but there is no official date yet.
On April 29, BHUSD Superintendent Dr. Michael Bregy released a video announcing plans for graduation. “I come here today to share some news with you on how we can help revitalize and reimagine the way that we celebrate success here,” Bregy said. “I’m very excited today to be able to share with you that we’re able to keep our commitment in honoring, and celebrating student success for our high school seniors and their graduation, our eighth grade middle school students and their graduation and promotions for our fifth graders,” said Bregy. For Beverly Hills High School seniors, the two-day celebration begins on June 3 at 7 p.m. Planned events include a virtual senior sunset, a video graduation and Diploma Drive at the high school, during which each senior will accept their diploma. Diploma Drive will be livestreamed for the entire community. Students will be given a timeframe to drive through the parking garage and following health and safety advice, may exit their cars wearing a cap and gown and stand 6 feet away from Principal Mark Mead to have a professional photo taken.