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September 11 Friday Update: Wellness Fridays; End to a Strange and Difficult Week

En Español

September 11, 2020

Dear WCCUSD Community,

It has been a strange and somber week with orange dark skies, raining ash, and poor air quality. I want to thank everyone for their patience and flexibility as we altered meal distribution schedules and then, unfortunately, were forced to cancel today’s pick up due to the unhealthy air quality.

I want to send my thoughts to the Hercules and Richmond community who had one of its students critically injured in a car accident earlier this week. A special thank you to Hercules High School Principal Paul Mansingh and District Psychologist Jodi Couick and their teams for rallying to students, families, and staff through such a tragic event.

The social emotional support for students, families and staff is of heightened importance in this distance learning environment and I want the community to know that resources and support are available through school health centers, school counselors, teachers, principals, school support staff and the District’s team led by Jodi Couick and new Special Education Director Kristen Hardy.

We know how important social emotional health is, especially now, and you let us know that through the Thought Exchange. Social interactions, building community, technology training, and enrichment opportunities were among the top and most agreed on items mentioned in the Thought Exchange, which is still open through tonight.

Wellness Friday was designed with all of this in mind, and we are building up what it looks like and what is offered. Fridays are an opportunity for students to connect and foster relationships in this virtual world through homeroom, clubs, classes and activities. Teachers, principals and families can develop relationships through online office and family hours and phone calls home. Staff has the opportunity to take a wide range of professional development opportunities like Zoom, Google Classroom and SeeSaw training in addition to the Race and Equity work that we are all committed to doing this year.

I would like to highlight Chavez Elementary School and Principal Alison Evert’s team for setting a fantastic Friday schedule that starts with a morning “Family Meeting” a chance for students to participate in physical education, Toolbox (Social Emotional tools and tips), and fun. Fridays at Chavez also includes art, lunch groups (a chance for girls and boys to learn about friendship and have fun through art and games) and ends with a 7 pm story time.

Chavez is just one of many examples school leaders and teams have put together for students and families. Again, stay patient with us as we roll out additional programs, especially through the District.   

Thank you again to the community for the feedback, both praise and challenges, and flexibility as we continue through Distance Learning. We are four weeks in and are continuing to learn and grow together. As we head into the weekend, I want to keep reminding the community about the resources available.

We have this Distance Learning Guide (Spanish) for parents and families. The guide can be found inside the District’s Digital Backpack on the website. I encourage you to continue to reach out your teachers and principals for support and additional resources.

Also, I have two requests this weekend. Please take a few minutes to make sure we have your best and updated contact information by completing the Annual School Forms.

And, please complete the Multipurpose Income Form (Spanish), otherwise known as the Lunch form. We need EVERY family regardless of income level or free and reduced priced lunch status to complete the form.

Thank you again and stay safe this weekend.

In community,

Matthew Duffy