Redlands Unified School District

Redlands Unified students started the school year from home on Thursday, Aug. 13.

During the school board meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 11, Ken Wagner, assistant superintendent of educational services, detailed the district’s updated distance learning program and how it serves students and teachers.

“We had 250 teachers show up to an online professional development day on Aug. 4, and 800 participated in a voluntary three-hour session on Aug. 7,” said Wagner. “Our teachers are committed and have really stepped up.”

One of the concerns of distance learning is tracking student engagement.

“The state expects us to document daily participation, which is challenging,” said Wagner. “We plan to use an attendance system with modifications to monitor engagement.”

The district has a commitment to its students’ social and emotional well-being and has added mental health training for its staff.

“During the first quarter, students will participate in teacher-guided wellness activities,” said Wagner. “It is coordinated with counselors and mental health professionals.”

The district focused on content development over the summer, making sure that its distance learning program would be as vigorous as its usual curriculum.

“We have elementary and secondary content development teams that are working on weekly lesson plans for teachers,” said Wagner.

Special education services are still provided through increased daily interaction and virtual individualized educational programs with digital file management and document signing. One of the online resources for special education students include Floreo, a virtual reality therapy program for students with Autism.

“Elementary innovation teachers at our Garner Holt Lab and Z-Spaces are working with the content development team to provide opportunities through the innovation labs,” said Wagner. “Elementary enrichment and music are still offered through distance learning as well.”

Superintendent Mauricio Arellano said the district has to be ready for this new way of learning.

“It’s going to be an unpredictable year,” he said. “We will have bumps along the way, but that’s OK.”