It’s back-to-school season for students all across Los Angeles County. Whether it be elementary, middle, high or charter schools, for the most part, students are going back to in-person learning.
In the City of San Fernando, several schools are gearing up for the first day of the 2022-23 school year, including Morningside Elementary, San Fernando Elementary schools. Some local schools have already welcomed in students, such as the Cesar Chavez Learning Academies, which started its school year last Tuesday.
Anne Maschler — the principal of the Art, Theater, Entertainment School (ArTES) Magnet at the Cesar Chavez Learning Academies — said she wants to communicate more with families since the current school year is in-person and many families during summer have become used to their children being at home and previously not all students returned to school after the long haul of distance learning due to the pandemic.
“What I need families to be more aware of this year more than they were last year is that we’re back to 100 percent ‘in person, every day from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.,” Maschler said, “and we really need the kids in here. Parents should know how crucial and important attendance really is for kids because when they’re not here, they’re not learning and they’re falling behind.”
“I think we had to give everyone some grace last year to say, hey, this is a transition time. But I hope that we can be really efficient in getting that message out there and making sure that we support families and getting the kids, every day, whatever support they need, that we [make sure] provide them.”
Maschler also advised parents to be involved in their child’s education by staying in touch with teachers and enrolling in the LA Unified School District’s parent portal to check on attendance and grades. For students, Maschler encouraged them to stay strong, to seek out tutors when they need help and to take part in after school activities like sports or theater.
Morningside Elementary School Interim Principal Giovanna Foschetti also advised parents to connect with teachers and staff to support their child’s education.
“Schools communicating with the parents and parents communicating with the schools, I think that’s the most important thing,” said Foschetti. “Especially during this time, after the lockdown, they missed a lot of school, so we’re [out in] full force, on site, ready to teach and for the children to learn.”
Maschler said her biggest fear is not knowing where COVID-19 regulations will be in the future, and how it could unexpectedly change the school’s current in-person model which will mean they’ll need to quickly pivot and readjust.
“My biggest concern is, is there going to be a situation again where we have to go to some kind of hybrid model, which I don’t really think will happen, but [it] could, and then also for individual kids getting exposed [to Covid-19],” Maschler said.
“We also have cold season coming up. … We need people to really be careful about not getting sick. You know, kids will miss a lot of class time because they’re symptomatic and they’re waiting for test results, or maybe because the test is positive and they’ll have to isolate … I think that is really the biggest challenge we’re going to face.”
While LAUSD no longer has weekly testing for students and staff, Maschler did say that the school has a large supply of take-home COVID-19 antigen tests in the main office for anyone who is symptomatic.
Maschler also said that there are still seats open for any ninth graders still looking for a high school to enroll in. The deadline is Sept. 9.
Teachers do much more than people realize. While it’s generally agreed that teachers deserve to earn greater salaries, a recent analysis by MyElearningWorld found that the average teacher in the US will spend $820 out of pocket on school supplies for the 2022-23 school year, a 37 percent increase over what teachers spent in 2015. The California Lottery was supported by voters with the understanding that money from the lottery would be utilized to support schools. However, LAUSD reports that Lottery money only brings in 1 percent of their annual budget. Lottery officials meanwhile have pointed out that their revenue augments schools but isn’t responsible for their school budgets.
In total, teachers will spend around $3 billion on supplies for their students, such as pencils, papers, books and other materials.
For more information on the late application for ArTES Magnet, go to https://artesmagnet.org/parents/apply-to-artes/.