The first day of instruction for all Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) students will be on Monday, August 24, 2020.
The district had already set aside three days for teacher training before the originally scheduled start date Thursday, August 20. This new start date gives teachers two extra workdays and a weekend to prepare their curriculums and familiarize themselves with new equipment and software necessary for socially-distanced learning this fall.
Superintendent Dr. Ben Drati said in a statement that the school district will add two days to the end of the school year in June.
The decision was officially approved by the school board during their meeting on August 13 after a resolution was reached with the Santa Monica-Malibu Classroom Teachers Association (SMMTCA) a few days earlier.
Also included in this agreement were commitments that teachers will provide live instruction for 230-240 minutes daily except for secondary compressed days, that teachers will provide students with specific schedules before the first day of school, and that teachers will communicate weekly what students can expect in the upcoming week. Teachers will also be given professional development during the school year.
The superintendent said that many teachers have already been engaging in training and collaborating in workgroups of their own volition throughout the summer to improve their classroom experiences.
Several teachers have also expressed that distanced learning will be better this time around because they have taken valuable lessons from the “crisis teaching” they were forced to do this spring when the pandemic unexpectedly broke out.