PAUSD is taking critical steps to address equity and access during the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting school closure. Between preparing healthy lunches, creating and implementing flexible learning options for students, ensuring technology access and offering service with a smile, PAUSD professionals are busy planning for the next phase of learning as well as next steps to ensure that all students in PAUSD have equitable opportunities to learn and access to district and community resources and supports.
Achieving equity requires that every single student has the necessary technology, time, motivation, and support needed to shift to a new learning platform. That's hard to do when students do not have the structure of brick and mortar and the watchful eye of dedicated educators daily. However, PAUSD staff are tackling the challenges head on. For students who traditionally have disparate opportunities for academic success, including students from low income backgrounds, students with disabilities, English Learners, Foster/Homeless youth, and other vulnerable student groups, PAUSD is making every effort to identify their needs and provide targeted support.
During the period of school closure, PAUSD will continue to focus on equity and access in five (5) critical areas:
- Nutritious meals
- Appropriate technology
- Language accessible learning options
- Mental health supports
- Community resources to ensure basic needs are addressed
PAUSD also expanded its iConnect program to ensure technology access to technology. Under normal circumstances, students in grades 3-8 could apply to receive a loaner Chromebook if they qualify based on income. During the COVID-19 pandemic, any student needing a device was able to pick up a device and hot spot if needed. Over 1500 Chromebooks have been provided to students for use at home.
Our Student and Family Engagement Specialists (SaFE) remain on-call during regular business hours to assist identified students and families with accessing district and community resources. Assistance also includes language translation, assistance with understanding district and site communications, linkages to community service for hardship assistance, 1:1 coaching of students from Student Assistance Coaches and more. In addition, PAUSD has deployed Wellness Center staff and CASSY mental health professionals to provide mental health support and outreach for students.