By Haley Sawyer
With South Pasadena Unified School District elementary schools back on campus for in-person instruction, the Board of Education decided on hybrid learning models for both the middle school and high school at a special meeting last week.
“Everybody was concerned about learning loss,” said board member Suzie Abajian at the meeting last Friday. “So I think you have to balance different things and make sure that whatever model we’re picking is not so disruptive that it just creates even more of a learning gap for the rest of the year, especially in secondary and high school where grades are really important and count for college.”
The model unanimously approved for South Pasadena Middle School begins the school day at 8:15 a.m., with three 80-minute periods finishing by 12:40 p.m. Grab-and-go lunches will be available for students to take home.
Take-home lunches will be free for all students and available for pickup at middle school and high schools.
There are two 10-minute passing periods between classes and one 15-minute passing brunch, which allows for a quick snack. Two cohorts will alternate in-person instruction: Cohort A will be on campus Tuesday and Wednesday, while Cohort B will be on campus Thursday and Friday.
Monday will be a distance learning day of 30-minute classes for all students.
South Pasadena High School, which has a seven-period class schedule, presented two possible hybrid learning models to the school board.
“There is a wide spectrum of comfort levels about a return to school,” said SPHS principal Janet Anderson, “And the reason I’m saying that is because even though that is the case, our staff and our faculty rolled up their sleeves once again and started designing some programs and schedules that would best meet the needs of all these different groups and different sensibilities.”
Option A for hybrid learning at the high school planned for two periods of in-person learning and two periods of distance learning each day, with Monday serving as a distance learning day for every student.
In Option B, three classes are on campus, then students will return home for a 45-minute lunch and one final period — seventh period — in a distance learning format.
For both options, one cohort would be on campus Tuesday and Wednesday and the other on campus Thursday and Friday. Athletics and other on-campus activities begin after 2:40 on Monday and at 2:25 Tuesday through Friday.
The board voted 4-1 to adopt Option B for the high school. Abajian, who earlier had tried advancing Option A, cast the dissenting vote here.
“I think to engage them physically on campus for a longer period of time to transition them over to what’s hopefully a more traditional schedule come fall, I think this is a better step to work toward that and get used to some of these protocols,” said board clerk Zahir Robb.
Teachers are already preparing for a return to campus and have been provided technology and a guide for hybrid learning by the district that includes curated resources, demo classrooms and one-on-one support.
The school board will reconvene after spring break for a regularly scheduled meeting on April 13.