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Monrovia School Superintendent Reports On His First Two Weeks

My first two weeks serving as your superintendent have been fantastic! I have truly enjoyed visiting each of our schools, meeting students, teachers and staff, community members, and attending community events.

Our summer programs have gone extremely well, and it has been great seeing our students have fun while learning. Thanks to our teachers, staff, and partners at the Boys and Girls Club, for working hard to make these programs possible. As we move closer to the official start of the school year on Wednesday, August 18, I want to share some information about some important topics that we are working to address.

AB 104: Retention, Grade Changes, and Exemptions
Assembly Bill 104, now law, creates a range of options to accommodate K-12 students who struggled during the 2020-21 academic year when distance learning disrupted classroom routines. These include allowing students to retake their grade level under certain circumstances and the ability for high school students to change letter grades to “pass” or “no pass.” High school juniors and seniors in 2020-2021 not on track for graduation, may also be exempt from certain graduation requirements or have the option to complete coursework through credit recovery, a fifth year of high school, or other means.
Independent Study
Governor Newsom recently signed legislation requiring districts to offer independent study as an educational option for parents who prefer this kind of learning model or who are uncomfortable with sending their students back to school due to concerns about COVID-19. Mountain Park School continues to serve MUSD students and families who are interested in an independent study program.
Updated COVID-19 Prevention Guidelines for Schools
The California Department of Public Health recently released its latest guidelines for COVID-19 prevention in schools. Some key takeaways from the new guidelines are: 1) masks do not need to be worn outside, 2) students must wear masks when indoors, 3) adults must wear masks indoors with students regardless of vaccination status, and 4) previous physical distancing requirements have been removed. Throughout the pandemic, MUSD has always followed public health guidelines and will continue to do so.
Chromebooks for Students
We are also finalizing plans to ensure that every student in grades TK-12 has a Chromebook for the start of the school year that can be used both at school and at home. Integrating Chromebooks into our classrooms presents an opportunity for us to continue to personalize and accelerate learning. Providing access to Chromebooks also allows for learning to continue beyond classroom walls.
At the July 28 meeting of the Board of Education at 7:00 pm, additional information about all these topics will be shared. For information about how to watch the meeting, please click here.
Wishing you all a safe and great summer,
Ryan D. Smith, Ed.D.
Superintendent - Monrovia Unified School District