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A smooth start to the remote school year in Santa Maria and Orcutt

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ORCUTT, Calif. - It's been about a week since school started in Santa Maria and Orcutt. Students and teachers are adjusting to a new school year from home.

On the whole, districts we talked to say the year is starting smoothly.

A big concern of starting remote has been attendance and the Orcutt Union School District says so far attendance is good.

Each day, teachers have more students logging in and they are contacting those who have not. Students are already jumping into the curriculum.

The Santa Maria Bonita School District says in the past week, about 90 percent of students have logged on. Administrators are working on helping that remaining 10 percent, some of whom still need to pick up their chromebooks.

This first week for them has been more about the basics, meeting their teachers and picking up school supplies. They are planning on starting the heavier curriculum next week.

Both districts say communication with families is really important right now.

"In a lot of cases, it's grandma or grandpa or auntie or a neighbor or someone who's helping a child while mom and dad are at work," said Maggie White, spokeswoman for the Santa Maria Bonita School District. "We want to help those folks as well."

Dr. Holly Edds, superintendent of the Orcutt Union School District said they moved up parent-teacher conferences to "intentionally connect with our elementary parents and make sure that they understand the expectations."

Orcutt teachers are mostly teaching from their classrooms. Students are in small groups for instruction time.

Santa Maria Bonita teachers are spending two days a week working from the school and the other three at home. Mondays are used as flex days for meetings and individual work.

Teachers are getting creative with participation, sometimes having students hold up white boards to share answers, and other visual exercises over Zoom and Google Classroom.

Elementary schools in Santa Barbara County can apply to reopen. The Orcutt Union School District said it is looking into that possibility. The Santa Maria Bonita School District said it is not applying for a waiver at this time.

Article Topic Follows: Education

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Anikka Abbott

Anikka Abbott is a weather anchor and reporter for News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Anikka, click here.


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