Know Your Student’s [Distance Learning] Rights

Much has been negotiated and written to clarify what “school” means in an online environment. Yet we continue to hear questions and concerns from families about what they should and should not expect for their children this year. 

We’re pleased to introduce a quick guide to keep you informed of what families and students have a right to expect with recent shifts in WCCUSD policy – and suggestions for how to advocate for your child in situations where your experience doesn’t match these new rules.

Know Your Rights

A Parent’s Guide to School Policies in the 2020-21 School Year

All K-12 students have the right to a set academic schedule each day, that incorporates a “live” Homeroom period.

  • Your student should receive teacher-led instruction every school day, Monday through Thursday. This could be through live instruction, recorded instruction, or independent work, or a combination. 
  • K-6 students should have 30 minutes of daily “What I Need” time (WIN) for independent work tied to their unique learning needs, and designated English Language Development instruction for English Learners. 
  • Your student’s Friday schedule should reflect a reduced academic load, with dedicated opportunities to engage in enrichment activities or connect with peers beyond homeroom.
  • Students may not be penalized for keeping their webcam video off during remote instruction.
  • Attendance will be taken Monday through Friday during a mandatory 25-minute Homeroom block. Students arriving late or leaving early will still be marked present. If Homeroom is missed entirely, any interaction with the Homeroom teacher before 3pm also counts the student as being present, including email. 

How will my student be graded during distance learning?

  • Grades should reflect quality of student work, not attendance or engagement.
  • Engagement is a new state marker this year, but is to be used to help districts target family outreach, not penalize students. It reflects a combination of attendance and submitting assignments to demonstrate student participation for purposes of state funding.
  • For the purposes of grading during distance learning, unexcused absences will not be considered a valid criteria for lowering a student’s grade. 
  • All students are permitted to redo assignments for full credit within five days of the due date.
  • Elementary: Grades must be narrative-based and reflect evidence of learning (not the timeliness of your work). 
  • Middle and high school: 
    • You have a 5-day window following an assignment’s due date when the work must be accepted without penalty.
    • Within the same 5-day period, you should receive meaningful feedback and the chance to improve your work for full credit. 
    • You have the right to advocate with the teacher for additional time without being penalized for doing so.

My student has a disability. 

  • Students with disabilities are entitled to a “free appropriate public education” (FAPE) during distance learning.
  • Your student should get adapted lessons and activities that meet their IEP, developed both by special education teachers and core content teachers. 
  • Assessments must occur on the standard timeline. 
  • While not all services like adapted PE are possible via remote learning, your child must have an Individualized Student Learning Plan (ISLP) adapting their IEP to distance learning. 

My student is an English Learner.

  • English Learners must have 30 minutes of designated English Language Development (ELD) each day, Monday through Thursday
  • Designated ELD should look like live one-on-one interactive support, small group instruction, or teacher-assigned independent work focused on English language acquisition.
  • You have the right to ask about your child’s EL level and inquire about their path to reclassification.
  • The Summative ELPAC may be administered virtually. 

What if I believe my student’s rights have been violated?

  • Start by talking to your child’s teacher and remember that teachers are similarly still learning to navigate new policies under stressful circumstances. 
  • If the teacher isn’t responsive, contact your principal. 
  • If you still have concerns and believe your student is being treated unfairly, try contacting district leaders via the Office of Family & Community Engagement or contacting the Superintendent directly.

WCCUSD 2020-21 School Year Policy Documents & Resources

Other Resources

Statewide Guide to Parent-Student Rights (Keep Learning California)

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