Robert Randall Elementary School Co-Principals Olivia Contreras and Kristan Prolo knew there would be many challenges for their students and families when Milpitas Unified School District committed to starting the 2020-21 school year in MUSD EducatEveryWhere with every student in distance learning prior to moving towards in-person support for those who are struggling with the virtual education environment.
But the Randall leadership team is not one to shy away from challenges.
Once the opportunity presented itself to allow for targeted in-person support for disengaged and struggling students, Contreras and Prolo put the word out amongst its Randall staff, as well as with the on-campus YMCA program. They also identified students in need of support for varying reasons such as having connectivity problems at home, parents are essential workers, and language barriers.
“The biggest challenge to bringing students on campus is safety,” said Principal Prolo. “Our movement and behaviors are very restricted. It makes it a challenge even using the restrooms or walking the hallways or eating. It’s very limited.”
Following Santa Clara County Public Health Department safety guidelines, the Two-way Bilingual Immersion School now has 45 students come to the Edsel Drive campus for in-person support—and it has already made a positive impact on student attendance and engagement.
“The teachers and the parents do appreciate it,” said Principal Contreras, noting that roughly 50 percent of families have accepted invitations for in-person support thus far. “Not all the parents are agreeable to having their students come onto campus. They are still leery.”
There are two second-grade teachers who host a handful of students in their classrooms for a full school day, with another Randall colleague scheduled to soon begin with sixth-grade students weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. At the YMCA, the bilingual staff supervises students who range from transitional kindergarten to sixth grade. Randall is one of several MUSD campuses hosting some form of targeted, in-person instruction.
“We have multiple sets of siblings, and for them it’s a night-and-day difference,” Principal Prolo shared. “They went from having very challenging attendance issues to being connected and engaged.”
Randall staff perform daily health screenings for those students coming onto campus. Everyone must follow the safety protocols, such as maintaining a 6-foot social distance and wearing face coverings at all times. In addition, protective desk shields have been installed for students and staff. There is a capacity of up to 12 students per classroom.
Contreras added that a majority of the Randall teachers already utilize their classrooms as teaching studios during the school day. This is one of the milestones along our journey together in COVID19.