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School may look different this year, but the learning continues…

As we look to the new school year, many things are still uncertain. One thing we do know is that our children’s education will continue whether through distance learning, on campus or a hybrid model. Here is a link for up-to-date information on Coronavirus Response and School Reopening Guidance from the California Department of Education: ​​.

To guide you in your plans for this coming school year, should get information from your local school district and the public health department on best practices to promote health and safety of our students. California State PTA also has continuously updated resources on our website:

Supporting Student Success

After three months of school closures and distance learning, parents, students and teachers are still working to navigate this new system of teaching and learning online. Although the delivery method of your child’s education may have changed and may look different this coming school year, the grade level standards (Common Core State Standards) and learning goals should be the same. Connect with your student’s teacher to understand the learning goals and how you can support your student. Here are some questions you can ask:

  • What are the short-term goals for this year?
  • And what are the long-term goals for kids when they leave the school and when they graduate from high school?
  • Are there ambitious goals for all kids?

PTAs can invite the school principal and teachers to take part in their regularly scheduled (online for now) meetings where parents can hear about learning goals and curriculum focus areas, arts education for example. Did you know that schools have implemented a new approach to teaching science, based on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)? These should be of particular interest at the elementary and middle school levels. At both middle schools and high schools, there is a lot of emphasis on Career Tech Education along with college readiness. And schools can help in preparing kids to be good citizens. Our new PTA Resource Library has a lot of great hands-on activities and learning links that can help you explore science and other subject areas with your student:

FOR MORE INFORMATION: The California State PTA website has a full section devoted to curriculum. Here you’ll find information about the arts, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Math), the Civic Mission of School, CTE and much more.

Measuring progress

Class assignments, tests and grades help teachers and parents understand how each individual child is doing. These measures look different from school to school and even from classroom to classroom.

California has a statewide testing system that allows you to see how well your child is doing compared to the state’s expectations. The California Department of Education has introduced a new electronic report that makes it easy to look up student scores and understand what they mean. The state has also created a website designed for parents called Starting Smarter.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and statewide school closures, the California Department of Education suspended the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) and English Language Proficiency Assessment for California (ELPAC) tests for the 2020 school year. The expectation is that LEAs will continue to assess new students whose primary language is not English when they return next school year. We are not yet certain how testing will be administered for the coming school year.

Access to the Smarter Balanced Digital Library is still available for all teachers who have accounts. The Digital Library offers free lesson plans for teachers in multiple subjects and at all grade levels. The CAASPP and ELPAC practice and training tests are still available. The Smarter Balanced Interim Assessments will remain open to be used upon the return of students and teachers to the classroom.

To learn more, go to ​

  • “Education” ​subjects include: Curriculum (Arts, STEAM, CTE and more), Common Core, Student Assessments, Summer/Extended Learning, Special Needs, Homework, Every Student Succeeds Act and School Finance.
  • “LCFF/LCAP”​ subjects include Accountability Plans, Priority Areas, and Dashboard
  • “Next Gen Science”​ provides information about NGSS
  • “Ed100”​ ​helps you explore the education system in easy-to-understand language

You can also find Distance Learning Resources to support learning at home here:

Discover Together – Next Generation Science Standards

To download a PDF version of this flyer, click here.