City of Sacramento and community based organizations support small student learning groups
Press Release – October 9, 2020
SACRAMENTO – The Sacramento City Unified School District announced that six learning hubs have opened at school sites throughout the district. These hubs, organized in partnership with community-based organizations and the City of Sacramento, provide small groups of students with distance learning assistance and other activities. Each learning hub is open to 40 students. Students given priority to participate in the learning hubs are children of essential workers, students with special needs, foster youth, and students experiencing homelessness. The district will expand the program over the coming weeks.
“Distance learning can feel isolating, and is particularly hard on students who have special needs, are still mastering English, who are academically struggling, or do not have a stable home environment,” said SCUSD Superintendent Jorge Aguilar. “Learning hubs provide a supportive place for students to learn together. Having the comradery of other students and encouragement from staff will provide much-needed support for vulnerable students. We are thankful for the community support and partnership with these exceptional organizations who have stepped up to help us bring our students back together after so long.”
The learning hubs are staffed by representatives from the City of Sacramento and community-based organizations, including the Sacramento Chinese Community Service Center, Centers for Fathers and Families, and Leaders of Tomorrow.
“The City of Sacramento will do whatever it can to help prevent vulnerable students from falling behind because of the closure of physical classrooms,” said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg. “We are happy to partner with the SCUSD to help provide this one-on-one assistance to our students. In addition, we used $1.46 million of our federal stimulus funding to open four learning hubs in City community centers and $1.05 million to provide free internet for low-income families for six months.”
Students participating in learning hubs meet daily on school campuses, and will continue meeting until in-person schools can again resume. Learning hub staff help guide students through their day of distance learning, providing brain breaks, activities, and reflection time. All participating students receive breakfast and lunch provided by the Sac City Unified Nutrition Services Department.
“While we cannot wait to welcome all of our students back to in-person learning once it is safe, the opening of small learning hubs for our students most in need is a positive first step,” said President of the Board of Education Jessie Ryan. “I commend the district staff and the City of Sacramento for their collaborative work to think innovatively and creatively about how to help our most vulnerable students learn together in a safe environment. Programs like this, including our partnership with the City to provide all students with free internet access, are helping us provide critical instruction and student supports during this extraordinary time. We are grateful to the community partners that are working with Sac City to improve the distance learning experience for our students.”
Sac City Unified has implemented strict health and safety measures at each learning hub site, as indicated in the district’s Return to Health plan. Learning hub staff were trained by the district’s Health Services and Risk Management Teams. Active temperature screening, face coverings, hand hygiene, and physical distance are required for all students and staff.
“We are delighted to be a part of the SCUSD Return to Health program by providing in-person Learning Hubs to families. This is an incredible opportunity to support each other in the community,” said Shannon Roth, Youth Development Director of the Sacramento Chinese Community Services Center.
Before opening the learning hub sites, the district requested the services of an architectural firm to assess each site for COVID-19 readiness. Among other measures, the district arranged classrooms to accommodate increased physical distancing. Staff disinfects sites throughout the day and each evening.
SCUSD has replaced air filters, redirected air to limit air recirculation and disabled shared water fountains. Directional signage and information about health and safety requirements are displayed prominently. Temperature screening, symptom screening and hand disinfecting stations are available at each entrance.