Here’s something that recently popped on our radar: Sacramento-based Westlake Charter School was the only state-based school to earn recognition in the California Department of Education’s (CDE) guidance on distance learning, highlighting its model that offers “daily academic and social-emotional lessons to its students.”
A key first step taken by the school was surveying families on their technology needs and providing internet access and devices to students in need of both. After that, Westlake turned to Google Sites to build an easy-to-navigate website for teacher resources. Then, the school built a distance learning website specifically for families.
Westlake’s model is embracing daily collaboration between staff, focusing on curating daily lessons by grade level. All lessons are being delivered through Google Classroom, and they include both instructional videos of teachers and curated learning resources.
This is an amazing accomplishment, and Westlake staff, students, and parents should feel proud that they are being championed as a distance learning model for all public schools across the state.
Westlake is yet another example of how charter schools’ flexibility and innovation has uniquely positioned them to transition to an online model for the remainder of the school year. Whether it’s fellow Sacramento-based charter school network St. Hope Public Schools, or EdNovate Schools further south, charter schools have moved rapidly to establish effective distance learning programs that keep students engaged.
Westlake’s placement in CDE’s guide is an important reminder as we all face a future clouded with uncertainty: charter public schools have been, and will continue to be, an important collaborator with ALL public schools, enthusiastically sharing resources and expertise in order to lift up all students during this era of COVID-19 closures.