Courtesy of Preston Thomas/Oakland Unified
A mother picks up a Chromebook for her child, who is a student at Rudsdale Newcomer High in Oakland Unified, for distance learning.

Oakland Unified and its teachers have reached a tentative deal that sets aside at least an hour a day for live instruction, but also allows for flexibility and stresses small group instruction as much as possible.

Although school started last Monday in the district, the district and Oakland Education Association teachers’ union didn’t come to the agreement until Wednesday and don’t expect to ratify it until after union members vote on it by the end of the day Wednesday, Aug. 19. The agreement will guide distance learning through Dec. 30.

A joint release said the agreement allows for the district and its teachers to “ramp up the rigorous instruction our students need and deserve.”

Depending on grade level, students will receive between 60 minutes and 150 minutes of live instruction each day, along with at least 100 minutes to 215 minutes of pre-recorded or other instruction that is not presented live. To allow teachers to break classes into small groups, substitute teachers can be assigned to help reduce the overall class size.

Teachers and other union members – including counselors, psychologists, social workers and nurses – will also be given “flex time” to use for a variety of tasks, with instruction expected to take place between 9 a.m. and 3:15 p.m. During the first two weeks of school, teachers have more time for planning time, while the district provides students and their families with online training in topics such as distance learning, health and technology use. Teachers will be given additional time to plan for online courses each Wednesday through Sept. 23.

Since technology is critical to the success of distance learning, the district will provide both students and teachers the computers they need. Students will also receive Wi-Fi access and teachers can use their classrooms if necessary, while adhering to physical distancing and other safety precautions.

Families will receive weekly updates related to learning goals and student progress, and teachers will provide weekly office hours. Translation services will be provided for students and families who do not speak English, along with other resources in multiple languages.

Starting in September, both sides will create a problem-solving task force expected to resolve “issues related to the implementation of the distance learning program and make recommendations for improvement,” according to the agreement.

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  1. J. Owen L 2 months ago2 months ago

    Students are promised an hour of live instruction per day, that doesn't mean teachers are only working one hour. They will often need to teach multiple single or groups of students per day as well as prepare the 100 min or whatever of video instruction, as well as grading as well as family check ins as well as training on multiple new internet systems. My partner is an OT with a school district and he … Read More

    Students are promised an hour of live instruction per day, that doesn’t mean teachers are only working one hour. They will often need to teach multiple single or groups of students per day as well as prepare the 100 min or whatever of video instruction, as well as grading as well as family check ins as well as training on multiple new internet systems. My partner is an OT with a school district and he normally provides in-person treatment to many students with disabilities every day. During Covid his hours have expanded to take up the entire day (far beyond school hours) even though students are getting less out of it. This is a horrible situation, but it’s not because teachers are being lazy. Teachers are putting together packets of activities to send to their students out of their own pockets because districts aren’t funding “extras” like that. Many teachers and school staff have spent their summers preparing and delivering meals to students and their families instead of sheltering in place. Let’s try not to blame public employees for a complete political fiasco on the national level.

  2. Ray 2 months ago2 months ago

    This is absolutely RIDICULOUS!! Parents are being held hostage all over the nation between governors, inept school districts and Teachers Unions!

    The teachers were not good in Oakland to begin with and now this???!! This is why they want to kill charters…they want to run then entire show and do to us what they want!

  3. Jim 2 months ago2 months ago

    An hour a day of live teaching? Such a terrible imposition on the teachers…

    Replies

    • John Fensterwald 2 months ago2 months ago

      Jim, the 60 minutes (actually 80 minutes for most days) applies only to preK and kindergarten. Starting 4th grade, it’s 2 hours for four of five day and 90 minutes one day; starting 6th grade, it’s 2 1/2 hours per day for 4 of 5 days and 1 hour on the 5th day. This applies to live instruction. You can read the MOU here.

      • Jim 2 months ago2 months ago

        I guess the “achievement gap” is no longer “a thing”.

  4. Jonathan Klein 2 months ago2 months ago

    So, teachers will be teaching a whole hour a day and that’s OK with everybody? What am I missing?

    Replies

    • Smita Patel 2 months ago2 months ago

      Jonathan, per John’s response above: The 60 minutes (actually 80 minutes for most days) applies only to preK and kindergarten. Starting 4th grade, it’s 2 hours for four of five day and 90 minutes one day; starting 6th grade, it’s 2 1/2 hours per day for 4 of 5 days and 1 hour on the 5th day. This applies to live instruction. You can read the MOU here.

  5. marco 2 months ago2 months ago

    That’s a pretty solid instructional program, at least compared to WCCUSD. In that district, the only live/synchronous engagement that students are guaranteed is 25 minutes of live advisory/homeroom and a live “office hour.” Zero minutes of live/synchronous instruction are required. No “class” at all on Fridays. How does a district get away with under-serving its students so horribly?