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News Update

Low turnout at Los Angeles Unified’s optional learning days, but district still touts benefits

Nearly 40,000 students attended one or both days of Los Angeles Unified’s optional additional learning effort over winter break, but that was only a disappointing 56% of those who registered. The two days were the first of four the district is holding across the school year as part of an effort to get students back on track academically following the disruption of the pandemic.

Despite the low turnout, district officials continued to emphasize benefits gained by those who attended. According to district data, more than 80% of those who participated were those who most needed the intervention. The two optional learning days cost the district $36 million.

“Would we have liked to have more students engaged? Of course. Are we on the right track? No doubt,” Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said at Tuesday’s board meeting, during which district officials presented the results of the acceleration days.

District officials attributed part of the turnout to parents’ misunderstandings of the optional days. Some families chose not to participate once they learned certain teachers would not be participating or that their school would not be hosting, they said.

As LAUSD prepares for its remaining two optional learning days in April, district officials are continuing to evaluate the program’s structure and curriculum. Feedback from teachers indicated that those participating would like to receive student data and resources earlier than they did in December, according to Andres Chait, chief of school operations. Teachers told EdSource that they received most of the guidance the week before.

According to Chief Academic Officer Francis Baez, the district also plans to implement more enrichment activities involving the arts, science and technology during the April days and will more aggressively promote to families the benefits of the extra learning. The district is still waiting to see the possible grade changes among secondary students who attended. Teachers were required to submit grades by Jan. 13.