District Zooms through Students’ Concerns


Clockwise from top left: Jessica Coulson, Christopher George, Dave Kravitz, Jon Campopiano.

This morning, the San Ramon Valley Unified School District held a livestream on YouTube through Zoom to answer the many questions students have had over the past weeks.

Jon Campopiano, the district’s executive director of secondary education services, began the question and answer session by discussing how graduation activities would move forward.

“We didn’t want the date May 29 to go by without finding a way to honor and celebrate,” Campopiano said.

A virtual graduation will occur through pictures, quotes, and more. The district will develop a livestreamed graduation for seniors at the 6 p.m. scheduled graduation time on May 29.

Another topic that was heavily discussed was how remote learning will continue throughout the year and what next year will look like for education.

“Some of it is going to depend on what the county and the state has to say with regard to what we can and what we can’t do,” said Debra Petish, the district’s director of curriculum and instruction. “We’re exploring options right now in order to provide you with the best learning experience.”

The district is also working on bringing educators up to speed on using Zoom and Google Meet platforms in order for more interactive education to occur.

“We have to remember that this is a global pandemic and this is impacting schooling everywhere,” Petish said. “This will not have a negative impact on your academic career, and we feel very confident saying that.”

David Kravitz, the district’s director of instructional services, then discussed the new pass/no mark grading system that has affected all middle and high schoolers.

“The decision was not made lightly,” Kravitz said. “Not all homes have access to the same resources, so the learning environment cannot be controlled as easily. The decision to go with pass/no mark was what we deemed the fairest, most equitable decision for all of our students.”

The district will not be changing this decision or adjusting the grading policy for this spring semester.

But many students have been wondering if this system will negatively impact college applications. Dougherty Valley High counselor Jessica Coulson spoke on the issue.

“With a pass grade, colleges are going to assume that you mastered the material with a degree of proficiency to earn a passing grade,” Coulson said.

Pass/no mark will also not affect students’ GPA. Passing a class will earn a student five credits, while a no mark will earn no credits.

Another important topic that students wanted to know about was picking up personal items left in lockers and on campus.

“We recognize that students probably have a lot of stuff in their lockers they care about,” said Danny Hillman, the district’s executive director of business services. “We’re trying to be as creative as we can with getting your stuff back while keeping you safe.”

The process will most likely be similar to a senior check-out while abiding by social distancing rules. Each high school is currently working on this, preparing to put this plan into effect in May or June.

“In the meantime, be on the lookout from your school site for a date and process to come back to campus and pick up your stuff,” Hillman said.

Students will also be given an opportunity to return textbooks and equipment, and pick up yearbooks at a later date. Refunds will also be given for different activities, but this should be confirmed with your high school bookkeeper and/or office manager.

Hillman said that collection of materials and returning textbooks will likely happen simultaneously.

Ken Nelson, the district’s director of the student services division, addressed the future of spring, summer, and fall sports.

“We are constantly monitoring the situation, and we will share information as it changes,” Nelson said. “Most likely, we will have to be flexible as we go into summer and fall, which can mean that things will be postponed and not cancelled.”

Students will also receive P.E. credits for independent P.E. if this is something they desire, as long as they were on the roster prior to school cancellation. Varsity letters will also be awarded to students who were on rosters before school shut down, as well as to students in non-athletic letter activities such as marching band and mock trial.

Christine Huajardo, the district’s assistant superintendent of education services, discussed what next school year will look like. She said students will absolutely be returning to campus in some capacity next year.

“You may come to class in smaller group settings and smaller numbers and you may have some remote learning,” Huajardo said. “Bell schedules, instructional minutes, and calendars will also look different and be flexible to meet the needs of children.”

Huajardo mentioned that the district will likely be holding more question and answer sessions over the next few weeks in addition to addressing more unanswered questions on the FAQ page of the district website at www.srvusd.net/coronavirus.

Staff writer Nick Harvey contributed to this story.