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Our Readers Write: Public schools; Meals On Wheels

The San Diego Unified School District is opening the new academic year with online classes, resuming distance learning.
Schools in the San Diego Unified School District are opening the new academic year with online classes, resuming distance learning that started in the spring because of the coronavirus pandemic.
(Courtesy)

Letters to the editor:

La Jolla Cluster needs to press school district for answers

From the look of things, community confidence in La Jolla’s five public schools is becoming collateral damage in this coronavirus pandemic. It would help if there were regular dialogue, consultation, fewer secrets and less stonewalling from San Diego Unified School District headquarters.

This is where the unique “La Jolla Cluster” comes in. It was designed years ago to lobby actively and represent on behalf of La Jolla-area public schools with an unresponsive district school administration.

Since March the coronavirus has shut down schools, interrupted familiar routines and changed ordinary life. Six months along and at the outset of a new school year, parents have been told they are required again to oversee the computer-based education of their housebound children of all ages. Virus contagion is a universally feared unknown of reopening schools, but families have real questions right now that deserve answers from the school district.

In the spring, local schools suspended operation and then returned to virtual education from home while teachers got basic training in delivering online instruction. For weeks, there was no attendance taken, no graded work, no required supervision of instruction, no common platform used for all academic subject areas. Lots of kids dropped off the grid. Then, blessedly, it was June and school closed. It had been tough for everyone — parents, students, teachers, administrators.

Now virtual school is resuming for 2020-21. San Diego Unified has emailed pamphlets to families describing the drill. But concerns and doubts remain in the community about the school district’s good faith, about whether its priority is educating children or quietly meeting contract demands about wages and working conditions from powerful employee unions.

No conversation about why no “waivers” to conduct in-person school for young children. Where’s evidence of any district plan for return to in-person school whenever the right time does come? Why no response to a parent’s written questions to the district?

Why no response to La Jolla Light queries from designated hitter Area Superintendent Mitzi Merino? Why are teachers doing “professional development” after school has commenced rather than beforehand? Why are suggestions for optimal virtual-learning strategies coming from an online tutoring entrepreneur rather than the district’s many specialists? What are the terms of the labor union contract the district has negotiated?

Answers should be obtained by a reinvigorated La Jolla Cluster, which was meant to be a collaborative of people proactive on behalf of strong local public education — five principals who like to lead, educators who elect to teach here, families who live here because the schools are good, and interested community members. The La Jolla Cluster was meant to press district educrats downtown to recognize we are not one-size-fits-all.

Frances O’Neill Zimmerman

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Community support is key for La Jolla Meals On Wheels

By any measure, the recent donation of $20,000 to La Jolla Meals On Wheels by good grocery corporate neighbor Albertsons ranks supreme. Since 1974 our organization (not to be confused with San Diego Meals On Wheels established 23 years later) has relied solely on the contributions of local businesses, clubs, associations and residents to fulfill our mission of delivering solidly nutritious and palate-pleasing meals to La Jollans of all ages, who for a variety of reasons are unable to shop for provisions or simply cook for themselves.

Our companion Friendly Visitors program, now celebrating its sixth year of operation, matches a caring volunteer to a resident client who expresses loneliness for a welcomed once-a-week visit.

If you have need of either of our services or know of a neighbor in distress, don’t hesitate to connect (858-452-0391,
LaJollaMealsOnWheels.org). Because of your support, we’re doing good.

Ron J. Jones
President, La Jolla Meals On Wheels

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Letters published in the La Jolla Light express views from readers about community matters. Submissions of related photos also are welcome. Letters reflect the writers’ opinions and not necessarily those of the newspaper staff or publisher. Letters are subject to editing for brevity, clarity and accuracy. To share your thoughts in this public forum, email them with your first and last names and city or neighborhood of residence to robert.vardon@lajollalight.com. ◆