HTLA Thoughts- October, 30, 2020

HTLA Community,

Happy Halloween to you all.  I can’t believe that it is already the end of October.  Our students and teachers have done so much amazing work in incredibly difficult circumstances.  I am proud to work at what I consider the best high school in LA.

This year has been so difficult but the most difficult part for us has been being separated from all of the students.  I desperately miss the daily conversations I normally have with your children.  The only saving grace has been the effort and commitment to excellence your children and our teachers have continued to have.  As you all know, we are college-prep focused high school.  While we are not able to do all we would normally do, our students are engaged and working hard.  I know this as I was lucky enough to step in a teach 9th grade Ancient Civilization courses for a couple of weeks.  The students did really amazing work for me and I got to “meet” our 9th graders.  It was the most fun I have had in months!

I also recognize that HTLA and teachers may seem remote to you all.  Please know we are here.  Email us if you have something you would like to discuss and we will get back to you.  It may take a bit longer than in normal times, but we will get back to you.  I look forward to the day when we can talk only about classrooms and not about viruses and safety..

On that topic, to inform as to where we are and what our current plans are, I offer the following.  We are having the LA County Dept. of Public Health (LACDPH) come onto campus on Monday morning to inspect.  We have set up rooms 1 and 2 as rooms where we can have individual SPED assessment so we can get onto the correct timelines.  We will start this with our SPED department and with outside service providers when the LACDPH gives us the go ahead.

The next step will be having small cohorts (10-12) of our most vulnerable students come onto campus.  They will still be doing remote learning, but in a slightly more structured setting.  I will send out more information about this when we get our approval.       

The third stage in our planning involves having all students come onto campus for live instruction one or two days a week.  To be frank, this seems to get more and more remote every day, but we do have to continue to try to plan for it.  We have, since August, aimed for January to start this stage.  That is still the plan, but it is less likely today than it was a week ago.   Also, “all” doesn’t really mean all.  It means all students whose families do not opt to stay remote for the rest of the 2020-21 school year.  Some of you may have seen that some TK-2 schools in LA County have gotten waivers to restart in-person teaching.  Please know that the process to approval in-person for high schools is not coming any time soon.  Nor are we near where some states (and other CA counties) are with requiring students to come back to campus.  I have not heard even one mention of this as a possibility in LA county.

The uncertainty around timelines has kept me from laying all the out ideas to you.  I recognize how difficult teaching and learning is already.  But, know that no decisions will be made on any of this big stuff without talking to you all. 

Finally, please have a wonderful Halloween weekend.  Like everything since March, it is not going to be what it has been in the past, but I hope you all have an opportunity to relax and enjoy yourselves.  Stay safe.  I miss you all.

-Mr. McClenahan