Guest Message

Russell Lee-Sung

School District returns to traditional school class structure for 2020/21

Guest message Russell Lee Sung

Courtesy of NMUSD

NMUSD interim Superintendent Russell Lee-Sung

With the exception of Estancia High School, all high schools and middle schools will prepare for the start of the school year utilizing the structure from 2019-20, such as the traditional 8-period or 6-period day. 

Since June we have been working to create the best instructional models for our students for the upcoming school year. Our guiding principles of safety, connections and relationships, mental health and quality instruction have always been our priority. We have gathered input and guidance from our focus groups and advisory committees to provide the best solutions for our students, teachers and families. Countless models have been explored and none come without major challenges.

Last week, on July 21, we made a recommendation to the Newport-Mesa Unified School District Board of Education to implement the 4x4 Model at our secondary schools for its benefits of safety, daily connections between students and teachers and a focus on fewer courses at one time. It was intended to limit the number of courses to reduce stress on students and allow for deeper learning for each course. This would also allow teachers to provide greater attention to fewer students per semester.

Unfortunately, throughout this crisis we have been required to address very complex challenges without the time to fully discuss proposals and options as we would normally do with our staff, parents and students, particularly important for a change of this significance. 

Since the 4x4 Model was announced, we have heard and received a large number of comments, some in support and many opposed to this model. While all of the features of the model are intended to support students during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are wide differences of opinions on the features and challenges that come with this model, and the necessary support for success is not evident at all school sites.

Therefore, in consultation with our principals and feedback received from teachers, counselors and community, we are taking the following actions: 

–The implementation of the 4x4 Model in our secondary schools will not move forward.

–With the exception of Estancia High School (EHS), all high schools and middle schools will prepare for the start of the school year utilizing the structure from 2019-20 such as the traditional 8-period or 6-period day.

–With the support of the principal, staff and parents, Estancia High School would continue to implement the 4x4 structure for the 2020-21 school year.   

Now more than ever we must dedicate our time and resources to the start of the school year and to keep our focus on re-opening, distance learning and implementing all safety guidelines. Specific schedules including distance learning or modified in-person instruction will be shared by principals once finalized. We appreciate your support and understanding as we continue to navigate through these difficult times.

2020/21 School Reopening Webpage