La Cumbre Junior High School is making sure nobody is left behind due to distance learning
While students in the Santa Barbara Unified School District head back to school via distance learning, educators are overcoming new hurdles to ensure students in special education are not being left behind.
Bradley Brock, principal of La Cumbre Junior High School in Santa Barbara, told the News-Press he and his staff have recognized how the rapid transition to online learning has disenfranchised marginalized groups such as students with disabilities as well as those learning English as a second language.
Due to this, he said the staff has been working tirelessly over the summer to make sure the school is providing adequate support for students who may be having a harder time adjusting to distance learning.
“We want every child to know, ‘Yes you can do this,’ and (we’re) providing them with the feedback necessary to make them feel confident as learners,” Mr. Brock said. “We’re committed to learning the lessons from the spring and creating a robust model of support to make sure our students with a disability have the opportunities to succeed.”
To accomplish this incredible task, Mr. Brock said because La Cumbre operates under a full inclusion model, meaning that all students, including special education students, are in the same classroom or regularly scheduled online classes.
However, they are placed in various groups within each class depending on their learning needs.
In addition to providing the academic support necessary to ensure all students have an equal opportunity for success, Mr. Brock said the school is also focusing on the students’ socio-emotional learning as well.
“Here we’re not just looking at cognitive attainment. We’re looking at social emotional growth and behavioral growth,” Mr. Brock said. “Really holistic approach for learning, which I think is an opportunity with distance learning that I really think is exciting.”
Mr. Brock said the reason behind this approach is because students in this age group are very afraid to ask for help because they are afraid of their peers.
So teachers and staff are taking extra time to help students create individual goals.
Going forward, Mr. Brock said he and other educators will have to continue to adapt to distance learning and continue to find ways to connect with students during these difficult times. He told the News-Press that the teachers and staff at La Cumbre have continued to be phenomenal and innovative throughout the pandemic and that he is proud to serve as principal.
“Distance learning at La Cumbre isn’t about what we can’t do. It’s about what we can do.”