July 20, 2020
At his Friday, July 17, 2020 news conference, California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered counties on the state’s coronavirus watch list to shut down school campuses this fall, at least to begin the school year. The 32 counties on the list — which include Los Angeles and most of Southern California — must switch to virtual instruction only.
The state’s two largest districts, Los Angeles Unified and San Diego Unified, announced plans to begin the new academic year with online-only courses. The mandate applies to private as well as public schools, according to Newsom. In order to physically reopen schools, counties will have to meet the state’s attestation requirements.
The Administration’s guidance for school reopening considers the same criteria used by CDPH in determining county closure, including things like:
- Positivity rates
- Transmission rates
- Hospital Capacity
- ICU capacity
- Ventilator availability
Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, San Diego and Riverside counties are on the watch list. Asked about adjusting school guidelines that might allow for outdoor classrooms, Newsom said he was open to considering that in counties that come off the state’s watch list.
The Classical Academies remains flexible and ready to deliver rigorous academic programming to all students remotely, if necessary. It is our hope that this fluid situation continues to change and we are able to welcome students back on campus this fall in some capacity.
June 29, 2020
This past May, we asked for your input to help us understand your preferences as we plan for the return to school in the fall. We received over 2,000 survey responses and here are some highlights:
- 66% of our families prefer to return to our traditional blended learning environment.
- 17% of our families prefer a modified version of our traditional blended learning model.
- 8% of our families would prefer independent study at home exclusively.
- 11% of families indicated they would not be able to return to any campus based activities due to health concerns.
We have reviewed parent feedback, San Diego County health guidelines, and educational best practices, as we are developing plans for Fall 2020:
Plan A: Return to our regular blended “pre-COVID” programming. We are planning for this type of opening to the greatest extent possible.
Plan B: This is a modification of our regular blended model. The number of students on campus will be limited in this plan, due to social distancing guidelines and the physical size of classrooms. At this time, our plan is as follows:
- Tracks A, B, M and Summit programs – each student attends one full day on campus, once per week.
- C’lectives – each student attends their regularly scheduled class on campus every other week.
- High School – each student attends, at minimum, each class on campus once per week.
We understand that this information will generate additional questions. We ask that you will allow us time to complete our planning, watch for regular summer updates, and be ready to engage with us as we near August 2020. We believe that health officials will continue to review their orders, issue modified guidelines, and school plans will adjust as a result. You can also click here for our Frequently Asked Questions document.
At this time, if you are a family who knows your student will not participate in on-campus learning regardless of which Plan is implemented in the fall of 2020, please let us know by completing an opt out form: click here. This information will be vital as we create individual student schedules. If you have questions about the impact of this decision on your student’s spot in AB/M, Studio, etc, please see our FAQs, link above.
As The Classical Academies prepares for the upcoming school year, our vision remains to “Inspire Every Student to Think Critically, Communicate Effectively, and Achieve Success.” We are confident that both Plan A and Plan B will provide high quality programs and opportunities for students in the 2020-2021 school year.
Our priority will continue to be focused on the health and success of our students, their families, and our team members. We will follow local and state mandates and keep you informed as new guidelines emerge.
Look for additional summer updates on July 14th, July 28th, and August 11th.
Thank you for your continued partnership! Stay safe, and enjoy your summer!
June 15, 2020
The Classical Academies will communicate a possible plan forvwhat the fall may look like in the coming weeks. As the CDC and state health and safety guidelines for schools are developed, we will adjust plans accordingly. During the summer, we will be creating plans based on the changing recommendations. You can expect an organizational update on June 30th, July 14th, July 28th, and August 11th. It is our hope that we will be back on campus “like normal” or a “new normal” if we are able. We are fortunate that our organization is founded on choice and anticipate providing many options from which to choose. Whatever the plan will be, we will continue to ensure high levels of learning and teaching, supporting students and partnering with parents!
April 20, 2020
Superintendent Thurmond and the California Department of Education (CDE) are extremely concerned about the mental health and wellness of students whose lives have dramatically changed during the COVID-19 response, as well as the health of staff who are also coping with these changes.
To support students, schools, and communities during this challenging time, the CDE has developed new web pages with information regarding mental health resources, including links for students to get direct access to mental health professionals. The new “Help for Students in Crisis” web page includes crisis and warm line numbers, along with other COVID-19-related resources for providing virtual mental health services and information for mental health providers, families, and youth. The web page is available at https://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/cg/mh/studentcrisishelp.asp
April 13, 2020
With the global outbreak of COVID 19 and the closure of tens of thousands of schools across the United States and world, a group of government supported developers and researchers are now offering their learning games and technologies at no cost through the end of the school year for use in distance learning settings.
Below is the list of 85 learning games and technologies developed with funding across programs at the Department of Education and government that are now available online at no cost.
List of 85 Education Learning Games and Technologies
- The Cat in the Hat Builds That app is based on the PBS KIDS series, The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That, and introduces children three to five and parents to science inquiry and engineering (STEM) concepts through hands-on games and activities tailored to their learning progress. Developed by PBS KIDS, CPB, and Random House with a 2015 ED/Ready to Learn award.
- The Play & Learn Science app is designed for children ages three to five and parents to see the science in their world by modeling real-world locations and experiences. The related hands-on activities and parent notes prompt families to “try it” at home and provide tips for engaging in conversations. Developed by PBS KIDS, CPB, and Primal Screen with a 2015 ED/Ready to Learn award.
- The Cat in the Hat Invents app introduces children ages three to five and parents to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) concepts, such as simple machines and the engineering design process, as they outfit robots with tools to overcome obstacles in fantastic Seussian worlds. Developed by PBS KIDS, CPB, and Random House with a 2015 ED/Ready to Learn award.
- The Photo Stuff with Ruff app is based on PBS KIDS’ short-form animated digital series, “The Ruff Ruffman Show,” and inspires children ages four to eight to discover what the “stuff” in their world is made of. In this camera-based experience, children learn about science by exploring surroundings and taking pictures of different materials to complete silly scenes. Play it together and record and share your observations in fun, creative ways! Developed by PBS KIDS, CPB, and WGBH with a 2015 ED/Ready to Learn award.
- In the Molly of Denali (Video Demo) app, children aged five to eight use everyday informational texts (i.e., field guides, recipes, diagrams, etc.) to solve problems and fulfill their curiosity in an immersive version of Molly’s Alaska Native village. Developed by PBS KIDS, CPB, and WGBH, through a 2015 ED/Ready to Learn award.
- In Space Scouts children ages five to eight learn badges and mindset rewards as they play five space-themed engineering design and science inquiry games. Developed by PBS KIDS, CPB, and Wind Dancer Films through a 2015 ED/Ready to Learn grant.
- The Jet’s Bot Builder app is based on the PBS KIDS series, Ready Jet Go!, and allows children ages five to eight to create new parts, explore, learn and have fun building a robot with Jet and friends. Jet’s Bot Builder adapts to your young learner’s progress. Developed by PBS KIDS, CPB, and Wind Dancer Films with a 2015 ED/Ready to Learn award.
- MathBRIX (Video Demo
) is a game for pre-K to grade two children to think mathematically and problem-solve by moving virtual replicas of toy-building bricks into place to arrive at solutions. PlayPACT, the home companion, encourages parents to help children build early cognitive skills using a “connected play” approach. Developed with 2016 and 2019 NSF SBIR awards.
- Chef Koochooloo (Video Demo)
is a game platform that teaches kindergarten through fifth grade students cultural sensitivity, STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) concepts (assessed as per national standards), and sustainability through healthy cooking in schools. Developed in part with a 2019 NSF SBIR award.
- My Home Literacy Coach is a resource for parents and caregivers to maintain the reading growth of children in Kindergarten to grade 3. Using evidence-based approaches, 15-minute language art lessons are calibrated daily to match individual children’s progress. Developed by Learning Ovations and researchers at the University of California Irvine with a 2015 ED/IES SBIR award and several IES Research Grants.
- Cognitive ToyBox for Schools (Video Demo) is a hybrid observation and game-based assessment platform for teachers, practitioners, and children from birth to five years old. Children play developmentally appropriate touchscreen games for five minutes per week, and teachers have access to timely information on each individual child’s learning trajectory. Developed with awards in 2016 from NSF SBIR and 2019 from ED/IES SBIR.
- In Go Phonics and Early Reading Skills Builder, (available here) (Video Demo
- In Access Language Arts (available here) (Video Demo
- SOAR (Strategies for Online Academic Reading) (Video Demo
) is a web-based curriculum for middle school students with learning disabilities to promote competency when reading and researching online. The tool supports student efforts to search for, find, evaluate, read, and use appropriate and relevant online information. Developed at the University of Oregon with a 2012 ED/OSEP award.
- The Communication Matrix is tool for teachers, speech-language pathologists, and parents to support students with complex communication needs. The online forum provides a space for information sharing, learning from the field, and offering and receiving support. Developed at the Oregon Health and Sciences University with an ED/OSEP award.
- The WRITE Progress Monitoring tool automatically grades writing assessments for middle school students specific to narrative, persuasive, and expository genres of writing. Developed at the University of Kansas with an ED/OSEP award.
- The Project Core implementation model is designed for special education practitioners, parents, and caregivers to provide students with significant cognitive disabilities and complex communication needs access a personal augmentative and alternative communication system and instruction to learn to use it. Developed at the University of North Carolina with support from ED/OSEP.
- The Tar Heel Shared Reader implementation model supports teachers, therapists, and parents to provide shared reading instruction to students with significant cognitive disabilities. Developed at the University of North Carolina with an award from ED/OSEP.
- AvePM.com is a website for teachers of students who are deaf or hard of hearing, that tracks sign language and oral communication development for students ranging from pre or early reading through sixth grade. Developed at Penn State University with an award from ED/OSEP.
- In Killer Snails’ Scuba Adventures (Video Demo
), grade school students race against the clock as scientists, tagging creatures before their oxygen tanks runs out of air. Earn extra points for tagging venomous creatures whose deadly toxins may unlock the secrets to saving human lives. Developed with a 2017 NSF SBIR award.
- In Killer Snails’ Rainforest Rumble is a printable card game for children age 5 and up where only the best equipped survive! In this game of survival defend your animals with smart arguments and scientific facts. Developed with a 2017 NSF SBIR award.
- The Animator App with lessons at (the pink “Flash Points” posts) is an open-ended tool for students of any age to create animations quickly to explore grade school-level concepts of colors and patterns to gas laws and reactions in high school chemistry. Developed by Alchemie with a 2017 NSF SBIR award.
- Inq-ITS (Video Demo)
personalized online labs score themselves and support students in grades five to 10 to learn and apply science practices across physical, life, and earth science. Developed by Apprendis, Rutgers Graduate School of Education, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute with 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016 NSF research grants, 2009 and 2012 ED/IES research grants, and 2015, 2016, and 2018 ED/IES SBIR awards.
- Killer Snails’ BioDive (Video Demo)
combines virtual reality and online digital journaling to enable students to experience the life of a scientist. Middle school students take on the role of marine biologists investigating the delicate ecosystems of venomous marine snails. Throughout their expedition, students observe, discover, and hypothesize about abiotic and biotic factors that impact marine biodiversity. Developed through a 2017 NSF SBIR.
- The ModelAR app (Video demo
) is a digital molecular model set used by students in middle school to college to build and explore chemistry concepts, from isomers and functional groups to large molecules such as Buckyball and proteins. The molecules can also be built on an Augmented Reality tag to manipulate the compound in real space. Developed by Alchemie through a 2017 NSF SBIR award.
- The iNeuron (Video Demo
) game introduces neuroscience basics to middle and high school students and challenges learners to complete neural circuits, and can be played individually or in groups. Developed by Andamio Games through a 2011 NIH SBIR award.
- CellEnergy Photosynthesis Labs (Video Demo
) uses interactive challenges and virtual labs with an experimental playground to engage high school students and deepen understanding of photosynthesis and cell respiration. Developed by Andamio Games through a 2017 NSF SBIR award.
- In Martha Madison (Video Demo
) middle school students join meerkat scientist Martha Madison on quests to help her community, while learning physical science and 21st century skills. Jump, fly, slide, and bang through game levels built on a side-scrolling platform that plays like a video game. Developed by Second Avenue Learning with a 2012 NSF SBIR award.
- The Tyto Online (Video Demo
) game engages middle school students in storylines to explore science phenomena and solve authentic problems. For example, students work with a botanist to solve a food shortage while learning about genetics. Developed by Immersed Games with a 2017 NSF SBIR award and a 2018 IES SBIR award.
- In MissionKT players age eight to 13 learn about the story of Stardust: “we are made of Stardust that was once in the body of Albert Einstein and the Last T-Rex.” The story is about atoms: their creation, size, number, and how they are shared. Up to 4 internet-connected players visit a world of dinosaurs and have fun as they discover how they inherited Stardust from the Last T-Rex. Developed by TheBeamer through a 2017 NSF SBIR award.
- In Building the Universe middle students and up go back in time to the Big Bang to create the first atoms and in the process learn about quarks, protons, neutrons, electrons. This physics game eventually finishes 13.8 billion years later with the Solar System and a habitable planet Earth. Developed by TheBeamer through a 2017 NSF SBIR award.
- Immune Defense (Video Demo
) is a real-time strategy game for biology students in grades five to 12 where players use proteins and phagocyte cells to eat bacteria, while learning cellular behavior and the role of protein receptors in an engaging, problem-based format. Developed by Molecular Jig Games with a 2009 grant from NIH SBIR.
- Immune Attack (Video Demo
) is a third-person shooter game for biology students in grades five to 12. Students fly a Microbot and a nanobot inside a 3D body to activate proteins and phagocyte cells to eat bacteria in an engaging, exciting mission-based format. Developed by Molecular Jig Games with a 2004 research grant from NSF SBIR.
- Project ESCOLAR (Etext Supports for Collaborative and Academic Reading) (Video Demo
) supports middle-school students, including those with learning disabilities, in learning science in an engaging environment. Developed at the University of Oregon with a 2013 ED/OSEP award.
- In LightUp Studio (Video Demo
) middle and high school students explore the world’s scientific wonders in true-to-life 3-D, and create augmented reality videos to share what they learn with each other. Topics include physics, biology, chemistry, earth science, space science, and AP-specific content. Developed with a 2015 NSF SBIR award.
- In Journey through an Exploded Star middle and high school students adventure through the full spectrum of radiant energy of a dying star as it blossoms out in 360° in this never-before-seen 3-D view of a supernova remnant. Built with real scientific data, this interactive allows the user to visualize the electromagnetic spectrum. Developed by the Smithsonian Institution.
- In Sama’s Learning Platform (Video Demo
), chemistry students engage in advanced visualization of abstract concepts and immersive interaction in Virtual Reality (VR) and also through engaging videos. Developed with a 2019 NSF SBIR award.
- In HoloLab Champions (Video Demo)
, middle students and above perform experiments to learn chemistry in an immersive Virtual Reality (VR) game environment. NOTE: While the app is free to teachers to provide to students in a class, it must be used with a VR headset or system. Developed by Schell Games through a 2016 ED/IES SBIR award.
- The Mechanisms app (Video demo
) brings game-based interactivity to the learning of college-level organic chemistry. All 275 Mechanisms puzzles have hints, goals and a corresponding video to guide student learning. Developed by Alchemie through a 2017 NSF SBIR award.
- Teachley’s suite of math game apps include Addimals (Video demo
), Subtractimals (Video Demo
), and Mt. Multiplis (Video Demo
) to support fact fluency and promote math strategy development for students in kindergarten to grade five. Developed with a 2013 ED/IES SBIR award.
- NumberShire (Video Demo)
is a math game focusing on whole number concepts and skills that uses a narrative arc to motivate and provide individualized support to students in kindergarten through grade two, especially those at risk for mathematical difficulties. Developed with 2011, 2012, and 2013 ED/IES SBIR awards; 2012 and 2016 IES awards; and a 2016 OSEP award to the University of Oregon. NOTE: Teachers must contact (firstname.lastname@example.org) to request a free account for their students.
- KinderTEK’s ipad app helps students with or at risk for disabilities learn important preschool/kindergarten level math skills. Developed with grants from IES/NCSER and OSEP. Note: Teachers can set up free cloud-synced class accounts for students to use at home by contacting KinderTEK through the website.
- Fractions Boost (Video Demo
) and Boost 2 (Video Demo
) are 3-D games for students in grades three to five to develop a conceptual understanding of fractions, while emphasizing social relationships with a track builder that allows students to build levels for their classmates. Developed by Teachley with a 2015 NSF SBIR award.
- ProblemScape (Video Link
) is an online course for middle school students in introductory algebra packaged in a 3D role-playing adventure game. Developed by RoundEd Learning with a 2018 NSF SBIR Award.
- Math Snacks (Video Demo)
is a suite of games for middle school students including Agrinautica on expression building, Curse Reverse on variables, Game Over Gopher on coordinate points, Ratio Rumble on ratios, Gate on place value, Monster School Bus on ten-frames and fractions, and Pearl Diver on number sense. Developed by New Mexico State University with 2009 and a 2015 NSF awards.
- Woot Math (Video Demo)
provides students in grades three to 12 with engaging activities and teaches with actionable data, a formative assessment platform, and interactive content to address gaps in student understanding. Developed by Simbulus with 2015 NSF SBIR and a 2018 ED/IES SBIR awards.
- Collaborative FluidMath (access here in CHROME) is designed for distance teaching and learning for middle school, high school and higher education teachers and students to share the same virtual Mathematics workspace. Note: Enter code EDCOVID19. Developed in part with a 2018 award from ED/IES SBIR, and awards from NSF SBIR, and NIH SBIR.
- webFluidMath (access here in CHROME) is designed for distance learning and remote teaching of K-12 and Higher Education Mathematics and enables teachers to easily make interactive presentations and create and distribute Mathematics activities, assignments, and self-grading assessments via the web. Enter code EDCOVID19. Developed in part with a 2018 award from ED/IES SBIR, and awards from NSF SBIR, and NIH SBIR.
- FluidMath Practice (access here in CHROME) is a fun application for kindergarten to grade five students to practice automaticity, fluency, and numeracy in a gaming environment while also providing teachers with data about student performance. Enter code EDCOVID19. Developed in part with a 2018 award from ED/IES SBIR, and awards from NSF SBIR, and NIH SBIR.
- ASSISTments (video demo
) is a free tool for middle school math teachers to assign homework or classwork. Students receive immediate feedback as they complete their assignments, and teachers receive a report with student- and class-level insights to inform instruction. The tool is compatible with Google Classroom and has a vast library of content. Developed by researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute with the support of IES and NIH.
- Muzology (Video Demo) is a gamified learning platform that uses music videos (created by hit songwriters!) to get middle and high school students algebra-ready. The platform includes student and teacher dashboards and assignment features for distance learning. Developed by Muzology with a 2018 NSF SBIR award.
- Graspable Math (Video Demo)
is an algebra notation tool for middle and high school students that turns math symbols into tactile virtual objects that can be explored and manipulated. Developed by researchers at Indiana University and Worcester Polytechnic Institute through a 2011 IES award and a 2019 ED/IES SBIR award.
- MidSchoolMath’s EMPIRES (Video Demo
) is a multiplayer game aligned for seventh grade math standards, set in Ancient Mesopotamia and built around an epic story-based narrative that allows math to be coherently used within context. Developed with 2013 ED/IES SBIR award.
Engineering & Making
- Future Engineers uses an online platform to offer free STEM/STEAM challenges for students in kindergarten to grade 12, such as NASA’s “Name the Mars Rover” competition. Teachers can assign challenges to students, and students can upload their creations to a kid-safe gallery. New challenges in response to the COVID-19 crisis are available now. Developed with a 2018 ED/IES SBIR award.
- Fab@School Maker Studio (Video Demo
) is a web-based design and fabrication tool for students in pre-Kindergarten to grade eight to design, invent, and build their own geometric constructions, pop-ups, and working machines using low-cost materials like paper and cardstock and a wide range of tools from scissors to inexpensive 2-D cutters, 3-D printers, and laser cutters. Developed by FableVision Studios, Reynolds Center for Teaching, Learning and Creativity, with initial funding in 2010 by ED/IES SBIR.
- In CodeSpark Academy’s Story Mode (Video Demo) Kindergarten to grade five students learn the ABCs of computer science with a highly accessible word- free approach. Students program lovable characters called The Foos to create their own interactive stories, learning core computer science concepts in the process. Developed through a 2019 ED/IES SBIR award.
- Vidcode (Video Demo
Reading, Writing, Speaking, Languages
- Speak Agent (Video Demo
) is a digital teaching and learning platform for students in kindergarten to grade eight for math, reading, and science that delivers tailored activities that integrate content with the language needed to understand it. Developed with 2015 ED/IES SBIR and NSF SBIR awards.
- Readorium’s (Video Demo ) reading in science program for students in grades three to eight provides strategies to understand standards-aligned non-fiction science text. Interactive science books are written different levels with video mentor guides and supports to individualize learning. Educators can view progress reports in real-time and download resources. Developed with awards from ED/IES SBIR.
- STORYWORLD (Video Demo
) teaches students of any age (and English Learners) language and literacy through stories in English, Spanish and Mandarin. The program works on any device—computer, tablet, or smartphone. Stories include quiz-games that reinforce vocabulary, reading and listening skills, as well as capture written and oral responses for teacher review and assessment online. Developed with a 2018 ED/IES SBIR award.
- Moby.Read (Video Demo)
is an engaging oral reading fluency assessment for students in Kindergarten through grade five. Students use their own voice to read passages aloud, retell key details, and answer short-answer questions for real-time practice and assessment. Developed by AMI through a 2017 ED/IES SBIR award, with initial support from IES.
- Walden, a Game (Video Demo
) is a first person exploratory about the life of American philosopher Henry David Thoreau during his experiment in self-reliant living at Walden Pond in 1845. The game allows players of all ages to walk in Thoreau’s virtual footsteps, discover his ideas and writings, engage with historical characters such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, and experience the changing seasons of Walden Woods. Developed by Tracy Fullerton and the Game Innovation Lab with awards from NEH and NEA.
- AlphaBear2 on GooglePlay and itunes (Video Demo
) is an award winning English word-spelling game app for players of all ages, similar to Scrabble or Boggle, in which spellers of any age can learn new words and collect cute bears. Developed by Spry Fox with a 2017 ED/IES SBIR award.
- Mission US is a multimedia game that immerse students in grades four and up in U.S. history, in topics such as the Revolutionary War (Video Demo) , the Great Depression
(video Demo), and immigration
( Video Demo). Developed by Electric Funstuff with awards in 2013 from ED/IES SBIR award and from NEH.
- AzTech Games (Video Demo)
is a 3D game series for middle school students to learn basic statistics and measurement, as well as Central American and U.S. Latino history. Developed by Generation Games with a 2016 USDA SBIR award.
- In the Making Camp (Video Demo)
game series, students in grades three to five review multiplication and division along with language arts while learning elements of Native American history. The game includes bilingual versions in English/Spanish and English/Lakota. Developed by 7 Generation Games with a 2016 USDA SBIR award.
- Spirit Lake (Video Demo)
is a 3D virtual world game for students in grades three to five that teaches multiplication and division and the history of the Dakota. Developed by 7 Generation Games with a 2013 USDA SBIR award.
- Fish Lake (Video Demo) is a 3D game for students in grades four to six that teaches fractions and the history of the Ojibwe. Developed by 7 Generation Games with a 2013 USDA SBIR award.
- Forgotten Trail (Video Demo)
is a game for students in grades five to seven that teaches fractions, decimals, measurement, and multi-step problem solving along with Native American history. Developed by 7 Generation Games with a 2013 USDA SBIR award.
- The The Fiscal Ship game helps students age 10 and above with no prior experience with the federal budget learn what will and won’t work. Designed to be whimsical and nonpartisan but grounded in the fiscal facts, the game highlights that small changes to spending and taxes won’t suffice. To win the game, you need to find a combination of policies that match your values and priorities and set the budget on a sustainable course. Developed by The Wilson Center.
- Engaging Congress is a digital civics interactive tool for students in middle school and up that uses primary sources to develop content knowledge, build critical thinking skills and expand analysis techniques all in the civics education arena. Modules are played in 30 to 40 minutes for Civics, Government and U.S. History and cover topics from the Founding Era to Present. Developed by Half Full Nelson with support from the Library of Congress.
- Race to Ratify (Video Demo)
teaches students in middle school and up history and civics through a game about the Federalists and Anti-Federalists between 1787 and 1789. It is designed to help students understand the key debates surrounding the ratification of the Constitution (including an extended republic, the House of Representatives, the Senate, executive power, the judiciary, and a bill of rights). It uses an engaging narrative to allow students to interact with the ideas, perspectives, and arguments that defined the ratification debate, which spanned geographic regions, populations, and socio-economic class. Developed by iCivics with a grant from NEH.
- DBQuest (Video Demo) teaches students in middle school and up history and civics through the use of primary source documents and evidence-based learning. It offers a platform, accessible with mobile devices, that reinforces evidence-based reasoning and Document Based Questioning by teaching students to identify and evaluate evidence, contextualize information, and write sound supporting arguments. Developed by iCivics with a grant from the Library of Congress.
Note: Also check out the iCivics “School Closure SchookKit”
- In Digital Cards Against Calamity (Video Demo) players gain insight into difficult trade-offs when community stakeholders make decisions during a community issue, such as decisions coastal communities make during a hurricane. Developed by 1St Playable with an award from NOAA.
- Inspired by historical documents and events, the Traders & Raiders game allows players age eight to 12 to learn more about history, geography, and the life of a pirate. The game teaches players about the transatlantic trade, piracy, and how Philipsburg Manor, a National Historic Landmark site in Sleepy Hollow, NY, played a role in this vast and complex system. Developed by Historic Hudson Valley through a 2014 IMLS grant.
- People Not Property: Stories of Slavery in the Colonial North is an interactive documentary intended to introduce high school teachers and students to the history of Northern enslavement. The project focuses on what is known or may be interpreted about the lives of individual enslaved people, whose stories are rarely highlighted. Far from comprehensive, People Not Property nonetheless offers an interactive cross-section of human stories emblematic of the lived experience of slavery in colonial America. Developed with funding from NEH.
Social, Emotional, and Healthy Development
- Brainology is a multi-media intervention that teaches a growth mindset skills to students in grades PreK to 12 through a wide range of interactive activities illustrating how the brain gets smarter with effort and learning. Developed by Mindset Works in part with support of a 2010 ED/IES SBIR award and a 2015 IES research award.
- Healthy U is a sexual health learning platform for high school students aligned to the CDC’s National Health Education Standards and is appropriate for both general education and students with or at risk of disabilities. Topics covered include Puberty, STDs, HIV, Pregnancy and Healthy Relationships. Students practice and build skills through games, animated information videos, dramatic vignettes and connect to their future. Funded by a 2015 HHS/Office of Adolescent Health grant.
- PlayForward: smokeSCREEN is a theory- and evidence-informed smoking and vaping prevention videogame for individuals aged 10-16. smokeSCREEN addresses the range of challenges that young teens face, with a dedicated focus on youth decision-making around smoking and vaping and includes strategies for both smoking prevention and cessation. Developed by the play2PREVENT Lab and 1stPlayable in part with funding from NIH.
- PlayForward: Elm City Stories is a role-playing videogame for middle school students focused on sexual health and risk reduction and a range of behaviors including substance use, academic dishonesty, and unsafe driving among others. Developed by the play2PREVENT Lab and Schell Games with the support of NICHD.
- Smart Suite includes three games for students in grades 4 and up to support the development of executive functions: CrushStations, All You Can ET, and Gwakkamole. Developed by New York University’s CREATE Lab with partial support from a 2016 IES research award.
- Hats & Ladders (Video Demo) is a game-based apps to empower students ages 14 and up to explore in-demand careers that fit their strengths and interests and to engage in real-world skill building to help prepare for success in the world of work. Developed by Hats & Ladders with a 2015 and 2019 ED/IES SBIR awards and a 2017 OCTAE award.
For Parents and Teachers
- Gamesandlearning.co is an index platform where parents and teachers can access dozens of learnings resources (e.g., educational games, digital learning, virtual field trips, video lessons, and hands-on activities) for home or school use by children in pre-kindergarten to grade six. The platform provides a filter for users to find specific resources quickly and permits for individualized playlists to be created. Developed in part with an award from NSF SBIR.
Government programs that supported the learning games and technologies include:
- Department of Agriculture Small Business Innovation Research (USDA SBIR)
- Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
- Department of Education (ED)
- Institute of Education Research Small Business Innovation Research (ED/IES SBIR)
- IES National Center for Education Research (NCER)
- IES National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER)
- Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE)
- Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP)
- Ready to Learn (RTL)
- Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Adolescent Health (OAH)
Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)
- Library of Congress (LOC)
- National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)
- National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)
- National Institutes for Health Small Business Innovation Research (NIH SBIR)
- National Science Foundation (NSF)
- National Science Foundation Small Business Innovation Research (NSF SBIR)
- The Smithsonian Institution
- The Wilson Center
April 1, 2020
Governor Gavin Newsom, State Board of Education President Linda Darling Hammond, and State Superintendent Tony Thurmond announced today at a press conference that school districts should be prepared for distance learning for the remainder of the school year in response to COVID-19. While the Governor did not mandate school closures through June, he did warn schools to be prepared that it will be unsafe to open sooner. The Classical Academies are already implementing distance learning and are well-prepared for this challenge. It is our hope that county health officials will declare it safe for students to return to school in May for graduation and promotion celebrations. Until that time, our teachers and team members are engaged, working remotely, and are available to support students and families.
March 23, 2020
As the number of COVID-19 cases increase in our region, ere are a few more resources to help those in need:
Shelter in Place Defined
Millions of people in Northern California were ordered to shelter in place— one of the strictest preventative measures utilized yet during the coronavirus outbreak. Governor Gavin Newsom issued an order two days later telling people statewide to stay at home. What does that mean?
United Way Assists With Utilities and Housing Payments
United Way of San Diego County is offering emergency assistance to low-wage workers affected by pandemic-related layoffs or reduced working hours to help pay utility bills and housing payments. Click Here
San Diego Blood Bank Needs Donations –Click Here
There is a need for blood donations amid the coronavirus pandemic – despite the stay at home order.
Families First Act
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) requires certain employers to provide employees with paid sick or family leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. The Department of Labor’s (Department) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) administers and enforces the new law’s paid leave requirements. (Brief by Supervisor Kristin Gaspar) Click Here
March 20, 2020
In an unprecedented action that denotes a significant escalation in the state’s response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, Governor Gavin Newsom issued tonight new orders to stay home, marking the first mandatory restrictions placed on the lives of all 40 million residents in the state’s fight against the novel coronavirus. Many parts of the state were already under ‘shelter in place’ or ‘safer at home’ orders, including the near-simultaneous order issued for all of Los Angeles County just minutes before the statewide order was issued, effective 11:59 TONIGHT.
This escalation of distancing measures are mandatory and there is no set timetable for lifting the orders. It is critically important that if we are to succeed in ‘flattening the curve’ of infection and morbidity, we need to do everything possible to follow public health directives.
These Executive Orders and guidance laid the tracks upon which all public schools can build a path to continued operations and supporting student learning in a way that stabilizes learning loss and provides for the social and emotional support of students in isolation over the long run. As distancing orders become stricter, it should become apparent that it is counter-productive and short-sighted to think of this crisis as a sequence of two-week periods where we hope orders will lift. This will only cause lurch and frustrated communications with staff and parents. It is better to begin to plan internally and calibrate external messaging under the assumption that on-site operations will not return to normal before the end of the year, and back map a plan accordingly, while reserving the option to return.
We know that there are still unanswered questions and forthcoming guidance on complex issues like Special Education. Rest assured, we are on it, researching, consulting and advocating in all the right places to find answers as quickly and completely as possible. The same can be said with the consequences of the suspension of testing for 2019-2020. Now that a ‘Stay at Home’ order has been issued, we anticipate that the variation of execution of guidance across local and regional jurisdictions may smooth out, and we can focus on the mid- to long-term challenges.
Staying aligned and in constant communication is more important than ever. Our teams are engaged to serve students and families remotely.
Thank you for all you do, even while navigating the intense personal disruptions to support your own families as you serve your students. I honor each and every one of you, and please stay safe.
March 19, 2020
With the closing of schools and businesses due to COVID-19, we understand many families are impacted. Many families work in the service industry, are single parents, or are unable to go to work and may lose wages. We want to make sure that families have access to the resources they need. Below, you will find resources to assist your family that may have been impacted by this unprecedented pandemic.
Employment, Unemployment, Childcare, Reduced Work Hours, Tax Assistance and Health Resources. Per Governor Newsom: California has waived the 1-week waiting period for those unemployed or disabled as a result of Covid – 19 Click Here
Relief Fund for food service workers who have lost work. This fund applies to restaurant workers, delivery drivers, bartenders and anyone that receives tips. Click Here
Utility Assistance- Click Here
Housing Assistance- Click Here
Mental Health Services- Click Here
North County Food Pantries- Click Here
Nutrition Resources – Click Here
State Department Information for Employees and Employers Click Here
Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Assistance for Businesses, Private Non Profits, Homeowners, and Renters. Click Here
Small Business Development Center– Survival Guide for Small Business – Click Here
City of San Diego Business Relief and Support – Click Here
March 18, 2020
Special Announcement: School Closure Update
Governor Newsom said: “Let me be candid, and this is a very sober thing to say, and I cannot say this with certainty, but I can say this quite learnedly, don’t anticipate schools are going to open up in a week, don’t anticipate schools are going to open up in a few weeks… I would plan and assume that it is unlikely that many of these schools will open before the summer break.”
The team at The Classical Academies is currently working to ensure that each of our students will be receiving high quality education opportunities when we return from Spring Break. We understand that this statement from the governor is troubling, jarring, and frankly overwhelming. We understand as parents ourselves, this is unprecedented in our lifetime and getting our hands around this in a few hours is not possible.
What I know to be true is that The Classical Academies are uniquely positioned to service our students well, because that is what we do well. Will our team be stretched, will we be questioning our abilities, all the while relying on each other more than ever to meet our community’s expectations? Absolutely! One thing that I have learned over the years is that together greatness happens. The partnership we share with families is the catalyst to making great things happen for our students daily.
In the days and short weeks ahead, until we enter Spring Break, you have our undivided attention to launching our distance learning program that will include several elements to support each student to achieve their personal success. In the meantime, every teacher is engaged, available, and wanting to help you. Don’t shy away from reaching out now to get support or encouragement.
We are here for you and know that we will be successful together. We are not called to easy, we are called to fulfill our place in history so that our sons and daughters rise to become better thinkers,
communicators, and achievers in such a time as this.
March 13, 2020
Important Update: School Closure
In consultation with the Department of Health, The Classical Academies will be closed Monday, March 16, 2020 through Monday, April 6, 2020. This organizational closure will be followed by Spring Break Monday, April 6, 2020 through Friday, April 10, 2020. This means that our organization will be closed for a period of 20 days. Our plan is to be back in session on Monday, April 13, 2020.
We understand that this will be upsetting to some and comforting to others. This school closure will impact all sports, musical theater, and extracurricular activities. All of these activities will be suspended.
This important move is to support families and align with growing concerns regarding contact with the COVID-19 Coronavirus. During our school closure, our team will be disconnected taking care of their families and themselves. We desire that all families continue to engage in learning and we will be sharing great learning ideas next week that will be relevant for your son and daughter. Is this required? No, however, we know the importance of maintaining normality for our students and including daily learning we believe is important.
Thank you for being part of our community, caring about one another, and being people who value a meaningful and engaged partnership with The Classical Academies.
Remember, stay safe, wash your hands, eat well, and get to bed on time! Your health is important to us all.
March 11, 2020
News of the coronavirus COVID-19 is everywhere, from the front page of all the papers to the playground at school. Many parents are wondering how to talk about this national health conversation in a way that will be reassuring and not make kids more worried than they already may be. With parent training and providing information at the heart of our program, here is some advice from the experts at the Child Mind Institute that may be relevant for you in speaking with your son or daughter.
- Don’t be afraid to discuss the Coronavirus. Most children will have already heard about the virus or seen people wearing face masks, so parents shouldn’t avoid talking about it. Not talking about something can actually make kids worry more. Look at the conversation as an opportunity to convey the facts and set the emotional tone. “You take on the news and you’re the person who filters the news to your kid,” explains Janine Domingues, PhD, a child psychologist at the Child Mind Institute. Your goal is to help your children feel informed and get fact-based information that is likely more reassuring than whatever they’re hearing from their friends or on the news.
- Be developmentally appropriate. Don’t volunteer too much information, as this may be overwhelming. Instead, try to answer your child’s questions. Do your best to answer honestly and clearly. It’s okay if you can’t answer everything; being available to your child is what matters.
- Take your cues from your child. Invite your child to tell you anything they may have heard about the Coronavirus, and how they feel. Give them ample opportunity to ask questions. You want to be prepared to answer (but not prompt) questions. Your goal is to avoid encouraging frightening fantasies.
- Deal with your own anxiety. “When you’re feeling most anxious or panicked, that is not the time to talk to your kids about what’s happening with the Coronavirus,” warns Dr. Domingues. If you notice that you are feeling anxious, take some time to calm down before trying to have a conversation or answer your child’s questions.
- Be reassuring. Children are very egocentric, so hearing about the Coronavirus on the news may be enough to make them seriously worry that they’ll catch it. It’s helpful to reassure your child about how rare the Coronavirus actually is (the flu is much more common) and that kids actually seem to have milder symptoms.
- Focus on what you’re doing to stay safe. An important way to reassure kids is to emphasize the safety precautions that you are taking. Jamie Howard, PhD, a child psychologist at the Child Mind Institute, notes, “Kids feel empowered when they know what to do to keep themselves safe.” We know that mostly coughing and touching surfaces transmit the coronavirus. The CDC recommends thoroughly washing your hands as the primary means of staying healthy. So remind kids that they are taking care of themselves by washing their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds (or the length of two “Happy Birthday” songs) when they come in from outside, before they eat, and after blowing their nose, coughing, sneezing or using the bathroom. If kids ask about facemasks, explain that the experts at the CDC say they aren’t necessary for most people. If kids see people wearing facemasks, explain that those people are being extra cautious.
- Stick to routine. “We don’t like uncertainty, so staying rooted in routines and predictability is going to be helpful right now,” advises Dr. Domingues. This is particularly important if your child’s school or daycare shuts down. Make sure you are taking care of the basics just like you would during a spring break or summer vacation. Structured days with regular mealtimes and bedtimes are an essential part of keeping kids happy and healthy.
- Keep talking. Tell kids that you will continue to keep them updated as you learn more. “Let them know that the lines of communication are going to be open,” says Dr. Domingues. “You can say, ‘Even though we don’t have the answers to everything right now, know that once we know more, mom or dad will let you know, too.’”
March 09, 2020
We continue to monitor the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation in San Diego County. Our efforts to review announcements from the State, regional officials, and the San Diego County Health Department is happening daily. Just this weekend, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond issued a 6-page School Guidance document for all public schools to review. We are using all of this information to drive key decisions and keep our community informed as a result.
We remain vigilant regarding prevention and would ask that families do the same.
- If your student is sick, please keep them home from school.
- If your student has respiratory symptoms and fever of greater than 100 degrees, they should stay home from school and other activities until they have no fever for 24 hours without fever medication.
- In addition, if your student has a severe productive cough (i.e., with respiratory droplets) that is not typical for them, they should stay home.
- If you feel your student may have or has been exposed to the novel coronavirus, please contact your doctor immediately.
- Families that have traveled internationally in the past month and returned from a known infection zone are asked by the CDC to self-quarantine and to not come to school. If this is your family, please inform your school principal immediately.
Campus Cleaning: In an effort to prevent the spread of germs, our teams will be wiping down all desks, work areas, and door handles after school each day. Due to a bio-hazard concern, we do not use Clorox wipes when students are present. For all Chromebooks, we do use Lysol wipes on each device to ensure their cleanliness. In addition, we encourage and allow students and team members to wash their hands during the day. We are also working with our campus janitorial crews to ensure that each campus gets a daily deeper clean with more emphasis on heavily trafficked areas. Stay Informed: We encourage you to stay informed of the situation by regularly checking updates from San Diego County Public Health Services and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). You can support prevention efforts by following these standard precautionary measures:
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60%) when soap is not available.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when sick and call your school to report fever and respiratory symptoms.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, throw the tissue in the trash, and clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Individuals with chronic health issues and/or individuals experiencing severe symptoms should be evaluated by a medical professional.
- Continue to receive an annual flu shot.
Parent Choice: Our core belief as an organization is that parents are the primary educator of their children. We know that some may want to keep their students at home during this time and we respect that decision. If that is the case for your family, please connect with your son’s or daughter’s teachers so that they are aware and can be supportive. Families exercising this choice should plan to complete schoolwork so that your son or daughter is engaged in learning and meeting expectations while not on a school campus. If you have recently moved, changed your cell phone number or email address, please contact the school to ensure that we have your most up-to-date emergency contact information for your family. You can do that by emailing the registrar at email@example.com. Please include the specific school name so that the right person reviews your records and responds accordingly.
School Closures: Our parents should begin to think about the real possibility the Governor may issue guidance to close schools regionally or statewide. We are watching this happen in other parts of the country and believe that it is only a matter of time before it happens here in North San Diego County. As our team prepares for that scenario during a school closure, families should be prepared to have students at home full time. What you can expect from us is not to embrace fear, be wise in our decision-making, all the while checking multiple sources before forming opinions and sharing information. As we have all witnessed, this is a rapidly shifting situation and we want to be in a place of supporting families during an unprecedented time in our country. Be assured, we will be sending updates and sharing information that we believe will be of benefit to you and your family.
March 06, 2020
How to Talk To Your Kids About Coronavirus
By Deborah Farmer Kris, KPBS
Earlier this week, I overheard my kids engaged in a round of “I heard” and “Did you know?” while they were getting ready for bed.
“I heard that Margaret’s dad has it,” said my six-year-old.
“Did you know that it’s the worst sickness ever?” added my eight-year-old.
Neither statement is accurate, but they were revealing: I had thought my initial conversations with my kids about COVID-19 had been good enough. But with adults, kids at school and the news all hyper-focused on this coronavirus outbreak, my reassuring voice needed to be a little louder.
A favorite Mister Rogers’ quote ran through my mind: “Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting and less scary.”
So before lights out, we talked. I asked what they had heard about the coronavirus. We got it all out — their questions, their “I heards” and their fears. The rest of the conversation had three themes.
First, I shared age-appropriate facts and corrected misinformation. Because my kids are young, I kept it simple. “You know what it’s like to have a cold or the flu — how sometimes you get a cough or have a fever? This is kind of like that. Most people who catch this sickness stay home, rest and get all better. And we have wonderful doctors and nurses who can help people when they need it.”
Second, I reassured them that they are safe, which is the most important message my kids can hear from me. I know that they take their emotional cues from my tone. “You don’t need to worry. Right now, lots of amazing grown ups are working hard to keep people healthy. Luckily, we already know a lot about how to keep healthy!”
Third, I emphasized simple things our family can do to be “germ busters” — for all types of germs that are out there! As Harvard’s Dr. Richard Weissbourd once shared with me, kids and adults alike are “more distressed when we feel helpless and passive, and more comfortable when we are taking action.” The hygiene routines that slow the spread of the COVID-19 are the same habits that help keep us healthy all year round.
Here are four ways we can help young kids build germ-busting habits.
Wash Your Hands
Make it a family routine before every meal and snack to wash hands. If you do it together, you can model for them how to use soap, rub your hands together and rinse. For a timer, try slowly singing the ABCs together while you scrub. In Curious George, the Man with the Yellow Hat has a cold.He teaches George how germs can move from person to person and that’s important to wash your hands and avoid sharing utensils. Good hand washers, like Daniel Tiger, are germ busters!
Catch that Cough
When kids cough or sneeze, they tend to do it right into their hands — and then they use those hands to touch everything in sight! Instead, we can cough and sneeze into our elbow
Make it a game with kids. Can they catch the cough in their elbow? In the beginning, cheer when they do: “You caught it! That’s what germ busters do!” If they accidentally “catch it in their hands,” they can simply wash their hands with soap and water and start the game again.
“Rest is Best”
Daniel Tiger reminds us that “When you’re sick, rest is best!” This is a good episode to show kids and a great song to sing when they are feeling under the weather. Tell them: When we are sick, we can stay home and rest our bodies; we can be germ busters by not spreading germs or going to school sick. And as parents, we can keep ourselves and our kids home if we have a fever or other symptoms.
Practice Healthy Habits
Remind kids that sleep, exercise and eating healthy foods are good, everyday ways to strengthen our bodies. We will all get sick sometimes! They have probably already had at least one cold this season. But we can be responsible germ busters when we practice hand-washing, cough-catching, resting and basic healthy living.
Looking for more easy, helpful tools to practice healthy habits with your children?
Check out these PBS KIDS videos, games and activities all about hand washing and staying healthy.
February 10, 2020
The 2019 novel coronavirus is a virus that was recently identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, and is now being spread widely in other parts of mainland China. More cases are being detected worldwide. The virus causes respiratory illness. You can learn more at the California Department of Public Health page.
The risk of exposure to this new coronavirus is low in California. Local health departments are communicating with travelers returning from mainland China to provide guidance about limiting public interactions for 14 days. Travelers from mainland China arriving in the United States since February 3, 2020 should be excluded from school for 14 days, beginning the day after they left China.
Here is the CDC guidance on returning travelers: Click Here
All students, parents, and staff should take the following everyday preventive actions:
- Stay home when sick
- Remain at home until fever has been gone for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicines
- Seek immediate medical care if symptoms become more severe
- Use “respiratory etiquette”
- Cover cough with a tissue or sleeve
- Provide adequate supplies within easy reach, including tissues and no-touch trash cans
- Wash hands frequently
- Routinely clean frequently touched surfaces.
- Separate those who are sick from others until they can go home. When feasible, identify a “sick room” through which others do not regularly pass.
A note about face masks: face masks are most useful for preventing disease spread when they are worn by people who have symptoms. This is why people are asked to wear a mask at doctors’ offices and hospitals if they are coughing or sneezing.