Chula Vista Elementary School District News Distance Learning Update

Dear CVESD Teachers:

First, thank you for everything you have done already in support of our students and families as we make our way through this challenging time dealing with the COVID-19 crisis. On behalf of all of us in the District and of all the students and families in our community, we thank you and want you to know that your commitment and dedication to supporting our students does not go unnoticed and is truly incredible. I have been so inspired to see how you have already been such a source of joy to your students. The videos, the songs, the acts of kindness and messages of hope to your students and to the community have moved me beyond words.

Check out this heartwarming example from Casillas Elementary.

The California Department of Education (CDE) has defined distance learning as instruction in which the student and instructor are in different locations. This may include interacting through the use of computer and/or telecommunications technology, as well as delivering instruction and check-in time with their teacher. Distance learning may include video or audio instruction in which the primary mode of communication between the student and instructor is on-line interaction, instructional television, video, or other instruction that relies on the use of print materials. Learn more about distance learning directly from CDE and San Diego County Office of Education.

This newsletter has been created for you by our Instructional Services and Support Department to assist you as we move forward with distance learning. Our team has been working closely with Curriculum and Instruction leaders throughout San Diego County to collaborate and share ideas on how to provide meaningful support to teachers. We are grateful for all the emails, text messages and positive support we’ve received from many of you as we work through designing resources for you to access over the next nine weeks of the school year. Each week, we will send out a newsletter that will include ideas, suggestions, support and links to resources for you to use in whatever way supports you best. This week, we will be in phase 2 of our Distance Learning Plan, which, aside from connecting with your students, is designated time for each of you to plan, collaborate, and engage in professional learning related to distance learning. We hope that you will find this newsletter and resources helpful in support of your work with students. Please click here to view upcoming Professional Learning opportunities. As many of our materials are housed on the internal portal, you may be prompted for your District log-in before accessing internal links embedded in this newsletter.

Here is another great link for distance learning professional development from our colleagues at Corwin.

We are here to support you this upcoming week and throughout our journey with distance learning.  CVESD has endured crises and challenging times in the past, and has always come together with unified strength, compassion, wisdom and courage to be there for each other and for our students. I have no doubt we will persevere through this challenge, too, and will grow and end up on the other side even stronger than we are today.  

Wishing you all a great week as you re-engage with each other and with your students. 

With sincere gratitude, 

Gloria E. Ciriza, Ed.D
Executive Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment

Accessing CVESD Distance Learning Materials 
Within the Teacher Portal, you will find a bank of resources to support you during this time. Please review this narrated PowerPoint to walk you through how to access these materials. To utilize the narration feature, please download and open in PowerPoint.

Another amazing resource that has been developed is called “Creating Math Lessons for Distance Learning.” This resource is located among many others in the Teacher Portal. 

English Language Arts

Whether your students are using Benchmark Advance/Adelante or Achieve3000 KidBiz/Smarty Ants, or just thinking about the world around them, let’s encourage them to listen, speak, read, record, and write about what’s meaningful and relevant.  Integrated learning is the key – there isn’t enough time to teach everything in isolation, (especially with the challenges of students working from home). Issues in real life are multidisciplinary. We are making history right now. This period is unlike any other time we have experienced. Students can be reading about, recording, drawing, journaling, and talking about this unprecedented time and how it is impacting them and the world.  

These resources can be accessed via Single Sign-On from the CVESD Student Portal and for teachers through your app launcher.  We will continue to send additional resources each week to support you. 

  • Benchmark Universe 
  • Achieve3000 KidBiz 
  • Achieve3000 Smarty Ants (available for all students via SSO for the rest of the school year and will also be provided to younger siblings at home) 

The Benchmark team is creating daily plans for each grade level starting with Unit 7.  Use the Learn More link below to the Google Drive where all lessons will be housed for your use.

English Language Arts

Schools Leaving Zoom Due to Security Risks

Because of ongoing risks and security concerns of using Zoom as a source for communication, and virtual classroom discussions, our District is recommending that we do not use it for distance learning or school related business. The CVESD Technology Services and Support department highly recommends that teachers use Microsoft Teams for videoconferencing with students. We will provide support and training for the use of Microsoft Office 365 and Teams to our teachers and staff every day next week. Microsoft Teams 101 Live webinars begin at 2 p.m. Monday, April 6, and will carry on throughout the week. You will find the link to join the webinar in the Teacher Portal, as well as the additional training dates. 

IT Help Desk Information

Our CVESD Help Desk is open Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. to support our teachers and staff with technical assistance. Staff can access our help desk by calling 619-425-9600 X 1453. We will also be setting up a parent hotline as well. Please do not share the number above with parents and students.

Like at our award-winning experiential learning stations and makerspaces, we encourage students to continue to explore their personal strengths, interests, and  career aspirations while learning from home. One way that they can do this is through the strengths assessment and various activities available on Thrively, a personalized learning platform available to all teachers in the District, as well as to all 3rd-6th grade students. Access to this can be found on the CVESD ‘Student’ page under the ‘Microsoft Single Sign On Apps’. Once on the Thrively landing page, both teachers and students can log in via the ‘Microsoft’ button with their District username and password. If you have any questions regarding the Thrively platform, please feel free to contact or      

To help support students in continuing to engage in engineering activities while learning from home, we will be sharing a weekly engineering activity for families. The activity will be the same for all grade levels and will utilize materials available at home. This can be found in each of the 'Weekly Grade Level Templates’ in the ‘Distance Learning Resources’ on the Teacher Portal. Click the ‘Learn More’ button below for additional STEM at Home resources.

Language Development

Oral Language Development: Why are Conversations so Important?

Conversations help students deepen their understanding of content. Our CA ELD Standards live in a communicative context aligned to academic and social spheres. Every conversation children engage in at home fosters oral language development. As parents/guardians engage in activities within lesson plans, encourage them to take advantage of questions leading to conversation opportunities. As children respond, they may need “think time” to process information and formulate thoughts. As in authentic conversations, parents can patiently exercise "wait time" and ask follow up questions to keep conversations flowing naturally.  While primary language conversations also develop oral language, speaking in the target language is critical. For students who do not have first language English speakers in the home, encourage parents to seek opportunities for telephone conversations with English speakers.


Math is everywhere! Continue to encourage your students and their families to observe math in the natural world around them. Share an example of math in your daily life right now and ask students to return with their own example. They can draw a model or pose their own mathematical questions around the topic. Here’s an example – You observe that the set of blinds in your kitchen window is made up of individual rectangular blinds. You may wonder, “How many blinds are in the whole set?” or “How many rectangular blinds are there in my entire home?” You can draw a model to answer your question and share your findings with your students. 

The following resources may be accessed through the CVESD Student Portal using Microsoft Single Sign On Log In: 

  • Go Math (Grades K-5) and MyHRW (6th Grade) 

  • i-Ready 

  • For schools that purchased i-Ready, teachers and students may continue using the program as you have been doing all year. 

  • For teachers at schools that didn't purchase the program, but have administered the Diagnostic, teachers may participate in the online webinar or watch the recorded version explaining how to assign students in order for them to use the online program. 

  • For teachers at schools that didn't purchase the program, and did not administer the Diagnostic, teachers may participate in the online webinar or watch the recorded version explaining how to assign students in order for them to use the online program.

Physical Education

Weekly Physical Education lesson plans are available via ‘Learn More’ button below!

Welcome back, Teachers! We are excited to embark on this new journey with you. Each week, we will be providing weekly lesson plans with ideas to keep your students active while learning bits of fitness knowledge. In an effort to assist families with multiple children, we have created just one lesson plan for Kinder-2nd grade and another for 3rd-6th grade. Feel free to pass along the document to families “as-is” or tailor it to your needs. Check out this great resource from OPEN PhysEd called Tools for Creating an Active Home. On the left, there are games and calendars for families to make their home an “Active Home” and on the right are resources for teachers to help parents provide movement opportunities for children at home.


Spring is here! This is a great time of the year for students to go outside and observe the world around them.  While there are many links and resources that are listed on the District Science Portal and the Distance Learning guideline, you might consider just allowing students to do some observations during the first week.  You might consider making this a school wide focus.  Thinking about your families with multiple children and not wanting to overwhelm them with multiple math, ELA, science, social studies, etc. lessons, having one science focus per week that each child can work on at their own level might relieve some stress on families. For the first week, students can take nature walks with their families and record their observations and wonderings in their science notebooks.  Students can then generate a list of questions that they are interested in learning about that can be the focus of future science work during this distance learning time.

Social Emotional Learning

As we are well aware, now more than ever, it is critical to address social emotional, as well as cognitive learning for our students. Your Sanford Harmony curriculum should be a good resource. Encourage parents to support your SEL efforts. For example, mealtime is a perfect time for family “Meet Ups,” as we call them at school. Families can choose a topic and take turns allowing each person at the table to share. You might provide suggestions for weekly discussion topics, such as:   

  • What I Am Most Grateful For and Why  

  • Something Special About (name of family member) is...  

  • How I am Feeling on a Scale of 1-10    

  • The High Point/Low Point of My Day was...  

Sanford Harmony has also created a free, online toolkit called Harmony at Home. You can preview these resources by clicking on the ‘Learn More’ button below. In addition to using these resources, encourage parents to develop empathy in their children by watching a TV show or reading a book with their children and stopping to discuss how a character is feeling and why. A variety of read alouds, including How Full is Your Bucket, Stand in My Shoes, The Invisible Boy, and The Way I Feel are available on YouTube. Please share your creative ideas with your colleagues!

Special Education

The Special Education Department is working closely with the San Diego County Office of Education and our SELPA reviewing each resource available carefully to see how it can support special education students in Chula Vista. We understand the importance of specialized academic instruction and the related services for each child and our team is reviewing the many resources out there to share with you. You can use them as you like or feel free to innovate on your own as you know your students best.  As always, look to your site leaders for instructional direction, but please know, we are here to support and connect you with the multitude of resources out there. The focus this first week is on establishing routines, helping students understand why they are not in school, schedules that can maximize learning, and activities that can promote social emotional learning and behavior supports. Please refer to the District-provided weekly planner templates for general education and use the Weekly SPED Distance Learning Resources Matrix however you wish. While you are planning, if you happen to come across any other resources you find helpful, please email the links or the resources to Our team will review them and share them with the rest of our mighty Special Education Teachers.  Our students can't wait to hear from you, so please connect with them and keep your amazing relationships strong. We miss you and want you to stay safe and healthy!  

Visual and Performng Arts

Has anyone watched one of the virtual concerts on Instagram, taken a tour of artwork at The Louvre, checked out one of the free streams of your favorite Broadway show, or watched the social media posts of Italians performing with each other on their balconies? The arts have been a great way for us all to stay connected or provide a moment of reprieve. Many musicians, dancers, and artists have been going live daily on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to keep us moving, listening, creating, and singing in our homes. The VAPA program is continuing to develop an Arts at Home connection with families during this time. We are currently sharing resources on our Twitter page @VAPA_CVESD and will share more resources in the coming weeks. The County Office of Education is currently compiling a list of resources in the arts, including arts integration, for teachers. To access these resources, please click the learn more button below. Take care of yourselves and create as much as you can while you’re at home!

Video: What does it mean to "Flatten the Curve"?
What does it mean to "Flatten the curve"?
Courtesy: KHOU 11, Houston
The coronavirus has pushed Italy’s health care system to its brink. This is what the US will now attempt to avoid by trying to slow the spread over a manageable time. Infectious disease experts call it "flattening the curve."
© Chula Vista Elementary School District
Have thoughts about the newsletter? Send us any questions or comments using Let’s Talk!
This email is sent on behalf of the person/organzation whose name appears in the “From” field by K12 Insight. If you have any questions about the email, please contact the sender by replying to this email.
If you do not want to receive these emails, please click here to unsubscribe.
© 2018 All Rights Reserved. K12 Insight, LLC