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