GUSD Meeting Focuses on Remote Learning


Teachers were on the defensive during the public comment section of Tuesday night’s Glendale Unified School District board of education meeting. Many teachers shared stories of how difficult it has been to adjust to remote teaching. One teacher shared that he worked from the closet of his small apartment, trying to find a quiet place to teach.

Teachers who contacted CVW in recent weeks shared similar stories that were heard during Tuesday’s meeting. Frustrations included trying to find a quiet place to teach their students while their own children were remote learning on another computer and having to spend money with their cable company in order to boost their internet speed in order to meet the demands of both teaching and learning.

Teachers mentioned their disappointment with comments made by board member Greg Krikorian during the last meeting when he spoke of comments he was receiving from parents concerning remote learning. In part he said, “If you are not exhausted you need to work harder. The onus is on you.”

In addition to that comment was a letter by the Glendale Council PTA addressed to Superintendent Dr. Vivian Ekchian that identified some issues parents had communicated with the PTA. Some concerns were “remote education is overly reliant on independent study” and “active instruction is not enabled nor required of GUSD’s remote education.”

During the public comment portion of Tuesday’s meeting teachers shared the amount of work they have invested in creating new curriculum, working remotely with technical issues and the irony of Krikorian’s comments made during Teacher Appreciation Week.

Krikorian defended his history of supporting teachers over his decades on the board, saying that his words were taken out of context. 

One parent commented on problems with his children’s remote learning and asked that virtual classroom instruction be implemented for district remote learning.

“My 14-year-old has no virtual classroom opportunities. She routinely has questions about quizzes, assignments, deadlines and assigned work,” the parent said.

He added there is no time window to ask questions and expect a timely reply. As an example, he said his daughter had a question about when a test was scheduled and had issues getting any clarification from her teacher. He again asked for virtual classrooms in which teachers can interact one-on-one with students.

The superintendent had teachers from several schools, including Glendale High, Roosevelt Middle and Glenoaks Elementary schools, show examples of how they collaborate with colleagues and shared success stories of how students are remote learning including being very engaged in the subjects covered.

Chris Coulter, director of Teaching and Learning at GUSD, shared the results of a recent teacher survey. About 475 teachers responded to the survey, with 87% of them stating they felt satisfied with online learning resources. But there were some issues with the different platforms that were offered.

Teachers did seem to want technical help readily available, which Coulter said was being addressed.

“Teachers are working so hard at this new way of working with children,” said a teacher interviewed by CVW.

This teacher had to upgrade the family’s internet at an increased cost. The teacher understood the frustrations expressed by students and parents, because the teachers are dealing with the same frustration as parents of students, as well as teaching.

A parent survey was sent out to GUSD parents. The deadline to comment is May 22. Ekchian said that there were 1,600 responses to the survey in the first two hours it was released. Data from the survey will be shared at an upcoming GUSD board meeting. Ekchian added the administration is presently working on a survey for students and will release that as soon as it is completed.

Parents who have not received a survey are advised to contact the principal of their children’s school.