Distance Learning

A Parent’s Guide to Distance Learning at PVSD

Distance Learning  is a response to a changing global environment resulting in the need for emergency closure of PVSD schools. During times of Distance Learning, more than ever, families and the district need to closely partner to provide opportunities for students to continue learning. 

This guide provides Portola Valley School District families with the resources to ensure a smooth transition to Distance Learning during this social distancing period.  PVSD will provide academic continuity that honors commitment to high quality learning for all students during this time.

Communication during Distance Learning from PVSD

PVSD will continue to communicate regularly and post updates on our website

-Check your email for communication from your student’s teacher/s

-During this time, PVSD is obligated by the State of California to continue to track student “attendance.”  Because of this, your student needs to check in with the teacher via Google Classroom by 10:00 am

To ensure you are kept well-informed: 

-Please watch for and read any messages from Superintendent Roberta Zarea in your email and posted to our district website

-Please watch for and read any messages from your school principal 

-Reach out for help

For Questions About ... 


A course, assignment, or resource

Your child(ren)’s teacher

A technology-related problem or issue

Your child(ren)’s teacher

A personal concern regarding your child

Grade TK - 3: School Psychologist
Ms. Scigliano

Grade 4-8: School Counselor Mr. Patterson tpatterson@pvsd.net

Other issues related to distance learning - contact your school principal

Grades TK - 3

Principal Hovland lhovland@pvsd.net

Grades 4 - 8

Principal Maijala  cmaijala@pvsd.net or 

Assistant Principal Shima  kshima@pvsd.net

Ongoing Services during Distance Learning

Lunch Program

We are providing a modified lunch service while schools are closed. Lunches can be picked up at the district office on Monday for the week. Email lunch@pvsd.net to coordinate a pick-up time.

Additional resources may be found here.

Technology Support

Please contact your child’s teacher if you need to check out a Chromebook or need support with one of our devices. 

School Counseling Appointments

School Counselors will be available each day of the school week from 8:00am-3:00pm. Office hours vary, but students and parents/caregivers may contact our school counselor.

Special Education Services

Case Managers will communicate directly with families and will ensure that distance learning activities are aligned with students’ IEP goals, and provide accommodations and modified programming. Related services may also be provided depending on a child’s individualized education plan. These may include; Speech and Language, Occupational Therapy, Mental Health Counseling, and/or Behavior support. Related service providers will reach out to families personally.

K-8 Classroom Communication & Calendars

Daily Academic Schedule

Teachers have been asked to share assignments with students that can be completed within the following general guidelines.  We know that different families will have different time windows when students may be able to work on assignments, particularly using technology, so your child will have the flexibility to complete assignments on his/her own schedule. Please consult with teachers regarding submitting work outside the assigned time.





Learning Posted

(posted by 9:00am by classroom teacher(s))

Must do:

20 minutes of reading, writing and math daily.  At least one Seesaw post daily.

Must do:

30 minutes of reading, writing and math daily. 

All assignments are posted to Seesaw (grade 2) and Google Classroom (grade 3)

3-3.5 hours daily

Language Arts: 25 min.

Social Studies: 25 min.

Math: 25 min.

Science: 25 min.

Electives: 20 min.

PE: 30-60 min.

Independent Reading: 30 min.

3 - 4 Hours Daily

ELA: 25 min.

Social Studies: 25 min.

Math: 25 min.

Science: 25 min.

Spanish: 25 min.

Electives: 20 min.

PE: 30 - 60 min.

Independent Reading: 

30 min.

Teachers are available via email between 8:15am-3:00pm


Submit for each child via your Seesaw or Google Classroom by 10:00 am daily. 

PVSD's Social Distance Learning Platform + Tools

PVSD teachers are using 3 main platforms for Distance Learning: SeeSaw, Google docs, and Google Classroom. Please note that your child’s teacher is sharing assignments each day using whichever platform is already part of your child’s daily instructional blended learning program. 

Seesaw TK-2

Seesaw is a learning sharing platform used by classes in TK-2. Learners regularly post evidence of learning in Seesaw and teachers share feedback with learners there as well. Students can access Seesaw by going to https://app.seesaw.me/#/login and Sign in with Google.

Google Classroom Gr. 3-8

Google Classroom is another learning platform used by classes in grades 3-8. During Distance Learning teachers will post their lessons/modules on their Google Classroom pages, facilitate online discussions and hold class and small group meetings. Students  also  submit work through Google Classroom. Google Classroom  includes a calendar where assignment deadlines can be tracked. Students go to Classroom: manage teaching and learning, log in with Google, and select each teacher/class from the landing page.

G Suite K-8

Google G Suite is the primary productivity platform used in PVSD. All students beginning in Transitional Kindergarten are provided with their own Google account that includes access to Gmail, Calendar, Classroom, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides.  Typically, our classrooms do not access most of these tools until 3rd grade or later. During Distance Learning, teachers will ensure that all students are provided their Google account username and password (if they don’t already have it). 

If you have more than one child sharing a family device to access Google apps, you will want to set up a process for ensuring each child logs out of Google before the next child logs on. This will help students to stay focused on their own materials and with their own tools.

Google Meet & Zoom

Teachers may hold classroom meetings for instructional purposes, to host discussions and to provide social emotional connection with students.

Additional Tools, 

Gr. K-5

TK-5 teachers will give clear instructions for students if they want them to use any of these extra tools. Also, check out the Symbaloo created by our tech team. This is a quick glance at additional edtech resources available to students.

Corte Madera School Links to Learning

Ormondale Elementary School Links to Learning

Seesaw - Grades TK - 2

Newsela - Grades 2 - 8

Think Central - Math K-5

9 Tips for Distance Learning in your Home

  1. Create an Optimal Learning Environment

-Identify a shared family space so that you are accessible to check-in, monitor progress, and assist/ the support.  

-Create a Quiet-Study/Learning Zone: Family agreement that the space is a “learning” space and learning expectations apply (non-distracting from peers, outside noise, avoid a child’s bedroom, etc.) 

-Have resources/materials accessible (i.e. markers, paper, rulers, etc.) for your child to be successful with their activities. Plan ahead and review due dates to have materials ready.  

-Proper desk/table and ergonomic seating that allows your child(ren) to be comfortable when learning.

  1. Begin/End each day with a check-in

-Start and finish each day with a simple check-in with your child(ren)

-Look at grade level assignment calendars together to review anything that is due.

-Check in with their virtual learning platforms to find any updates for the day. 

-Review if any of their teachers have office hours that day and write questions down together that may need to be answered. 

-Finally have a discussion and ask 

What are you learning today? 

What are the learning goals? 

How will you spend your time? (consider setting a schedule that can be easily followed by your children)

What resources do you require? 

How can I help?

-Submit the daily attendance Google Form. 

Please note: This brief conversation matters. It allows children to process the instructions they’ve received from their teachers. It helps them organize and set priorities. Parents should establish these check-ins at regular times each day and possibly even write down a schedule for the day with further check-in times.

  1. Routines and Expectations for Learning at Home

-Set regular hours for learning. If possible, align these hours with the hours that your children are most attentive. These may be different for different children, respective of age and workload.

-Write down a schedule for each child (or if appropriate, have your child create a schedule) with built-in breaks for snacks, outdoor movement/ exercise and playtime. Check off items as completed -- children love the sense of accomplishment! Younger children might also be motivated by short goals, i.e. “complete two activities from your teacher and then we’ll play a family game.”

-Just as cell phones are kept in backpacks at school, you might also keep cell phones away at home until assignments are completed (or use as a social break after a certain number of assignments are completed).

-Maintain regular sleep routines and wake times.

  1. Establish “Think Time”

One challenge for families with multiple children will be how to manage all of their children’s needs. There may be times when siblings need to work in different rooms to avoid distraction. Headphones can be a great opportunity for learners to focus and avoid distraction. Depending on the devices available in your home, you may also need to stagger the online work time for each child.

  1. Encourage Exercise

-Make sure your children remember to move and exercise. 

-Plan regular opportunities to get up and move around 

-Go outside and play and/or encourage your child(ren) to do something helpful around the house

  1. Support their Learning Socially

-Distance learning opportunities may include collaborative group assignments/projects. Monitor these for/with your child(ren) as online social interaction will enhance the experience for your child(ren). 

-If the teacher offers an “office hour” try to join in, as this can be an opportunity for peer-to-peer feedback, group discussions, sharing ideas, etc. 

-In addition to the “check-ins,” regularly engage with your child(ren) about what they’re learning throughout the day.
-Completing lessons with your child is one way this can be accomplished.

  1. Maintain Social Opportunities for your Children

Consider letting your child call or Video chat with their friends.  Monitor your children’s social media use, especially during an extended campus closure. Older students will rely more on social media to communicate with friends.

  1. Responsible Use of Technology

When completing work online, joining video calls and/or participating in virtual discussions, students should be sure to:

-Use respectful behavior and language.  

-Stick to appropriate topic discussions. 

-Send only appropriate video transmissions.  

-Use only appropriate icon, emoji, and avatar submissions.

-Wear school appropriate clothing if attending meetings via video.

-Be honest and use academic integrity by not plagiarizing or copying others’ work

-Not falsify information about oneself or impersonate others online.

  1. Create a Support Network 

Everyone is encouraged to ask themselves:

-Who in the family or neighborhood might be able to help with supervision?

-Who in the family or neighborhood is really "tech savvy" and willing to help teach others how to use the online tools that are available to SCSD students?

-How might older siblings and other students be able to support the learning of younger children?

-In what ways can neighbors and friendship groups share technology tools?


Parent Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs

How will the school share learning experiences with families? PVSD will use a multi-pronged approach to help families engage with learning in a distance learning program. Teachers will post learning plans by 9am each day on our learning platforms as outlined above. Additionally teachers and administrators can be reached by email. 

How do we as parents support learning if we have multiple children at home?  A daily schedule will be flexible, allowing each family to support learning according to their own needs.  However, we do expect families to submit attendance for each child via the school attendance form, even if assignments cannot be completed until the following day.

How will I know that my child is staying on track with their learning? There are many ways in which PVSD teachers will be involved in monitoring the progress of students and sharing this information with families. Your child’s teacher is still providing feedback through our various digital platforms and may be available to students and parents via email. PVSD will also monitor attendance data to ensure that students are engaged in their learning and to follow up with families where there are concerns.

How do I get support if my family is having trouble with their device and/or learning platform?  Please email your child’s teacher/s so that our tech team can address the issue and provide a solution for you. Please provide your child’s name, school, device serial number, and a description of the problem.

What learning services will be available during distance learning? All of them! PVSD will continue to offer the same high quality learning experience in a distance learning environment that it does on campus. Core teachers, specialist teachers, counselors, and principals will all be available to ensure that our learners are engaged in their learning and receive the support they need. 

What if my child has an IEP or receives Special Education services?  The Portola Valley School District is currently providing Special Education supports and services. Student's Individual Education Plans will be carefully reviewed and services will be based on individual student need. Concerns should be shared with the Case Manager and/or Dr. Minoo Shah mshah@pvsd.net