Local News

Young Observers Page: August

School is just around the corner. The two-month summer break was gone in a snap and next week the new school year begins. Around this time, each year we would be dashing to the stores to buy school supplies. But, in a COVID-19 era, we don’t have to get much because, until further notice, we will all be participating in another distance learning program.

Not sure how everyone fared last spring, but from my experience, there was quite a struggle among us to keep ourselves motivated, to log in on Google Classroom each day, to read our lessons online, work on assignments, and turn them in. We could see those who had submitted assignments and often I saw quite a few who did not. Could it be because we were aware we would all get passing grades anyway? Or could it be

due to lack of Internet connection? We did a few optional Google Meets sessions or Zoom meetings and unless the teacher indicated it was mandatory, there would be as few as six of us attending, and the “mute” and “videooff” buttons had become the most popular symbols for these video conferences. So, I wonder how our schools will improve distance learning this year.

I reached out to Fullerton Joint Union High School District (FJUHSD) Superintendent Dr. Scott Scambray and Fullerton School District (FSD) Superintendent Dr. Robert Pletka in order to seek key information we need to know. See their answers below:

Bell Schedule

FSD: Will follow bell schedule with a few adjustments this year (did not follow bell schedule last year).

FJUHSD: Will follow the bell schedule this year as we did last year.


FSD: Attendance will be checked this year (attendance was not checked last year).

FJUHSD: Attendance will be checked this year as we did last year.

Grading System

FSD and FJUHSD: Students will be graded this year (all students were given passing grades last year).

Live online interactive class or online access to textbased/archived videos in Google Classroom

FSD: Live online interactive classes, teacher-supervised small group discussions, project-based and challenge-based learning (limited to text-based lesson/archived videos in Google classroom with few optional online meetings last year). Should be more fun this year.

FJUHSD: Live online interactive class as we did last year. We will be using interactive tools like stand-alone interactive remote cameras, audio, digital apps in a virtual classroom setting and other technology-based learning platforms that should add more fun to learning.

Students’ Preference: In-Person Classes vs. Distance Learning

If schools are allowed to re-open and students have the option to attend in-person classes, what is the ratio between those who prefer in-person classes versus distance learning?

FSD: Students have not signed up yet.

FJUHSD: 10,236 (75%) students signed up to Cohorts A&B (2 days in person). 3,382 (25%) students signed up to Cohort C (5 days at home).

One thing that will make us take distance learning seriously is that we will be graded this time. Luckily, high school students will have an easier time going back to distance learning because they have already gone through a similar experience last spring of following the bell schedule, having their attendance checked daily, and participating in live online interactive class. But, TK-8 students will have to adjust to all these.

Both Dr. Scambray and Dr. Pletka are confident that the students will like the improved distance learning program. Both school districts had more time to plan over the summer compared to the quick transition last spring. What happens if a student needs to be provided a Wi-Fi hotspot? Both superintendents admitted that providing this device quickly to those in need was among the challenges last spring. FJUHSD provided Wi-Fi hotspots to 480 students (3.5% of student population) while FSD provided 300 (2.3%). This year, students in need of Wi-Fi hotspots can expect to be provided with these devices.

I know deep in our hearts we all want to go back to in-person classes. But, since we can’t at this time, we have to make the most of what we have. The people in charge of our schools are doing their best to make distance learning as enjoyable as they can for us, like making lemonade out of lemons.

Perhaps, we too, can try to take this positively and who knows? We might be able to make lemon meringue, lemon bars, or lemon cake out of the lemons we get.

Publication Date- May 26, 2020

Genres – Historical Fiction

Author – Jordyn Taylor


Alice visits Paris with her parents, along with a key to her grandmother’s old apartment that she inherited. When she unlocks the apartment, Alice finds that it is like a time capsule—frozen in time for the past 70 years. While exploring it, Alice discovers a diary that had belonged to her grandmother’s sister Adalyn which prompts her to question her family’s past.

The Paper Girl of Paris follows Alice’s present-day journey into her family’s history, and Adalyn’s life during World War II in 1940s Paris. As Alice finds clues to what happened in the past, the reader is also watching them unfold through Adalyn’s point of view.

Adalyn’s perspective is intriguing because the book describes her role during the war and follows her actions in the resistance. She gathers information on the Germans while pretending to socialize with them at parties, but has to make great sacrifices to do so. She had kept her life as a resistance fighter a secret from her family for years, losing her sister’s trust. Adalyn is a strong female character who plays a major part in the resistance.

I felt that Alice’s present-day side story was not as significant as Adalyn’s, as her role is to figure out what happened during the war. Although Alice’s drama lessens the impact of the book, through her story, we learn valuable lessons.

The Paper Girl of Paris is an impactful novel filled with suspense, emotions, and heartache. I enjoyed reading about the secrets Adalyn kept and the journey Alice embarked on to discover the truth about her family’s past. I would recommend this book to people who are fans of multi-generational novels.

A delectable treat that suits any occasion, ice cream dates back to thousands of years ago when it was only accessible to the wealthy. But today, it’s known as a dessert eaten all over the world, regardless of social class. In fact, 90% of Americans eat ice cream on a daily basis. That’s a whopping 23 pounds consumed by the average American annually!

In the year 1984, President Ronald Reagan officially identified July as the National Ice Cream Month. What better way to celebrate summer than with this icy cold treat?

Ice cream companies have been offering amazing deals in observance of this special month-long celebration. Feel free to treat yourself with a scoop, even though it’s August.


When was the last time you sat down and read a book? Recently, social media has taken over and many have stopped reading books.

With quarantine lasting longer and longer, there is less and less to do at home every day. On August 9, National Book Lovers Day, it is the perfect time to take a break from social media and read a book.

The national holiday was made to encourage reading and literature, and putting away phones to read books. It also honors the evolution of publishing and the role literature has played in many areas of life.

To honor this day you can take a break from social media to read a book of any kind. You could also honor this holiday by recognizing the role literature has had in society. Unfortunately, during this time libraries are closed, which means you are unable to check out a book.

However, you can always find an eBook online to read as well. To celebrate this holiday even more actively, you can participate in book clubs online.

One of the features that sets California apart from other states is the California redwood. Coastal redwood trees are the tallest trees on Earth, and almost as old as the dinosaurs! Coastal redwoods usually grow from southern Oregon to central California. Despite this, there’s actually a redwood grove in Brea, in Carbon Canyon Regional Park, which is like a hidden sanctuary. It never fails to delight every hiker with the peace and tranquility it offers, It’s worth making the short 15-minute drive from Fullerton downtown.

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  1. Happy that through this column I get connected with my niece even if we are many miles apart. Keep it up Francine. I love hearing news from you and from Fullerton Observer!