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Lower School

The Lower School has developed a comprehensive plan for the 2020–2021 academic year. While this year may look different, the team continues to provide an engaging and joyful learning experience for all students while remaining nimble and preparing to shift accordingly as circumstances change.

Daily Schedule

The Lower School conducts a full day of classes for students.

To support health checks, sanitizing and traffic patterns, LJCDS has staggered start/end times:


8:15 a.m.–3:15 p.m.
7:45–8:15 a.m.
Pickup  3:15–3:30 p.m.
Eastgate Parking Lot

Grades 1 and 2

8:15 a.m.–3:15 p.m.
7:45–8:15 a.m.
Pickup 3:15–3:30 p.m.
Genesee Parking Lot

Grades 3 and 4

8 a.m.–3 p.m.
  7:30–8 a.m.
Pickup  3–3:15 p.m.
Genesee Parking Lot

Procedures and Protocols

Student Cohorts

  • Students are designated in classroom-specific cohorts and stay together throughout the school day to minimize group mixing.
  • Cohorts consist of 14–16 students in kindergarten–Grade 2 and 16–18 students in Grades 3 and 4.
  • Students in each cohort have a lead teacher and associate/assistant teacher.
  • Each cohort has its own assigned indoor classroom and assigned outdoor classroom that is not shared with other cohorts.
  • Specialty teachers travel to the assigned cohort classrooms to teach classes to ensure cohorts do not mix or share spaces.
  • Playground spaces are separated into sections to ensure cohorts have their own play space during recess, and students eat lunch in their assigned outdoor classroom.

Faculty Cohorts

  • Faculty cohorts were designed for each grade level to reduce the number of cohorts each faculty member interacts with every day. 

  • Each cohort has approximately 6 faculty members who will interact with them during a three-week interval. The faculty cohorts include a lead grade-level teacher, grade-level associate teacher, and 4-5 specialty teachers.

  • The total number of different specialty classes offered to students during a three-week interval is reduced; however, we will increase the frequency of the specialty classes during their assigned interval so that the total number of instructional minutes will remain the same or increase across the school year.
  • Cycle 1 Interval Example: 
    Kindergarten – Music, Spanish, PE, Library, Design and Innovation
    Grade 1 – Science, Music, Spanish, PE, Library
    Grade 2 – Science, Music, Spanish, PE, Library
    Grade 3 – Design and Innovation, Art, Spanish, PE, Library
    Grade 4 – Design and Innovation, Art, Spanish, PE, Library
  • Cycle 2 Interval Example: 
    Kindergarten – Music, Spanish, PE, Library, Design and Innovation
    Grade 1 – Design and Innovation, Art, Spanish, PE, Library
    Grade 2 – Design and Innovation, Art , Spanish, PE, Library
    Grade 3 – Science, Music, Spanish, PE, Library
    Grade 4 – Science, Music, Spanish, PE, Library

E-Learning Model

  • All e-learners are placed in one cohort with other e-learners as well as in-person learners. Each grade level from kindergarten through Grade 4 has one e-learning cohort.
  • One lead educator per grade level is designated to deliver both in-person and e-learning models.
  • An associate educator at each grade level provides full-time support to the one cohort that has both e-learners and on-campus learners.
  • E-learning access is available for families who have registered in advance for this learning model. 

Indoor/Outdoor Classrooms

  • Classes are designed to utilize both indoor and outdoor learning spaces, with up to 45 minutes indoors before students proceed to their outdoor assigned classroom space.

  • Shade coverage using tents are available as well as tables with benches and large whiteboards for outdoor classes.

  • Rainy Day/Heat: Given our indoor/outdoor learning model, we are prepared to run a rainy day/heat index schedule (similar to a snow day) whereby students and teachers will engage in the day's content from home. We will attempt to closely monitor the weather to provide advanced notice. The heat index of 100 degrees or higher for the coast will be used for closing campus and switching to online learning.

List of 7 items.

  • Essential Questions

    • One of the overarching instructional goals of our plan is to move toward an interdisciplinary model that uses essential questions to connect the learning across all subject areas.

    • An essential question will be designed for every three-week interval and all faculty members will use the essential question to guide the learning in their specific subject area. 

    • An example of an essential question for the first trimester would be: Who am I? Students would explore their identity and their inherent value and worth as individuals during the three-week interval. Who am I as a reader, writer, scientist, artist, mathematician, musician, innovator, researcher, athlete, community member, learner, etc.?
  • Communication/Technology

    • Kindergarten, Grade 1 and Grade 2 will utilize Seesaw as a learning platform, digital portfolio and communication resource.

    • Grades 3 and 4 will use Google Classroom as a learning platform, digital portfolio and communication resource.

    • Kindergarten through Grade 4 will have Digital Learning Plans that will be posted weekly on Seesaw and Google Classroom.

    • Zoom will be used if needed when students are not on campus or when a teacher needs to stream to another classroom on campus.

    • We will also be piloting the use of Swivl, a robotic mount that tracks and records a moving person in a few Lower School classrooms.
  • Early Care/Extended Day

    Morning drop-off for Early Care will start at 7:30 a.m. Lower School Extended Day will take place on the LS playground from 3:30-5:30 p.m. for a fee. There is no need to sign up. All students not picked up by a parent/guardian by 3:30 p.m. will be walked to Extended Day by their teacher. Parents/guardians can pick up their children from the Early Childhood Center (ECC) parking lot. Please note: all other parking lots will be closed. The security guard in the ECC lot will notify the appropriate Extended Day group when the parent/guardian arrives and the child(ren) will be walked over to the ECC lot. Parents/guardians remain in the car. Contact Jessica Lacoff-Roberts with any questions.
  • Learning Resource Center

    LRC support services continue and Learning Specialists push into assigned indoor and outdoor spaces to work with students 1:1 or within cohorts.
  • Physical Education

    Lower School students participate in daily physical education outdoors and in the gym with other members of their cohorts.
  • Arrival Process

    The arrival process to school is different this year to ensure the health and safety of our community. Click here to learn more about the arrival process.
  • Return to Campus Checklist

    We have created a checklist to help you prepare for on-campus learning. Click here to review the checklist.

Lower School Team

List of 4 members.

  • Photo of Payton Hobbs

    Payton Hobbs 

    Head of Lower School
    (858) 453-3440 x120
  • Photo of Maria Curtis

    Maria Curtis 

    Director of Early Childhood Center and Extended Day Program
    (858) 453-3440 x191
  • Photo of Marsha Poh

    Marsha Poh 

    Lower School Dean of Faculty and Students
    (858) 453-3440 x229
  • Photo of Emma Buttery

    Emma Buttery 

    Lower School Administrative Assistant
    (858) 453-3440 x161
We believe the current plan for returning to campus will position us to deliver the educational excellence our families expect from LJCDS...The LJCDS community continues to inspire greatness for a better world during these challenging times, and our Torrey pride is strong.

Payton Hobbs, Head of Lower School

La Jolla Country Day School

9490 Genesee Avenue
La Jolla, CA 92037

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