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CUSD uses podcast to connect with students
podcast CUSD
A graphic from the CUSD’s first podcast episode.

Ceres Unified School District debuted its Ceres Learns at Home weekly Q&A podcast on April 16 to help the district remain connected with the community as schools remain closed through spring to minimize the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Hosted by CUSD Supt. Scott Siegel, the pilot episode lasted six-plus minutes and featured District Communications Specialist Beth Jimenez.

“The Ceres Learns at Home podcast provides a forum for our stakeholders to ask the things that are on their minds and hear answers directly from district leaders who are making decisions as we navigate this new reality,” said Jimenez. “Most importantly, we want our listeners to know that even though the world seems different right now, we haven’t gone anywhere. The teachers, child nutrition staffs, secretaries, custodians, principals, everyone involved in meeting students’ needs, are still doing all we can to ensure that students continue to have access to quality instruction, regular nutrition, mental health services, all of the other things schools provide even if the way we deliver those things look a little different right now.”

Over the next eight weeks, various topics will be discussed.

Podcast listeners can email questions for future episodes to

CUSD Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Amy Peterman will be the featured guest during Episode 2: Distance Learning on April 23.

Peterman will also chat with Siegel during the seventh episode, Senior Issues/College, on May 28.

Other guests include:

• Assistant Supt. of Business Services Dan Pangrazio;

• Assistant Supt. of Student Support Services Jay Simmonds;

• Director of Special Education Kristi Britton;

• Assistant Supt. of Personnel Denise Wickham.

Pangrazio will be featured during the Episode 3: Technology (April 30) podcast.

Simmonds will be featured during the Episode 4: Social/Emotional (May 7) and Episode 6: Health/Wellness (May 21) podcasts.

Britton will be featured on the Episode 5: Special Education (May 14) podcast.

Wickham will be featured on the Episode 8: What’s Next? (June 4) podcast.

In the coming weeks on its Ceres Learns at Home podcast, CUSD will be making announcements on how it intends to handle graduation. The district doesn’t know what (COVID-19 gathering) restrictions will be lifted and what restrictions will still be in place through that time period according to Siegel.

“My heart is with our class of 2020 and their families,” he said. “I have a daughter who’s graduating from college this year and has already received word that graduation ceremonies are postponed and possibly canceled. She will not walk the stage to receive her diploma and that’s pretty devastating. And while we’re trying our best to focus on the many things we have to be grateful for amidst this pandemic, I fully understand the uncertainty and sense of loss our seniors and their families are feeling.”