With campuses in Texas closed until April 3, Johnson County schools are finding ways to teach their students during the break.
Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath said the Texas Education Agency fully supports Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to temporarily close schools.
“As we continue to prioritize the health and safety of all communities across Texas, we are working around the clock to ensure that our school districts have the instructional guidance they need so that students can successfully pursue studies at home,” Morath said. “We know many questions remain over how best to do that.”
The TEA has set up an Instructional Continuity Task Force and a Special Education Task Force as they help school systems adjust and adapt to supporting students.
“We recognize that not all students have access to computers and internet at home,” he said. “With that acknowledged, there are still proven ‘low tech’ solutions — workbooks, homework packets, phone calls with teachers, etc. — that will allow students to get the instructional support they need during this time outside the classroom. Our task force is working to ensure all school systems have access to the resources they need to support instruction remotely, whether ‘low tech’ or ‘high tech’.
“It’s critical that during this time that learning gaps are not exacerbated. Fortunately, Texas parents and school leaders are bringing their usual mix of dedication, innovation and creativity to the challenge our students currently face.”
With the curbside meal service program underway for children 18 years and younger at Cooke Elementary School and the Cleburne ISD Child Nutrition Office, the district is now focused on meeting the learning needs of students while they are away from their classrooms.
Remote instruction will be made available to all CISD students starting March 30.
Kristi Rhone, CISD assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, conducted a virtual meeting with campus principals Monday afternoon to discuss remote learning for students, which will use a variety of programs and platforms.
“Our teachers will be reaching out to the parents of their students early this week,” Rhone said. “Our first concern is to know how our CISD families are doing. We will also determine if they have access to the internet and what devices they have at home that can be used for online learning.”
Students in grades sixth- through 12th have district-issued Chromebooks for use at school and home, made possible by Bond 2016.
“As our secondary teachers make contact with parents, they will get confirmation that their student’s Chromebooks are in working order and working effectively with their home’s internet service,” Rhone said. “We will make Chromebooks available to those students whose devices are having issues.”
Charter Spectrum is currently offering 60 days of free internet for students in grades kindergarten through 12th and those enrolled in college. Information on the service is posted on www.c-isd.com.
The district is also working on a plan to make instructional devices available to elementary students who may not have access to one from home.
“Even though all campuses, facilities and offices are closed through April 3 — and all school activities and events are cancelled — our work with students does not stop,” CISD Superintendent Kyle Heath said. “Our goal is to keep students engaged in reading, enriching math activities, in writing, social studies and science exercises they can do from home, under the guidance and direction of their teachers.
“What remains at the forefront, is doing what is best for kids. Our teachers and principals have been very concerned about their students, and their families. They want to know if they are okay, or if they need some help. Our teachers want to get back to educating and our parents want that as well. Offering remote learning will bring our teachers back together with students—virtually.”
In Alvarado ISD, officials are asking families to fill out a survey so they can determine what students will need over the next few weeks.
“Alvarado ISD will begin issuing technology devices [today] during meal pickup times,” AISD Public Information Officer Tommy Brown said on the district’s Facebook page. “Parents and guardians must show ID and each family will have access to one Chromebook.
“Internet access is required to use the device, however, at this time it is not included. We are currently investigating options for providing wifi access for those who do not have it.”
Pickup times are from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. today through Friday at Alvarado Intermediate School, 1401 E. Davis Ave., and Lillian Elementary School 5001 FM 2738.
For questions or information, email email@example.com.
Burleson ISD officials said they are committed to providing instructional support for students during their time at home.
Parents and students can visit the BISD Learning Page on the district’s website for grade-appropriate resources that students can do at home. Teachers will contact students this week to check in and ensure students can connect to their assignments. They can also email their teachers with any questions.
For information, visit burlesonisd.net.
Godley ISD officials thanked families and community members for their patience during this time as they navigate what to do.
“District leaders from all departments and campuses have been working tirelessly over the past week to develop a plan to make sure that student needs are continuously being met,” officials said on the district’s Facebook page last week. “Our district has never faced a situation like this, but we are confident that we will overcome this challenge together.”
Administrators and staff held a staff development day on Monday to assess and plan for what they will need to do when it comes to online instruction.
“We hope for students to be able to start their learning virtually by mid-week, but will also be flexible to make sure that our teachers and campuses feel confident in their plans,” officials said. “Please know that all decisions being made by the district are not taken lightly. We make all decisions in the best interest of our students.
“This includes those worried about lack of internet availability during this time of virtual learning. While we logistically may be unable to take care of every single situation, we want to work to make sure that you have access to the resources that can support you at this time.”
They will also finalize a plan for students to retrieve Chromebooks, medications or other needed resources and will inform parents on the procedures as soon as possible.”
They encourage parents to fill out the “Access to Technology” survey on the district’s website to help them create a plan to meet the students’ needs.
Please email your campus for more information:
• Godley High School: GHSinfo@godleyisd.net.
• Godley Middle School: GMSinfo@godleyisd.net.
• Godley Intermediate School, grades second through fourth: G56info@godleyisd.net.
• Godley Intermediate School, grades fifth and sixth: G24info@godleyisd.net.
• Godley Elementary School: GESinfo@godleyisd.net.
For information, visit godleyisd.net.
Grandview ISD Superintendent Joe Perrin said they understand this has been a challenging time for the community.
“As you know, the information regarding the prevention and spread of COVID-19 has been evolving daily, while reported cases have gradually increased,” Perrin said. “The [Centers for Disease Prevention and Control] has already recommended social distancing protocols and is now asking the public to comply with directives to limit gatherings to 10 people or less and implement multi-week school closures to mitigate the spread of the virus.”
With these priorities in mind, the district will postpone the opening until April 6, he said.
“This measure will provide the district and health officials time to evaluate the extent of COVID-19 in our community,” he said. “Data collected over the next several weeks will also allow us to make an informed decision to resume in-person instruction or extend the closure.”
On Friday, the district will begin providing students and parents information regarding the implementation of learning opportunities — whether online or at-home instruction. Instruction will begin on March 30.
“Teachers and staff may be contacting you in the coming week as they prepare possible instructional plans for your students,” he said. “Thank you for your ongoing patience and understanding as we navigate these circumstances together and do our best to protect our school community.”
For information, visit gvisd.org.
In Joshua ISD, they will be providing both high- and low-tech lessons for students.
Starting on Thursday, JISD Communications Director Zoheb Hassanali said they will be having online classwork through Google Classrooms and will be signing out Chromebooks to all students through a drive-thru system.
“For children without internet access, we will be expanding our wifi network at central administration and at Caddo Grove Elementary [School] parking lots so that they can complete assignments without getting out of their vehicle,” Hassanali said. “They can also use any public wifi available.”
For low-tech instruction, he said staff will give out weekly packets from schools from 8-10 a.m. and noon to 1 p.m. every Thursday. Each campus will communicate where the pickup and drop off for packets will be so everyone can stay in their vehicle.
“All staff handling packets will wear gloves and store them in closed boxes until the following Monday, as per the health recommendations,” he said.
For information, visit joshuaisd.org.
In Keene ISD, Superintendent Ricky Stephens said the leadership team met last week and came up with some guidelines for at least the next two weeks.
“We will prepare as if we will be teaching virtually for the rest of the school year and pray that this virus ends and we can get back sooner,” Stephens said.
Online learning will go into effect on March 30 where students will be expected to do their work daily, stay up with their classes and turn in all assignments in a timely manner.
Keene Junior High School and Keene High School students each have a device that they can do their coursework with, he said, and many pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade students have devices that allow them to access the work.
“If you do not have a device, please call the campus office and make an appointment and we will check a device out to you,” he said. “This will be available starting [Wednesday]. We will get through this together and be stronger as an educational community as a result.”
For information, visit keeneisd.org.
Rio Vista ISD
Rio Vista ISD officials said they are being updated about the situation every day.
“It is our goal to provide all district stakeholders viable and useful information in a timely manner,” Superintendent Tony Martin said. “We understand that the current environment carries us into uncharted territory. We also know this creates a burden on the students and parents of our district.”
Their priority, he said, is to provide instruction for all students in a timely manner through online or teacher-produced instruction by Thursday.
“Second, it is our intention to provide food services to students as soon as we can work out the logistics and other Texas Department of Agriculture requirements,” he said. “Finally, all school-sponsored activities are currently suspended until further notice. Any activities scheduled during the spring are subject to being rescheduled if the situation improves and the state of emergency is rescinded.”
For information, visit rvisd.net.
Venus ISD officials said they will begin student instruction online on March 30 and they will provide more information when it becomes available.
“Each Venus ISD family can expect to receive a phone call the week of March 23 so we can partner with parents to best serve your child during this unique and challenging time,” Superintendent James Hopper said.
For information, visit venusisd.net.