Need to Know: TEA Guidelines for Remote Learning
The Texas Education Agency met Tuesday with superintendents across the state via phone conference to outline guidelines for remote learning opportunities. We anticipate further guidance in the future, including information on health and in-person learning. The information from the call included how attendance would be counted, which ultimately affects school districts’ budgets. Attendance is the leading funding source for schools.
Ultimately, TEA announced in its draft plans that both in-person and remote learning would count toward funding in regard to attendance.
While we are preparing for a hybrid model starting Aug. 18, we realize plans may shift quickly based on new data and guidance from our local, state and federal leaders. Therefore, we continue to plan for 100 percent at home learning as well, which will be engaging, rigorous and supported by excellent teachers.
We know our families want a choice in how they participate in learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Let us know your thoughts on returning to learning by completing the family survey. For assistance with the survey, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We're looking forward to seeing our students and staff return to learning safely, however, it is clear that our school days will not look the same as years past. Social distancing guidelines may result in classrooms of six to eight students per teacher. This means not all 81,000 students will be on our 127 campuses each day and students will learn remotely when they're not physically at school. More information on in-person learning will be communicated as the district receives guidance from TEA.
We will continue to work closely with our state and local authorities and health officials to ensure guidelines are being met and health and safety procedures are in place.
Need to Know: Transportation with Social Distancing
On any given day during the school year, Austin ISD buses transport 23,000 students across the city from their home to school and back. Social distancing and COVID-19 precautions are going to dramatically change how our bus systems operate while still delivering outstanding services to families.
It’s important to note that even with a hybrid model where all students may be going back to school in-person and learning remotely, not all students will go back to campus at the same time. For example, 25% of students may go onto campus on Monday, while another 25% of students go on Tuesday, another 25% go on Wednesday, and the other days of the week, respectively. This distinction is important because we need to be clear — schools will not look like you’ve seen them before.
Preparations for the transportation team will, like always, start at our three transportation hubs. Staff will receive health screenings before working each day. Bus drivers and other staff members will wear masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment. Hand sanitizer dispensers will be installed on every bus, and every other row of seats will be taped off. All buses will be cleaned between routes.
Students will enter the bus one at a time with the first student to enter the bus sitting at the back of the bus. Signage will mark appropriate seat locations. Exiting the bus will follow the same order, beginning one student at a time from the front of the bus.
On the bus, all students must wear masks and sit in every other row to comply with social distancing recommendations. This means the capacity of a traditional bus will allow a maximum of 12 students to ride. Previously, buses could transport up to 71 students.
Traditionally, AISD allows students who are not eligible for transportation to ride buses as space allows. Due to the current plans for transportation, we are not able to allow non-eligible students to ride this year. This includes siblings of students who receive Special Education who would otherwise ride with their sibling. All students must ride their assigned buses only.
Good to Know: Akins Legal Aid Clinic Wins $10K Rather Prize
Akins Early College High School, home to the first high school legal aid clinic in the United States, will now serve as a model to the Austin community after winning the Rather Prize.
The Rather Prize is a $10,000 cash prize to a student, teacher or administrator in Texas who provides the best idea to improve Texas education.
The prize, awarded to Akins teacher Armin Salek, will allow legal clinics to expand in East Austin. Salek’s goal is to establish clinics at Navarro and Eastside Memorial early college high schools by 2023. Salek led the Legal Eagles program as an attorney-turned-teacher and will continue his education as a Zuckerman Fellow at Harvard University next year. Salek will split his time between Cambridge and Austin as he focuses on his Harvard studies and planning the legal program’s expansion in Texas.
To learn more about the Rather Prize and the Legal Eagles, watch the video highlighting the program and award.
Get in the Know: Community Equity Conference
Austin ISD will host a Community Equity Summit to share stories about equity across the community.
The virtual summit, organized by the Office of Equity and Cultural Proficiency & Inclusiveness, will be held 1–5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 30 via Zoom.
Participants will engage with students, families, teachers, staff and community members as they share their individual and collective stories. The topics of discussion include:
- #AISDAtHome: Learning while at home.
- How the district is investing in equity.
- Language access.
- Technology and achieving equitable outcomes.
During the summit, there will be features of student art, musical performances and celebrations.
Individuals interested in participating may register on the summit's Eventbrite page. The summit will be available in 10 languages: Arabic, Burmese, Dari, Pashto, Swahili, Kinyarwanda, Vietnamese, Spanish, American Sign Language (ASL) and English.
For more information, contact the equity office at email@example.com or 512-414-9572.
Click to Know:
Educa Austin is AISD's Spanish-language TV program that airs on Facebook Live and AISD.TV. The program is geared toward families of the more than 20,000 AISD students who speak Spanish at home.
The AISD Board of Trustees approved new principal appointments for four campuses at its June 22 regular voting meeting. Harris, Oak Springs, Padrón and Pickle elementary schools will all welcome new campus leaders.
The AISD Board of Trustees at its June 22 regular voting meeting approved the adoption of the Fiscal Year 2021 budget totaling $1.6 billion.
Graduates of Austin ISD high schools celebrated their achievement with in-person Graduation Walk events this week. View the photos of the celebrations on the AISD Facebook page.
Summer II sessions are about to begin and registration ends Friday. Visit our webpage to learn more.
Edition 4, 6/25/2020
A publication by the AISD Dept. of Communications and Community Engagement