TISD announces plans for school year
Thorndale ISD has announced its plans for the upcoming school year.
In order to allow for more time for professional development and to acquire all of the supplies needed for proper disinfecting, the district will delay the start of school until Aug. 17.
The plans said that based on an allowance made by TEA, as well as parent and staff input, TISD will start the year in a modified format.
They will spend at least the first four weeks of instruction using an A-day/B-day format.
TISD Superintendent Adam Ivy said, “this will allow us to begin school with much smaller numbers in classrooms, on school buses, and in the cafeteria. This would allow teachers to see all of their in-person students at least twice per week and would allow them to send home distance learning assignments to be completed before the next in-class day.”
The district will likely divide groups up alphabetically to maintain family groups attending on the same days.
The schedule would go as follows: Aug. 17 - Group A; Aug. 18 - Group B; Aug.19 - Staff In Service and cleaning; Aug. 20 - Group A; Aug. 21 – Group B; the schedule will go on from there in the same pattern.
“We understand that this does not represent an ideal situation for every family, but we feel that this format represents the best balance of student and staff health concerns with the critical need to have students attend school and have a sense of normalcy,” Ivy said. “If a parent wishes to choose asynchronous distance learning they must contact their campus office beginning on Aug. 3 and must sign a document that details out the responsibilities of parents and students for the distance learning model.”
If parents do not have reliable Internet access, the district does not recommend this method of instruction. WIFI hotspots may be available to check out if there is Sprint / T Mobile service at your home.
“As the weeks pass and we are able to evaluate the COVID situation in our area and receive updated guidance from state and local officials, we will determine how to transition to a daily face to face learning environment,” Ivy said.
The district’s plan says: “Thorndale ISD believes that the best educational setting for any student is in the classroom with their teacher. We can accomplish great things through the use of technology but there is no substitute for face-to-face time with a teacher. To that end, once our transition period is finished, we will be offering an in person learning environment to all students.
If a parent wishes to choose asynchronous distance learning they must contact their campus office before the end of the transitional period and must sign a document that details out the responsibilities of parents and students for the distance learning model. If parents do not have reliable Internet access we do not recommend this method of instruction.”
Due to the scheduling complexities inherent in these two options, parents choosing distance learning will be asked to make a commitment for at least 3 weeks at a time. Special circumstances that affect a family will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the campus principal.
In person learning will be essentially the same as a normal schedule where students come to school and attend classes. There will be some differences in rules and procedures while at school including a slight change to the bell schedule.
Asynchronous distance learning refers to self-paced instruction with intermittent teacher interaction. There is pre-assigned work with formative assessments on the learning management system (LMS). Thorndale ISD uses Google Classroom as their LMS but may begin to pilot a new program called Canvas in certain classrooms. Students may be asked to participate in classes through live video, watching pre-recorded videos of instruction, communication with staff through email or phone calls or other similar methods. There may be some paper based instruction for younger students but we recommend that anyone that does not have reliable internet access attend in person where possible.
Unlike the modified grading and assignment procedures that were used in the Spring, regular and rigorous grading and assignment policies will be applied to both forms of instruction. Students choosing distance learning will have attendance recorded daily based upon their daily engagement in lessons, discussions and assignments. Students are expected to participate in class assignments, discussions and activities daily. Those that are not participating daily may be marked as “unexcused absent” and would be subject to state truancy laws.
Fourth grade students and older, or as developmentally appropriate, staff, and visitors must wear a face mask/covering when entering a TISD facility, in common areas such as hallways and cafeteria, when not eating, and social distancing is not possible. While not required, it is recommend that students of all ages wear a face covering whenever possible.
Students and staff will be expected to wear a mask or face covering in the classroom. There may be instances, especially when there are very small numbers of students in a classroom that can be spread out to achieve adequate social distancing, that a teacher may be given discretion to allow students to remove their masks.
Students’ individual needs will be addressed on a case-by-case basis. Requests for accommodations should be submitted to campus administration and/or the school nurse.
You can find more information about the district’s plan at https://www.thorndale.txed.net/