"Return, Reimagine, Reconnect"
Since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, Dripping Springs ISD schools have been focused on the health and well-being of students and staff, while remaining committed to providing learners with the best possible educational experience.
When DSISD staff and students left for Spring Break on March 13, 2020, no one would have imagined that they would not return. The district initially announced a two-week shift to remote learning on March 17, then twice extended it to align with continued guidance from the Governor's Office and the Texas Education Agency. On April 17, the final announcement that students would not be returning for the remainder of the school year was shared.
DSISD instructional leaders and teachers worked quickly and diligently last March to create a system to teach students using remote platforms. They worked through multiple challenges and students tried their best to adjust. Remote learning proved to be more conducive to some students, grade levels, and subjects than others, and we walked away from that experience with a better understanding of this model.
Over the summer, district instructional leaders have been preparing to implement "Remote Learning 2.0" this fall. On July 20, the district announced that the first four weeks of the school year will be conducted through remote learning for all students. After that point, families will have the choice to continue to learn from home (they will be asked to make that commitment in August for staffing planning purposes). Remote Learning 2.0 will look different than remote learning did in the spring. Students will follow structured schedules, have daily engagement expectations, receive direct instruction by teachers, and learn content that is aligned with what is being taught on campus. Much of remote learning will occur in a "synchronous" format, where two-way, live virtual instruction occurs between teachers and students with the required amount of instructional time scheduled each day. Especially for younger children, "asychronous" instruction will occur as well; this instruction does not require having the instructor and student engaged at the same time, but may include various forms of digital and online learning, such as prerecorded video lessons or game-based learning tasks that students complete on their own, with pre-assigned work and formative assessments.
Following the remote start, Dripping Springs also plans to offer on-campus, in-person learning for students, as required by the TEA. Enhanced safety protocols will be put in place, including the wearing of facial coverings, frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces, social distancing to the greatest extent possible, and availability of hand sanitizer.
Campuses also will be implementing new practices for meals, recess, specials classes, transitions between classes, and other areas. Many of these topics are addressed in the FAQ section on in-person learning.
Families will be asked to decide which model best suits their children and family situation. This will be the first step in the enrollment verification process that opens July 29. It is necessary for the district to understand the choices of our families early enough to plan for classroom assignments and staffing. Parents/students who may change their mind regarding this initial selection may request to switch formats at the end of the grading period.
This webpage includes links to various resources, including the district's elementary and secondary plans for returning to school, Frequently Asked Questions in several areas, and input that was collected to help inform district decisions.
Join us as we embark on this adventure to "Return, Reimagine and Reconnect" for the 2020-21 school year.