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Superintendent's Message (3.17.20)

Update from Superintendent Todd Washburn

 
March 17, 2020


Dear DSISD Parents and Students, 
 
Yesterday, we made the announcement to close schools from March 23, 2020-April 3, 2020, for the health and safety of our staff, students, and community. In addition, the Board conducted an emergency meeting, granting me the authority to make some key expenditure decisions during this period of school closure to provide me with the ability to take care of our DSISD staff and provide the resources necessary to continue to meet the needs of our students. I want to take this opportunity to clarify how we will be providing instruction to our students during this closure period.
 
Testing Update
Governor Greg Abbott announced that he has waived the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) testing requirements for the 2019-2020 school year (no STAAR test this Spring). Additionally, Governor Abbott is requesting that the Department of Education (DOE) waive federal testing requirements for the 2019-2020 school year. We are continuing to follow updates from the College Board considering ACT, SAT, and AP testing
 
Instructional Support
District administrators have and will continue to meet this week to develop plans and guidelines for the delivery of instruction remotely. On March 23 and March 24 we will have instructional planning days for our teachers to collaborate and develop instructional resources (remotely) for our students. We have determined that Grades K-3 students’ primary resources will be in the format of paper/pdf files and they also will be able to access enrichment resources on their Classlink accounts. Primary resources for students in Grades 4-12 will be in an online format using Canvas. Teachers will be creating both online and paper resources for all grade levels. Our goal is to roll out these resources to our students by Wednesday, March 25. 
 
Providing instruction remotely for our students creates a few logistical challenges.  We recognize that some of our families have access to technology (device(s) and internet access), while others may not.  Even our families that have access to technology at home may need additional resources because they have multiple children.  We are preparing to provide access to technology as needed through a device check-out system.  In preparation for this rollout, we need your feedback to determine each student’s needs. We have created a brief survey to collect your feedback.  Please complete this survey by March 22. We will provide details of this process in our next update next week.
 
Additional Support
We are developing support systems to create a “help-desk type of remote assistance” for our staff, students, and parents. We also are creating a process to provide continuing meal service (breakfast and lunch) for our eligible students. We want to make sure you continue to practice healthy habits from the CDC, including social distancing recommendations.
 
We recognize that this is a new instructional delivery model for us and we will need your support and partnership to make this time as valuable as we can for our students.  The key to student success will be our ability to be collaborative, creative and connected.  Thank you for your ongoing support of our students, staff and community!
 
Take Care,
Todd Washburn
Superintendent of Schools