Message from Superintendent Washburn on Fall Planning
July 18, 2020
DSISD Parents and Staff,
A week ago, we provided an update on our planning process for school in the fall. Since that communication, much has changed at the state level, including an announcement from TEA today that outlines some different options for school districts regarding return to school. We are working to adjust our plans accordingly, and also are applying stakeholder feedback gathered through surveys, Thought Exchanges, focus groups, and public forum comments.
Recent announcements from TEA have laid out options for districts to start school in a remote learning model before transitioning to on-campus instruction. The length of the transition period was three weeks. On Friday, TEA changed that option to a four-week transition period. TEA also included greater flexibility in this transition period to provide local school boards with the ability to extend this transition period of remote learning to an additional four weeks. The DSISD Board of Trustees will meet on Monday, July 20 (6:00 p.m), and Monday, July 27 (6:00 p.m.); there will be a discussion about our options for returning to school in the fall at these meetings; the July 20 meeting can be accessed live here.
As we introduce our learning plans for the fall, we will provide parents and staff with more direction and detailed information. We will send out a survey soon to our parents asking them to indicate their students' choice of on-campus or remote learning in the fall. The selection will remain in effect for the first grading period (9 weeks). We also will survey our teachers and staff members to collect their input on return-to-school options in the fall.
Our stakeholders have a wide range of opinions on how we should approach the school year during the pandemic. We are developing a plan that balances the needs of all of our stakeholders while maintaining our district priorities. The health and safety of staff, students, and the community is our top priority. Providing a quality educational experience for students and supporting the mental and social-emotional health of students and staff are also important priorities for us. We recognize the future impact that these decisions will have on our students and staff, and the district's responsibility to our stakeholders.
We recognize how challenging it is for parents to weigh the decision of how their child or children will attend school in the fall. We also acknowledge that many of our staff members also are parents who must make the same decisions and may have varying levels of comfort with returning to the classroom. We all want to do what is best and right for all of our children/students/staff, and together we will work through these decisions.
Thank you for your support as we navigate through these uncertain and imperfect times.