MISD Board approves additional calendar changes
Thanks to additional guidance released by the Texas Education agency on July 14, another Marlin Independent School District Board of Managers meeting was held on July 23 to decide whether opening procedure would be changing to take this information into account or not.
The guidelines from TEA allow for school boards to bush back the first day as school as found necessary, as well as untether state funding from the time spent on campus. Previously, state funding was slated to be tied to having the school building open to students.
During the meeting, an amended calendar was presented to board members. The most notable differences include a start date of August 17 instead of August 3 and the retraction of the Fall intersession, originally scheduled for the last week of October. Other changes include extending the school year by one week, to end June 4, adding bad weather days at the end of the year, moving certain staff development days, changing the begin and end dates for educators, as well as pushing the beginning and end of each six weeks by two weeks.
‘The positive benefit is that this additional time will allow teachers an added week (August 3-7) to voluntarily come in to set up their classrooms and attend virtual professional development,” explained Marlin ISD Superintendent Dr. Darryl Henson. “Based on the survey results from parents and feedback from our faculty/staff, it is best to utilize two weeks of remote instruction only.”
This new guidance allows for there to be up to eight weeks of remote-only instruction.
The Board of Managers decided to adopt this new calendar with a unanimous vote.
Though TEA’s guidance gave a notion to the idea of implementing a hybrid-type model of instruction for high schools, this was not presented to the board.
Upon speaking with Henson, it became clear that implementing that model would create more chaos than good for the district.
“We believe that instruction can best be delivered by our teachers.,” he said. “In order for the district to ensure that all students receive the same quality of instruction, we must take into account connectivity issues.”
“For our high school teachers, I do believe that it would be an added work responsibility to teach multiple classes both in-person and on-line,” the educator continued.
Many of MISD’s secondary educators teach multiple subjects and/or grade levels.
The first six weeks of school will follow a very similar schedule to the one adopted earlier in the month, but will have a few key changes.
The first two weeks of school will have fully remote instruction for all grade levels in order to connect students to the curriculum and to make sure technology kinks are figured out in the event that remote instruction is necessary later in the year. These will have TSA pre-checks as well. All students will return to the classroom on August 31, with beginning of the year assessments and safety checks to begin the following week.
Weeks five and six will be composed of efforts to dig deeper into the curriculum and beginning the “Takeoff: En Route to Excellence.”
The new calendar does not impact any of the previous reopening procedures put in place by TEA. The district will still be required to provide and post their COVID-19 procedures, have practices in place to prevent the virus from ending up on campus, have plans for responding to the event a lab-confirmed case does arise, and a way to mitigate the presence of the virus both on a day to day basis and in the event of a positive case.
Each day, students and staff alike will have to go through a coronavirus screening process before entering district property. There will be social distancing measures put in place to prevent close contact, as well as a plan for lessening the sharing of material and supplies among students.
Frequent handwashing will be required, as well as multiple hand sanitizer stations will be available throughout the campuses, both inside and outside of classrooms. Students will be expected to wear facial coverings in accordance with Governor Greg Abbott’s Executive Order GA-28. This requirement only applies to students 10 years of age or older, as the order states.
Henson is doing his best work to ensure students return to class in a safe manner, both to ensure a quality education and the security of their health amidst the current state of affairs.
There is a regular board of managers set for next week. For more information on Marlin independent School District, head to marlinisd.org.