SAN ANTONIO -- Nicole Scott teaches at Northside ISD in San Antonio and she’s been teaching from home for weeks now.  “One of the questions I posed to my students was do they prefer working at home or at school?” Scott says.  These are common circumstances for fifth-grade teachers like Scott, who are adapting to distance learning along with their students  "I think it’s just kind of figuring out how to structure it so it’s productive and also produces that connectivity for them,” Scott says. view article arw

KILLEEN, Texas – Killeen Independent School District students and staff can download and install Microsoft Office 365 on their personal devices while learning at home continues.  The district’s Microsoft Office 365 licensing package now allows students and staff to access five home computers and five cellphone licenses at no cost to the user. This ensures students can collaborate in a safe and secure environment even if they are on a personal device or cellphone. view article arw

San Antonio school districts are partnering with city agencies to provide mobile Wi-Fi service to students.  Vans equipped with high-speed networks will be dispatched to locations across the city, officials said Wednesday. The mobile hotspots have a range of 100 to 200 feet and will allow students to access the signal from a nearby parked car. view article arw

Expanding broadband

April 1708:25 AM
 

The nation is in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the virus impacts individuals and communities in similar ways, it has also exposed weaknesses and inequities in our infrastructure. One area where we see a great divide is access to broadband internet. With a wide range of services going digital, broadband access has become a necessity in the 21st century.  A recent study by the Brookings Institution has noted that access to broadband is the “most inequitable infrastructure” in America. Approximately 15 percent of households do not have subscriptions to any form of “broadband” internet service, defined as anything faster than dialup. view article arw

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Career and technical classes are offered through most high schools to students when college is not the best option.  Students graduate high school with a certificate or license to begin working after graduation.  However, for some, like seniors taking cosmetology at River Road, that process has been delayed this year due to the coronavirus.  “For my seniors, they’re finishing up their hours and their written exam has been put on hold, because we were ready to take our written exam, but it’s been put on hold. As soon as TDLR opens that testing back up, we’ll schedule their testing, and I will go with them to do that. Soon as we finish that, I will open up the lab as soon as we are allowed to. We’ll do a little bit of practicing for our practical, and then we’ll go test,” said Christina Putnam, cosmetology teacher at River Road High School. view article arw

The Austin Independent School District says spring registration for elementary schools for the 2020-2021 school year is happening online – instead of on campuses – because of the COVID-19 pandemic. view article arw

LAREDO, TX (KGNS) - Classrooms are looking a lot different across the country these days. Many rooms and kitchen tables have become the center point for everyday schooling.  School districts have resorted to online courses due COVID-19. It's a big adjustment for students, parents and teachers.  Students from United High School's Interact Club wants to help ease the stress that comes with home schooling.  The students have come together to offer tutoring sessions through face chat to kids who might be having a hard time adapting learning from home. view article arw

A team of Killeen ISD educators have prepared math and literacy lessons that debuted this week on the school district’s Channel 17 TV station as an extension of the Continued Learning Center distance learning offerings.  Residents may see the recorded half-hour lessons on KISD-TV Spectrum Channel 17 and on www.killeenisd.org/livetv.  In addition, KWTX Channel 10 has formed a partnership with KISD to offer its broadcast facility and over-the-air signal to support the televised learning throughout its viewing area. view article arw

The San Antonio Independent School District regained contact with more than 5,000 students this past week, cutting the number of students it hasn’t heard from since spring break in half.  In an update to trustees during Monday night’s virtual board meeting, district officials said they’ve now had at least one interaction with 88% of elementary students. That’s up from 75% a week ago.   All told, SAISD has now heard from 91% of their students since schools closed to help limit the spread of COVID-19, up from 80% a week ago. view article arw

As schools across the country shut their doors indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic, millions of students are now adjusting to online learning. But for low income families who may not have access to WiFi, this transition is a problem.  That's why the Austin Independent School District (ISD) has deployed 110 school buses now equipped with WiFi to neighborhoods and apartment complexes where the district identified the highest need for internet access. view article arw

Fort Bend ISD Superintendent Dr. Charles Dupre announced Tuesday in a letter to the FBISD community that his school district won't be doing in person classes for the rest of the school year because of the coronavirus.  Dupre, head of the fourth largest school district in the region, acknowledged in his letter that even if Gov. Abbott allows schools to reopen after May 4, that many parents would have reservations about returning. view article arw

The Fort Worth ISD Board of Education ratified the emergency purchase of thousands of Chromebook computers during an online board meeting Tuesday evening.  The Board also approved the purchase of thousands of internet hotspots. view article arw

Though we are not together every day, we at Harlandale ISD continue to support each other as a community.  We appreciate the wonderful response our community has provided us and the tremendous help from all our teachers, leaders and departments across the district, in supporting your children’s academic growth and development during this school closure period.  April is School Library Month and we recognize the work our librarians have been accomplishing remotely as they help families navigate online learning. They have been training our educators with e-resource tutorials, keeping our neighborhood mini-libraries stocked, and providing online reading opportunities. view article arw

The sudden shutdown of Houston schools has sent educators scrambling for a highly-prized possession — and no, it’s not toilet paper.  Wireless hotspots are in enormous demand — and short supply — as local school leaders look to help lower-income students connect to online learning amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, several district officials and tech leaders said.  The hotspots, often about the size of a hockey puck or smartphone, deliver internet service to all laptops, tablets and other internet-ready devices within a limited range, typically extending the length of a household. view article arw

So far, mostly good for the Goose Creek CISD students and families.  After being forced into a distance learning environment in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, kids of all grades were sent packing to learn and be taught from the comfort of home and out of the schools.  On Wednesday, the district got together to look at some of the early returns and most of them reflect a positive response to date. view article arw

As schools across the country shut their doors indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic, millions of students are now adjusting to online learning. But for low income families who may not have access to WiFi, this transition is a problem. That's why the Austin Independent School District (ISD) has deployed 110 school buses now equipped with WiFi to neighborhoods and apartment complexes where the district identified the highest need for internet access. view article arw

Bryan ISD students are learning new lessons as the COVID-19 crisis continues. Teachers are also adapting to how they teach virtually, for now. Bryan ISD has issued out around 5,000 Chromebooks to help students stay connected with their teachers and learn new curriculum. Other students are using family computers and smartphones they already have at home to stay in school. Paper handouts are also an option. view article arw

Now is the chance to help your local community succeed. Contribute to community journalism and gain daily insight into what's happening in your own backyard. Thank you for reading and supporting community journalism. view article arw

The Brownsville Independent School District will host a Live Virtual Conference call at 2 p.m. Monday where Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., BISD Board of Trustees President Minerva Peña, BISD Superintendent Dr. René Gutierrez and Texas Education Agency Commissioner of Education Mike Morath will talk about the measures Texas and BISD are taking to halt the spread of coronavirus at schools. The community can watch the conference on Spectrum Cable Channel 1301, BISD-KBSD ITV Youtube Channel, on bisd.us and at the “Brownsville Independent School District” Facebook page. view article arw

Beaumont ISD is continuing with their online flexible learning plan with a second round of online learning assignments being posted on their website.  For students who are using the paper learning packets, the pick-up will continue to be on Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.  In a video posted to social media, district Superintendent Shannon Allen said in addition to their assigned work, students should be reading - and the Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction for the district Jenny Angelo told The Enterprise that there are other options to keep students engaged. view article arw

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The superintendent of central Texas’ biggest school district is spending his last few months on the job, helping facilitate education at home.  Paul Cruz announced earlier this year he’s resigning and taking a new job at the University of Texas at Austin. While his last day with the Austin Independent School District is still to be determined, Cruz is working with district officials to help students continue their education at home during the Stay Home-Work Safe order. view article arw

Though we are not together every day, we at Harlandale ISD continue to support each other as a community.  We appreciate the wonderful response our community has provided us and the tremendous help from all our teachers, leaders and departments across the district, in supporting your children’s academic growth and development during this school closure period. view article arw

WOODWAY, Texas – The Midway Independent School District has new plans on moving forward with the school year. On Monday, the district hosted a special meeting.  Topics discussed included grades, progress reports and class rank. The district passed the following resolutions: view article arw

KILLEEN, Texas – These are uncertain times for the graduating class of 2020.  Districts around the country are taking precautions and trying to plan how they’re going to move forward with graduations.  Killeen Independent School District is talking about a possible “virtual graduation” for their graduating seniors.  “We want to make sure we can provide you something else that will be substantial and memorable and also remarkable,” says Taina Maya, KISD Spokesperson, in a Facebook video. view article arw

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A popular video conferencing program is facing scrutiny about its privacy practices.  Forced to work from home, millions of Americans have turned to Zoom for everyday activities.  Keller ATA Martial Arts moved its classes online last month. Owner Mary Johannesen teaches between eight and ten classes per day. Most of her students are children.  That’s why Johannesen said she takes zero chances. view article arw

The Cleburne ISD board of trustees on Monday voted to purchase 6,000 new Chromebooks for a total cost of $1,295,460.  CISD Technology Executive Director Mike Wallace said the new Chromebooks will replace those issued during the COVID-19 emergency student Chromebook deployment, as well as the first Chromebooks deployed to students and teachers in the 2016-17 school year, which was made possible with the passage of bond 2016. “On our original bond funds, the distribution was for grades six through 12 and we were able to stretch those technology-designated bond funds to expand the Chromebook distributions to grades pre-k through five as well,” he said. “Up until last week, many teachers were incorporating elements of online work into their traditional in-person instruction. But with this pandemic, it’s forced us into the unique situation that we are now in, providing 100 percent online instruction.” view article arw

Point Isabel Independent Student District (PI-ISD) is expanding more of its technology and counseling resources as its students and staff continue to experience the 2020 school year away from the district’s campus. view article arw

AUSTIN, Texas - Austin ISD has retrofitted its school buses with WiFi capabilities to help students with distance learning.  The district says the buses will be strategically positioned at apartments and neighborhoods in North and South Austin that have been identified as having the highest needs. Anyone who uses the buses is to remain six feet apart and maintain social distancing, and students will not be allowed to board the bus. view article arw

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- School districts across southeast Texas have distributed thousands of devices to help students learn online during the COVID-19 pandemic.  ABC13 reached out to multiple districts across our region about their efforts during this time.  Humble ISD superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Fagen said the district has given out more than 3,000 Chromebooks to help students with virtual learning. ABC13 witnessed families pulling up to Foster Elementary School and picking up the devices. view article arw

SUNRAY, Texas (KVII) — Sunray ISD, a school district with a student population of about 570. is embracing the idea of distant learning.   view article arw

ANGLETON — Students and staff should be prepared for the possibility distance learning will have to continue through the end of the school year, Superintendent Phil Edwards said.  “If we are able to come back, we understand that possibly 40 percent of our kids won’t come back, so we would have to continue distance learning,” Edwards said during a school board meeting Monday. view article arw

As online learning continues for Goose Creek CISD students during the COVID-19 pandemic, all levels of the academic team continue to learn about the process amid the highs and lows.  With schools being closed until at least May 4 and entering their third week of distance learning, the administration, teachers and students and their families are all in this together moving forward.  This remarkable chapter in world history began for GCCISD when Melissa Duarte, the GCCISD deputy superintendent for curriculum and instruction, got an early jump on what would ultimately be a nation-wide lockdown. view article arw

When the COVID-19 crisis began impacting schools, Aldine ISD's Extended Learning Task Force took action to provide the resources students and parents need online. Before the outbreak, Tysheka McKinnie, a math skills specialist for Goodman Elementary School, was testing out a way to post interactive learning videos online. She describes it as an online math hub that breaks down math assignments step by step. view article arw

So we’re easing back into the new normal this week, with Austin ISD restarting classes (via distance learning), the AISD board of trustees holding a meeting (via Zoom) to adjust grading rules for the semester, and the Austin City Council holding a work session Tuesday, April 7, (Zoom) and a meeting today (hybrid, since six members have to be physically in Council chambers to form a quorum), to work through an 87-Item agenda – not all of which is directly related to the coronavirus. So, that’s a relief. view article arw

Press release from the Dallas Independent School District: April 7, 2020  Superintendent Michael Hinojosa on April 6 updated local media on Dallas ISD's response during the COVID-19 crisis. view article arw