In a typical automotive technology class, students take a hands-on approach to tasks such as engine repairs. In the era of COVID-19, Hutto ISD’s automotive technology students are tinkering with repairs on a screen.  The transition to virtual learning following spring break was particularly challenging for experience-based classes, such as the automotive technology course, said Robert Sormani, HISD’s associate superintendent of instruction and innovation.  “We joke that it took some baling wire and duct tape to put something together as quickly as possible,” Sormani said. “But I think we did an amazing job, and now look what we're going to be able to do now that we know this is a possibility.”  HISD’s automotive technology class is an example of a career and technical education course. CTE classes offer technical knowledge and skills that students can use to further their education or prepare for entry into the workforce, Sormani said. view article arw

Houston ISD's website was mostly offline for several hours on the first morning of school Tuesday. The outage also impacted other large school districts, including some that are not yet learning in-person. District homepages either would not load at all or loaded very slowly, showing error messages. view article arw

In the rural parts of Nueces County, Orange Grove ISD is sending out lists of coronavirus cases across the district. Administrators said they will be sending emails to parents and staff detailing when a positive case is discovered. The district will also be putting their active COVID-19 Dashboard on the school's website, and updating the numbers every day at 6 p.m. view article arw

Humble ISD launched its districtwide COVID-19 dashboard on Sept. 10, which shows COVID-19 cases per campus, the campus makeup of online versus on-campus learning and metrics used to measure the spread of the virus. The dashboard premiere comes days after HISD board of trustees approved a revised schedule for secondary students Sept. 8. Middle and high school students who opt for in-person learning will be able to return full time Sept. 21 rather than Oct. 12. view article arw

As she scrambled to find a computer and internet access for her two elementary-age children last week, Jamesha Adams struck out at every turn. Stores she visited were sold out of affordable laptops, iPads and LeapPads. Some internet providers did not service her downtown Houston neighborhood. Houston ISD did not have take-home devices available for her 6-year-old daughter Kha’lyia and 8-year-old son Rashard, who attend Blackshear Elementary School.  “I was really about to lose my mind completely, because I really couldn’t find internet and it felt like everybody bought up everything that dealt with internet,” Adams said Tuesday as she dropped off her children at a learning center hosted by HISD. view article arw

TOMBALL, Texas (KTRK) -- Tomball ISD is implementing SMART-Tags, a new way to make sure students get on the right school bus and arrive home safely.  The new SMART-Tag system uses electronic ID cards to check students in whenever they get on and off the bus.   Students simply scan the tag using the card reader.  The system sends alerts to parents whenever the bus is 10-15 minutes away from the bus stop. view article arw

Winnsboro ISD is in the process of cleaning out its administration center after a fire ripped through the back of the building. Although much of the administration’s everyday work was lost, a lot of technology in the building at the time of the fire was salvaged. “This is the heart of our school district right here. So it’s you know, making sure we. hoping we can get everything out of here we could but it didn’t happen,” says Jody Hettich, Winnsboro ISD’s Chief of Police and School Resources Officer. view article arw

Technical troubles continue for some Houston ISD students Wednesday. Although some issues were resolved, students are still having trouble logging into the district’s website. Tech expert Michael Garfield said it’s a problem most districts are having. “It’s really going to attack the servers that these school districts have, some issues not just with HISD, but also in North Texas too,” Garfield said. “Dallas, Forth Worth ISD, they were having problems logging in.” view article arw

The deadline has been extended for Fort Bend Independent School District parents deciding if they want their children to continue virtual learning or head back to the classroom. This comes as a special board meeting scheduled for today was canceled. Ft. Bend ISD Superintendent Charles Dupre said board members wanted to give more parents time to decide. view article arw

WiFi Hot spots down for Denison ISD

September 1008:20 AM
 

Denison ISD announced Tuesday that more than half the hot spots for the district were disabled. The district posted to its website, and Facebook page that 115 out of the 200 hot spots are currently not functioning. The hot spots are used to power their campus' at-home learning. Officials with the district said the hot spots are still providing fast internet access for those students who participate in the at home learning courses. view article arw

With the 2020-21 school year already underway, Eanes ISD officials could still change the district’s plans for resuming in-person learning in stages. The board of trustees is scheduled to meet virtually Sept. 8 to consider rescinding a waiver passed Aug. 11 that enabled the district to extend remote learning for up to nine weeks. view article arw

“I don’t think we’ll be 100% at this point, and that’s very difficult for me because we’ve been trying," Director of Technology Jeff Kelanic said.  Dallas Independent School District will begin virtual learning for at least the next four weeks when classes start next week.  On Friday, the district's director of technology, Jeff Kelanic, said it will be unlikely that all students will have a device on Tuesday morning.  “I don’t think we’ll be 100% at this point, and that’s very difficult for me because we’ve been trying," Kelanic said. "The team has been working very hard." view article arw

District leaders say issues with a technology vendor were addressed as soon as possible.  Students inside Sylvan Rodriguez Elementary appeared to have little problem counting numbers or connecting with their teachers on the first day of school.  It's one of 36 digital learning centers for students with no access to technology.  But things didn’t work for many Houston ISD students who are mostly working from home.  "I'd give it a B minus," said HISD math lab teacher Maxie Hollingsworth. "I’m a perfectionist, so that’s not good.” view article arw

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Rob Shearer’s three daughters, in 3rd and 1st grades, and pre-K, spent their first day of school — at home.He said, “They were they were excited to see their friends virtually and start learning.”  They’re a few of the 157,000 Dallas ISD students starting the year off virtually.  When one couldn’t get onto Zoom, they called the district only to hear a recording telling parents the district was experiencing technical difficulties.  Shearer said, “So we ended up contacting them via the apps that the teachers use to communicate with and that provided a great workaround.” view article arw

Students across the U.S. ran into computer glitches Tuesday as they began the school year with online instruction at home because of the coronavirus threat, adding to the list of problems that have thrust many a harried parent into the role of teacher’s aide and tech support person.  The online learning platform Blackboard, which provides technology for 70 of the nation’s 100 biggest districts and serves more than 20 million U.S. students from kindergarten through 12th grade, reported that websites were failing to load or were loading slowly, and users were unable to register on the first day of school. view article arw

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Raquel Mathis, a 10-year-old fourth grader, was so excited to start school, her feet barely touched the ground as she walked toward Bastian Elementary on Houston's southeast side Tuesday morning.  When we asked her when the last time she was in class was, "Umm, I really don't remember," she said tugging at the straps of her red backpack  The last time Raquel was in class was in March, just before Spring Break. After that, HISD shut down in-person learning and classes went online. Raquel didn't follow there, "I don't have no computer to use at home." view article arw

HOUSTON (AP) — Students across the US ran into computer glitches Tuesday as they began the school year with online instruction at home because of the coronavirus, adding to the list of problems that have thrust many a harried parent into the role of teacher's aide and tech support person.  The online learning platform Blackboard, which provides technology for 70 of the nation's 100 biggest districts and serves more than 20 million US students from kindergarten through 12th grade, reported that websites for one of its learning products were failing to load or were loading slowly, and users were unable to register on the first day of school. view article arw

Tuesday morning school kicked off for thousands of students at Klein Independent School District. About half the district’s students are learning virtually, while the other half are back in school. “We’re so proud of our teachers. We’re so grateful for our families and just excited that school is back in session at Klein ISD," said Jenny McGown, Klein ISD Superintendent. view article arw

The first day of remote learning for Fort Worth ISD families and teachers has come and gone with both successes and hiccups, parents say. Many teachers planned and trained for the big day as Fort Worth ISD headed back to school virtually on Tuesday. However early in the day, many parents and teachers reported connectivity issues and received an error message when students tried to log on. view article arw

McKinney ISD internet and multiple district systems were down for the majority of the school day on Friday.   At 9:30 a.m., the district announced the issue through social media.  “The district is working on the issue and will report when the issue has been resolved,” the district stated. “Thank you for your patience!” view article arw

PHARR – Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD hosted a free week-long training for all parents Aug. 24-31 utilizing Facebook Live. Parents received training on how to navigate the new virtual learning landscape for their children and learned how to use Google Classroom, Google Meets and the district’s Home Access Center to check their children’s schedule and grades, among other topics.  The PSJA ISD Virtual Parent Learning Academies were collectively viewed this past week almost 40,000 times and shared over 380 times, engaging over 22,000 parents.    “The PSJA ISD Virtual Parent Learning Academies were a success due to the number of parents we were able to connect with,” said PSJA Family and Community Engagement Director Norma Garza.   According to Garza, parents were trained on tools their children need for the start of the year. With over 32,000 students, the department took the initiative to offer these trainings for district parents.  view article arw

Austin ISD to expand wifi bus program

September 0808:25 AM
 

Austin ISD will continue to use Wi-Fi-enabled buses to provide free internet access to students as the school year begins. Beginning Tuesday, Sept. 8 until Oct. 5, Austin ISD will expand the times its Wi-Fi buses are available from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.  In addition, AISD is doubling its Wi-Fi bus fleet to 261 buses. The buses are ready to roll out on the first day of learning and will be strategically positioned at apartments and neighborhoods where they can make the biggest impact.    view article arw

75,000 families across Dallas County lack reliable broadband access right now, but some of these families are proving hard to find.  Connecting all kids to the internet this school year so they can go to school is a monumental effort. But it's a challenge that’s brought together school districts and community leaders in Dallas County to search for the hardest-to-find kids who still don't have online access or a computer to do it with.    (09) view article arw

The Katy Independent School District has been working on a plan to equip staff, students and parents with resources and updated information to gear up for the start of the school year in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. Thursday, the District launched its COVID-19 Case Dashboard, providing parents with a robust tool to keep themselves updated during this ongoing global health crisis. view article arw

LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - After one week of virtual school Laredo ISD is reporting being pleased with their attendance percentage so far.  ficials say the first few days they reached approximately 80% attendance, but now into the second week they have reached about 90%.  They say so far things are going as planned with students who are being taught online, as well as those who are completing their work using the school packets.  There is a number of kids and teachers who are physically attending LISD campuses and for those all CDC guidelines are being followed, including some extra precautions. view article arw

One Central Texas superintendent estimated that up to 7,000 students in his district struggled to access virtual learning, and new iPads are not likely to arrive before October. In South Texas, students share computers, phones and spotty internet with siblings.    (01) view article arw

The Killeen Independent School District found itself in a predicament when virtual classes started Aug. 17: It did not have enough internet bandwidth to carry the load of students’ remote learning.  The solution to that problem was about 30 miles away.  The city of Temple had a City Hall access point to Grande Communications, the only internet service provider with enough bandwidth to boost Killeen ISD’s internet resources, Temple spokesman Cody Weems said.  “There is also a connection from the Temple Police Department to Bell County-owned fiber network that connects to KISD,” Weems explained. “The city already had plans in place to run a city-owned fiber connection between City Hall and the Temple Police Department, but the project was originally not scheduled to start until a few months from now.” view article arw

After a hurricane delay, Nacogdoches ISD this week received more than 600 new laptops for educators and began distributing them to teachers this week along with computers for some students.  “Teacher laptops arrived Monday in the district, and our technology staff started the process of delivering those around the district this morning,” NISD communications director Les Linebarger said.  The laptops were initially supposed to arrive Thursday, but the shipment was delayed because of the threat of Hurricane Laura, which largely missed Nacogdoches County.  In late July, NISD ordered 624 laptops for “really anyone who has contact with students and would benefit from the flexibility provided by the new devices,” Linebarger said. view article arw

Mesquite ISD’s partnership with energy conservation company Cenergistic is beginning to bear fruit, with 30 campuses receiving ENERGY STAR certification from the United States Department of Energy.  While perhaps more associated with recognizing which household appliances like washers or refrigerators are the most energy-conserving, the ENERGY STAR program also certifies buildings. For K-12 education buildings, the certification is awarded only to the top 25% of school buildings across the country based on their energy efficiency, according to Mesquite ISD that recently announced the certifications. view article arw

In a special-called meeting Monday night, the Lake Travis ISD Board of Trustees voted 4-3 to submit a request to the Texas Education Agency to extend the virtual learning period for four weeks, but with certain conditions. While the request gives the district the option to extend virtual learning past Sept. 8, the district said parents who, through a survey before school began, indicated they’d send their kids back to campuses after Sept. 8 could do so under these guidelines: view article arw

Technology has never been more important than it is today, as virtual communication is essential. As a result, the Cedar Hill Independent School District is launching a comprehensive mobile application (app), so that scholars, staff and parents can easily access information from their phones. “Cedar Hill ISD is committed to providing key information in a seamless and direct manner to our stakeholders,” CHISD Chief of Communications & Marketing Tierney Tinnin said. “The new mobile app will be very accessible and helpful to Longhorns everywhere.” view article arw

One week into the 2020-2021 school year, the Brownsville Independent School District is a week or two away from having all of the electronic devices it needs to conduct instruction 100% via computers and the internet.  School meals are being distributed at all 34 elementary schools and at designated neighborhood pickup spots, with the high schools to start meal distribution on Wednesday.  And anyone who still lacks an internet connection or device can get their lessons via an instructional packet until digital supplies are fulfilled. view article arw

The Waco Independent School District and its charter school partner, Transformation Waco, could see more than half of their students start the school year Sept. 8 via remote instruction, according to registration numbers provided by both entities. view article arw

Leander ISD will extend virtual learning by four weeks with a phased-in return to campuses. The board of trustees approved a Texas Education Agency waiver that allows the district to extend virtual learning for four weeks to "mitigate the COVID-19 risk." The district will use the four additional weeks to bring students back in grade-based phases starting Sept. 8. view article arw

14,500 laptops and IPads are being distributed to students within Donna ISD. The superintendent says that unfortunately this does not solve the problem for some, adding that many families don’t have access to WiFi.   The district is looking for innovative ways to resolve the issue. view article arw