Apart We Stand Together

April 0308:41 AM

Texas Division of State Health Services and Texas Education Agency are rolling out our “Stay Well, Texas” public health campaign so that all our school districts and broader communities have access to a comprehensive set of information resources about COVID-19 that we encourage you to share daily over the next two weeks. The campaign will include ready-to-share messages for use in social media, text messages, emails, and all-calls to Texas parents and district staff.

Krissy Melancon is at teacher in Kountze ISD and is giving parents some tips on how to navigate home school in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. view article arw

TYLER, Texas — Schools are shut down and in the meantime, assignments need to be passed between students and teachers in a safe and secure way.  A newspaper in Palestine saw this dilemma and decided to help out by lending local schools newspaper racks to serve as an assignment pick-up and drop-off station.  Palestine shared the brilliant idea on its Facebook page and it went viral in Texas. view article arw

WASHINGTON — Lawmakers have been talking about striking a deal to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure for years. It might take a pandemic to finally get them to do it, and Texas officials are already working on their wish lists, with ports, highways, high-speed internet and more potentially on the line.  There’s growing talk of tackling infrastructure as the next step in Congress to stave off economic collapse from the coronavirus outbreak, following the $2 trillion stimulus package that passed last month. view article arw

It was during spring break when Laura Claybrook knew she was going to have to get creative. The Vanston Middle School teacher learned she wouldn’t go back to teaching in person the next week as planned. With the coronavirus spreading, Mesquite ISD extended its spring break to include March 16-20 and said distance learning would be required when school was back in session March 23. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced this week that schools statewide will be closed for in-person learning through May 4. view article arw

Richardson ISD officials are considering grading elementary, junior high and high school students on a pass/fail basis the rest of the school year because of the coronavirus pandemic. The change, which would also affect how class rankings are calculated, was discussed during Monday’s school board meeting. “Teachers would still be providing feedback, and they would still be grading all assignments,” Deputy Superintendent Tabitha Branum said during the meeting. read more arw

Several topics were brought up during Bryan school district superintendent Christie Whitbeck’s update to the school board during Wednesday’s special meeting.  Dr. Whitbeck explained how at-home learning is transitioning to online for students, how students will be graded during the fifth and sixth/sixth week periods, that some modifications are going to be made in serving student meals, and her communication with high school seniors about end of year activities. view article arw

TYLER, Texas (KETK) – A Tyler man is behind bars on a murder charge just hours after a Chapel Hill senior was shot to death in his own driveway.  According to judicial records, John Edward Sparks Jr., 18, was booked Thursday into the Smith County Jail hours after 17-year-old Zane Collier died from his injuries. view article arw

Tonight, we speak to a local school district following Governor Greg Abbott's announcement that schools would remain closed until at least May 4, 2020. The district says although its brick and mortar buildings are closed, digital classrooms continue to be up and running! But what will happen with the districts’ senior graduations, advances to the next grade level, and how has the transition been from in-person to online distance learning? view article arw

Last weekend, Kathryn Ashy took several lamps in her parents house and put them in the dining room to make the lighting seem more natural. She did her hair, brushed on makeup and slipped a business casual top over her gray and pink pajama pants.  She had two minutes to make her case via video to human resources staff and principals at Clear Creek ISD for a job as an elementary school teacher, and she wanted to make sure she got it just right. view article arw

Rotan ISD Parade of Teachers

April 0208:30 AM

Last Saturday evening, Rotan ISD parents and students filled sidewalks and front yards as teachers and staff members paraded by in their cars throwing candy and spreading joy. It was a delightful idea, Rotan ISD Librarian Vera Gonzales was inspired to put together. “I got the idea from Facebook. I saw that other towns were doing it and thought ‘Oh that would be a perfect thing for us to do’” said Gonzales. She knew the students missed their teachers, and the teachers missed them as well, so they all shared ideas and kicked the plan into motion Friday evening with a mass email to all staff members and students. The response from the teachers was quick and they signed up with excitement. Gonzales got exactly the turnout that she and the Rotan staff were hoping for. “Oh my gosh, the turnout was huge, and it was absolutely amazing”, said Gonzales. view article arw

Terry Grier spent decades as a highly regarded superintendent in Houston, San Diego, and elsewhere. Today, he spends a good deal of time mentoring current superintendents. And, being in an emeritus role, he has the privilege of speaking more freely. I wanted to get Terry’s take on what he’s seeing and what he can share about the response to the coronavirus. Here’s what he had to say.  Rick: What’s the biggest challenge superintendents are dealing with right now? view article arw

In a Facebook video, College Station Interim Superintendent Mike Martindale and the district’s three high school principals announced scheduled and alternate dates and locations for prom and graduation. “Know that we at CSISD, are committed to celebrating our seniors,” Martindale said, noting his favorite thing as a high school principal was celebrating the seniors’ accomplishments. view article arw

Eanes ISD and Lake Travis ISD released statements March 31 following an executive order from Gov. Greg Abbott extending school closures until May 4 in an effort to mitigate the spread of coronavirus.  Lake Travis ISD previously continued its school closure until April 13, in accordance with the shelter-in-place order issued by Travis County. However, Eanes ISD said it was evaluating the situation on a regular basis, following an official statement closing district facilities until April 5.  As the pandemic continues and more Travis County residents test positive for coronavirus, both districts announced they will adhere to Abbott’s order. view article arw

With the state-mandated closure of all Texas schools through May 3 announced Tuesday by Gov. Greg Abbott, all proms in the Conroe Independent School District have been canceled.  Superintendent Curtis Null made the announcement Tuesday night during his weekly video chat.  Since the district closed schools, Null has held Facebook Live videos weekly to update the CISD community and share resources. Before he knew that the governor would be making his announcement, Null already had a Facebook Live scheduled for Tuesday night. But because of the governor’s mandate, he had several announcements to make, including telling the class of 2020 that all district proms have been canceled because of the extended closure. view article arw

PFLUGERVILLE, Texas (KXAN) — A local school district is encouraging students to stay connected with their friends and teachers through virtual spirit days while campuses are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. view article arw

Round Rock’s school superintendent on Wednesday warned the district’s students and staff of an “ill-timed April Fools joke” that falsely claims that at-home instruction is canceled and all students except seniors must repeat their current grade.  The image is styled as an official message from Superintendent Steve Flores’ office and “is patently and completely false,” Flores wrote in an email to the Round Rock school district community.  The image is circulating on social media, primarily among students on Instagram, Flores said.  At-home learning begins Monday for Round Rock students. view article arw

For teachers of academic subjects, migrating instruction online has been a challenge. But for teachers in applied fields, such as career and technical education, physical education and family and consumer sciences, it has been especially difficult. How do you teach hands-on lessons remotely? The 74’s newest contributor, Danielle Dreilinger, spoke with educators around the country and found some creative ways, from a virtual welding simulator to the math of measurement, that these teachers are getting the job done for their students.   view article arw

Zapata County ISD has issued pickup locations for parents to receive instructional packets so students may continue to learn at home. The printed packets may be picked up on Monday, April 6th and school officials have released guidelines for pickup instruction: - Do not exit your vehicle. -Display your child's grade level on a paper placed in your window. - Follow instructions from staff. -Students do not have to be present for lesson packet pickup. view article arw

Cleveland ISD will remain closed until May 4, following an executive order from Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Tuesday, March 31. The governor made the order to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. view article arw

Students are finally starting to learn how report cards will be handled during the coronavirus pandemic. Homes with school age children have been a stressful place the past few weeks. Parents working from home are accountable to their bosses and their child's school leaders. Jennifer Price, Keller ISD's assessment director, said the district wants to make it easier: no number grades for the last several weeks of school. view article arw

WEST, Texas (KWTX) West Independent School District is trying to combat the same problem that every school district in Texas has right now, getting lesson plans in the hands of their students in order for them to continue learning during this state-wide shut down.  “You know in West we had the explosion, but we were right back in school pretty quickly,” said David Truitt, Superintendent of West ISD. “We had a lot of help from surrounding school districts and people that just wanted to serve. But this is different. With the quarantine in place and our families at home, we’re doing our best to take the learning to them. We’ve had to totally rethink the way we deliver instruction in west and so far we are up for the challenge.” view article arw

Checks from the coronavirus stimulus package could start going out in the next three weeks, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Services said.  Most people won’t have to do a thing to get the stimulus payment deposited directly in their bank accounts, the IRS said this week, but there are some exceptions. view article arw

After more than an hour of debate, Leander ISD’s board of trustees approved a resolution to change the current semester from a letter-grade to a pass-incomplete system at a special called, online-only meeting March 31. With the unanimous, 7-0 approved resolution, all students during the second semester will receive a grade of either pass or incomplete. As a result, high school students’ cumulative GPAs and class ranks would not be affected by this semester’s academic performance. view article arw

WINONA, Texas (KLTV) - Winona ISD Superintendent Damenion Miller released a statement about the projected return date for students in the district.  Wildcat Parents,  I want to share with you statewide news regarding our projected return date. Today, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order that extended school closures across the state through Friday, May 1, 2020.  view article arw

Both Tomball and Magnolia ISDs issued statements late March 31 noting the districts will remain closed amid the coronavirus outbreak. Tomball ISD will remain closed "until further notice," while Magnolia ISD will remain closed until at least May 4, according to letters to families from the two districts. view article arw

Kids are doing what they can to find something good in this interrupted school year. And in the Keller ISD, students pulled together to have prom! The virtual prom for special needs students happened last Saturday night. view article arw

Spring ISD facilities will remain closed until further notice, district officials announced March 31. The decision to extend the district's closure follows an executive order issued earlier today by Gov. Greg Abbott, which will be in effect until April 30. According to the order, Abbott recommends schools remain closed until May 4. view article arw

HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Hays CISD schools are closed until further notice but on Monday, many students got some class time nevertheless — virtually.  The district posted learn-at-home materials online last week and launched online classes this week.  “We’re using a hodgepodge of various phone devices, iPad, my daughter’s college laptop,” says Heather Wartenburg.  Getting her seventh grader back to Barton Middle School this week required some extra preparation. view article arw

WEST, Texas (KWTX) West Independent School District is trying to combat the same problem that every school district in Texas has right now, getting lesson plans in the hands of their students in order for them to continue learning during this state-wide shut down.  “You know in West we had the explosion, but we were right back in school pretty quickly,” said David Truitt, Superintendent of West ISD. “We had a lot of help from surrounding school districts and people that just wanted to serve. But this is different. With the quarantine in place and our families at home, we’re doing our best to take the learning to them. We’ve had to totally rethink the way we deliver instruction in west and so far we are up for the challenge.” view article arw

FORNEY, Texas — The Forney Independent School District will hold a virtual Kindergarten Round-Up on April 7, 2020, at 6 p.m., via Zoom, a video conferencing service.  Parents will first find their school attendance zone based on their address and will log-in to their respective campuses round-up. Parents will then be able to enroll their Kindergarten student online at home during the virtual round-up or anytime afterwards, according to Forney view article arw

With a third straight week of scheduled classes canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, Ballinger ISD's teachers decided to make a parade route through town Monday to see their students.  No candy was thrown from windows, and people didn't line up next to each other downtown. view article arw

Lubbock ISD is filling a critical need for healthcare workers in the Lubbock area.  The district is offering childcare to employees at UMC and Covenant Health.  The process began more than a week ago.  Superintendent Kathy Rollo said on a conference call with the education commissioner and other superintendents in the Texas School Alliance, she learned some hospitals across the state were asking schools for help in providing childcare.  "We casually reached out to people that we knew at both UMC and Covenant, and there definitely was a need," Rollo said. "They were already starting to scramble to figure out how they were going to solve the problem." view article arw

FREEPORT — Every week, students at Brazosport High School made video announcements for their classmates. Since students can no longer gather to make them, members of the administration has taken the responsibility upon themselves. Brazosport High School Principal Richard Yoes released a comical morning announcements video Monday on the school’s Facebook page. The video had staff members lead pledges, encourage daily reading and lighten viewers’ moods. view article arw

Girls basketball in the Pflugerville school district had a banner season in 2019-20 with a Class 6A regional semifinalist in Hendrickson, two Class 5A playoff-qualifying teams in Pflugerville and Connally, and a young Weiss team that just missed the Class 5A postseason.  Things could be even better next season, when those four schools are aligned into an entirely new configuration that offers the quartet a unique opportunity to all make the playoffs. view article arw