Home Featured Rockwall ISD Hybrid Schedule for In-Person Learners Announced for Grades 9-12

Rockwall ISD Hybrid Schedule for In-Person Learners Announced for Grades 9-12

by Front Porch Rockwall

 

 

With the commitment period for In-Person or Remote Learning extended to Wednesday, August 12th, Senior Chief Financial Officer David Carter informed the Board of Trustees of the current selection trend and the ability to practice social distancing in school facilities. The Texas Education Agency continues to update its public health planning guidance as recently as July 17th. Per TEA, “there will almost certainly be situations that necessitate temporary school closure due to positive COVID-19 cases in schools. Parents, educators, and school administrators should be prepared for this in the event that it occurs, while actively working to prevent it through mitigation practices.” Rockwall ISD administration will monitor total students on campus at any time with consideration of social distancing safety recommendations.

“Based on the current data with approximately 8,000 of 17,000 commitments received to date, 68% choose In-Person learning and 32% choose Remote Learning districtwide. Given social distancing recommendations of 6 feet, the current number of requests for in-person learning will make it difficult if it continues at the same trend. To achieve social distancing, essentially, only half of the student population would need to choose in-person learning. While each campus and the District is committed to doing its best to distance as much as possible, parents and the community need to know that meeting the recommendation of 6 feet is unrealistic given the number of students who want in-person learning. This is particularly true at our campuses where we were already over capacity before COVID-19, like Springer and Shannon Elementary Schools, Cain Middle School, and Rockwall and Rockwall-Heath High School,” said Carter. With consideration to social distancing standards, schools facing possible over capacity situations include Shannon Elementary School by 168; Springer Elementary School by 97; Stevenson by 53; Amy Parks-Heath by 3; Cain Middle School by 112; Rockwall High School by 536; and Rockwall-Heath by 185.

 

In-Person Hybrid Schedule Waiver Granted for Learners Grades 9-12

Based on data presented by Senior Chief Financial Officer David Carter regarding the selection trend for in-person and remote learning, the Board of Trustees approved a recommendation by Superintendent John Villarreal, Chief Curriculum & Instruction Officer Dr. Amy Ellis, and with the support of high school principals and survey results from high school teachers, to submit an in-person hybrid schedule waiver through the Texas Education Agency for grades 9-12.

 

On July 28th, the Texas Education Agency clarified allowing high schools to implement a hybrid learning schedule due to campus capacity and the requirement to meet social distancing guidelines. Dr. Villarreal said, “With the in-person selection trend as high as 71% at Rockwall High School and 66% at Rockwall-Heath High School, we are concerned about the feasibility of providing social distancing especially at the high school level where we have student growth. Our parents and staff continue to ask how we can achieve social distancing. The reality is we can’t without a hybrid schedule, which allows us to reduce the overcapacity population by 50% in a rotation into the building and onto our buses. The students will continue learning remotely on the days they are not in the building. Our staff and high school campus administration believe a hybrid schedule is currently the best option through TEA to attempt to keep everyone safe during this pandemic.”  During the presentation, Dr. Ellis provided information about the hybrid schedule produced by high school campus administration and survey input from high school teachers:

An Example Hybrid Schedule for RHS:

– Group 1 (students with last names A-K) total students 1,431

  • Could attend school on Mondays and Tuesdays, and learn remotely Wednesdays-Fridays.
  • Remote learning for all students will include engagement time, live teacher-student interaction/office hours and opportunities for social-emotional learning.

 

– Group 2 (students with last names L-Z) total students 1,420

  • Could attend school on Thursday and Fridays, and learn remotely on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.
  • Remote learning for all students will include engagement time, live teacher-student interaction/office hours and opportunities for social-emotional learning.

 

An Example Hybrid Schedule for RHHS:

– Group 1 (students with last names A-K) total students 1,326

  • Could attend school on Mondays and Tuesdays, and learn remotely Wednesdays-Fridays.
  • Remote learning for all students will include engagement time, live teacher-student interaction/office hours and opportunities for social-emotional time.

 

– Group 2 (students with last names L-Z) total students 1,339

  • Could attend school on Thursday and Fridays, and learn remotely on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.
  • Remote learning for all students will include engagement time, live teacher-student interaction/office hours and opportunities for social-emotional learning.

 

For those hybrid in-person students enrolled in classes that meet every day such as Fine Arts, UIL sports, etc., Rockwall ISD bus transportation services will be provided on the days their assigned class meets with their alphabet group. Remote learning students may attend in-person practices before and after school and during the assigned class period on hybrid days their group of the alphabet meets, but they must provide their own transportation. Dr. Ellis explained parents could change their preference for in-person (hybrid) or remote instruction in Skyward through August 12th. The high schools will release detailed information to their parents soon.

 

The Texas Education Agency did not give middle and elementary schools the same type of hybrid option schedule offered to the high schools.

 

Approval of Academic Policies in Light of COVID-19

The Board of Trustees approved amending policy EIC (LOCAL) and the 2020-2021 Grading Guidelines to reflect the changes. As a result of the current pandemic’s impact for remote learning, Chief Curriculum & Instruction Officer Dr. Amy Ellis presented a resolution for EIC (LOCAL) clarifying grades earned by students participating in a high school credit course through remote instruction offered during the 2020-2021 school year shall be included in the calculation of class rank and GPA. This clarification of policy aligns with the Texas Education Agency guidance on remote learning requirements that grading policies for remote students must be consistent with those used before COVID-19 for in-person students.

 

The Board also approved a recommendation by Dr. Ellis to amend EIC (LOCAL) to change the date when current policy EIC(LOCAL) reflects that for the purpose of determining honors to be conferred during graduation activities, the District shall calculate class rank by using grades available at the time of calculation at the end of the spring semester of the senior year. The proposed recommendation would change the date when the District calculates class rank to at the end of the third nine-week grading period of the senior year per the recommendation of Texas Association of School Boards.

 

The Board approved the 2020-2021 Grading Guidelines, which included the suspension of semester/final exams for the current school year in light of the unpredictable impact intermittent closures and public health changes could have on instruction. The Board also tabled a recommendation by Dr. Ellis to change policy EIAA(LOCAL) to an administrative procedure. The Trustees asked to revisit the agenda item at a future Board meeting.

 

Additional Student Technology Purchases

Mr. David Carter presented an update regarding student technology needs. As part of the school registration process currently underway through Skyward, parents indicate the need for student technology. An additional 2,500 students need Chromebooks for the coming school year, which is in addition to the 2,700 Chromebooks currently in use by students at home as a result of the emergency closure last Spring. Currently, campuses have approximately 2,000 Chromebooks that are available for distribution to students and still maintain the current ratio of Chromebooks on campuses for students to use. The Board approved the request of $680,000 for the purchase of additional Chromebooks and setup services.

 

In addition to Chromebooks, approximately 600 families also indicated the need for hot spots for internet access. The District has 70 hot spots available to issue to families and is submitting 350 hot spots from Operation Connectivity. The Board of Trustees approved the request to purchase 350 hot spots with mobile internet service at the cost of $107,807.

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