Leander - Cedar Park | August 2020

3 WAYS TO LEARN While student attendance, numerical grades, GPAs and class rankings are back after being suspended in the spring, all three types of learning options oered to Leander ISD present their own unique opportunities and challenges, according to LISD ocials. SOURCES: LEANDER ISD, TEXAS EDUCATION AGENCYCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER


• Half of students alternate days between virtual and in-person learning • Students have same teacher for both types of learning • Social distancing more manageable on less crowded campuses HYBRID (ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS ONLY)

• Most eective teaching method • Families responsible for health checks each morning • Face coverings required for all sta and students in grades 3-12

• Safest type of instruction in terms of virus spread • Students held to same academic standards as in person • Combines live instruction and independent learning



CHALLENGES • On-campus learning increases risk of coronavirus spread • Only available to elementary students due to stang • Alternating learning formats

• On-campus learning increases chance of spreading virus • One positive test could cause closures and force quarantines • Positive tests from employees could cause stang problems

• Dicult for working families who cannot telecommute • Less eective for younger students • 315 families lacked internet access in the spring

could prove disruptive to students


create a virtual learning model. Since that time, district ocials said, teachers and sta have been working to improve upon that hastily created program. Bentz credited summer school teachers with “[blazing] the trail” and using trial and error to help determine what types of virtual instruction works best for LISD students. Ocials said virtual learners in the fall will have a much easier time logging in and submitting assignments. Teacher training and communication with parents will also be better, Bentz said. Furthermore, LISD will return in the fall to its traditional grading system after having switched to a pass-fail system in the spring, and GPAs and class rankings are returning for high school students. Attendance will once more be catalogued by teach- ers, Bentz said. Students in a virtual setting will be held to the same academic standards and schedules as those learning in-person, according to Devin Padavil, one of LISD’s three area superintendents. All three learning methods oered will share characteristics so that students can more easily transition from virtual to in-person and, if needed, back again.

hybrid learning, which incorporates in-person and virtual instruction on dierent days. However, if the Austin-Travis County health oce—the local health entity that LISD has been using since March to inform its coronavirus deci- sions—states that conducting in-person instruction is not safe, LISD has the authority to continue 100% virtual instruction for all students for up to four weeks, which could delay in-person and hybrid instruction to Oct. 5, according to district ocials. Further spikes in the pandemic could cause schools to remain closed even longer, ocials said. Superintendent Bruce Gearing said a coronavi- rus outbreak could return some or all students and sta to 100% virtual instruction. Whatever the fall semester holds, LISD Chief Academic Ocer Matt Bentz said, LISD’s virtual instruction will be much stronger and easier for teachers, students and families than it was in the spring. “It’s a completely new virtual learning program,” Bentz said at a July 16 trustee meeting. When LISD schools closed after spring break because of the virus, district ocials rushed to

A virtual school day will contain the same instruction times, lunches and bell schedules as an in-person school day. All three learning models will incorporate synchronous, live learning and asynchronous, independent learning. Virtual and hybrid learning students will be held to the same academic standards as in-person students, district ocials said. Virtual and in-person class sizes will be roughly the same, Bentz said, with 22-25 students in each class. Advanced Placement and dual-language instruc- tion will be oered in virtual and in-person for- mats, with a few exceptions. Dual-credit courses, which count for high school and college credit, will be virtual-only, according to Chrysta Carlin, LISD executive director of secondary curriculum. Select career technical education classes will be 100% virtual during the fall semester, but the majority of CTE courses will also require in-person instruction, according to district ocials. Kimberly Waltmon, the district’s executive director of special programs, told trustees July 16

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