Richardson May 2020

EDUCATION Plano ISD leaders talk progress during pandemic, future plans

THE PROCESS OF PROTECTION

moving to remote learning. As of May 12, the district saw about 6% of students not participating in remote learning for varied reasons, including Internet connectivity issues. The district’s IT department has provided support, and counsel- ors are also preparing to work with higher-risk students when school resumes. Among the district’s main priori- ties has been keeping its workforce ready for when students return to school, Bonser said. The district passed a resolution in April to allow continued payment of staff. Families and students have been given school supplies by the Plano ISD Education Foundation, and more than 260,000 meals had been distributed as of early May. Internet access has been provided through Park and Connect opportunities at schools and by continued deploy- ment of internet hotspots, Williams said. Anyone with ideas on how to help or who would like to be engaged in helping the district can view oppor- tunities to do so on PISD’s website.

supporting and adjusting to their needs while providing good feed- back,” she said. Remote learning may or may not have a place in the district after the coronavirus pandemic, Bonser said. While it works well for some, it may not for others, she said. “Remote learning, while we’re doing OK, is really not a one-to-one replacement for what happens with teachers and students in the pres- ence of content and great teaching,” Bonser said. As of press time, the district had not made any changes to its school year 2020-21 calendar. “There are some kids that [will] need a ton of extra remediation this summer to catch up and close gaps,” Bonser said. Nearly all students with social, emotional, food and safety needs have been contacted by staff since

BY LIESBETH POWERS

Being flexible has been a strength for Plano ISD as it has faced chal- lenges associated with online edu- cation, district staff said at a virtual town hall April 30. That flexibility will continue to be a priority as the district prepares for a summer and fall of uncertainty. “We will transfer all of our new learning into being smarter and bet- ter and more effective, whatever the future looks like,” Superintendent Sara Bonser said. Since PISD shifted into the third phase of its online learning plan, in which grading guidelines were determined for students, the district has focused on supporting learning from home, PISD Chief Operating Officer Theresa WIlliams said. “We want to make sure that the focus is ... providing [students] with continuity of learning but then also

During the virtual town hall, Superintendent Sara Bonser likened Plano ISD to a city or state with many moving parts. Preparing the district to reopen means addressing the needs of all of those components, which include the following estimates.

53,000 students 300 buses 90 buildings 7,000 employees

SOURCE: PLANO ISD/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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