Launch to Learning 2020-21
Update #7 for Leander ISD Planning | July 17, 2020
Good afternoon LISD families,
The plan to launch learning in 2020 got a little clearer last night during the July 16 Board of Trustees meeting. We know this is a constantly evolving and changing effort, especially after the Texas Education Agency (TEA) announcement today to give more local control to districts for opening in-person learning. We will have additional updates next week on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.
Here’s what you need to know today:
The school year will open all virtual Aug. 13 – Sept. 7
Additional recommendations for the school year
School year will open with all students in Virtual Empowered Learning starting Aug. 13–Sept. 7
Due to increased hospitalizations and the recent order by the Austin/Travis County Health Department, we will launch the 2020–21 school year with all students learning virtually from their homes, starting Aug. 13 through Sept. 7. We hope to return to in-person instruction on Sept. 8, for students who choose it, but we are continually monitoring the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic and the guidance of our public health experts.
We will continue to deliver essential services to students, provided in a safe environment. Services include, but are not limited to:
school year meals and food service;
technology distribution and support;
required testing for student services and special programs, as well as for fine arts placement and student certification programs; and
additional start to the school year procedures.
We are working with our coaches, directors, and fine arts programs to determine plans for summer practices, as well as the start to the school year. Those program leaders will be communicating plans and next steps.
Our technology team has identified individual households with potential connectivity issues for WiFi. We are working to find solutions to connect every student with quality internet access, either through a cellular hotspot or home internet.
Additional recommendations for Launch to Learning
The district’s Launch to Learning presentation included planning for beginning the 2020–21 school year virtually while preparing for a return to campuses when safely possible. LISD's Virtual Empowered Learning in fall 2020 will look radically different from the emergency distance learning that was necessary for the spring.
The program will feature new instructional delivery platforms, a standard grading system, specialized training for all LISD teachers, and a balance of live instruction and independent learning over the course of a school day for elementary, middle, and high school students.
Skills-based courses that must be conducted in person are a prime consideration. Career technical education (CTE) teachers are working on a curriculum to teach all courses virtually during the first three weeks. Dual credit classes will also be virtual.
Our special programs teachers and staff are working to ensure inclusive and supportive as possible when the year begins in a virtual format.
The district is planning extensively for safety measures once in-person learning resumes on our campuses. Cleaning procedures, contact tracing, facility enhancements, and protective equipment are integral parts of the district's COVID prevention and response plans.
Our teachers and staff are the heartbeats of our community. We will always be committed to their health and safety, making sure that we have the training and accommodations in place to fully support these heroic educators.
District Launches Registration Verification, Student Selection Coming Soon
Registration verification will be sent to LISD families today, Friday, July 17. This allows parents and guardians to verify and confirm contact information. The “Guardian 1” contact for each student will receive an email later today with instructions.
Enrollment is ongoing as we continue to accept new students to our schools.
We will wait to send the parent selection form until we get closer to opening buildings. When we open the parent choice window, families will have the ability to choose either a virtual or in-person option for their student(s).
Frequently Asked Questions
We’ve received thousands of emails and Let’s Talk questions, and it really helps LISD understand what is on the minds of our families. We answer these questions in our constantly-updated Launch to Learning webpage. These additions will be highlighted green for a few days and then moved into queue under the appropriate subcategory:
Student and Staff Health,
Classroom and Campus Safety,
Social Distancing, and
Virtual Empowered Learning
We appreciate your feedback, questions and concerns as we continue to seek guidance from our local, state, and federal health officials, and direction from our Board of Trustees to plan a safe return this fall.
Marching Band, Fine Arts will look different in 2020
The current pandemic has created a situation that makes it difficult for LISD fine arts programs to operate in the same manner to which we have become accustomed. The need for social distancing in both rehearsal and performance settings, as well as the potential for reduced numbers of students and audience members allowed in any setting, has led us to reluctantly prepare for a school year without large-scale performances such as traditional musicals, concerts, shows, marching band productions, or other similar events.
Read more in a letter from the Fine Arts Dept. faculty.
Board Briefs: July 16, 2020
Virtual ‘Launch to Learning’ Webinars
We will be hosting Launch to Learning 2020-21 webinars on Zoom and YouTube. During the Virtual Empowered Learning and In-Person Services sessions, we will be opening a ThoughtExchange forum for attendees to submit questions, ideas, and comments before and during the forum. The Zoom platform will offer Spanish translation and Spanish speaking audiences can ask questions in Spanish on ThoughtExchange. We will offer closed captioning in English on both Zoom and YouTube.
LISD educates more than 42,000 students at its 44 campuses. The district encompasses nearly 200 square miles.