BCISD Curriculum Connection

January 2021 Edition

Vaccination Questions

We know many of you have questions about your eligibility and best contact for the COVID-19 vaccination. The plan currently underway by the Texas Department of State Health Services does not include educators in the priority group currently being vaccinated (Priority 1B).

BCISD will not be able to request or receive vaccinations for staff members according to the information we have available to date. If you believe you have health issues or characteristics that could place you personally in Priority Group 1B (see the list linked HERE), your best course of action is to contact your personal healthcare provider to request a vaccine.

Next week we introduce "Gem"

BCISD will pilot a new communication tool with students’ families called All Here. We were selected to receive a grant-funded pilot of the program from over 7,400 school and district applicants nationwide. The technology-powered tool will facilitate two-way communication at times convenient for families.

All Here uses an artificial intelligence interface much like “Siri” or “Alexa” to engage families, promote attendance at school, and answer questions via text messaging. Research indicates that text messages are more likely to be read and result in a response than either postal mail or email. The BCISD interface, named “Gem,” will be programmed to answer a variety of questions about BCISD. For questions that are not part of the pre-loaded information, the system will route the question to a staff member for assistance.

We are looking forward to piloting this option for families to conveniently connect with our schools in new ways. As part of the rollout, official accounts will be created for all the educators and parents in BCISD. Recipients will have the option to opt out at any time. Keep an eye out during the first week of February for a welcome message from Gem!

State Assessment and Accountability are Moving Targets

In addition to the changes in schools schedules, instructional technology, physical layouts, and events, COVID-19 has also changed the way students are assessed and the ways schools are evaluated by the State. Although some changes to Assessment and Accountability have been anticipated for some time now, the pandemic has caused and will likely continue to cause additional change. For example, we learned in mid-December that A-F ratings have been suspended although STAAR testing is still fully required.

Lead4Ward does an outstanding job at summarizing complicated materials into QuickLook one-pagers. If you are interested in the changes so far this year and what lies ahead for the next two years, visit the Lead4Ward.com Resources, or click on the linked picture below.

Texas Holocaust Remembrance Week: 1/25-1/29, 2021

SB 1828 instructed the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission (THGC) to develop or approve materials for a statewide Holocaust Remembrance Week. The week with January 27 is the date for Remembrance Week. (International Holocaust Remembrance Day is January 27, which is the date that Auschwitz was “liberated” by Allied troops.)

While a meaningful and respectful observance is important, we also want to be respectful of students' past trauma experiences and the age-appropriateness of activities. The THGC does not recommend explicit Holocaust instruction before 6th grade. Elementary schools may choose their own materials that cover broader themes, such as community, tolerance, being an upstander, and anti-bullying.The state has developed a website (HERE) with menus of activities and resources. Please work with your campus administration as you select appropriate activities to comply with this new required state observance.

Academic Core: TEKS Resource System Document Updates

Have you pulled up a recent version of documents on the TRS website in the past few months? If not, you should consider checking for revisions. Documents in the TEKS Resource System continue to be updated even into this month. The TRS site allows you to filter the update announcement list by your subject(s) of interest. Click below to view the site.

New Math Resource in TRS

The Mathematics Teacher Manipulative Google Slide Decks are designed for teachers to manipulate and use when developing instruction and student activities (e.g,. place value charts, base-10 models, multiplication charts, money, clocks, problem solving mats, parent functions, coordinate grids, transformations, assessment griddables, etc.). This new resource is located in every mathematics grade level/course in the Resource section of TEKS Resource System. There are approximately 25 slide decks currently available. Additional Google slide decks are in the works and will be uploaded to the resource table in TEKS Resource System as each slide deck is finished.

SBOE Updates

The State Board of Education met in November to discuss the revision process for science standards. The following took place:

  • HS Biology, Chemistry, IPC and Physics TEKS were adopted.
  • Grades 6-8 are still in review/revision.
  • K-5 will begin as soon as Grades 6-8 are complete, along with the remaining HS Science courses and CTE courses for science credit.

Below is the schedule as we know it today for implementation of standards in other areas:


  • Implement NEW Pre-K Systems


  • Implement NEW PE/Health


  • Implement NEW Science TEKS


  • Implement NEW Tech Apps TEKS


  • Implement NEW Math TEKS

ICE funds are still available

If you haven't spent your $50 Instructional Classroom Enhancement (ICE) funds, they are still available to you. Your campus secretary can assist you with questions.

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