Middle Schools Open for Learning

The Academic Plan for 2020–21

Better Together

Preparing for the 2020–21 school year has been a collaborative effort among students, staff, families, and our community. There have been many changes and adjustments but we know that, as a community, we will rise to the challenges this school year may bring.

The AISD Calendar

School will start on Sept. 8. The majority of our students will begin the 2020–21 school year learning remotely.

Sept. 8–Oct. 2

Austin ISD will begin the school year on Sept. 8 with four weeks of remote learning. In an effort to ensure the safety of all students and staff, the district is working to ensure all students have the tools they need to access the remote instruction to minimize the number of people on campus during the remote learning period.

If a student does not have technology access, district staff will help ensure they get that access. If getting technology at home is an insurmountable barrier, students can access their remote instruction on campus with adult supervision. Visit our Technology Smore for details on how to request technology.

Oct. 5–30

Beginning Oct. 5, all families will have a choice between on-campus learning or continued remote learning.

During the weeks of Oct. 5–30, campuses will phase-in all students who have chosen to return for on-campus teaching and learning.

This plan could change based on the local health conditions at that time. However families choose for their children to learn, we are looking forward to welcoming students and families back to school!

Teaching and Learning

The one constant throughout this pandemic has been change. For that reason, we will be ready from day one to smoothly transition between on-campus teaching and learning and at-home teaching and learning should circumstances call for it.

It's Your Choice

Families will be able to choose how their children will learn. Once on-campus learning resumes on Oct. 5, parents will be able to choose between 100% at-home remote learning and 100% on-campus learning.

No matter what a family chooses, there is a place for every student in Austin ISD.

When Will You Choose?

Two weeks prior to the date that on-campus instruction will resume, families will be asked to select their preferred model for each child.

  • 100% On-Campus Learning Students are physically in a classroom where they engage in learning with social distancing and health and safety measures in place. See Safety Protocols below.
  • 100% At-Home Distance Learning The learner and teacher are separated by distance and either meet online at an agreed-upon time (synchronous), or the student receives instructions for learning and completes their daily assignments at a time that works for them (asynchronous). The teacher and student do not meet in a traditional physical classroom setting.


Families will have the flexibility to change their choice(s) as the school year progresses. All models will be adjusted as needed based on guidance from federal, state, and local governing bodies and local health conditions.

What will my student's virtual learning experience look like?

Quality of Remote Lessons

To ensure the delivery of a high-quality, rigorous learning experience for all our students, groups of Austin ISD instructional coaches, and members of the technology design team are developing exemplar lessons aligned to the essential standards.

These will be available to all core content teachers in grades Pre-K–12 during remote online learning and on-campus instruction, and may be enhanced/adjusted based on a teacher's personal style and students' needs.

The information shared provides instructional highlights, but is by no means inclusive of everything that will be provided to accomplish our goal of ensuring success for all Austin ISD students.

Using Zoom by Families in Austin ISD
Using Zoom by Families in Austin ISD - Spanish
Use these links to see the Zoom video in the following languages: Dari, Pashto, Burmese, Swahili, Kinyarwanda

What Will Instruction On Campus Look Like?

Traditionally, middle school students transition several times a day. This approach means that students interact with hundreds of different individuals in close proximity each day. For the safety of our students, staff, and families, on-campus learning will look different until circumstances improve.

We will create groups of students who will remain together in one classroom for most of the school day. Learning Groups will be assigned a teacher or a small group of teachers who will support their learning. If conditions permit, there may be limited transition for Fine Arts, Career and Technical Education, and Athletics. Breaks will be built into the day to support social and emotional learning and outdoor experiences when possible. This approach will allow students to have safe interactions with peers and rely on teachers for targeted support.


Attendance is important to promote student engagement in learning. Beginning in the 2020–21 school year, students who engage in on-campus or remote learning, such as attending a virtual Zoom class or completing and submitting assigned work independently, are considered engaged.

All classes will have attendance posted to indicate students were “present” to reflect participation. Our teachers will work with families and students to ensure that instruction is delivered and students are engaged in coursework no matter the method of delivery.

Engaging Students in Learning

Austin ISD is committed to ensuring that all students receive TEKS-aligned, robust, and engaging instruction whether delivered on campus or remotely. Following is information regarding what families can expect teachers to do regarding teaching and learning:

  • Implement research-based, best instructional practices in on-campus and remote online instruction settings.
  • Prioritize instruction on what students need to know by the end of the year in order to be prepared for the next grade level, also called the essential standard, in each subject or course.
  • Deliver lessons in every subject area and course. The progression of learning will address the following questions:
    • What are students expected to know and be able to do based on the essential standard?
    • How will we know if a student learned the essential standard?
    • How will we respond if a student did not learn the essential standard?
    • How will we extend the learning for a student who has mastered the essential standard?
  • Special Education: Provide support for special education students that aligns with their Individual Education Plan (IEP). Teachers will provide modifications and accommodations and stay in close contact with parents regarding progress.
  • Dual Language: Provide instruction in both program languages according to the language allocation plan in support of the goals of biliteracy and bilingualism, high academic achievement, and positive cross-cultural competence.
  • Customize instruction to ensure that every student is receiving what he or she needs to be successful.
  • Incorporate Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) strategies and specific lessons into their instruction.
  • Use a student goal-setting process with students so they understand their own progress toward mastering standards.
  • Provide regular feedback on and monitor student work to ensure they are making progress on the essential standards.
  • Record grades, according to board policy, in every subject area and course.
  • Provide a full report card with grades.
  • Hold “office hours” when teaching in the remote setting. These times are an additional opportunity for students, teachers, and families to connect.
  • Call, email, and use other communication methods to connect regularly with families.

Students Without Technology

While we continue to work toward every student having access to a device and the Internet, we also will continue to provide an alternative to online learning for students without access. This will include the delivery of instructional packets and/or instructional resources with an assignment list for each week of remote instruction.

What Are Community Learning Spaces?

We recognize that during remote learning, many of our families will depend on caring adults to provide supervision and academic support to their student(s) while working.

Austin ISD defines a Community Learning Space as a place in the community where a student’s legal guardian takes the student to receive in-person supervision and access to the digital resources and other learning supports.

Community Learning Spaces are facilitated by community organizations, groups of parents, faith-based organizations, or public entities that provide in-person support to students during times of remote off-campus instruction. You may hear the term “learning pod” to refer to a similar concept; however, we prefer Community Learning Space because it represents the broad spectrum of ways our community has stepped up to support our students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Community Learning Spaces are not monitored or managed by Austin ISD staff.

To learn more about Community Learning Spaces, click HERE.

Have A Question?

Visit the Let's Talk website for answers to common questions. You can also send a text to Let's Talk at 512-886-6434 or call the Family Support Line at 512-414-9187
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