Anderson HS Community Letter

August 18, 2020

Dear Anderson students and families,

Welcome! It is almost Back to School time. This is such an unpredictable time for us to be trying to "have school" in the midst of changing guidance, public health directives and so very many unanswered questions. Yet, we know that students need to return to instruction and structure in their daily lives. We are glad you are part of a very proud Trojan Nation. We will do our very best to make sense of all the surrounding factors and create a way for us to "have school" in the safest, most reasonable way we can given the circumstances. We ask for your undertanding, flexibility and grace as we work through this together.

New faces and names at Anderson High School

Bernice O'Brien Science

Adam Rappaport Social Studies

Alexis Servido Special Education, Life Skills

Justin Harvey Social Studies

Brittany DeValk Social Studies

Christine McKenna Science

Katherine Keatley Science

Jarred Favorite Social Studies

Katherine Vukovics Asst. Choir Director

Cheryl Lee Kimball Band Director

Deborah Edmondson Special Education, Teaching Assistant

Dominick Torres Special Education, Teaching Assistant

Dee Biester Administrative Substitute for Sammi Harrison

I will be taking medical leave effective 8/19/2020 to deal with my recent diagnosis of breast cancer. Ms. Dee Biester has graciously agreed to come out of retirement to serve as my substitute during leave. Ms. Biester retired from Anderson in June, 2019 so she is familiar with the campus, staff, students and community. I have confidence that with Ms. Biester and the rest of the Anderson administrative team the campus is in good hands. I will be checking in as time and energy permit. I ask for your support, understanding and patience during this period of time.

First day of Instruction, Tuesday September 8th

At this time, Austin ISD has indicated that we will be 100% virtual beginning Sept. 8th through October 2nd. Starting October 5th, (assuming the additional 4 week waiver filed with TEA is approved), F2F instruction will begin as we bring students who choose F2F back to campus in phases. Once it is safe to begin F2F instruction, students will be randomly assigned by grade level to a CREW (Covid Response Educational Workspace) room where they will remain for the entire school day. This will be a group of 12 students with one teacher. Three CREW classrooms will be paired together in a pod with 4 teachers assigned (4th staff member providing lunch and conference period relief). Students will eat breakfast, lunch and snacks in the CREW room. During this time we hope that families who can keep their students at home for virtual learning will do so. We can accommodate roughly half our enrollment in the CREW set up, so virtual instruction is still our mainstay during Fall, 2020 at least. Should public health conditions and restrictions loosen, we are absolutely ready to shift back to "school as we know it" as soon as it is safe to do so.

L. C. Anderson High School

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Additional information about re-opening

During the 100% virtual learning, students will be expected to be online for synchronous instruction with their teacher(s) during the designated class period times. Grades will be given based on the work students complete and submit to the teacher. Teachers will record teaching sessions and post on BLEND for students who are not able to be online at the designated time. Whether your child is in attendance during the synchronous class session or views the recorded instruction, he/she is responsible for the content and work assigned. We encourage students to commit to the structure of their daily class schedule and make arrangements to be online at the designed class times. During virtual learning it is better to have a structure of expectations in place to help guide students on using their time during the day. When circumstances arise that prevent being online the recorded instructional session is available, but we hope that this will only be the case on rare occasions.

We will follow a rotating A/B schedule that will be the same for us when we physically return to the campus. Since the next few months are uncertain and unpredictable in terms of whether and when we will be able to return to face to face instruction, teachers have been building instruction virtually to be robust, rigorous and engaging. We are also building in time for teachers to be available for online tutorials, office hours and Q&A opportunities for students.

Knowing that we will have students learning virtually as well as face to face (at some point in the future) it is essential that we have a schedule that is realistic and does not require students to be tied to a screen for hours on end. The schedule in the link above is the framework that we will follow for virtual and face to face instruction for the Fall, 2020 semester.

Teachers will have one hour synchronous learning with live two-way communication with students during the designated class time. After the 1st and 2nd block in the morning, there will be an hour of “work block” where students are working independently on content and assignments given in the first two blocks of the day. Teachers are available for online office hours during the “work block” times for students who need more support, clarity or feedback on their work.

Friday will be a rotating A or B day as designated by the official Anderson calendar. Friday classes are asynchronous, but will require an assignment to be turned in for each class on the asynchronous day. There will be a synchronous Homeroom time on Fridays (regardless of it being an A or B day) from 11:25 - 11:40. The asynchronous Fridays will also allow our custodians to deep clean each classroom area prior to classes resuming on the following Monday.

The point at which we are able to return to face to face instruction on campus, we will continue the above schedule for synchronous instruction in each class according to the student’s assigned schedule. In this plan, we are dividing up the school into pods. Each pod will have 3 classrooms, 4 teachers, and 36 students. Each teacher would supervise a CREW (Covid Response Educational Workspace) class of 12 students, and those students will not be moving classrooms. We will have students grouped randomly by grade level in these groups of 12. Students will not change classes; they will remain in the designated classroom participating in synchronous instruction online. Students will need headphones or ear buds to be able to manage this.

The teacher in the room is also teaching synchronously according to his/her assigned teaching schedule. The rationale for this model is limiting exposure and safety protocols for social distancing and sanitization procedures. In the event of a Covid-19 positive person, this allows us to quarantine the 12-13 individuals (for 14 days) rather than a student’s 8 classes full of peers and 8 teachers (potentially 170+ people). This model allows us to build a smaller community group to support students individually during this challenging and uncertain time.

Since the Fall, 2020 semester is fraught with so many variables that we cannot control providing safety through limited exposure and daily teacher support is our best option. Students will be able to come to campus after/before school for extra-curricular activities (where social distancing and safety precautions will be followed). Students may choose to do the instructional day virtually and report to campus for extra-curricular activities. This model also allows us to pull designated groups of students together on Fridays (once we are able to return to Face to Face) for specific activities and supports. While there are still potential issues to work through with this plan, and the risk of exposure is minimized, we feel like this is the safest way to allow a portion of our students to come back to the school building in person.

Students should bring refillable water bottles.

Reminder of items students will need when returning to F2F on campus

Students should plan to bring: Chromebook or personal laptop/device, charger for device, refillable water bottle, headphones or ear buds for participating in synchronous class sessions while in CREW room, comfortable face mask (that you can wear all day), bring breakfast, lunch and snacks to be eaten in CREW room (or make arrangements with AISD Food Service through for Free/Reduced meals or purchase of meals).