Bennett Bear Business Newsletter

Week of March 30, 2020

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Dear Amazing Bennett Families,

On behalf of our Bennett staff, we want to THANK our parents for doing such an outstanding job during this unprecedented time. We always say we are the "BEST School in McKinney," because we have the BEST students, staff, and parents. Bennett parents have demonstrated how truly AMAZING you are over the past couple of weeks as you have provided homeschool instruction to our BEARS while managing the gazillion other responsibilities within your homes!!!

Our Bennett staff has also worked tirelessly to go above and beyond to plan, prepare, learn, record lessons, Zoom with students and staff across the district, and collaborate with McKinney ISD staff to plan for an engaging and successful week of online learning for our BEARS!

We are all in this together! Our Bennett staff will host virtual office hours next week, if you need anything.

Proud to be a BEAR,


McKinney ISD Digital Teaching & Learning Plan

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Dear MISD Parents and Guardians,

We are committed to ensuring that all MISD students have some continuity of instruction during this time that we are not physically in schools. Teachers are in the process of transitioning to digital teaching and learning. To provide consistency of experiences, we wanted you to know the expectations that we have set for this work. Please see below for important components of our digital teaching and learning plan. If you have technical difficulties during digital learning, please contact your student’s teacher.

Learning Management Systems:

  • Students in grade PK-2 will use SeeSaw as their learning platform.
  • Students in grades 3-12 will use Canvas as their learning platform.

Grading and Attendance:

  • Grades will not be taken for any work when digital learning begins on March 30th.
  • Grading for the 4th Quarter will be determined at a later date depending upon how long we are not physically in school.
  • Procedures for taking attendance are still to be determined.

Assignments and Teacher Support:

  • Teachers will give students feedback through the Learning Management System as appropriate.
  • Teachers will keep these virtual office hours at a minimum - logged onto a Learning Management System and/or available by email during school days at the following times:
    • Mondays and Wednesdays - 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
    • Tuesdays and Thursdays - 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
    • This time can be used for individual tutoring, RTI, parent communication, and other forms of student support.
    • Fridays will be used for continued planning of instruction, collaborative team meetings or other professional duties.
  • Teachers will connect with students by video or voice - webcasts, audio recorded PowerPoints, reading to students, etc. a minimum of twice a week.
  • Teachers can set up online sessions at a certain time, i.e. ZOOM meetings. However, they will not require students to participate at a specific time. The sessions will be recorded so that students can access them at any time.

Learning and Instructional Time:

  • Teachers will follow the district curriculum scope and sequence. They will pick up where they were when we left for spring break on March 6th.
  • 3rd-5th grade GT students will follow their normal ALPHA schedule so that they continue to receive instruction from the GT teachers.
  • The expected amount of time to spend is as follows:
    • PK-Elementary - 10-15 minutes per content per day plus activities from the MISD Enrichment@home website, which will be provided on March 23rd
    • Secondary - 25-30 minutes per class per day

Digital Learning:

  • For video conferencing, follow these best practices:
    • Ensure that your background is as clear as possible;
    • Use earphones, if available;
    • Adhere to the District’s Acceptable Use Policy


McKinney Communications Department

McKinney ISD Enrichment at Home Website

McKinney ISD Grab & Go Meals - FREE to ALL McKinney ISD Students

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Connect with Bennett Counselor, Christie Thompson - Virtual Counseling Sessions

Dear Bennett Parents,

First of all, please let your Bennett Bears know that I miss them more than they can imagine!!! I am happy to share that I will be available to consult with parents and communicate with students during the COVID-19 school closure, and I’ll be providing daily tips on announcements and weekly guidance lessons.

Here is more information about my virtual school counseling services:

REMIND alerts (See attached pdf for more detailed instructions.)

    1. I will use Remind to alert parents when I’ve added a new guidance lesson, video, or resource to my site.
    2. This is a one-way communication tool, so email me if you need to reach me.

ZOOM or WebEx video meetings – I can consult with parents (and visit with students for up to 20 minutes beginning March 30th).

    1. Complete and submit this form for videoconferences:
    2. Confidentiality: to mitigate the confidentiality limits we’ll face, I will not record or save any of our meetings, but remember that it is occurring over the Internet where 100% security is not guaranteed. Also, I will still be required by law to report any instances of suspected abuse/neglect, or if I believe a student is a danger to themselves or to others.

a. If you, your student, or anyone in your family needs additional support, there is a nationwide

Crisis Text Line that you can access 24-7 by texting home to the number 741-741. A live, trained Crisis Counselor receives the text and responds from a secure online platform.

b. Please call 911 in the case of mental health emergencies.

Videos & Resources – I’ll be reading and sharing some books about topics like worrying, accepting ‘no’ for an answer, technology usage, flexible thinking, gratitude, etc.

    1. When a new video or resource is ready, I’ll upload it to my site and send an alert through REMIND. I’ll also provide these to teachers to upload to See Saw.
    2. Here’s the first one! It’s about worrying and anxiousness >
    3. Please see the attached COVID-19 Resources for students.

504 Meetings –I will contact parents and teachers who had/have meetings already scheduled for after spring break to reschedule them. You’ll hear from me soon!

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns. I will be maintaining virtual office hours Mondays-Fridays from 9-11 and 1-3.

Warm regards,

Christie N. Thompson
School Counselor

504 Campus Coordinator




Virtual Office Hours for Bennett Staff

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Bennett's Virtual Spirit Week - March 30th - April 3rd

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Students Earn Virtual Tickets at Home - For the April Stuffed Animal Giveaway

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Submit a Joke for Upcoming Virtual Announcements

World Autism Awareness Day - Thursday, April 2nd

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McKinney ISD Digital Resources for Learning at Home

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Cellular & Internet Services Available for Students

The following cellular and internet companies have made efforts to facilitate families with access to the internet in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Please see below for the following information that has been collected. Contact the companies directly to confirm the services they can provide your family during this time.

Free internet for students:

Altice internet providers Suddenlink and Optimum are offering 60 days of free internet service for households with K-12 or college students. Internet speeds are up to 30 Mbps if you do not already have access to a home internet plan. To sign up, call 1-866-200-9522 if you live in an area with Optimum internet service, or call 1-888-633-0030 if you live in an area with a Suddenlink internet service.

Spectrum/Charter offers 60 days of free internet service to new customers. Families can call Spectrum at 1-844-488-8395 and give their home address to confirm that service is available to them. If this is an area that Spectrum services, they will do the installation, provide the modem and 60 days of internet service, all for free. After the 60 days, the family can cancel (they can also cancel at any time) or they will be charged the introductory rate fee.

Other options for internet service:

Sprint COVID-19 response offers unlimited data to existing customers and starting Tuesday, March 17, 2020, Sprint will allow all handsets to enable hot-spots for 60 days at no extra charge. By March 18: Customers with metered data plans will receive unlimited data per month for 60 days (a minimum of two bill cycles) at no extra cost. Sprint will provide customers with an additional 20GB off mobile hotspot data per month for 60 days (a minimum of two bill cycles) at no extra cost. Beginning March 18, through April 1: Customers with mobile hotspot-capable handsets, who don’t have mobile hotspot today, will now get 20GB as well per month for 60 days (a minimum of two bill cycles) at no extra cost. Contact Sprint customer service at 1-844-764-8359.

T-Mobile COVID-19 response offers ALL current T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile customers who have plans with data, with unlimited smartphone data for the next 60 days (excluding roaming) and coming soon (date not announced), T-Mobile will allow all handsets to enable hot-spots for 60 days at no extra charge. For more information, contact customer service by dialing 611 from your T-Mobile or Metro phone.

Comcast COVID-19 response offers free WiFi for 2 months to low-income families plus all Xfinity hot-spots are free to the public during this time.

For a map of Xfinity WiFi hotspots, visit Once at a hotspot, consumers should select the “xfinitywifi” network name in the list of available hotspots and then launch a browser. Contact customer service at

Comcast response Comcast Xfinity currently offers its Internet Essentials program free for two months to new customers. The internet provider is also automatically increasing speeds for all Internet Essentials customers. Comcast Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots are also open and free to use by anyone.

AT&T COVID-19 response All AT&T consumer home internet wireline customers, as well as Fixed Wireless Internet, can use unlimited internet data. Additionally, we’ll continue to offer internet access for qualifying limited income households at $10 a month through our Access from AT&T program. We’ve expanded eligibility to Access from AT&T to households participating in the National School Lunch Program and Head Start.

Verizon COVID-19 response: no special offers at this time.


McKinney ISD Communications Department

Texas Education Agency - Waives STAAR Testing Requirements for 2019-2020

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Bennett Learning Commons Online Resources for Students

The Bennett Learning Commons has many online resources available to students 24/7.

By logging in to the Bennett Library Home Page, students have access to online subscriptions. Username and password information is revealed when students log in. Please use the Accessing MISD & Bennett Online Resources Handout (see below) to learn how to gain access to these resources.

Encourage your student to read 20 minutes a day. If access to physical books is limited, students have access to thousands of ebooks through the SORA app (fiction), Overdrive (fiction), Tumblebooks (fiction) Follett (nonfiction and fiction), GVRL (nonfiction) and Pebble Go (nonfiction). Information about these resources may be found on the Bennett Learning Commons Google Site.

Don't forget, students may also access the Bennett Makerspace and Learning Commons Google Site from home. There are many activities that students may engage in without access to Makerspace tools, such as Scratch and Hour of Code.

Accessing MISD & Bennett Online Resources Handouts

FREE Sora eBooks Access for Bennett Students

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Did you know McKinney ISD students have access to Sora eBooks? Sora has a diverse collection of books from classic and award-winning literature, to the most current and popular titles.

Bennett Elementary just signed up to gain simultaneous access to 244 premium titles. This is in addition to the collection of books already available to students.