ECHS OWL Update
July 26, 2020
Early College High School News
Our ECHS Owls are taught to have H.O.P.E.--faith in the premise that they can create OPPORTUNITY and a better future through EFFORT, HARD WORK, and PERSONAL COURAGE. This idea of H.O.P.E. is woven into the fabric of our ECHS family.
A MESSAGE FROM THE PRINCIPAL
Greetings ECHS School Community,
It is hoped that each of you are enjoying the summer and are being safe.
My continued focus has been on processing and planning for the 2020-2021 school year. With the Reimagining Education Plan as our framework and guide; we are now working on finalizing our plan for Early College High School. Please know, the clarifying questions that have been shared by our staff, parents and students, are greatly appreciated! Many of the questions posed will be highlighted within a new “ECHS Frequently Asked Questions” section in this and future OWL Updates. To aid with making the best decisions on behalf of all students, we will ensure our ECHS families, teachers and staff are well informed.
As a reminder, Round Rock ISD students and families have the opportunity to ask questions about the upcoming school year during a series of Virtual Town Hall meetings in July. Included below, for your reference, are the details of this week’s meeting for secondary schools. Although the registration is FULL, please still consider tuning into the meeting or watching the recording.
Middle and High School: Overview
July 30, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Meeting focus: Operations and procedures for middle and high schools. Points of discussion will include attendance, calendar, curriculum and grading.
****REGISTRATION FULL for July 30 Middle and High School Overview****
Meetings will be livestreamed on the Board Meeting website.
Also, please STAY TUNED for more details regarding a Beginning of the Year Drive Thru Welcome Back and Distribution Event for all ECHS students! It is being planned for the week of August 17th and more details will be shared very soon!
August 20: First Day of School for Students
Superintendent Update: On-Campus Learning
Dear Round Rock ISD Family,
I long for the day that our campuses can look and feel as they did “way back when.” I’m not speaking of 10 years ago; I’m referring to four months ago. We can all agree that we want our campuses open, receiving our students and staff while providing all the extracurricular activities that define our proud public schools. As a district, we are not at a point where we can design an educational delivery model that we all can agree on 100 percent. We can, however, rest assured that our model will afford us the ability to adapt and work our way toward the expansive, world-class education you expect from our district. We will do so when it is safe to do so. Our world, nation, state and community must continue to make progress during this global pandemic caused by COVID-19. And throughout this time, our top priority will remain the safety and well-being of our students and staff.
This week, you received a link to a parent choice form asking for important information to help us plan for the upcoming school year. A key question we are asking is whether you will choose on-campus learning or at-home virtual learning for your student once we open campuses again. Our current plan is to allow students to return for on-campus learning on September 10.
As our school year officially begins August 20 (with the first three weeks 100 percent virtual) we do need as accurate a count as possible in order to make staffing decisions and plan for on-campus learning. However, we also understand that with so many unknowns, including exactly what on-campus learning may look like, you may not be ready to make a choice. Throughout these challenging times, we have been grounded in our guiding principles established in March as we first transitioned to at-home learning. Those principles include:
Prioritize student and staff safety and wellbeing
Focus on equity
In the spirit of remaining flexible, we want to assure you that your current choice does not lock you into that decision. If you choose on-campus learning, but determine later that the decision is not in the best interest of your student, you can choose to go back to at-home virtual learning. While we are asking parents to commit for a grading period, we will also consider changing circumstances. For example, if a parent has chosen at-home virtual learning, but a job change makes on-campus learning a better option, we will allow for that transition.
Next week, we will be hosting two more Virtual Town Halls focusing on how on-campus learning will look. Tuesday’s town hall will cover elementary schools and Thursday’s will center on middle and high school campuses.
At the elementary school level, on-campus learning will look much the same as in normal conditions, as elementary classes are generally self-contained with little movement around campus. Students will wear masks and social distancing will be practiced within the classroom. Teachers will be providing in-person instruction, but students will also continue to use Schoology, the learning management system that is serving as our platform for virtual learning. This is important because we need to be able to seamlessly transition between in-person and at-home learning in case local or state orders necessitate school closures. You will hear more details on the day in the life on an elementary school campus from elementary principals and district leaders on Tuesday.
Middle and high schools present a greater challenge because traditionally students transition several times a day, making their way through crowded hallways and interacting with hundreds or perhaps thousands of fellow students. Our initial approach for in-person instruction at the secondary level represents the most conservative, cautious approach, but allows for flexibility by campus and for progressing to more typical conditions, with students transitioning throughout the day, as circumstances improve.
Our campus administrators are hard at work creating cohorts of students who will do the bulk of their work in one classroom during the school day. Each cohort will be assigned a teacher/mentor to guide them and help familiarize students with new campus procedures and how virtual classrooms will work. Students will still transition to a limited number of classes such as Fine Arts, Athletics, or Career Technical Education (CTE) classes when it is safe to do so. Breaks will be built into the day where cohort teachers focus on social-emotional learning and when students will have the opportunity for outside activities when appropriate.
This approach aligns with the latest recommendations from the CDC and allows students to build friendships within their cohorts and rely on their teacher/mentor for individualized support. Students will also benefit from targeted support and intervention from their subject area teachers. As is the case with elementary, it also allows for a seamless transition to virtual.
Again, this is the most cautious approach and one that places the highest priority on student and staff safety. As conditions improve, we will move in phases to allow more transition throughout the day. We are also allowing flexibility at the campus level knowing that environmental factors such as available facilities and the number of students participating in on-campus learning will make it easier for some schools to allow class-to-class transition more safely. We will have more details on what on-campus learning will look like at Thursday’s Virtual Town Hall, where middle and high school principals will join district administrators as panelists. For families interested in watching, the meeting will be livestreamed on the Board Meeting website and available to watch the next day on the Reimagining Education website.
I hope this update has been helpful. Please know that we are working diligently to welcome our students back and provide a safe, engaging, rigorous, nurturing environment for all of our students. We appreciate your support, patience, and partnership in this endeavor.
Steve Flores, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Please continue to visit the Round Rock ISD Food Services and COVID-19 School Closure webpages for the latest information and updates. We will also provide information on our Facebook and Twitter pages.
For the Latest updates on District instruction, operations, resources & FAQs related to COVID -19 School Closures; please reference this district link.
The RRISD Librarians have created an amazing website with info about summer reading programs all over Central Texas, including our own RRISD Summer Reading Challenge! Click on this link to learn more!
Dear Owl Families,
Oh how we miss seeing your faces and being able to ask you in person how you’re doing! You are on our minds as we think about what students will need to know in the coming months. As we prepare to return to school for the fall semester, there are important skills you will want to develop. If you’re able to invest some thought and planning into these skills now, they will serve you well in any situation.
Resilience, or the ability to bounce back is a crucial skill, but it doesn’t magically develop just by knowing the definition. Building resilience is a practice, and just like playing a sport or an instrument, the practice is what builds your competency. Try starting each day by noticing how you faced a tough challenge well. Write down, or even draw creatively, what you did to bounce back from a set-back the day before! By noting what you did well, you’ll build your confidence that you are making progress. That’s the practice! When we write things down, we are much more likely to grow what we want to grow. Start creating more resilience in yourself today! Here’s a fun video about resilience for parents and students to watch together:
Time Management became important rather abruptly in the spring when you had to complete your school work mostly on your own. You had to make yourself sit down and do work without the in-person benefit of your teachers and peers. Wow! What an accomplishment! Going forward in life, you will have many more opportunities to manage your time. Time management is a vital skill! The best way to manage your time is to make yourself a schedule and place your goals for the day on that schedule. If you don’t accomplish them all, that’s ok right now, but you’re giving yourself a chance to become better and better at setting goals. Just by setting daily goals and returning to those goals on your schedule through the day and checking things off, you’ll find you accomplish more and set even better goals for yourself.
Remember on the counseling website, there is a Personal Learning and Wellness Plan that helps you set goals for yourself. Most of you learned how to set SMART goals in EDUC. Trust me, SMART goals work! It is important to keep setting goals, no matter how small. Practice, practice, practice makes you a great goal-setter and an accomplished, confident person. Here is the Personal Learning & Wellness Plan. Consider making a digital learning plan--a compilation of your academic, college & career goals and accomplishments.
*HSC Texas launched a 24/7 statewide COVID-19 mental health support line to help Texans experiencing anxiety, stress, or emotional challenges during this pandemic. The toll free number is 833-986-1919.
*If you or other family members are experiencing hardships related to COVID-19 visit https://findhelp.org and enter your zip code and it will generate a list of organizations (organized by category) that have COVID-19 response programs.
The district's contract with Bluebonnet Trails Behavioral Health is still in effect should you need an online appointment with a Licensed Professional Counselor. Contact Ms. Holmes (Helen_Holmes@roundrockisd.org) or Ms. Travis (Tara_Travis@roundrockisd.org) for more information.
ECHS Frequently Asked Questions for 2020-2021 School Year
Is there a plan for ECHS freshmen who are new to ECHS and ACC?
There is a plan for ECHS freshmen who will be new to both ECHS and ACC. We are currently in the process of revising and refining the campus plan for freshmen, along with all ECHS students, to ensure alignment with the RRISD Reimagining Education plan. In addition, foundational information for ACC will be provided as well. More details will be shared with ECHS freshman students/parents, as soon as possible.
With school starting soon and RRISD announcing the first three weeks will be online only how will ECHS and ACC work? Will they be home for high school classes but have to go to ACC campus for college classes?
ACC Fall 2020 classes will all be in a virtual format for our ECHS students. To ensure our students are ready for the Fall, additional details will be forthcoming in regards to how they will access these ACC classes and their ECHS classes. I will be sure to include this update with this week's OWL Update too.
Are we going to get a schedule for virtual learning?
Yes. Every student will be receiving a Fall 2020 class schedule.
Are the students going to go to different classes, or be in one classroom all day doing work online?
If parents decide that their students will come to campus, once that option is available, they will be assigned to one classroom for the school day.
Also if we choose on campus learning can we change to at home?
Yes. As noted in a recent correspondence from Dr. Flores, in the spirit of remaining flexible, we want to assure you that your current choice does not lock you into that decision. If you choose on-campus learning, but determine later that the decision is not in the best interest of your student, you can choose to go back to at-home virtual learning. While we are asking parents to commit for a grading period, we will also consider changing circumstances. For example, if a parent has chosen at-home virtual learning, but a job change makes on-campus learning a better option, we will allow for that transition.
During times of online classes, will teachers offer scheduled video lessons that allow for relation building and questions that can be answered immediately?
Yes. Within the school day, there will be intentional time (ie. synchronous and asynchronous) to support the social emotional needs of students and reinforce relationship building. In addition, within this virtual platform, students will be able to submit questions that teachers will share responses to in a timely manner.
Will lessons be at set times?
Yes. Whether on Campus and Virtual, there will be four hours of daily instruction for high school students. They will follow their Fall 2020 schedule during the school day. This will include live virtual instruction delivered by teachers via computer, coupled with independent practice. Students must be logged in at each teacher's official attendance time to be marked present for the day.
ECHS advertises that students work and learn in a “group project” environment rather than being lectured to and taking notes and then testing. How will teachers accommodate this environment for virtual learning.Will students get on video chat sites to work on projects together?
District-wide, our teachers will be receiving targeted training focused on effectively navigating teaching and learning within a virtual platform. In addition, at Early College High School we incorporate the Engage2Learn model which emphasizes opportunities for project based learning and for our students to collaborate.
Is it possible to minimize student numbers to allow for social distancing to have A and B days?
As a district and at ECHS, safety of our students and staff will be top priority. We will be implementing proactive measures to balance classes in order to safeguard the health and safety of our students and staff.
If school does resume what measures will be taken on the bus?
As a district, safety measures will be taken for students who ride the bus and social distancing will be a priority. More details will be shared in this regard.
Report Cards for 3rd - 12th grade students
Report cards for students grades 3 – 12 are available to view and print through the Round Rock ISD Home Access Center (HAC).
To display the report card page, login to your HAC account, click grades on the top navigation menu, then select the Report Card tab.
Included HERE are the instructions for setting up a HAC account and regarding what to do if you forget your password.
The report cards page displays a student’s most recent report card. The report includes the student’s courses, description, class periods, teachers, credits attempted and earned, attendance, grades, and comment codes. A comment legend at the bottom of the page provides input your student(s) may have received from their teacher(s).
For more information about requesting transcripts, please feel free to reference this link located on the ECHS website.
ECHS “OWL”standing News!
This week has been filled with valuable opportunities to meet with and engage three of our teams at Early College High School.
To begin, I appreciated our FANTASTIC ECHS TEACHERS & STAFF for contributing to our First virtual staff meeting of the new school year! In addition, it was great to virtually meet and process with our WONDERFUL PTSA BOARD - Amy Edwards, Kendall Reass and Renee Meredith!
To close out my week, it was a joy having virtually met and talked with members of our INSPIRING ECHS STUDENT COUNCIL & THEIR ADVISORS: Mr. Stewart & Mrs. Ross! Sorry to have missed Ximena Gamboa and Chanh Phan this time.
SHOUT OUT to: Christopher Malone, Joslyn Luong, Netsanet “Sara” Berry, Mary Herring, Theophilus “Theo” Ezeotti, and Jacqueline Luong; for being AWESOME and serving as such positive representatives on behalf of ECHS students!
I definitely look forward to meeting more of our ECHS students, parents and members of the school community in the coming weeks.
In an effort to maintain our good health, safety and well being; we are ALL encouraged to please continue following the current restrictions instituted within our city, state and nation.
Please take care of yourselves!