Summer Update

July 29, 2020

From Grace

Hello, Wonderful Mathews Community! I hope all of you are doing well during this summer like no other. To those of you who are new to Mathews, welcome! We're looking forward to getting to know you. To our returning families and friends, I'm looking forward to seeing you again, whether virtually or in person. Even though we're not starting together in person, I'm confident that, even apart, we'll be able to connect.

I know there are many, many questions about what the start of the year will look like for our students. Like all of you, I've been watching the recommendations and requirements from the health authorities, from the Texas Education Agency, and from our district. The information we've been given changes regularly and even while writing this, the TEA was updating their guidelines to districts and campuses which we will shift to accommodate. With all that being said, it does finally feel like we're coming to an understanding of how we will begin the 2020-2021 school year. Please know that as things change, I will keep you informed.

To help you know where we are in terms of planning, I'm going to take a two-pronged approach. I'm going to summarize what the information that I have about the start of the year in this document and I'm going to host a virtual parent coffee on Monday, August 3rd at 9:00 am (the zoom meeting information is in the Upcoming Dates section below). I fully expect that you will have unanswered questions (I do too!) and want to make sure we're addressing those as well. With that in mind, I've created a Questions for the 2020-2021 School Year form where you can pose any questions you have and our team will do our best to get the answers for you post a FAQ document on our website:

The information below is for a remote start of the year. I'll share more information about plans for in-person learning next week.

What We Know about the Learning Platform:

  • All teachers (preK-6th grade and special areas) will use BLEND (which is what AISD calls Canvas) as the learning platform for our students.
  • BLEND is accessed through the student and parent portal.
  • PreK-2nd grade students may also use SeeSaw but all links will be housed in the BLEND course.

What We Know about Attendance:

  • AISD is submitting an asynchronous model proposal for attendance purposes.
  • Student attendance will be taken in two ways: their activity on BLEND AND their interaction with their teacher(s) during asynchronous learning opportunities.

What We Know about Synchronous and Asynchronous Learning Opportunities:

  • All students will have synchronous and asynchronous learning opportunities for core content, social emotional learning and P2, and special areas.
  • The synchronous learning opportunities will take place in both whole class and small group sessions and will not exceed 30 minutes for any one session.
  • Students will have teacher led instruction and independent time to strengthen their skills.
  • We are working on simplifying schedules so students are not logging on and off of face-to-face meetings all day long and families can better plan for the day.
  • Grades are back! Students will earn grades and receive a full report card and not the simple pass or incomplete that was given at the end of last year.

What We Know about Technology:

  • The district is working to provide a device to every student who needs one this school year.
  • Students in grades 3-6 will have access to a ChromeBook.
  • Students in PreK-2nd grade will have access to an IPad.
  • Parents will be able to sign up for technology - more on that soon!

We've heard your feedback about what worked and didn't work during emergency remote instruction last spring and have made improvements for student interface and parent accessibility. It is our goal to make this a meaningful learning experience for our students, despite the unusual way we're welcoming our kiddos back to school. We'll be working extra hard to build relationships and community with all as we stand by our belief that students learn best when they know they're connected and loved.

What's Next?

To help up plan for the year, please take the time to fill out the Pulse Survey that the district emailed to families on Monday. Knowing which students plan to return to the building for instruction as soon as we resume in person learning and which students will remain learning from home is critically important. Not only do we need to be sure we're adequately prepared for social distancing, safety, and staff, but this information will inform our finalized class lists as well.

Please also continue to check for communication from AISD and from me as we get closer to the beginning of the year. Things have been changing so rapidly that I do expect some variability in our plans. Please also look at the upcoming dates below and mark your calendars for events leading up to the start of school. And, as always, please follow the health and safety guidelines from Travis County and the CDC and stay safe and healthy!

Upcoming Dates

Summer Update Coffee

Grab your favorite morning beverage and join me for a virtual parent coffee about the start of the school year.

Topic: Summer Update Principal Coffee

Time: Aug 3, 2020 09:00 AM Central Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 875 6508 0185

Passcode: 2e74rc

Registration is August 3rd - 6th

Registration is being held next week! If you know a family who still needs to register, please have them reach out so we can support them in the process. Please see the registration flyer below for more information. :)

Meet the Counselor Meeting

Join us for a chat to meet our new counselor, Stephanie Reyna, and learn more about her and the counseling program at Mathews! Zoom information will be sent home on LivingTree. :)

Date: Wednesday, August 5th

Time: 6:00 pm

Where: Zoom

PreK-2nd Grade Pick up of Personal Belongings

At the end of last year, our PreK-2nd Grade teachers packed up student belongings left in the classroom and we have gotten approval to schedule a pick up of these items. Yay! Our Assistant Principal, Damien Mills is working on a schedule for pick up on August 4th, 5th, and 6th between 9:00 - 11:00 am and 1:00 - 3:00 pm. You will be contacted if your student has items for pick up.

What about 3rd-6th grades? Personal student belongings should have been given back last year. Unfortunately, many consumable materials were discarded during the deep cleaning the campus was given in the spring. I truly apologize for that.

Save the Dates - Drive-by Hi/Meet the Teacher

Friday, August 14th and Monday, August 17th.