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The Latest Update
September 14, 2021Posted by Community Relations on 9/14/2021
As we enter our fourth week of the school year, I hope everyone has been able to enjoy many of the activities happening in GISD. Our fall athletic and fine arts programs are in full swing, and it is exciting to see our kids pursue their passions as they represent Georgetown ISD. I’m thankful for the work of our teachers, coaches, directors and sponsors for investing in our kids and working to keep our classrooms and programs thriving. I hope you will find the time to celebrate our kids. We’re excited to host open house events at campuses this fall. These events are a great opportunity to see the campus, meet your child’s teachers and learn more about your child’s campus community.
Last week, we shared a survey in Skyward and asked families to indicate their interest in enrolling students in a virtual learning program. That survey closes tonight at midnight. Action is only needed if you wish to express interest in a possible virtual learning program.
As you consider if virtual learning is right for you and your child, it’s important to consider a few things:
- The State has placed a 10% cap on enrollment for virtual learning programs.
- Enrollment in virtual learning would be a commitment for the entire school year, and students would not be permitted to participate in extracurricular activities that occur on campus.
- Students would be enrolled in courses with other virtual learning students from across the district; there will not be individual campus programs.
- Our ability to offer virtual learning is impacted by several factors, including staff interest. If we are able to move forward with virtual learning, most learning would occur asynchronously, where a student is not experiencing real-time, face-to-face instruction with their teacher.
- Some students interested in participating in virtual learning may not be eligible, as specific criteria for participation have been established by the legislature.
- GISD teachers won’t be required to support both in-person and long-term virtual instruction simultaneously. They also will not be forced into a long-term virtual teaching assignment.
- Legislation requires the district to monitor each virtual learning student’s success and allows districts to require a student to return to in-person instruction.
- If we decide to pursue a virtual learning option for 2021-22, we would work to launch it by early October.
Our team will be reviewing survey responses and will follow up regarding possible next steps for virtual learning soon.
Last week, we shared an update to our COVID protocols to include clarity around quarantine for students living with a COVID-confirmed individual. We want kids in school, but we also know that quarantine is a measure that helps prevent spread and appreciate your cooperation in that. Our goal is to have the right academic support for students experiencing extended absences while also understanding that teachers may have students absent for different amounts of time and all with different needs. Our district team and campus principals are working together to tackle these complexities. We’ll keep you updated as those processes are adjusted or redesigned.
The Texas legislature adopted HB4545 this summer, which includes new requirements for accelerated instruction practices for students that did not pass or take the Spring 2021 STAAR exams. Academic support for students will take various forms depending on the student’s grade level, campus, and specific academic needs. Our campuses will be collaborating with parents in this endeavor and will be sharing more information soon.
As I wrap up today’s information, I’d be remiss if I didn’t share with you my thoughts on the current COVID-19 infection rate in our community. Williamson County shared today that COVID cases among youth ages 5-17 account for the highest percentage of daily case increases. I want to encourage all of us - staff, students, and families - to remain vigilant in utilizing the mitigating measures and following GISD protocols. It takes a unified effort to keep our students and staff safe and our campuses and classrooms open.
I love this community, and I’m thankful for you.
With much gratitude,
Georgetown ISD Superintendent