School Starts Online Tuesday, Sept. 8. 

The first four weeks of Instruction will be online with your child’s teacher. We are here to support you!

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The Academic Plan for 2020–21

Preparing for the 2020–21 school year has been a collaborative effort among students, staff, families, and our community. There have been many changes and adjustments but we know that, as a community, we will rise to the challenges this school year may bring. 

School will start on Sept. 8. The majority of our students will begin the 2020–21 school year learning remotely.

Sept. 8–Oct. 2

Austin ISD will begin the school year on Sept. 8 with four weeks of remote learning. During the first four weeks of school, our intent is to have all students remain in a remote off-campus learning environment in order to ensure the health and safety of students, families, and staff by minimizing the number of people on campus.

Campuses have been reaching out to all families to help secure the needed devices and/or access to wifi for off-campus remote learning. Students will remain in an off-campus remote setting as long as access to a device and connectivity is available beginning on Sept. 8 and continuing through Oct. 2.

Based on Austin Public Health and CDC guidance, exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis for a small number of students who are receiving certain specialized services.

Oct. 5–30

Beginning Oct. 5, all families will have a choice between on-campus learning or continued remote learning.

During the month of Sept., families will be surveyed regarding their options for the four weeks from Oct. 5 through Nov. 2. During this time, campuses will phase-in students who have chosen to return for on-campus learning. This plan could change based on the local health conditions at that time. However families choose for their children to learn, we are looking forward to welcoming students and families back to school!


We will continue to monitor updates from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and local health authorities to inform our decisions to keep students, families, and staff safe. Please know that the plans shared in this document may change in the coming weeks.

The one constant throughout this pandemic has been change. For that reason, we will be ready from day one to smoothly transition between on-campus teaching and learning and at-home teaching and learning should circumstances call for it.

It's Your Choice

Families will be able to choose how their children will learn. Once on-campus learning resumes on Oct. 5, parents will be able to choose between 100% at-home remote learning and 100% on-campus learning. Parents of high school students will also be able to choose hybrid learning.

No matter what a family chooses, there is a place for every student in Austin ISD. We will offer robust and engaging instruction in a supportive and learner-centered environment.

When Will You Choose?

Two weeks prior to the date that on-campus instruction will resume, families will be asked to select their preferred model for each child.

  • On-Campus Learning: During the four weeks of school, on-campus learning occurs when students are physically in a classroom where they engage in learning with social distancing and health and safety measures in place.
     
  • Remote Off-Campus Learning: Remote off-campus learning occurs when the learner and teacher are separated by distance and either meet online at an agreed-upon time (live/synchronous), or the student receives instructions for learning and completes their daily assignments at a time that works for them (independently/asynchronous). The teacher and student do not meet in a traditional physical classroom setting.
     
  • Hybrid Learning (Available at high school campuses only): Hybrid learning is a combination of on-campus and remote off-campus learning. Students will participate in an intentionally designed mix of on-campus and remote learning. Students will have specific days assigned for when they participate on-campus and when they participate remotely

Flexibility

Families will have the flexibility to change their choice(s) as the school year progresses. Students will be able to transition from remote off-campus learning to on-campus learning as soon as possible after communicating with their campus, but not to exceed five school days. Students will be able to transition from on-campus to remote off-campus learning when they choose to do so.

A transition period will not be required after parents/guardians communicate their decision with their campus. All models will be adjusted as needed based on guidance from federal, state, and local governing bodies and local health conditions

Attendance 

Attendance is important to promote student engagement in learning. Beginning in the 2020–21 school year, students who engage in on-campus or remote learning, such as attending a virtual Zoom class or completing and submitting assigned work independently, are considered engaged.

All classes will have attendance posted to indicate students were “present” to reflect participation. Our teachers will work with families and students to ensure that instruction is delivered and students are engaged in coursework no matter the method of delivery. 

Austin ISD is committed to ensuring that all students receive TEKS-aligned, robust, and engaging instruction whether delivered on campus or remotely. Following is information regarding what families can expect teachers to do regarding teaching and learning: 

  • Implement research-based, best instructional practices in on-campus and remote online instruction settings. 
  • Prioritize instruction on what students need to know by the end of the year in order to be prepared for the next grade level, also called the essential standard, in each subject or course. 
  • Deliver lessons in every subject area and course. The progression of learning will address the following questions: 
    • What are students expected to know and be able to do based on the essential standard? 
    • How will we know if a student learned the essential standard? 
    • How will we respond if a student did not learn the essential standard? 
    • How will we extend the learning for a student who has mastered the essential standard? 
  • Special Education: Provide support for special education students that aligns with their Individual Education Plan (IEP). Teachers will provide modifications and accommodations and stay in close contact with parents regarding progress. 
  • Dual Language: Provide instruction in both program languages according to the language allocation plan in support of the goals of biliteracy and bilingualism, high academic achievement, and positive cross-cultural competence. 
  • Customize instruction to ensure that every student is receiving what he or she needs to be successful. 
  • Incorporate Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) strategies and specific lessons into their instruction. 
  • Use a student goal-setting process with students so they understand their own progress toward mastering standards. 
  • Provide regular feedback on and monitor student work to ensure they are making progress on the essential standards. 
  • Record grades, according to board policy, in every subject area and course. 
  • Provide a full report card with grades. 
  • Hold “office hours” when teaching in the remote setting. These times are an additional opportunity for students, teachers, and families to connect. 
  • Call, email, and use other communication methods to connect regularly with families. 

Quality of Remote Lessons

To ensure the delivery of a high-quality, rigorous learning experience for all our students, groups of Austin ISD instructional coaches, and members of the technology design team are developing exemplar lessons aligned to the essential standards.

These will be available to all core content teachers in grades Pre-K–12 during remote online learning and on-campus instruction, and may be enhanced/adjusted based on a teacher's personal style and students' needs.

The information shared provides instructional highlights, but is by no means inclusive of everything that will be provided to accomplish our goal of ensuring success for all Austin ISD students. 

Students Without Access to Technology

While we continue to work toward every student having access to a device and the Internet, we also will continue to provide an alternative to online learning for students without access. This will include the delivery of instructional packets and/or instructional resources with an assignment list for each week of remote instruction. 

Beginning with the 2020–21 school year, all schools and all teachers will be using BLEND (also known commercially as Canvas) as the main electronic platform to allow families, students, and teachers to communicate regarding lessons, assignments, and other learning expectations.

In grades Pre-K–2, Seesaw will be available as an additional resource that teachers can link to inside BLEND. 

Parents and caregivers will be able to monitor their student’s courses including:

  • assignments,
  • announcements,
  • grades, and
  • feedback.

Families will also be able to communicate directly with their children’s teachers and view upcoming assignment due dates and scheduled events and activities using the BLEND calendar.