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Open for Learning - Phase III

posted Oct 22, 2020, 7:51 PM by KMS Hornets

Kealing Hornet Families,


Yesterday you received Austin ISD communication asking you to commit to either remote or on-campus learning for Phase III starting on November 2, 2020. In anticipation of Austin ISDs Open for Learning Phase III reopening, I want to share with you specific information about what you can expect for your child if you choose our on-campus learning model. 


The deadline to complete the Austin ISD reopening survey is Wednesday, October 28th. However, for planning purposes, I am asking that you please submit your family’s response to the survey  by MONDAY, October 26th, indicating your student’s preferred learning method whether it be to remain at home for remote learning or returning back to on campus instruction. The choice you make on the survey will go into effect on November 2, but that decision can be changed with a 5-day advanced notice by contacting the Kealing main office at 512-414-3214. Those choosing the remote learning option will continue accessing the curriculum with their current teachers via BLEND and Zoom from home. 


Beginning November 2nd, we will no longer offer Asynchronous Fridays and we will also adjust our bell schedule back to 90 minute blocks.  

  • New A/B rolling schedule calendar is HERE and will take effect starting Nov 2 with an A day and continue with Nov 4 as a B day (with Nov 3 being a student holiday). 

  • New Bell Schedule is HERE and will take effect starting Nov 2 for ALL Kealing students whether on campus or remote. 

    • 90 minute block courses may incorporate both live synchronous and asynchronous class time.

 

With the implementation of Phase III the safety protocols will be fully employed. Before entering the building, students will need to:

  • Complete the AISD COVID-19 Screen & Go App (found in the app store, play store or in the Student Portal) 

  • Have their temperature checked

  • Wear face masks at all times except during while eating breakfast and lunch 

  • Maintain good hygiene (washing and/or sanitizing hands) practices required of all students.

  • Honor transition protocols for passing periods promoting social distancing


Teaching and Learning in Phase III


As COVID-19 has presented specific challenges for schools, we at Kealing are mindful of our mission which provides the lens through which we see and act to meet the needs of ALL of our students. Our Mission: “Kealing Middle School welcomes all students to a safe and inclusive environment. Our unique campus offers multiple opportunities for all students to learn and grow. Using the latest technology and guided by best practices in teaching, students will explore and discover their interests and abilities in academic, artistic and physical arenas so they are prepared to pursue those talents in high school and beyond. Through creative, cooperative and compassionate teaching and learning, our students will leave Kealing with the ability to think critically as productive and ethical citizens.”

  

  • Concurrent Instruction - Phase III will require teachers to simultaneously teach both in-person and online. This is a very new and different model of teaching for our teachers, and one for which training and technology has not yet to be determined. Your patience and understanding with our teachers during this transition will be greatly appreciated as we shift to another completely new model of teaching that we haven’t done before.  

For All Learners (remote and on-campus)

  • Instruction via BLEND and Zoom (bring chromebooks/chargers/headphones)

  • Peer collaboration

  • Formal and informal assessment

  • A combination of synchronous and asynchronous work, building in brain breaks and paper and pencil tasks in light of the longer class periods

On-campus students may receive the following supports:

  • Frequent visual checks for understanding (content and directions)

  • Encouragement of participation

  • Discussions on missing assignments/grade checks

  • Individualized instructional support

  • Ability to communicate and collaborate (with socially distancing in place) with peers in the classroom 

  • Teachers Working Remotely - A significant number of teachers have been approved to work remotely.  Students who have a teacher working remotely will be in a classroom with one of the following

      • Same grade level/ content teacher (when possible)

      • Similar department elective teacher

      • Teacher’s assistants

      • Common spaces like library/cafeteria

    • A list of teachers that have currently been approved to work remotely is available HERE.  The need for teachers to quarantine at any time may also cause a change in on-campus learning structures styles as needed.

    • The teacher of record will be responsible for the learning and engagement of their own students remotely.  On-campus teachers hosting students for remote teachers will be available for supervision and supports during asynchronous work time. 

  • Social Distancing - Starting November 2, there are no capacity limits for the number of students allowed to come to school for classes. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has stated that social distancing is a recommendation. Therefore, depending on the number of families selecting in-person, during any given class period there may be more than the previously communicated threshold of 9 students per classroom that was set when practicing 6 feet of social distancing. Additionally, consistent enforcement of social distancing during class changes and during lunch poses many challenges, but we are working on ways to stagger release times for classes to limit congestion in the hallways during passing periods.  

  • Current quantitative data we know at this point: 

    • # of students enrolled in Kealing: 1280

    • # of students currently on campus: 115

    • # of teachers at Kealing:  80

    • # of teachers approved for working remotely: 22


As I am sure you are aware, there continue to be concerns about community transmission of COVID, particularly as we approach the holidays. However, there is also no doubt that some of our students typically fare better, both academically and socially, when they have those face-to-face interactions with their teachers and peers. 


Campus leaders are continuing to plan for Phase III to go into effect on November 2. I hope this document was able to provide clarity on what you and your students can expect during the Phase III reopening. Kealing’s Staff and Administration encourage you to make the best learning preference decision for your family. We are COMMITTED to supporting ALL students whether they choose on-campus or remote learning because that is the KEALING WAY.  


Warm Regards,

Mr. Estes


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