JULY 31, 2020
Read the latest Bearcat Blast E-Newsletter.
Return to Learn Parent Messages
July 28, 2020
Dear Bearcat Parents and Guardians:
Once again, I would like to thank you for your insightful and helpful feedback and questions over the past few months. As I am sure you have, we have been poring over information and considering so much – guidance, regulations, resources and feedback. As you know, over the summer, we asked parents and staff for feedback about how they would like children in our community to learn and shared those results with you. The latest feedback that we have received from our Bearcat staff is that 75% of them would like to offer our students an in-person learning opportunity. State requirements related to health precautions on campus changed just this afternoon.
In Aledo ISD, we are in a unique situation based on where our community is located. As you know, we are adjacent to (and overlap) a county that has ordered schools closed for in-person instruction, but all of our schools are located in a county where there is currently no such order or recommendation to close. Our unique situation has required us to be particularly thoughtful in our planning.
We have worked very hard to have a school reopening plan that we believe provides the best opportunity for us to be able to (hopefully long-term), continue to give families the choice of how their children are educated this school year. However, I am certain that we cannot create a plan that perfectly meets the needs, desires, schedules, life situations, and beliefs of every single family, parent or staff member.
The choice of how to learn this year that you make for your child is your individual decision, and we will support your child and your family with exceptional experiences no matter which option you choose. While this choice is individual, having a successful school year, healthy children, healthy teachers and staff, open schools, and a thriving community is a group effort in which we all must engage. One of the most special things about our community is the way that we all rally around our children in our schools, and I believe it is this that will cause our children and our Aledo ISD community to succeed during what will certainly be a challenging school year.
Bearcats Best Start
In an effort to provide our Bearcats their Best Start to the 2020-2021 school year, we will start the school year with an in-person hybrid schedule for the first two-and-a-half weeks of school, along with a remote learning schedule for our families who do not yet feel comfortable sending their student to school in person. The hybrid schedule will run from August 19 through September 4, and in-person instruction will move to five days a week starting on September 8.
I’d like to give you some information on how we came to this decision and some of the guiding information that led to it:
- Allows us to provide social distancing on our campuses; we know that when we move to a five-days-a-week in-person schedule that social distancing will be very difficult in most classrooms and campus spaces
- Allows staff, students and parents to be trained on, practice and implement well the health/safety protocols that will be required this school year; these operational changes will be a significant adjustment for all in a campus community
- Allows students an opportunity to transition back to campus and become familiar and comfortable with the new health and safety procedures throughout their campus, new instructional technology, the new learning management system (LMS), classroom procedures,and learning expectations for the year
- Allows students and teachers to begin to build relationships in person as a foundation for the remainder of the school year
- Provides time for the district to determine the efficacy of the protocols, make adjustments and gather actual data about the impact of COVID-19 in the school environment prior to bringing all students who choose in-person instruction onto campus at the same time
Please understand that, even with attendance numbers lowered because of the hybrid schedule being used in the first two-and-a-half weeks, the district cannot eliminate health risks completely.
While we believe that the Bearcat Best Start will be a positive experience for our students, staff and families as we celebrate learning together again, I recognize that the hybrid schedule creates a hardship for families related to supervision of school-aged children on their virtual learning days for this 2½ week period. We are in the early stages of exploring with local child care providers and churches possible resources for parents who need options on the days that their children will be learning virtually at the beginning of the school year. If we are able to create some opportunities, we will share those with parents as soon as possible.
We have created an extensive handbook with information on the 2020-2021 school year that can be found on our website www.aledoisd.org/returntolearn. We will update this handbook as necessary throughout the school year as guidance and protocols change, so please check there for your questions or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you don’t see the answer to your question listed. We also have attached a quick reference guide and schedule for our Bearcats Best Start – feel free to print this and use it for reference over the first two-and-a-half weeks of school.
Next Steps for Parents/Guardians
We are asking parents to complete two steps this year for the start of the school year: registration and commitment. These details are available on our Back to School page on our website: https://www.aledoisd.org/domain/68. Please send any registration/commitment questions to email@example.com.
Registration: This will be just like you have done every year in Aledo ISD but this year is done through the ASCENDER Parent Portal. Log in using your Parent Portal username and password, upload the required documents and complete the required forms. This will need to be completed on a laptop or desktop computer, and should be completed by August 10 at 5:00 p.m.
Commitment: Log in to the InTouch website – your username is the email used to log into Parent Portal and you will need to create a password to set up the account – where you will be asked three things about each student: how they will learn during the 2020-2021 school year and then if they will be needing transportation and/or a device. This process can be completed on a mobile device and will be open from July 28 through 5:00 p.m. on August 3.
As we will be tracking COVID-19 positives on our campuses for our students and staff, we ask that anytime an Aledo ISD student or staff member or one of their family members tests positive for COVID-19 you fill out this COVID-19 reporting form to assist us in keeping our staff and student body aware and as safe as possible. We believe that, without our entire Bearcat community working together, we will not be able to contain the spread of the virus in our community and in our schools. Thank you sincerely for your assistance with tracking.
The Weeks Ahead
Our campuses are working on virtual meet-the-teacher and other special opportunities for our families to experience as we get closer to the first day of school. Please stay tuned for that information as we get closer to the Bearcats Best Start on August 19. As in previous years, elementary students will receive a postcard in the mail letting them know when their 2020-2021 teacher(s) will be and our secondary students (6th-12th grades) will be able to access schedules on the ASCENDER student app.
We recognize that recommendations and requirements are changing almost daily. As this is an evolving situation, please know that, during this school year, we will be continuously updating our protocols to reflect new guidance and ways to keep our students and staff as safe as possible.
We can’t wait for our Bearcats – no matter where they are learning – to have their Best Start on August 19!
Dr. Susan Bohn
Update July 24, 2020:
Read the latest Bearcat Blast E-Newsletter
Update July 15, 2020:
Thank you for filling out our Return to Learn Survey. We had an 83.2% response rate for our Return to Learn Staff Survey and an 83.1% response rate on our Return to Learn Parent Survey, so both had great participation!
Click here for a link to the Return to Learn Parent Survey results.
Click here for a link to the Return to Learn Staff Survey results.
These documents are on our website at aledoisd.org/returntolearn. These results will be combined with the feedback provided to our Superintendent Dr. Susan Bohn, principals and supervisors, committee representatives, and the Aledo ISD Board of Trustees, as well as with the ongoing work of our Return to Learn Transformation team and our COVID-19 Task Force. We have also discussed Return to Learn information with students, we’ve walked buildings to visualize and plan for what reopening looks like, and we’ve followed closely the constantly changing guidance of state and TEA officials.
We recognize that recommendations and requirements are changing almost daily and that some of the survey questions we asked about health precautions are now required by the State of Texas. As this is an evolving situation, we know that during this school year we will be continuously updating our protocols to reflect new guidance and ways to keep our students and staff as safe as possible. We hope to be sending you our initial Return to Learn handbook soon with the knowledge that it is all subject to change based on state and county guidance.
UPDATE June 23, 2020: The Aledo ISD received some new guidance today on the 2020-21 school year from the Texas Education Agency but no answers about how we will be required to offer in-person instruction. Nonetheless, we are moving forward with planning to provide students and parents the choice between in-person and virtual learning options.
As we’ve shared, we are in the process of receiving input from students, staff, teachers, community members and others, and we will be sending out a parent survey with specific questions the first week in July.
We are working hard to make sure that no matter what the return to learning looks like this fall, our students and staff are provided exceptional experiences and are as safe as possible.
Superintendent Dr. Susan Bohn's Message June 18, 2020:
Bearcat families: We know you all have so many questions about what next school year is going to look like. Please know that we have been working on the options for the fall since the governor’s decision to close schools in the spring.
We want you to know that before we can make an informed decision for our community, we must first have critical and specific information from the state that is now expected next week. We also need to hear from all of our Bearcats. We will continue to gather input from students, parents and staff about their expectations for returning to school in the fall. Our hope is that we are permitted to provide parents the choice between in-person instruction and virtual learning, and that we can share final plans by mid-July. Stay tuned for an opportunity to provide the district important feedback about our return to school.