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20-21 » Messages from Dr. Whitbeck

Messages from Dr. Whitbeck

August 21, 2020
 

Dear Bryan ISD Parents/Guardians,

As we wrap up our first two days of school, I want to take a minute to say thank you. Overall, it has been a great start to the school year and you are a large reason why.  Thank you for reading through all of the messages you received from your child’s school so you knew what to expect on the first day.  I know it was different for many of you, not walking your child to class, but instead sending them off into school with a mask and a water bottle.  For others, I know it was different getting your child logged into Schoology, and in many cases, online live with their teacher and class. Thank you for sending your child wearing a mask and for emphasizing the importance of their health and the health of their teachers and staff. As a result, we had almost no issues and kids were respectful, cooperative and excited to be at school.  It was different, but we did it, and it set the school year off on the right note.

Now, that isn’t to say we didn’t have some hiccups.  We did. Thank you for your patience as we worked through some login and password questions regarding Schoology and technology.  Thank you for your patience as lessons are being uploaded, and our teachers work through finding the on-campus/at-home balance. We all worked very hard to be ready for the start of school, but as we navigate this we will have to make adjustments, and as we’ll have patience and grace as students adjust, we ask for that in return.  

Just because the situation is different, that does not mean the mission has changed.  We are committed to our students and committed to an excellent, well-rounded education no matter where they are learning.  For us, working with children is our passion, and seeing their smiling, excited eyes throughout the day is the greatest reward. 

It’s going to be a wonderful school year, and together, we will work through the challenges we face, because we have a common goal in mind.  With honest and open communication, we can address the challenges and come out stronger. Thank you for working with us, and we’ll see your child in school, whether on-campus or at-home, ready to go on Monday.

Sincerely,

Dr. Christie Whitbeck

Bryan ISD Superintendent

Dear Bryan ISD Parents and Guardians,


After listening to feedback from you, our teachers, staff, administrators, and local health officials, the Bryan ISD Board of Trustees today approved changes to the 2020-2021 school calendar.  


Here are the primary changes:

  • The first day of school is now Thursday, August 20 to give teachers more time to prepare their classrooms.
  • We will have an early release on most Wednesdays to allow for a midweek additional, thorough cleaning of our schools in addition to daily cleaning.
  • We are considering switching to a block schedule format in grades 7-12 to reduce the number of times students change classrooms. (You will receive more information from your principal if you have a secondary student).

The times for early release will be:

  • High School: 12:50 p.m.
  • Middle School: 12:55 p.m.
  • Intermediate School: 2:20 p.m.
  • Elementary School: 2:10 p.m.

We’ve staggered the early release times like this so if you have older children, they can be home first to help take care of elementary students.  AlphaBest will also offer after school care for students on early release days following Bryan ISD health guidelines. If you haven’t yet, please click here to review our Return to Learn Plan including our Frequently Asked Questions for more information about everything Byran ISD is doing to keep our campuses healthy. If you’d like to switch how your child will learn the first six weeks (on-campus, at-home, hybrid grades 7-12) please call your child’s campus or email BISD_enrollment@bryanisd.org through Thursday, August 6.


It is not going to be a normal year, but we are committed to providing a safe environment so that children can learn face-to-face or online.  As we get our students in school, whether at-home or on-campus, and they meet their teacher, and get comfortable with their schedule, I believe it will feel more normal than you expect. A lot has been continually changing and we will continue to monitor COVID-19 in our local area and adjust if needed. We are working to move out of ambiguity and into action and our team will remain dedicated to assisting you and your children.


Respectfully,

Dr. Christie Whitbeck

Bryan ISD Superintendent

Dear Bryan ISD Parents, Guardians, and Staff,

 

The Return to Learn Plan for 2020-2021 Draft document outlines the plans for Bryan ISD as we move

forward with opening school. As a reminder, parents have been able to select from face-to-face

on-campus, online learning at-home, and a hybrid allowing students in grades 7-12 to report to the

campus for designated courses requiring specialized instruction.

 

This document reflects the teamwork of many talented central office leaders, principals, teachers and

other district employees as they have worked to monitor current requirements incorporating them with

best practices to the fullest extent possible. Please understand that guidance has been changing daily

and that this will remain a fluid document. Much like a strong classroom teacher who must continually

monitor and adjust his/her teaching, we, too, must make changes as we go along. There has been no

roadmap or guidebook for handling the pandemic, especially for how to begin a new year when

children and teachers are not established in their routines.

 

I can assure you that Bryan ISD is committed to creating safe environments for our students and staff.

Our Board of Trustees and all employees are in this profession because we believe in serving and

making a positive difference. Regardless of the uncharted waters ahead, we will roll up our sleeves,

remain calm, adjust as needed, all while serving as strong role models for our children.

 

Please use this plan to understand the details related to your child’s education and let us know if you

have questions that are not answered.

 

When difficult things happen, it is good to know you are in them with amazing people.

 

Most Sincerely,

Dr. Christie Whitbeck

Bryan ISD Superintendent

Dear Bryan ISD Parents/Guardians,

I hope that you and your family have been safe and healthy and have found some time to enjoy family despite the unusual circumstances. The beginning of the new school year is just under 40 days away, and I know our community is eager to learn more about our plans for the fall semester.


In my previous updates, I mentioned that the Texas Education Agency (TEA) would be providing long-awaited guidance to school districts on the requirements and protocols for hosting in-person classes. Unfortunately, due to the rapidly changing circumstances from COVID-19, that promised guidance from the TEA did not arrive until Tuesday, July 7, so our staff has been busy working to incorporate the requirements into our Return to Learn 20-21 Plan.


After reviewing the first parent survey, our Bryan ISD Team began working to draft multiple scenarios for instruction. Now is the time for you to make the selection that you feel is best for you, your child, and your family.


You can choose from three options: 

  • At-Home Learning (online)
  • On-Campus Learning (face-to-face in the classroom)
  • Hybrid model (online and face-to-face for grades 7-12)

Regardless of which learning option you choose for your child, the expectations for coursework and the grading system will be the same for both in-person and at-home learning. We believe this is the fairest and most equitable solution for all of our students. Applicable high school credit courses in 7th-12th grades will be included in calculating GPA and class rank for both in-person and online learning students. Students learning online will engage in daily activities that combine teacher-led instruction along with independent learning. A student’s schedule may reflect short periods of synchronous learning scheduled throughout the day followed by time for independent, asynchronous learning activities. 


For our students who choose to attend face-to-face in-person classes, Bryan ISD will follow all applicable guidelines and protocols from the state in place at the time. We will place more signs around campuses promoting safe health practices, increase cleaning and sanitation, and frequently remind students about hand hygiene and social distancing. Face coverings will be recommended or required depending on state guidelines at the time. We will comply with all health safety recommendations established by the health department and the Texas Education Agency, and all staff members will receive COVID-19 prevention training prior to the opening of school. 


Beginning the week of July 13, you will receive an email from Bryan ISD to complete the online returning student registration forms.  Part of this important process will be 

asking you to make an initial commitment for your child(ren) to choose either on-campus or at-home learning for the first six weeks for the 2020-21 school year. The email will come from BISD_enrollment@bryanisd.org. In order for Bryan ISD to finalize staffing requirements, we are asking that this commitment be made no later than 8:00 a.m. on Monday, August 3, 2020, which is the final day for you to change your decision. For those who do not complete the online registration verification, your child will be automatically enrolled in on-campus face-to-face instruction. Your child’s schedule and teacher assignments cannot be finalized until we receive your commitment, so please consider completing the form as soon as possible. Students will be expected to remain in their chosen option through at least a six-week grading period in order to limit scheduling and staffing complexities. If you don’t receive the email regarding the online returning student registration, then please call 979-209-1288 or email BISD_enrollment@bryanisd.org.


We understand that circumstances could change for our families throughout the year so adjustments and changes in preference can be made each six weeks by contacting your school.


We have posted more information about the Bryan ISD Return to Learn 2020-21 plan, along with frequently asked questions at www.bryanisd.org/returntolearn


We will continue to share new information and updates with you as the summer progresses. It is clear that COVID-19 has changed our world in so many ways, and I continue to appreciate your support and understanding as we work through these trying times. Together, we will remain committed to supporting each and every student on their learning journey.


Please continue to stay safe and enjoy the rest of your summer.

Sincerely,
Dr. Christie Whitbeck

Superintendent