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The School Zone: News

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March 22, 2020
Dear Parents and Staff of Pre-K and Elementary Students,

As our new reality sinks in, I know a question on our minds and hearts is, “How do we do this thing called ‘at-home’ learning?”

I write to you as a parent first and an SBISD leader second.  As we try new things to keep our children engaged and learning, we know every family and every employee has a unique set of circumstances. Each day, we turn on the news, and there is a new twist. 

As a parent, I will do my best to establish a routine for my son that ensures he continues working and learning as well as possible. I’ll also be aware that he will need breaks, too.  While he has enjoyed spring break, I can tell that, at least in part, he is ready to have some structure around learning time. 

Routines and structure help bring a bit of normalcy to our lives, and we took time this weekend to talk through how the next weeks will work for him and for our family.  

Developing common ground.  

As we transition to a new normal, at least for the next few weeks, our district leaders have spent time re-thinking systems and structures to conduct school virtually.  We’ve also focused on the role each of us has to play to make this all work, with a focus on flexibility, patience, and optimism. 

We also affirmed that the next two weeks should be the time for our leaders to provide professional development for their teacher teams and for significant teacher planning to occur. An added layer is making sure this learning and planning happens in alignment with social distancing and limited group size guidance from governmental and health agencies. So, we’re also learning how to video conference and work remotely. New learning for us all! 

Digital Backpack and Self-Study Packets for Elementary Families.  

Later this afternoon, you’ll receive a message officially launching our Digital Backpack.  The lessons and resources within the Digital Backpack are aligned with the curriculum by grade level that our students would be learning during the 4th nine weeks.  We hope you’ll find the learning resources to be robust and engaging. We also hope you’ll help us ensure our students do the best they can to establish routines and continue their learning just as if they were back in school.

Realizing that digital access may be a challenge for some families, we printed the same materials organized in grade-level packets for elementary students. The self-study packets contain two weeks of instructional material based on the eLearning guides provided online in the Digital Backpack.

If you choose to use the online resources via the Digital Backpack, there is no need to pick up a print copy.  However, should you choose to pick up a print copy, please follow the pick-up schedule below. You’ll hear directly from your school, too, with a reminder call-out with times and the process for picking up a packet. Here’s the schedule:

ELEMENTARY Self-Study Packet Pick-up

We collectively share the Hurricane Harvey experience, when we lost ten days of school and had to adjust our learning plans for that school year. With the timing of this national health crisis toward the end of the school year, our teachers know your children very well, their areas of strengths and areas of need. Our teachers are expected to leverage this knowledge in their planning to differentiate learning and supports in the weeks ahead.

Across the country and across our own community, this extraordinary time is calling on us all to leverage key SBISD core values. We believe in Limitless Curiosity – that we never stop learning and growing. We are all certainly stretching our imaginations as we ramp up very quickly to teach and learn in an entirely new way. We also believe in our Collective Greatness – that we, as a community leverage our individual strengths to reach challenging goals.

Together, I know we’ll achieve great things, if even in a brand new way. Please know we are right here next to you. If you have questions, Digital Backpack has a place to ask them directly by grade level. You can always reach out to me, too.  

Wishing us all the best of health and success in this very challenging time.

Kristin Craft, Ed.D.

Associate Superintendent for Academics