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Board to Consider Discontinuing Asynchronous Option for Grades 3-12

October 17, 2020

On Monday, October 19 the Wimberley ISD Board of Trustees will consider an administrative proposal to eliminate the asynchronous learning option for WISD students in grades 3-12 beginning the week of November 9. If our board approves this proposal all of our asynchronous students at Jacob’s Well Elementary, Danforth Junior High, and Wimberley High School will be given the option to continue learning from home synchronously or return to on-campus learning. Our asynchronous learners at Blue Hole (where synchronous learning has never been offered, per the TEA) will be allowed to remain in their chosen option or switch to on-campus learning.

In addition, our administrative team has worked to develop a list of criteria that students will have to meet in order to remain in synchronous learning. The criteria includes attendance and performance requirements.

The decision to propose to discontinue the asynchronous option does not come lightly and that is why I have relied on the feedback from administrators and teachers at all our campuses, as well as academic progress data. In developing a safe, effective, responsible, accessible, and rigorous plan for the 20-21 school year we took into consideration many factors, most importantly the physical, social, and emotional health of students and staff and their families. We also considered the responsibility we have to provide the high quality education that is expected from Wimberley ISD. The opening to our year has been a success - we have returned more than 70% of our students to campus while mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and reducing the risk within our community.

Another part of our responsibility as district leaders is to ensure we’re meeting these goals as it relates to ALL students and staff. After nearly 9 full weeks of school we have been able to obtain significant feedback and data to help us determine how we’re doing. I’ve reviewed teacher survey responses, failure and absence rates that are significantly higher than any in recent memory, data from our high school counselors that shows high school students that are at risk to not graduate on time, and countless other anecdotal stories. I’ve had discussions with campus administrators, campus department and grade-level chairs, the Superintendent’s Faculty Advisory committee, and with the entire teaching staff at all campuses (multiple times). After grappling with this bevy of feedback I’ve arrived at the conclusion that continuing to offer all three instructional delivery options is not sustainable for our teachers and is preventing many of our students from being as successful as they can be. 

As I mentioned above, the board will discuss this proposal at their regular meeting on October 19. The meeting will be hosted virtually for our trustees and live streamed on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKZr5wQyzGE). Public comment can be submitted through a Google form here: https://forms.gle/VN7f2zrggopSofjx9. Comments will be read out loud during the meeting.

We must make sure that our students are given the best opportunities to meet the academic progress standards that they need to meet. I believe eliminating the asynchronous method is a good step in showing our teachers we’re listening and a proactive measure to give our students the best opportunity for success.

 

Respectfully,

Dwain York
WISD Superintendent