McKinney ISD file

McKinney ISD is charting a path towards a return to normal, and the district is seeking stakeholder input as it does so.

The district has put together a “Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan” designed to outline multiple facets of the back-to-school experience for the upcoming school year. The plan comes as the district and the state recover from a previous school year defined by a pandemic, which meant some students were learning from home while others were wearing masks and socially distancing in classrooms.

As the district formulates its plan, which covers anything from updated quarantine policies to how students will be able to catch up from an unorthodox school year, it is asking “stakeholders” to provide input by Sunday.

The district’s request for feedback comes as MISD gears up to apply for an Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER Ill) grant from the Texas Education Agency. The district has said it is eligible for about $16.5 million, and the TEA will release about $11 million of that after the district submits its plan.

The remaining $5.5 million is scheduled for release “pending Federal Agency approval,” MISD said on its website.

The plan starts with the basics: Face coverings are optional, parents and employees would still be expected to report confirmed cases of COVID-19, and students who show symptoms of COVID-19 may have to quarantine 10 days.

The document also covers the academic side of its recovery, including truancy concerns.

“During the pandemic, attendance was obviously an issue,” the plan states. “Therefore, we enhanced our approach to student attendance.”

That meant implementing district level truancy hearings to “get students/families reengaged in the educational setting” and hiring a truancy liaison to follow up with students and families.

“This year, we plan to further utilize school and community partnerships/resources to help students stay fully engaged in their education through a family services approach to help educate the whole child,” the district plan states.

That includes community outreach for students and families most at risk of truant behavior through “mobile awareness sessions” discussing course offerings for students and other opportunities.

“These awareness campaigns will help families make informed decisions regarding educational opportunities for their children during evening and weekend hours to accommodate working families,” the plan states.

Recovering from what the plan calls “learning loss” is also included.

“In order to close the COVID gap, we are providing optional virtual academic enrichment for all students this summer, which they can access through Canvas and/or See Saw via the MISD website,” the plan states.

That involves sharpening math and reading skills for incoming sixth- and ninth-graders as well as offering courses for students entering high school grades who need to take courses for credit recovery or advancement. The district is also offering tutorials and one-on-one help for high school students who failed end-of-course exams to prepare for the June exams.

The district’s plan includes COVID Recovery Response Services and Extended School Year Services to qualifying students in Special Education.

“CRRS provides students with disabilities the educational services needed to make up for skills or learning that have been lost due to COVID-19,” the plan states. “ESY services provide qualifying individualized instruction and services to prevent severe or substantial loss of skills or learning during the time beyond the regular school year when schools are not in session.”

Stakeholders have been asked to provide feedback by Sunday by going to mckinneyisd.net/feedback/

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