Superintendent: Pflugerville ISD weighing in-person summer school instruction for special education and ESL students

Pflugerville ISD Superintendent Douglas Killian told trustees on May 21 that in-person summer instruction is currently being considered for special education students and students engaged in English as a second language courses. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Pflugerville ISD Superintendent Douglas Killian told trustees on May 21 that in-person summer instruction is currently being considered for special education students and students engaged in English as a second language courses. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)

Pflugerville ISD Superintendent Douglas Killian told trustees on May 21 that in-person summer instruction is currently being considered for special education students and students engaged in English as a second language courses. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)

In the wake of Gov. Greg Abbott’s May 18 announcement that school districts may hold in-person instruction this summer, Pflugerville ISD Superintendent Douglas Killian said the door is open for some students to return to district campuses in the coming months.

Killian told the PfISD board of trustees on May 21 that in-person instruction is currently being considered for special education students and students engaged in English as a second language courses.

“We got thrown a little bit of a curve with the governor’s [May 18] release. ... We had been planning to go 100% online. We’re going to continue that [for] our secondary schools,” Killian said at the May 21 meeting.

However, Killian cautioned that no concrete plans have been made. The superintendent further noted that parents or guardians will have the final call on whether to send their students to in-person classes.

Brandy Baker, chief Academic and Innovation officer for the school district, added that the Texas Education Agency mandates school districts provide virtual instructional alternatives if they provide in-person instruction over the summer.


If the school district moves forward with physical instruction this summer, Killian said PfISD is looking at concentrating students together into learning groups—a method known as podding.

“You’re going to hear that term a lot,” Killian told trustees. “What that means is [students] will be in groups of 10 or less. ... The teacher doesn't move from group to group. It is always the same kids together.”

This method mitigates outbreaks of coronavirus if an infection were to occur, Killian said.

The district is currently constructing return-to-work protocol for staff, Killian told trustees, with a priority on establishing daycare services for employees. No hard date has been set for a return to work for PfISD faculty and staff, according to Killian.

OTHER PFLUGERVILLE ISD NOTES


Federal coronavirus funds available for district

Killian told trustees that he was informed school districts will be receiving a portion of funds available from Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act. According to the superintendent, PfISD may receive as much as $2.9 million in funding from the state from this federal funding pool.

“We’ll access that money and make sure we move forward with using that in making sure we make our folks safer and our environment safer,” Killian said.

District approves $600,000 in facilities improvements contracts

Construction contracts for improvements at ten separate PfISD campuses totaling more than $600,000 were approved by the board of trustees May 21.

A contract for $324,000 was awarded to HSC Inc., based out of Waco, to install canopies at the entrances of seven district schools, according to district documents. Five elementary schools—Caldwell Elementary, Dearing Elementary, Delco Elementary, River Oaks Elementary and Ruth Barron Elementary—and Pflugerville Middle School and Westview Middle School will all receive new canopies.

In a separate construction project, three elementary schools in the school district—Highland Park Elementary, Murchison Elementary and Rowe Lane Elementary—will have their playground surfaces replaced. PfISD trustees approved a $287,000 contract with KYA Services out of Round Rock for that project.

This contract allows the district to install new synthetic playground surfaces at both the front and back playgrounds at all three elementary campuses, according to David Vesling, PfISD executive director of Facilities and Support Services.
By Iain Oldman
Iain Oldman joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2017 after spending two years in Pittsburgh, Pa., where he covered Pittsburgh City Council. His byline has appeared in PublicSource, WESA-FM and Scranton-Times Tribune. Iain worked as the reporter for Community Impact Newspaper's flagship Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition and is now working as the editor for the Northwest Austin edition.


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