FISD leaders updated the board of trustees at an Aug. 10 meeting on what these students and their families can expect during the three-week virtual start and beyond for the 2020-21 school year that begins Aug. 13.
The update helped to answer some of the questions and concerns raised in recent weeks by parents whose children are enrolled in these programs.
At the meeting, FISD Director of Special Education Christine Davis said students will receive a blend of synchronous and asynchronous instruction throughout each content block during the virtual start. Teachers will follow the same scope and sequence as they would in a face-to-face environment, she said.
“Teachers and students will have the opportunity to engage in live virtual instruction for support during each block based on their individual needs,” Davis said at the meeting.
The district will be able to meet the needs of all students in centralized programs by consolidating classes across FISD, Davis said.
“Some students may be served by a different teacher or at a different campus than we originally anticipated,” she said. “However, this consolidation is going to allow us to have sufficient staff and small enough classes to safely and appropriately meet the needs of each one of our students.”
These changes aim to minimize disruptions to students and ensure each student receives the services he or she is entitled to from qualified teachers, assistants and therapists, Davis said. This will limit changes throughout the remainder of the school year, she said.
About 75% of students will be able to remain in centralized programs at their current campus, Davis said.
Students in self-contained programs that require a significant degree of physical prompting and assistance will be served through in-person instruction beginning Aug. 17, Davis said. Other students not served in those specific programs may return to face-to-face instruction Sept. 3.
After the virtual start, Davis said, all-online, or Virtual Academy, students receiving therapy services may have an option to receive some services in-person.
“Our committees may need to meet to address individual student needs as they arise,” she said.
Students served through FISD’s dyslexia program will repeat the spring 2020 semester, FISD Director of Special Programs Pam Orr said, to ensure they have a full scope of the district’s Take Flight curriculum.
“This additional semester will not only be an opportunity for students to receive any lessons they missed, but also to review and reinforce any of the lessons they had prior to spring e-learning,” Orr said at the meeting.
FISD will provide a full scope of dyslexia services for students in both Virtual Academy and face-to-face instruction in the fall, Orr said.
“They will have access to daily synchronous dyslexia therapy with a dyslexia therapist, live in person virtually or face-to-face,” she said. “No matter the learning mode, all students will have the same access to instruction, curriculum, supplies and their dyslexia therapist.”