McKinney ISD weighs 3 options for 2020-21 school year, awaits state’s direction

McKinney ISD is exploring a hybrid model of in-person and virtual learning for the upcoming fall semester. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
McKinney ISD is exploring a hybrid model of in-person and virtual learning for the upcoming fall semester. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

McKinney ISD is exploring a hybrid model of in-person and virtual learning for the upcoming fall semester. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

A McKinney ISD task force is helping the district prepare for the 2020-21 school year by examining three different learning options.

These options are face-to-face instruction, a hybrid of in-person and at-home learning, and 100% virtual instruction.

Members of the task force presented their findings to the MISD board of trustees at its June 23 meeting. Earlier that day, the Texas Education Agency released guidelines mandating school districts to offer some form of on-campus instruction during the 2020-21 school year.

Superintendent Rick McDaniel said his preference for an educational environment is face-to-face instruction, but he said that parents will have the option to allow their children to continue remote learning, even as the district prepares for a return to classrooms under TEA guidelines.

“We will have a virtual ability to deliver instruction, and we will also have an in-person ability to do so,” he said.


During the board meeting, MISD teacher Stephanie Bird illustrated how a hybrid model could be implemented across all classrooms. She pulled up a Zoom meeting with volunteer “students” and demonstrated that teachers can share their screen to give lessons to students virtually while simultaneously teaching to students in a classroom.

Bird said this method also allows her to give students quizzes and tests with or without time limits. Preparing lessons for this format took about the same amount of time as it had for a traditional classroom setting, she said.

“It was not easy trying to figure out all the different pieces and making sure all the pieces worked together,” Bird said. “But now that I have a good system of, ‘Wow, this really works well,’ I think it'd be easy then to go to different teachers and say, ‘This is how you can do it.’”

McDaniel noted this model would be an “improvement” over what teachers had to adapt to during the spring, and board members also commented on the value of having lessons recorded and available in the district’s Canvas system for students to revisit if needed for their assignments.

This also provides a solution for if the coronavirus resurges and the school district needs to adopt an all-virtual format, trustees said. Staff also pointed out that there would be enough devices for every student should this need arise.

While trustees applauded the presentation, McDaniel noted that this was not the district’s final plan. The state has yet to offer final guidance to districts on what in-person instruction and public health measures must look like during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Without this information on safety measures, the district is pushing back its upcoming announcement about its final plan for the upcoming school year, McDaniel said.

This plan should still be released in July, he said, and parents will have the opportunity to digest the plan and the information in it before the district sends out a form to parents. This form will ask parents to submit what kind of instruction they prefer heading into the next school year.

“Parents need to make an informed decision based upon whether or not they can send their students to school and remain safe,” McDaniel said. “So the guidelines and structures that we need to put in place, those that will be mandated, and those that we decide as a district have to be finalized before we can give the plan to the public and allow them to make an informed decision. So I assure you as quickly as we can possibly do that, we'll get the plan out.”
By Miranda Jaimes
Miranda has been in the North Texas area since she graduated from Oklahoma Christian University in 2014. She reported and did design for a daily newspaper in Grayson County before she transitioned to a managing editor role for three weekly newspapers in Collin County. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2017 covering Tarrant County news, and is now back in Collin County as the editor of the McKinney edition.


MOST RECENT

The new Children's Advocacy Center of Collin County facility is expected to open in fall 2020. (Courtesy Children's Advocacy Center of Collin County)
Children's Advocacy Center of Collin County to open new facility in McKinney

The need for the 40,000-square-foot facility comes from the projection that the number of children in the county will triple over the next 25 years.

Chris Thornton is sworn into the McKinney City Council Dec. 1 to fill the vacancy for the District 1 seat. (Screenshot by Miranda Jaimes/Community Impact Newspaper)
McKinney City Council appoints Chris Thornton to fill Shemwell vacancy

At the start of the meeting, Mayor George Fuller said residents of McKinney’s east side were engaged in the discussion of who should fill the District 1 seat.

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has launched a campaign to address declining college enrollment numbers across the state since the pandemic started. (Courtesy Pexels)
Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board launches campaign to boost college enrollment

The decline in college enrollment across the state of Texas has prompted several agencies to partner up and create online resources for students and counselors.

The grilled chicken salad comes with a peanut dressing. (Courtesy Spoon   Fork Thai Kitchen)
Spoon + Fork Thai Kitchen offering Asian fusion in McKinney

Formerly known as Silk Road Thai Cuisine, the Asian fusion restaurant offers a selection of Thai curries and entrees, as well as a full bar.

As of Nov. 30, patients confirmed to have COVID-19 filled 16.1% of hospital beds in Trauma Service Area E, which includes Collin, Denton, Tarrant and Dallas counties among others. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
North Texas hovers above key COVID-19 hospitalization threshold as further restrictions loom

North Texas businesses could face additional restrictions—including the closure of some bars—if area hospitals do not see a reversal in the number of COVID-19 patients within a matter of days.

Meals on Wheels Collin County expects to serve about 300,000 meals to homebound seniors and disabled adults throughout the county during 2020. (Courtesy Meals on Wheels Collin County)
Meals on Wheels expects to serve 300K meals in Collin County this year

Meals on Wheels Collin County is on pace to provide 300,000 meals this year to nearly 2,000 seniors.

Artio Birth Care opened in October at 614 S. Edmonds Lane, Ste. 205, Lewisville. The education center offers classes and groups for people preparing for childbirth. (Courtesy Artio Birth Care)
Artio Birth Care opens in Lewisville, plus 7 more DFW business updates

Here are eight recent business updates from across the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Mitzi's Sonoma offers wine and gifts, such as this tea starter kit. (Courtesy Mitzi's Sonoma)
Mitzi’s Sonoma moves to new location in downtown McKinney

The fine wine and gift shop, which is just off the square in downtown McKinney, offers a curated selection of wine from around the world.

D'Ambrosio's #1 Pizza Pub will offer customers a friendly environment to enjoy a more contemporary style of Chicago deep-dish pizza. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
D'Ambrosio's pizzeria opens in Grapevine and more DFW news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Family Health Center at Virginia Parkway is readying to open. (Miranda Jaimes/Community Impact Newspaper)
New health clinic to serve McKinney's uninsured population

The Family Health Center at Virginia Parkway is preparing to open a new, larger facility near downtown McKinney to provide primary care services in underserved areas and to patients who are uninsured and underinsured.

Habitat for Humanity of Collin County is headquartered near the McKinney ReStore. (Courtesy Brandon Washington, Habitat for Humanity of Collin County)
Habitat for Humanity of Collin County navigates through coronavirus to help local families

Some members of the McKinney community have continued to help out in a big way, said Doug Fair, the nonprofit’s philanthropy manager.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced a COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan for the state Nov. 23 for a vaccine he said could be available as soon as December. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announces COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan

The vaccine could start being distributed "as early as next month," according to a Nov. 23 news release.