The Texas Education Agency has provided districts with the option to submit a request for 40% campus hybrid instruction for ninth- through 12th-grade students, which permits districts to require students who are not testing to learn remotely from home on scheduled district testing days.
For the kindergarten through eighth-grade levels, TEA has given districts the option to apply for a waiver to require non-testing students in elementary and junior high schools to learn remotely from home on scheduled district testing days.
The KISD board of trustees voted Feb. 22 to apply for both waivers.
The two waivers will come into play on STAAR, EOC and SAT testing days in April and May, said Natalie Martinez, executive director of research, assessment and accountability at KISD. Students who are not testing on those days will go to school at home.
This setup will allow the district to reduce the number of individuals on campus at any one time during testing, thus ensuring that safety measures and protocols are in place, Martinez said.
“This transition allows campuses to focus on safety protocols while still meeting the federal and state testing requirement,” she said.
School days will not be lost for students who do not test and instead remain at home on testing days, Martinez said, because teachers will have prepared lessons for those students to complete at home.
“It's not a day where they will be face-to-face or even Zoom-to-Zoom with a teacher, but they will have their assignments that they're expected to complete at home,” Martinez said, adding that the district is assured of the efficacy of this system.
Before coming in front of the board, the waivers were presented Feb. 9 to Katy Improvement Council and received no objections, Martinez said.
KISD trustee Dawn Champagne said at the Feb. 22 meeting that while she understood the need for the waivers, she wanted to ensure there is a plan in place for students who are not testing but accidentally arrive at school on testing days.
“I'm wondering what the plan is for the kids ... who are going to inevitably show up at school that aren't supposed to be at school that day,” she said.
Martinez said communication about the new setup is ongoing and reassured the board that schools will have plans in place for students who accidentally show up at school on testing days.