New Caney ISD superintendent awaits further TEA guidance before proposing 2020-21 plans for school year

New Caney ISD Superintendent Kenn Franklin said in a phone interview he believes it is too soon to make any concrete decisions regarding the next school year. (Screenshot courtesy New Caney ISD YouTube channel)
New Caney ISD Superintendent Kenn Franklin said in a phone interview he believes it is too soon to make any concrete decisions regarding the next school year. (Screenshot courtesy New Caney ISD YouTube channel)

New Caney ISD Superintendent Kenn Franklin said in a phone interview he believes it is too soon to make any concrete decisions regarding the next school year. (Screenshot courtesy New Caney ISD YouTube channel)

With so much uncertainty surrounding starting the 2020-21 school year amid the coronavirus pandemic, New Caney ISD Superintendent Kenn Franklin said in a phone interview he believes it is too soon to make any concrete decisions regarding the next school year.

"We think it's prudent on our part to get more information and clarification, and we haven't received that yet [from the Texas Education Agency]," he said.

The Texas Education Agency has been slowly releasing various guidelines amid the pandemic for the 2020-21 school year. So far, key guidance released by the TEA includes calendar options for school districts; plans to distribute personal protective equipment, such as gloves, masks and sanitizers, to school districts; and guidance for identifying students in need of bilingual services.

Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Morath also told the Texas Board of Education on June 30 that students will be required to take the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR tests, regardless of whether students are learning in-person or remotely.

"As we learned through this whole crisis—this whole pandemic—it's a day-to-day thing," Franklin said. "If you're going to make long-term decisions based on day-to-day advice, then you're at a very dangerous point. We're not looking at anything long-term at this point. We're taking this each day at a time and each week at a time."


NCISD emailed out a survey in late June that intends to gather feedback from parents on how they would like to have their children attend school in the 2020-21 year.

"We have all kinds of choices available and plans available, but we would like for that to be in sync and in step with what the state is mandating," Franklin said. "We don't want to put a plan in place if it's not along state guidelines. Until they give us ... clearer guidelines, we really don't know which plan to put out there."

Community Impact Newspaper has requested a copy of the survey, but it had not been sent by press time. Franklin said the district hopes to have responses back by mid-July and a solid plan for the coming year by late July.

The TEA updated its guidelines June 30 stating districts can ask parents no earlier than two weeks before the start of the school year to commit their children to on-campus or remote learning. School is set to begin Aug. 10 for NCISD students, per the district's calendar.

"[Parents] can be assured that we are looking at a variety of plans. I can't answer that question now whether they'll be at school or at home," Franklin said. "Until then, to the families out there, have faith that we are working on a number of plans and they all prioritize student and staff safety first."
By Kelly Schafler

Managing editor, South Houston

Kelly joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in June 2017 after majoring in print journalism and creative writing at the University of Houston. In March 2019, she transitioned to editor for the Lake Houston-Humble-Kingwood edition and began covering the Spring and Klein area as well in August 2020. In June 2021, Kelly was promoted to South Houston managing editor.