ROUNDUP: Education news to know during the pandemic in Tomball, Magnolia ISDs

Here are the latest education updates affecting families in Tomball and Magnolia ISDs. (Dylan Sherman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Here are the latest education updates affecting families in Tomball and Magnolia ISDs. (Dylan Sherman/Community Impact Newspaper)

Here are the latest education updates affecting families in Tomball and Magnolia ISDs. (Dylan Sherman/Community Impact Newspaper)

Tomball ISD said in a June 24 letter to families that the district will resume classes Aug. 18 as planned. However, Tomball and Magnolia ISDs are awaiting further guidance from the Texas Education Agency before finalizing plans for the fall, district officials said in June.

Here is the latest education news affecting families in Tomball and Magnolia ISDs.

Fall plans

  • TISD Superintendent Martha Salazar-Zamora said June 8 the board of trustees would continue its discussion on fall plans at a July meeting. In June, district officials said there are no plans currently for the district to modify its approved 2020-21 academic calendar in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

  • To consider how school can best resume, TISD has formed a re-entry task force made up of the executive team, central office administration and campus administration, Salazar-Zamora said June 8.

  • Although no plans have been finalized, both Tomball and Magnolia ISDs have mentioned a possible hybrid model, offering classroom and online learning.

  • To prepare for the fall, MISD Director of Communications Denise Meyers said the district is purchasing 6,700 student devices and researching how to provide extended Wi-Fi coverage to families in need. MISD is also modifying its professional development this summer so teachers will be better prepared for a variety of learning environments.

Read more about how education could look this fall here.

Summer announcements

  • In June, MISD extended its meal service through Aug. 11. Meals are available at three elementary school locations from 9 a.m.-noon on Mondays and Wednesdays. TISD's curbside meal service ended June 24, but the final meal distribution was canceled during to COVID-19 and inclement weather.

  • Athletic camps were also suspended June 24 for TISD's more than 950 student athletes, according to district information, as a precautionary measure amid state and county announcements regarding rising numbers of COVID-19. The camps are suspended for at least two weeks, according to a June 24 letter from the district.

  • TISD approved its $157.7 million budget June 9 with pay raises and no change in the property tax rate.

  • MISD announced new administrators in June, including a chief academic officer.

State actions

  • The TEA announced plans June 9 to distribute personal protective equipment, such as face masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and thermometers, to help school districts reopen for the 2020-21 school year.

  • School districts also have multiple options to adjust their 2020-21 calendars in response to COVID-19, per the TEA.

  • Despite no finalized plans, Gov. Greg Abbott said June 18 Texas students will be returning to public schools in person this fall.

  • Although Texans Asking for Meaningful Student Assessment, or TAMSA, is calling upon state officials to waive student testing for the 2020-21 school year in light of the long-term effects of the pandemic on families, Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Morath gave a presentation to the State Board of Education on June 30 in which he told board members that students will once again be required to take the STAAR test in the 2020-21 school year.

  • A report released July 1 by the TEA shows about 11.3% of students in Texas public schools either did not complete assignments or respond to teacher outreach for some period of time during school closures this spring from the pandemic.

By Anna Lotz

Editor, Tomball/Magnolia & Conroe/Montgomery

Anna joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in May 2016 after graduating with a degree in journalism from Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio. In July 2017, she transitioned to editor for the Tomball/Magnolia edition. She began covering the communities of Conroe and Montgomery as well in 2020. Anna covers education, local government, transportation, business, real estate development and nonprofits in these communities. Prior to CI, Anna served as editor-in-chief of Cedars, interned with the National Journalism Center in Washington, D.C., and spent time writing for the Springfield News-Sun and Xenia Daily Gazette.