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Belton ISD Trustees Discuss Plans for Beginning School Year

Trustees also approve 2020-2021 budget and Key Progress Measures to advance and track success toward district goals

BELTON, TX — During a meeting held in person at the Pittenger Fine Arts Center on Monday, the Belton ISD Board of Trustees discussed what school will look like when the year kicks off on Sept. 8.

The district’s approach to planning for At-School Learning has been to prepare for multiple scenarios of prevention and mitigation measures that may be necessary during the course of the school year. These efforts, outlined at www.bisd.net/responseplan, are to allow the district to remain agile to changing local health conditions and public health guidance, while remaining committed to creating exceptional learning experiences for students.

“Families who choose At-School Learning are encouraged to be prepared to embrace any of the five scenarios on the district’s System Response Guide,” said Superintendent Matt Smith. “Our hope - if we have to start in Scenario 4 to control the number of students on campuses - is that it’s temporary for just a few weeks to make sure our systems are working and everyone is taking this seriously.”

Smith said the district is doing everything possible to get students in school.

“We want our students to be face-to-face. It has been my hope that the longer we can hold off on making that decision, the better chance we have of opening in five days of face-to-face instruction,” Smith said. “I understand the implications this decision has on families and everyone around them. If we want our kids to be able to be in school, we have to be as intentional as possible on how they start school.”

The district plans to announce the scenario it will start in as soon as this week. 

In addition to Scenario 4’s hybrid schedule, the district is also implementing a year-long change to a block schedule across all scenarios at secondary campuses as a prevention and mitigation strategy to reduce the number of hallway transitions during the day.

As part of their planning for state COVID-19 requirements, the board approved an asynchronous plan to be submitted to the Texas Education Agency. The plan includes details on student schedules, materials design, student progress and implementation for At-School learners when the district is in Scenarios 4 and 5 and for intermittent remote learners.

In other news, the board adopted a $125,276,500 million budget for the district’s 2020-2021 general fund. This includes an increase in operational costs, including the compensation plan approved in July, as the district opens its second comprehensive high school and fourth middle school campus. 

The board also adopted key progress measures to track progress toward five district goals approved earlier this summer. Approved measures include the district moving forward with a long-range strategic plan to be developed by June 2021 that will include community feedback and engagement. 

“These key progress measures are not the only measures of success we will use this year but they are intentionally designed to have a clear focus for us to accomplish tasks that move our system forward,” Smith said. “The most important thing our students, staff and community should see through these measures is the collective commitment to achieve forward progress in Belton ISD.”

This is the first time the district has adopted KPM’s as part of the district’s goals through a process that involved both district and campus leadership.

 

August 17, 2020