NZISD adjusts to new normal

Posted 9/22/20

North Zulch ISD has been navigating the new normal during the COVID-19 pandemic through the first six weeks of their fall semester and, according to Superintendent Alan Andrus, are adjusting smoothly.

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NZISD adjusts to new normal

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North Zulch ISD has been navigating the new normal during the COVID-19 pandemic through the first six weeks of their fall semester and, according to Superintendent Alan Andrus, are adjusting smoothly.

“It has been going really well,” said Andrus. “Currently, we have about 88% of our students learning in person and 12% doing the home portion of that. Students who do not have internet access are given hotspots for them to take home. We are using Chromebooks in grades five through 12 and pre-K through fourth grade are using iPads.”

The district’s virtual option is a Remote Asynchronous Instruction format, which does not require having an instructor and student engaged at the same time. In this method, students learn from instruction that is not necessarily being delivered in-person or in real-time.

“I think, overall, we have had really good success with it,” said Andrus. “It’s a trial and error basis when you are dealing with the internet and devices. It can take a bit for students and parents to get acclimated to learning at home and realizing it is not the spring, we are not using handouts and those types of things. When you are learning at home, it takes six or seven hours a day to complete all of your assignments and to complete coursework.”

This type of instruction includes various forms of digital and online learning, such as prerecorded video lessons or game-based learning tasks that students complete on their own, and preassigned work and formative assessments made available to students on paper. Students earn daily attendance through daily engagement.

“Early on it was very stressful for the teachers,” said Andrus. “We are very fortunate and blessed to be able to give the teachers two conference periods where they are able to work with students that are learning at home and also prepare lessons that are being sent home. I think that has helped a lot.”

Students who are participating in at-home learning will have the option to return to campus for in-person instruction. The district has already allowed some students to return under certain circumstances.

“We have allowed some to come back early on case-by-case scenarios,” said Andrus. “I think, getting through the first week-and-a-half, parents and students were nervous about going back to school and how it would look. Now everybody is kind of getting into a rhythm, and I think everyone is getting accustomed to this new normal.”

The NZISD school board held their monthly meeting for September on Thursday. The agenda’s lone item was the annually required Evaluating and Improving Student Outcomes (EISO) Training and Team of Eight board training.

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