HISD Board meeting Thur 9/10. Sign up to speak by 9:30 am Thur and Zoom and Tell CVPE meeting on Sat at 11 am
Join CVPE this Saturday for a Zoom and Tell Town Hall: Back to school stories in the time of Corona
RSVP for zoom link to http://www.houstoncvpe.org/zoom_and_tell
Agenda: Panel discussion and breakout with teachers, students and parents from HISD, Aldine ISD, New Caney ISD and other districts talking about their experiences the first weeks of school. what worked, what didn't, what do we dream about and how we can help to promote equity and safety in our schools.
The HISD Board meeting (ZOOM) is Thursday at 5 pm. Can you speak?
Would you speak to support the extension of virtual instruction by 2 weeks (A2) and/or oppose the district of innovation(F1a)?
Speakers must sign up by 9:30 am on Thursday. Registered speakers to agenda items speak at the beginning of the meeting. You will receive a call at around 5pm to your phone from a NY number. You will be muted and when it is your turn to speak, they will say your name and tell you to begin. If you are watching the board meeting, mute the volume since there is a 30 second delay. If you need assistance, email email@example.com.
A-2: Support the extension of virtual instruction by 4 weeks.
We support Houston ISD for starting online and for relying on science—and not convenience— to determine when it's safe to reopen face-to face. Read more on pg 11 of the meeting agenda. While the start has been rocky especially for the parents who found out at the 11th hour that their children would have to attend school face-to-face at a digital learning center until more devices came in, it could be much much worse.
Last night, the Humble ISD school board decided to ignore the pandemic and voted to return to 100% face to face instruction on September 21. Parents may still choose virtual instruction. Below is an upsetting excerpt from Humble ISD's presentation last night. Houston ISD, unlike the Humble ISD board, is acting to ensure that the safety of students and educators comes first.
F.1: Formation of district of innovation committee. Ask HISD to indefinitely postpone the district of "innovation" (DOI) process.
HISD is seeking three DOI exemptions and is voting tomorrow to proceed with forming a DOI committee to write the exemptions. None of the exemptions are relevant to the pandemic we are facing and the first two can be addressed with existing policy. They are-
- Hiring uncertified individuals to teach Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses. NOT NECESSARY. There are already existing methods to hire hard-to-hire CTE teachers like welders. If Houston ISD implements DOI, it opens the door to hire uncertified teachers in ALL subjects.
- Exempting HISD from the minimum attendance for class credit requirement (90% attendance rule) NOT NECESSARY. There are already many existing exemptions to the 90% attendance rule. One existing policy allows a principal to award course credit to a student for missing up to 25% (45 days) of class through summer school, grad lab and emerging state responses to possible school closures.
- Starting the school year earlier than the fourth Monday in August. School districts may not start the school year before the fourth Monday in August unless they use the DOI provision or choose a year-round 11 month schedule with intersessions built into the school year. Furthermore, because of COVID, the state rules regarding school start dates may look very different next year.
Should any of the other allowed DOI exemptions —two pages of teacher and student protections—be chosen in committee, the final product will do far more harm than good. If the DOI is approved for the three exemptions, it opens a true Pandora’s Box of opportunity to further amend the plan to provide more exemptions allowing the district to operate like a charter school by exempting the school district from teacher and parent protections enshrined in law like class size limits, parent due process rights for discipline and teacher contracts.
Proceeding with the DOI process right now sends the wrong message to parents and educators about what HISD values. but the safety to protect our students, teachers and staff cannot wait.