Back to School Efforts Underway

Superintendent John Craft announced plans for a virtual start
By: Todd Martin

As educators reform the landscape of education, Killeen ISD leaders are looking more than ever to community partners and parent support.
Superintendent John Craft presented the district’s Return to Learn plan to the Board of Trustees Tuesday to begin school all virtual Aug. 17 and to add face-to-face instruction to those who request it following the Labor Day weekend.
He outlined the back-to-school plan Wednesday in a livestreamed media conference in the Administration Building boardroom.
Maintaining the scheduled start of school in a virtual format allows students to re-engage in learning, while providing three weeks of acclimation for teachers before adding in-person students Sept. 8.
“It’s important to get back to learning,” Craft said Wednesday, noting that the circumstances surrounding COVID-19 are not likely to change between Aug. 17 and Sept. 8.
During the board meeting, Craft credited KISD’s curriculum leaders and instructional technology specialists for doing “the heavy lifting” during the summer to design online virtual lessons to engage students at every level.

With the all-virtual first day of school less than three weeks away and registration now underway, numerous support efforts are in motion.
Teachers return to their campuses Tuesday to begin 10 days of professional development mainly aimed at learning to navigate virtual teaching techniques and to become familiar with safety protocols aimed at mitigating virus spread.
Parents may register through the district’s website and may request through their child’s campus to receive devices and connectivity if needed. The school district will also provide a hotline for technology assistance.
Using platforms like Seesaw, the virtual learning environment will be far more engaging and effective than it was during the last grading period of 2019-2020 when KISD and other school districts turned quickly to available resources.
The start of school will bring customized, designed lessons, conferencing availability with teachers and for younger students the ability to learn through self-paced recorded lessons.
“We have learned a tremendous amount about how to engage virtually with students,” Craft said. “We are light years ahead of where we were in the spring.”
The superintendent praised the Bell County Health Department for staying in close touch throughout the spread of coronavirus. “It’s really important we coordinate with the health authorities and that we rely on their expertise and data analysis.”
Students who choose to return to the traditional classroom in September will be expected to socially distance when possible, to wear a face covering and to wash hands frequently. Campuses will create entry and exit plans, transition routines and “teacher zone” workspaces.
See KISD’s Return to Learn updates at the following: