July 2, 2020
Good Afternoon Blacksmith Families,
As you are hopefully enjoying your summer break and are relaxing before we begin school this year, we would like to update you on our work for the past several weeks. We know that the spring semester of SY 19/20 did not progress as any of us had planned or would have wanted. The effects of the pandemic and altered paths as a result of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) touches us all in some way. We are developing educational options and planning for health and safety protocols that will comply with the direction of our state authorities and protect our students and staff members.
We would also like to thank you for the feedback you provided in our most recent parent survey. The insight has been helpful as we analyze how our distance learning efforts were delivered. We will continue to review the open-ended questions. We are also consulting other external sources and talking with superintendents from our surrounding school districts, reviewing directives that are available from the Texas Education Agency (TEA), and public health officials as we plan for the coming semester.
Over the past several weeks, staff teams have been evaluating how we provide flexibility for our parents and students, while maintaining our rigor and the expectations of an IB education. The teams consist of staff from on-campus administration and technology, athletics, facilities, extra-curricular support, teaching staff, coordinators, counseling, and the superintendent’s office. They are discussing the following:
Health and Safety Protocols
Academic Methodology and Instructional Practices
Food Safety, Sports, and Extra-curricular Events
These teams will continue to work through the summer and collaborate in preparing a robust plan that will ensure we are providing the educational opportunities and instruction that our students need to be successful this coming year.
I want you to know that we are working hard to provide flexibility and educational options for the next school year. Some of those options depend on the state’s final determination on school funding. I also know that many of you have questions that have not been answered and that you will need those answers to formulate a plan for your family. As of today, we are planning for both in-person (on campus) and remote educational opportunities so that we can accommodate all of our student needs.
We are on weekly phone calls with TEA that we hope will soon provide us with some guidance. You may have read about school districts who have published plans for returning to campus – some of those have been issued in ‘draft form’ and will require revisions as TEA issues their new guidance. We are also working on a return to school plan and will release this soon. There are still many unknowns that will affect our planning efforts over the next few weeks.
Thank you again for your dedication to your children’s education and to Westlake Academy! We know that you are all concerned that your students receive the very best in education, and that they have a healthy and safe campus.
Westlake Academy Superintendent