LISD emphasizes on-campus learning to increase participation in government funding


During a Curriculum and Instructional Committee meeting last week, Laredo ITS officials outlined the direction school districts may need to take to meet the Texas Education Agency’s criteria for six-week indemnity and average daily attendance funding.

With government funding being vital for school districts across Texas, the pandemic has placed both the TEA and local counties in a difficult position. To address the ADA-based funding issue, the TEA will provide funding based on district attendance rates based on pre-pandemic projections.

LISD Superintendent Sylvia Rios reminded the audience that despite an overall attendance rate of 95.5%, the TEA guidelines will focus on student participation on campus as the semester progresses.

The TEA provided two options for districts to be classified as harmless. In the school districts, at least 80% of all students must be taught on campus in the sixth six weeks. Or, at both LISD and United ISD, on-campus attendance may be as high as the percentage of students enrolled during the Public Education Information Management System report on October 30, 2020.

LISD chose the second option. Officials said the district’s on-campus attendance rate was set at 10.287% or 2,264 students were enrolled on campus. Ayala said the district must hit or exceed 10.287% in the sixth six weeks to meet TEA guidelines. That means these students have had to be on campus every day for the past six weeks.

“The same child must be present for at least ten days during this six-week period,” stated Flor Ayala, LISD’s deputy superintendent for finance and business services.

According to Ayala, LISD expects to see the state in 2019-20 at $ 37,738,316 through weighted compensatory education this year. These funds are a supplement based on identifying and helping students who meet the state’s criteria.

Headmasters will be notified and tasked with communicating the importance of each child’s presence on campus. April 19th marks the start of the next six weeks, and the district needs to closely monitor attendance on campus to match or exceed the 10.287%.

As the second semester will rely on students returning to school for classes on campus. LISD will launch a face-to-face startup program similar to UISD’s Return to Instructional Excellence initiative. The programs will invite students with difficulty and off-curriculum students to return to campus for instruction on STAAR-themed areas.

Dr. However, Gerardo Cruz, deputy superintendent, said the number of students on campus increased after the winter storm in February. Between 2,000 and 2,100 students attend daily, with the district continuing the message of a safe return to campus.

Students selected for the program include students at risk and students involved in extracurricular activities. Returning to campus would allow those at risk to learn personally about the issues they are struggling with, and those doing extracurricular activities could use resources on campus, such as the field house for athletics.

Since the six weeks start on April 19th, the program starts and ends on May 28th. Cruz added that the program could also make summer school attendance easier as more students return to campus.

Rios also reminded families that approximately 90% of LISD workers were vaccinated to prepare for more students to go back to school. Personal protective equipment, social distancing guidelines and other safety measures will be in place to reduce the risk of exposure, she added.

“I think we also know that children learn best in an environment where they are guided, taught, looked after and supervised by a professional. And our teachers and teaching staff do an excellent job as instructors and teaching educators, ”said Trustee Minita Ramirez. “I think this is best for our children, this is best for our community and for the future of our school district.”

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