Back to school

Back to school: Back. Together. Better.

Back, together, and better than ever

At Northside ISD, we are as anxious as our students and parents to once again be back together. As we prepare for the 2020-2021 school year, guidelines will be provided to help ensure a safe and healthy teaching and learning environment.

The safety of our students and staff are at the forefront of all planning. Northside is prepared to help prevent, mitigate and respond to the COVID-19 virus, and this will require our collective efforts.

NISD will begin the school year on Monday, Aug. 24 with all virtual learning. There will be no in-person instruction until at least the Tuesday after Labor Day, Sept. 8. 

NISD will continue to closely monitor the situation and take guidance from Metro Health Department, Texas Department of State Health Services, and the Center for Disease Control. But as we continue through these unprecedented times, we ask everyone to be mindful of the key preventative measures of wearing masks, social distancing, washing hands thoroughly, and staying home when sick.

Community Playbook

community playbook cover

Virtual Learning Hub (Schoology)

As a parent, you have access to view everything your student has been assigned as well as the resources needed to complete the assignment. You will also see the feedback and assignment grades provided by the teacher.

Instructional Learning Options for 2020-2021


Commitments for In-Person Learning
  • Ensure your student is in attendance daily in order to meet the 90% attendance requirement
  • Ensure you screen your student daily and only send to school if are cleared to do so
  • Ensure students understand that they will be wearing face coverings during the day at school and adhering to the safety protocols set by the district and each campus
  • Understand that at the high school level, instruction will be provided using an alternating day hybrid model
  • Become familiar with the Learning Management System (LMS), Schoology, to provide support as needed
  • Maintain communication with your child’s teachers by phone, email, or online meetings to receive feedback on their progress and create a learning partnership
  • Ensure your child has required school supplies necessary for learning
  • Set up a Home Access Center (HAC) account to monitor grades and progress
Commitments for Virtual Learning
  • Ensure your student follows their assigned schedule and participates in all classes synchronously and asynchronously in order to meet the 90% attendance requirement
  • Ensure there is a designated learning space for your student at home free of distractions
  • Check out an electronic device from the district, if needed
  • Ensure there is adequate internet in the household, or seek assistance from the district
  • Understand that select high school courses may involve some in-person requirements that can not be done in a virtual environment
  • Understand that the selection of the virtual learning model must remain the entire 9-week grading period before having the option of transitioning to in-person learning
  • Become familiar with the Learning Management System (LMS), Schoology, to provide support as needed
  • Maintain communication with your child’s teachers by phone, email, or online meetings to receive feedback on their progress and create a learning partnership
  • Ensure your child has required school supplies necessary for learning
  • Set up a Home Access Center (HAC) account to monitor grades and progress
Summary of learning options

Let us know your choice

Parents are asked to notify NISD of their instructional program selection by Sunday, Aug. 16

View a sample of the survey

Dr. Woods talks with "SA Live"

Where can I find the updated Academic Calendar for 2020-2021?

On July 14, the NISD Board of Trustees took action to amend the 2020-2021 District school calendar. The first day of school remains Aug. 24, 2020. The changes, while minor, are reflected below:

  • Moving of the Oct. 12 staff development day to Nov. 3 so students will not be in school buildings during voting on Election Day.
  • Grading periods for secondary students have been changed from 6 week grading periods to 9 week grading periods to provide more time for remediation and enrichment and allow for fewer transitions.
  • An additional 15 minutes will be added to each school day to provide additional instructional minutes.

What are the school hours for the 2020-2021 school year?

High School: 9:00 - 4:30 Middle School: 8:40 - 4:05 Elementary School: 7:45 - 3:10

Instruction

What is a Learning Management System (LMS)?

NISD will begin utilizing Schoology, an online Learning Management System (LMS). Schoology will provide teachers, students, and parents with a one-stop location for accessing assignments, participating in classroom discussions, and communicating between parents and teachers. In the coming weeks, NISD will provide training to teachers on how to use the platform. Training videos and materials for parents will also be coming soon.


Will parents have access to Schoology?

As a parent or guardian, you can access your Schoology account on your mobile device. With one login, you can see your child’s classes including due dates of assignments. NISD will partner with Schoology to provide training on how to create and use your parent account.

What are my options?

At this time, the Bexar County Metro Health Department has issued a health directive that all classes be held virtually, which means that students will remain at home for learning for the first two weeks of school with the possibility that this date could be extended based on health conditions at the time. After that the District will offer two options for student learning: in-person or virtual learning.

In both options:

  • Instruction will be provided by certified and highly-qualified teachers.
  • Students will have access to a wealth of District resources, including instructional materials and 
  • support staff.
  • State daily attendance requirements will apply.
  • Grading policies will be in effect, including calculation of Grade Point Average (GPA).
  • Students will have access to virtual learning through Schoology, a robust learning management 
  • system that replaces Google Classroom.

In-Person Learning Option:  

  • With safety precautions and protocols in place, students attend school in-person with a teacher or 
  • teachers delivering instruction in classroom settings within school buildings.
  • Safety practices will be in place:
  • The use of face masks by staff and students (when developmentally appropriate)
  • Enhanced and frequent sanitation protocols
  • Access to hand sanitizer and/or soap and water for frequent use
  • The practice of social distancing when possible.
  • Families who choose this model may transition their child to the virtual learning model
  • NISD transportation will be available with enhanced sanitation protocols following after each route.

Virtual Learning Option:

  • Using technology from home or technology provided by the District, students attend school from 
  • home with a teacher or teachers delivering instruction virtually.
  • Instruction will be provided synchronously (real-time) and/or asynchronously (independently).
  • Daily attendance requirements will be in place.
  • Some secondary courses will have in-person expectations.
  • Families who choose this model must commit to remain in this model for a 9-week grading period 
  • before having the option of transitioning to in-person learning.

Where can I find school supply lists?

Both a virtual supply list and a in-person supply list are available on each elementary school supply list page.

Student Registration

If I choose one learning option and want to change later in the year, can I switch?

Yes. According to the Texas Education Agency (TEA), families will have an opportunity to change learning options at the end of the 9-week grading period.

How do I register?

All Northside ISD students, whether new, must register online. Returning students should have completed Priority Registration or Student data validation via the Home Access Center.  If you have questions, contact your school office.

Will attendance be mandatory or taken?

Yes. Regardless of the instructional model selected, students should attend class and have daily interaction with a teacher. Whether in-person or online, students are expected to report to school on time and ready to learn daily. Attendance will be taken.

What options do I have?

In-person learning option: This option will consist of in-person instruction, which includes face-to-face classroom instruction using safety protocols to protect students and staff. (For details go to Instruction section).

Virtual learning option: Using technology from home or technology provided by the District, students attend school from home with a teacher or teachers delivering instruction virtually.

Athletics, Fine Arts, and extracurriculars

If we choose virtual learning, will my child have the opportunity to participate in Fine Arts/Athletics?

Students participating in virtual learning may participate in UIL and other extracurricular activities if they meet all other UIL eligibility requirements. Students must be enrolled in the school the student will represent.

Are athletics and fine arts events, such as practices and games, still on schedule?

On Tuesday, July 21, the UIL modified its calendar for the start of the 2020-21 school year. For the latest information about UIL schedules, visit the UIL website.

What precautions will be in place for athletics, fine arts, and other extracurricular activities?

Athletic and Fine Arts guidelines and protocols will include discipline- or sport-specific guidelines for personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff and students, sanitization processes, and distancing protocols following the guidance of state and local entities and the UIL. 


Technology/Device Distribution

What should I do if I don’t have access to a device or the internet?

Please contact your child's campus if they are in need of a mobile device or assistance with internet access in order to complete virtual learning.

What do I do if I need a device?

Families who need devices/internet access for virtual learning can request them beginning Aug. 10 through their schools. Forms will be posted on each school website and appointments will be scheduled for pickup. PreK through 1st-grade students will receive iPads and 2nd through 12th-grade students will receive Chromebooks. Requests will be handled on a first-come, first-served basis. Additional devices will be delivered later this fall to complete our District one-to-one initiative.  


Transportation

Will social distancing be observed on buses, and how will seating arrangements be determined?

Distance between students will be maintained when possible and students will be seated strategically to maintain distance. However, TEA guidance does not require reducing bus capacity. Seating arrangements will depend on the capacity of individual routes. Families are encouraged to drop students off, carpool, or walk with their student to school when possible to reduce virus exposure on buses.


Child Nutrition

What about meals for this coming school year?

Child Nutrition Services will be offering several options for students whether students are on-campus learning or at home through virtual learning. They include:

  • Traditional in-building breakfast and lunch
  • Curbside hot breakfast and lunch (Check campus locations - coming soon)
  • Supper program at 46 Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) campuses

When should I complete a Free & Reduced Lunch Application?

A new free and reduced lunch meal application is required each school year. Your child’s application is only good for that school year and for the first few days of the new school year.  Reapplication must occur within 30 days of the first day of school. If you do not have a current application on file, meal benefits from the previous school year will expire on the 31st day after the first day of school, which means that students will be charged full price for school meals after Oct. 5, 2020.

How do I make meal payments?

You can make payments online at MySchoolBucks.com

This service also tracks meal balances and student meal history or at your child’s school cafeteria.


Health & Safety

What are the safety protocols?

  • What about health screeners? Every adult (staff and parents) who comes in the building will need to use the screener app. On the front door of all campuses and departments is a QR code. All adults (staff and parents) are required to scan that code and fill out a health questionnaire prior to entering the building. Once you complete the questions, you will receive either a green screen to enter or a red screen indicating the need to speak with a supervisor.  
  • Will face masks be required? Yes, all adults and students will be required to wear masks in NISD buildings and classrooms.  
  • Will hand sanitizers be available? Yes. Hand sanitizer will be provided in classrooms in general areas of the building.  
  • Will there be extra signage about health precautions and expectations? Signage has been designed and printed for use by campuses and departments as visual reminders to students, staff, and visitors of the safety guidelines that will be in place.  
  • What about plexiglass? Plexiglass dividers have been placed in high-trafficked areas on campuses. These include areas where communication between individuals takes place more often (i.e. cafeteria serving lines, front offices, etc.).  
  • Is enhanced cleaning happening? Yes. Custodial staff has been trained in enhanced sanitation protocols and have been working to ensure all facilities are cleaned and prepped. In addition, the District has revamped custodial work hours to ensure that additional staff are in place during the school day.

Are immunizations still required?

Yes. Current immunizations (a list is available online) are still required whether learning in-person or virtually. The Texas Department of State Health Services has not waived the vaccine requirements for students.

Special Education services

 What about those students receiving Special Education services?

We know that in-person instruction is the best option for many of our students who receive Special Education services and we cannot wait to see them face to face again as soon as it is deemed safe! In the meantime, we will do our best to offer high quality options through virtual learning. With new tools the district will provide teachers, we will see a marked improvement over what we accomplished in the spring.

You can expect communication from your child’s campus during the week of August 17-21 regarding what IEP supports will look like for the duration of virtual learning. Please share your thoughts and concerns on what works best for your student so that we can work collaboratively to ensure that your student’s IEP is implemented to the fullest extent possible.

What will speech services look like in the virtual setting?

Your student's Speech-Language Pathologist will continue to follow the IEP for speech therapy services. Speech therapy will occur during the instructional day and will be in a virtual, synchronous (live) format.

My child is supposed to be tested by the School Psychologist. Will that still occur?

Yes. During the virtual learning period, the LSSP will contact the parent to schedule a time for their child to be brought to the campus to complete the evaluation.

If I choose virtual and then later change my mind to face to face instruction, will my child have the same teacher(s)?

That will be a campus specific situation and will depend on the number of students that choose virtual and face to face options.

Will there be special ed. transportation services once face to face instruction resumes?

Yes. Special education transportation services are determined through an ARD meeting.

Who can I contact for specific questions about my child's Individualized Education Plan (IEP)?

Every special education student is assigned a case manager that is responsible for developing and implementing your child's IEP. This professional is the liaison between school and home. They will report progress towards your child's IEP goals and communicate with the child's teachers.

Is there someone in the district that can assist my family with outside resources and support information?

Yes. NISD employs two social workers that can connect families with resources. Call 210-397-8742 for more information.

In the face to face setting, will students be allowed to change classes or will they remain in one classroom all day?

Yes, students will be allowed to change classes. They will follow the schedule issued by the campus.

If I have questions once school starts who do I contact?

The first point of contact should be the classroom teacher or case manager. There is a special education parent HOTLINE available Monday-Friday from 8:00AM-5:00PM, 210-398-2522.

My child received homebound services last school year. Who do I contact if I have questions about homebound this school year?

Homebound services will continue as they have in the past. Please contact 210-397-8811 for specific information.

Will my student have access to brailled materials if I choose the virtual setting?

Yes. Your child will receive all needed instructional material in braille. For specific questions about your child and their instructional material in braille please contact your child's Teacher of the Visually Impaired.

Who should I contact if I have questions in regards to my child's braille reader or other VI specific technology device?

The first point of contact should be your child's Teacher of the Visually Impaired or case manager. There is a special education parent HOTLINE available Monday-Friday from 8:00AM-5:00PM, 210-398-2522.

How will my student get the individual attention and reteach he/she requires at home?

All teachers will have office hours in addition to providing synchronous instruction throughout the school day. All special education students have a case manager that will check in with them throughout the school week. The district will also offer virtual tutoring after hours including weekends with certified teachers.

Will WBL be going on community instruction?

No, the Vocational Instruction Program, previously known as WBL will not be going off campus this semester. We will be reevaluating at semester.

Will ARDs be virtual?

Yes, ARD meetings and parent conferences will continue to be virtual.

Is regular attendance required?

Yes. Regardless of the instructional model selected, students should attend class and have daily interaction with a teacher. Whether in-person or online, students are expected to report to school on time and ready to learn daily. Attendance will be taken.

Will ALE students be required to log in at certain times and sit through instruction? This may be an endurance/behavior issue.

ALE students will be expected to log in, however, the amount of time will depend upon the student's tolerance level.

Will BMC be available?

Behavior supports listed in a student's IEP will be provided to the extent possible in a virtual setting.

ALE Classroom: Will students in ALE be able to stay in their classroom with their ALE peers or will they be out and about (i.e. cafeteria, gym, band)?

Students will follow the schedule issued by the campus. Specific scheduling questions or accommodations to meet the needs of students will need to be discussed with campus staff.

My child receives OT and PT services. What will those look like in the virtual setting?

In a virtual distance learning format, OT and PT related services will continue to be provided through collaborative, integrative and consultative methods which support student access and participation in their educational program. Services may include contact with the student, family, teachers and other related service staff through phone calls, video conferencing, email, posting specific suggestions (activities, videos, etc.) in the school learning management system, as well as participation in ARD meetings. Therapists will continue to support students’ acquisition of personal DME equipment, including equipment evaluations, through collaboration with the students’ vendors and families via various Telehealth formats. Student specific materials/supplies may be delivered to a student’s front door with instruction for use.

Social and Emotional Health of Students

Does your child need some emotional support from a counselor?

NISD counselors ready to offer support

Northside ISD counselors are available and want to virtually meet with their students from the safety of their homes. Fill out the google request form to meet with your counselor. Once the meeting is scheduled, the student will receive a Google Calendar invite and an email showing the date and time to meet with his/her counselor by Google Chat or Google Hangout. Counselors are also available by email. Appointments are available from 8 a.m. through 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Be sure to check your Google email accounts for appointment confirmations.