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Local school districts adjusting to online attendance taking

Per TEA guidelines students must show online engagement to be marked present.
Published: Sep. 16, 2020 at 6:10 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) -A school year that includes online learning has forced school districts like Bryan and College Station ISDs to adapt to the way attendance is taken.

“We really look for ‘what are you doing academically?’ ‘How are you engaging in that course or with the teachers daily?’,” said Barbra Ybarra BISD Associate Superintendent of Teaching and Learning.

CSISD Chief Administrative Officer Molley Perry says engagement looks different for each class and grade level.

“That could be participation in a class discussion. It could be online synchronous zoom meetings with their teacher. It might be the completion of an assignment or participation of a test,” said Perry.

For the first week of school, CSISD online learner’s attendance rates were at 92 percent, with in-person attendance at 95 percent.

“It’s important to understand we were still working out the kinks then and distributing technology to those in need and we’re pleased to see that, that number is increasing and we’re over 93 percent at this point in terms of weekly participation rate for our virtual learners,” said Perry.

BISD numbers look a little different due to combining all learner’s attendance. At the beginning of the school year, that number was at 91 percent but has since dropped to 86 percent.

“We are seeing a dip over last year at the same time, I don’t think it’s always reflective of the reality of what students are experiencing,” said Ybarra.

Ybarra says according to Texas Education Agency guidelines students are counted present by daily engagements.

“If you didn’t do activities every day that the class if offered even if you had all the work done on Monday, technically according to TEA you’d be counted absent,” said Ybarra.

Both districts say they continue to work with the learning curve of changes to this school year to ensure the best education for students.

“Developing those relationships is key in order to get our kids engaged and maintaining that engagement and learning during the at-home learning process,” said Perry.

“We continue to work with students and with families and with teachers so that kids are counted present but more importantly so that students are learning,” said Ybarra.

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