KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
August 22, 2020
By Natalie Cook Clark
This week, Katy ISD welcomed over 80,000 students to the 2020-21 academic year virtually. The District hasn’t held in-person classes since before spring break in March when concerns about and numbers of coronavirus cases began to grow.
Katy ISD Starts the Year Virtually
This year, classes have resumed virtually with the hopes of in-person learning starting September 8 for those families who opted out of the District’s Katy Virtual Academy (KVA). Families are able to change their children’s instructional plans at the end of each grading period.
Prepared for the Fall
This week’s virtual learning looked different than the spring as the District had time to plan and train teachers and staff ahead of the start of the school year.
“Over the summer, school and district staff put in countless hours developing curriculum and protocols to ensure that we could meet both the educational and safety needs of our 84,000 students, as we continue to navigate the COVID situation,” said Dr. Gregorski, Superintendent of Schools for Katy ISD.
Parents, Superintendent, Offer Praise
While many grew frustrated with online instruction at the end of the last school year, initial remarks for this week were very positive.
“Our experience was night and day verses the spring,” says Katy mom Jennifer Lagera. “Our elementary teacher has been extremely organized, extremely patient. Very happy from a high school level, the teachers doing daily Zoom classes with them is the attention they needed.”
“I have three kids in three different Katy ISD schools and things ran smoothly,” says Katy mom Jessica Asmar on social media. “They made all their classes and did not need parental help.”
“I’d like to say, ‘Thank you’ to everyone who worked so hard to make the best of our kids’ first day of school,” praises Jaymie Massey. “I have many teachers in my family, and I know the stress and anxiety they felt trying to prepare for school. All I really care about in these coming weeks is that you are happy to see our kids, happy to teach them by whatever means possible.”
After the first day of school, Dr. Gregorski said, “The success we’ve seen in today’s launch of district-wide virtual instruction is due to every single Katy ISD staff member, parent and student who has been working diligently to get ready for the first day of school.”
This first week has been about getting settled into a new routine and a new way of learning. While some technical issues did occur, and some students’ class schedules needed to be adjusted, this week has been about fixing the process and moving forward with a clear path next week.
Katy Teachers Set the Tone
Katy teachers are working hard to set the tone of the year and help students connect in the new virtual classroom setting.
“The teachers are organized, prepared, and ready for the kiddos,” says Amanda Granhaug. “I am so impressed with the little things they have done to go above and beyond, like my daughter’s first grade teachers made an adorable video of the classroom to show them around during virtual ‘meet the teacher.’”
“I’ve found that questions are answered promptly if there are any and they have made it so easy to access links for each lesson and meeting,” says Granhaug. “I had anxiety going into this week but it has proven to be fairly stress-free on the elementary level.”
Some Had Difficulties, Majority Say It's Better than Spring
Katy Dad, David Rodriguez took to Katy Magazine’s Facebook to comment with concerns.
“The expectation for third and fourth graders to work with Google Sheets and Google Drive is unreal,” says David Rodriguez. “I have a full-time job. I do not have time to navigate seven teachers and their own different styles. We need consistency.”
Many parents still praised the differences in the online experience from last spring to now.
“I thought given the situation, it was pretty organized,” says Loren Allardyce.
Laurie Minard agreed and said, “I thought it was much better than the spring.”
With the first week of school in the books, parents now have a better idea of what to expect moving forward. The District is scheduled to welcome back in-person students on September 8. 51% of students opted to continue with online learning through KVA. Families can change their academic format at the end of each grading period.
“Our motto at home is ‘Let’s roll with it,’” says Massey.