The Prosper ISD School Board met April 20 to discuss updates about how the district is moving forward in the wake of Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to close schools for the remainder of the academic year.
Online instruction began March 18 and the district quickly focused its energy toward shifting instruction online.
Close to 7,000 electronic devices and 58 Wi-Fi hotspots have been provided to students so that they may have the resources necessary to continue learning.
Online instruction is primarily being conducted through Google Classroom for older students, while Pre-K through first grades are utilizing Seesaw for Schools.
Attendance is being taken through a Google form provided to teachers, and meetings are being conducted through Google Hangouts as well as virtually.
With the shift to online instruction, the board approved the purchase of a new system that will provide increased security for server infrastructure.
Advanced placement exams have also shifted online and tests will be accessible from any device. Exams will only test on topics and skills that most teachers and students had covered by early March and will be free response.
Testing will take place May 11-22, and makeup tests will occur June 1-5.
Despite some school districts’ decisions to opt for a pass/fail system for students, PISD officials felt that implementing a similar system would be problematic and cause issues down the line in terms grade point averages.
“We want to see how students are doing in a very formative way to be able to adjust instruction based on (students’) needs and certainly the needs of the parents as well,” said Associate Superintendent Holly Ferguson.
Meanwhile, the district’s library services, curriculum and instructional media are working together to create a one-stop shop for resources that will continue through the summer to support learning.
The district has not made a final decision about potential graduation ceremony plans, but is said to be weighing options, one of which would be to host a virtual ceremony.
Another option that the district is looking at is to push the ceremony back to a later day and make it optional for families that feel comfortable and wish to participate.
During the meeting, trustees also agreed to authorize the sale of bonds for school construction and/or bond refunding.
In the past month, 85 new students have enrolled in the district. By starting the sale of bonds, the board feels it will be able to stay ahead of the growth the district is experiencing.
The board also agreed to make improvements at Prosper High School, Reynolds Middle School and Rucker Elementary School. Construction on all current projects is continuing as scheduled.
The board approved to replace the turf at Prosper High School’s baseball and softball fields, as well as to resurface the track.
The Reynolds Middle School indoor field will be replaced for the first time in 20 years. Some members of the board expressed concerns, stating that the turf is coming apart and is becoming a safety issue.
Renovations at Rucker Elementary School will also be completed.
Improvements to be made will include adding a hallway behind the administrative offices, connecting the academic wing with the cafeteria and gym, as well as renovating the main entrance vestibule for improved security, and updating some of the restrooms throughout the facility.
With the campus closed for the rest of the academic year, it is believe the projects can be completed before August.