Point Isabel Independent Student District (PI-ISD) is expanding more of its technology and counseling resources as its students and staff continue to experience the 2020 school year away from the district’s campus.
After calls from parents, PI-ISD is now providing more Apple iPad devices, for its elementary school students, and Google Chromebook laptops for its junior high and high school students. A hundred more Kajeet internet hotspots are also being ordered, for students who do not have internet access. When those devices will be distributed is being decided Thursday, April 9.
Students across PI-ISD’s campuses have instructional packets, PI-ISD says, allowing students to complete their classwork regardless of technology or internet access.
Aside from technology, PI-ISD is trying to focus more on counseling resources for students and parents, Theresa Capistran told the PRESS in a April 8 phone interview.
“We completely understand that this is an extremely difficult time for our students and their families,” Capistran said. “We want our families to know that we are here to help and support them in any way possible.”
PI-ISD has links to the Child Mind Institute’s website on their homepage. On the district’s Facebook page, a mental health resource list from the Texas Education Agency is posted. Capistran says the district is not offering virtual counseling sessions to students or parents.
Instead, Capistran is encouraging students and their families to call PI-ISD for any assistance they may need. All phone calls towards the PI-ISD’s campuses are routed directly to their principals. Capistran said if they don’t answer to call again later, as they are likely in one of many Zoom calls PI-ISD’s administration has daily.
“We know that many of our families have either been furloughed or lost their jobs,” Capistran said. “To ask them to do assignments when they have so many other struggles at this time is a nearly impossible task to ask anyone to do.”
Regarding the PIHS’ 2020 class, a virtual graduation will be PI-ISD’s last resort, Capistran said. “If we’re not able to have (a commencement ceremony) in May, a June date, a July date and an August date (are being decided).”
PI-ISD has not considered suspending the school year, but Capistran noted that they did not know when campuses will reopen. Capistran says PI-ISD and other school districts she’s been corresponding with across Texas are waiting until May to decide how the remainder of the school year will be used, if the Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s closure order is lifted on May 4.
“We didn’t have a manual for this crisis, so we’re rolling it out as best as we possibly can with the information we have at hand and we’re modifying as needed,” Capistran said.
PI-ISD’s curbside food distribution program is now only on Mondays, to limit district staff and student exposure to each other, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
When we started Kajeet in 2003, we wanted kids to be agile with technology, to be empowered and safe, and we wanted to help them respond with confidence to what's happening in their world. Not incidentally, we want parents, educators and guardians to be involved too. Being part of the mobile world is not just fun, it’s a shared responsibility.