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LJISD enters Phase II of reopening plan

Certain students enrolled at the La Joya Independent School District have started classes this week.

Last week, the LJISD Board of Trustees held a special meeting to approve the second phase of the district’s phase-in plan for on-campus instruction. Superintendent Dr. Gisela Saenz presented Phase II of the plan on Thursday.

The plan was presented to meet the Texas Education Agency’s (TEA) requirements for a district to request additional transition days. According to Saenz, La Joya ISD requested an additional four weeks of remote instruction from Nov. 2 through Dec. 4, but were only granted a two week extension from Nov. 2 through Nov. 13.

“TEA is asking the district to monitor local health conditions with the intent to implement a robust phase-in plan should the agency extend the transitional period we are asking,” Saenz said. “TEA is reviewing additional information we have sent to determine our request for the additional two weeks.”

From Sept. 8 through Oct. 2, 2020, the first four weeks of school, TEA allowed for 100 percent remote instruction. LJISD started Phase I of the on-campus instruction transition plan ran from Oct. 5 through Oct. 30, and was reserved for students who lacked the internet infrastructure at home to receive and complete online instruction.

The Phase I plan also included ACT testing for high school seniors and Special Education students who needed to be brought in for testing. According to the district, all families who wanted their children to attend on campus within the district have had the ability to do so each day that instruction is offered.

Phase I staff was brought in on a voluntary basis. The district’s second extension of four weeks of remote instruction was approved by the board of trustees on Aug. 12.

Phase II of the plan allows for all families of elementary and middle school students seeking on-campus instruction, and certain high school students.

“From the three comprehensive high schools, from the college and career center, from West Academy, we would ask – starting from Nov. 2 – Algebra I and U.S. History re-testers to come back in for instruction,” Saenz said. “From Nov. 9 we would ask all Biology end-of-course re-testers to come in, and for these groups it is for Tuesdays and Thursdays.”

Starting Nov. 16, English I re-testers will be asked to go in on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The week of Nov. 30, English II retesters can come in Tues. and Thurs.

For the early college high schools, end-of-course re-testers from ninth to twelfth grade, a ninth grade intervention group and a tenth grade intervention group will be able to attend the Academy of Health Science Professionals in the district to phase-in and complete assignments. Saenz said Special Education students may be brought in based on each individual parents’ decision.

High school teachers will teach on campus as needed by student groups, and as selected by campus principals.

“We have identified numbers for each group of students,” Saenz said. “For the comprehensive high school, the number of English I students is 665. This is for all of the high schools. Based on the number of who is coming in, they will be spread out through the high schools.”

698 students make up the total English II high school students at LJISD. There are 212 Algebra I students, 420 Biology and 243 U.S. History students.

“We do not anticipate of course that all of these kids would come in, but these are the kids that we would invite,” Saenz said. “And then it would be based on parent choice. These students would be spread out among the three comprehensive high schools, the West Academy, College and Career Center and the Academy of Health Science Professionals. Without discussion, the board unanimously approved Phase II of the district’s reopening plan.

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