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What We Know So Far

What We Know So Far is your weekly update from TCAA administration to communicate our plans surrounding the 2020-2021 school year.

In efforts to keep you up to date, we will provide the information we have received from TEA, local and state authorities, and the CDC here – which we will use to plan strategically for our return to campus this fall.

August 28, 2020

This is What We Know So Far:

The TCAA Board voted on a Waiver for a Four Week Extension for both TeSA and FWAFA at the 8-25-2020 TCAA Board Meeting. This was submitted to TEA to start In-School Learning on October 13, 2020. Until that time, TCAA will continue with the FWAFA and TeSA At-Home Learning Plan.

We will be working with the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) to monitor, track, and coordinate public health responses to COVID-19 cases in Texas public schools. A dashboard will be maintained by the Texas COVID-19 Education Committee (TCEC) and used to inform the Governor’s Office, DSHS, and TEA executive staff, LEAs, and other stakeholders.

All students who choose In-School Learning will report to school on Tuesday, October 13 at 8:00 a.m. with dismissal at 3:45 p.m.

At-Home vs. In-School Learning for 2020-2021

Unless we are required to close school by the Texas Education Agency, TCAA schools will offer both In-School and At-Home Learning models for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year.

If you would like to change your commitment from one learning environment to another, this can be done by emailing the principal two weeks prior to the end of each grading period.

Here are the deadlines to make a change:

Date to Change
September 11
October 23
December 4
February 5
March 26

Information below for The Transition Plan for In-School Success:

FWAFA – Transition Plan for In-School Success
Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts will phase in groups of students over a 3 week period to transition from our 100% At-Home Learning plan to In-School Learning and practice the TCAA Back-To-School Health processes and procedures that are being put in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Students who chose In-School Learning on the Back to School Commitment form who are showing a lack of attendance or academic progress in the online environment based on their progress report, on a Section 504 plan or Individualized Education program, or have extenuating circumstances will be notified by the school by September 11 that they will report to school on September 21 and continue with In-School Learning until the end of the school year.

Students chose In-School Learning on the Back to School Commitment form and whose last names begin with letters A-L will come to In-School Learning from September 28 to October 2. Students whose last names begin with letters M-Z will come to In-School Learning from October 5 to October 9.

During these 3 transition weeks, students will continue to follow the Asynchronous Learning plan with Zoom meetings starting at 9:00 a.m. and ending at 1:30 p.m. Students in grades 3 and 4 will eat lunch at their regularly scheduled time from 11:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Students in grades 5 to 12 will eat lunch from 1:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. During this transition time, students will need to bring a lunch (and snacks) that does not require warming.

Asynchronous Academic and Fine Arts Flex time will continue at its regular time during the day. For grades 3 and 4, this is from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and for grades 5-12, this is from 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

TeSA – Transition Plan for In-School Success

Texas School of the Arts will phase in groups of students over a three week period to transition from our 100% At-Home Learning Plan to In-School Learning and practice the TCAA Back-To-School Health processes and procedures that are being put in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Students who choose In-School Learning on the Back to School Commitment form who are showing a lack of attendance or academic progress in the online environment, or are on a Section 504 Plan or Individualized Education Program, will be notified by the school by September 11 that they are invited to report to school on September 21.

Students whose last names begin with letters A-L are invited to come to In-School Learning from September 28 to October 2. Students whose last names begin with letters M-Z are invited to come to In-School Learning from October 5 to October 9.

During these three transition weeks, students will continue to follow the Asynchronous At-Home Learning Plan with Zoom meetings live in the classroom during their regularly scheduled time. During this transition time, students will attend an abbreviated schedule, with some assignments still completed outside of school hours. Students in K-2nd grade are invited to attend from 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. and students in 3rd-6th grades are invited to attend from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

All students need to bring a snack, water bottle, and ready-to-eat lunch. Students will not be able to use a fridge or microwave, and food may not be shared with other students.

We thank you for your continued support and grace as we navigate our way back to offering in-school instruction. We will continue to update you as we receive new information. Stay safe and healthy.

Patricia Thomson, Ph.D.
Interim CEO
TCAA

Nancy Vaughan, Ed.D.
Interim CAO
TCAA

August 14, 2020

This is What We Know So Far:

TCAA is working to ensure that the start of the new school year is safe for students and staff, prioritizes a rigorous learning experience, considers decisions based on stakeholder feedback, is flexible and issues clear and concise communication to families, staff and students.  

TCAA STRONG START COMMITMENT FORMS for Student Instructional Preference Open NOW UNTIL AUGUST 2OTH  

  • Once a parent/student has determined the best method of instruction for their child(ren), they should complete a TCAA STRONG START COMMITMENT FORM for each child.  
  • The information in these forms will allow TCAA to prepare for your child’s instructional needs.  
  • https://forms.gle/FnsuNC18fDBfiANWA 

General Remote Learning Information  

  • Remote Learning is based on the state curriculum standards (TEKS) and is aligned to the scope & sequence of our TCAA classes to allow students to transition between in-person and remote learning as needed.  
  • Students may transition to / from remote learning every 6 weeks. Remote Learners will be given an additional opportunity at the 3 week mark after Sept 14.  
  • Students must log in to the remote learning platform every day, Monday-Friday, and show progress in order to be marked “present” and earn credit for that day of learning.  
  • Students will need internet access (provided), technology devices (provided) and parental guidance and supervision to complete remote learning activities.     

Student Expectations for At-Home Learning

  • Spend the required minutes in the learning platform daily (M-F)  
  • Make daily progress in each course according to progress expectations  
  • Advocating for yourself so we know how to support you  
  • Participate in Zoom meetings with classroom teacher and remote liaison   
  • Track progress in each course according to progress expectations  
  • Check email daily  
  • Become familiar with your Learning Management System  (SeeSaw for grades K-2; Google Classroom for grades 3-12)     

Parent Expectations for At-Home Learning

  • Facilitate academic support and encouragement as a learning partner to motivate and guide your child throughout the school year   
  • Ensure your child is on track with assignments and coursework   
  • Ensure your child is reaching out to their teacher for assistance  
  • Assist in supporting your child’s needs by establishing and managing the daily schedule   
  • Consider creating a designated learning space for your child at home to learn comfortably and with minimal distractions   
  • Maintain communication with your child’s teacher by phone, email messages, and/or online meetings to create a learning partnership in the district-approved communication channels   
  • Help your child own their learning.   
  • Provide support and encouragement, and expect your children to do their part.   
  • Become familiar with your Learning Management System  (SeeSaw for grades K-2; Google Classroom for grades 3-12)     

Health and Safety

  • TCAA will do everything possible to protect the health of every student, employee and community member.   
  • Planning and implementation of safe practices is a collaborative effort with Tarrant County Public Health and guided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.    

Stakeholder Surveys

  • The District has and will continue to seek feedback from key stakeholders to help inform important decisions.   
  • Stakeholders can include students, teachers, staff and community members.    

Resiliency and Grace

  • TCAA will build a flexible plan that can be adjusted throughout the year and be based on guidance from public health officials.   
  • TCAA asks for grace from, and will extend grace to, all families, students, staff and community members as we all grapple with the uncertainties ahead.  

Clear and Concise Communication  

  • TCAA will ensure that families, students and staff have the information they need to be safe and informed and that the information will be communicated by email, posted to the @ArtsAcademics.org website and on Facebook and Twitter.   
  • Questions can be sent at any time to Monica.Sheehan@artsacademics.org  

July 31st, 2020

This is What We Know So Far:

  • Guidance from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) changed Tuesday, July 28, based on the opinion letter issued by the Texas Attorney General. As TEA’s guidance now indicates that “a blanket order closing schools does not constitute a legally issued closure order for purpose of funding solely remote instruction,” school will begin on August 17th.  
  • TCAA will follow the current Texas Education Agency (TEA) guidance that allows school districts to conduct the first four weeks of school through At-Home Learning.  From there, we can request an additional four weeks.   
  • The TCAA Administrative Team will meet to discuss and consider whether any further action is necessary for the successful opening of our 2020-21 school year. When that time comes, the TCAA Administrative Team will assess the COVID-19 risk factors in partnership with public health officials and consider all available options for the successful education and safety of students, staff and the community.  
  • All TeSA and FWAFA students will begin the first day of school on August 17th participating in At-Home Learning.  During this four-week period, TCAA teachers and staff will focus on the education of our students. This will allow our staff to utilize campus resources and instructional tools to provide students with structured and engaging learning opportunities.   
  • We will send out the link to our online TCAA Commitment Form on August 3rd. The TCAA Commitment Form for 2020-21 must be completed and submitted by Friday, August 14th so we can plan how to meet our learner’s needs either through in-school instruction or through At-Home Learning. We appreciate your patience as we continue to work through this new information.  

Patricia Thomson, Ph.D.
Interim CEO
TCAA

Nancy Vaughan, Ed.D.
Interim CAO
TCAA

July 21, 2020

This is What We Know So Far:

We have received a declaration from the Tarrant County Health Department ordering schools to start their year with virtual instruction until Monday, September 28, 2020. We are now adjusting our plans to accommodate the new order as we continue to work on the TCAA comprehensive plan for the upcoming school year for Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts and Texas School of the Arts. We have been planning various modes of instruction to meet the needs of all students, teachers, and families.

TCAA including Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts and Texas School of the Arts will be providing more plans by the end of next week. Our comprehensive plan, which includes practices and protocols for a safe return to class, is well on its way and we hope to put the final touches on it this week to reflect the new information we just received from the County.

Along with all of this, our teachers have been developing plans for on line application of the fine arts including dance, art, music and theater. We look forward to sharing it with you all as we get closer to our first day of school.

We are grateful for our partnership with families as we remain committed to providing the emotional, social, and educational support that our students and families deserve.
Warm regards,

Patricia Thomson, Ph.D.
Interim CEO
TCAA

Nancy Vaughan, Ed.D.
Interim CAO
TCAA

July 15, 2020

This is What We Know So Far:

TCAA is continuing to monitor the impact of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) on school operations for TeSA and FWAFA. We know this is going to be a logistically and emotionally challenging time for you and your family. Please let us know how we can support you through this crisis. We will update you with important information and resources to help you navigate this unprecedented time of uncertainty.

  • We will go to an on-line format for the first three weeks of school, at least. As conditions change, we will keep you updated to the changes the best we can.
  • TCAA is providing resources for each teacher to teach their classes in an on-line manner: TEKS Resource System through ESC Region XI, Google Classroom and/or SeeSaw (depending on the students grade level(s)) and professional learning targeted around your teaching needs and time for planning.
  • At this time, our Board adopted calendar will remain the same.

We remain committed to you and your safety as well as that of our students and staff. As we continue to plan with communication changing frequently, we will continue to keep you informed.

Warm regards,

Patricia Thomson, PhD
Interim CEO
TCAA

Nancy Vaughan, EdD
Interim CAO
TCAA

July 10, 2020

Dear TCAA Families,

As we promised, here is your weekly update.

This is What We Know So Far:

  • The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has released guidance for school districts regarding on-campus schooling and online learning for the 2020-21 school year. We have been anxiously awaiting this important guidance. TCAA will offer both face to face instruction on campus AND distance learning through a LMS (Learning Management System) at an age appropriate level for students whose parents have made the choice to keep their children at home for learning or in the event we need to revert to at home learning for all.
  • TCAA staff have been working diligently for weeks to create draft plans for students and staff. Now that the TEA guidelines have been released, TCAA will work to finalize our plans and release those to families in late July. Providing a safe and healthy environment for our students and staff is our number one priority.
  • We know that face to face instruction is the most effective methodology for learning. In order to achieve on-campus school we also recognize and acknowledge that school will be different than before. We are working on plans to protect the authentic school experience for TCAA students and staff. TCAA believes we can do just that while implementing TEA guidelines to ensure the safest environment possible during this time.
  • Your support and patience is very much appreciated. Many of you have completed the survey sent earlier this week. If you have not, please check your email and click on the link provided for the requested information. It is important to our continued planning to have you add your information.
  • School for TCAA is scheduled to begin in about five weeks. Flexibility will be a key component we all need to take during this time as we know the health environment can change.
  • TCAA wants to reassure our staff, parents and students that we are working diligently to make face to face schooling safe, effective, and a place where our students will enjoy learning. We are also working on strategies to help our students who chose the distance option feel connected and part of our school community. I encourage you to reassure your child(ren) that we are all working together to ensure a successful and enjoyable 2020-2021 school year.
  • Regardless of which learning option you choose for your child, the expectations for coursework and the grading system will be the same for both in-person and at-home learning.
  • Students who choose at-home learning will engage in daily activities that combine live teacher-led instruction along with independent learning.
  • Students who choose to attend in-person classes, TCAA will remain focused on keeping our students and staff safe and healthy.

We will send a commitment letter in email format by July 20th from TCAA asking you to make a commitment for your child(ren) to choose either in-person or at-home learning for the entire fall semester. In order for TCAA to finalize staffing requirements, we will need your commitment form back by July 31st.

We know that you likely have many questions before you can make this important decision. To aid you in this process, TCAA will post a detailed “Strong Start Safe Return to School: Parent Information” plan, along with a series of Frequently Asked Questions.

Thank you,
Dr. Patricia Thomson
Interim President & CEO

Dr. Nancy Vaughan
Interim Superintendent

July 1, 2020

Dear TCAA Families,

We know that we are living in uncertain times and information is flying at us from many different sources creating anxiety and stress. We want to help alleviate some of that uncertainty, anxiety and stress by sharing some of what we know regarding what our new school year will look like. We don’t have all of the answers, but we will share what we do know right now.

In addition, to improve communications with our TCAA Families, we plan to send out a weekly email to all of our families letting them know, to the best of our abilities, what school will look like come August 17th. We make a promise to you to keep you up to date as we get more guidance and instruction from our Governor, Commissioner and the Texas Education Agency. We will also post this information to our website and include it in our monthly newsletter.

It is our hope that by communicating our plans we can help alleviate some of the uncertainty in our lives and help us all begin to look forward to our new school year. Be sure to scroll all the way through this email to read some encouraging messages from our dedicated teachers!

This is What We Know So Far:

  • According to Governor Abbott and TEA Commissioner Morath, we are still planning on students returning to our campuses on August 17th.
  • According to Governor Abbott and TEA Commissioner Morath, we will allow parents to request at home learning for their students if they choose not to send their students to participate in the actual physical classrooms
  • We will hold your auditioned spot for the 2020-2021 school year regardless which of our instructional delivery options you choose at the beginning of the school year.
  • We know that online instruction will look very different from what you all experienced last spring. According to the state and TEA, online expectations, including grading and outcomes, will be the same as in-class expectations. Although assignments and learning experiences may differ, students working online will be exposed to the same concepts and skills as students who are attending school in person. In addition, the grading policy will remain the same for both online and in-class students. Students who are working online will be expected to log in every day to Google Classroom and make progress throughout the week on learning activities and assignments. As our planning continues, further expectations will be disseminated.
  • For students who choose to learn at home, they will be required to have a working device and reliable internet. TCAA will have devices to check-out for both FWAFA and TeSA students who need them. We are conducting a survey to gather accurate counts needed to plan instruction online or face to face. TCAA is also applying for grant funding to underwrite the cost of purchasing additional devices.
  • We are also making plans to provide in-class instruction for those who wish to participate in our in-class option. We are currently working on how we will implement health and safety guidelines not yet set forth by the Texas Education Agency and local health officials. We have been told these guidelines will be made public after July 2nd, 2020. These details will include general safety and hygiene procedures, building sanitation, student schedules, class sizes, uniforms, PE and dance clothes, cafeteria, arrival/dismissal procedures, and instruction in the fine arts.

Our goals are to ensure a safe, healthy and vibrant learning environment for all of our students. We want to continue to offer the best arts and academics education to our students and we have some of the most expert and dedicated teachers to make sure that happens.

In closing, we are in conversation this week and next week with leaders in state government, local government, and public health about the best plan of action in the days ahead. These assumptions outlined above about how school will operate may change due to the fluid nature of the health restrictions surrounding COVID-19.

We look forward to sharing What We Know So Far with you each week. Stay safe and healthy!

Warm Regards,
Dr. Patricia Thomson
Interim President & CEO

Dr. Nancy Vaughan
Interim Superintendent