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District figuring out grade policy

Student grades are still being figured out for the end of the year, but Ector County ISD Superintendent Scott Muri is determined to do what’s best for scholars.

The district also is participating in a statewide marketing campaign promoting social distancing, ECISD police are conducting welfare checks to reach students and families that they haven’t been able to find and Muri announced that weekend meals are back, at least for now.

“We’re working on that guidance and there’s a lot of factors, especially at the high school level,” Muri said in a phone interview Wednesday. “The NCAA has some regulations and rules in place as it relates to pass/fail. We’re waiting on some guidance from the NCAA to see if they will be changing their rules and regulations. At the end of the day, we do not want to put any of our students — elementary, middle or high school — in jeopardy because the district is making a decision that would not benefit them, so the grading choices and decisions that we make and we roll out to our schools and to our families and kids will benefit our students. So that’s why we’re waiting on a little bit of additional guidance from not only the state, but also the NCAA and our UIL as well.”

Another complexity of high school is the top 10 students. Muri said there are “significant things we have to think about as we roll out a decision as far as grading is concerned.”

“We’ve given guidance to our teachers and principals already about the collection of grades and daily grading, but it’s really the promotion-retention scenario that is a challenge right now so we’re working through it. We’ve got a good team of people. School districts across the state are exchanging ideas and thoughts, and so collectively, we’ll put a decision in place that again will benefit the kids in ECISD. In no way do we want to cause harm to any of our children because of the situation, so we’ll work out a solution that our kids will be happy with,” Muri added American Education News.

Weekend meals are back in ECISD. On Thursday, parents and students were able to pick up meals for Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The district is closed Friday for Good Friday.

The ECISD police has been conducting home visits, or welfare checks, on students that the district has been unable to reach, despite multiple calls and emails.

“So we’ve asked our police officers to do those home visits and they’ve conducted over 400 of those home visits thus far,” Muri said. “And we’ve had some pretty good interaction. We’ve reconnected with some of our kids and we’ve also recognized that some of our kids their families have moved, or found a different place to live either in the community or outside the community, so I commend our police officers for doing that and that has helped us reconnect again with quite a few of our kids.”

He said he didn’t have a good number of how many students fit into that category.

Valid phone numbers are a stumbling block.

“Some of these situations are they’ve changed their phone number or email address or something is different and they did not notify their child’s school,” Muri said. “This has helped us to get that new information.”

“Phone numbers change frequently with some of our families and that we also recognize. Other families … move because of jobs or other opportunities on a fairly regular basis. Many times, the schools are not kept up to date on that contact information. It’s pretty important.  If we had a child at school that had an emergency, we want to make sure that we’re able to reach out to the parents. So having updated, accurate information is pretty critical. This process has certainly helped us get that latest information on each of our kids,” Muri said.

ECISD, along with the Texas Education Agency, is participating in a marketing campaign to encourage appropriate behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic. Muri said the slogan is Apart We Stand Together Press Release Distribution Service.

“We are partnering with TEA in this ‘Apart We Stand Together’ campaign to encourage our students, our families and our entire community to exercise healthy social distancing for the next several months until we make it through this crisis. You’ll be seeing on many of our social media outlets — on Facebook, on Twitter, on Instagram — on all of our social media opportunities we’ll be using this hashtag, this slogan and then sharing the information from TEA,” Muri said.

Muri said he expected the governor’s office either Thursday or Friday to release some new guidance about emergency child care opportunities.

“(We) had a good conversation with those folks today and a lot of work happening at the state level so we can do work at the local level, so no specific date as to when we will open but we were able to take some steps forward today because of the guidance that we received,” Muri said.

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