New First Day of School: August 25
Trustees Vote to Extend Start Date By One Week
The SISD Board of Trustees voted to move the first day of school from August 18 to August 25 at their August 3 called meeting. Students will begin learning in one of the three plans described in the SISD Return-to-School Plan at that time:
Board members arrived at the decision after reviewing parent and faculty survey data, receiving guidance from an area physician, and feedback from the community. At the heart of the decision was finding the balance among the safety, health, social and emotional wellness and academic needs of SISD students and faculty.
Allowing teachers more time to prepare for the start of school was a chief concern.
“This change of date will allow teachers more time for planning and preparation for the school year, given the uniqueness of the 2020 summer,” Superintendent Doug Williams said. “We believe this plan will provide flexibility and options for our parents and allow for quality instruction to begin.”
Currently, 68% of SISD parents have requested that their Raiders return to school in a blended or in-person setting, while 32% plan to participate through At-Home Learning.
Recent notifications from state officials have allowed school districts in Texas greater local control to decide fundamental education decisions. SISD believes that the board’s decision will benefit SISD in the following ways:
Presenting more educational choices and support for Sunnyvale parents, particularly working parents who need district support;
Allowing teacher-student connection to naturally occur from the start of school (especially beneficial for younger students); and
Providing equity and access to SISD support (technology, counseling, food services, transportation, wellness, etc.).
SISD is one of the only districts in the area to offer a Blended Learning Plan option, which affords flexibility for families and creative, personalized scheduling for all Raiders.
“The SISD learning programs were designed to support equal access to quality instruction,” Assistant Superintendent Dr. Christi Morgan said. “The At-Home Learning Plan features opportunities to join live instruction and connect to the classroom, and the Blended Learning plan offers parents the opportunity to send students to school for a portion of the day so students can receive direct instruction from our dedicated staff, while also reducing class size and mitigating risks related to COVID-19.”
To ensure that students and employees return to school in the safest possible manner, SISD will utilize the health and wellness protocols and academic programs already in place within the SISD Return-to-School Manual. Of note:
SISD continues to acquire Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including face masks and shields, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and sneeze guards for use in minimizing risk to staff and students;
The learning options offered (in-person, blended, and at-home) will support the reduction of numbers in classrooms and increase the capacity for social distancing;
SISD will provide education and training for our staff and students in the areas of infection control, hand washing, and proper ways to place and remove face coverings;
All students will be required to wear a face covering for arrival, dismissal, on the bus, and in common spaces. Students in grades 4-12 will be required to wear a mask/face covering, including when in the classroom. The district is also encouraging students in Pre-K-3rd grade to wear a face covering, and child-size face shields will be provided and used for classroom activities. Sneeze guards (plexiglass) dividers will also be used at the elementary level. Developmental needs and special circumstances will be taken into consideration;
If a parent has chosen in-person instruction and wishes to change to at-home instruction, he or she may do so. Transitions between learning programs will typically occur only at the beginning of the next quarterly grading period. However, we will offer additional flexibility for a one-time transition to another program during the first quarter; and
SISD students in the At-Home Learning Program will be required to login to their classes daily in order to be counted present. If students cannot attend live sessions according to the daily schedule, they may also review the posted instruction and submit work to be counted present for the day.
“The district has acquired substantial amounts of PPE and sanitizing products over the past few months,” Assistant Superintendent Dr. Kyle Penn said. “We will continue to monitor amounts, current research, and make adjustments and additions to our inventory as needed. In addition, we have added additional custodial staff across the district to increase our ability to sanitize throughout the day. We are regularly reviewing all guidance and modifying our protocols to match current recommendations as more information becomes available."
Trustees Approve Updated District Calendar
SISD Return-to-School Plan
If you have a question about your Raider's registration or would like to change your Raider's plan or technology choice, please email Becky Gilmore (becky.gilmore@sunnyvaleisd.
com). Please be sure to include your child's name and grade.
If you haven't already, please take a moment to read through the entire SISD Return-to-School Plan. We know there are many questions and we will continue to update our information as needed.
Frequently Asked Questions
We have developed a list of Frequently Asked Questions for you to review. These were developed based on your feedback from the two virtual community forums, the Return-to-School Survey, the community ThoughtExchange and SISD Board Meetings. The FAQ's may be found on the Return to School Website: www.sunnyvaleisd.com/raidersreturn2021.
We are grateful for your support and flexibility as we continue to bring you the most current information on this ever-changing topic.
The SISD BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Program
In order to continue our tradition of excellence and innovation while adding another layer of safety measures to protect the health of our students during these uncertain times, we are excited to announce the Sunnyvale ISD BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Program.
Beginning this school year, each student will have a device assigned to him or her that he or she will use for in-person instruction and at-home learning.
Students in Pre-K through 2nd grade will have and assigned device that each student, alone, will use on a daily basis. In the event of at-home learning, whether due to school closure or your family choosing that option for your child, that device will then go home with your student.
If you are a parent or guardian of a Pre-K through 2nd grade student you will be required to sign a device contract at the time of picking up your child’s device for the beginning of the school year.
Students in 3rd through 12th grades will have three options for obtaining a device for in-person instruction and at-home learning:
Option 1: Students may bring a device they already own as long as it meets the minimum requirements of having WiFi capability, a physical keyboard, and the Chrome Browser.
Option 2: Parents/Guardian may request an $100 coupon for each 3rd-12th Grade student in their home that can be applied towards a district approved device at Best Buy. These coupons are made available on a first come, first served basis once evey four years.
Option 3: Parents/Guardians may pay an annual rental fee of $40 for each 3rd-12th grade student in their home so they can utilize a district-provided Chromebook.
If you are the parent or guardian of a student in 3rd through 12th grade you must declare the option you are selecting for obtaining a device for each 3rd through 12th grade student in your home. You will select the device option you prefer for your student at the time of completing the Parent Commitment Form which will be emailed to you in the coming days.
For further details and information please visit sunnyvaleisd.com/byod.
SISD Names Dr. Kyle Penn New Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Operations
Sunnyvale ISD’s Board of Trustees has named Dr. Kyle Penn the Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Operations for SISD. The board approved Dr. Penn’s hire at a called meeting of the Board of Trustees on April 6. Penn’s first day at SISD will be June 1.
Dr. Penn fulfills a role vacated by long-time Business Manager Margaret Davis, who will retire at the end of the school year.
“Kyle brings a broad range of experience to SISD,” Superintendent Doug Williams said. “His experience as a district administrator in finance and operations combined with his work as a campus administrator and teacher make him a great fit for Sunnyvale.”
Dr. Penn, an experienced educator and administrator with over 12 years in education, offers SISD a varied skill set - from teaching to CTE departmental direction to finance administration. He joins SISD after serving as the Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Operations at Westwood ISD in Palestine, Texas, a position he held for two years. Prior to that, he served in the Assistant Principal capacity for four years in Kaufman ISD, also serving as the CTE Director for two of those years. He has also served as a teacher and then Instructional Technology Director at Faith Family Academy in Dallas. He is also an adjunct professor for the University of Texas at Tyler.
Dr. Penn recognizes the established success of SISD’s business and finances and is eager to build upon it, specifically those outlined by SISD’s strategic plan.
“SISD has an excellent financial track record and I will continue to prioritize these practices for SISD, as I have in my current district,” Dr. Penn said. “The community has shown trust in the district through the passage of multiple bond elections and recently the TRE. Now, the district will continue to honor the promises made by carrying out the TRE expenditures aligned with the strategic plan and being responsible for the resources entrusted to us by the taxpayers of Sunnyvale ISD.”
His goals for SISD’s Finance and Operations Department include building relationships and maintaining trust among stakeholders.
“My goal would be to continue to nurture a culture of collaboration with all the stakeholders and instructional leaders to continue moving the district forward with organizational excellence, while maintaining the strong financial accountability the community and Board of Trustees has come to expect,” Dr. Penn said.
Dr. Penn and his wife, Whitney, live in Kaufman and have two children: Knox, who will be a first grader at the elementary school and a three-year-old named Nash.