Lockhart ISD springs into action

Lockhart ISD springs into action
Posted on 03/23/2020

March 23, 2020

Today marked the first official day back for staff after Lockhart ISD’s spring break. Even as schools were closed due to COVID-19, district leadership, campus leadership, and staff met using online meeting platforms throughout the day to begin planning for distance learning and operations in circumstances unprecedented for school districts. 

Grab & Go meal distribution launched across the district this morning with breakfast and lunch served curbside at all LISD campuses as well as along bus routes for those living farther out and unable to come to campuses. Child nutrition staff, transportation staff, and campus staff teamed up to serve over 2,100 meals today, a strong response to this new district program.

Superintendent Mark Estrada’s cabinet members, his executive team, met in the boardroom at ML Cisneros Education Support Center with tables arranged for safe distancing of each member. While the team met in online meetings a few times last week to prepare for return, today’s in-person meeting provided time for leaders to take inventory of the situation and highlight important priorities in taking care of staff and students. 

Then, the entire LISD district leadership team, composed of both district and campus administrators, met virtually to discuss planning for distance learning for students as well as expectations for LISD staff as they work remotely to continue instruction and operations.  The school district will focus on helping students to maintain learning of the material they have already learned this school year through Friday, April 3. Students can use the programs highlighted in Superintendent Estrada’s March 18 email for this purpose until the new distance learning plan is enacted. Work is underway to prepare for new instruction delivery beginning April 6 if school closures are extended due to COVID-19.
Superintendent Estrada hosts virtual meeting with district and campus administrators.

Teachers reached out to parents today to try to record students’ access to the internet, cellphone, and other technology. They are compiling this information to help inform the steps LISD must take to help facilitate learning for all students. 

Superintendent Estrada held an all-staff meeting through YouTube late this afternoon to provide updates from leadership discussions regarding operations and plans for instruction. He encouraged teachers to feel comfortable with taking time to think about what could be done in the long-term-- go slow to go fast. He also invited teachers to reach out to him if they were interested in serving on a committee to help design what this new phase of instruction and learning will look like in Lockhart ISD. 

Superintendent Estrada hosts a YouTube online meeting with all district staff.

This evening, the Lockhart ISD Board of Trustees held its regular Board meeting at the ML Cisneros Education Support Center, but the meeting was unlike previous meetings with new measures in place for safety and well-being. Students were noticeably absent and missed by meeting attendees. The Board sat more distanced from each other with one participating online. Cabinet members remained in their offices, watching the meeting online, and entered the Board room when it was their turn to present. 

One of the agenda items for action was approval of a resolution of the Board regarding wage payments during emergency school closings. The Board passed the resolution 7-0, providing the school district the ability to continue paying its staff, including hourly workers, during the closure.

LISD Board meets in empty room

Additionally, the Board passed an emergency purchasing resolution, enabling the superintendent to make purchases or enter into contracts over $50,000, waiving the requirement for the superintendent to bring such requests to the Board in those cases when waiting for action would have a negative impact on students or staff. This would only be in place during the time the school district is responding to COVID-19, expiring at the end of this fiscal year. 

The Board also reviewed the 2020 TASB pay and stipend report, the Spring 2020 district demographics update, the 2020 LISD employee engagement survey results, and classroom capacities and potential purchase of portable classrooms. 

“The Board members and I have been in close contact with Superintendent Estrada throughout the district’s response to COVID-19,” said LISD Board President Steve Johnson. “I am proud of the way our leaders and our staff are rising to this challenge with positivity and innovation. No time has been wasted to do what is best for students and staff.” 

“We remain laser-focused on our commitment to grow our students and take care of our staff,” said Superintendent Estrada. “I am incredibly proud of the fact that within minutes of going live on YouTube today, over 530 staff had tuned in to the live all-staff meeting, remaining online throughout the district update. This level of commitment to our mission is exactly why our students are at an advantage here in Lockhart ISD.”

Estrada also expressed gratitude for the Board’s important move to enable the school district to continue to pay staff during the closures as well as provide approval for emergency purchasing. “As a superintendent, I cannot express enough my appreciation for the support each Board member provides to the district. They consistently do what is best for students and staff, and in this time of uncertainty for many, they took action to assure our staff they would be taken care of through this national crisis.” 

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