08 May 2020

In a time of crisis, it is important to recognize the ways the community of Temple has risen to the challenge to keep the city operational, families safe, and students’ education going.

We want to highlight the work of Temple Independent School District (ISD) during this time. The district’s leadership, teachers and staff have gone above and beyond to educate and ensure the safety of thousands of students in our community.

Temple ISD has instilled quality practices in their remote learning programs, many of which existed before the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) took place. The model of “blended learning” was setup for the schools in the district to help students learn at their own pace, a customized learning effort that adds to the dedication of the teachers for their students.

Dr. Lisa Adams, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, leads the charge on these programs. The existing remote instruction and blended learning programs helped prepare students and teachers for remote instruction, which has been in place since March 23 and will run through the end of the school year on May 28, 2020.

“Temple ISD’s work in blended learning was extremely valuable both for our students and our staff,” shares Adams. “For our staff, it was relatively easy for us to shift to a virtual or remote environment because our teachers are used to planning for both digital and face-to-face instruction. Teachers knew how to utilize a learning management system and to push information, activities, and give feedback through a digital platform.

“For our students, they were very familiar with learning using these platforms.  They were able to log in at home and use programs and complete digital activities because this has a normal part of their school day. Our students are empowered to advocate for themselves, to make better choices on how to demonstrate their learning, and to reach out to their teacher for assistance while working digitally.

“Blended learning has been instrumental in assisting in our transition to remote learning.  I am so proud of the work that our teachers, students, and families have done to continue their learning remotely.  Our teachers and students are staying connected to each other and providing support which is so important during this uncertain time.  The relationship between our families and the school district has strengthened tremendously as we have partnered together to ensure the academic success of our students during remote learning.”

In addition to remote learning, Temple ISD has ignited a highly impactful meal program to make sure students in our community get fed. In mid-March, when most people would be enjoying spring break, Temple ISD was hard at work to come up with a plan to support students during COVID-19. The meal program was put into place March 16 and has since served more than 35,000 meals.

With nine pick-up sites at all eight Temple ISD elementary schools and the Pre-K campus, Temple ISD has averaged more than 1,000 meals per day, breakfast and lunch combined.

Breakfast normally consists of cereal, milk, one fruit, and a muffin or grain option. Hot lunches are also served and normally include a hamburger or chicken sandwich with condiments, fruit, vegetable, and milk. Packaged weekend meals are also available for pickup. These healthy food options have brought consistency to families in a time of uncertainty.

Businesses have also stepped up to support Temple ISD. Locally-owned Bird Creek Burger Company provided meals to all Temple ISD nutrition and custodial staff. The 411 House, a local nonprofit, partnered with Paper Graphics to share lawn signs with positive messages at Temple ISD campuses.

Temple ISD has used virtual tools to its advantage to reach out and engage students amidst shelter-in-place orders. Administrators have been posting videos for morning announcements, which has spurred students to volunteer to help with morning announcements. Temple ISD has also posted shout-outs to teachers and encouragement from teachers to students. Superintendent Dr. Bobby Ott has also kept up with weekly videos.

The strength of Temple is at an all-time high in the midst of a global pandemic. What’s important to know is that we are in this together and can become more connected than before. Temple ISD is just one great example of the power of our strong, growing community.

Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @TempleEDC and stay #TempleStrong!