April 10, 2020

EveryDay Q&A with Shannon Trejo, CAO, Dallas ISD

To help keep district leaders connected during this trying time, we started the EveryDay Q&A as a way to share thinking from across the country. Shannon Trejo provides a thoughtful look into the approach one of the largest districts in the nation is taking to keep students learning and families engaged.

What has been your Dallas ISD’s biggest challenge in the wake of COVID-19?

For us, like many districts, transitioning to online learning in a district where a large portion of our students lack access to devices and/or the internet. Another big challenge is providing training and support for teachers, parents, and students to continue the learning process at home.

What’s one area you’re most proud of that you want to share?

Everything we’ve done with the Dallas ISD At-Home Learning landing page: www.tiny.cc/studentathomelearning

How are you thinking about equity during the time of coronavirus?

We’re thinking about it in terms of access to devices, internet, printed material, and food distribution.

What strategies are you using to connect families to resources?

  • Online ticket submission for family support
  • A dedicated phone line for family support
  • A “Let’s Talk” chat system
  • Providing continued services through Special Education via Zoom and by phone
  • Requiring contact with classroom teachers at least two times per week via their online classroom or by phone

How is your district approaching attendance in the context of coronavirus?

We take attendance weekly. Present means that the teacher has confirmed contact on a weekly basis.

What about grading?

Grading is still under review, but we are currently considering issuing one grade per week that will translate into a pass/fail indicator for the remaining six weeks.

Are you thinking about re-entry strategies?

Discussions for re-entry have included: assessments to determine growth or regression, offering summer programming for neediest students to curb regression, providing teachers with additional professional development this summer, and developing fall curriculum, so that includes skills missed this spring.

To what extent are trauma-informed or social-emotional learning strategies guiding thinking?

  • We are providing trauma-informed care and social-emotional care
  • Teacher contacts include supports for grief counseling
  • Our website has a page dedicated to social-emotional care with weekly updates and day-by-day activities
  • We are also having on-going discussions about the role of intervention support for students both at home and upon return

Getting students on track starts with attendance. We can help.