The Huffman ISD Board of Trustees met Jan. 21 to hold a public hearing to discuss the Texas Academic Performance Report (TAPR). Several topics came up during the meeting surrounding the grading and achievement of remote students, attendance numbers and progress toward the district goals for the remainder of the school year.

Huffman ISD Super-intendent Dr. Benny Soileau remarked, “Our kids are gaining several post-secondary skills thanks to their personal dedication in their academic journey. As always, a special thanks to our staff, both teaching and support personnel, for going the extra mile with our students. Many times, this meant that a teacher might have made a house call to a student that was absent or falling behind. While our overall population progress has at times been slow – moving one step at a time – it has been right.”

Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Joel Nolte and Director of Technology David Carpenter gave a presentation on the district hybrid instructional system. Carpenter included that, “Goal No. 3 for the district means providing support and innovative practices to address the instructional needs of our students with the help of our LMS (or Learning Management System) using multiple methods of education. We are continuing to achieve this goal by offering three methods of instruction: face-to-face, hybrid and remote learning.

Our teachers have entered a whole new world of interaction with our students. We took the level of engagement and expanded it using new tools, small groups, one-on-one learning sessions, and even created quick learning opportunities through synchronous and asynchronous sessions,” Carpenter said.

Nolte added to the presentation, “The benefits of integrated learning using a unified platform (incorporating students from all three learning methods) among our campuses are numerous. Some of the known advantages include expansion of internal and external materials, teacher sharing, pointed assessments (from student-to-student, teacher-to-student, and student-to-teacher), better involvement and interaction with parents, real-time progress indication and more.”

We even have 255 students that are remote and currently holding an A/B average. Academically speaking, we have closed several gaps that came when our student population first came online. We now stand at around a 5-point difference from last school year. Additionally, only 207 remote students were asked to return to face-to-face instruction of the expected 250 due to their hard work toward their personal progress. As a result, campus wide, we have 89% of our students on-campus. This number is up from the previously-reported 75%,” added Nolte.

Carpenter listed several statistical achievements of the district from a holistic standpoint. “We have 3,800 devices, including laptops and hot spots, that have been handed out at a cost to the district in which 75% will be reimbursed by the state. Our wireless network typically contains around 7,000 users. To support this infrastructure, I have two technicians that offer support all day every day. Our staff members have placed an enormous emphasis on efficient support, cyber security and dedication to our teachers. You will see more and more changes and flexibilities as time moves on, including moving the STAAR test online in coming years.”

Soileau concluded, “I cannot say enough about what our district has achieved in a 6-month time frame. Usually, these advancements and milestone achievements take 18 months or more to attain. The presentation given this evening does not even do justice to the work of each of our campuses and progress of our kids. While there are still areas for improvement, and some students still have catching up to do, we will continue to build upon what was started last spring.”

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