TEA Guidelines: Not Loosening Attendance Rules
In the Texas Education Agency’s (TEA) 11-page document that outlines attendance and enrollment, it’s clear that they support the critical link between attendance and achievement.
The outline states that the 90% minimum student attendance for class credit rule will still be in effect and that “TEA will not be issuing waivers for LEAs to exempt themselves from the rule…Truancy laws will apply to students who fail to attend school…”
The new plan builds on the calendar flexibility guidance released in May; still recommending strategies to make contact with students and families that have been non-responsive (see Erica’s Editorial TEA Guidance Echoes Ours).
Texas LEAs will have the option to implement or continue remote learning with classes that are synchronous (live, two-way instruction in real time) and/or asynchronous (when students and teachers are not engaged at the same time, may include prerecorded videos with guided support).
So what will attendance look like in the remote environment?
According to TEA, the instructional method chosen will dictate how attendance is taken.
If synchronous: the LEA will use an official attendance time documented in the teacher’s daily schedule, and the teacher will take attendance virtually to mark students as remote synchronous present or absent.
If asynchronous: students would be marked remote asynchronous present or absent based on whether the student was engaged through one of the approved asynchronous engagement methods on that day.
Although ADA is typically a driver for funding and will be in a “hold harmless” status, there is no loosening of expectations related to ADA accountability and required instructional minutes. “Under the remote synchronous instruction method, the minute requirements associated with the student grade level must be provided each day for an LEA to earn full-day ADA for those students.”
Final thoughts: TEA and Texas LEAs are modeling the way for other states and districts. Their plan is clear, concise and easy to understand. While it might not fit the needs of every district or state, it serves as a practicable guide focusing districts on the importance of taking attendance, tracking data, and connecting with families.