TLCA’s ‘Smart Start Week’ gives students, parents, & teachers preview of school protocol


ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The Texas Leadership Charter Academy (TLCA) of Abilene finished its first week of school on Friday, and the week was a little different than usual. TLCA’s “Smart Start Week,” gave students, their parents, and teachers a preview of what this school year will look like before in-person classes start on Monday.

“We actually walked the parents through the school and showed them the classrooms, and talked to them, what it was going to look like, and what precautions we have taken,” said TLCA Secondary Principal Casey Stone.

During “Smart Start Week,” students had the opportunity to meet their teachers, parents had the chance to see the safety protocol the school has in place, and teachers had time to set up their classrooms.

“It was a level of comfort for parents and students to be able to come on campus before school actually started, before classes started, and see how we were setting up the classrooms,” said TLCA Elementary Principal Stacy Willhelm.

According to Principal Stone, 30% of TLCA students are learning remotely this year.

Some of the protocol for students learning in person includes teachers moving from class to class instead of students, and even the use of plastic dividers.

“Dividers made of up PVC pipes, with plastic in between the seats that allows the students to be separated from each other, even though they can still see each other and work together on projects,” said Principal Stone.

Principal Willhelm says in order to keep elementary students as safe as possible, both parents and teachers have had to spend money to provide important resources for each student.

“We don’t want students having to share materials, so that does put a little more of a burden on teachers to make sure that students each have the things that they’ll need for their classes,” said Principal Willhelm.

Students only went to school in person on one day this week, and on that day students made sure they had all their supplies, technology, and passwords to be ready for a school year that Principal Stone says could be full of changes.

“We very well could get two or three weeks into it, and look at being completely virtual, and we want to make sure that all the students and parents had all the needs they had so when we stepped into that, it would be a seamless transition,” said Principal Stone.

Principals Stone and Willhelm say they are blown away by how above and beyond their teachers have gone to create a safe environment for their students.

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