Northside ISD looks for ‘gaps in learning, basic needs’

Teams check on students not online for distance learning

NISD conducting distance learning check-ins
NISD conducting distance learning check-ins

SAN ANTONIO – The vast majority of the 107,0000 students in the Northside Independent School District are engaged in distance learning due to the COVID-19 crisis, officials said.

While 92% of students are participating in online learning, it’s the remaining 8% of students who aren’t connected that worry district officials.

“We’re doubling down efforts to connect with them,” said NISD Executive Director of Whole Child Development Kimberly Ridgley.

Ridgley said teachers, counselors and administrators are looking for “gaps in learning and gaps in basic needs.”

She said as a health precaution, two-member teams travel in separate vehicles to the homes of the students and “start knocking on doors and seeing how we can connect and what families need.”

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Ridgley said many times it’s not just the lack of technology that’s keeping students from distance learning. She said with the loss of jobs, families often need food, assistance with rent or utilities.

Site coordinators with Communities in Schools also visit homes offering to help. The nonprofit takes a holistic approach to help ensure student educational success.

"What we want to do is really make sure that we're wrapping services around the families," Ridgley said. "If they've not reached out in some distance learning assignments, then there's clearly some barriers that we got to try to alleviate for the families."

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Ridgley said parents are excited to see the effort being made on their children’s behalf.

“They’re glad people are looking for them,” Ridgley said.

COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new virus, stands for coronavirus disease 2019. The disease first appeared in late December 2019 in Wuhan, China, but spread around the world in early 2020, causing the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic in March. The first case confirmed in the U.S. was in mid-January and the first case confirmed in San Antonio was in mid-February.

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About the Authors:

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.

Bill Caldera has been at KSAT since 2003. He covers a wide range of stories including breaking news, weather, general assignments and sports.