Port Arthur ISD students asked to focus on self-engagement during closures

Published 12:13 am Friday, March 20, 2020

(Editor’s note: This story has been corrected since first publishing. PAISD officials said paper copies of assignments are not being distributed at this time.)

Port Arthur Independent School District officials are asking students and parents to engage in self-learning opportunities during the schools’ indefinite homebound period.

Students will not be responsible for turning in work to their teachers for the first week, but are strongly encouraged to access all available online resources in the meantime.

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Superintendent Mark Porterie said curriculum would be adjusted accordingly once students return to school.

“Our intent is to calm down the community and try and keep our students as engaged as possible,” he said. “Our supervisors are working on making available to our students as many learning opportunities as possible. We think it is better to stop, look and listen to what is going on and make a decision when all the facts are available.”

PAISD district officials and teachers are working on a curriculum schedule that will roll out starting next week.

“We are going to need parents help to try and keep our kids engaged, keep them acclimated to the focus of things that they need to do,” he said. “Even though the students are at home, they are still our responsibility and we are going to help in anyway we can.”

Porterie said the district cannot afford for the “Achievement Gap” to widen, begging parents to keep their children safe and occupied during this unprecedented time.

Starting Monday, parents will be able to access content, quizzes, games and activities through various learning apps found on the districts website.

Elementary students are to use Studies Weekly, Waterford, Education Galaxy, Imagine Math and STEM Scopes for ELAR, science, social studies and math.

Grades 6-12 will use Apex Learning, Google Classrooms and Study Island.

Apps can be found through paisd.org under the “Students” tab and “Learning Apps.”

Porterie said all curriculum and school-wide decisions will be reassessed on a two-week schedule.

At this time, all UIL, student activities and sports are cancelled until further notice.

Prom may be cancelled or postponed, while graduation remains up in the air.

The 2020 class of Wilson Early College seniors is set to be the first group to graduate from Lamar State College Port Arthur on May 15.

Memorial High School’s graduation is slated for May 21.

“We are hoping to have both of those graduations,” Porterie said. “We are crossing our fingers, praying and hoping that we will continue to move forward in this process so we can see our students walk across the stage.”

In a brief message to seniors, Porterie said, “you will graduate.”

“There is a process we are going to have to go through, it will be a district decision on who graduates based on holistic readiness, but I promise we will do everything we can to get everyone across that stage,” he said.

Decisions regarding grade promotion in levels 6-11 are still under consideration.

“Port Arthur has always had its challenges, and this is no different,” Porterie said. “We argue, we fuss, we look at each other crazy but that’s OK. We are a family and we are going to get through this.”

Currently all campuses are closed, staff, teachers and administration can be reached by email or phone.

At this time, a return date to campus is undetermined.

To stay up to date, visit PAISD’s social media and website. Contact Porterie at mporterie@paisd.org for additional questions or concerns.