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NISD “made history” with 1st day of school, superintendent says; more device pickup needed

NEDERLAND — Nederland Independent School District’s first day of the school year Tuesday went off without a hitch, leaving Superintendent Dr. Stuart Kieschnick speechless.

“I couldn’t have been more pleased,” he said. “It was a great day. It exceeded our expectations. Not one problem got back to me.”

Kieschnick visited every campus Tuesday expecting first day jitters, but instead was met with excitement, patience and smiling faces.

“I saw all children with masks on, all teachers and staff with masks on and kids social distancing,” he said. “I just really can’t tell you how pleased I was with what I saw. I saw all the work we did over the summer, and the last three weeks, showing how hard the teachers worked and the campus administrators, too.”

Kieschnick said his biggest concern stemmed from the anxiousness about students following the strict COVID-19 protocols.

“I was a little bit anxious about the students being able to wear the masks all day, but that was not the problem at all,” he said. “They adapted and went along their way, the same with social distancing. It was just seamless.”

Approximately 70 percent of students enrolled in the district attended in-person instruction for the first day of school.

The remaining 30 percent chose homebound, asynchronous learning. Those students did not face any technology issues or major online defects.

“The high school students and staff were very excited about resuming school with our percentage of virtual students significantly lower than expected,” Nederland High School Principal Dr. Steven Beagle said. “We were very pleased with how our faculty and students responded to our safety protocols, which facilitated a terrific start to the school year. Our community has shown great resilience. We are excited school is back in session.”

An issue the district is facing is getting parents to check out student computers.

“We still have some parents who have not come to the school to pick their kids’ computers up,” Kieschnick said. “We need every student to have a device, but the parents need to sign off on it.”

NISD has approximately 1,800 computers still on back order.

“I am really excited to get those computers in and in the hands of those learners, but I really need those parents, for kids who do not have devices, to come get them,” Kieschnick stressed. “If something happens and we need to go all virtual again, that plan centers around every student having a device.”

Despite the one hiccup, Kieschnick said he chocks up the success of the first day to the preparation of teachers, parents and NISD administration.

“I want to give our teachers a big thank you, not just for yesterday, but the preparation they did leading up to that day,” he said. “I also want to thank the parents for the preparation they did to get their children ready for school because it all starts at home.”

Kieschnick said he is excited to see what the rest of the year has in store.

“The first day sets the tone and I could not be more pleased with the work that was done,” he said. “At the end of the day, there were no problems or major setbacks, which is a huge success for a district doing both virtual and in-person learning. We made history (Tuesday) in NISD.”