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Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Victoria school district is on right track

By the Advocate Editorial Board
Nov. 16, 2013 at 5:16 a.m.

The Victoria Independent School District has seen a shift in the past few years. Of course, change always comes when new leadership steps in, and VISD's Superintendent Robert Jaklich has certainly led the charge when it comes to changes.

We've commented before on the positive direction we see developing in VISD. Now, after Jaklich's state of the district presentation to the Victoria Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, we see even more positive change on the way.

The Advocate has written news articles and offered editorial opinions before on the matter of the inaccurate picture presented by the state's test rating system last year. A technicality resulted in the omission of the Native American student group's test results, which caused the district to be given an improvement required rating. The district missed meeting state standards by less than a point.

We are glad to see VISD has appealed the rating, and it is heartening to know Commissioner of Education Michael L. Williams has told Jaklich he intends to personally review the case.

VISD Board President Tami Keeling said regardless of how the appeal turns out, VISD will continue to move forward in a positive direction.

"Our future plans are what they are, regardless of whether the state corrects the technical error," Keeling said. "We're on the right path."

She pointed to Jaklich's presentation to the Chamber as a good representation of what the district is aiming for and plans to do. In his PowerPoint presentation, Jaklich referenced the need to focus on the "Fundamental 5." This districtwide emphasis focuses on framing lessons; working in the power zone; frequent small-group, purposeful talks about learning; recognizing and reinforcing; and writing critically. The presentation outlines the push for purposeful planning in the district and presents initiatives for every level from pre-K to secondary and English as a second language students. The initiatives also cover family needs and advanced learning opportunities. In addition, the presentation looks at the new diploma options offered under House Bill 5, facility upgrades, career pathways and more.

To help raise awareness of VISD's efforts, the Chamber has recorded Jaklich's presentation and posted it as a YouTube video available to the public. We have embedded the video in our website with this editorial, and we encourage our readers to watch the superintendent's presentation for themselves.

These are exciting ideas that will help continue pushing VISD in a positive direction. Every week, Jaklich uses his column to emphasize VISD's commitment to "every child, every classroom, every day." As VISD begins enacting these focuses and policies, we anticipate continued positive growth in education in Victoria. And we aren't the only ones.

"I think we're going to see more growth quicker as changes become more robust," Keeling said. "We're going to start gaining ground in an exponential fashion. The community should be very please."

Keep going, VISD. We're behind you all the way.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.



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