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Superintendent's column: State approval takes VISD courses statewide

By BY ROBERT JAKLICH
July 11, 2014 at 2:11 a.m.

Robert Jaklich

With the excitement of another school year upon us, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our VISD family members and partners for their outstanding efforts in serving as champions for our children.

As I visit with these amazing stakeholders, I am constantly reminded how fortunate we are to be surrounded by such bright, articulate students; outstanding, dedicated teachers and staff; a visionary Board of Trustees; parents who truly desire the best for their children and community members who are committed to making a difference in the lives our students each and every day.

During the past legislative session, House Bill 5 was passed into law. One of the mandates of HB5 was for the State Board of Education to adopt rules and to provide a variety of advanced courses that comply with the new Foundation Graduation Plan requirements.

On Nov. 23, the Victoria ISD submitted four new, innovative technical education courses to the Texas Education Agency for approval. These new, innovative courses - Introduction to Process Technology; Safety, Health and Environment; Digital Fundamentals; and DC Circuits - were developed in a collaborative effort of VISD staff, local Victoria industry partners and Victoria College.

On Monday, the VISD received notification from TEA that these courses would be recognized by the state of Texas as innovative courses and that all school districts in Texas would now have the opportunity to offer these VISD-developed courses as a part of their curriculum.

The approval of these courses will allow students in the VISD to pursue college and career options that have not been previously available. These courses will offer our students the opportunity to pursue higher-demand and higher-wage career options as well as assisting in meeting the need to fill employment gaps in our current local workforce. We would like to extend our sincere appreciation to Invista for providing scholarships to assist in covering the tuition costs of the dual-credit course Introduction to Process Technology.

We are extremely excited to announce that Feb. 14, 2015, the Victoria Education Foundation will hold its Kids and Classrooms Concert featuring the band Three Dog Night. The tremendous support received from this year's 1964 Beatles Tribute concert enabled the VISD Education Foundation to further its efforts in supporting our school district by increasing grant funding $10,000, by providing $10,000 of classroom starting supplies to our new teachers, awarding six additional $500 scholarships to our graduating seniors and providing $10,000 for dual-credit scholarship assistance to our dual-credit students in partnership with Victoria College. The mission of the Education Foundation is to generate and distribute resources to the Victoria ISD that enrich teaching, inspire learning and enhance opportunities for students to become contributing members of our society. Since the Victoria ISD Education Foundation was initiated in 2008, it has raised more than $670,000 and provided support and assistance to 19,600 students. If you have any questions or require further information regarding the VISD Education Foundation, you may contact Kristina Martinez at kristina.martinez@visd.net.

In the VISD, it is clearly evident that we have within us the belief, the knowledge and the skill sets to truly become the exceptional school district we aspire to be. We will continue to work together with our stakeholders as we meet our upcoming challenges with hope, determination and great expectations. We are dedicated to teacher quality, enhancing classroom support and accelerating student achievement. Nelson Mandela once stated: "As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same." On behalf of our Board of Trustees and the entire VISD, we truly appreciate your commitment to excellence and the value you place on the importance of education and career opportunities for every child, every classroom, every day.

Robert Jaklich is the superintendent for the Victoria Independent School District. Contact him at 361-788-9202 or through the VISD website, visd.com.

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