Superintendent's column: High school schedule changes, staff promote excellence
By BY ROBERT JAKLICH
April 11, 2014 at 5:05 p.m.
Updated April 10, 2014 at 11:11 p.m.
Each and every day in the Victoria ISD, our outstanding staff works extremely hard to accomplish the mission of our school district: "Achieving Excellence for All." In our quest for excellence in education, we must continue to redefine strategies that will enable us to reach new heights while maintaining our focus on "every child, every classroom, every day." Our conversations must continuously involve quality - a quality learning environment, quality instruction and quality opportunities for all students and staff.
One way we have continued our commitment to a quality learning environment can be measured by the thousands of classroom walkthroughs that have been completed and registered in the Eduphoria management system. This year alone, we have 17,842 classroom walkthroughs across our 612 Square Miles of Excellence. These walkthroughs allow us the opportunity to enhance authentic student engagement, as well as the opportunity to provide the appropriate support and resources needed to increase student academic achievement.
An example of quality instruction can be found in the area of career and technical education. The Victoria ISD is proud to state that we have submitted two innovative technical education programs to the State Board of Education for approval. These two programs are process technology and instrumentation and electronics technology. We would like to extend our sincere appreciation to Invista for its generosity in providing financial support to our process technology students to offset their dual credit course fees. We are also extremely appreciative to the many community businesses that have partnered with VISD to enhance student opportunities in engineering, law enforcement, firefighting, medical, agriculture and automotive fields.
In the area of quality opportunities for all students and staff, we are excited to share the following: In our high schools, we moved from an A-B block schedule to a seven-period day schedule. The seven-period day has allowed for more consistency in our schools and the opportunity to build stronger student-staff relationships and to close the achievement gap in learning. We also continue to offer extended hours in our high school homework centers and provide free transportation home to our students. We are providing free SAT prep courses and free PSAT exams for our sophomores and juniors that include an "AP Potential" component that is provided to each student and parent. We also provide our students the opportunity to take their AP exams at no cost. By reducing this financial burden for our students, we have experienced a 282 percent increase in the number of AP exams taken.
Mary Kay Ash once stated, "Ideas are a dime a dozen. People who implement them are priceless." On behalf of our Board of Trustees and the entire VISD, we truly appreciate our extraordinary VISD staff, students, parents and community partners for the quality that they provide to our school district and for the priceless gift of hope they provide to us all.
Robert Jaklich is the superintendent for the Victoria Independent School District. Contact him at 361-788-9202 or through the VISD website, visd.com.