Dr. Quintin Shepherd

Dr. Quintin Shepherd

“It’s time for us to shine. VISD has been sharing some really good news lately. I feel like it’s time for us to celebrate.” This is a quote from one of our staff members when we asked, “What does ‘it’s time’ mean to you?”

Our theme for this school year is “It’s Time.” We chose this theme for several reasons, not just because it makes for a great hashtag: #ItsTime! Our VISD opening convocation took place Friday, and we talked about what It’s Time means for us.

In the past year I have been with the district, I have heard so many stories from community members, staff, parents and even students. I have heard stories of heartache, disaster, difficult decisions, etc. I have also heard stories of hope and stories of success. So many people have shared so many stories with me, for which I am grateful. I feel like I have a much deeper understanding of what it means to be a Victorian.

While it is important to read chapters 1, 2 and 3 of our lives and not forget our history, it’s time to start writing chapters 4, 5 and 6.

Many teachers, administrators, parents and community members have talked to me about continuing to work hard on forming deeper partnerships. Parents are eager to partner with classroom teachers (we are excited to unveil our new digital Raptor system for this), businesses are eager to have deeper partnerships with our students to provide real-world work options for our kids (we are elated about our P-TECH work happening in this area) and community members have joined our task force efforts to help provide direction and clarity for the future of our schools.

It’s time for us to us to come together with a refreshed strategic plan, technology plan and facilities plan for our community to get behind. I will quote another VISD staff member who wrote, “It’s time to not be scared to take risks. It’s time to go after the dreams we think are too far out of reach because of preconceived roadblocks.”

In the past several months, our teachers and administrators have been recommitting to the Professional Learning Communities model. We know that data-driven instruction means we will use information always as a flashlight and never as a hammer, and we will relentlessly seek improvement for all students regardless of their starting point.

We will resist a culture of hide-and-seek and instead embrace a culture of “show and tell” when it comes to our performance data. We have academic successes to celebrate, and you will hear more about that in the coming weeks. It’s time for us to recognize our academic success and stay committed to our path of continuous improvement in everything we do.

I have heard so much about our students. I have heard from students about other students. I have heard from parents about our students. I hear from teachers, administrators and staff about our students. I hear from community members about our students. Victoria ISD will continue to focus on our students as learners, and it’s time for us to tighten our focus on students as people. Future global and local citizens and growing up in our system, and we are eager to engage the community in a conversation about the people we want to represent Victoria in our future. As one of our VISD staff said, “It’s time to actually be the change we want to see in our future (students).”

We have embraced radical transparency as our mantra and are striving for insane levels of accessibility. We have worked to refresh our website, allowed greater access than ever before to the work of central office through our Administration Reports at Board meetings, utilized digital platforms regularly to solicit input and asked for feedback regularly from all stakeholders. It’s time for us to truly harness the power of community ownership in the future direction of our schools!

We have done great work together in this past year tackling very difficult conversations. We have worked through campus mergers, rezoning concerns, efficiency efforts, staff increases, fund balance increases, communication efforts and numerous other improvements. It’s Time for us to embrace our successes and use those to springboard into our bright future together at Victoria ISD! I’ll finish with one more quote from a staff member: “... we’re not going to talk about what needs to be done; we’re going to do it.”

Dr. Shepherd is the superintendent of the Victoria Independent School District.

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