Inside GISD: Superintendent's Report

Posted by Jennifer Bailey on 2/15/2018 4:00:00 PM

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Howdy!

In January, I had an opportunity to reflect on the work happening in our district and shared my State of the District Address. I hope you were able to attend and witness the amazing things happening in our classrooms. Students showcased their talents in the visual arts, project-based learning, underwater robotics, aquaponic gardening, musical performances, culinary arts and so much more. It was my wish that you would see what I see everyday in our schools. It’s truly remarkable!

What I see is learning that happens in an innovative environment, where students are encouraged to take risks, think critically and find meaningful purpose in what they learn. It’s our goal as a district to develop future-ready students, and I’m confident that is happening in GISD schools.

It doesn’t mean that we don’t have work to do. In 2015, with community input, we developed our Learner Profile, a framework that calls for student-centered learning, where students have voice and choice in how they learn. We do that through blended learning opportunities, dual language programs and creating opportunities for students to collaborate and apply the critical-thinking skills that are so highly desired by today’s employers.

Our focus on developing learning spaces and an aligned curriculum that support the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills and our Learner Profile continue.

This school year, we built two brand new campuses in our fast-growing southeast quadrant, installed secure entrances at several of our campuses, and rolled out new technology in our schools at a ratio of one device to every two students. In 2018, we will continue with planned renovations of existing campuses, including major improvements at Tippit Middle School. In January, we opened a “makerspace” at Georgetown High School that includes a fabrication lab, welding and woodworking space, engineering lab and more.

In December, we held a grand-opening event for the newest campus, George Wagner Middle School, which was named for a longtime GISD volunteer and advocate for our kids. At the event, residents and community members participated in student-led tours and heard first-hand how students and teachers are using the blended learning space to bring the Learner Profile to life.

Mr. George Wagner has been active inside our schools for more than two decades and during that time, has positively impacted a generation of learners. Like many of the great men and women in our retirement communities, Mr. Wagner brings tremendous value to our schools through his unwavering commitment to service and education. It is fitting that this amazing facility is named for one of GISD’s most beloved supporters.

Schools like Wagner Middle School and Purl Elementary look different from the schools that you and I grew up in. They’re specifically designed to meet the needs of today’s learners and prepare them for the workplace of tomorrow. Tippit Middle School is undergoing extensive renovations now that will model that same open workplace where flexibility, collaboration and personalized learning are achieved.

We welcome 2018 with excitement and promise as we continue working on our curriculum, use the Learner Profile to drive campus improvements and enhanced learning opportunities, and explore a system for community-based accountability that empowers students, parents and educators to build learning environments that honor and support student achievement.

The traditional model for assessment simply measures students on what they learned. Our strategic plan challenges us to go beyond that idea to look not only at what students are learning in the classroom, but to ensure that students are prepared for success after high school by developing skills like perseverance, personal responsibility, and critical thinking. I’m confident that is happening every day and appreciate your continued support.

Thanks,

Fred

Fred Brent
GISD Superintendent of Schools

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