All About ACE
News from the Spring ISD Advisory Committee on Education
Advisory Committee on Education Kicks off 2020-21 Year
The district’s ACE committee held its first full meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 30, kicking off a series of seven gatherings designed to gather feedback from campus staff, community members and parents on key issues affecting educators and students within the district.
Spring ISD Superintendent Dr. Rodney E. Watson opened the virtual meeting by welcoming everyone and urging them to take an active role in the ACE meetings, which he described as critical to helping the district progress.
“You all serve as my advisors,” he said. “I really see you all as teachers-leaders.” He noted that he plans to start every meeting with a “What’s on My Mind” segment to help generate discussion and identify key areas of concern.
On Wednesday, that conversation centered on how the district can address the challenges of the pandemic while ensuring student achievement, especially with federal and state education officials still requiring testing and accountability measures.
Some of the main issues discussed included:
The challenges of concurrent instruction and the potential to consider dedicated virtual and in-person teachers to help alleviate some of these difficulties.
Looking at ways to blend in more asynchronous instruction to avoid students being on the computer all day.
Ongoing technology issues that interfere with effective instruction.
Keeping students engaged who are learning from home as teachers also manage their in-person students.
Watson pledged that he would continue to look at ways to help mitigate some of the concerns and challenges that teachers face and encouraged everyone to keep sharing ideas and solutions.
Have You Met Your Support Team?
As the superintendent of Spring ISD, Dr. Rodney Watson is a well known face in the schools and in the community. But as the ACE learned on Wednesday, he also has a team of people working to support our educators and campuses, including Mark Miranda, the district’s new Executive Chief of District Operations.
He introduced himself on Wednesday and also gave all of the committee members a quick update on how the district is organized to support the schools. Specifically, he noted that the Chief Academic Officer Khechara Bradford reports to him, as does the school leadership office with six assistant superintendents. All of the assistant superintendents have assigned schools and are committed to working with each campus principal to support teachers and staff with the goal of making sure students are successful.
For more information on the district’s school leadership organization, please click here.
Of Two Revised Calendar Proposals, ACE Backs Option 1
The ACE recommends the district approve revised 2020-21 Calendar Option 1 after reviewing both proposals and discussing them with colleagues on their campuses.
“A break is very much needed at the end of October,” said Jessica Gamez of Anderson Elementary. “Many teachers are really looking forward to that already.”
The district had unveiled two revised calendar options for the 2020-21 school year as part of a plan to return to a more traditional calendar that would end the school year in early June.
As part of the feedback process, the committee was asked to review both proposals and return with a recommendation that the administration can share with the Board of Trustees before a vote is taken. In addition, the district is surveying all parents and staff to get their opinions on the two options.
The two calendar options presented differ from the current calendar in that the last day of school for all students would be June 4. Both calendar proposals allow an earlier end to the school year by reducing the intersession breaks, which were intended to build in time in case the district needed to close down because of COVID-19 (now made less likely by the widespread rollout of Empowered Learning At-Home).
In addition, neither of the revised calendar proposals includes the week off before Thanksgiving, again giving the district the instructional time needed for an earlier end to the school year.
Other key changes:
Option 1 builds in two short intersession breaks in October-November and in February.
Option 2 eliminates the Fall intersession break but does include one in February.
The revised 2020-21 Instructional Calendar Survey is located on the Spring ISD website at www.springisd.org/calsurvey and will remain open through Sunday, Oct. 4.
The survey results, along with the ACE recommendation, will be presented to the Spring ISD Board of Trustees for consideration at the regular meeting in October.
Watson told the committee that as soon as the new calendar is approved, it will be communicated and shared with everyone.
Here’s What’s on the Agenda
If you’re wondering what topics ACE will be focusing on this year, see below. Additional items may be added depending on discussions, recommendations or district priorities.
Make Your Voice Heard! Talk to your ACE Representative
Did you know that every campus in the district has two ACE representatives elected by you to serve in an advisory role to the superintendent? One way you can ensure your views are heard is to connect with your ACE member. Click here to learn who represents you.