All About ACE

News from the Spring ISD Advisory Committee on Education

2021-2022 Issue 4

Advisory Committee on Education Gathers to Address the District’s Top Priorities

The district’s ACE committee met on Wednesday, March 30, to discuss the District’s top priorities and to hear from its members in a roundtable discussion format. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Lupita Hinojosa and members of the senior leadership team facilitated these table discussions that were designed to learn from feedback that was shared. The committee also continued its focus on the District of Innovation renewal plan, on which they have been providing ideas and feedback since January.


Dr. Hinojosa’s opening segment, “What’s on My Mind?” included reflections from her recent campus visits, and interactions with our teachers and students. Reminding the group to choose joy, reconnect with colleagues, and empower themselves and others was a central theme of Dr. Hinojosa’s message.”These are the three things I want all of us to focus on and I believe we’ll keep rising.” Dr. Hinojosa said.


During campus walks, she has been listening to teachers and watching them in action. “Talking to you and finding ways to keep that spark of joy has been essential, especially this time of year when the work can be the toughest,” Dr. Hinojosa said.


In her conversations with students, she was reminded of what we already know. “They want us to hold them accountable, but they want us to do it with care. Dr. Hinojosa recounted. “You, as teachers, know what our students need and they depend on us to fulfill those needs,” Dr. Hinojosa continued, “We may not get everything right the first time, but we can always fix it, and go back and make it better.”


Before closing, Dr. Hinojosa wanted everyone to feel encouraged to take care of one another and invest in each other. She said, “For so long, we’ve been laser-focused, working as hard as we can. Let’s pull up for a minute and spend time talking to a colleague. Spend time talking with students. It’s in these times when we’re investing in each other that we’re at our best. It’ll keep us together and that’s when we’re the strongest.”

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2022-2027 Spring ISD Strategic Plan Preview

The 2022-2027 Spring ISD Strategic Plan, Every Student-Every Teacher-Every Day, brings forth many opportunities for continuous improvement. This new plan is the District’s blueprint for excellent equitable outcomes and is hinged on six major priorities, which include Student Outcomes, Equity, Well-Being, Leadership, Opportunities, and Engagement. Members of the ACE engaged in roundtable discussion groups for a closer look at the six priorities and guiding principles, and to share feedback for recommended next steps. In addition, the groups were charged with providing Dr. Hinojosa and the senior leaders with questions the new plan raises for them individually and collectively.


More specifically, the roundtable discussions began with an overview of the strategic priorities, focus areas, and guiding principles. Each of the small groups then centered their discussion around one of these components of the strategic plan, using the following questions to guide the dialogue and feedback:


Priorities

Which priorities excite you?

Are there priorities that are unclear?

Where can we leverage our strengths as a district? What challenges or hurdles might Spring experience?


Focus Areas

Where do you see yourself directly supporting focus areas in your role? Indirectly supporting?

What questions or wonderings do you have about specific focus areas?


Guiding Principles

What about the revised principles resonates with you?

Are there any key notions about how we need to operate as a district to improve student learning that are missing?


The dialogue at each of the tables was rich in the exchange of ideas as well as feedback and recommendations. A representative from each group captured the main ideas and served as the spokesperson to share with the full Committee for consideration in the implementation of the new strategic plan.

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The ACE Approves the 2022-2027 District of Innovation Renewal Plan

Since January, the ACE Committee has played a vital role in the development of the Spring ISD District of Innovation Renewal Plan, which is an extension of the original plan that was developed in 2017. An essential ingredient in the Texas Education Agency’s (TEA) District of Innovation (DOI) process was collaboration between all major stakeholder groups, including teachers, parents, district leaders, members of the Board of Trustees, and community partners. Over the course of three meetings, the DOI Committee used the TEA guidelines to develop the new plan that would guide the district’s innovations for the next five years, from 2022-2027.


Four ACE Committee members answered the call to serve on the DOI Renewal Plan Committee as key voices of the district. These representatives are Antonionette Nolen of Booker ES, Rosemary Perez from Ponderosa ES, Andrew Stewart of Spring Early College Academy, and Robert Williams from Claughton MS. They were all commended for their service and stewardship throughout the process.


Dr. Julie Hill, Chief of Human Resources and Human Capital Accountability, reviewed the DOI exemptions that make up our district’s innovation plan, which include:

  • Modifications to the School Day, which allows flexibility of scheduling to ensure time for planning and preparation is afforded to campus staff before or after instructional hours.

  • Modifications to the School Year, which provides a school district the option to begin the instructional year before the fourth Monday in August.

  • Innovation Curriculum and Instructional Methods provides an exemption from the required 90 percent seat-time rule to attain course credit;

  • District Budget and Sustainable Program Funding, which waives certification mandates of career and technology education teachers; and

  • Campus Governance, which allows flexibility in district-wide staff development, class size, and specific staffing requirements.


“We cannot thank you enough for your ongoing feedback throughout this process. The insights you’ve shared through these meetings as well as through the feedback survey helped the DOI Committee know what matters most to you,” Dr. Julie Hill said. “We’re excited that the plan we put before you for approval today is one that you’ve been part of from the beginning.” she added.


The Committee voted on the plan with a 98% approval rating. From the beginning of April through early May, the plan will be posted on the DOI website as required by TEA. All Spring ISD stakeholders are encouraged to review the plan and learn more about the approved innovations. Visit the DOI website at https://www.springisd.org/doi.

Make Your Voice Heard! Talk to Your ACE Representative

Every campus in the district has at least two ACE representatives elected by the staff to serve in an advisory role to the Superintendent. Central office representatives are also elected to serve, as well as community members who are appointed by the Superintendent serve on the ACE as another integral voice.


Over the next month, your ACE representatives will share meeting highlights such as those found in this newsletter as well as gather your input to bring to the next meeting. Be on the lookout for updates to be shared at your next faculty meeting (campuses) and or staff special call-meeting (district office). If you want to ensure your views are heard, reach out to your ACE representative. Click here to learn who represents you.

2021-2022 ACE Meeting Dates


Mark your calendar for the remaining ACE meetings of the 2021-2022 school year. Contact your representative and look for updates on key district decisions over the coming months.


The next ACE meeting will be held on Wednesday, Apr. 27, at 5 p.m.

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Check out the ACE website at www.springisd.org/ace