All About ACE

News from the Spring ISD Advisory Committee on Education

2020 Issue 3

Advisory Committee on Education Convenes Second Meeting of the 2020-21 School Year

The district’s ACE committee reconvened on Wednesday, Oct. 28 for its second meeting of the year with an agenda designed to gather feedback from its members, including campus and central office staff, and parent and community representatives.

Superintendent Dr. Rodney E. Watson kicked off the meeting with his signature opening segment, “What’s on My Mind”, which allows him to share his perspective and insights regarding major issues in the district. The welfare of the staff and students were at the center of Dr. Watson’s concerns, and were described in his words as the “issues that keep me up at night.”

Specific to his concerns, as discussed in Wednesday’s meeting, included:

  • The growing needs of students who would benefit from in-person learning at school and are not there at the present time.

  • Teachers and district staff, and the level of fatigue that is witnessed first-hand through campus visits and day-to-day interactions throughout the district.

  • The challenges teachers face in effectively facilitating concurrent instruction, the model that requires simultaneous teaching to students who are physically in the classroom as well as to those who are learning virtually from home.

  • Collaboratively addressing the staff survey results that imply pertinent needs to those on the frontlines of our work in educating the students of Spring ISD.

Watson acknowledged his sincere desire to attend to the staff’s welfare as one of the integral first steps to ensuring optimal results in the work we all do every day. Moreover, he restated his commitment to ensuring all staff, especially teachers, have the resources they need to perform at their best for our students.

Return to Work Survey Facilitated Discussions

Earlier this month, the district launched a staff survey to gather feedback on employees’ perceptions and opinions regarding working in a COVID-19 environment. Approximately 54% of the district's 5,696 employees participated.

During Wednesday’s ACE meeting, five breakout sessions were held to discuss the following topics in further detail: Cleaning, Instruction, Technology and Connectivity Issues, Personal Protective Equipment, and Communication. These sessions were facilitated by Dr. Watson and members of the Superintendent’s Cabinet, including Khechara Bradford, Julie Hill, Lupita Hinojosa, and Mark Miranda.

In each breakout, teams were charged with identifying the three most important items pertaining to each issue, two key messages each ACE member will communicate back to their school/department team, and one action step the ACE member plans to take before the next meeting. To bring the facilitated discussions to a close, each team selected a spokesperson to present in a share-out to the larger group. Additionally, next steps were identified to address some of the major issues prior to the meeting adjourning.

A Summary of the Next Steps and Quick Wins for the ACE

Several immediate solutions to the issues and concerns that were brought forth were discussed by the ACE members. These solutions are readily accessible and require little more than careful coordination between departments to address them. The ACE refers to these as Quick Wins and decided on the following next steps for rolling them out over the coming days ahead:

  • Replenishing Personal Protective Equipment - There is an ample supply of equipment and supplies to deploy across the district’s campuses and departments. If there is a need for supplies, staff should notify their supervisor and an order will be processed from the warehouse. The same steps can be followed to address any issues that come up with the delivered supplies. It was noted that the Operations team is open to addressing feedback and trouble-shooting any issues pertaining to procuring necessary items from various vendors and suppliers.

  • Communicating COVID-19 Cases and Responses - Ongoing daily communications will continue in an effort to inform affected district employees and parents of new COVID-19 cases. Additionally, the district’s Emergency Management team has enacted immediate contact tracing protocols that entail notifications to individuals in direct contact with a positive-tested employee or student. These individuals are referred to local area sites where free rapid testing is conducted. Due to health privacy laws, more specific details such as the infected employee, diagnosis, etc., cannot be shared with others.

To further align district processes in support of these Quick Wins, and more complex issues such as internet connectivity, Dr. Watson will convene an ad-hoc committee made up of representatives from the ACE, campus leaders, as well as representatives from the American Federation of Teachers. Additional details will be forthcoming to announce the ad-hoc committee meetings and its solutions that will be implemented throughout the district.

Meet the ACE Member of the Month

For the past eight years, Rhonda Mitchell has served the district as a buyer in the Purchasing Department. Prior to this role, she served as a secretary at Dekaney High School. As a Buyer, Rhonda oversees the approval of all goods and services exceeding the amount of $3,000. Her diligence and expertise ensures the Procurement Department remains committed to its driving forces of compliance, customer service, and value creation. She speaks fondly of her work and describes the opportunities to connect with campus and department staff as a privilege. Regarding this year’s service on the ACE, Rhonda stated, “I rarely get the opportunity to engage with teachers and the ACE gives me a different perspective from what I generally receive. I look forward to future meetings.” Let’s all applaud Rhonda Mitchell for her commitment to Spring ISD and to the 2020-21 ACE!

Here’s What’s on the Agenda

The following is a list of the ACE meeting dates and topics of focus for the remaining of the year. The calendar is subject to change if additional items need to be added based on discussions, recommendations, or district priorities.

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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 were also elected and serve in the same capacity. Devoted community members, appointed by the Superintendent, serve on the ACE as another integral voice as well. If you want to ensure your views are heard, reach out to your ACE member. Click here to learn who represents you.

The next ACE meeting will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 15 at 5 p.m.