There are great things happening at Pleasanton ISD in 2020, and a variety of plans and programs are being implemented district wide to address academics, campus safety, campus resources, campus improvements, teacher effectiveness, financial acquisitions and so much more.
The district has four District Goals providing guidance to all campuses, staff and the school board:
1. Provide a quality education that is evident by student growth.
2. Establish a collaborative culture to create a student-centered learning environment.
3. Develop community connection that focus on effective communication and partnerships.
4. Commit to District fiscal responsibility which supports District goals and aligns with the Long- Range Planning Committee’s vision.
District Literacy Initiative
The district has put a great emphasis on early literacy skills in phonics and understanding it is the key to literacy success. Teachers have had several 90-minute professional development sessions throughout the semester during the school day which does not interfere with classroom instructional time. The district has recently hired a literacy specialist, Shannon Greer, who works with teachers at all campuses. Greer acts as a literacy coach with the teachers and staff.
“This definitely coincides with what the state is doing with reading academies. We are being proactive and developing a reading academy environment of our own,” states Dr. Matthew Mann, PISD Superintendent
Pleasanton High School was recently awarded a position on the 10th Annual AP District Honor Roll.
“I think this is a fantastic testimony to the work that they are doing to maintain rigor and making sure that all students have that opportunity for rigorous course work,” states Dr. Mann.
The High School was also recognized for their Post-secondary Readiness Achievement and Comparative Academic Growth through distinctions by the Texas Education Agency (TEA).
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Coinciding with academics, the district has been working diligently to incorporate more technology into the classroom. Class sets of Chromebooks have been added to all 2nd Grade classrooms. English classrooms at 3-5th Grade, Junior High and High School also received Chromebooks. Next year, the district will start adding Chromebooks into math classrooms. The plan to keep new and updated technology in the classroom and incorporated into campus curriculum is to have technology be updated on a 5-year rotation.
This technology implementation is very important because students need to learn how to navigate technology for academic purposes. This is crucial to the district and student success measures because STAAR assessments will soon be taken on the computer.
Dr. Mann states, “This really modifies our teaching as well, we really want our teachers to be comfortable in using this technology. That’s why we have really pushed this out into the campuses, so this is not a unique experience to teachers or students, and is simply another tool for learning and engagement.”
This does take an investment, and the district thanks the school board for making that investment of $350,000 providing 1,400+ Chromebooks to teachers in just one semester.
The district is in the process of establishing replacement schedules for technology, HVAC, roofing, parking lots, food service equipment, etc.
Dr. Mann states, “Anything we feel like are consumable or have a life span, we want to make sure we have a budget on. For example, we replace two buses a year to ensure that we stay current.”
The hope is that this replacement schedule alleviates any drastic financial burden and keeps the district and classrooms up to date and keeps all facilities and learning tools from being rundown or outdated.
Crisis Intervention and Campus Safety
The district has also taken a great notice in crisis intervention and campus safety. The district social worker, counselors and other district personnel have been working in coordination with their school cluster by hosting a Youth Mental Health First Aid training. The district has a trained Crisis Team of counselors who are prepared to act in the event of a district crisis or crisis in neighboring districts.
Campus police also recently implemented a Stop the Bleed training and have collaborated with local law enforcement agencies. From this collaboration, law enforcement agencies decided it was critical for them to be familiar with campus facilities, so officers toured each campus to be prepared in the event of a crisis.
This past Fall, the district also secured a $57,000 School Safety Grant from the state. This will be used to buy additional cameras, additional radios, install updated security doors at the Junior High campus and add fencing.
School spirit has been at an all-time high with the implementation of the Golden P at the High School which recognizes staff and student achievement. Staff and students have the opportunity to nominate other staff and students who have impacted them in some way. The Golden P recipients are posted around the school and are used to decorate the hallways.
The district has been working hard to have a much larger social media presence, implement surveys to retain data and feedback, revamped their website, which has since been a model for other districts, and has been diligent in alerting community news about any good or exciting things happening in the district.
High Reliability School and High Reliability Teacher
PISD has also recently introduced a program known as The Marzano Resources High Reliability Schools that was enacted this summer. It is a multilevel process that requires an outside source to examine each campus and determine if the district is effectively enacting each level of the High Reliability School process.
As a branch of the High Reliability School Process, the district enacted the High Reliability Teacher (HRT) which is designed to encourage teacher effectiveness and develop their instructional skills in the classroom. This program is also a multilevel training where they must conquer the skills: foundation of instructional strategies, reflection of instructional strategies, student learning and valid and rigorous feedback. The district has a cohort of about 19 teachers going through this process to become High Reliability certified.
Dr. Mann states, “I wanted to improve teacher effectiveness and their ability and grow them as professionals, but we are truly creating teacher leaders which is really powerful.”
The district will be starting a new cohort of teachers in 2020, and will allow this cycle to continue.
Staff Development is taking a new turn with a long-term 5-Year Development Plan designed to allow for continuous development of teachers as the years progress.
Dr. Mann states, “We want the teachers to know their expectations and not be completely turning over and doing something different each year.”
The staff development plan is to help PISD reach their long range expectations by breaking it down into goals that are measurable: at least 70% of K-8th Grade students remain at grade level in Math and Reading, 90% of graduates need to be career, college and military ready and reduce the achievement gap for economically disadvantaged to less than 4%.
“These are general, quantitative goals that we are looking to reach in the next five years or sooner,” states Dr. Mann.
Parking lots were recently completed and HVAC units were updated at the Primary and the Junior High Performing Arts Center. The flooring will soon be replaced at the Primary along with the beginning of the Eagle Stadium Renovations.
Dr. Mann states, “I want to thank the Pleasanton ISD School Board for their support of the teachers, students and staff. They do a thankless job and they are doing it because they want to help and serve their community.”