LISD deliberates goals for the coming year

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In a lunch workshop meeting Feb. 8, the Lewisville ISD Board of Trustees began hammering out its official goals for the 2018-19 school year.

Superintendent Kevin Rogers outlined the district’s four cornerstones, or overarching long-term goals, and broke them down into actionable ideas to roll out over the next school year. The school district’s four cornerstones student learning, student experience, accurate stewardship of resources and engaging the community. The board discussed several ways to pursue these goals.

For the first cornerstone, superintendent Kevin Rogers explained that the district wants to find a new way of monitoring student progress, both during and after their school careers. He and the board expressed interest in exit interviews with students who do not graduate or need to be held back, as well as tracking trends in what happens to students after the enter the workforce.

Taking advanced biology classes and Algebra 2, for instance, have been a significant predictors of financial success for students.

Texas keeps track of student progress with the annual standardized STAAR test, but the district has had difficulty with this test in the recent past. Deputy superintendent Lori Rapp said explicitly that it was not the metric they needed.

The district’s next step for enhancing the student experience is to determine more options for advanced academies on campus. Rogers said they want to have recommendations for future academies by September and have specifically a recommendation for a middle school STEM academy by May 2019.

The district’s stewardship goals are the development of a debt reduction plan related to last year’s bond package and reducing the total number of paid positions to get into line with the student population, which dropped unexpectedly last year.

The district had previously discussed this item in detail at a workshop meeting Dec. 6.

“If you have a balanced budget on paper, you’re probably cutting people and programs when you didn’t need to,” Rogers said. We certainly need to get our house in order with regard to positions versus enrollment.”

Board member Tracy Scott Miller emphasized that shaving individual program budgets was probably the most harmless place to find money, something Rogers agreed with. Rogers said the board will form a committee in the coming months to determine exactly how effective several of its programs are.

“As recapture continues down the road, we’re going to need to make some tough decisions and we need community input,” Rogers said.

Also under stewardship, the district plans to continue its advocacy efforts for school funding. LISD and many districts across Texas have strongly opposed the push toward a voucher system, saying that it funnels public money into private schools. The pushback from school districts against the state government is developing into a major statewide issue heading into the 2018 elections.

For community outreach, Rogers said he and LISD communications staff are working on a marketing plan for the STEM academy at Donald Elementary and the collegiate academy at The Colony High School.

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