Victoria ISD has been awarded two School Action Fund (SAF) Planning Grants in the amount of $210,000 each. Districts that receive a SAF Planning Grant may also be eligible for one to two years of continuation funding in the amount of $500,000 to $1,000,000 to implement the school action.
The two grants will focus on redesigning Shields Elementary and Patti Welder Middle School into a blended learning model, which combines face-to-face and online instruction. To support this process, VISD will be matched with an assistance provider that has deep experience in whole school redesign and personalized learning. Together the campuses will provide a pathway that combines both online learning and a traditional classroom environment. The School Action Fund planning grant will assist VISD in designing a K-12 pathway for learning through a blended learning model and technology rich learning environment that will stimulate additional opportunities for advanced learning. “A blended learning environment allows students to experience learning in ways in which they are most comfortable, while also challenging them to learn in other ways,” explained Melissa Correll, VISD Director of Innovation. “Face-to-face instruction provides human flexibility with critical instructional decisions, love from a real teacher, face-to-face encouragement, and emotional support and direction. On-line instruction will bring a quick diagnosis of prior understanding for all students, differentiation in lesson planning, and instant adjustment in lesson execution based on real-time information for all students.”
VISD understands support, time, and effort will be needed to ensure a successful launch. Aligned to our strategic planning, our community is excited to empower both teaching and learning while assisting our students in finding their “AND”: they will leave us prepared for their successful launch into career, military, college, and life in order to be contributing members of society. Being a System of Great Schools and implementation of this grant, the goal is to increase the number of VISD students in high-quality, best fit schools. “We are very excited to announce the School Action Fund grants,” stated Superintendent Quintin Shepherd. “We feel these grants add fuel to our Findings and Directions report and add much needed resources to propel this work forward.”
Victoria ISD remains committed to taking bold action to transform each of these campuses. The new programs are projected to begin on each campus in Fall 2021. School enrollment will be at all grade levels, with a fresh start growth strategy for the newly designed school model, meaning growing the new school model one grade per year. The strategy of designing and launching new modeled schools and growing them one grade at a time is powerful and has both direct benefits for the students who choose to attend each of the campuses and the district as a whole. Selecting to use the fresh start growth strategy will allow the selected administrators time over the two-year grant implementation to focus and transform campus instructional practices and culture, while ensuring student support in attaining high levels of achievement.