Entering its third year of the System of Great Schools (SGS) program, Victoria ISD’s progress is looking promising.
SGS is a network the Texas Education Agency (TEA) developed for Texas school districts. Those who join this network participate in a 4-year program that provides district leaders with technical assistance, professional learning communities and support in applying for grants and other financial resources.
Victoria ISD was originally accepted to SGS in 2019; however, due to restructuring of the program by the TEA, VISD had to apply again. The district has once again been accepted and will now be part of the SGS Network until 2024. VISD is one of just 20 districts in the State of Texas participating in the SGS Network.
Under the SGS program, districts must follow their strategy.
An SGS Strategy is a district-level problem-solving approach district leaders use to understand school performance and community demand and deliver the schools families want and need in their communities. District leaders use the SGS Strategy to expand what works, replace what doesn’t and pursue all possible options to create high-quality, best-fit schools.
The SGS Strategy has four levers: analyze school performance, expand great options, improve access to options and create new organizational structures.
Using these levers as a guiding force, VISD has taken great steps to make our schools better every day. As part of the SGS Strategy, the district’s Chief Innovation Officer, Melissa Correll, spearheads a team dedicated to implementing and fostering high-quality learning environments across the district.
Correll’s team, along with teachers, principals and other district leaders, have worked tirelessly to create more innovative learning environments across VISD schools under this program while also improving upon the quality seats within the district.
Over the last few years, the district has taken a step back and looked into what the Victoria community wants and needs when it comes to education. Through surveys, ThoughtExchange’s and conversation, VISD has found a multitude of new things it can introduce to help provide better education while simultaneously providing the community with the types of educational offerings it deserves.
This has helped lead the district to repurpose its Strategic Plan to become more inviting for all types of education. Now, everything and anything the district does can be linked back to the Strategic Plan and what our goals are for all of our students.
While a lot of the background work being done is not visible to the naked eye, we all see the new programs and opportunities coming to fruition. Crain Elementary’s new two-way dual-language program is one of these opportunities. Smith STEM Academy, Shields Elementary’s Personalized Learning and CLI at F.W. Gross are just three more of these. The STEM Academy coming to Stroman being another… and this has all been done in just 3 years!
One of the best things however that has been done so far has been the ability to cut D and F seats across the district by more than a third from the 2018-2019 school year.
All of this has been made possible due to the guiding force that has been SGS and district leaders coming together. By 2024, VISD’s goal is to be off and running on its own to continue improving upon its schools’ quality seats and bringing innovation in education to Victoria.