FEBRUARY 2020 UPDATE

Here’s a rundown of some recent development with regard to our efforts under the FOCUS priorities:

FINANCE

Our district financial operations support so many levels of our work for the future. Thanks to the hard work and diligence of our finance team, we are moving in a healthier direction as it pertains to district finances--a testament to these efforts is reflected in the fact that district-wide spending is down six percent compared to last year at this time.

In order to ensure that progress continues, we have solicited the support of a highly-experienced consultant to support the management and oversight of the district’s financial operations. 

Dr. Don Hooper brings more than 50 years of educational leadership experience to DeSoto ISD. Hooper will work collaboratively with Interim Chief Financial Officer Deborah Cabrera to facilitate budget planning for the upcoming year and develop strategies to further strengthen the district’s financial future.

ORGANIZATIONAL REDESIGN

District leaders participated in the first steps of initiating the upcoming collaborative strategic planning process. The district established a core team that met with TNTP and CapEQ to develop a business case and identify key priorities and brainstorms to identify a north star focus for the effort. Additionally, CapEQ is interviewing various stakeholders to gain a historical context to support future planning with the City of DeSoto. The City of Glenn Heights, Charlton Methodist Hospital and the University of North Texas at Dallas.

Additional information regarding the collaborative strategic planning process will be shared in the coming weeks. Chief of Research, Evaluation, and Design Ben Mackey will provide an update to the Board on Monday, March 2, 2020, at the board workshop regarding recent grant applications to support district initiatives.

CAMPUSES and CLASSROOMS

At this week’s Board Workshop, trustees approved calendar option 2 to support the 11 half-day calendar structure for teacher professional development for the 2020-2021 school year.

The Teaching, Learning and Leadership Division continues to implement and refine the Collaborative Planning Cycle experience and support measures recently adding the Gradual Release Framework to their efforts to encourage student-led learning.

Currently, the district is focused on third-grade instruction, classroom management, and the classroom environment. Because third grade is such a crucial area of impact for future student performance and trajectory, as a district, we want to ensure that our teachers have the utmost support and necessary resources to facilitate student academic, social and emotional development and achievement.

District leaders are also preparing for a follow-up presentation to the Board regarding the LAB Day concept with deeper and more holistic data to inform the Board’s decision on the matter. To date, the district has held several discussions on the proposed idea and has implemented a number of survey opportunities to gather feedback and insights on this innovative calendar option designed to provide extensions of learning and culture- and relationship building for students and staff.

UNITY

The UNITY component of the FOCUS priorities centers on culture and climate. As a school system, we understand that the collaboration, belonging, inclusion, health, and well-being of our internal and external stakeholders is essential to our future success. With that in mind, Superintendent of Schools D’Andre J. Weaver, Ph.D., continues his efforts with his various advisory councils which provide feedback and insights from a range of perspectives within our school community.

With a focus on internal staff and employee culture and climate, the district hosted the first of its UNITY events with a night at the roller rink and will host the next event on March 26 at AMF Bowl Lanes in DeSoto. Be sure to join in the fun. 

 

SYSTEMS and SUSTAINABILITY

DeSoto ISD is focused on creating systems for long-term sustainability by recording and operationalizing our work practices with opportunities for innovation in mind. As a school system, we desire to streamline our processes and workflows while ensuring a means for evaluation and refinement.