Trustees watched a video featuring Spring Branch ISD’s Work-Based Continuum of Services for special education students. Of particular interest was TOPS – Transitioning Onward Promotes Success – a work-based learning program for students ages 18-21 with significant cognitive disabilities and that special education teachers and students presented at a recent State Board of Education meeting. Under close supervision, TOPS students work several hours a day at jobs in businesses across the district, earning a paycheck while learning good work habits and self-reliance. Using a centralized approach, Spring Branch’s program has become a model for other districts to replicate. TOPS students Cassandra Howton and Alexandra Bischoff spoke to Trustees about why the program is important to them.
Watch the VIDEO >>
Youth Art Month
Trustees also recognized schools making the Educational Results Partnership Honor Roll. An alliance of business and academia dedicated to improving educational productivity and student success at all levels, ERP uses data and analytics to uncover successful schools and best practices, and the Honor Roll recognizes schools that consistently demonstrate consistently higher levels of student academic achievement in several metrics. Named as Star Schools – high poverty, high performing, achievement-gap closing schools – were Westchester Academy for International Studies Middle School and Cornerstone Academy. Named as Scholar Schools – high performing schools without significant levels of low-income students – were Frostwood Elementary, Memorial Drive Elementary, Wilchester Elementary and Memorial Middle School. Finally, Cornerstone Academy was one of only 49 schools in Texas named a STEM honor roll for being a high poverty school with higher performance in math and science.
ERP website >>
Approval of Strategic Plan / Local Innovation Plan
Trustees unanimously approved the strategic plan / local innovation plan, culminating a 10-month process that started upon Dr. Scott Muri’s arrival as superintendent on July 1, 2015. By approving the plan, Trustees have made Spring Branch ISD a District of Innovation as defined by House Bill 1842, which was passed by the 84th Legislature in 2015. Trustees now have the option, with a two/thirds vote, of exempting the district from certain rules in the Texas Education Code. The strategic plan, developed by a 90-member committee comprising district staff, parents and community members, is directional in nature, trustees said, pointing to the district’s goal of T-2-4. Exemptions to state code would occur as tactics are developed during implementation of the strategic plan.
Strategic Plan website >>
Teacher Appraisal System
Trustees unanimously approved a new teacher appraisal system, the T-TESS (Texas Teacher Evaluation Support System). A cross-functional team and the District Improvement Team investigated creating a local version of a teacher appraisal system but found that much of their work paralleled that of T-TESS, which focuses more on teacher growth and student achievement than the prior “checklist” model. District staff will come back to the board with policy considerations from the DIT in May.
T-TESS Handbook >>
Spring Branch Academic Institute
Trustees unanimously approved naming what’s been known as the School for Highly Gifted Students to the Spring Branch Academic Institute. With three “schools within schools” (Valley Oaks Elementary, Spring Forest Middle and Stratford High), students and staff felt the new name better reflects their learning environment.
Nomination Form >>
Trustees unanimously approved all but item 6c of the consent agenda. Trustee Karen Peck abstained from voting on item 6c, citing a potential conflict of interest. Item 6c was approved by a 6-0 vote. Consent agenda items are taken as a whole unless a board member requests an item be removed for separate consideration.
Consent Agenda (no. 6) >>