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Transforming the future

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NEISD schools make changes for betterment of students

Transformation Update

Campus leadership focus on how they will implement the strategic abandonment process at their schools.

The North East ISD Transforming the Future process is well in motion as the district works on goal three of the initiative: Strategic Abandonment. The goal involves the evaluation of district and campus-level policies, procedures, processes, and practices that can be abandoned or modified. Campus leadership has been hard at work, bringing staff together to discuss key factors that will have a positive impact on student learning.

The strategic abandonment process has proven to be a positive experience for district staff. There was no step-by-step process for school administrators to follow, with every school having its own organizational culture. The one constant was that teachers would have a voice and impact on these big decisions.

“We absolutely see the abandonment process as a good, and an overdue thing,” said Wendy Montgomery, fourth grade teacher at Wilshire. Montgomery and her fellow grade-level teachers – who are well versed in Google Drive – took charge of the technology aspects of the process at their campus.

“We all know what it is like to work long hours, too often having to focus our time and energy on things other than student learning and performance. Lightening the load on teachers' shoulders can only have a positive effect, allowing us to spend more time with our families andon the job we feel we were actuallyhired to do. I am very proud of my involvement in this process,” said Montgomery.

Transforming the Future Update

Dr. Brian G. Gottardy, superintendent of schools, speaks to district leadership about the process.

Strong leadership, partnered with positive teamwork, has made a big difference throughout the process for schools. Teamwork was needed for healthy brainstorm sessions and will be needed in the future as each school looks to implement changes. Administration’s ability to delegate important tasks, while assuring that top concerns will be addressed has instilled confidence in staff as well.

“It gives the teachers a voice in what they feel might not be a ‘big rock’ anymore. It says to teachers that it is okay to let things go,” said Lynn Dockery, principal at Oak Meadow Elementary School. The campus introduced the concept of strategic abandonment to team leaders, who then kick started the process with grade-level teams, giving each teacher the opportunity to give input. “Some of the things they wanted to give up have been done on the campus for a long time, so we had to make the discussion about whether it was something we did just because.”

Going through a delicate process such as strategic abandonment doesn’t happen without a few obstacles. For instance, at some schools, keeping the focus on campus-level programs and procedures proposed a challenge. In brainstorming sessions, some suggestions focused on district and federal-level initiatives that could not be influenced from a campus level. “It was an eye-opening experience,” said Montgomery. “We learned a lot about who influences which aspects of our job.”

Change is never easy, and schools have shown through leadership, teamwork, and an unrelenting focus on the betterment of students, that the future of education in NEISD is brighter than ever. Completing this goal will bring the district one step closer to advancing its beliefs, its call to action, and learner outcomes, as outlined in the strategic plan [link to plan]. For more information on NEISD’s Transforming the Future process click here.

Last Updated on June 30, 2014