FALLS CITY – The March 12 regular meeting of the Falls City ISD school board saw the board of trustees approve for the district to join in the TASA (Texas Association of School Administrators) School Transformation Network, along with being a consortium associate district with the Texas High Performance Schools Consortium.
The TASA School Transformation Network was founded several years ago by a group of school district superintendents in the Dallas Metroplex area who decided that they were not satisfied with the standardized testing methods for Texas public school students. The superintendents got together with other superintendents from bigger urban districts and thus formed the Network.
The Network’s stated focus is on “the development of innovative, next-generation learning standards and assessment and accountability systems for Texas public schools…The purpose of the network is to empower leaders from subscribing districts to progress from the theoretical to the practical.”
The Network has an initiative collaboration with the Texas High Performance Consortium. The Consortium had its genesis in 2011 after the 82nd Texas Legislature approved Senate Bill 1557, which called for the commissioner of education to select schools for the Consortium through an application process. In September of 2012, Commissioner Michael Williams selected 23 Texas school districts that would comprise the Consortium.
The stated goal of Consortium to “transform education so that all Texas students are future ready,” and to empower Texas students in the areas of creativity and innovation, along with teachers being given the opportunities to assess and design learning that is more relevant to modern times.
The Consortium seeks to find greater and more effective ways of teaching and testing students, rather than relying on the current system that “focuses on teaching to the high-stakes tests, not fostering the skills needed to be future ready.”
“The whole purpose of this is to try to figure out ways that we can assess our kids that’s more realistic,” explained Superintendent Tylor Chaplin as he addressed the board. “It’s not a one day snap-shot of what they can do on a standardized test.”
The Consortium states that its preferred future for Texas schools includes an educational system that is built around dynamic curriculum standards in each content area, has a variety of assessment alternatives that are not limited to paper and pencil tests, has the use of technology that is integrated into the learning for students, expounds on student interests, involves local communities in determining the accountability features that are important to that community, and has a variety of pathways to graduation.
“The consensus is that we’ve had a lot of success in trying to get our kids assessed the a different way, more of an equal way, with better representation of what they can do, without having very many of the districts in the State as a part of this,” said Superintendent Tylor Chaplin as he addressed the board. “The more districts that join this, our voice becomes louder with the (Texas) legislature.”
In other matters, the board:
-Approved the instructional materials allotment and TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) certification for 2014-2015. The allotment allows the district teachers obtain all titles and brands of various instructional materials that are hardback, software, online resources, and more
-Approved the renewal of membership of law firm Walsh, Anderson, Gallegos, Green and Trevino, P.C. independent retainer program.