In the ever-evolving landscape of education, the Victoria Independent School District stands firm in its commitment to inspire teaching and empower learning. The 59-member strategic planning committee, which included key community leaders, teachers, students, parents, administrators, and members of each of the Victoria ISD Task Force groups captured exactly this as a VISD Strategic Plan finding; and at the core of our strategic plan lies a profound commitment to fostering a culture of voice, choice, and advocacy.
VISD recognizes that every student is unique, with their own aspirations and potential. To ensure equity and ignite the spark of genius in every child, VISD has embarked on a journey to provide various avenues for students to discover their passions and excel academically.
One of the cornerstones of VISD's commitment to choice in education is the implementation of Choice Schools and Choice Programs. These offerings are designed to allow families and their children to explore diverse academic pathways, each tailored to specific interests and learning styles, while also providing opportunities for engaging extracurricular activities.
Choice Schools within the district are open to VISD students.
So, why should families consider these Choice Schools? The answer lies in the belief that each child is a unique individual with their own distinct learning style, aspirations, and talents. By providing multiple options, VISD aims to help students find their "best-fit" school, one that resonates with their interests and helps them reach their academic potential.
Educators at Choice Schools are equipped to engage students in a profound and meaningful manner, leveraging their specific interests and learning preferences. This tailored approach nurtures a love for learning and ensures that every student has the necessary tools and experiences to thrive academically and be well-prepared for college, the professional world, and life beyond.
Let's delve into some of the compelling Choice Pathways offered by VISD:
For young, aspiring scientists and engineers, the STEM campuses provide an immersive environment that fosters critical thinking and problem-solving skills. STEM Pathway schools are dedicated to implementing the newest and most promising practices in education with an emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The foundational belief is that learning should be both engaging and social. Students work collaboratively on challenging curriculum, which in turn, enables them to experience engaging learning opportunities in order to develop conceptual knowledge and depth through project-based learning (PBL). Students learn 21st-century skills like communication, collaboration, and problem solving which are deeply embedded into the STEM environments of the STEM Pathway schools, providing students the opportunity to not only learn the information required at each grade level but to also put the information into action through real-life simulated projects.
Personalized Learning is an approach that empowers learners by involving them in their learning at every stage; from setting their own targets to evaluating their progress, we believe that learners must become key drivers in their learning so that it becomes meaningful, valuable, and personal to them. To get an idea of personalized learning, try to picture a classroom that doesn’t have a “one size fits all” approach to education. The teacher doesn’t lead all students through the same lessons. Instead, the teacher guides each student on an individualized journey with engaging small group learning. The what, when, where, and how of learning is tailored to meet each student’s strengths, skills, needs, and interests by providing a variety of options and learning modalities.
VISD recognizes the importance of linguistic diversity and offers a Two-Way Dual Language Program to nurture bilingualism and cultural awareness. This program will be available to incoming kinder students for the 2024-25 school year. This program equips students to communicate effectively in two languages, opening doors to a broader world. The Two-Way Dual Language Program pairs students with Bilingual partners in order to learn from each other's language strengths. The students work together throughout the day to foster collaboration, accountability, and empathy. Working in pairs promotes understanding of content lessons and language development.
Achieving Campus Excellence (ACE) School Model:
Victoria ISD’s Accelerating Campus Excellence (ACE) campus targets three key elements: strong school leadership, best-fit teachers, and high expectations for both students and staff to accelerate the transformation of a school.
The ACE model incentivizes top teachers and principals to work at the district’s highest-need schools to ensure that best-fit educators are in the classrooms where they are most needed.
The program began in August 2020 at O’Connor Elementary School.
A Pathway in Technology Early College High School (P-Tech) offers students a no-cost pathway that will lead to post-secondary credentials and is an experience that encourages students to continue their post-secondary education. P-TECH pathways available are: Healthcare Services and Engineering hosted at Victoria East High School and Computer Science and Education and Training offered at Victoria West High School.
P-TECH offers many benefits, like the opportunity to graduate with an Industry-Based Certificate and college credit hours towards an advanced degree at no cost to the student or parents/guardians, dual-credit courses mirroring a college setting offered in partnership with Victoria College and the University of Houston-Victoria, support teams provide to help students throughout their studies, organizational and study strategies that include note-taking and time-management skills that are incorporated into all high school courses, and college and career advising to plan future career and education options and opportunities
The rich array of Choice Pathways at VISD reflects our commitment to empowering students by providing them with the tools and experiences needed to succeed. By recognizing the uniqueness of each child and offering diverse educational opportunities, VISD ensures that no student's potential remains untapped.
Moreover, VISD is taking a proactive approach to empower families in shaping their educational pathways through the upcoming Third Annual Finding Your ‘AND’ Choice Expo, scheduled for November 14, 2023, from 6 to 7 p.m. This enlightening event will take place at the VISD Success Academy Gym, located at 3002 E. North St.
The Choice Expo promises to be an invaluable resource for families, featuring an extensive lineup of campus-focused informational booths and presentations. It aims to provide attendees with a comprehensive understanding of the diverse educational options available within the district. Representatives from various VISD departments, Choice Schools, and programs will be present, ready to offer guidance and address inquiries regarding educational opportunities for students from pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade. The Expo exemplifies VISD's commitment to engaging and supporting families in the critical task of choosing the right educational pathway for their children. It's an event not to be missed for those seeking to make informed choices for their child's educational journey.
In the pursuit of excellence, VISD strives to eliminate barriers that stand in the way of a successful launch into the world for every student. The district's dedication to choice, equity, and individualized education exemplifies its commitment to creating a brighter future for the students of Victoria. With Choice Schools and Choice Programs, VISD continues to inspire teaching and empower learning, setting a shining example for the transformative potential of choice in education.
Ashley Scott is the executive director of communications and public relations for Victoria ISD.