This post was written by Mandy Estes, Chief of Teaching & Learning for Round Rock ISD
Welcome back, everyone! We’ve finally arrived at that “sweet spot” of the year…students have re-entered our schools, we’ve eased back into a cadence of normalcy, and the year ahead is full of promise. We have high aspirations for ourselves and even higher aspirations for the students we serve.
Last year, the Teaching & Learning team formed extensive partnerships with campus and district staff, as well as external stakeholders, in an effort to support improved outcomes for students. Many people, too numerous to list here, have been involved in this work. I am excited to share a few highlights of that work, which I believe is making a positive difference for Round Rock ISD students and staff.
- We continue to seek opportunities to expand services to our youngest learners in order to ensure kindergarten readiness for all students. Two projects have been critical to this goal:
- Last Spring, our Board of Trustees unanimously approved the expansion of Pre-kindergarten programs on 13 of our highest need campuses from half-day to full-day. As a result, RRISD’s Pre-K enrollment has increased by more than 200 students this year – from 670 students to over 900 – and we are continuing to grow!
- Additionally, through our RRock Ready program, we continue to form additional partnerships with daycare and in-home childcare providers to provide training and support to assist childcare providers in preparing students for kindergarten.
- Throughout last year we also worked extensively to redesign the Aligned Round Rock Curriculum (ARRC) and our district assessment plan in an effort to ensure we provide a “guaranteed and viable curriculum” for students in all grades and courses while minimizing required testing. On both projects, we worked closely with our Research & Evaluation Department, as well as countless campus-based staff members who completed surveys, served on focus groups, and piloted prototypes. As a result, we’ve now launched the newly-redesigned ARRC, which includes enhanced searchability features, and we’ve streamlined district assessments.
- Throughout 2018-19, we will continue to gather campus and district stakeholders to collectively focus on complex, system-level improvement opportunities. Two examples of this work include our Equity and Future Readiness Task Force teams:
- The Equity Task Force is working to ensure we achieve educational excellence with equity in Round Rock ISD. By removing barriers and providing highly effective teaching and learning opportunities for students from every background and all skill levels, we will raise the bar for all students. The Equity Task Force is responsible for identifying areas where improvements are needed, designing improvement plans, overseeing the implementation of training and strategies, and monitoring results.
- The Future Readiness Task Force is charged with improving college and career-readiness to ensure that every student leaves our system with a purpose – to go directly into a trade or skilled profession, to go to college, or to go into the military. Just as we are focusing on leveling the playing field for our youngest learners, we also recognize that the transition from high school to college and/or a career is equally critical to ensure our students’ success after high school.
Our mission within the Teaching & Learning Division is to support Round Rock ISD schools in providing a world-class education for each and every student. Thanks for reading, and thank you for partnering with us on these efforts.