The Denison Independent School District’s board of trustees approved this year’s individual campus improvement plans for each of the district’s schools at Tuesday night’s board meeting.
CIP’s are designed to aid schools in adhering to the districtwide improvement plan as well as address specific needs and challenges for each individual campus. DISD Superintendent Henry Scott said the process revolves around setting goals and plans to achieve them.
“The planning process starts with the district improvement plan,” Scott said. “That sets the standards for the district. Each campus has unique situations so that staff works together to develop goals and objectives on improvement. Not only from an academic standpoint but from a safety and technology, school environment. And it’s pretty extensive. That site committee gets together and they work the plan out. If they have a weakness in one curriculum area and want to improve that, they will set a goal to improve it.”
Scott said a group, including himself, goes out to the campuses to discuss each individual plan.
“It’s so important that you have a blueprint,” Scott said. “That guides what you do as a campus. What we do when we go out there is ask them to present the plan. Then we critique it and ask them how can we help them achieve that plan. If they need resources we find out how we can provide help and staff.”
Scott said a major focus for this year’s campus improvement plans involves the writing curriculum.
“Writing is an issue across the state and across our district that we’ve got to work on,” Scott said. “We are working on writing more across the curriculum, not just in English language arts but all areas. Writing is a weakness in the state. Math is always a challenge but we’ve made really good progress in the math.”
English continues to be a focus at the high school level. Scott said the scores in exit-level English exam for high schoolers was low across the state.
“There was a lot of emphasis put on that,” Scott said. “We’re scoring extremely high on the biology and social studies but the English language arts statewide is an issue. You just have to sort of all that out. You don’t only put a goal on there but you also put strategies on how to achieve that goal.”
After strategies are put in place it is decided who is in charge of managing the goals and strategies for the campus. Scott said teachers are the first line of responsibility but it also falls to principals and department heads to provide support.
“We have benchmarks throughout the year that evaluate our progress,” Scott said. “We normally will have a benchmark test in December to determine, Are we making progress in that area? Then we will do it again in the spring and then late in the year, you have the state test. We evaluate not only academic areas but how we’re doing with school climate, safety, technology and things of that nature as well.”