Educational Service Delivery
This chapter reviews the educational service delivery system of Venus Independent School District (VISD) in the following sections:
- Student Performance
- Instructional Resources
- Gifted and Talented Education
- Compensatory Education
- Special Education
- Bilingual/English as a Second Language Education
- Career and Technology Education
- Library/Media Services
- Student Discipline and Alternative Education Programs
- Computer Technology
B. INSTRUCTIONAL RESOURCES
A high-quality curriculum spells out what students need to learn at each grade level. That includes long- and short-term goals; a description of instructional strategies; suggestions for instructional materials, textbooks and supplementary materials; and assessments used to measure progress toward learning the content. Basically, curriculum describes what to teach and how to teach it. Instructional resources are the materials needed to ensure successful learning, including financial and human resources, as well as instructional materials and direction.
Exhibit 2-13 presents the VISD organizational chart for educational service delivery. In addition to other job assignments, the coordinator for Curriculum and Special Programs oversees all issues related to curriculum and instruction.
VISD’S Educational Service Delivery Organization
Source: VISD Organizational Chart, 2003.
VISD lacks curriculum guides to serve as work plans for classroom teachers. Curriculum guides provide teachers with direction concerning student objectives, assessment methods, prerequisite skills, instructional materials, resources and classroom strategies. To be most effective, user-friendly curriculum guides should be easy to translate into day-to-day lessons and must remain current. They also contain:
- clear and valid objectives;
- a curriculum relevant to the assessment process;
- delineation of grade essential skills, knowledge and attitudes;
- delineation of major instructional resources; and
- clear approaches for classroom use.
VISD’s curriculum is based on TEKS, which was implemented by the state in 1997. TEKS provides a blueprint of curriculum in all subjects taught in Texas public schools. One of the components of curriculum guides is the alignment of what is taught in the courses with the TEKS objectives and the new TAKS. The district has not developed a scope and sequence, which basically describes what to teach and how to teach it. The district started a TEKS vertical alignment process for the English/language arts content areas in pre-kindergarten through grade 12 during August 2002. The proposed alignment schedule prepared by VISD administration shows that math, social studies and science will also be aligned during the school year, with the final alignment meeting scheduled on June 2004.
VISD administrators and teachers recognize that the district is not effectively monitoring and improving its curriculum. In the absence of curriculum guides, district schools work independently on curriculum and use different curricular materials, making it impossible to have a consistent curriculum and instructional standards. Since the new superintendent’s arrival in summer 2002, the district has started to rectify this situation. The DIP states that VISD will “align district curriculum both vertically and horizontally in grades pre-kindergarten to 12.” Under this objective, the DIP lists the following strategies: “develop scope and sequence in core subject areas in grades pre-kindergarten to 12, vertical teaming between grade levels, train selected staff in curriculum development competencies, use selected staff members as curriculum writing teams for all core subjects and develop a district assessment plan and calendar.”
Reading instruction is of particular concern in VISD. In 2002-03, VISD set a goal to begin implementing a balanced approach to reading instruction. In August 2002, the district started to participate in various training opportunities that focus on successful reading initiatives and strategies. VISD is also working on plans for consistent implementation of the reading initiatives throughout the district, with particular focus at the primary and elementary schools. However, the 2002-03 TAKS scores indicate a significant gap in grade 6 reading. The district scored 69 percent passing or 17 percentage points below the state average of 85 percent. In addition, grade 10 also indicated a 19 percentage point difference in English, 53 percent passing, compared to the state average of 72 percent.
In another comparison, shown in Exhibit 2-14, VISD’s class of 2002 ranked second among its peer districts with 64.3 percent of students passing Algebra I. The district ranked fourth with 76.2 percent of students passing Biology I, fifth in English II with 68.6 percent of students passing and fourth in U.S. History with 68.8 percent of students passing the end-of-course exams. Algebra I is the only course in which VISD’s scores are 0.4 percentage points higher than the region average of 63.9 percent and 6.5 percentage points higher than the state average of 57.8 percent.
VISD Biology I scores are 6.3 percentage points lower that the region average of 82.5 percent and 3.6 percentage points lower than the state average of 79.8 percent. English II scores are 3.2 percentage points lower than the region average of 71.8 percent and 0.4 percentage points lower than the state average of 69.0 percent. U. S. History scores fall 7.8 points lower than the region average of 76.6 percent and 5.1 percentage points lower than the state average of 73.9 percent. While districts will no longer take end-of-course exams in these areas, the scores are indicative of a need for further guidance.
End-of-Course Examination Scores
Percentage of Students Passing
VISD, Peer Districts, Region and the State
District Algebra I Biology I English II U.S. History Dublin 76.4% 83.5% 53.8% 88.0% Godley 43.4% 82.1% 80.8% 80.9% Grandview 44.2% 82.5% 69.9% 88.1% Rio Vista 46.1% 75.5% 68.9% 41.0% Venus 64.3% 76.2% 68.6% 68.8% Region 11 63.9% 82.5% 71.8% 76.6% State 57.8% 79.8% 69.0% 73.9% Source: TEA, AEIS, 2001-02.
Glen Rose ISD developed curriculum guides for kindergarten through grade 12 following a five-year schedule detailed in a curriculum planning guide. Initial priority for curriculum development focused on the core subject areas. The curriculum planning guide provides information on curriculum-related tasks to be implemented each year and specifies criteria for developing curriculum guides. District administrators and principals meet with teachers and go into classrooms to confirm that teachers use the curriculum guides.
Kerrville ISD (KISD) has curriculum guides for each grade level and subject area, with aligned student objectives, instructional strategies, instructional resources and assessments. The curriculum is aligned with ACT/SAT and PSAT objectives, national standards and TEKS objectives. The curriculum writers align instructional materials, activities and strategies considered best practices to KISD curriculum objectives.
Some districts in the state have also developed a multi-year plan for developing curriculum guides for grades K-12. This plan’s first phase includes the writing of curriculum guides for grades K-8, with focus on core subject areas. The second phase of the plan focuses on grades 9-12 and career and technology (CATE) courses. Districts can purchase CATE curriculum guides and updates as needed from region service centers and universities. These districts also use consultants to conduct training in curriculum guide writing, to review of the writing process and to critique the curriculum guides.
Create a multi-year schedule and develop curriculum guides.
VISD should design and implement a curriculum development schedule/and cost estimates for the multi-year project, with initial priority given to the core subject areas for grades K-5. After completing this process, the district should focus on curriculum guides for middle school, which includes grades 6-8, and for high school, which includes grades 9-12.
IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIES AND TIMELINE
1. The superintendent assigns responsibility for the curriculum guides development to the coordinator of Curriculum and Special Programs. October 2003 2. The coordinator of Curriculum and Special Programs forms a curriculum guide writing committee including principals, assistant principals and teachers. November - December 2003 3. The curriculum committee develops a plan with a schedule and detailed cost estimates for the development or acquisition of curriculum guides for all district courses. January - February 2004 4. The curriculum committee submits the plan to the superintendent and the superintendent submits it to the board for approval. March 2004 5. The committee selects teams of teachers and principals for curriculum guide development in accordance with the approved schedule. April - May 2004 6. The curriculum writing teams develop or purchase curriculum guides in accordance with the approved schedule. June - July 2004 Ongoing 7. Teachers test the curriculum guides and provide feedback for further modifications. August 2004 Ongoing 8. The curriculum guide committee modifies the process and schedule for curriculum guide development as needed based on the feedback and presents all modifications to the superintendent. October 2004 Ongoing
The core subjects include English/language arts, math, social studies and science. The first phase of the development for 24 curriculum guides for grades K-5 should be completed before 2005. During the following two years in the summer months, VISD should start developing 23 curriculum guides for the courses taught in middle school and 57 curriculum guides for the courses taught in high school. The guides can be created during the summer.
The first phase of the curriculum writing process for grades K-5 will start in the summer of 2003-04. The fiscal impact for this phase assumes that two teachers per grade level for each core subject area for grades K-5, six grade levels, will provide input into the curriculum writing process during a two-year cycle. Twenty-four teachers will develop language arts and math curriculum guides, six teachers for language arts and six for math. The same process will be followed in summer 2004-05 for science and social studies. This estimate assumes that each teacher will receive a $100 stipend a day for five days during the summer months (six teachers at $100/day x five days = $3,000 for language arts and five teachers at $100/day x five days = $3,000 for math), for a total of $6,000 for summer 2003-04.
In addition, a curriculum consultant will need to conduct a one-day training in curriculum guide writing, a one-day review of the writing process and three-day critique of the guides, for a total of five days. The consultant will receive $400 per day plus the state rate of $80 per day for lodging and $30 per day for meals for a total cost of $510 per day x five days = $2,550. The total for 2003-04 is $8,850 ($6,000 + $2,550).
This formula is also applicable for the development of the 12 curriculum guides for science and social studies in 2004-05 ($6,000 + $2,550).
The cost for 23 curriculum guides for the middle school to be developed in summer 2005-06, will be $6,000 (six teachers at $100 per day x five days) and $2,550 for consultant services, a total of $8,850. Teams of two teachers each per grade level will develop four curriculum guides each and one team will develop three guides.
The high school curriculum guides will be developed in two summers. In summer 2006-07, 28 guides will be developed by seven teachers each writing four guides in five days, at $100 per day (seven teachers x $100 per day = $700 for five days = $3,500) and $2,550 for consultant services for a total of $6,050 ($3,500 +$2,550 = $6,050).
In the summer of 2007-08 the district will develop the remaining 29 guides using the same formula from the summer of 2006-07 with the exception of one teacher writing five guides giving that teacher one additional day to develop the extra guide for an additional cost of $100 (seven teachers x $100 per day = $700 for five days = $3,500) and $2,550 for consultant services for a total of $6,050 ($3,500 +$2,550 = $6,050) plus an additional $100 for the extra day to develop the last guide for a total of $6,050 + $100 = $6,150.
Recommendation 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 Create a multi-year schedule and develop curriculum guides. ($8,850) ($8,850) ($8,850) ($6,050) ($6,150)