DSISD focuses on individual learning

Dripping Springs ISD is looking to the future as the district continues to implement its strategic plan.

That was the message given to stakeholders by DSISD Superintendent Bruce Gearing during the annual “State of the District” presentation Nov. 1. 

“Dripping Springs has always been known for a high-quality education, but as a district we are not resting on our outstanding reputation,” Gearing said. “We are always finding better ways to meet students’ needs.” 

Gearing opened the presentation with an overview of the 2016-17 Strategic Plan for the district, which focuses on four main areas. 

The areas are: Village, operations, life changers, and personalized learning.

“Village” focuses on building community partnerships with trust and communication;

“Operations” seeks to ensure the behind-the-scenes functions that allow schools to run smoothly are in order; “Life Changers” revolves around not only hiring effective staff members to help run schools, but supporting that staff through all necessary means; “Personalized Learning,” the most important of the four according to Gearing, looks to ensure every student’s needs are met within the classroom. 

It’s a year of big changes as DSISD became a “District of Innovation” as of June 2016, Gearing said. The distinction exempts the districts from certain state mandates that regulate district standards, and allows for a more local control of the district.

Gearing said the distinction is no surprise considering the many recognitions and honors received by DSISD in 2015-16 school year, such as all five schools in DSISD having “Met Standards” in the Texas state accountability systems. The passing rate on state mandated end of course exams was above 90 percent for the previous school year. 

Of DSISD schools, Dripping Springs High was ranked seventh among Central Texas high schools, and was the top 4A school by Chidren at Risk, which is a non-profit organization. 

“While data certainly has value and recognition is wonderful to receive, what is most important at all times is our students.” said Gearing. 

In order to meet the growing student population in DSISD, which now sits at over 6,000, the district will be constructing a new middle school and elementary school that will open on Sawyer Ranch Road in August 2017. 

The schools are part of a $92.4 million bond project that was approved in 2014. Other projects included in the bond are a multi-purpose competition field behind Dripping Springs High, heating, ventilation and air conditioning system and roof repairs to various schools and a public access road connection from Highway 290 to the new football stadium. 

An already completed project under the 2014 bond is the new baseball and softball complex at Drippping Springs High.  

Gearing said the district has taken proper precautions in ensuring that a balanced budget was available for the district to provide services for all enrolled students. 

Roughly $24.5 million are available in the operating funds for the district, with $943,945 surplus added to the budget from the 2016-2016 school year. 

Areas of focus for DSISD’s strategic plan 

  • Village focuses on building community partnerships with trust and communication;
  • Operations seeks to ensure the behind-the-scenes functions that allow schools to run smoothly are in order
  • Life Changers revolves around not only hiring effective staff members to help run schools, but supporting that staff through all necessary means
  • Personalized Learning, the most important of the four according to Gearing, looks to ensure every student’s needs are met within the classroom.

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