Fifty years ago, the newly formed Hays Consolidated Independent School district, which at the time featured the combined cities of Wimberley, Kyle and Buda, had 1,100 students.
Fast forward half a century and the number has grown exponentially.
With a population of 19,260 students, Tim Savoy, Hays CISD public information officer, believes the future for the district is bright, even as population figures continues to expand.
“In 50 years, we project to have 41,700 students at Hays CISD,” Savoy said.
Savoy said more campuses will have to be built to accommodate for the influx of growth in the future. He projects an additional 22 to 25 campuses to be added to Hays CISD in the next 50 years. However, he didn’t rule out distance learning students attending virtual Hays CISD classes.
“If traditional education continues with technology there are a lot more opportunities for classes to meet virtually,” Savoy said.
He added that a May 2017 bond initiative, which will be on the ballot as two propositions, could help to “set the stage for the next 50 years” in terms of progression, if approved by voters.
Savoy said that school buildings and practices today were instituted during the industrial revolution and modeled after factories and factory workers.
“Classrooms have desks in neat rows like the lines of assembly line workers, schools use bells to signal when classes are over, like a bell for a factory worker signals breaks, and we move students up in levels in batches like factory workers instead of testing the individual potential of each child,” Savoy said.
Savoy said current Superintendent Michael McKie brought his vision of a school system that “takes the current structure of school and makes it work for the information age.”
“We don’t have as many limitations as we did 50 years ago,” Savoy said, “Teachers used to give the information to the students, but with the internet the students don’t need teachers to give them information, but teach them how to use and navigate it,” Savoy said.
Savoy described the future of Hays CISD to include more Career and Technology Education (CTE) courses, which help students prepare for a career by learning a skill or trade, as well as redefining the traditional school day.
“There will be more ways for students to learn,” Savoy said, “School will no longer be an 8 (a.m.) to 4 (p.m.) thing, it will be a 24-hour experience in learning.”
According to Savoy, technology has torn down barriers to education, and with the help of McKie and the district, its students will thrive in the information age.
“We (Hays CISD) have to help the students of the future navigate and use the information already available to them in order for them to solve problems and create new things,” Savoy said.