Blogs » Your Advocate: an editor's blog » What are all of the innovative programs?


A reader asked for this list to go with my previous post. It's too long to post as a comment, so I created a new blog entry. Thanks to Brittany Hollas, executive director of the VISD Education Foundation, for providing the information:

  1. Rock n’ Rowland Reading – $990.00

Fifth-grade teachers at Rowland want to increase the reading proficiency of their students through the use of the Carbo Recorded Reading Method and MP3 technology. Students’ success in reading is demonstrated not only be passing the state test, but becoming successful, life-long readers. The campus’ reading TAKS 2009 passing score was 77% and the desired outcome is to increase to 95% or above. This project will incorporate technology and a research based method to achieve increased number of students reading at or above grade level as well as an improved number of students reaching commended performance on the state performance test. Funds are needed to underwrite the cost of thirty-one MP3 devices. Rowland Medical Magnet Elementary School; Grade 5; Reading; 75 students, 5 teachers

  1. SKIP – Students Kept in Place – $1,000.00

The incidences of out of school suspension at Mitchell Guidance Center are growing dramatically. The incidences of students not returning to school increases as well. These children are often disconnected from community expectation, desirable school participation and their own families. Currently there is no research to support deterrents of suspension. However; there have been repeated studies substantiating that “at-risk” students are more positively connected with community, school and their families through extra curricular activities. Students, with the approval of their parents or guardians, will participation in a community beautification project as an alternative to being suspended. Students will paint murals in the city of Victoria. Through the project they will experience personal investment and learn the value of making positive choices and feeling connected with the school, family and community. A local artist will work with the students on the designs. Home Depot will provide training in paint safety and clean up. The City of Victoria will provide locations. Funds are needed for paint, supplies, brushes, rollers, water, snacks and coveralls. Mitchell Guidance Center; Grades 6 – 12; Social Studies – Reading; 15 students, 15 parents, 5 teachers, and 7 community partners

  1. Mapping Our World; local, TX, US and international - $972.43

Urbanization is a complex subject that requires an understanding of culture, infrastructure, transportation, economy, and human/environment relationships. Traditionally urbanization is a low scoring unit in Pre-AP and on AP exams. The ability to utilize technology and critical thinking skills is important not only for the TEKS and TAKS, but also one that will impact the students’ college success. The ability to use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) will connect technology, critical thinking, and urbanization, while positively impacting skills needed for achievement in all areas of geography. Funds will help purchase much needed GIS software/technology and help underwrite partial costs for field trips to meet with city planners in Victoria and San Antonio. Memorial High School; Grades 10 – 11; Pre-AP World Geography and AP Human Geography; 179 students, 179 parents, 2 teachers, and 2 community partners

  1. The Labyringth: A Unicursal Path to Peace - $958.31

On last year’s Harris Poll Survey, F. W. Gross had a parent satisfaction rating of 8.5 overall and an 8.1 for facilities. The campus’ goal is to increase both to 9.0 through the assistance of a school-based and community-based project. Based on a successful model at a Montessori school in Houston, F. W. Gross will construct a labyrinth. Using basic geometry and math, students will facilitate the formation of a seven circuit labyrinth with tabletop designs first learned in the classroom. The design will then be transferred and developed outdoors. With the assistance of parents, the design will be laid out and constructed. The labyrinth will become an addition to the playground and used an outdoor learning tool. Visitors from the community including other public and private schools may explore the labyrinth. Funds are needed to purchase the tabletop labyrinths and the outdoor supplies (pavers, mulch, landscape fabric, liquid nails, stakes, etc.). F. W. Gross Montessori; Grades Pre-K – 5; Geometry and Cultural Studies; 470 students, 470 parents, 62 teachers, and 3 community partners

  1. Young Writers in Action - $1,000.00

Fourth-grade students at Rowland Magnet School struggle in the area of main idea and summarization while they are reading. Last year’s fourth grade TAKS scores were 76% passing and need to be increased to 95% or above passing. Rowland proposes a motivating reading and writing workshop as the solution. A workshop will be hosted where students will learn how reading and writing are connected. Teachers will take the strengths that students show in their writing to help improve their reading comprehension. Students will go through the writing process to create their own story books to share with the class and family members. Funds are needed to purchase Read Aloud books that go with the writing traits and to help publish the students work. Rowland Medical Magnet Elementary School; Grade 4; Reading and Writing; 80 students, 80 parents and 4 teachers

  1. Waste Away—How Going Green Impacts Us, Our Community and Our World - $1,000.00

Waste Away provides a unique opportunity for students to complete experiments, research and presentations on-campus with a visit to the Texas Disposal Systems (TDS) and Exotic Game Ranch in Creedmoor. TDS has developed from a landfill into a fully integrated waste collection and disposal, recycling and organic products company, including a brush grinding contract at the Garden-Ville Compost Facility. Since TDS has a local contract we will connect school activities and a local recycling effort with a field trip to a diversified company showing students an interface between school learning, local and regional business while seeing a “green” effort at work. Students will come back and create three mini-landfills, monitor them and record observations. They will relate their findings to the information they received on the field trips. Funds are needed to help support transportation costs to the field trip site. Aloe Elementary School; Grade 5; Science, Technology, Art, Math, English Language Arts, Reading; 80 students and 4 teachers

  1. Secret Garden - $1,000.00

Students at O’Connor Elementary are in need of an education program where they take ownership in their learning. Through the development of water and vegetable gardens, students will learn through personal experience and observations that will enrich classroom teaching. Instead of displaying a photograph or diagram of the plant cycle or butterfly cycle, students will take part in the entire process through experiences and observations of seedlings, plants, butterflies, etc. which will help them gain a deeper understanding of living organisms. This “Secret Garden” will also serve as a developmental playground that will help lay a foundation and interest in science for students in the primary grades (Pre-K through 3). Devereux Gardens will partner in the design and layout of the garden. Funds are needed to purchase plants and supplies. O’Connor Elementary; Grades Pre-K and Kindergarten, 4th and 5th grade student council, Memorial Key Club; Science; 120 students, 8 teachers, and 2 community partners