“Red and Blue – Is It In You?”: Duncanville ISD Recognizes FACTS and LIFE Teams

Filed under: Schools |

submitted by Duncanville ISD

With the world changing around us, the fads of the future are uncertain. One thing is sure – Duncanville ISD students will be prepared. The district is committed to providing engaging, 21st Century learning experiences for students. Two groups have been appointed by the Duncanville ISD Board of Trustees to chart our course into future eras. Made up of district employees, community members, and parents, we’re proud to announce the FACTS and LIFE teams as the “Red and Blue – Is It In You?” honorees for April and May 2012.

Each year Duncanville ISD’s Board develops a set of goals for the upcoming school year. For 2011-12, those included a focus on facility improvement and another on learning opportunities (View 2011-2012 Board Goals). It is the responsibility of the district’s Executive Leadership Team (ELT) to help achieve those aspirations. “Both goals are very comprehensive,” said ELT member and Chief Communications Officer Tammy Kuykendall. “In order to meet the needs of all students, we felt that we needed to create a collaborative process in which families, staff, and community members were all represented.”

Upon recommendation from the ELT, the Duncanville ISD Board of Trustees approved the formation of the FACTS and LIFE teams. After identifying and sending invitations to interested teachers and active parents and community members, the two groups got to work in September 2011. “I am so excited about the vision of the district,” said FACTS member and Brandenburg Intermediate librarian Caron Ervin. “I wanted to play a part in defining what 21st Century learning will look like for our students.”

FACTS stands for Facilities Advisory of Citizens, Teachers, and Students, and meets Board Goal 3 regarding facility improvements. LIFE stands for Learning in Future Environments, and meets Board Goal 4 about offering students a wide range of learning opportunities. “Since our world has so dramatically changed, our schools and ways of learning must also change,” said ELT member and Deputy Superintendent of Learning Services Dr. Larry McHaney. ”Duncanville ISD’s Vision of the Learner defines what students need to learn, but it does not say how schools can create the environment for this learning to take place.”

Meeting four times throughout the school year, FACTS and LIFE teams explored how the world has changed, how students have changed, and how our expectations of schools have changed over time. The groups also learned from leaders who have spoken and written about changes that will better address student needs. Between meetings, team members visited other schools that model 21st century learning and brought back information for the whole group to discuss. Cambridge Strategic Services, experts in organizational meetings, led the discussions and encouraged FACTS and LIFE teams to think outside the box.

The work of the two groups is already evident in the district’s acquisition of two new properties: a building that will provide the needed square footage to consolidate district administrative facilities, and create the opportunity to relocate PACE Learning Center to the DEC facility; and the former Metroplex Toyota property, which will be the location of a state-of-the-art educational facility sometime in the future. “The work of the FACTS and LIFE teams gave the district a clearer direction to pursue these opportunities,” commented Kuykendall. The groups have also put together a list of eleven recommendations for the Board of Trustees to consider, suggesting how the district can move forward in creating the right environment for profound learning to occur. It is the hope of both groups that the next set of Board goals will include some recommendations established by the FACTS and LIFE teams.