Lake Travis schools take next step in strategic planning process

Lake Travis Superintendent Paul Norton told the school board on Wednesday that the district’s strategic planning process was based on five pillars to focus on: community, belonging, top-notch education, growth and innovation, and prioritizing well-being.

These five categories were distilled from feedback in meetings with parents, students and community groups, Norton said. The effort’s steering committee discussed the contributions of these meetings and summarized them into these five categories of interest.

The planning process began in January and aims to create a roadmap for the district, according to spokesperson Marco Alvarado.

Christy Black and Tracy Mendez, who were very involved in the planning process, presented the school board with details on what these pillars mean for the community.

Black, who sits on the steering committee for the planning process, explained that focusing on the community means bringing students together so that a welcoming neighborhood atmosphere is maintained in the neighborhood throughout its rapid growth. The district wants to celebrate diversity and different perspectives and engage the hardest to reach stakeholders, ensuring communication is consistent, transparent, two-way and multilingual.

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Focusing on belonging means providing students with equitable opportunities and fostering a welcoming and inclusive environment where all staff and students are encouraged to think critically and engage with diverse perspectives so that all students and the staff feel respected, understood and appreciated, Black said. Prioritizing wellness means training staff to use trauma-informed practices and social-emotional tools to meet the mental health needs of students.

Mendez, who serves on the district’s technology advisory committee and was involved in the planning process, said the goal is to create a culture of continuous improvement and student success by collecting data to inform decisions. of the district. She said one of the goals is to ensure that various groups are consulted when it comes to decisions about buildings and facilities, whether repairs or new construction.

Providing the best possible education to students means building positive relationships between staff and students, providing professional development so teachers have the resources they need, and ensuring students succeed after graduation. The plan will also include provisions for regular curriculum audits and a focus on teacher retention and recruitment, she said.

In the spring, sub-committees will work to create action plans related to each pillar. Norton told the council that this document is intended to guide the district for three to five years, when it will be reassessed.

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The board was also notified Wednesday that the district received $424,231 through the COVID-19 School Health Support Grant provided by the state Departments of Health Services and Education. The district will spend the money on portable air filtration systems to be installed during the winter break in high-traffic areas of campuses and district buildings.

The board also approved several policy changes stemming from state-level actions during the 2021 legislative sessions. They included convening the School Health Advisory Committee to review and recommend a curriculum related to the teaching of human sexuality, and endorsement of mental health and communicable diseases. related leaves for school police officers.

Louisa R. Loomis