A word from superintendent Quintin Shepherd of the Victoria I.S.D.

Closing thoughts: Grants at V.I.S.D.

The following is an article provided by Supt. Shepherd of the Victoria I.S.D.

There was a great history of positive things happening at VISD long before I arrived, this I know. For the past three years since I have been with the district, we have been working hard to bring as much grant funding as possible to help support and improve our system. Our mantra is very simple, more kids learning more. To date, we have been very successful, having brought nearly $14 Million in funding to support the curricular efforts of the district. These funds can be used for curriculum, training, and some staffing needs. Unfortunately, none of these funds can be used to improve our buildings, this is something local taxpayers must decide. You have been reading for years about these various pathways and the grant funds are how we have been building those pathways. At our elementary campuses, you have heard about CLI Early Childhood at FW Gross, elementary STEM, Math Innovation Zone, ACE, Blended Learning Campuses, and recently dual language. At middle school, we have secured STEM grants for Stroman and Blended Learning for Patti Welder. At high school, we have been building out P-TECH programs. 100% of the funding for these programs has come from State or Federal grants.

Let me pivot and share some of the grants we are considering applying for this year so you can have an eye on where we are going. A data fellow grant. This would fund a full-time data fellow to help us support our instructors as they engage in Professional Learning Communities where they review achievement and growth for our students. We are also excited about a “Grow Your Own” grant. This is a pathway for paraprofessionals who want to earn a teaching certification and work full-time in a classroom. This is a great career advancement opportunity and the grant will offer up to $18,000 in tuition reimbursement (with our partners at UHV, of course), while potentially reducing the number of vacancies we experience. We are also looking at the school year planning and execution program. This will help VISD build out an evidence-based summer remediation and enrichment program. This will help us extend learning for our students. This grant would allow for $62,500 for resource support and with additional summer days could bring the district even more funding to help offset the costs of the program. We will keep our fingers crossed for the P-TECH success grant for West High School. This $200,000 grant will run through 2023-2024 and give us the opportunity to deploy new P-TECH pathways for our high school students. P-TECH helps our students earn industry certifications, earn college credit, and do this at no cost! Beyond that, we will apply for the dual credit faculty expansion grant. This is because more students are learning more in VISD and we expect more students will be taking dual credit courses in the future (this is essential to support our growing P-TECH programs). This grant will allow us to collaborate with Victoria College and UHV for accelerated credentialing for teachers to teach dual credit. The value of this grant is $25,000 per educator with a maximum of $200,000 per campus. Finally, a school action fund redesign grant. This grant is being written for $750,000.

We have been working hard to foster a culture of continuous improvement in everything we do. One of the things I am working on this year is to “bang the drum” so to speak for all the great things currently happening at VISD and let you know what is on the way. Also, I want for you to always remember these great opportunities for our kids have not cost the local taxpayers one penny.

By Supt. Quintin Shepherd of the Victoria I.S.D.