A word from Superintendent Quinton Shepherd of the Victoria ISD

Closing thoughts: Summer fun

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

I find myself almost too excited about what we have planned for our students, teachers, and community this summer! We are excited that for five weeks this summer, we are offering families the opportunity to send students to school to explore, create, develop collaboration skills, and have opportunities to practice critical thinking. Our summer program will start on June 7 and run through July 13. It will include both breakfast at 8 AM and lunch for our students and will run from 8:30 AM to 3:00 PM. And the best part? It’s free. As in free, free. We believe you shouldn’t have to pay for this kind of fun. We are funding this through a grant we wrote, so there is no cost to our community and no cost to parents and caregivers.

Nearly the entire program is driven by just a few questions. We asked our teachers, what do you want to teach? We talk about finding and sharing our genius in the strategic plan and this is how we are trying to live the strategic plan with our staff. We know our staff have areas of genius they might not normally get to share in the classroom. We’ve had over 200 staff members sign up to join us for this epic experience. For our parents and students, we want to know what would get everyone so excited that they would willingly get out of bed for five weeks in the summer to learn. Is it cooking? Is it dancing? Is it something to do with cars? What interests you? Your genius is calling and we’re here to answer. All our programming will be infused with both math and reading to help close the gap on unfinished learning because of the pandemic.

Our plan is to match this genius. Teachers who are teaching what they love with students who are learning what they love. I wonder what the impact might be after five weeks. This is where my excitement becomes almost palpable because we are going to find out the answer to this question. Is this guaranteed to be successful? No, of course not. This is not going to stop us from trying, however. At VISD, we get the right
stuff done and we admire people who get the right stuff done. It is better to try, and try well, and even fail from time to time than not to try at all.

I sincerely hope you have taken part in our online exchanges to give insight into these questions, and even if you haven’t, I hope you will consider sending your students to join us this summer. I have been repeating a phrase a lot over the past few weeks and it bears repeating here. Two of the biggest drivers in education come in the question form. They start with the words, “what if…” and “I wonder…”. These are the questions that drive innovation, and these are the questions of continuous improvement. These are aspirational questions to help us all discern what we might become. Helping our students move past what they can be and towards what they can become is the greatest gift we could ever give them.

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