Earlier this week, about 300 civic and business leaders came together in support of the El Paso Independent School District to hear about the progress we have made and the steps we will take to make our District even better.
Our strategic plan, which we have called EPISD 2020, will be the guiding document we will use to cross reference our actions for the next five years as we move forward with plans to improve teaching and learning throughout the District.
The EPISD 2020 event gave the District an opportunity to toot its own horn on the wonderful progress our students and teachers have made over the last two years.
The District is at the forefront of innovation at the local, state and national level. Our conversations with leaders and policy makers used to center around the mistakes made by past administrations. Those conversations now revolve around instructional practices and the steps we are taking to create future-ready students.
The EPISD of the future is a District with vibrant schools filled with students who take advantage of the different academic and extra-curricular opportunities that are afforded to them as part of our effort to transform education.
EPISD 2020 focuses on three general areas:
- Broader Aims
- Engaging, Challenging and Active Learning
- Future Focus
Broader Aims means the District will no longer only focus in providing instruction to students. Rather, EPISD will move toward offering programs that provide career readiness, character building and social and emotional learning opportunities.
Instruction in EPISD will no longer be in the form of passive, sit-and-get lectures. Teachers will be trained to create lessons that challenge and engage students, and also offer them the opportunity to learn in active, hands-on manner.
Students also will learn using modern equipment in facilities that are conducive to future-ready instruction.
As you can see, we no longer see standardized testing as a goal. We understand that by strengthening our instruction and focusing on innovative ways to reach students, our students will be able to meet whatever standard the state and federal government sets for us.
So instead of focusing on tests, we want to focus on learning. More specifically, EPISD 2020 outlines three approaches to learning and teaching for students and educators:
- Providing engaging and challenging lessons to make learning fun and varied;
- Building strong supports for teachers so that they are up to date on the latest instructional techniques and research; and
- Modernizing our learning environments so that all students, regardless of their ZIP code, have appropriate school spaces.
To learn more about EPISD 2020, please read my address to the business and civic community, which is attached here. You also can find videos of the event by visiting our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/EPISDLive
I want to thank everyone who attended the event for their continued support to the District. I also want to thank the EPISD Team — including the EPISD Education Foundation — that helped put the event together.
Lastly, I want to thank a very special guest to yesterday’s event: Bowie High School senior Cynthia Gomez. Cynthia was our Champion Student at the event and she delivered a heart-felt speech about how Bowie and EPISD have changed her life. Cynthia is a bright young woman who has overcome tough obstacles to reach her academic goals.
I hope you join us as a community partner as we move forward with the transformation of our district. EPISD is poised for tremendous things. Together we are El Paso … we are EPISD.