Killeen ISD Board of Trustees Named 2017 Regional School Board of the Year

Published by: Jennifer Hetzel | Published on: 14 Jul, 2017
Killeen ISD Board of Trustees Named 2017 Regional School Board of the Year

WACO, Texas – The Killeen Independent School District Board of Trustees has been chosen by a Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) committee as the Region 12 School Board of the Year. As a regional honoree, the Killeen ISD (KISD) Board of Trustees, representing districts with more than 1,000 students, will compete for the Texas Honor School Boards.

“We commend the KISD school board for their outstanding leadership and dedication to improving the quality of education in their district,” said Dr. Jerry Maze, executive director of Education Service Center (ESC) Region 12. “We are proud to recognize them for their strong commitment to their schools, studentsand community.”

Killeen ISD Board of Trustees oversees education for nearly 44,000 students on more than 50 campuses in Central Texas. Approximately 37 percent of all KISD students are militarily connected (with one or both parents listed as “active duty”) and represent a diverse student population. The district has 32 elementary, 10 middle and five high school campuses, including the KISD Early College High School, two alternative schools, one career and technology center and several specialized campuses.

It continues to grow in student population and the district will open an additional elementary and middle school for the 2017-18 school year. With nearly 6,500 employees, KISD is the second largest employer in the area next to Fort Hood and is the 26th largest school district in Texas.

KISD recognized a need to improve student performance in math based on student achievement in mathematics, as measured by STAAR and EOC. With the support of the Board, KISD has implemented the following five programs to support students in math:

  • The KISD Math Center provides tutoring and support to struggling math students in grades 5-12. The Math Center was established to address the identified areas of weakness in student expectations revealed in STAAR and EOC.
  • Elementary ST Math is a supplemental mathematics curriculum for elementary students. Based on the success of the program, the Board approved the expansion of ST Math to all elementary campuses.
  • Middle School Double Block Mathematics - KISD uses “double-blocking” in middle school math. All middle school students are scheduled for 100 minutes of math a day, which allows them to build strong conceptual understandings.
  • From 2013 to 2016, KISD middle schools were supported in math through the ASCD Coaching Initiative program that provides a coach to work at each middle school on a monthly basis over a three-year period.
  • The Texas A&M Central Texas Curriculum Collaborative supports the development of math content knowledge and curriculum designed for teachers. Teachers work with a professor from the University and the District Instructional Specialist over a period of Saturdays to ensure deep content knowledge and best teaching practices.

The Board consistently supports programs that contribute to higher performance at both district and campus levels, including the KISD Mathematics Initiative. The percentage of KISD students performing at the Level III Advanced standard has grown significantly from 2013 to 2016.

  • 2013 - STAAR math results show lower percentages of students passing compared to the state for five out of seven measures
  • 2016 - STAAR math results show lower percentages of students passing compared to the state in only one out of seven measures

Although student performance improves each year, the Board continues to focus on addressing the needs and deficiencies of struggling learners. This focus has resulted in their support for the implementation of a PreK-12 Response to Intervention (RtI) model. The model is a structured system for proactively addressing the needs of struggling learners.

The Board approved the purchase of universal screening tools for all grade levels in both math and reading and provides continuous support for the implementation of research-based interventions. This support has paved the way for a well-developed RtI System that ensures the needs of all KISD students are being addressed in a timely manner. According to KISD leadership, the implementation of effective professional development for teachers and an effective RtI process have significantly contributed to student academic achievement.

The Board recognizes the importance of college and career readiness and provides constant support to help KISD students become ready for life after graduation. During the 2014-15 school year, the Board approved the submission of an application for an Early College High School designation. Designation from TEA was received and the new campus opened in the fall of 2015  with 150 students. The program allows students to earn an associate’s degree while in high school. Based on extensive parent and community interest, the class size increased to 350 students in the 2016-17 school year.

In addition to the college credit programs, KISD offers a variety of student opportunities through its Career and Technology Education (CTE) program. The KISD Career Center is a state-of-the-art facility where high school students may select courses consistent with their program of study. Coursework consists of business partnerships, student internships, certifications, licensures, college credit and hands-on educational experiences.

A major strength of the KISD Board is its commitment to provide the best educational environment for every student, placing the educational needs of students above all else. The Board has faced major and difficult decisions regarding the need for additional buildings and rezoning. While rezoning students has been a politically unpopular action, the Board has considered and taken action on rezoning to relieve significant overcrowding at certain campuses. Since 2013, the Board has approved rezoning associated with two high schools, eight middle schools and 15 elementary schools.

The Board also provides and welcomes opportunities to engage the community in making decisions for the district, stating: “It is only through the power of partnerships and collaborative efforts with parents and the community that we are able to provide students with the best educational opportunities possible.” During monthly board meetings, the Board schedules a Public Forum as a regular agenda item. The forum grants residents of the district, parents, employees and others the opportunity to participate openly in board meetings and provide valuable input for the Board to consider. The Board understands and appreciates that parental and community involvement is key to helping foster positive learning environments.

“The Killeen Independent School District Board of Trustees consistently demonstrates their selfless service, dedication and work ethic while ensuring decisions are made with the best interests of students, staff and the community at the forefront,” said Dr. John Craft, Superintendent at KISD. “The School Board of the Year Recognition is a testament to these efforts, from which the District will continue to benefit. Congratulations to the KISD Board of Trustees!”

As the Region 12 School Board of the Year, the Killeen ISD Board of Trustees will be in the running to be named a 2017 Texas Honor Board, one of which is chosen as Texas’ Outstanding School Board. All regional and honor Boards will be recognized at the TASA/TASB Convention in October.

About Texas School Board of the Year

The Texas Association of School Administrators created the School Board Awards Program in 1971 to recognize school boards whose dedication and ethical service have made a positive impact on the school children of Texas. The awards program allows each regional selection committee to submit up to two nominations for state competition, one from districts with less than 1,000 students and one from districts with more than 1,000 students. The criteria emphasize evidence of support for educational performance improvement and school transformation initiatives.