District hosts 'System of Great Schools' meeting


Representatives from Texas Education Agency and The System of Great Schools program led a training session Aug. 17th at the Longview ISD administration building.

District hosts 'System of Great Schools' meeting

Sat Aug 17, 2019

Representatives from Texas Education Agency and The System of Great Schools program led a training session Aug. 17th at the Longview ISD administration building.

Featuring education consultant Paul Pastorek, former Louisiana Superintendent of Education, guests included current and former LISD board members, campus administrators, as well as government officials and area education professionals.

Pastorek explained that a System of Great Schools district has much greater responsibility and flexibility to deliver education to students in that local school community.

"It is built on the belief that the people closest to the action make the best decisions about teaching and learning," he said.

The System of Great Schools program is a system-level innovation and problem-solving approach that seeks to support educators to design and lead high-quality schools, empower families with high-quality options and informed choices, and focus central offices on high-leverage oversight, innovation, and support activities.

Former board Jud Murray said that it's important for a district not to isolate itself from disadvantaged parts of the community in the pursuit of "limiting academic opportunities just to the more privileged students, in the hopes of ensuring higher test scores."

"Our goal, when I was on the LISD board and now that I'm on the ETAA (East Texas Advanced Academies) board, is that our district must actively seek out those students with economic or academic challenges, and help them achieve above and beyond their potential," he said. "For me, that's what a System of Great Schools district should be about."

Superintendent Dr. James Wilcox agreed, adding that Longview ISD is a school district "who's always on the cutting edge, and we'll continue to be so ... through programs like System of Great Schools."

"I'm sure there are plenty of districts across the state watching from the sidelines, not sure what to make of all this," he said. "But time will show that much of this will become the new normal."

Pastorek echoed Wilcox's sentiment, and praised the Longview community for being so engaged in public education, adding, "this is an alive community!"

"There are districts where the leadership believes, no matter what, only a handful can truly be successful, and that for the broad middle all you can hope for is to be just adequate," he said. "My belief is that if the system set up correctly, the broad middle will have just as much opportunity to achieve as those in the privileged minority. So, how do we create this environment where the most people are going in the right direction? That's the challenge facing not just Longview ISD, but every school district."

For more information about the TEA's System of Great Schools program please visit the website here.