ConnectEd May/June 2017 - Page 6

6 Garland ISD named DISTRICT OF INNOVATION Following a months-long process including public feedback and Board of Trustees approval, Garland ISD has officially become a District of Innovation. “This is the result of many hours of work by the District Educational Improvement Council, and we want to thank them,” said Director of Research, Assessment and Accountability Kim Caddell. “The purpose of the District of Innovation plan is not to get rid of our accountability. The intent truly is to have more flexibility over how we meet the goals that are outlined in the Texas Education Code, as well as the goals of our local school board.” GISD’s plan allows the district to start the school year earlier than the state-mandated fourth Monday in August, which better balances semester lengths. An earlier school start date would not take effect until 2018-19, however, because the 2017-18 calendar has already been approved. The plan also provides the ability to lengthen or shorten school days as necessary for professional development, collaboration opportunities for educators and structured breaks throughout the year for students. With the new Gilbreath-Reed Career and Technical Center, as well as a focus on innovative course selections, local decisions about teacher certification allow the district to hire community college instructors, university professors and industry experts with a minimum of three years of experience or internal applicants seeking assignments outside of their traditional certification area. GISD’s plan also includes a change to the current teacher appraisal system, which improves equity and team building. Finally, an exemption from campus behavior coordinator requirements provides the opportunity for more campus administrators to support students. Visit www.garlandisd.net/district- innovation to view the complete process and plan. Nurse receives support, hugs from local organization, colleagues Armstrong Elementary School nurse Stephanie Howeth recently received an unexpected visit at her doorstep. Driving up in a rose- colored fire truck, the Pink Heals of Collin County, colleagues and family members surprised Howeth with cheers, hugs and words of encouragement April 22. “Our nurse, Leslie Shields, asked me if the Pink Heals could come out for Stephanie, who is battling leukemia,” said South Garland High School special education facilitator Erin Pace. “My husband, a North Garland High School grad, helped found the Collin County chapter one year ago.” Pace jumped at the chance to help one of Garland ISD’s own, contacting Armstrong Principal Coleman Bruman to help organize the visit. “Rallying behind our nurse in her time of need demonstrates the family spirit of our campus and our greater Sachse community,” Bruman said. “Community is everything.” The power of community is what fuels Pink Heals’ mission. The organization exists to spread love and cheer, which is exactly what Howeth received that special Saturday. “It was wonderful. She teared up, and I think everybody else teared up, too,” Pace stated. “I told her we came to let her know that she is loved. Then, everybody hugged her and gave her a huge woo-hoo.” Howeth also got to sign the pink fire truck, which was adorned with inspirational messages by family and friends. On the C June Summer school information: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 2 5 Grading/Recording Day LAST DAY OF SCHOOL 1-3 High School Commencement Ceremonies connected 12 Teacher Job Fair 18 21 Father’s Day 19 First Day of Summer Juneteenth (Emancipation Day)