DeSoto ISD & City Meet To Work Together to “Be the Future”
DESOTO – DeSoto ISD and the City of DeSoto spent time Tuesday night discussing a strategic plan called “Be the Future.” The goal was to talk about what the future looks like in DeSoto as “big shifts” are happening according to DeSoto Mayor Rachel Proctor.
Indeed, after a series of misses, DeSoto ISD is now ready for some positive wins.
Both Proctor and DeSoto ISD Superintendent Dr. D’Andre Weaver sat down to discuss the future of the city’s school district with just shy of 100 viewers watching the meeting live.
Weaver began by saying what is going on in the district today includes progress in finance with consistent leadership and oversight, as well as planning involving a dedicated team.
He added that the district remains “committed to be transparent to the community” with a monthly update.
Moving Towards A Fiscally Sound Future
“Our budget is still tight and we are not completely out of the woods yet,” Weaver added alluding to the fact that the district does not have all the money they need to do what they would like to do.
“We are making sincere progress towards paying off our debt and moving toward a more fiscally sounds status,” he said.
DeSoto ISD reserves at the moment are $10 million and about $14 million for payment of bonds, which Weaver said is “really good.”
It was not long ago the Texas Education Agency highlighted the district’s misappropriated funds and employees misuse of district credit cards. The agency also pointed out that DeSoto ISD’s test scores from students were some of the lowest scores in the region.
Increasing Enrollment Is An Area DeSoto ISD Is Focusing On
During the Town Hall Weaver also mentioned enrollment “which is how we generate our revenue” he said.
He said there are now 7,913 students in the ISD family, but acknowledged that number was lower than he wanted it to be in the future.
Regarding academics, the district was recently named as a recipient of a multi-million dollar stem grant.
“This is one of the catalysts that we need,” Weaver explained.
For staff, the district is investing in professional development on various levels as well.
Weaver said “we have had our share of tragedy during this pandemic for sure,” the superintendent said about 70 percent of the families in the ISD have continued to use remote learning.
Proctor said she sees the district is very focused on alignment. She added that it will also be important to assure that any plan the ISD implements is measurable and tied to specific data. She said, “because we know that generally what can be measured is what tends to manifest.”
Proctor also mentioned the big shifts the district has been discussing. Weaver outlined how next year could look with the discussed changes. Highlights include the district deeply investing in early learning.
“If we are going to hit those literacy goals we have to pay very close attention to what is happening to our scholars” at the various levels of education, Weaver explained.
Areas & Goals The Community Wants To Focus On
The four goals that were voiced by the community as focus areas for the district included college, career and military readiness; early literacy; early numeracy and individual growth.
Weaver also mentioned looking toward a hybrid learning plan “that would actually serve our students in a way we have not been able to serve before.”
Opened up to questions from the community, the almost two-hour Town Hall meeting ended with Proctor concluding she is “excited about the possibilities” because “together we will be the future.”