When we write these columns, press releases, and other content for our stakeholders, you might see that we use a few catchphrases. Finding Their ‘&’ might be one you think of, and you’ve probably read or heard us talk about students and staff finding their genius as well. If you’ve attended or streamed a VISD school board meeting you’ve probably heard a trustee or Dr. Shepherd comment “and that’s your genius” following a presentation.
Why do we use this verbiage? Why do we have these catchphrases? What do they mean when we are talking about students, staff, and the VISD community?
In the simplest educational examples, some of us like math, for some it’s art, others history, and for some it’s music. Not everyone is going to enjoy learning the same things, nor are those subjects or topics going to come easy learning for all students. The amount of niches available to students in VISD is limitless. VISD has ensured that students and staff are inspired to teach and empowered to learn through creating choice and living a District Strategic Plan that specifically states ‘high school students will pursue their genius.’
Through exposure, exploration, and experiences, students and staff are able to learn more about themselves, what they enjoy, and what they are good at opening the doors for each person's genius to come to life.
VISD believes that students and staff should explore through choice, pathways, and experiences in and out of the classroom. So, what does this look like? For students, exposure means attending field trips to the University of Houston-Victoria to learn more about STEM programs offered or meeting community partners at personalized learning campuses to learn about various career fields. Exposure means having the opportunity to take a wide variety of classes through routes such as AP, Dual-Credit, or the Career and Technology Institute. It means getting the opportunity to put classroom knowledge to work through learning-based practicum experiences with local partners. It’s having the chance to try out for the band, softball, basketball, or the dance team.
On a more personal level, doesn’t every parent see the genius in their children? At Victoria ISD, we believe the family/school partnership should be as tight as possible so we want to celebrate the same genius you see in your own children. Further, we all know how important it is for children to hear positive and authentic affirmations. What could be more positive, authentic, and affirming than to hear about one’s own personal and unique genius? We take this as a charge to know all our students deeply and on a personal level.
Staff in VISD also have the opportunity for exposure outside of their normal classroom through extracurricular opportunities, coaching, summer camps, or curriculum writing, to name a few.
We don’t expect students, teachers, or any of our other staff to find the same things interesting or exciting. It is not necessary for you to like a certain sport, academic subject, or extracurricular just because someone else does. While that may be their niche, it doesn’t have to be yours. What is necessary, however, is to have the opportunity to find your niche. In Victoria ISD, we call this “Finding Your Genius”.
Your ‘genius’ could be anything. It might be undiscovered, so we’re here to help you find it!