STISD one of 50 districts in the state approved for TEA’s Virtual and Hybrid School Accelerator Program

STISD one of 50 districts in the state approved for TEA’s Virtual and Hybrid School Accelerator Program

South Texas Independent School District (STISD) is excited to announce its acceptance by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) as one of 50 school districts in the state to participate in the agency’s 2021-2022 Virtual and Hybrid School Accelerator (VHSA) program. 

According to TEA, ‘when designed effectively, virtual or hybrid learning can be transformative for students and educators, opening new opportunities for personalization, data-driven instruction, and “anytime, anywhere” learning. While virtual and hybrid learning environments may not be the right choice for all students, some families and students have also thrived in these environments and would like to see such options continue into the coming school year and beyond.’

TEA invited districts to apply for the VHSA earlier this spring. For an opportunity for selection into this program through the summer 2022, districts had to submit an application and undergo an interview process. TEA selected districts/consortiums based upon the strength of their applications and interviews, objective measures of need, and evidence of willingness of the districts to implement significant improvements during the school year. 

STISD submitted its VHSA application to launch a full-time virtual campus for the 2021-2022 school year – separate and apart from the district’s other six campuses. TEA confirmed STISD’s acceptance into the program late last week. 

As a participant, STISD will receive customized technical assistance to design, implement, and continuously improve its virtual school model. These supports include, but are not limited to, model design, strategic staffing, academic strategy, family engagement, supporting diverse learners, developing teachers, and other topics related to virtual and hybrid school programs. 

Selected districts will be matched with highly qualified technical assistance providers. Those providers, in partnership with TEA, will support those accepted for the program to reimagine their virtual and hybrid school delivery in alignment with the Effective Schools Framework in the following ways: 

  • Accelerated school model design support for a high quality virtual or hybrid school program, including but not limited to: 
    • Designing a dynamic and highly effective student learning experience 
    • Building aligned staffing models 
    • Crafting a strong school culture and family engagement strategy 
  • Virtual or hybrid school launch and continuous improvement support, including but not limited to:
    • Ongoing training and development of teachers and leaders
    • Implementing proactive and responsive student support services
    • Analyzing data to ensure that all students can access high-quality, grade-level instruction 
  • Understanding of emerging best practices and providing opportunities to directly network and learn from other entities doing similar virtual or hybrid school programs 
  • Providing a direct line to TEA support and resources

STISD will participate in a cohort launch for the program later this week. The district and VHSA are awaiting guidance from the legislature to finalize plans for the 2021-2022 school year. Additional details will be made available once the legislature finalizes the legislation.