Donna Independent School District is a public school district based in Donna, Texas. In addition to Donna, the district also serves portions of Alamo as well as the communities of Muniz, Scissors, and South Alamo.
In April 2018 Donna ISD selected NXTBoard to support the districts’ Lone Star Governance initiative. Alongside the facilitation and hosting of Lone Star Governance training for Donna ISD’s school board members and Superintendent, the district also looked to NXTBoard to support the implementation of the framework through NXTBoard’s year-long Lone Star Governance engagement program and by choosing to use the NXTBoard Platform.
Lone Star Governance and what it meant for Donna ISD
The intention of Lone Star Governance is to provide a continuous improvement framework for school boards, in collaboration with their Superintendents, to focus intensively on one primary objective: Improving Student Outcomes. The framework is based around the concept of setting goals that align with the vision, mission and values of the community and that can be progress monitored on an ongoing basis.
In the past, Donna ISD’s governing board had focused less on student outcomes and more on issues of management. However, in 2016 there was a high level of board turnover bringing a number of new trustees energized to refocus on increasing student outcomes. Lone Star Governance was the ideal engine to support this renewed focus and both the board and Superintendent were keen to adopt the framework. However, the framework and mindset shift required by Lone Star Governance was an unknown quantity and external training and implementation support was required.
In terms of board member support, Donna ISD was using a basic board management tool for creating meeting agendas. There was no training and no coaching to ensure those agendas were focused on student outcomes. They were also printing, binding and delivering hard copies of the board packets to board members which was costly both in terms of money and time to produce. And there was no way to see if board members had read the materials or completed tasks assigned to them. Accountability, and focus, was lacking.
How NXTBoard helped create focus
Through NXTBoard’s Lone Star Governance engagement, Donna ISD’s boards members were able to achieve a mindset shift from management to governance. They were able to achieve a better understanding of their roles as governing board members and how their behaviors directly impact student outcomes.
Through ongoing support and coaching, Donna ISD has been able to create three clear student outcomes goals aligned with the values, needs and requirements of their community. They have also outlined clear constraints for their Superintendent as well as a series of goal progress measures. All of which will be monitored on an ongoing basis in line with an agreed monitoring schedule.
Critically, they are using the NXTBoard platform to implement Lone Star Governance including the documentation of those goals, constraints and progress measures and the monitoring schedule so that everyone – board members, central office and administration – are on the same page. The transparency of the system means that accountability is increasing and that everyone can remain laser focused on student outcomes.
Donna ISD is also looking to the NXTBoard platform to keep everyone on track when schedules are packed and time to focus on the job at hand is at a premium. Triggers and notifications for events and tasks mean that nothing will fall through the cracks, and the ability to use the platform to create and share board packets, as well as see who has engaged with the documents in those packets, will not only save time and money but also help to increase accountability, and focus, even further.
“Lone Star Governance has helped our district increase its focus on student outcomes and the NXTBoard Platform keeps everyone focused, on track and on the same page when it comes to improving those outcomes.”
Dr. Hafedh Azaiez, Superintendent, Donna ISD
For Donna ISD the one-stop-shop capabilities of the NXTBoard Platform were the deciding factor in choosing to partner with NXTBoard. From providing a central repository for board documentation to the ability to generate reports for the T.E.A., it is making the lives of everyone from the secretary to the Superintendent that much easier enabling them and the board to focus on the job at hand – improving student outcomes.
“The NXTBoard Platform makes everything easier because it’s all just there. Nothing else comes close.”
Teri Gonzales, Secretary, Donna ISD