Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Facilities planning update and community input opportunities

By Rory Gesch, Superintendent of Schools

The condition, structure, and design of school facilities greatly impact the quality of education we are able to provide our students as well as their ability to learn. In recent months, Navasota ISD has been assessing the physical condition, security, and capacity of its facilities and how these elements impact learning. Initial steps in the process were taken when the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) completed a facilities study and Templeton Demographics completed a demographics study this past fall. The results of these assessments led the Navasota ISD Board of Trustees and school district to begin a facilities planning process. The school district entered into an agreement with SHW Group to be the design firm working with Navasota ISD through the planning and design process for the direction of the district’s facilities.

Prior to the Christmas break, the district held two public information sessions to review the findings of the TASB independent report. In December, we held our initial meeting of the Facility Planning Action Committee which included an introduction to the process and an explanation of the district’s technology and strategic plans. At the second meeting, Jan. 6, approximately 50 members of the community participated in discussion regarding the district’s facilities. SHW Group presented design concepts it has implemented in other projects, followed by a presentation by the district financial advisor on the bonding capacity of the district. Community members then moved to active discussion to determine priorities in district direction during the planning process. The three major topics that were rated highest priority were Instructional Spaces/Programs, Safety and Security, and Technology.  High need areas that were also identified were the functional infrastructure of the mechanical system. This process is progressing, and the next facility planning action committee is set for Jan. 23.

Navasota ISD is also releasing a climate survey this month to allow for additional input and provide additional information for the planning process. Beginning Thursday, Jan. 16, the window for our annual online climate survey will open and remain available for two weeks. The survey is accessible at This way, parents of Navasota ISD students have the opportunity to share their perspectives on various aspects of their students’ educational experiences. For community members who are not parents, this provides an opportunity for them to share their views on aspects of the district as well. We will also be sending out a mailer to ensure that opportunities for input are as wide-spread across the community as possible. Please help out and share your views with us so that we can better reflect the community and its values.

Finally, NISD has posted four academic calendar choices for 2014-2015 on the district website for which community members may cast a vote as the Board of Trustees considers adoption. In the near future we will also add a section to the website entitled, “Your Voice.” This portal will give the community a place to leave questions, comments, and praises for our staff. We encourage you to utilize this portal as your opportunity to help us understand what is most important to you. A clearer understanding of your perspectives and priorities will enable us to better serve the educational needs of all of our students. As each outreach and survey initiative is completed, we will share the findings with the public through “Your Voice” and other district media. We are striving to create an ongoing two way dialog with our community as we work together for the growth, empowerment, and success of our students and community.

Please visit the district at or to find information regarding the facilities planning process, the climate survey, “Your Voice”, and areas of interest regarding our schools.

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