It is estimated that there are well over twelve hundred school districts and five million enrolled students in the state of Texas, and that number continues to grow each year. The Texas Education Code mandates that each campus must have Campus Planning and Site-Based Decision Making in place, which is more commonly known as the Campus Improvement Plan. lt is important to understand the history of the campus improvement plan in regard to parent involvement and to ensure you have the right resources to implement it.

What Is the History of the Campus Improvement Plan?

The Texas education system has been a priority since 1836 as is indicated by the Texas Declaration of Independence. Since that time the population of the state has grown by leaps and bounds, increasing the demands placed upon the Texas school system.

Over the years, the Texas Education System has been a constant work in progress. One of the last major reforms to the Texas Education Code occurred in 1995 which:

  • removed several state-mandated rules
  • gave more authority back to local school districts
  • allowed the governor to appoint the commissioner
  • gave the State Board of Education the power to grant open-enrollment charter schools
  • established the separate State Board for Educator Certification
  • established Section 11.253 Campus Planning and Site-based Decision Making (sometimes referred to as the Campus Improvement Plan)

What Are the Goals of the Campus Improvement Plan?

A campus improvement plan is designed to accomplish four primary goals:

  1. Address the issues highlighted by a Comprehensive Needs Assessment
  2. Create a plan to enhance learning and teaching for all students at school
  3. Establish a plan that advocates for unity of purpose, focus, and accountability
  4. Educate stakeholders on plan to improve student outcomes

Who Makes Up the Campus Improvement Planning Committee?

To make a campus successful in its improvement planning, it requires a range of participants from multiple areas of a child’s home and school life, including:

  • Parents
  • Teachers
  • Principals
  • Administrators
  • Paraprofessionals
  • School leaders
  • Special education staff
  • Local education agencies
  • Community and business members

Generally, at the start of each school year, a campus principal and a campus improvement planning committee review the campus improvement plan for improving student performance and make any necessary modifications. These two entities continue to work together in implementing, operating, and evaluating the new plan throughout the school year.

The committee is involved in the campus-based decisions regarding curriculum, planning, budgeting, staff development, staffing patterns, and school organization. The campus improvement planning committee must hold a minimum of one public meeting after receiving a campus rating.

What A Campus Improvement Plan Entails

During the history of the campus improvement plan, there have been key amendments since its 1995 reform. Today, the campus improvement plan for public schools generally includes the following responsibilities:

  • Assessing academic accomplishment for all students via the student achievement indicator system in Section 39.053 of the Texas Education Code
  • Setting campus performance goals based on the student achievement indicator system (including for special education programs and special needs students)
  • Identifying how campus goals can be met for every student
  • Determining resources for plan implementation
  • Identifying staff needed for plan implementation
  • Setting timelines for achievement of goals
  • Measuring progress regularly regarding performance objectives
  • Including goals and methods for violence prevention and intervention as well as prevention of on campus bullying and dropouts
  • Providing a program to encourage parental involvement at the campus
  • Setting goals and objectives for elementary, middle, and junior high school campus coordinated health programs based on student fitness data, student academic performance information, student attendance, percentage of educationally disadvantaged students, the use and success of methods designed to have students participate in moderate or vigorous physical activity as required by Section 28.002 of the Texas Education Code, and other indicators as recommended by the local school health advisory council

More recent amendments proposed for the campus improvement plan address violence prevention and intervention including an ongoing, research-based teacher enrichment program focusing on:

  • Creating a nurturing classroom environment
  • Developing caring, and respectful relationships with students
  • Promoting emotional health in students by helping them to feel wanted and valued
  • Providing “empathetic teaching” techniques to address discipline issues while still respecting and caring for all students

Parental Involvement Component of the Campus Improvement Plan

Most of the responsibilities of the Campus Improvement Plan fall solely on the school itself, except for one particular component, which is providing a program that encourages parental involvement at the campus. Most schools believe the facilitation of such a program would require extra staff and money that many campuses just do not have.

However, this can be an area where schools can save time and money while boosting parent involvement through a parent engagement program, sometimes referred to as PEP. Such programs enhance social emotional learning at home by improving a child’s emotional health via positive changes in parenting behaviors, which can then carry over to a child’s improved behavior and academic success in school.

Advantages of a Parent Engagement Program (PEP) at schools include:

  • Accessibility. Even in a COVID-19 world, parents can still engage with the school and their child by completing the course online. Some schools may choose to participate in a hybrid option in which parents view the program lessons at school and then complete the quiz for each lesson at home.
  • Time savings. Building a parent engagement program from the ground up takes significant staff resources and time. By choosing to direct parents toward an already established program, it can offer significant time savings.
  • Credibility. Upon completion of courses in a PEP program module, a state-approved certificate of completion is awarded to encourage a feeling of accomplishment and credibility.

If you want to know more about the history of the campus improvement plan and how to involve parents with the parent engagement component of the plan, consider partnering with a reputable organization that offers an established PEP program that is ready to go.

Dr G

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