DEBORAH L. JENSEN, PHD
Spring ISD Board of Trustees
We have accomplished great things in Spring ISD during the last five years, but we still have big challenges! Our district has made strong academic progress while still recovering from Hurricane Harvey. For example, Spring Early College Academy and Wunsche Career Academy are among the top-rated high schools in Texas. Our comprehensive high schools have been recognized for accomplishments in fine arts, athletics, career pathways and academic competitions. All of our high schools offer opportunities for industry certifications and college credit. To see the many career pathways for Spring ISD students, go to: springisd.org/epg, choose the High School Education Planning Guide p. 68-172.
Our students are our future! We need to make sure all Spring ISD students have access to the education that will prepare them for a successful life. As a trustee, I have worked and will continue to work to provide safe schools and exciting educational opportunities for all Spring ISD students, from pre-K to high school.
Challenges Facing Spring ISD
Educating Students to be Successful & Responsible
I believe that preparing students to be successful learners and responsible citizens is the greatest challenge and the critical mission of a school district. I have personally seen throughout my years in education how important a good education is to the well-being of people and our community as a whole.
Successful education can be identified through many measures. I rejoice with a student who has worked with all her abilities to learn how to bake cookies, and I celebrate the blooming artistic talent in our students. I am amazed at the personal and team skills of our student athletes, and I applaud our students pursuing high academic honors. I admire students who welcome the responsibility of raising an animal, and I have met hero students who are working multiple jobs to support their families while still attending school. I also share the joy of students who find out they passed the biology end-of-course STAAR test, but I don’t believe the STAAR test alone measures whether a student is a successful learner or a responsible citizen. To be clear, I am not against a reasonable number of state tests, rather I believe we need a variety of authentic student performance measures in addition to multiple choice tests to judge whether students are successful learners.
I want to volunteer my service to the Spring Board of Trustees as we continue to take on the challenges of providing innovative and learner-centered education programs in Spring ISD, and I intend to continue to support new ways to document the successes of our students with more than a multiple choice test.
Safety in schools these days requires counseling services for students, expensive alterations to school buildings, more security personnel, additional training for school personnel, and digital surveillance of social media, and good communication between students and adults. As a trustee, I have reviewed and voted to approve local policies directing safety and security in schools. I have also voted to financially support additional personnel and changes in infrastructure to make our schools more safe and secure.
It is essential that we support and retain good teachers. Teacher support comes in many forms: competitive salaries, attendance incentives, TRS contributions, administrative support, reasonable class sizes, healthy and safe working conditions, compensation for extra duties and performance, and respect for teachers’ time. In the last 9 years as a trustee, I have found that these issues never remain “solved.” I have voted to support teachers in every way I can with consideration for the financial condition of our district. I have to think of future consequences when I vote. Spring ISD deserves thoughtful trustees who vote for the maximum sustainable support for teachers.
Role of a Trustee
Texas does not give trustees the legal power to run a school system, rather trustees adopt local policies, control the budget, and hire/supervise a superintendent who leads the district school system. In Spring ISD, we are a team of concerned people with different experiences who are honored to serve Spring ISD. An important, though not official duty, is to provide the entire Spring ISD community a connection to our school district. Spring ISD Trustees often participate in school and community events. I invite all Spring ISD community members to contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a problem you can’t resolve at the school level, or if you have a good idea for making our school district better. I rarely find a simple problem with an easy solution in education. We need community support, time, and ideas.