Leading SA: Northside ISD Deputy Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction on post-pandemic learning

Northside ISD is almost a month into the school year — and for some students, families, and teachers, this is really the first year back in-person.

SAN ANTONIO – Northside Independent School District Deputy Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction Dr. Janis Jordan joined leading SA to talk about the return to the classroom and post-pandemic learning.

In the aftermath of the pandemic and virtual learning, some reports show students across the country are falling behind in math and reading.

“We anticipated it would take us, you know, multiple years for students to get back to pre-pandemic levels in their reading performance and mathematics performance. Math, in particular, has been hit the hardest. The great news is our students, through the tremendous work of our teachers and parents coming together, we’ve seen terrific gains. We still have a ways to go, though,” Dr. Jordan said.

There is a concentrated effort to get students back on track.

“We focus on all of our students, and we have certain student groups who have more gaps than others. So we’re continuing to walk the path of targeted instruction and are hoping we continue to see that growth,” Jordan said.

There are groups of students who are being more affected than others.

“So our students who receive special education services, we saw a bigger hit to their performance, which makes sense. Those are students who have very specific needs that our schools are best equipped to meet those needs. There are also the students who are bilingual. Our schools are the best places for their needs to be met. So any gap in their education has a larger impact. We aim for a high-quality instruction every day. But we are specifically targeting those students to make sure that we know exactly where they are, academically, and create individualized plans so they can make the growth that they need,” Jordan said.

As more students and families do return to class, there are more academic initiatives.

“We’re really excited to expand our efforts in STEM; science, technology, engineering, and math. We have a couple of magnet schools that focuses on STEM, but we are actually now moving STEM concepts throughout all campuses in the district that focus on higher order thinking skills, meaningful problem-solving. So we’re just beginning those efforts to move it beyond just certain schools. We’re happy to report that this year, all of our elementary schools have a lab that’s a STEM lab where students rotate in, and do coding, do building, take things apart, innovate. So we’re very excited to help raise the level for all students, no matter what,” Jordan said.

Right now, Northside ISD is in the process of asking for community input to redraw school board districts after the population explosion.

“There is information about this process on nisd.net. And to be clear, this is not changing the attendance zones for any campus. This isn’t changing the Northside external attendance zone. So this is a very open process. We had a community meeting last week for input. We have another community meeting this next week on September 20th. And so we invite the public if they have ideas to come, bring them to us. And again, check the website for more information on that,” Jordan said.

Individuals interested in giving feedback to Northside ISD, CLICK HERE.

About the Author:

Max Massey is the GMSA weekend anchor and a general assignments reporter. Max has been live at some of the biggest national stories out of Texas in recent years, including the Sutherland Springs shooting, Hurricane Harvey and the manhunt for the Austin bomber. Outside of work, Max follows politics and sports, especially Penn State, his alma mater.