Southlake — When David Faltys talks about 2014 he exudes confidence.
From where the Carroll Independent School District superintendent is sitting the district is heading in a positive direction.
“It just seems like our team has gotten more cohesive, our goals have gotten more clear and everything that we’ve seen, our needle is pointing up,” he said. “I don’t see any reason not to improve in every area.”
The district is coming off marquee academic success shown by the highest number of national merit scholars the district has ever seen as well as increased participation and scoring in Advanced Placement classes and exams.
To route the expected upward trend, the district will spend most of 2014 developing a strategic plan that will guide the district with a vision to 2020.
Faltys said the district regularly studies issues, but the strategic plan will be one of the most comprehensive and will set the district’s goals and values.
“This will be the most formal approach that we’ve had in several years,” he said.
A committee composed of 60 percent district staff and 40 percent community members will lead the process.
“Were incredibly excited for the opportunity with the strategic plan,” Faltys said. “We want to make sure we are moving in the same direction that our community wants us to move in.”
Faltys talks excitedly about the use of technology in the classroom.
He said the first step was laying the infrastructure with obtaining district’s own fiber network for Internet usage, and putting teaching technology in every class and creating policies for students to be able to use their own devices like tablets and smart phones in the classroom.
He said now that the infrastructure is in place teachers can better engage with their students.
“What was interesting was we had teachers who wanted kids to bring their phones, those innovative teachers were doing cool things with the door closed.”
At the start of this academic year, the district opened enrollment to Southlake residents who lived in Keller Independent School District. Carroll saw a 50-student gain from those transfers and saw an overall improvement in enrollment.
Faltys said enrollment is better than the past three or four years and is slowly increasing. The district has just under 7,800 students and Faltys said the district has the facilities to support roughly that number. He added that the district may do a demographic look in the spring to get more information about expected enrollment.
One of the challenges this upcoming year is the state’s passing of House Bill 5, which would gives the district the opportunity to reshape student assessment.
Faltys calls the bill a game changer, but districts are being tasked with creating plans without state rules in place.
“House Bill 5 is going to be a challenge,” he said “We have to build our own evaluation system by May, June, but the rules have not been set yet.”
Another challenge Faltys sees for the district is financing. As Texas school districts are in a lawsuit with the state over cut funding, the district is looking for ways to deliver quality education with less money in the coffers.
The superintendent says a challenge is establishing the best practices districtwide with less funding, but added that the district will always overcome these challenges.
“It’s just such a phenomenal district and it’s because of not only because of the staff, but the community and our kids,” Faltys said. “The kids that come to us are just amazing.”
Dustin L. Dangli, 817-390-7770 Twitter: @dustindangli