Gaining the tools for success

SB CISD named a top Innovative District

SAN BENITO — It’s a matter of being a “Bold School” — a mash up of traditional and blended teaching that’s incorporated with technology.

San Benito CISD was named a 2019 Innovative District by the International Center for Leadership in Education (ICLE) for “making rapid and significant improvements in student outcomes.”

Annually, the ICLE seeks “Innovative School Districts.”

San Benito CISD was one of eight school districts chosen this year.

San Benito CISD officials plan to share the district’s “transformational journey and best practices” at ICLE’s 27th annual Model Schools Conference in Washington, D.C., this June.

The event serves as a forum for thousands of educators and leaders to share their ideas and practices for developing future-focused classrooms.

The path toward transforming into an Innovative District

The recognition is a result of the district’s push toward academic improvement.

Two years ago, San Benito CISD underwent a curriculum audit to analyze the levels of student work.

The results of the audit indicated that, although teachers were teaching and students were learning, the level of rigor of what was being produced was generally at lower levels of student thinking, according to a statement from San Benito CISD.

“The curriculum audit served as a navigational compass, per se, in our search for consistent ways to impact student achievement,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Nate Carman.

After discovering this, the school district partnered with the ICLE to address the need for increasing the rigor and relevance of instruction provided to students.

Recognizing the need for change, the district established a vision and worked with the ICLE to cultivate a learning environment that “enables students of all abilities to thrive.”

According to Carman, the use of technology in the classroom has become an instrumental tool for increasing student engagement and improving what is done every day.

“I think it’s important because it’s empowering us as teachers, giving us added tools and strengthening our teaching abilities by providing us all of this awesome technology incorporated into our classrooms,” said Ed Downs Elementary teacher Alice Pena. “And at the same time it’s helping students get stronger.”



• It’s a nationwide network of tools, resources and relationships that help advance school improvement initiatives.

• Its team is comprised of hundreds of former school, district and state-level education leaders.

• When choosing “Innovative Districts,” the ICLE seeks the following criteria — substantive, yearly data-validated growth, dedication to transforming instruction to meet the needs and demands of the future and evidence of a strong culture that puts students at the center of learning.