Blanco Vista Elementary implementing new tactics to improve campus climate after former principal resigns


News Reporter

Hays CISD officials are aiming to thaw “tense” relations at Blanco Vista Elementary School after instating a new principal.

Since the resignation of former principal Rebecca Shea, Sandra Valdez has been selected to fill the position. Shea resigned back in April as a result of the petition submitted by parents and faculty upset with her management style.

In response, Hays CISD officials plan to implement all recommendations from the findings of K12 Insight focus groups formed amid her resignation, said Tim Savoy, public information officer for Hays CISD.

"We heard the folks that protested and we're gonna do a better job on our end to address those complaints more thoroughly and quickly," Savoy said.

Many parents stated in board meetings back in April that they were unhappy with how Shea treated the dual-language program.

“The awareness and sensitivity to the concerns are now heightened by the administration both at the campus and district level," Savoy said.

According to the K12 Insight summary, Shea immediately announced her intention to leave Hays district and move out of state after focus groups were conducted.

Shea’s letter of resignation indicated her departure was “unrelated to recent events regarding Blanco Vista.” Shea finished the 2014-2015 school year as principal.

Valdez, former principal of Jose Damian Elementary School, has an extensive background in managing bilingual programs and student bodies.

Savoy said Blanco Vista has begun working toward creating a site-based advisory board, including Spanish-speaking volunteers and parents from all special programs the school accommodates to thaw tension on campus. The advisory boards will conduct and evaluate the dual language program, implement a social and emotional learning program and evaluate protocols for addressing campus complaints.

The focus groups included perspectives from parents and staff groups, Savoy said. K12 aimed to define what could be done to improve the atmosphere of the campus through four main components.

K12 Insight’s summary concluded that faculty relations and support, parent and community involvement and campus leadership and programs and service were the main components that needed to be addressed.

Spanish-speaking parents and staff of the focus group said the climate of the school changed when Shea started at Blanco Vista. Shea was described as lacking interpersonal skills and made decisions that were not always in students’ best interests, according to some participants of the focus groups.

"Sometimes there are situations that are not easy to talk about,” Savoy said. “We're pleased with the detail of the report.”

Follow Lexy Garcia on Twitter @lexytg.