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WSD participates in Concerns Based Adoption Model (CBAM) training with SEDL-AIR - Windham School District leadership staff recently participated in Concerns Based Adoption Model (CBAM) training supported by the National Department of Education Research Centers and offered by SEDL, an affiliate of American Institutes for Research (AIR). SEDL is a nonprofit education research, development, and dissemination organization based in Austin. Windham principals, lead teachers, and Huntsville administrators were trained by SEDL in the approach of Dr. Shirley Hord and Dr. Gene Hall’s model. In this method, any type of organizational improvement is monitored and tracked through employee adoption of the innovation. CBAM provides tools and techniques that enable leaders to gauge staff concerns and program use in order to give each person the necessary support to ensure success.

Tracy brings workforce knowledge, WSD family history to encourage graduates at Travis State Jail in Austin - Graduation speaker Don Tracy offered an invaluable blend of workforce training, education experience, and family history to Windham School District (WSD) GED and vocational graduates at the Travis State Jail in Austin earlier this year. As director of business operations and marketing for the Austin Community College (ACC)’s continuing education division, Tracy is a 15-year veteran of human resource management and workforce education.

WSD Librarians Partner with ECHO Newspaper, Promote Reading, Literacy for Offenders Librarians from Windham School District are promoting literacy and learning to general population offenders within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.  WSD librarians take turns contributing to a new “Library Corner” feature in The ECHO, the monthly newspaper created by and for TDCJ offenders.

Fighting hunger in Southwest Texas: State jail offenders complete culinary training program at San Antonio Food Bank - Hunger is a serious issue in Texas. Thousands of underprivileged children and homeless persons throughout the state get up hungry, go to bed hungry, and never know anything else in between. However, the San Antonio Food Bank (SAFB), partnering with Windham School District (WSD) and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), is doing its part to fight hunger in Southwest Texas. These entities have united efforts to build a bridge of hope, inspiration and rehabilitation in the community. This bridge is called the Culinary Training Program, and its home is the food bank.

Guest speaker Diaz tells Torres Unit graduates:  'You are authors of future' - Torres Unit GED graduates were encouraged to break the cycle of crime and recidivism by a special guest from the GED Testing Service. Rafael Diaz served as commencement speaker for Windham School District (WSD) vocational and GED graduates at the Torres Unit in Hondo, sharing his personal story with honorees.

"Lock up to lift up". Rep. James White encourages offenders, families from six prisons to continue success - "One good quality decision will set the standard for you to make another quality decision the next day," said Rep. James White (R-Hillister) to GED graduates from Windham School District (WSD). As Vice Chair of the Texas House of Representatives Corrections Committee, White visited prison to urge graduates to continue to make quality decisions and reach for new challenges: vocational training, community college, college, diplomas and degrees.

Abilene TX News KTSX - School district gives offenders an education behind bars - ABILENE, Texas - Imagine having never sent a text message or not knowing what a computer mouse does, that's the case for many people in prison. A program - that you may not be aware of - is giving inmates an education behind bars with the hope that learning will keep them from coming back. Windham School District is targeted to offenders in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice without a high school diploma or GED. It started as a social experiment in 1969. 

Windham School District’s 2015 graduates grateful for a second chance in education - On Saturday morning, 39 inmates gladly stepped forward into a life of greater opportunity through the privilege of education. Held in the Estelle Unit’s Chapel, the graduation ceremony took on a church-like atmosphere.

Briscoe and Cotulla’s graduation: A step in the right direction - WSD, in partnership with Southwest Texas Junior College (SWTJC), is helping reduce recidivism through education. The fruits of this labor were seen at the Briscoe and Cotulla units’ GED/vocational and college graduation ceremony recently held at the Briscoe Unit.

Isaac White: 'Life was waiting for me!' Business owner credits vocational classes as foundation for success after release from prison “I was 18 years old, convicted of aggravated robbery with a weapon, and knowing I would possibly be in prison until I was 26.  I knew I had to make plans for the rest of my life.  I knew after I was released, I had to get out and make a living.

State Rep. J.D. Sheffield hopes to see Hughes Unit graduates ‘at the top’ - Rep. J.D. Sheffield, R-Gatesville, was commencement speaker at the Jan. 17 Windham School District (WSD) GED graduation at the Hughes Unit. The 21 GED recipients were acknowledged by Sheffield for the academic progress they have made while repaying their debts to society.

Windham partners with Mullin ISD, TDCJ. Begins new High School Diploma program in prison - Texas’s first in-prison High School Diploma (HSD) program in more than 30 years is underway, with a new class of 42 female HSD graduates recognized in December, 2014. This unique program began with approximately 30 other young women earlier in the year, thanks to a unique partnership among Windham School District (WSD), Mullin Independent School District (ISD) and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ).

Education, honesty, determination: Derek Hess’s transformative journey From prison cell to Excel - Despite six years of imprisonment for a conviction involving drug offenses, firearms and a stolen vehicle, former Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) offender Derek Hess is now living a successful life employed as a contractor for a global oil company.

Training leading to real jobs: Major Appliance Service Technology - Major Appliance Service Technology students at the Hughes Unit in Gatesville learn mechanical, electrical and electronic principles related to the diagnosis, service and repair of major appliances. This Windham School District program allows vocational students to work with home appliances such as automatic washing machines and dishwashers, microwaves, and others.

State Rep. John Otto shares life lessons with graduates at Plane State Jail - Rep. John Otto (R-Dayton), a 10-year veteran of the Texas House of Representatives, was guest speaker for October 2014 Windham School District (WSD) graduation ceremonies. Speaking behind prison walls at the Plane State Jail, Otto borrowed from the May 2014 University of Texas commencement speech by U.S. Navy Admiral and former Navy SEAL William H. McRaven.

Rep. John Raney visits Windham - "While visiting Luther Unit Education Department, I was very impressed with the progress that Dr. Clint Carpenter and his team are making in assisting the offenders in the TDCJ in getting their GEDs and learning workforce skills.  I applaud their efforts to make sure that the men have a skill that will allow them to become employed and valuable members of their communities."

Dominguez State Jail hosts Employment and Service Provider event - An Employment and Service Provider event this year was a call to action across the public and private sectors and local and federal governments to unite efforts in transitioning soon-to-be released offenders towards employability and world-readiness.

Texas legislator honors Windham School District graduates and family members with words of encouragement in Gatesville - Rep. J.D. Sheffield (R-Gatesville) spoke at the Windham School District GED and vocational graduation at the Hughes Unit on June 28, 2014.

NEWS RELEASE - 2014 MEDIA HONOR ROLL includes J.T Street/Fox News - (Austin) --J.T. Street of Fox 29 News was named to the 2014 Media Honor Roll, a program sponsored by the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB), and by the Windham School District (WSD) and its Board of Trustees. 

HUNTSVILLE ITEM: TDCJ’s Windham School District: Safe, successful stories being told here now - Time heals all wounds, or so it’s been said. Some say time covers wounds with scar tissue. The pain lessens, but it’s never truly gone.

San Antonio Food Bank fights hunger... feeds hope - Every morning a select group of Dominguez State Jail offenders climbs into a Texas Department of Criminal Justice van and embarks on an incredible journey. These Windham School District (WSD) students leave behind the barbed wire confines of incarceration and travel to the San Antonio Food Bank (SAFB) where they find hope, feed hunger and give back to society.

Brick masonry class builds up vocational skills - The Windham School District (WSD) Bricklaying/Stone Masonry class, held on the Allred Unit, teaches students both trade and life skills.

TDCJ's Windham School District gives inmates a shot at academic success - Offenders and their families feel a sense of accomplishment on graduation day.

26 inmates at Polunsky Unit in Livingston earn GEDs - A total of 26 inmates from the unit received their GED certificates in a ceremony held in the Polunsky Unit chapel.

Commissioner of Education speaks at Windham GED Ceremony - Commissioner Williams praised graduates for their accomplishments and thanked attending family members for support and encouragement.

Inside the wire: Two longtime educators now teaching GED classes to inmates at TDCJ’s Polunsky Unit - Inside the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's Polunsky Unit - past the rolls of barbed wire, past the security checkpoints, past the seemingly endless gates, one of which leads past Death Row – there's a door marked "Education." Inside the door is a classroom, one no different from any high school classroom save for the guards outside the door.

DOORS initiative offers hope to Dallas area ex-offenders - One of the most daunting challenges the newly-released ex-offender faces is the reentry process.

Telford Unit offenders change thinking patterns - "I feel each student that received a certificate earned it by doing what is necessary to mature by making adult decisions to be personally responsible"

CHANGES program focuses on life skills for successful re-entry. - CHANGES program focuses on life skills for successful re-entry. Reporter Jon Schroeder of the Killeen Daily Herald recently visited the Hughes Unit to report on Windham School District's CHANGES pre-release program.

Austin American-Statesman - Armed with GEDs, inmates can triumph over their pasts - Austin American-Statesman Editor Rich Oppel recently served as a GED graduation speaker at the Travis State Jail. He did a fantastic job as speaker, and he followed up with a very positive column about WSD and its GED program.

 

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Success Stories

Success Story IconIndependent Data Contractor Success Story -
"Due largely to the training I received from my teacher, I am able to be an independent ...

Success Story IconNEW - Making a positive impact - "I am very excited to be learning a new trade and to be securing employment for myself in the 'real world.'"

Success Story IconWelding Success Story -
"I'm thankful for the welding program I was allowed to take while locked up".

Success Story IconNEW - We can learn and be successful - "My life is proof that we can learn and be successful and stay out of trouble."

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WSD in Images

Offenders often experience academic success for the first time in a Windham classroom.
Vocational and academic skills are integrated in Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs, such as this Small Engine Repair class in Huntsville, Texas.
Students at the Huntsville “Walls” Unit strengthen writing skills during a literacy class.
Female offenders in Gatesville, Texas, study to improve their literacy skills during a WSD academic class.
Auto specialization students in a West Texas prison learn auto maintenance skills, preparing themselves for future employment as professional mechanics.
An offender at the Polunsky Unit prepares for graduation after earning his GED through the Windham School District.