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.


Assuring the graduates that their efforts have not gone unrecognized, Sheffield was reminded of a previous Hughes Unit graduation in which a young man shook his hand and told him, “I’ll see you at the top.”

Sheffield said his immediate response was, “I sure hope so,” thankful for the drive and excitement the young man showed him. The legislator told the graduates he is supportive of them and hopes that they will receive “a fresh start and a new beginning” as they continue to prepare for successful lives after release.

 “None of us know what life is going to throw at us from time to time – we cannot determine that, but each of us, as individuals, can determine how we will respond to it,” Sheffield said.  

“I congratulate you for taking the opportunity in this institution to better yourself through these programs from which you are about to graduate. You have my heart felt thanks for improving your station in life. I wish you nothing but the best as you go out into society, and I hope to see you at the top.”

Sheffield applauded the graduates, their family members in attendance and the TDCJ and WSD staff, acknowledging the many aspects of hard work that come from each of those involved.


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Annual Performance Report SY17 (2016-2017)

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about educational programming provided by Windham School District (WSD) within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ).

WSD aligns job opportunities and learning with instruction and class offerings for offenders. The result: a productive, positive journey for offenders seeking workforce reentry. WSD accomplishes this through enhanced program offerings and classes requiring significantly elevated skill levels. We have improved programs by adding new components to existing courses, and we have worked with experts to bring the best possible educational opportunities to our students. In addition, WSD has expanded partnerships with industry and community workforce boards. These alliances support the alignment of courses with employer demands throughout the various regions of Texas.

Windham recently revised its life skills offerings. Experts in cognitive and criminogenic change processes worked with Windham staff and community stakeholders to improve two essential life skills classes: the Cognitive Intervention Program (CIP) and Changing Habits and Achieving New Goals to Empower Success (CHANGES). With these advances, Windham uses assessments to better measure outcomes for students while identifying areas students and instructors can work to improve.

Academic gains for students in the literacy classes at Windham are among the highest in the nation. Students can expect academic advances of between two to three years for every year of instruction within Windham classes. Furthermore, the classes are aligned with job skills needed in vocational occupations to better prepare students for work; classes bring real-world relevancy to daily lessons. In addition, Windham has redesigned services for special needs students to better serve those with learning disabilities and other barriers to effective learning. They, too, are making the journey to find employment and successfully reenter society.

Vocational trades at Windham have expanded to include skills needed in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) middle-level jobs. These include computerized numerical control machining, fiber and copper cabling, computer controls programming, and telecommunications. Windham has also partnered with TDCJ to provide training and United States Department of Labor-approved apprenticeship program participation for workers in various jobs within TDCJ facilities. By aligning the educational skills with job requirement skills, offender workers are able to apply the knowledge obtained through Windham with real-world job experience at TDCJ units.

Windham has implemented many changes over the past three years. By carefully evaluating program outcomes in student gains and employment upon release, WSD helps reduce the cost of incarceration. The cost to taxpayers for crimes committed in communities is also reduced. This journey of continuous improvement, driven by data analysis, has strengthened academic growth during incarceration and lowered recidivism rates for those students who participate in Windham programming.

Windham is always looking for new ways to better serve the State of Texas, and I hope this Annual Performance Report provides you with evidence of the quality education the teachers and staff at WSD provide to thousands of men and women each year. Our students’ journey to success has begun.


Dr. Clint Carpenter,
Superintendent, Windham School District


Current APR 2016 - 2017: 


Archived Reports: 



Central Texas welders thank CTE teacher for training, influence - Locked up as teenagers and serving about 20 years each for murder charges, Candelario Davila and Jose Sanchez are unlikely success stories.  They were destined to years of solitary time in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's Administrative Segregation, lacking motivation, mentors and job skills.  However, a correctional educator they describe as "father figure" and "the greatest welder ever" provided the intervention needed to transform their lives. Today they are gainfully employed as welders in the Austin area, enjoying their families, freedom and work.

Industry employers partner with WSD to provide increased job opportunities - Windham School District continues to build valuable partnerships with industry employers, according to a recent report by WSD Superintendent Dr. Clint Carpenter to the WSD Board of Trustees.

WSD partnership with San Antonio Food Bank enriches graduates, gives back to community - The San Antonio Food Bank (SAFB) recently held a commencement ceremony for students participating in the Texas Second Chance Warehouse Program. This partnership between Windham School District (WSD), Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) and the SAFB allows currently incarcerated offenders to participate in a 100-hour course. They work with pallets, forklifts and customer orders, learning “all of the ins and outs of making the SAFB an effective, smooth-running, logistical operation,” said SAFB Chief Development Officer Michael Guerra.

Message from WSD Superintendent Dr. Clint Carpenter: Thank you to the WSD Board of Trustees!While January is School Board Recognition Month, the Windham School District thanks the Texas Board of Criminal Justice for serving year round as its School Board.  These nine governor-appointed volunteers tackle the challenging job of governing one of the largest – and most unique -- school districts found in Texas.

Success Stories

Success Story IconEducation changed my life -
"These opportunities [GED® classes or learning a trade] are great, but WSD is so much more than that; for me it was a change of life."

Success Story IconCognitive Intervention Success Story -
"I graduated from Cognitive Intervention and the course has had a major impact on me and my behavior".

Success Story IconNEW - After more than 16 years - "I graduated from the electrical program in 1998. I found my Windham teachers were real people, and they..."

Success Story IconNEW - They didn’t give up - "It makes me feel really good to know that these guys aren’t giving up just because they’re in prison."


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WSD in Images

Offenders often experience academic success for the first time in a Windham classroom.
Students at the Huntsville “Walls” Unit strengthen writing skills during a literacy class.
Auto specialization students in a West Texas prison learn auto maintenance skills, preparing themselves for future employment as professional mechanics.
Offenders often experience academic success for the first time in a Windham classroom.
Texas State Board of Education Chair Barbara Cargill congratulates GED recipients during Spring, 2014, ceremonies. “I am very impressed with the program and with the commitment of the staff and teachers,” she said.
Female offenders in Gatesville, Texas, study to improve their literacy skills during a WSD academic class.