Windham School District (WSD) provides academic and vocational education to eligible offenders incarcerated within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ). Windham operates in the Correctional Institutional Division. The district, which began operation in 1969, was established by the Texas Legislature and was named by the Texas Board of Corrections for the late James M. Windham, a 24-year member of the Board. It is the first education system of such scope to be established within a statewide prison system. Classes are conducted in prison units across the state.
Adults in the United States face the challenges of life in an ever-changing technological age. Successfully coping with these challenges requires adults to employ educational processes that are the basic tools of human growth and development. Incarcerated adults, as a group, lack the basic educational tools needed to adjust successfully to the economic, sociological and cultural dimensions of today's society. Confined persons need to develop the academic skills that will allow them to process knowledge and information. They need vocational competencies that will enable them to contribute to a productive society. They need the social skills that will provide them with self-confidence and the ability to interact successfully with their fellow man.
The mission of the Windham School District is to provide appropriate educational programming and services to meet the needs of the eligible offender population in TDCJ and reduce recidivism by assisting offenders in becoming responsible, productive members of their communities.
Many of the offenders in the TDCJ lack the educational background and basic skills necessary for attaining employment upon release. The typical Windham student functions below the sixth grade level.
According to a related study (“Survey of Texas Employers 2002” by L. Jean Walker, Ph.D.), employers have difficulty hiring employees because applicants lack specific job skills. Employers also stress the importance of employability skills such as teamwork, problem solving, and dependability. Windham’s academic and vocational programs are designed to provide offenders with the skills they need to obtain employment upon release.
Windham provides a variety of academic classes and Career and Technical Education (CTE) to offenders incarcerated in the TDCJ. In addition to WSD programs, the Continuing Education program offers offenders the opportunity to participate in college courses, and recreational activities.
WSD operates schools on 90 sites serving TDCJ. Most literacy program participants attended classes 15 hours per week, and most of those participating in CTE programs attended 30 hours per week.
The Texas Board of Criminal Justice (TBCJ) serves as the school board for WindhamSchool District. The authority to administer, organize, manage, and supervise the daily operations of WSD is delegated by the TBCJ to the Superintendent, who may further delegate this authority to staff as appropriate. Reporting to the Superintendent are the Public Information Officer, General Counsel, and Division Directors.
Delegation of authority from the TBCJ to the Superintendent
The Superintendent is responsible for implementing measures to evaluate the effectiveness of WSD programs, maintaining relations with the TBCJ and the TDCJ, and interacting with state offender family organizations. The Superintendent also serves as the governmental liaison for the District and is responsible for all contacts with the Governor's office, the Legislature, and other state agencies.
The Windham Public Information Officer is responsible for press releases, media relations, and providing current news to Windham staff. The PIO provides photographs for WSD publications, updates the website calendar and bulletin board, and provides supervision for production of the offender newspaper, The Echo. The PIO coordinates WSD’s Lane Murray Excellence in Teaching Initiative to recognize exemplary instructors, and also oversees the district’s administrative participation in the annual State Employee Charitable Campaign.
Funding and Budget
P.O. Box 40
804 Bldg. B, FM 2821 West
Huntsville TX 77320