Windham School District programs are designed to meet the unique needs of adult offenders and address the legislatively-mandated goals of reducing recidivism, reducing the cost of confinement, promoting positive behavior during confinement, and increasing offenders success in obtaining and maintaining employment.
Offenders are selected for enrollment in WSD programs based on the Individualized Treatment Plan (ITP) process. The ITP is a plan of treatment for an individual offender. The plan outlines programmatic activities and services for an offender, and prioritizes his/her participation in recommended programs based on the offenders needs, program availability, and projected release date. Offenders who are less than 35 years of age and within five years of projected release have the highest priority for placement in academic and vocational programs. Contact information
Literacy Programs provide adult basic education for offenders functioning below the sixth grade level and secondary level adult education for those who are working toward attainment of a high school equivalency certificate (GED). Based on individual achievement, students are assigned to beginning (Literacy I), intermediate (Literacy II), or advanced (Literacy III) level classes. Literacy classes are non-graded, competency-based, and operate on a 12-month scholastic year. Students generally attend literacy classes three hours per day. Students with reading skills below the fourth grade level may be enrolled in Literacy IReading, a special program designed to provide intensive instruction in reading.
Understanding the wide range of learning needs, learning styles, prerequisite skills, and interests of their students, literacy teachers provide differentiated instruction using a variety of teaching strategies. Literacy teachers also work collaboratively with Career and Technology Education (CTE) teachers to promote workplace competencies and learning in real-world contexts. In all programs, emphasis is placed on the skills employers demand, such as personal qualities, cultural sensitivity/tolerance, teamwork, decision making, and problem solving.
Computer-Assisted Instruction (CAI) labs are available at most campuses, providing opportunities for diagnostic, prescriptive, computer-based instruction to support and enhance the academic program.
A comprehensive referral and assessment process is used to identify offenders who may be in need of Special Education services Special instruction is provided for students with learning disabilities, emotional disturbance, mental retardation, vision and/ or hearing impairments, orthopedic impairments, other health impairments, traumatic brain injury, and speech impairments. Certified Special Education teachers employ a wide variety of instructional strategies and materials to address each students individual learning style. Special computer equipment is used to meet the unique needs of students who are blind or have significant visual impairments. Related services are provided when needed. These services include interpretive services for deaf students, assistive technology, and needed support services. Students in the Special Education program who are not able to demonstrate progress in the regular academic curriculum may be considered for placement in an Adaptive Skills class. Adaptive Skills is a Special Education class that focuses primarily on functional literacy and life skills.
Windham also provides a special program for eligible students who exhibit limited English proficiency. A language assessment is administered to determine a students level of proficiency in English. Students who demonstrate a significant lack of English proficiency are recommended for placement in the English as a Second Language (ESL) program. Certified ESL teachers provide intensive instruction in English language development, reading and writing.
Changing Habits and Achieving New Goals to Empower Success (CHANGES) is a 60-day life skills program designed to prepare offenders for release. Offenders who are within two years of projected release are eligible to participate in the program. The program content includes family relationships and parenting, civic and legal responsibilities, victim sensitivity, health maintenance, employability, money management, and other related life skills.
Cognitive Intervention, a 60-day program developed with the help of the National Institute of Corrections, is offered at 60 facilities and serves as a model for programs in other states. Cognitive Intervention teaches students to meet their needs without trespassing on the rights of others.
Through instruction and exercises in interpersonal problem solving, the program helps offenders:
Through collaboration with Family Forward (formerly Parents Anonymous of Texas), WSD offers a 30-day Parenting program at state jail facilities. The Parenting program uses The Middle Way Parent Education Program from Family Forward, a communication-based, interactive program that supports the development of healthy family relationships. The program addresses compassionate assertiveness, empathic/active listening, empowerment and other skills to strengthen family relationships. Participants engage in an introspective process of positive personal change.
A 15-day program entitled Perspectives and Solutions is offered at intake facilities. In this progressive program, students explore cultural diversity, personal identity, stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination (including racial, ethnic, religious, gender, age, sexual orientation, and physical disability). Students also receive extensive exposure to problem solving techniques.
A supplemental Title I program is provided for educationally underachieving students who are 20 years of age or younger. These students are enrolled in a three-hour Title I class in addition to a three-hour Literacy class each day. The Title I teacher works collaboratively with the regular teacher to reinforce and/or reteach literacy and math concepts. Interactive computer equipment and computer-assisted instruction are used in the Title I program to provide remediation of basic skills and encourage participatory learning.
With regard to other federal grant programs, WSD used Title II - Eisenhower Professional Development Program funds to support professional development activities for teachers.
WSD operates education programs inside secure facilities that are virtually free of tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs. Additionally, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice provides a substance abuse treatment program for eligible offenders. Therefore, WSD uses Title IV - Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act funds to target violence prevention. The funds are used to support the Cognitive Intervention program. Offenders with disciplinary problems are referred to the Cognitive Intervention program.
Windham School District used Title VI - Innovative Education Program funds to support a variety of activities, including professional development in classroom management, training and instructional materials for the Parenting program, and professional development for librarians.
Title VI - Class Size Reduction funds were used to hire two additional teachers - one each for the Clemens and Hilltop facilities. These facilities house the TDCJ Youthful Offender Program (ages 14-17) for males and females respectively. Hiring the additional teachers enabled WSD to reduce the size of the Literacy classes at these facilities from 25 to 20 students per class. The funds were also used to provide intensive professional development activities for teachers at these campuses. In terms of school accountability ratings, both Clemens and Hilltop are rated as Recognized.
Career and Technology - full description
Counseling and Testing
WSD employs certified counselors to provide a comprehensive guidance program. The counselors provide program information to potential students and enroll eligible students in appropriate educational programs. Counselors maintain career information centers, provide career guidance activities, and assist offenders with the development of career path plans to enable them to make informed educational and occupational choices. In addition, counselors coordinate the administration of standardized educational achievement tests, coordinate and administer the GED tests, and administer the vocational interest and aptitude tests They also assist students in developing problem solving skills, communication skills, self-awareness, and stress coping abilities.
Tests of Adult Basic Education (TABE) are administered to all incoming TDCJ offenders to determine each offenders educational level. In addition, offenders enrolled in WSD academic programs are tested periodically throughout the school year to monitor student progress. Offenders also participate in an assessment of vocational aptitude and interest prior to enrollment in Career and Technology Education programs.
Windham serves as a testing center for the General Educational Development (GED) program. During the school year 6,333 State Jail and ID students were given the GED tests. A total of 4,723 (74.6 percent) earned a GED certificate.
Windham School District maintains 85 libraries for TDCJ ID Units and State Jails. Libraries offer offenders a wide variety of books, reference collections, and materials in support of educational programs, as well as recreational reading. Currently, there are 40 professional librarians and 15 library aides who are responsible for operating and maintaining inventories of unit libraries. Librarians promote the use of libraries with library orientations, poetry contests, book reports, and essay contests. Last year, libraries circulated 1,120,507 books. They also maintained newspaper and magazine subscriptions at each library. Library Support Services provided unit libraries with 28,576 new books, cataloged 17,621 books, distributed 32,425 books, and reconciled 85 inventories.
The Division of Instruction also includes the Media Center, located on the Huntsville Unit, which provides a myriad of services including printing and bindery operations, graphics and video production, and special project development for all Windham facilities and programs.
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