Jeffrey Aylstock

for Dripping Springs School Board

Integrity, Accountability, Transparency

Integrity for Dripping Springs Independent School District

Throughout my life, I have followed the high moral codes instilled in me by my upbringing, my religion and my scouting experiences as a young boy. I continue today to work diligently to ensure that I leverage those codes in all that I do. Integrity boils down to doing what’s right when no one’s watching you. Integrity is also following your moral compass and ethical convictions. I work diligently to have all the information necessary to make the right decision for a particular problem. Of equal importance is being able to quickly adjust when a situation warrants a change. I believe that no one is perfect and the best of us truly comes out when we have to adjust a solution we thought we got right. It is also critical to own up to a mistake we made and start working to make it right. I work well under pressure. I am very adept in researching and building solutions for problems. I ensure that I can determine both the outcomes and the consequences of a problem while keeping the ability to react quickly when those solutions need to change. I believe that type of analysis is what is missing from our board. We need someone like myself on the DSISD board to provide that insight and input to each of our school district’s challenges.

Accountability for Dripping Springs Independent School District

How do you measure children’s educational success? What does it look like? How can we be sure we are on the right track? Texas took a great step forward by requiring District Improvement Plans (DIP) to both capture issues and track progress for each district. Unfortunately, DIP’s can vary widely by district and are only as beneficial as the effort district administrators put into it. Our first DIP was done this past school year and we have yet to fulfill the Campus Improvement Plans which allow campus administrators to track their own issues and progress. We need to accurately present clearly defined performance indicators that show both the positive and negative tracks for each of our specific areas of concern and the rate of change across time instead of a single number.

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Transparency for Dripping Springs Independent School District

Transparency in a school board means that parents and staff should have the access and information necessary to understand what and why decisions are being made at the district level. If we create clear paths for that information, it should be easy for the public to understand what those decisions are and why the board made them. This requires an efficient way to gather that information and publish it out to the general public. Our District website is currently challenged when indexing and tracking that information. As well, our board meetings tend to discuss documents and handouts that have yet to make it to the public’s hands or were only recently released with very little time to read and understand. We need structured policies that require all documents and presentations that will be discussed to be published at least a week before the general meeting. These need to be easy to find on the district website. I would also promote a way to sign up for notification when those documents have been posted so they can be reviewed. Board meeting agenda items should both have a title and brief description of the actions requested and any documents being used should be easy to follow during a board meeting. I would also like to see greater access to conversations with board members in more informal settings, such as a town hall where the board can openly discuss their decisions and feelings towards certain topics outside of a board meeting.


Personal and Family Bio

My wife Lila and I and our two sons, Shawn (10) and Blake (8) live in Driftwood, TX. Both boys currently attend Sycamore Springs Elementary school. Shawn will soon attend Sycamore Springs Middle School with Blake transitioning to the new Cypress Springs Elementary school in the fall. We have lived in the Dripping Springs area for just over 2 years and moved from the Sacramento valley where we have lived most of our lives. We moved out here after recognizing that both our success and our children’s success greatly depended on thriving locations such as Dripping Springs. In our previous location, we personally experienced the failures and hardships that were created by certain school and governmental policies. We were impacted directly by those policies and how those changes impacted our children’s educational growth. I have always been engaged with our sons mental, physical, and personal growth either as a Cub Scout Leader or as soccer/baseball coach. I continue those efforts today as the Local Cub Scout Pack 4 leader and as a U8 and U11 soccer coach. Within DSISD and Sycamore Springs Elementary, I am part of the Tiger Dad’s group to help out with any school needs. I continue to volunteer where needed throughout the school year. I worked diligently at the beginning of this school year to get as many of our children’s teachers up to speed on all things “virtual learning” to reduce the challenges that this school year presented. We love this area and moved here specifically for the school district. We constantly strive to improve and make this the best place for our kids to grow up.


Policy Positions

School Choice: Private / Charter / Homeschool

I feel that every parent has the right to choose their own destiny for their children. If we make a highly successful public school, then the choice should be easy to make. The one hope is that we make a school where needing to go to a charter or private would be the last resort and not the first. We need to ensure that we have accelerated learning for our high achievers and well-funded alternative styles of teaching for those with differing learning styles.


Sports and After School Programs

DSISD does a good job with middle and high school sports, but I feel we lack that cohesion at the elementary school level. Coaching both baseball and soccer gives me the opportunity to see how elementary school kids learn and grow within a team sport. The ability to work together towards a common goal is crucial in life. The lessons learned with each sport helps build physically and mentally strong and stable children. Although not every child is built for all sports, every child can benefit from sports. It should be a mission to ensure that each student has the opportunity to grow within a sport where they feel comfortable. I would love to see a greater emphasis on additional sports-related classes and afterschool programs at the elementary level. Hopefully, we can include community-driven events into those programs.

Mental Health

Our kids are constantly facing soo many different issues throughout their school years and how they are equipped to overcome those issues can make or break a child's path to success in the future. I was no stranger to the verbal and physical bullying of middle and high school and the depression and anxiety that came along with it. Although I successfully worked to overcome it with family and faith support I still know many of my peers that suffer today from what occurred so many years ago. We need to ensure that we can identify those markers for bullying or being bullied and ensure that we can provide all the necessary resources and services to those afflicted that may now be feeling sad, anxious, or depressed. I find it a great sign that people like Dr. Stefani Reinold sees the need for this as well and is pursuing a path on her own to help out our school district by also campaigning for a board position. Her expertise and guidance to ensure that our children have the opportunities for success and the resources necessary to recover from hardships will go far in our community and I hope that as a future board member we can leverage those resources.



Growth

I grew up in a town that started with a population of around 44,000 and by the time I graduated high school 6 years later that town had ballooned to almost 96,000. Three additional elementary schools and another high school went up during those 6 years. The metrics back then look a lot like the same metrics today in Dripping Springs and we can start to forecast tremendous growth. Towns with a large corporate presence luck out as they can leverage those corporations for both growth funding and annual funding such as the case with Round Rock ISD with Dell and Leander ISD with Apple. As we continue to grow we need to ensure that we can encourage our corporate partners to join our community as they will then be leveraging the resources within our district limits and strive to work hand in hand with them to build a strong model for growth.



COVID

There’s a reason why this is last on my list but probably first on many of your lists. We tend to focus on the immediate needs of our children, which is absolutely important, but lose focus on the longer-term plan. I want to ensure that as a potential board member, I am focusing both on the short-term and the long-term picture. I personally feel that COVID will be a short-term issue. That being said, I do disagree with many of the policies enacted by the board this past year. I understand mostly why they were enacted. My issue stems from 1) the lack of transparency around the source of their policy, 2) the failure of re-evaluating, updating and aligning those polices to examples based on the other successful policies of local, regional, and international bodies and 3) the inability to accurately convey “why?” they made the decisions they made. If a board member cannot explain why a policy was put in place, it creates distrust in the community between both parents for and against the policy and with the board themselves.