GCISD Glossary

Many of our initiatives and programs in GCISD are unique to our District. The language we use to describe these initiatives may be unfamiliar to those who are new to our community or do not spend each day on one of our campuses. Below is a glossary of key terms and concepts to help you learn more about the education we provide here in GCISD.

Do you have an educational term you would like for us to define? Send us an email at [email protected].

1:1 Technology Initiative

Every student in GCISD is provided with a digital device (iPad or laptop, depending on age of student) to assist with and enhance their learning. The device is a tool that teachers may use to provide students with enriched learning opportunities that may not otherwise exist inside the classroom. For example, classes skype with famous authors, schools in other countries, create digital media pieces, etc.


The ASPIRE Academy is committed to serving the unique needs of highly gifted students by providing a culture where learners engage in rigorous and meaningful learning experiences that empower them to take risks, pursue passions, and make a positive impact on the world. An ASPIRE Academy student is a highly gifted student who demonstrates an academic need for differentiated learning experiences. The ASPIRE Academy is available for students at Glenhope Elementary, Cross Timbers Middle School and Grapevine High School.


AVID stands for Advancement via Individual Determination. AVID students are currently in the academic middle, show the desire and determination to attend the college of their choice but require additional support to get there. Students may either participate in an AVID elective, or some campuses can implement AVID schoolwide.

Blended Learning

With blended learning, a GCISD student learns both on campus in a traditional, collaborative class or small group setting, as well as through online learning. The online learning component allows the student to control the pace, path, and place for learning. These two components of learning are integrated to provide an enriched learning experience.

Grapevine-Colleyville Learning Institute

The GCISD Learning Institute is an annual event that serves as a miniature conference that is designed specifically for GCISD teachers and staff members. Typically held in August or September, presenters are mostly GCISD staff members including administrators, teachers and instructional coaches. Staff that attends the Learning Institute is able to choose the sessions they attend based on State requirements, district expectations, classroom assignments and personal interest.

Hope Squad

A school-based, student-led program that seeks to provide support to students expressing ideas of self-harm. All secondary schools in GCISD have hope squads and they conduct regular activities on campus that foster a positive school climate.


Induction of newly hired staff members is a systematic process of sharing district expectations and resources, teaching staff members commonly used tools and processes, and passing along beliefs and structures that will help the new employee succeed in their role.

As part of induction, GCISD offers two sub-groups aimed at reaching specific new staff members:

First-Year Teachers Academy: This group consists of first-year teachers who will receive additional classroom observations to support their growth as a classroom teacher, while also receiving weekly support from an instructional coach. 

New Leaders Induction: This group is for those serving in a leadership role at either a campus or district offices. This two-day seminar is to provide role specific information in addition to the support they receive at monthly meetings throughout the year.

Instructional Coach

An instructional coach is a former classroom teacher who has specialized training and expertise in curriculum/instruction design and development. Their primary responsibility is to build instructional capacities within GCISD's teaching staff. Their services include coaching individual teachers, modeling instructional strategies, providing professional learning to teams and groups, facilitating Professional Learning Communities, supporting assessment development and data analysis and curriculum writing. In GCISD, the term Instructional Coach refers to centrally-based educators who typically work in a particular department within Curriculum and Instruction. (See also Learning Liaison - Learning Liaisons are also Instructional Coaches who are assigned to a specific campus.)

LEAD 2.0

In 2018, the District began looking at the next steps for its strategic plan. It was important to not abandon the objectives and goals of LEAD 2021, but rather look for areas of opportunity for growth and expansion. LEAD 2.0 was developed through a group of stakeholders that included community members, students, parents, staff members and District leaders. Approved in November 2018, the four goals of LEAD 2.0 are:

Actively identify and remove barriers that limit access to and opportunity for learning

Design learning environments that support social and emotional well-being

Create a culture that fosters learning environments that reflect student voice and promote student engagement

Effectively communicate with targeted audiences

LEAD 2021

LEAD stands for Leading Excellence – Action Driven. Developed in 2010, the District’s Strategic Plan, LEAD 2021, focused on transforming the education experience in GCISD so that we are better preparing students for the world that awaits them now and in the future. The four strategic objectives of LEAD 2021 were:

No less than once annually, all students will collaboratively develop, revise, and accomplish a rigorous personalized learning plan leading to college and career readiness and culminating with all graduates possessing a post‐graduate plan aligned with their individual goals.

Every student (PK‐12) will responsibly and effectively use and apply the latest relevant technology and, upon graduation, all students will be able to use technology masterfully in all dimensions of their academic work.

All members of the GCISD family will promote good citizenship and demonstrate mutual respect.

All students will be positive participants in their local communities and our global society."

Learning Commons

GCISD librarians prepare students to become globally-minded, inquiry-driven problem-solvers and instill an appreciation of innovation, literacy, and technology. Staff members develop flexible learning spaces known as "Learning Commons" that cultivate these values and practices through diverse and relevant collections, makerspaces, and areas for small and large groups as well as individual learning. These spaces were renovated as part of the 2016 Bond Program.

Learning Liaison

A learning liaison is a campus-based instructional coach. These educators are former classroom teachers who have specialized training and expertise in curriculum/instruction design and development. Their primary responsibility is to build instructional capacities within GCISD's teaching staff. Their services include coaching individual teachers, modeling instructional strategies, providing professional learning to teams and groups, facilitating Professional Learning Communities, supporting assessment development and data analysis, interacting as a member of the campus leadership team, and serving as a conduit to campuses for Curriculum and Instruction Department support. (See also Instructional Coach. In GCISD, instructional coaches serve in either a campus-based role, referred to as a Learning Liaison, or in a centrally-based role, referred to as an Instructional Coach, within a department on the Curriculum and Instruction team.)

Learning Platform

GCISD prioritizes an instructional model referred to as a learning platform. In a more traditional instructional environment, the teacher is viewed as the keeper and dispenser of all knowledge and students are more passive recipients. This model is often termed a "teaching platform" environment in which the teacher drives/owns the main work of the classroom. In a "learning platform" classroom environment, students share the ownership and responsibility for learning. The teacher's role is still extremely important, however in this setting, the teacher moves from the role of knowledge dispenser to that of learning design facilitator. Teaching in this manner requires advanced consideration by the teacher about how students may best learn and retain content information and skills. Students' specific needs are taken into account in the classroom design, and students' are expected to construct knowledge and deepen thinking.

Personalized Learning Opportunities

Through LEAD 2021, Grapevine-Colleyville ISD is creating an innovative environment where students are inspired, encouraged and supported. Building on this plan, GCISD provides a personalized approach to education by offering student choice through many initiatives. In order to learn more about GCISD's personalized programs for students, visit gcisd.net/personalizedlearning.

Portrait of a Graduate

Using LEAD 2021 as a guide, GCISD developed the District's "Portrait of a Graduate" which is used as a measure of District and student success. GCISD's Portrait of a Graduate features five characteristics:

Effective Communicators
Skilled Problem Solvers
Collaborative Workers
Self-Regulated Learners
Global Citizens


Recapture is the process by which the state takes some local property-tax revenue away from districts with relatively high property wealth per student. GCISD is one of more than 100 school districts in the state that is required to pay recapture. During the 2019-2020 school year, it is projected that the State will take out 24 cents of every dollar paid in property taxes by GCISD property owners.

Restorative Practices

Restorative Practices are a set of processes and tools that help us create a caring school community. The premise is that people and relationships are valued first and foremost. When people make mistakes or cause harm, restorative practices can help them to understand the impact of their actions, heal the harm, and restore the community. This can be done between individual students, small groups or the entire class.

RTI - Response to Intervention

Response to Intervention (RTI) is a multi-tier approach to the early identification and support of students with learning and behavior needs. The RTI process begins with high-quality instruction and universal screening of all children in the general education classroom. Struggling learners are provided with interventions at increasing levels of intensity to accelerate their rate of learning. Progress is closely monitored to assess both the learning rate and level of performance of individual students. Educational decisions about the intensity and duration of interventions are based on individual student response to instruction. (RTI Network)

Student Voice

The "student voice" initiative in GCISD is an effort to increase students' participation in the educational process. Rather than being viewed as mere recipients of an education, students are viewed as important members of the educational team. The feedback they provide to teachers about classroom experiences, to campus leadership about campus culture, or other adults within the district is valuable information that can help guide and improve educational outcomes.  Teachers may use a variety of methods to gather student voice, with the most popular being a student survey.

Universal Screener

Screening is conducted three times a year to identify or predict students who may be at risk for poor learning outcomes. Universal screening assessments are typically brief, conducted with all students in a grade level, and followed by additional testing or short-term progress monitoring to corroborate students’ risk status.


VALOR stands for Vanguard Association of Learning, Observation, and Reflection. Participants in VALOR are growth-minded teachers who are seeking to improve their classroom instruction by receiving feedback from others. Participation involves an intense year of professional learning that includes a summer institute and days throughout the school year of observing classrooms and being observed and receiving feedback on instruction. Applications for teachers who wish to participate in the year-long VALOR cohort for the upcoming school year open each spring.


WICOR (Writing, Inquiry, Collaboration, Organization and Reading) strategies are instructional strategies used by teachers on campuses implementing the AVID System. WICOR strategies allow for common language across content areas to allow for stronger teacher collaboration as well as student understanding.