THE MISSION OF VICTORIA INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT…is to provide rigorous, relevant learning and life experiences so that all students contribute positively to society.
VISD FINE ARTS MISSION…is to promote and support fine arts education and educators through collaboration, innovative curricula, and the sharing of best practices so that every child in Victoria ISD is assured of receiving quality instruction in the understanding, appreciation, and performance of the arts.
Interpretation of Policies and Regulations - This handbook has been prepared as a general guide to the operation of the Victoria Independent School District (VISD) Fine Arts Programs. This is neither a contract nor a substitute for the official District Employee Handbook created by VISD Human Resources. It is not intended to alter the at-will status of employees in any way. Rather, it is a guide and a brief explanation of District Fine Arts Policies as created by Jason Levin, Director of Fine Arts.
Mr. Levin, with the consent of the VISD administration has the authority to render all judgments concerning any matter pertaining to the overall fine arts programs, its students and its operation. For more information on policies and procedures, employees may refer to the District Employee Handbook or confer with the Director of Fine Arts or or Human Resources.
Level of Responsibility - The Fine Arts program’s specialized characteristics, it is organized under two distinct chains of command. The Home Campus chain of command and the District chain of command are separate, but complementary systems.
The below groupings are provided to give a general idea of how the system operates. The key to past success has come from a spirit of cooperation with all administration. *There are areas of overlapping interest and responsibility.
Home Campus - The home campus principal is the teacher’s primary supervisor, even though assistant directors report to head directors on a day-to-day basis. The following areas/items are primarily within the principal’s jurisdiction:
District - “District” authority refers to the specialized chain of command within the Fine Arts Department itself. The Director of Fine Arts is primarily responsible for:
Fine Arts Director Primary Purpose – Primary Purpose: Assist in the coordination, development, and improvement of the district’s fine arts program and district personnel in K-12 fine arts programming. The position of Director of Fine Arts encompasses areas of administration, budget, personnel and curriculum.
District Fine Arts Facilitators
Fine Arts Facilitator purpose – Facilitators serve as a means of coordinating areas of the fine arts programs district wide as advisors to the Director of Fine Arts and site administrators. This position embraces a district wide approach, particularly in curriculum effectiveness as it relates to student achievement.
Fine Arts Professional Meetings in Eduphoria – The main focus in our PLC’s will be on Learning & Collaboration. Meetings are designed to establish a set of standards/curriculum used throughout the year. These meetings will be scheduled by our Facilitators and Mr. Levin. Directors will receive credit in Eduphoria for Professional Development hours and turned into the Fine Arts Office by each Facilitator. Director of Fine Arts & all Facilitators will send out the agenda’s in advance.
Calendars - The VISD District Fine Arts Shared Outlook Calendar is titled VISD District Fine Arts Calendar under Mr. Levin (in your Outlook program). If you can't see the VISD District Fine Arts Calendar under Mr. Levin - email email@example.com and he will send you the invite if you cannot see it.
Fine Arts Outlook Calendar / Eduphoria Calendar
The purpose of this Shared Internal Calendar is to share information with our elementary programs at this point. Elementary Schools here in VISD currently do not have Eduphoria as a scheduling option so we will continue using a Fine Arts Shared Calendar for our Elementary Music (until they are added in Eduphoria), and any other events not scheduled in Eduphoria (outside of district events, like UIL, OAP, Football games etc.).
The Fine Arts Secretary, Ms. Gonzalez, will place all events in the Fine Arts Outlook Calendar for us by pulling that information from Eduphoria and anything you email her (UIL events, performances down-town etc.). Please be sure to proof the material being submitted as it will be posted exactly the way it is received. You will be able to "view only" our Outlook calendar as a reference to check for conflicts when planning/scheduling events. If you have a flyer you would like added to the Website, please send that to Ms. Gonzalez and she will insert it on the District website. Again, please proof your material.
To reserve a date in the Victoria Fine Arts Center, Athletics, Administration building rooms or in the East & West Auditoriums or classrooms:
Special Note on Building Lease Agreements
CHARMS (Band, Choir, Dance, Orchestra) - charmsoffice.com
This program will keep track of your inventory, student rosters, calendar events, financial and parent communications and much more. We will be using the following areas this year.
Campus Teacher and Program Webpages
We are working to create consistent looks for our websites throughout the district. We have a District Fine Arts Page (run by Mr. Levin), and each teacher should have a Teacher Page located on each campus website. In addition, some secondary teachers might opt to have a Program Page. Regardless, the Teacher Page and Program Pages should be easy found on each campus websites.
On the District Fine Arts Page - We will do the following:
On the Teacher Page and/or Program Page located on each of the campus websites we should strive to have the following:
Class schedule and overall program description.
Special Note - campus fine arts programs should not be listed under Clubs or Extra-Curricular. We are CORE, and are REQUIRED by the state to have TEKS. We have some Extra-Curricular components in our classes, but that does not define the full course. Exception would be of course, if you created a Club that goes with your program...then list that Club under Clubs on your website.
Mr. Levin and Mrs. Martinez will help you get connected with your campus webmaster (if you have one) and/or permissions for your Page(s). At the district level, if we need assistance, together we will contact - Melanie Martinez in our VISD Communications Office. - firstname.lastname@example.org to help with websites.
Title IX Amendments, Procedures / District Policy for VISD Fine Arts Staff – The following Amendments / Procedures are established to enhance the safety of our students and staff. For more information on policies and procedures, employees may refer to the VISD Policies & Regulations on the VISD website or confer with the Director of Fine Arts or Director and/or Human Resources. The term “parent” shall be used herein to mean both parent and/or legal guardian.
Title IX – Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits sex discrimination against students and employees of educational institutions. Title IX prohibits discrimination, exclusion, denial, limitation, or separation based on gender in any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance, including the District’s fine arts programs. More importantly, Title IX regulations explicitly prohibit sex discrimination, which includes sexual harassment. It is important to recognize that Title IX’s prohibition of sexual harassment does not extend to legitimate nonsexual touching or other nonsexual conduct.
Sexual Harassment and Reporting Suspected Abuse – District employees shall not engage in conduct constituting sexual harassment or sexual abuse of students, co-workers or parents. Sexual harassment includes any welcome or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal (oral, written, email or sent by text), physical, or visual conduct of a sexual nature.
Reporting: Any District employee who receives information about sexual harassment or sexual abuse of a student that may reasonably be characterized as known or suspected child abuse or neglect will need to make a report to the appropriate authorities, as required by law. Any employee who suspects or knows that a student is being sexually harassed or sexually abused by a school employee or by another student shall inform his or her principal, administrator, immediate supervisor, or Title IX coordinator.
Investigations: Any allegations of sexual harassment or sexual abuse of students will be investigated and addressed. In considering and investigating allegations that an employee has sexually harassed or sexually abused a student, the investigation shall proceed from the presumption that the employee’s conduct was unwelcome. For further guidance in any of the above areas, please reference District Employee Handbook under VISD Policies & Regulations on the VISD website.
Safety and Abuse Prevention – Recommendations by your Fine Arts Department:
Be aware of the fact that there are two issues: actually crossing the line and the appearance of crossing the line. Please take affirmative steps to avoid both. When in doubt, contact Mr. Levin or your principal or Human Resources for guidance. Below are a few recommendations from Mr. Levin:
Volunteers, Chaperones and Parents
Criminal Background Checks from your campus administration is Required – All chaperones, parent volunteers, private lesson teachers or anyone who comes into contact with VISD students are required to undergo a criminal background check prior to being around the students. Once they have been cleared, you are allowed to have them work on your campus or ride the bus as chaperones etc.
Transportation Policy & Field Trips – Anytime you take your students off campus, for any reason, you must receive approval from your campus administrator. Start with a Field Trip Request Form. Procedures for Transportation – All Trips must have prior approval from your principal before you can schedule transportation using your fine arts transportation budget in your account.
Reserving district vehicle - If you need to reserve a district vehicle (van) you will need to contact the appropriate department to check for availability. Please do not use toll roads. If you use toll roads you are responsible for paying these fees and the District is not to be billed.
Travel Releases – Under certain circumstances or exceptional situations, students may be excused from riding either to or from an event on school authorized transportation.
Procedures Relative to the Use of School Buses top Bus Guidelines
Major Trips / Spring Trips / Out of State / Overnight Trips
Procedure for Travel Advance/Reimbursement for Instructor PD Trips (TMEA, TCDA, TAEA, TETA, etc.)
All conference registration, meals, miles, and hotel comes out of the $500 Staff PD fund allocated to each teacher. Fine Arts does not advance or reimburse the cost of any individual teacher’s PD expense over the allocated $500.00. If your trip is more expensive, please talk to Mr. Levin about using your sundry funds and/or addressing this as a line items in your booster club finances.
The District understands that memberships to these organizations are required for conference attendance, UIL competition, etc.
Membership fees can and will be paid for by instructional Budget funds (not out of your $500 allocated for PD).
To pay for membership via PO, you would fill out the usual PO request form and attach the membership form (filled-out) and submit to Ms. Gonzalez to process the PO. A check will then be cut and sent to the vendor with the membership form. Please see the Fine Arts Handbook for specifics on the Business Office’s procedures regarding checks so that you are making sure to submit everything in a timely manner.
Registrations are just like memberships and need to be planned for and paid for with a PO. To register for a conference, please submit a PO request and conference registration/entry form (filled out) to Fine Arts to process the PO. A check will then be cut and mailed to the vendor to place your registration.
Travel Advance/Reimbursement Forms:
This is the form to get a Travel Advance check cut to you ahead of time. This form covers hotel, meals, and miles. Please make sure you are filling out the left-hand advance portion of this form to have a check cut ahead of time. Please write on the top left corner if you will pick up from Admin. If you do not write anything on the form it will be mailed to your campus using interoffice mail.
For the hotel: Hotel arrangements are made directly between the teacher and the hotel. As VISD does not accept hotel reservations made through third party sites (i.e. Expedia, Travelocity, Hotels.com, bookingbuddy), we will always recommend calling the hotel directly. You make the reservation and then send the confirmation to Ms. Gonzalez with the filled-out Travel Advance form and conference confirmation/agenda (something validating the reason for the hotel stay) for a check. It is your responsibility to ask the hotel for the tax breakdown (we are exempt from state tax and do not advance or reimburse it). The District does not advance or reimburse state tax.
We strongly encourage teachers to room together. Please have one teacher make the reservation, and then specify with your Travel Advance form which teachers will be attending and which accounts to use for the Advance so we can split it between each teacher’s PD accounts.
For meals: To get an Advance for meals, you will need to submit an itinerary (detailing departure and arrival times for the conference) so we can determine your per diem. You will also need to know if your hotel offers complimentary breakfast. If so, the District does not offer breakfast as part of the per diem. Each teacher attending will need to fill out their own meal advance and attach their own itinerary.
For mileage: If you would like an advance for mileage, you will need to submit a Google Maps/ Mapquest detailing the miles of the trip. You will then fill out the mileage section of the Advance form with the amount to be paid for mileage. If this cost is being split between teachers, please specify which teachers and which accounts with the Travel Advance form so we can split the cost.
Reimbursement After The Fact (For Hotels and Mileage):
Please note it is always an option to be reimbursed after the trip for hotels and miles. If you choose to do this, you are shouldering the costs until your return from the conference. You would then submit your hotel invoice (with state tax factored out) and maps for mileage with right-hand Reimbursement section of the Travel Advance filled-out.
Booster Club Guidelines – Be they music, fine arts, academic or athletic, booster clubs should exist to enrich students’ involvement in your program without endangering their eligibility. Please see most updated guidelines from UIL online.
Role of Booster Club – School patrons form booster clubs to help enrich the school’s participation in fine arts’ activities. The fund-raising role of booster clubs is particularly crucial in today’s economic climate.
Role of the Superintendent – Member schools make UIL rules and determine policies regarding penalties to schools, school district personnel and student participants. The superintendent is solely responsible for the entire UIL program. All activities, events and personnel are under the jurisdiction of the superintendent. Booster clubs must recognize this authority and work within a framework prescribed by the school administration.
Relationship with the School District
Written Policies – In order for any Fine Arts Booster Clubs to function in VISD, the following policies must be in place:
What can parents do?
Fund Raising/Spending/Stipends/Gifts – Booster Clubs are legally separate entities from the school district, even though they exist to benefit a campus, activity, program or the district in some way. Because of this legal separateness, it is critical that no co-mingling of funds take place.
The following items should be noted about Fund Raising in Booster Clubs:
Eligibility for UIL Participants for the First Grading Period – UIL Academic Requirements (No Pass, No Play)
UIL participants are eligible to participate in contests during the grading period of the school year provided the following standards have been met – see TEA-UIL Side-by-Side – Interpretations of the Rules
All Fine Arts Teachers whom participate in UIL music must have Professional-Acknowledgement Form on File in the Director of Fine Art’s office. Only need to file this once in VISD. A copy of this form can be found on our VISD Fine Arts Webpage. **Must be notarized**
Teaching Assignments – The Personnel Department in consultation with the campus principals and the Director of Fine Arts assign teaching assignments. The Director of Fine Arts in concert with the campus principal has the authority to assign, reassign and/or transfer fine arts teachers based on the specific needs of our programs within our district. Any movement within the district will be upon the approval of the sending and receiving principals, along with the approval of the personnel department. A reassignment may be made for disciplinary reasons when termination of employment is deemed too harsh for the offense.
Fine Arts Budgets – We maintain a centralized district budget in support of our Fine Arts programs. These accounts are serviced directly by Mr. Levin in coordination with the Fine Arts Facilitators and each program director. This team (facilitators & Mr. Levin) are considered to the District Fine Arts Budget Committee for prioritized recommendations submitted to the district for both Operations Budget and Over budget (or Capital Outlay) Requests.
Clarifications on Staff Development & Reimbursements:
Professional Services Contract (Clinicians/Judges)
Clinician/Judges - The contract can be found in the Fine Arts website under Helpful Forms. You will need to attach a “Fine Arts request for PO” with the paperwork/contract, to the Fine Arts secretary.
There are four parts for the clinician/judge that need to be returned to the Fine Arts secretary:
1. Contract – You will need to fill out the effective date, name of consultant and sections a-d. Have the consultant fill out the lower right-hand section with their contact information and signature.
2. CCH – authorizing background check
3. Addendum –authorizing background check
4. W-9 –vendor tax form
Once the paperwork is received for approval and signature, the contract come back to Ms. Gonzalez to proceed with entering a requisition for a PO to process a check for services rendered. Please allow a minimum of 2-3 weeks for processing.
The clinician/judge must submit a signed invoice at the time services are rendered.
If the invoice is received by the end of the day Monday, a check will be processed that Thursday and put in the mail. If you/your clinician would like to pick the check up at Admin, please make note on the request and the check can be picked up on Friday after 2pm.
PO Process for Funds
Important: If your PO request is asking for a check for payment for conference registration, organization membership, clinician payment, etc., please try and submit it well in advance. For a check to be cut on Thursday, all paperwork will need to be submitted by Monday of that same week. The Business Office only cuts checks on Thursdays. Please plan ahead as much as possible.
**Please note – we will not use inter-office mail for this process – this form you fill out, save to your computer and attach to an email. If you don’t know how to scan (for extra receipts or registration forms etc.), see Mr. Levin or your Facilitator for clarification.
Sundry Funds: Each campus can operate an activity fund (operates in partnership with your Principal), the use of which is governed by TEA Bulletin 679, VISD policy, and campus policy. Fine Arts sponsors are expected to manage Sundry fund accounts in a manner that adheres to established policy and accounting procedures. Monies collected from students must be properly receipted and safeguarded. Regular deposits should be made to the school bookkeeper. At no time should cash or checks be left in filing cabinets, desks, given to parents to hold or taken to your cars.
Items or services purchased with Sundry fund monies are to directly benefit the students that the program serves.
Audit of your Sundry Accounts – It is your responsibility to keep good records of funds you have received. Computer generated lists or hand written ledger sheets are acceptable, provided all pertinent information is furnished (date, name, number of items sold, amount paid and method of payment). Your receipt records should match your deposits when collecting money from students and you should be able to show this if you are audited by the district or state.
Fine Arts District Improvement Plan / General Recommendations on Program Needs & Master Scheduling – This should be clarified by our fine arts teams traditionally around January/February in planning for program expansion / equipment / grow /updates and needs for the up-coming school year. Mr. Levin will schedule meetings will all principals and administrators to make the Recommendations. *This process does not end until the first day of school in the Fall. Constant communication from our fine arts teachers with Mr. Levin and your administration is critical.
Above Budget Allocation as outlined & prioritized in our plan – We will be given an opportunity to request non-consumable or capital outlay items prioritized in the Fine Arts District Improvement Plan generally as early as March for the following school year. Above Budget Items are generally one-time items needed for your program to continue.
VISD programs work on a Zero Based Above Budget Allocation, thus all requests are presented to upper administration for approval. Mr. Levin coordinates with the district to present these proposals to upper administration for Fine Arts. This is a needs list, not a want and upgrade list. This list should work in conjunction with your long-range planning and projections (generally your 3 to 4 year curriculum growth plans).
Inventory Procedures – Certain inventory items for all campuses are to be maintained through our programs.
The lists will be kept in CHARMS or kept in an excel spreadsheet. Please include electronic, sound, and recording equipment in addition to all musical instruments (acoustic or electronic, wind, string or percussion). When taking inventory of uniforms, just list the manufactures and numbers of uniforms on your inventory. Sizes need not be entered. Our option to use the CHARMS uniform label in the near future is recommended.
Receiving New Equipment/Removing Old Equipment – Anytime you receive new equipment it must be immediately added to your inventory if it meets the criteria above. All property no longer of use to the District will be sent to the warehouse for storage and disposal. Mr. Levin must remove inventory items from District inventory reports prior to disposal per district policy. Under no circumstances can campuses or departments just dispose of any school or district property. Items must be sent to the warehouse where they can properly be disposed of or go to a public auction. Contact your Facilitator and the Director of Fine Arts if you need to remove equipment from your inventory.
Loaning Equipment (instruments) – think of our equipment as district wide – If you loan equipment to a teacher on another campus you must go into the CHARMS inventory software (or your excel spreadsheet) and indicate the loan of equipment in the appropriate column. When you loan a district-owned piece of equipment to a student, you must indicate the name of the student it was loaned to, plus the date it was loaned and the date it was returned. It is also required that you have the student and their parent sign a form which states that they accept responsibility for that piece of equipment while in their possession. That form must be designed/created by the program and be clearly detailed in your department handbook.
Instrument Rental – School owned instruments – Victoria ISD provides a limited number of instruments for students to rent during the school year; however, it is strongly suggested that each student purchase their own instrument. It is assumed that students shall purchase or rent their own musical instruments whenever possible. Where the school district does not have enough instruments available to meet the demand, band and orchestra directors shall assign them based on the needs of the music program. The directors have the responsibility of keeping track of the list of students using district-owned musical instruments in your CHARMS accounts.
A payment plan for the family can be used as long as the director keeps up with payments and all is paid by a reasonable time.
No district funds for repairs should be used until all rental monies are used for repair of school owned instruments through your Sundry Account. Monies not being deposited and/or collected for instrument rentals is in direct violation of district policy. You must show that funds are being collected for each and every school owned instrument. Any exceptions for students not paying the full amounts (waiver, handbook exceptions) for rental must be noted in your records (CHARMS accounts).
Missing/Stolen Equipment – The campus/department is responsible for documenting and contacting your principal and our district police when an item is stolen, damaged or vandalized. A police report must be completed for all items reported stolen from school property. You will need to keep a copy of the police report for your records. Make sure that your principal and the Director of Fine Arts is informed. If, after one calendar year, the equipment does not return to the building it will then be deleted from all inventories and will be considered a loss. The Director of Fine Arts along with the Business Office will determine if an insurance claim can be filed through the school district. Replacement of a lost item is the responsibility of the campus/department to replace.
Annual Physical Inventory/Survey of existing equipment – Every 3 to 5 years Mr. Levin will conduct an Annual Physical Inventory with all fine arts departments. We will undergo a physical inventory of all equipment listed on your databases (CHARMS or excel) and inspect the storage rooms and such of any equipment owned by the school district. The Facilitators/Director of Fine Arts will conduct this inventory/survey. A date and time will be scheduled for this inventory by the Fine Arts office.
Fund Raising – Fund raising projects involving Fine Arts students must have the campus principal’s approval in place before anything else. All Fund Raising should be scheduled in our Fine Arts Outlook Calendar (internal calendar for us) when approved by principal. All fundraisers are subject to district purchasing and accounting guidelines. Monies received must be receipted and deposited regularly according to district policy.
Some “do’s and don’ts”:
At any time, an internal auditor can review your VISD activity accounts. With this in mind, the director in charge (Head Director with multiple directors on a campus) will need to keep documentation that will support the following: