Woods' Weekly is written by Superintendent Brian T. Woods and is sent to Northside ISD staff every Monday to keep them updated on local and state education issues.
|May 31, 2016|
Good morning! I want to begin by thanking everyone who had a hand in putting together this year’s Kelly Smith Tech Expo. I was blown away by the work our students created using various forms of technology. From robotics to 3D printing and dozens of apps and programs, our kids are able to show off what they know in a way that inspires them to work hard and problem solve. Probably the best parts of what I saw happened when things did not go as perfectly as planned. I saw teachers giving guidance, but letting kids do the trouble shooting to get the presentation or the gadget to work. This kind of critical thinking about something they care about builds grit. I fully realize that this work was guided by thoughtful, skillful adult hands – thanks to all involved! Kelly would be so impressed.
As we come to the end of the year, there are always so many great things to see. Over the recent weeks many of our middle schools have held their GT expos where gifted students display the work they have researched over the school year. I was very pleased with the thoughtfulness and creativity that was on display. Thanks very much to our middle school GT and content area teachers for your hard work. I was also able to see the Pat Neff Holocaust museum where students displayed their research on various topics, character acted and put on a virtual tour of the Anne Frank house. I was blown away by the student work. A special thanks goes to Neff teacher Christine Morales and librarian Camila Castro. I can’t imagine the number of hours of student and staff work that went into this special display. I felt like I was in an actual museum!
As I look back on the school year it has been one that seemed to move so quickly. The year was also filled with the pride of accomplishment for NISD students and staff. We keep making progress on so many fronts and continue to enjoy the highly valued support of our community. This continued success and the positive reputation it contributes to is key to why NISD is considered a leader across Texas. Further, I believe that our trajectory continues to point upward. We have not yet reached our full
potential and as long as we are willing to be reflective about our practice, look for and implement improvements we will continue to advance!
A partial list of accomplishments this year include: having NISD campuses recognized as national PTA schools of excellence; being named one of the best communities for music education in the nation; hosting the US Olympic swim team this summer; having NISD educators recognized as H-E-B Excellence in Education finalists and as the Trinity Prize winner. Finally, and beginning this week, over 6,600 NISD students will walk the stage at graduations. This is a celebration for everyone who reads this. No matter what your role is, all of us contribute to our students’ successes. By the way, the 2016 graduating classes have accumulated $118 million in college scholarship offers to date!
Looking forward to next year, we will continue to deal with student population growth. State testing seems always to be with us and we will strive to do well without having our sole focus be spent on standardized testing or the accountability ratings they generate. To that end, we will continue to speak about rigor in every NISD classroom setting – regardless of whether we talk about math or automotive technology, reading or agricultural mechanics, fine arts or athletics. We will also talk a lot about engaging our students in what and how they prove to us that they know what we have asked them to learn. We will also “look forward” to the coming legislative session that begins in early 2017. Obviously, school finance will be a very important topic to all school districts.
Personally, it has been my honor and pleasure to serve as your superintendent for another year and I look forward to many more years with Northside. I want to thank all of you for the gift of your work, your advocacy and your generosity of spirit on behalf of our organization and our very important clients – our children. I hope that the coming months allow you to slow down a little and enjoy the things that make you the happiest. This will be the last issue of Woods’ Weekly for the school year – have a great week and enjoy your summer!