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.
|April 27, 2015|
Good morning! I hope you had a nice Fiesta weekend. Any of you who are responsible for teaching math know that there has been a major shift in standards for this school year. I want to thank those of you who have managed this shift and helped students do the same. We have been notified by TEA that math in grades 3-8 will not be used in school accountability rating determinations this year. I applaud this decision by the Commissioner as really responsive to the needs of Texas’ students, teachers and schools. Giving time to adjust to the new standards, especially considering the size of the change, is appropriate.
Last week we held the 25th anniversary and the renaming ceremony of what is now called the Irene L. Chavez Excel Academy. The Excel Academy has existed in several forms over those 25 years, but always to serve NISD students who were struggling to finish high school. I’m proud that people like long-time principal Irene Chavez saw the need. I continue to be amazed at the hundreds of students who graduate from Excel each year – many of whom would not have finished school otherwise.
Also last week we held the groundbreaking for the soon to be formally named, “Kallison Ranch Area” HS. The school, located on the Northside boundary with Medina Valley ISD will open in the summer of 2017. Built with funds from Bond 2014, “Kallison” HS will relieve other overcrowded schools in the area. I want to thank several groups – first our patrons who approved Bond 2014 and others which help us stay up with student population growth; our Board for having the foresight to manage future growth, and the folks in our Facilities group who manage dozens of new school and renovation projects every year. We are very fortunate in Northside to have this level of leadership!
A few weeks ago, I used some of this space to advertise a survey that was sent to all monthly employees about the day of the month people preferred to be paid. The survey was sent to 10,892 employees. We received 6,326 responses
or 58% of the total. Of the respondents 73% said they prefer no changes to the current pay schedule. So, no changes will be made.
Someone sent me a video that does a great job of explaining the various kinds of school vouchers and the dangers they pose to public schools. For those who don’t fully understand the issue this is very well done. While it was not produced exclusively for Texas, you will certainly recognize our issues. The video can be found at: http://www.southerneducation.org/vouchers
On the voucher front in Texas, last week the Senate gave approval of SB 4. SB 4 sets up a tax break for businesses that encourages them to contribute up to $100 million to a public-to-private school scholarship program. I was fascinated to see the author of the bill deny that the plan is a voucher scheme. "This is not a voucher bill," Sen. Taylor said after the final vote. "It simply moves private money from entities and individuals to student scholarships." So let me get this straight, we’re taking funds that would have flowed to support state functions like roads, water infrastructure and public education and diverting them to support private schools. And that’s not a voucher?! Give us a break. I believe Texans will see through that plan.
Finally, every year, NISD and the Northside Education Foundation recognize six Northside graduates that exemplify the important Pillars of Character traits incorporated in our instruction. You have a unique opportunity to nominate our 2015-16 Pillars of Character. Nominations can be made here. The deadline is this Friday, May 1. For more information, please call the Partnerships Office at 397-8599.
Finally, I want to thank NISD Maintenance staff and Director Henry Acosta for a job extremely well done. After the storms Friday night, we had many areas without power and this group worked most of the weekend to make sure conditions were good for us today. Thanks to this great group of folks! Have a great week!
Have a great week!