Woods' Weekly

Woods' Weekly

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.

January 14, 2019  

Good morning!  It’s hard to believe that this is the last week of the first semester.  All high school and middle school students who are taking courses for high school credit will be taking final exams this week.  Good luck to each of them as they close out the first semester.  Speaking of middle school students who are taking courses for high school credit; this offering has really ramped up in recent years.  While we want to be cognizant of avoiding middle school becoming solely a way to earn more credits, it is clear that many MS students can be successful in high school work.  The number of high school courses being taken by students in grades 6-8 has increased by more than 40% in the last three years and MS students are now enrolled in more than 11,000 HS courses!

I spent the second half of last week in Washington DC.  I can’t tell you, based on both weather and education policy discussion, how happy I am to be home!  The discussion often came back to the partial shutdown of the federal government and the impact on the nation’s schools as well as on individual families.  In Northside, we have many federally connected families.  Please be on the watch for their needs if the shutdown lasts longer.

Speaking of policy in our nation around public schools, Education Week recently published a long article listing facts about our nation’s schools.  The facts are gathered from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and mostly reflect 2015-16 data.  Some of the items that were of particular interest to me include:

  • Of the almost 133,000 K-12 schools, about 69% are “traditional” public schools with the remainder made up of charter and private schools.
  • There are almost 51 million K-12 students in the US.  More than 10% of these students are educated in Texas.  Nationally, about 6% attend a charter school.  This percentage is similar to that of Texas. About 12% attend a private school and about 3% are home schooled.
  • In 2015-16 NISD was the 27th largest district in the nation, we are now the 25th largest.
  • In 2015-16 the nation’s graduation rate was 84%, Texas’ was about 88% and Northside’s was about 94%.  Since that time ours has improved to 95.4%.
  • Of the 3.2 million teachers in America, 77% are female and 80% are White.  78% of principals in the US are White. 2014-15 was the last year in which the majority of US public school students were White.
  • The average teacher to student ratio ranges widely across the states from 10.5 to 24 students per teacher. 
  • With regard to per pupil spending, Texas ranks low with spending at about $8,500 per year compared to the national average of over $12,500 per year.  Yes, that’s a 47% gap between what our state spends and the average state spends…

You can draw your own conclusions.  The entire article in Ed Week can be found here:  https://www.edweek.org/education-statistics

Recently, our Communications group produced a year-in-review article for 2018.  All of us get busy with our daily assignments and may forget the achievements of the past year.  From opening new and innovative schools to passing the largest bond issue in our history to academic and extracurricular accolades, I was particularly proud to read all that we accomplished in 2018.  The article can be found here:  https://nisd.net/news/articles/79091  Please share with anyone associated with our organization.  We have much to be proud of, but there is still a tremendous amount of work to be done as we strive for continuous improvement.  Here’s to an even greater 2019!


Have a great week!