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.

May 21, 2018  

Good morning.  I write to you this morning with a heavy heart that so many of us, particularly parents and educators, feel after yet another shooting in a school.  We will observe a moment of silence this morning for the victims of the Santa Fe incident.  This issue clearly has no one cause or; unfortunately, no one solution.  However, it is clear that a lack of mental health awareness is a common denominator.  Particularly in these last weeks of the school year, let’s be careful for each other – all of us.  If you see or hear something that concerns you, as always, report it.  Only through working together as educators, parents, law enforcement, the mental health community and policy makers can we hope to end this trend of school violence.

In other news, last Wednesday we held one of my favorite events.  The Retirement and Recognition Ceremony honors those who have served milestone years of 20 or more in NISD as well as those who are retiring.  The service pin recipients honored this year represent over 7,100 years of service to NISD.  The retiree group represent around 4,400 years.  That’s 11,500 years of service to Northside children!  Participating in the ceremony were representatives of almost every school and department.  I told the group that no matter what their job in NISD they have a crucial role in our success.  We are all educators – whether we teach students directly or facilitate that work.  When we graduate over 6,500 students in June they will have been positively impacted by every one of you!  Thanks to those who put the ceremony on and to those who attended.

Last weekend I was pleased to attend the STEM Fest at the Jay Science and Engineering Academy.  The event was catered to younger learners and it was great to see the smiles on their faces and the fascination in their eyes around the study of STEM!

Also last week I was fortunate to attend the Construction Careers Tiny Home Showcase.  I served as a judge in the competition and, let me tell you, that was tough.  The student work on the tiny homes is nothing short of amazing.  Each of the projects is impeccably well designed and both the interior and exteriors are so well thought out.  Each one made me feel like I wanted to live in 200 square feet.  On Saturday the homes were auctioned off.  Over $85,000 was raised to continue this high quality programming for Northside kids. 

Congratulations to Principal Philip Edge, all of the CCA staff and mostly the CCA students on their incredible work.  If you missed the event, you can see the homes here: www.tinyhomesshowcase.com

I was sent an editorial written by two charter school teachers in North Carolina.  That state, like Texas, has historically given low priority to funding its public schools and, like Texas, is very friendly to charter schools.  The two teachers, despite working in a charter, realize the damage that is being done to public schools and have set out to make that harm known.  They write:

In 2018, Central Park is arriving at another moment of clarity. We recognize that, despite positive intentions, we are still part of the problem. As a charter school, we play into a system that has strayed from the original goals. The charter school system has been turned into a Trojan horse that severely underfunds our state’s public schools, creates competition for resources, resegregates our schools, and provides blinders to cover the increasing privatization of North Carolina’s educational institutions through for-profit charter schools. The mission of our school, and the original mission of charter schools, forbid us from staying silent on these issues.

These exact issues of underfunding, resegregation and privatization are happening right now in Bexar County.  We have to take a stand.  Please send this to anyone you know who has or now works in a charter.  Challenge them.  Are they comfortable with their institution playing this destructive role?  Do they realize the harm that is being done in our communities from charter schools?  The entire article can be found at: http://www.heraldsun.com/

Finally, I hope you have a good Memorial Day weekend.  All of us should take some time to remember the meaning of this holiday.  There are still many Americans for whom Memorial Day is particularly poignant.  One of my favorite quotes about the meaning of the holiday is by Ronald Reagan.  He said, “I don't have to tell you how fragile this precious gift of freedom is.  Every time we hear, watch, or read the news, we are reminded that liberty is a rare commodity in this world.”  Those who preserve this liberty on our behalf (whether they died in the service of these values or are a family member who lost a loved one) deserve our supreme gratitude.

Have a great week!