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.

February 19, 2018  

Good morning!  Like many of you, I suspect, I write this with a heavy heart following another shooting at a school in our country.  Without taking a political position, it is clear that we need to reconsider some important areas of public policy in our nation.  Just because this issues generates a lot of disagreement, it is not acceptable to continue to do nothing and expect different results.  As for Northside, we will remain proactive with regard to school safety.  We will study this tragedy and see what can be learned from it to improve the safety of our staff and students.  As you know, in recent years, we have implemented a number of enhanced security measures to include heightened visual surveillance, improved classroom door locks, an expanded police force and ballistic security lobbies in our elementary schools.  Our school counselors and administrators are in tune to issues that spark concern and should be investigated.  In this time of sadness, we should look to build stronger relationships with our students and colleagues so that we can better care for each other.

For many of us, today is a day of professional learning.  As you recall, this was also a potential make up day for the time lost to ice last month.  However, I feel that we made the right decision in leaving today as an opportunity for our instructional staff to grow.  I hope you get a lot from this day and that it positively impacts your work with students.

Last week we held our first budget work session of the year.  The Board heard about the state and federal issues that may impact us.  Not surprisingly, many of those issues are tied to politics.  In the near term and assuming no significant changes in law, our budget looks healthy.  We have done a good job of growing our budget in concert with student growth and plan for that to continue.  Our next steps in the budgeting process will be to work on compensation and account for student growth.  Our board will review those items later in the spring.

Continuing with the theme of school finance, a bill passed in the special session of the legislature last summer required the creation of a commission to 

study school funding.  To be clear, this topic has been studied for years and nothing significant has been done in two decades.  Nevertheless, the commission has begun its work.  My opinion is that the invited testimony so far has been skewed against schools.  However, and thankfully, there are people who believe in the value of public schools in the group and I am hopeful that they will ask thoughtful questions and that this will not just be a waste of everyone’s time.

Ironically, just as the commission began to meet, Education Week released its annual grading of the states on K-12 education.  As usual, Texas did not fair well.  With regard to funding, Texas earned a grade of D+ with only eight states earning a lower grade.  The full report can be found at:  https://www.edweek.org/ew/collections/quality-counts-2018-state-grades/report-card-map-rankings.html?cmp=eml-eb-sr-qc18-01172018&M=58346028&U=56885  I wonder if this data will be presented to the commission…

Due to hurricane relief efforts last September, the District's annual United Way campaign was postponed and is now underway through March 6. By donating to the United Way, we all have the opportunity to support our students, families, and neighbors.  This year’s campaign theme is "Heart of the Community."  I know that our Northside family has a big heart and helps those that need it most.  Please consider donating here.

Finally, early voting for the primaries begins tomorrow.  Early voting locations in the geography of NISD include our own Northside Activity Center, the Leon Valley Conference Center, Maverick, Cody, Igo and Great Northwest public libraries, Shavano Park City Hall, Northwest Vista College and UTSA main campus.  For more information on early voting visit:  https://www.bexar.org/2237/Early-Vote-Information  Please show your support of public education and vote in this election.  We have an opportunity to make a significant difference and positively impact public school students, families and staff.  


Have a great week!