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Teachers are Dream Makers

Go to the Floresville ISD Facebook page and leave a message on the teacher appreciation post for a teacher that made a difference in your life!

 In an effort to recognize teachers for the challenging, but critically important work they do, we created the Dream Makers Banquet which honors academic and teaching excellence.  The Top 10 graduates of the FHS senior class identify their Dream Maker; a teacher who through their teaching, guidance and care, have helped to make their dreams come true.  It has been described by guests as an “amazing event” that allows students to share how their teachers have inspired and encouraged them in their academic and/or personal lives. 

 At FISD, our teachers are our most critical asset.  Teachers make a significant impact on the lives of the students they teach.  I only wish that every single teacher could hear from at least one student how they have made a difference in that student’s life.  I believe that teachers work so hard every day on the task at hand to do what is best for kids, that they don’t realize the impact they have on students’ lives, not to mention the future of our nations democracy.  I truly believe the teaching profession contributes more to the future of our society than any other single profession and I cannot say thank you enough to our teachers.  Teachers, please know that you are appreciated and respected for all that you do.

 

FISD Staff, Parents and Community,

On March 25th, a “Save Texas Public Schools Rally” was held in Austin.  Many who attended commented the Mineral Wells Superintendent John Kunz gave an amazing speech in support of public schools and the critical role that it plays in our ability to survive as a state.  He eloquently articulated what many advocates of public education believe.  I was inspired by his words and thought you might be too.

 http://savetxschools.org/kuhn2017/

The 85th legislature is currently in session.  I encourage you to contact your legislators to share your beliefs about public school and the possible use state funds to pay for or support a school voucher, education savings account or tax credit scholarship program or a similar program through which a child may use state money for nonpublic education.  In Wilson County your legislators are: Senator Judith Zaffirini judith.zaffirini@senate.state.tx.us and Representative John Kuempel John.Kuempel@house.state.tx.us .

Words Can Give Purpose

“Inspired” is the word that best describes me as I leave FHS teacher Mike Haag’s English IV classroom, where I observed his students conduct a Skype interview with Steve Hartman, CBS News Correspondent featured weekly on the CBS Evening News in his segment, “On the Road”. I am inspired to know that FISD teachers are creating real world experiences like that for our kiddos.  It was inspiring that Mr. Hartman touched on so many of the things that are important to FISD – Character, Hope, Doing something your good at (Strengths)…..we are on the right track! 

Everyone should know that this successful individual became a CBS News Correspondent because a TEACHER told him he was good at writing.  I am inspired, and humbled, to be reminded of the powerful impact and long term effects our words can have on students.  Of course it’s not just teachers’ words that matter.  ALL of OUR words matter – mine and yours.  What have you said to a child today that would encourage them, build their self-esteem, make them more confident….. give them purpose?  I am inspired because I was just reminded that I am part of the most important profession that exists, one that shapes students’ lives and our futures.

It probably is not a surprise to most of you that last week was Celebrate Texas Public Schools Week, but what you may not know is that it was created by the Masonic Lodges to provide Texas Public Schools Week was created by the Masonic Lodges to provide an opportunity to celebrate our state’s free system of education. And rightfully so, our state’s future success comes through the quality of education received by public school students.   

 

Great things are happening in Public Schools across Texas, and specifically at FISD.  In our FISD Updates, our goal is to bring attention to the many untold success stories and zero-in on the accomplishments of our outstanding students and staff. I hope that by sharing we are not only informing, but we are inspiring schools to continue to achieve and improve.  Just as important, I hope that we are communicating the importance of the teaching profession.  I am not aware of any other profession that has such a significant impact on not only the future of our students, but the future of our state, nation and world. 

 

FISD is striving to create environments that are full of hope and encouragement. Our vision is to prepare students for a prosperous life by providing a solid foundation with dedicated efforts by educators and support from parents and the community. Working together, we equip our students with the tools necessary to be future ready.

 

Last week we celebrated Texas Public School Week, in the latest edition of our FISD Update, we are celebrating our students’ varied accomplishments https://1.cdn.edl.io/MjplKT0GXaZz7t9MG9vqEzGgKDzfD0PWYOq2A7zc4mVVApxA.pdf . You will see that they are excelling in arts, academics, sports and service. Public schools give students a place to explore their talents and find success using them. FISD is a proud Texas Public School.

Core Beliefs in Action

“We believe each individual is unique” and “that everyone deserves access to a quality education” are two of FISD’s Core Beliefs. I am proud to say that two stories about how those beliefs were put into action are being shared on a large scale.  Yesterday, the Texas Education Agency shared a story about a unique student and how FHS staff members worked to meet his needs.  The story highlights that educators do great things for kids every day, but these teachers recognized what the student has done for them as well. 

https://www.facebook.com/Floresville/posts/1087055601403363

The second example, being recognized in the greater San Antonio area, validates that FISD is engaging our students by allowing them to explore careers of interest to them.  KSAT 12 is highlighting the FISD Culinary Program, Cyber Security Program and District Career Day. You, and all of the viewing area, will have a chance to vote online for one of those programs until this Friday, February 7th.  The winning program will be announced on KSAT 12 at 8:30 AM, on a LIVE segment from FHS!! Be sure to share the link with your friends and family, too! Let's get the word out about the great opportunities FISD staff are creating for our students!! http://www.ksat.com/sa-live/cool-schools

 

Kudos to the students, parents, community and staff members who helped to develop our FISD Core Beliefs.  Treating each other with care and respect, building on individual strengths and preparing students for careers that are meaningful to them are just a few of the ways FISD is preparing our students for a prosperous life.

Thank you, FISD Board of Trustees!

At the January FISD Board Meeting, campuses surprised the Trustees with tokens of appreciation: baskets of goodies, cookies, and even an autographed baseball – all in an effort to say thank you and to emphasize that working together, they make an All-Star Team.    The two elementary campuses produced a video which was entertaining, but along with the humor there was some wisdom shown at a very young age https://youtu.be/cDbYaMOqNK4

 

When asked what makes an All-Star Team, the kids hit the nail on the head, describing the work of our Trustees by saying things like: Never Give Up, Hard work, Trust, Focus, Helping one another and Teamwork.  I couldn’t have described our FISD Board of Trustees better myself.  Each of them truly cares about our students and staff.  Please join me in thanking our FISD Board of Trustees for their time and commitment to FISD.

Modeling Core Beliefs

One good thing about returning from the holiday season is the opportunity to share with our community the selflessness of our FISD staff and students, as they worked hard and long to ensure those in our community who were need, would have a Happy Thanksgiving and a Merry Christmas. Their generosity never ceases to amaze me. Generosity not only benefits those on the receiving end, it also benefits the person who is dishing it out. By actually slowing down during the holiday season and focusing on the needs of others, we are often doing ourselves a real service by engaging in the one activity that will dramatically improve the quality of our own lives. Dennis Prager said, “Goodness is about character - integrity, honesty, kindness, generosity, moral courage, and the like. More than anything else, it is about how we treat other people.” When I read this quote, I thought about one of FISD’s Core Beliefs, “We believe that helping one another strengthens our community”. After reading the latest edition of our FISD Update – Great Things, you will understand why I am so very proud of all that our FISD students and staff are doing to make our community strong by giving life to that core belief.

 

You can learn more about the generosity of FISD by clicking on the link below to read our annual edition of Great Things!

 

https://d3jc3ahdjad7x7.cloudfront.net/XUSsY4m7xPMYThB4lKreQOB4KPQZor10Xhx2AUL2CVwsLAMr.pdf

School Quality is Made-up of More Than a Single Letter Grade

As we work together to provide a quality education to FISD students, I felt it was important for you to have information on the A-F Accountability Rating System. Click on the link to learn about research that clearly communicates the A-F school rating systems fail as an indicator of school quality, and how you can have a voice in helping the Legislature understand that no single letter rating will ever be able to adequately capture the actual effort and effectiveness of a school. 

 

Before we leave for our Winter Break, I want to say how much I appreciate the FISD staff and all that they do for our FISD students each and every day.  I have been touched to see the outpouring of generosity from our students, staff and community to help make sure those less fortunate have a Merry Christmas.  Wishing you and yours the very best as we look to 2017! 

FISD Career Day

 I wanted to say a special thank you to everyone involved in planning, organizing, supervising and delivering K-12 students to our first ever FISD Career Day.  Not only were the elementary students engaged in the many career opportunities, but an added benefit was their excitement about seeing FHS.  What a great, unintended motivator!  High School and Middle School students were exposed to careers that aligned with specific career pathways.  During lunch, I had an opportunity to visit with several of the presenters who commented on our immaculate facilities, had praise for our students behavior and were appreciative of the opportunity to share with K-12 students about the many, many career opportunities they will have to choose from.  We very much appreciate the presenters who shared their time and knowledge with our students. 

 FISD is on the most inspiring mission I can think of – preparing our future leaders!  It’s great to see that our community is excited to work with us, as we prepare our students for a prosperous life! 

Our Core Beliefs at Work

With Thanksgiving upon on us, I thought it was the perfect time to speak to a few of our Core Beliefs: 

  • We believe character values are the building blocks of a prosperous life.
  • We believe mutual respect is the foundation for a safe and nurturing environment.
  • We believe that helping one another strengthens our community.

Whether it’s a community reaching out with thoughts and prayers for one of our students who has been injured, or staff members who work together to make students successful and literally make their dreams come true, or our school family reaching out to support one of our own in illness or loss - there are honestly too many to list, but you can see that Floresville ISD’s Core Beliefs are in action every day. 

Before we all go our separate ways to celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends, I wanted to take a minute to share how thankful I am to work in a district where one can find great examples of care and respect being modeled on a daily basis.  Not only am I thankful, but I am inspired and hopeful when I have opportunities to work with and observe our students and the dedicated staff that lead and support them.  Please take a moment to view this short video, which is a compilation of the student-led Veteran’s Day Celebrations throughout FISD.  It reminds me to be thankful I am an American and for the many, many privileges that come with that title. 

https://youtu.be/LFQ6uZXBe4M

#FISDGreatStaff #FISDGreatKids #FISDandTheCommunity #FISDHelpingOneAnother #FISDCharacter #FISDPurposeful #FISDThankful

This month, thousands of schools, communities, organizations, and individuals are speaking out against bullying and raising awareness for bullying prevention. At the October FISD School Board Meeting, our Board of Trustees, along with staff members across the district signed the Declaration of Respect.  By signing, we pledge to be caring adults who help bullied students, listen carefully to all students who seek our help, act on their behalf to put an immediate stop to bullying, and work with other caring adults to create a safe environment for all FISD students.  Many students and staff also came together against bullying and united for kindness, acceptance and inclusion by wearing orange in observance of Unity Day.  Providing a safe learning environment for all students is an ongoing focus at FISD, with planned activities throughout the year to remind our students and staff that we should show respect and care for each other every single day. 

In order to address specific incidents of bullying, it is critical that campus administration be notified.  We depend not only on our staff, but on students, parents and the community to bring to our attention any alleged incidents of bullying so that we can fully investigate and address them.  This is a great example of how, working together, we can teach and protect our children.  To be prepared for our future, our students need to act with respect and integrity to contribute to the greater good. 

They say a picture is worth a 1000 words – I think this one sums it up nicely.  #FISDCharacter #UnityDay2016

FISD Core Beliefs

As superintendent, one of my main priorities is to clearly communicate the direction of our school district.  The course of that direction begins with a district’s vision and mission statement, which have been adopted by our FISD School Board.  I believed an important next step is to develop Core Beliefs; the very essence of how we see ourselves, other people, the world, and our future.  Core Beliefs will guide our work, bond the district and community together and, when developed with input from all stakeholders, can transcend both time and individuals.

It is for these reasons in May 2016, I invited a team of 30 members that included FISD employees, FISD Board Member, parents, community, business representatives and FHS students, to provide guidance and leadership as we work to prepare 21st century students to live prosperous lives.  Below you will find the Core Beliefs the committee developed and our FISD Board adopted in June 2016.

We believe that each individual is unique.

We believe character values are the building blocks of a prosperous life.

We believe in a strong work ethic.

We believe mutual respect is the foundation for a safe and nurturing environment.

We believe that helping one another strengthens our community.

We believe education is a shared responsibility throughout the community.

We believe effective communication is vital to success.

We believe that life-long learning cultivates personal growth.

We believe that everyone deserves access to a quality education.

We believe that in failure there is opportunity for growth.

Throughout the school year I will elaborate on each of these Core Beliefs and share how we, as a District, are committed to making them a reality.  People may come and go, time may pass, but these core beliefs, which represent our Floresville community, will remain the same. 

A special thank you to the committee members who worked hard to accomplish the task at hand.  I appreciate your commitment to the process and being willing to take risks and share your thoughts and ideas, to develop Core Beliefs we can all be proud of and strive to work toward.

Victoria Carter, Madelynn Castro, Kim Cathey, Jana Clarke, Irene Ferry, Denise Frye, Nick Gawlik, Karissa Jarzombek, Tami Kensing, Daelah Laskowski, Denice Lyssy, Sylvia Madero, Justin Marshall, Diana Morlang, Adrianna Nieto, Maria Perez, Nancy Puckett, James Rethaber, Melissa Rodriguez, Clay Rosenbaum, Anna Rubio, Nick Silva, Virginia Silva, Penny Smith, Michelle Talley, Cynthia Torres, Josie Trevino, Allison Woefler

When you consider everything that happens the first week of school, what all it entails and how many people it involves – it is a huge team effort.  I am excited, I am honored, and I am thankful for the opportunity to start my 22nd year as an FISD educator, where we are fortunate to have a team made up of FISD staff, parents, students, community members and businesses who are all working together to make sure our students are future ready.  

I just learned that three FHS Seniors, Justin Martinez, Marcos, Diaz, and Nathaniel Bell, who were enrolled in the Aerospace Academy at Alamo Colleges last year and completed a summer internship at CPS Energy in the Power Generation department as Instrumentation & Control Technician interns, will each receive a $2,500 college scholarship under the CPS Energy SITE program.  They have also been given an opportunity for a second internship as I & C Tech interns this coming summer under the CPS Energy SITE program.  I am so very excited for these young men and what their future holds!

This kind of opportunity cannot be credited to one person.  It includes the efforts of administrators, counselors, teachers, transportation staff, parents, businesses, and higher education all working together with one common goal – to prepare our students for a prosperous life.   If that isn’t a great example of teamwork, I don’t know what it is. 

 

Teamwork will drive our FISD success and I believe we are off to a great start for the 2016-17 school year!      

Floresville ISD is excited to announce that we are going paperless! After listening to requests, the days of receiving stacks of forms to fill out during the first week of school are over. Now, all required enrollment forms are online! The new electronic process will enable parents to fill out their child’s forms and submit them to the campus without even picking up a pen. The process is faster, easier and more reliable, eliminating repetition and should take no more than 15 minutes per student to complete.

Every parent/guardian of a returning FISD student was mailed a letter on August 1st explaining the process. New students to the district will register on August 3rd and 4th at the Floresville Middle School Campus, using the same online process. See the FISD web site for more information on new student registration.

In the years following, parents will only need to update information that has changed. FISD is pleased to be able to offer an online enrollment process, and welcomes your input so that we can continue to respond with an enriched experience for every parent/guardian and student.

State Board of Education Seeks Public Input About Assessments and Accountability

Floresville ISD educators, parents and community, please take advantage of this opportunity to have your voices heard and make an impact on public education by completing the survey about the state’s assessment and accountability programs. We, as individuals and a community, can have an impact on what standardized testing looks like for FISD students, but we have to contribute to the conversation.

 The State Board of Education (SBOE) is issuing a survey in English and Spanish to seek public input about the state’s current assessment and accountability programs and gather suggestions for future program development. The survey will be open online to all Texans through June 30.

 From October 2015 to March 2016, SBOE members held nine Community Conversations meetings around the state, meeting with more than 500 citizens to gather comments about the state’s student assessment and accountability systems. The online survey addresses the issues raised during the community meetings and allows for additional input from educators, parents, business people and students.

 The information gathered from the survey and the Community Conversations will be compiled into a report and presented to the SBOE for its consideration at its July 19-22 meeting. Once adopted, the report will be provided to legislative leaders and the Texas Commission on Next Generation Assessments and Accountability.

 The 15-member commission, created by the Texas Legislature, is to make recommendations for statutory changes to the state’s assessment and accountability systems. The commission report is to be submitted to the governor and legislature by Sept. 1.

 The survey is available in English at http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/2762440/State-Assessments-and-Accountability-Survey

and in Spanish at http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/2851839/Encuesta-de-evaluaciones-y-responsabilidad-educativa-del-estado.

 

SBOE Chair Donna Bahorich said, "I felt it was important for board members to have in-depth discussions to learn what educators, parents, business people and others want from these two high profile programs. I believe our findings will be useful in shaping the next generation systems."  She encourages Texans to share the link to the surveys to encourage widespread participation.

Comments gathered at each of the Community Conversations are available at http://tea.texas.gov/About_TEA/Leadership/State_Board_of_Education/SBOE_Meetings/Community_Conversations_about_Assessment_and_Accountability/.

 For more information about the Texas Commission on Next Generation Assessments and Accountability, please visit http://tea.texas.gov/2804Commission.aspx.

FISD is committed to developing 21st century graduates who are life-long learners that are purposeful, innovative, collaborative and possess character traits that lead to success. No matter what the assessment or accountability system, our campuses will continue to pursue excellence based on a variety of student achievement measures, including; academic growth measured in multiple formats, fine arts, extra-curricular, community service, wellness, digital learning and 21st century workforce skills.  Working together, FISD educators, parents and community will prepare our students for a prosperous life.