We know the key to student success is a great school, and the key to a great school is a great principal and staff. This month we honored the hard work and dedication of our principals for National Principals Month. Let a principal know how much you appreciate them, it will make their day!
FISD students and staff participated in Red Ribbon Week activities, focusing on alcohol and drug prevention awareness. As I visited the district this week, messages of preventing drug abuse by making good choices were visible on all campuses. Elementary students and staff were dressed as their favorite characters as they were, “Showing good character by being drug free”. Middle school students pledged to be drug free and middle and high school students dressed up to call attention to a drug-free lifestyle with days such as “Red Out” and “Super Hero Day”. Anti-drug messages were posted at the Alternative Campus as well. One catchy, but hard hitting slogan was, “He died for the want of another breath, as he smoked himself to death”. Our children have the right to grow up drug-free – and we have the responsibility to make that happen!
Another choice made every day by FISD students and staff deals with how we choose our attitude and treat others. At the conclusion of our Rachel’s Challenge presentations, our students and staff were asked to accept the following challenges. Secondary has five challenges: 1) Look for the Best in Others, 2) Dream Big, 3) Choose Positive Influences, 4) Speak with Kindness, and 5) Start Your Own Chain Reaction. Elementary has four challenges: 1) Use Kind Words, 2) Do Nice Things, 3) Include Others, and 4) Start Your Own Chain Reaction. Committing to these positive choices will make FISD a better place to be. Imagine how our Floresville community could be transformed if there were a community-wide commitment to these challenges?
October was an exciting month at FISD. Not only did we recognize our principals, but time was dedicated to emphasizing the importance of choices. The choices we make can have a positive or negative impact on us and those around us, both physically and mentally. FISD is committed to providing a safe learning environment for our students by creating an atmosphere of care and respect, as we prepare our students for a prosperous life with character, knowledge and confidence.
October is National Bullying Prevention Month, a time when communities can unite nationwide to raise awareness of bullying prevention. FISD students and staff are showing support of bullying prevention by wearing orange this month.
As FISD continues to work to create a Community of Character, we are once again asking our students and staff to accept Rachel’s Challenge: to go out of our way to show compassion, which will start a chain reaction of the same. Rachel left a legacy of reaching out to those who were different, who were picked on by others, or who were new at her school. By turning the story of a tragic death at Columbine High School into a mission for change, Rachel's Challenge is helping create safer learning environments and making a world-wide impact.
FISD PK-8 students will attend a Rachel’s Challenge Presentation next week designed to encourage students to treat others with kindness and respect. The sophomores at FHS, along with FISD staff, will be participating in a Chain Reaction Day through Rachel’s Challenge. Chain Reaction is designed to draw students together to break down barriers and influence students to make positive changes in attitudes, behaviors, and values:
Bullying/Teasing - Willingness to reach out for help – Gossiping - Openness of expression - Judging others - Valuing others - Having empathy towards others - Having a hopeful outlook on life
Students respond to the day’s challenges with self-reflection and the acknowledgement of personal responsibility that leads them to start their own positive Chain Reaction.
Rachel’s Challenge is all about simple acts of kindness. At FISD every time a student, teacher, or staff member experiences an Act of Kindness, an AOK link is made. At the end of the year, all campuses will bring their links together to make one incredible chain of kindness. Join FISD and accept Rachel's Challenge to start a chain reaction of kindness! If you have an act of kindness that you would like to add to our FISD and Community Chain, send us an email about it at email@example.com . Thank you for helping us “Prepare Our Students for a Prosperous Life with Character, Knowledge and Confidence”.
Wikipedia defines hope as the state which promotes the desire of positive outcomes related to events and circumstances in one's life or in the world at large. Gallup has identified hope as driving attendance, credits earned, and GPA of high school students. Gallup’s data that suggests that hope is a more robust predictor of college success than high school GPA, SAT, and ACT scores.
One of the FISD strategies to increase hope in our students and staff is our Strengths initiative as we Power UP with our Strengths. All FISD staff, as well as all 6th-12th grade students, take the StrengthsFinder, an online personal assessment which outlines the user's strengths and encourages them to build on their natural talents, rather than focus on their weaknesses.
This week we met with the 80/20 Foundation (the charitable organization that provided a grant to FISD to support the Strengths initiative) and representatives from a school district in San Antonio that is interested in leveraging their students’ and staff’s Strengths as well. During the visit, we heard from a panel of FHS students and teachers to learn more about the benefit of our Strengths initiative and how we can improve current strategies and activities.
One student commented that the StrengthsFinder assessment was “scary accurate”. Everyone, students and teachers, agreed with that comment. All students and teachers commented that it is beneficial knowing their strengths. One of our teachers commented that knowing her strengths and those of her colleagues makes for a more productive work environment, while another commented that he has changed some of his teaching strategies as a result of knowing his strengths.
The students also had some great feedback about how knowing their strengths has helped them. One of our students commented, “Who doesn’t like to be told they are good at something”. Another student shared that she sought a leadership position in an organization after seeing that her strengths could help that group. Students gave specific examples of how knowing their strengths has, in a sense, given them permission to use their strengths, making them feel more confident. As a district whose mission is to build character, knowledge and confidence, that specific comment is music to our ears.
Focusing on Strengths, what is right with staff and students is one more way we are preparing our students for a prosperous life.
Last Friday, after a hard-fought victory against Brackenridge, Tiger Varsity Football Running Back Gilbert Ortiz was interviewed by the San Antonio Express News. He commented, “To me, it just shows how strong of a team we are, how we came together after a tough loss to Highlands. It shows that if we all stick together, anything is possible.”
We can all learn much from Gilbert’s statement, which, in the big picture, has little to do with football and much more to do with life in general. Strong, successful organizations and teams do exactly what Gilbert described. Whether it be a fortune 500 company, a school district, a grade level of teachers, or a group of students in the band or football team, anything is possible when a group of people are committed, focused, work hard, and can bounce back when things don’t work out the first time. At FISD, we call this… Crossing the Line.
Graham Weston, co-founder and chairperson of Rackspace and contributor to our Strengths initiative has said, “Everyone wants to be a valued member, on a winning team, on an inspiring mission.” Our FISD Mission is indeed an inspiring one: Preparing our Students for a Prosperous Life. If we keep Gilbert’s comment in mind, our mission is possible when FISD staff, parents, students and community work together.