How about those ARMADILLOS!!! Wow, what a great ballgame the Armadillos played way out there in Ozona! Congrats to all the teams this season as the regular football season comes to a close this week against Junction. Basketball started Saturday after the group’s late night in Ozona as the girls traveled to Comanche Saturday morning for a three-way scrimmage with Comanche and Goldthwaite. There is no shortage of activities for students to participate in and parents and patrons to come and watch, so GET INVOLVED!
This week’s column is the completion of a two part column about my recent trip to New York City Superintendent’s Academy. Thanks to all for the positive responses I have had to my trip to NYC and last week’s article. As well, it seems there is much interest in our community about how other states operate their schools. Last week I provided an overview of the NYC school system and an elementary school in Harlem. The last day of our time in NYC was spent at a high school just off Times Square. Before we headed off to tour the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis High School, Dr. Fran dedicated his time with us to a Happiness Lecture. He lectured us on how to take care of ourselves, but more importantly how to make sure we had happy people working for us in our schools. Happy people promote student achievement. Several quotes that I took away from this lecture included that "we should all be helping kids find their vision," another quote was "we should be teaching a mile deep, not an inch deep and a mile wide." Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis High School of International Business was chosen because Dr. Fran studies schools throughout NYC, and this school has steadily been showing increases in student graduation rates and student achievement on state exams. The principal was overwhelmed that we wanted to visit his school. He and his staff have not been recognized by their own department of education and he was thrilled that this staff was finally getting some recognition. His turnaround team was on hand for interviews and a Q & A. Dr. Fran posed this question to the turn around team – tell these Texas superintendents what they can do to help support their campuses. One teacher immediately spoke up and said, I can’t believe a superintendent is even in this school, we have not even seen ours in three years. She went on to tell us about the disconnect between the central office/ NYC department of education and the campuses. An assistant principal said that we had made his school career and he could finally retire feeling like he had accomplished something and that he was at a school that was finally headed in the right direction for kids. We met an ESL teacher who was from TEXAS! She graduated from Memorial High School in Houston, so she provided us with GREAT insight about the high school program. The high school students take exams according to the type of diploma they want to receive. They receive 44 credits to graduate and take different types of Regents exams to determine the type of diploma. This particular school focused on students who wanted a career in business; therefore, many of the courses were centered on different aspects of business. This campus had 4 police officers on hand at all times, the elevators were locked as were the restrooms. Their attendance rate is approximately75%! Which is up from 68% the prior year. The other incredible thing is that junior high schools and high schools must recruit for their students. There is no feeder school populating the different high schools and middle schools; they must compete for their students. As well, there is not tracking of students like there is in Texas or else it was just not obvious. In Texas we have a system called the "PID system" which allows us to know when a student has left our school district and checked into anther Texas school. If they leave us and never check in to another school, then we know we better start looking for them or they will be a drop out on us. The principal told us he mailed out 3000 letters to potential students in the 5 boroughs that he could pull from. His school was outfitted for about 500 and his current enrollment was 750. This school had a basketball team, but the team had to workout at another school because this school does not have a gym. This campus did have more technology available. They had computer labs and several rooms had smart boards. The students were GREAT. They were very willing to talk to us and in class they were engaged. The students do possess and innate desire to get an education and seem to want an education more than Texas students. They seem to equate education and future success better than our students do. I noticed at both schools that the campuses are better staffed than our schools. There is no shortage of staff members. At the high school of 750 there were 3 counselors, a dean of students, two assistant principals, and 44 teachers.
Please visit www.san-saba.net to view events and find information you need to know about SSISD. As well, don’t forget to sign up for the "alerts" available from the website, and don’t miss the opportunity to sign up for the Parent Portal giving parents access to grades and attendance. Parents, let us know how we can help you the first day of school all the way until the last day of school!! If you have any question about this article or any other question about school happenings please contact me at 325/372-3144 or email me at email@example.com . We are San Saba! We are together!