April 1, 2013
Dear SAISD Staff
Last week, the Urban Land Institute (ULI), which supports and strategizes methods to improve and develop the downtown urban core of our great city, hosted a luncheon that included guest speakers Graham Weston, co-founder of Rackspace and chairman of the board; David Adelman, ULI chair; and our own Board President and SAISD alum, Ed Garza.
Mr. Garza highlighted many of the district's successful schools, including schools the SAISD Foundation has identified in its recent Spotlight Series. It was phenomenal! I was so proud of SAISD and Mr. Garza’s delivery of the facts. SAISD is continually improving each and every day. This is a true testament to all of our staff members' dedication, caring and pride.
At the luncheon, the SAISD Foundation showed a video that told the story of the rejuvenation of downtown San Antonio and how a young family relocated from the suburbs to the inner city and our District. In the video, another SAISD product, Mayor Julián Castro, challenged us to become the model urban district that our trustees have identified as their vision. The message was clear: In order to have a vibrant, successful city, we must have successful schools.
Mr. Weston stated that "parents do not necessarily choose a district, they choose a school, so let's improve the district one school at a time." I found that statement to be profound. In other words, if you want to improve your district, then improve your schools and improve yourself.
This current year we have seen many changes. We have witnessed the difference high staff morale can make on a school district's climate and culture. We have continued to build on strengths of successful programs while making constant improvements. There is no such thing as status quo in education, nor is there a silver bullet or a finish-line. Each and every day we are either a little better or worse, but we never stay the same.
The 2010 bond projects are moving forward as we face major decisions while ensuring that we deliver on what was promised to the community, while staying within scope and budget.There are miracles occurring each and every day in our classrooms. This year we have continued to infuse technology into the classrooms, with the understanding that we need to be high-tech, however but must also be "high-touch" when it comes to teaching and learning.
The district has restructured some central positions in order to meet the needs of our campuses. Professional development has been identified as an area in need of improvement, and we are developing an exciting PD piece for next year.
I have to say, this is the best job I've ever held. Our school board remains focused on the best interest of SAISD. Board members are working hard to get us to the next, higher level. These trustees deserve our respect and appreciation as they move toward the selection of a permanent superintendent and the District prepares for the subsequent transitional period.
And on the state level, many elected officials have heard the outcry from parents and educators that we must bring some common sense into accountability and testing. As educators, we welcome accountability. However, we must be cautious not to create a test-taking culture and must move away from "just-in-time-learning" to life-long and timeless learning.
There is quite a bit going on with education at both the state and local levels, and it may affect our daily attitude. I've heard it said that sometimes we need to "ignore the noise,” (Bill Parcells). Zig Ziglar would mention that we need to feed the mind healthy, positive thoughts, otherwise, it's "garbage in, garbage out." During this time, I would encourage you to stay focused and "ignore any negative noise." Let's stay the course these last two months of school and be reminded that we determine our own attitude. After all, 80% of one's success is attributed to one's attitude, not aptitude.
Dr. Sylvester Perez
“Progress involves risk. You can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first.” – Frederick Wilcox