Go Public campaign launch
November 8, 2013
Dear SAISD Staff,
This afternoon I will join superintendents from across Bexar County for the formal launch of Go Public, a campaign to generate better awareness of the facts about Bexar County’s independent public school districts and the wonderful, life-changing things that happen in our schools every day. Most people don’t know about the great work happening in our local public schools, which educate about 90 percent of school-aged students.
Led by Bexar County’s 15 independent school districts, including SAISD, and co-chaired by Josue Robles, CEO of USAA, Kim Bowers, CEO of CST Brands and Chris Nielsen, President of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas, Go Public is inspiring people across the region to take a step back and celebrate the positive and sustained impact public schools make on all of us. All residents of Bexar County, whether they have kids in school or not, have reasons to love and support our public schools.
The campaign will include a grassroots social media campaign, in addition to TV, radio and other advertising highlighting the strengths of public schools. We hope you will help us spread the word, too. In the coming days, you will receive from your campus administrator Go Public magnets to display on your vehicles, and campus administrators will receive a Go Public flag to hang below the American and state flags.
We are working hard to build support of our schools by telling our collective story, including the fact that the combined graduation rate for Bexar County public schools already has exceeded the goals set by our community in the SA2020 Master Plan and that Texas public schools have some of the highest graduation rates in the nation.
Our SAISD story is impressive, as well. Since 2007, our dropout rate has been more than cut in half, and our 2013 rate is projected to be below 10 percent! That’s outstanding progress thanks to the determination of our dedicated staff. SAISD has programs, awards and accomplishments that people may not know about but that show why families should choose to Go Public:
• We are not a one-size-fits-all district. We know students have diverse interests and may learn better when they can apply their knowledge to a specific field, which is why we have magnet programs at every high school and three middle schools centered around specific fields or professions.
• We have 13 in-District charter schools, in elementary, middle and high schools, where teaching and learning are centered around a certain theme. These schools are open to students across Bexar County.
• We have the first school in Texas, Highlands High School, teaching all freshmen how to do computer programming through CodeHS, an online course that teaches basic coding – the foreign language of today!
• We’re home to Bexar County’s only National Blue Ribbon school – Fox Tech High, which also is the District’s only standalone magnet school, with law and health professions offerings.
• We have the city’s only all-girls public school, The Young Women’s Leadership Academy, a college-preparatory school named the top middle school in the state in 2013 by the Houston-based advocacy organization Children at Risk.
• We have the prestigious International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme at Burbank High School, the only IB program in San Antonio. This world-renowned, two-year education program provides an internationally accepted qualification for entry into higher education and is recognized by many universities worldwide.
• We have an exemplary college-prep program in Travis Early College High School, which offers a blended high school-college experience, with students taking classes at Travis and at adjacent San Antonio College. Students may earn up to 60 hours of college credit – at no cost to parents – in addition to their high school diplomas.
• We’re a model in the Advancement Via Individual Determination college-readiness system: Jefferson High School and Longfellow and Whittier middle schools are National AVID Demonstration sites, among only 135 in the nation. Schools interested in implementing the college-readiness system and host educators from across the country visit these schools to learn more about the program.
• We have high schools – Burbank and Edison – that made Newsweek magazine's top 2,000 in 2013. The annual America's Top High Schools list recognizes campuses proven to be the most effective in turning out college-ready graduates.
• We are fostering excellence in our students: Two SAISD seniors are among 1,000 high school students in the nation named 2013 Gates Millennium Scholars, an honor that comes with a good-through-graduation scholarship to be used at any U.S. accredited college or university. The students, from Fox Tech and Lanier, were selected based on their academic achievement, community service and leadership potential.
These are just some of the bright spots. I know there are many others, and I encourage you to share with me the aspects of our District you think exemplify why parents should Go Public when choosing where to educate their children. We know that through leadership, a sustained focus and the support of our community, we can continue to make great strides.
We hope you can join us in spreading the word about the benefits that come with the decision to Go Public. Visit the Go Public website to learn more, Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @WeGoPublic and on YouTube.
Dr. Sylvester Perez