Superintendent Message (Oct. 19, 2015)

Widespread support for where we're headed

Oct. 19, 2015

Dear SAISD Staff

Last week, we wrapped up the last in a series of seven community input meetings regarding the 5-Year Plan. Conversations about the plan will be on-going, and I will continue to meet with the community throughout the transformation process.

I continue to be encouraged by the level of support our District and the plan is receiving throughout the community, including parents, community leaders, elected and government officials and the business community. The feedback we are receiving indicates excitement and support for the direction SAISD is headed, and there is a consensus around the need for our District to reach our goals. We will provide a summary of the feedback on our goals to the Board of Trustees in November and will begin discussions about strategies. 

I am very proud of the work we are doing and the momentum we’re building as we work to transform our District into a model urban school district. I recently had the opportunity to share what we’re doing with my peers and others in the education arena while attending the Council of the Great City Schools annual fall conference.

At the conference, I facilitated a panel on developing successful strategies for long-term English-learners in urban schools. Panelists shared about the approaches school districts in Denver, Charlotte and Fresno are using with great success, which is helpful as we begin to have internal conversations about how to improve education for some of our specific student populations, including English-language learners, special-needs and gifted students.

I am in the process of meeting with every high school instructional leadership team to thank them for their hard work and to start conversations about the challenges they are facing and how those challenges can be overcome to achieve our long-term goals.

In line with our long-term goals was a recent announcement by Texas A&M-San Antonio President Cynthia Teniente-Matson that the university will begin accepting freshmen and sophomores next year, making it a full 4-year university. By 2020, we want 80% of our graduates attending college – 50% of them a 4-year institution. This growing South Side institution will give SAISD students another local opportunity for higher education, so I was glad to join the university for the announcement and look forward to finding additional opportunities to connect our students with colleges.,