Superintendent Message (Oct. 10, 2016)

An EPIC Saturday and an intense college focus

Oct. 10, 2016

Dear SAISD Staff,

You may have heard about a social media hoax involving “creepy clowns” that is playing out locally and in other parts of the state and country. Several SAISD schools have been mentioned in relation to this, causing concern among students and parents. We have been fortunate that the mentions of our schools have not posed credible threats. Student and faculty safety is a top priority, and I want to assure you that we will continue to be vigilant about looking into any social media posts that name our District. You can read more about this in a letter on our District website.

Over the weekend, we held our second EPIC Saturday event, where family and community engagement expert Dr. Karen Mapp delivered the keynote address to teachers. Dr. Mapp is a senior lecturer on education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. In addition to her address, this professional development event included another dozen or so breakout sessions on engagement that teachers could choose from, as well as sessions focused on academics and college access.

Dr. Mapp will be back in our District in the future to help us redesign how we approach family engagement in SAISD.

One way we engage with families is through the Parent Summit, held twice a year. The first one this year will be Oct. 27 at Sunset Station. It’s expected to draw hundreds of parents to participate in interactive college-prep and other sessions, and learn about resources for their families. Parents can learn more about this and how to register here.

Parents are our most valuable partners. We cannot hope to be successful at preparing our students for college and career without their help. 

Within the District, the intense focus on providing student support for college continues. We hosted Financial Aid Nights for seniors in September and many more will be held in October and November, at eight of our high schools, to help seniors and their families complete federal and state financial aid applications.

Our counselors and GO Center advisers are working hard to ensure that our seniors complete and submit the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Financial Aid) because we know it’s a key indicator of whether students go on to enroll in college. Also, we rolled out a new, substantial college planning guide for seniors that provides them with important information they need to know in this first semester, including a month-by-month breakdown of activities and deadlines. 

I believe our District is on an upward trajectory and that has to do with the commitment and determination I see in our faculty, staff and students. We are all in to ensure better outcomes for our students. I can assure you that District leadership is continuing to work hard to be the best it can be to support our campus leaders and our teachers so they can do their best.

Two wrap it up, we have three community meetings regarding the Bond and Tax Ratification elections scheduled for this week: at Lanier High School tomorrow, Jefferson High School on Wednesday and Burbank High School on Thursday. Each meeting will start at 6 p.m. Information about the proposals can be found on our designated website.