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Superintendent Message (November 13, 2017)

A time of thanks

November 13, 2017

Dear SAISD Staff,

The District’s work toward our five-year college goals has received a significant endorsement from the business community. Last week, Valero Energy Foundation announced an $8.4 million multi-year grant to fund our Pipeline for College Success program.

This major investment has allowed us to add 14 full-time College Bound Advisors to support high school juniors and seniors to ensure they are bound for success upon graduation and two alumni support coordinators after graduation. College acceptance alone can no longer be the goal. It’s time to start talking about college completion, and this funding will allow us to be a resource for our students even while they are in college.

To that end, grant funding also will be used to create the College and Career Readiness Department. Staff members will work with students from their high school diploma through their college degree, especially during that first year of college when emotional and moral support is critical to a student thriving in a new environment.

And, finally, so more students see college as part of their future, a portion of the Valero funds will allow us to double the number of juniors who participate in college tours across the United States – starting this school year during spring break and in June.

This grant, which is Valero Energy Foundation’s largest-ever donation, will be transformational for SAISD. I am humbled by their support of our goals and incredibly energized to continue stretching as we guide our students, many of whom are the first in their families to attend college, to post-graduation achievement.

I also am pleased to announce that our options for students keep growing. New in 2018-19 will be the Irving Dual Language Academy. Like Twain, the new academy will be a 100 percent dual-language school, where dual language is embedded into the educational model in each classroom and subject area. New students will enter pre-kinder, kinder and 1st grade the initial year, and the school will expand to 8th grade over time. Current parents already have been notified, and an information session introducing the school to the broader community will be held Wednesday evening.

When we return from Thanksgiving break, our enrollment period for Choice schools and programs for the 2018-19 school year kicks off, and applications will be accepted through the end of January. The enrollment period encourages families – both from within our District and across Bexar County – to discover the more than 20 specialized educational models and magnet programs we offer.

Options can be empowering, and they also can be overwhelming. To help families make the best decisions for their children’s education, a Districtwide school showcase will be held shortly after the enrollment period begins. Experience SAISD will be Dec. 16 so that parents can research side-by-side all of our neighborhood and non-boundary schools and programs.

Our families – like families everywhere – have a lot on their plates. We need to make their lives easier whenever we can. To simplify the enrollment process even further, online registration will be available for the Choice school application period, and for Districtwide registration beginning this spring. For the first time, parents will no longer have to return stacks of paper to schools! However, printed forms still will be available for parents who request them.

Before I close, I again want to congratulate Travis Early College High School for earning the 2017 National Blue Ribbon award. District and school representatives traveled to Washington, D.C., last week to accept this prestigious honor. And on Dec. 1, SAISD will host a celebratory gathering to mark the accomplishment.

I am filled with gratitude as we enter the holiday season. I appreciate each of you for embodying the “One Team. One Vision” theme that launched our school year in August. Your hard work inspired the rallying cry, and I continue to see that message carried out every day. 

Thank you and happy Thanksgiving.