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New trustee, accolades, and achievements - May 13, 2019
Dear SAISD Staff:
At tonight’s Board meeting, we will welcome new Trustee Alicia Perry, who will represent District 2, and returning Trustees Patti Radle and Christina Martinez, who represent Districts 5 and 6, respectively. They will take the Oath of Office during a 7:30 p.m. ceremony. 
I look forward to working with the Board as we continue the hard work to transform our District. Board members work tirelessly in support of the children in our communities. I have a high regard for their leadership in the District as well as in the greater community.
I also have the utmost admiration and respect for our teachers who go above and beyond in the classroom to teach and mentor our students. I’m especially pleased for them when they are recognized by their peers. 
Last week, during Teacher Appreciation Week, Andrea Greimel from Carvajal Early Childhood Education Center was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Elementary Category during the H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards ceremony. And Adriana Abundis of Irving Middle School, who is SAISD’s recipient of the 2018 EXCEL Award presented by KENS5 and Credit Human, was recognized again during that program’s finale dinner. Please join me in applauding their accomplishments.
The teacher celebrations will continue this week when 15 teachers graduate from Texas A&M University-San Antonio with master’s degrees in Reading, making them eligible to become Reading Specialists for the District. This graduate degree program is a partnership between the university and SAISD.
And next week, on May 21, the District will recognize our Rising Star Teachers. Forty-eight teachers are being honored at the campus level and Districtwide awards will be presented to four outstanding first-year teachers, representing early childhood, elementary, middle and high school levels. I look forward to thanking and congratulating all of them.
In other exciting news, our Transportation Department has been in the spotlight lately for its success in launching its propane school bus initiative
The department received its third grant this school year to begin replacing its entire fleet of school buses from diesel to propane. To date, the department has received one grant from the Environmental Protection Agency and two from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality – with a combined total of more than $1.5 million. These grant awards, along with some District funds, will bring the total number of propane buses to 43. By the end of just one school year, 27 percent of SAISD’s route bus fleet will be funded to run on propane, a cleaner and more economical fuel source. 
As always, I like to share our student achievements as well. 
This past weekend, Travis Early College High School senior Lauren Gonzalez walked the stage during San Antonio College’s commencement ceremony as the Distinguished Graduate (a SAC tradition) representing the Liberal Arts program – an honor she earned amid her Travis and SAC peers based on an essay submission, her good academic standing and willingness to participate in service projects to promote graduation. She is among 95 percent of the Travis Class of 2019 expected to earn an associate degree by the end of the summer – the highest completion rate Travis has ever achieved. 
The students from our two other early college high schools also have done extremely well. Ninety-five percent of the first graduating class of Brackenridge Early College High School is expected to earn an associate degree from St. Philip’s College by the end of the summer – an outstanding feat for their inaugural year. Additionally, 90 percent of the Class of 2019 at St. Philip’s College Early College High School is expected to earn an associate degree or Level 1 certificate by the end of the summer.
In addition, we have received word that throughout the District, four rising high school juniors have been named Voelker Scholars and will participate in the Voelcker Biomedical Research Academy Class of Summer 2019 at UT Health San Antonio. Plus, nine students have earned TheDream.Us Scholarships, which are national scholarships for highly motivated DREAMers. 
Later this week, our District will be recognizing students who have excelled academically through our Shining Scholars and College Commitment Ceremony, as well as athletically during Night of Champions. Burbank High School, too, will honor its International Baccalaureate senior students with its annual Pin and Stole ceremony.
Once our students graduate, they continue to excel in academics and life, and I enjoy when we hear about their journeys. We’ve recently learned of two more alumni success stories.
Sergio Arambula, the Class of 2015 valedictorian from Brackenridge High School, is graduating with honors from Brown University this month, and he will be the speaker for his chemical engineering class during the commencement ceremony. Additionally, J’Marcuis Myers, a Class of 2015 Sam Houston High School graduate, has been selected as a McNair Scholar, a program that supports students on the pathway to receiving a doctoral degree. Myers will be attending the University of Alabama with his full tuition covered. 
Soon it will be time for high school graduation ceremonies. This school year has flown by, and yet, some of our most impressive highlights are still to come. I look forward to sharing more 2018-19 achievements, including more information about our seniors and their future steps, in my next letter.

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