January 6, 2017

Volume VIIl, Issue 17

“Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely.” – Auguste Rodin

Good afternoon LISD,

The big news in education circles continues to be the Texas Education Agency’s new  A-F accountability system.  This week the TEA made their ratings public for the 2015-2016 school year. The ratings include five domains of indicators to evaluate districts and campuses.

Districts and campuses earn ratings of A, B, C, D or F in each of the five domains and for overall performance. The system looks at four different areas including student performance, student progress, closing performance gaps, and postsecondary readiness.   

The LISD Board of Trustees joined hundreds of school districts across Texas and passed a resolution during their December meeting in opposition to the new ratings.

The resolution notes the flaws of the A-F system which requires a complex set of rules and calculations to combine a multitude of disparate measures into a single, “simple” letter grade that are useless for providing feedback that could be used for improvement and usually align with the wealth or poverty of the students in school.

We know for a fact that this new accountability system is the work of certain politicians who want to label public schools as ineffective. This is a political struggle for those who are in favor of school choice.  Nevertheless, we remain focused and committed to the work we do day in and day out in our classrooms which reminds me of this year’s district-wide theme, “Every Student Every Day.”  Over the 135 years that LISD has been in existence, we have produced thousands of successful doctors, lawyers, architects, teachers, entrepreneurs, engineers, and members of the Armed Forces. I join our Board in publicly protesting these inaccurate and unfair ratings.

The next time you see one of our board members, make sure you thank them for their service to the school district. Laredo ISD joins school districts across the state in celebrating School Board Recognition Month. I consider the countless number of school district meetings that our board members attend and the decisions they have to make. Theirs is a monumental task.  We can’t thank these seven outstanding citizens enough for all they do in the interest of our students. We will be publicly recognizing our trustees during their regular board meeting on January 19. 

What does Nixon High School student Ben Mora have in common with actor Harrison Ford, film director Steven Spielberg, former president George Bush, NFL star Steve Young, and singer George Strait? All these remarkable men are Eagle Scouts with the Boy Scouts of America.  Ben was presented his Eagle Scout medal during the Christmas break. The Eagle Scout rank carries a special significance, not only in Scouting, but also in higher education, the military, business or industry, and community service. The award is a performance-based achievement whose standards have been well maintained over the years. Not every boy who joins a Boy Scout troop earns the Eagle Scout rank; only about 2.5 percent of all Boy Scouts do so.

I’m also very proud of Martin High School athlete Abril Escamilla who was named the Southwest Wire News Network 2016 Sports Athlete of the Year for the Ladies 5A Sports Wire Selection.  This cross country runner had an amazing year winning district and regional titles all while maintaining her excellent academic standing in Martin High’s Top 20. She was 28th in state competition running against 150 of Texas’ fastest runners She is also a member of the Tiger’s basketball, soccer, and track teams. The SSWN said Abril was selected for this honor because of her athletic achievements and because she represents her high school “with such dignity and poise that everyone in Laredo sports took notice.” Abril proves that hard work pays off.

The holidays went by too quickly. I can’t believe I just changed my calendar to 2017.  Before you know it, we will be handing out diplomas to our graduates.  Meanwhile, you will find me visiting classrooms and noting the committed educators I am blessed to count as my colleagues at LISD.  

Happy New Year!

Dr. Marcus Nelson

“The same boiling water that softens the potato hardens the egg. It’s about what you’re made of, not the circumstances.” – Anonymous

"La misma agua hirviendo ablanda la papa endurece el huevo. Es sobre lo que usted esta hecho de, no las circunstancias." – Anónimo 

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