The excitement is building as we prepare to mark the end of another successful year in FBISD; and tomorrow we will begin celebrating the Class of 2018 as we graduate nearly 6,000 seniors from our 11 high schools. As we wrap up the final days of school and mark our students’ accomplishments, I am writing to share updates on several discussions that will continue as we prepare for the 2018-19 school year.
I realize this is a somewhat lengthy email, but as I reflect on the past year and look ahead, I want to make you aware of the planning efforts that will continue, even as our schools become quiet later this week.
School Safety: School safety will continue to be a primary focus during the summer as we plan for the next school year. The final phase of the 2014 Bond Program includes many safety and security projects that will be completed this summer.
Additionally, our community based Safety and Security Committee has been meeting for several months and will be presenting their work to the Board in June. Some of their recommendations will be implemented immediately and others may be funded through an upcoming bond election.
Providing a safe learning environment has always been a top priority, but the recent school shootings have reinforced the need for us to do even more to protect our students and staff. Our students and staff should expect to return from the summer with some new processes and procedures in place, as well as some new training designed to ensure we are all prepared to protect our students and ourselves.
Profile of a Graduate: We introduced the Profile of a Graduate to staff as we began the 2017-18 school year, and I have been overwhelmed by the many ways our FBISD family has brought our Board adopted FBISD Vision to life! It has been very important to our Board of Trustees that we fully integrate the Profile of a Graduate into the culture and curriculum of our district, and these efforts have not disappointed.
At each school I visit, I have seen displays of student work that demonstrate success in helping our students learn, understand, and assimilate the seven traits. I am thankful that our staff has demonstrated such creativity in the ways they have brought the Profile of a Graduate to our students.
As a District, we are now working to more closely integrate the development of these attributes and embed them into our curriculum so that we can be intentional in our efforts and measure student success in attaining the District Vision. Alignment to the Profile of a Graduate will be a key consideration as we continue to develop a local, community based accountability system that truly demonstrates our success at developing confident, well-rounded students. We know that our students – and what our educators do each day – cannot accurately be captured in a letter grade and we are listening to our students, staff and community as we work to develop a robust accountability system that goes beyond high-stakes testing.
Student Instruction: At the beginning of the 2017-18 school year, I expressed to teachers that we wanted them to be able to bring the joy and fun of teaching back to our classrooms. One way we are supporting this goal is by providing a robust curriculum, and learning management system.
I am proud of the way we have quickly adapted to using these new tools. Our Academic Affairs team, along with hundreds of teacher curriculum writers and trainers, have invested countless hours in launching these resources, along with the Renaissance 360 Universal Screener, and our students have benefited from these collective efforts. As we plan for the next school year, you can trust we will continue to refine our use of these tools, and that we will remain committed to providing support along the way.
Planning Ahead: We are concluding the year working on two major planning efforts – budget and facilities planning. This year we have engaged an exceptionally collaborative process to develop the 2018-19 budget. The process was necessary because we are facing a significant revenue reduction due to the current state funding formula that does not adequately fund our efforts. At this point, we are projecting revenue reductions for many years to come if the Texas Legislature does not take action to remedy the problems with the funding formulas.
With this reality in mind, today, I asked staff to take time to study the candidates asking for their vote in the November election. And I encouraged them to express their concerns about public education and public school finance to our elected officials. I also encourage you to do the same. FBISD has much to gain if our entire community will use their voice in this way.
Facilities planning has been another collaborative process in which we have partnered with thousands of community members to plan for the future use of our schools to best serve the needs of our ever growing and changing student population. The Board has approved some of the recommendations related to the construction of new schools and redrawing boundaries, but there are several recommendations still under consideration. The Board will be considering these remaining recommendations in June, when we will also be discussing detailed plans for a proposed November 2018 Bond Election. Assuming all goes as planned, our community will hear much more about the bond election when the new school year begins.
Thank you for making time to read this email. I truly appreciate your continued efforts to ensure a successful end to the school year – summer is just days away! I appreciate your continued support.