Influence occurs in a single moment, it may be in the classroom, in the cafeteria, on the bus, even at Walmart where at teacher or staff member meets a student”- Jimmy Cabrera, LISD key note speaker
Story by Joycelyne Fadojutimi
Longview ISD held its convocation for the upcoming 2016-17 school year at the Lobo Coliseum. There was excitement, prodigious valor and optimism with a pep rally type atmosphere as LISD kicked the new school year into gear. The famed Green Marching Machine with 66 consecutive UIL first place wins made the convocation memorable with their music. The honor guards presented the flags as the Big Green Marching Machine played the national anthem. Wilcox praised administrators, teachers and staff for their diligence and devotion to excellence which translates into student learning.
“You are the best school district in interstate 45,” he said. “You are doing great things for students. Because of what you are doing, our students are going to Duke, Berkeley and other notable universities, and colleges.” But Wilcox did not stop there. He asked teachers and staff to give themselves a round of applause. He did not mince words when he praised the Lobo band. “When you talk about the best, the band is a typical example with 66 consecutive wins. This is an amazing band.”
Assistant Superintendent for Campus Accountability Horace Williams thanked and encouraged the principals, teachers and staff to continue on the path of excellence they have chosen. According to Williams, the Lobo nation has a prevailing attitude of educating all students.
Others who took to the podium include Bryan Warren 2015-16 Elementary Teacher of the Year from JL Everhart and Sylverlene Williams, 2015-16 Secondary Teacher of the Year from Forest Park Middle School.
According to Wilcox, LISD has reached many milestones. Due to increased training for the District’s leadership team, the bar has been raised once more. Consequently, there is student success in virtually in all areas:
Hudson Pep and Ned E. Williams ES are two of the highest performing schools in Texas in their TEA groups.
Foster is one of the highest rated schools in the state in its demographics comparison group
Dramatic improvements in Judson and Forest Park Middle Schools
Longview High School graduation rate is up 97% but Wilcox wants a 100%
Participation in the international Baccalaureate program from elementary to high school is increasing considering the demographics of LISD student population
Increase in students taking dual credit hours
Career Technical Education [CTE] for non-college bound students is dramatically up when compared to previous years
District daycare is ranked as a 4 Star facility which is the highest ranking in the State. As a matter of fact, the upcoming LISD Montessori School will house 1,400 students making it the largest Texas public Montessori school.
Currently, LISD has one of the largest Pre-K and Kindergarten in the State.
Wilcox said LISD builds from early intervention because the district wants to get an early good start with their future students. It is important to note, he stressed the inexistence of overnight success in a proven academic performance. “What has happened is that, the District increased its leadership training and raised the achievement bar,” Wilcox said. “I have the confidence in what they are doing because our student performance has and will continue to increase.”
Besides student achievement, Wilcox spoke of parental participation which has been one of LISD thorn in the flesh. LISD has a new user friendly website that allows parents and guardians to find out more information about the district and their student. But that is not all. Wilcox said, “We want parents to come to their child’s school,” he said. “This Is the reason why we are making access less difficult and inviting parents to visit our schools.” For this reason, Ware elementary principal Sarah Sheppard, organized Homework Night. Parents who attended learned how to help their child with homework. In addition, Southward elementary school, held a Dad’s workshop. More than 100 fathers and uncles came for this all-day workshop. Wilcox stated students were very happy and proud of their parents. It was so successful there was an encore. However, this time, it was for mothers.
Additionally, the convocation key note speaker, Mr. Jimmy Cabrera validated administration and teachers’ hard work praising administration, teachers and staff. Cabrera reminded them that yesterday is history, everyone needs to be poised for the upcoming school year. “This is a new beginning. A child’s learning continues outside the classroom therefore everyone is a contributor,” he said. “Influence occurs in a single moment, it may be in the classroom, in the cafeteria, on the bus, even at Walmart where a significant other meets the student.” But that is not all.
The convocation was packed with excitement and hope of reaching higher heights. For instance, Ned E. Williams elementary school has accepted the challenge to become a Blue Ribbon school scoring 90% and above. Robert Patterson with Ned E. Williams is excited about the upcoming school year. “It is going to be a great year,” said Patterson who works with 3-5 year- old mentally challenged students. “I am going to give them a lot of love and learning.” Dr Carl Briley, Southward elementary school principal is expecting the highest level of achievement for his campus. Moreover, Brandis Jamerson, a Judson Middle School science teacher is ecstatic about positive changes with her new principal. As for Carretta Polk a nurse at Foster middle school, she is thrilled and forward looking. “Foster is going for perfection,” she said. “We are already doing and will do more to prepare students for their futures and life journeys.
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