First Day ThoughtsPosted by Dr. Roosevelt Nivens on 8/17/2018
I can hardly stand the anticipation of waiting for Monday when over 2,300 Braves will return to us!! I am hopeful you and your family have enjoyed the summer break and that your children are excited for all that the new school year has in store for them!
August 20, 2018, will be my fourth first day of school as your Superintendent. While every first day brings exciting new beginnings and fresh possibilities, I am perhaps most excited about the start of school this year as I think about the excellence and experiences awaiting our Braves and our community. The CISD school board has been recognized as Board of the Year by two different organizations. We have launched a new College and Career Ready initiative with the opening of the CCR Center and the addition of a full-time college and career advisor at CHS. We recently revealed a new Braves spirit logo to celebrate our mascot, Lacone Jo. And, in just a few short months we will break ground on the new Community High School campus which will be an amazing learning facility and hub of community events. Once the new CHS is constructed, the current high school will be renovated and our Edge Middle School Braves will have a bright and engaging learning environment to call home. The Bond program approved by voters in November 2017 will also allow us to add an additional wing to NeSmith Elementary in the near future as enrollment at that campus continues to grow.
Now, even though there are usually no grades on the first day of school, I do want to take a moment to talk about a recent “grade” you may have heard something about. In 2017 the 85th Texas Legislature passed House Bill (HB) 22, which established three domains for measuring the academic performance of districts and campuses: Student Achievement, School Progress, and Closing the Gaps. Beginning this year each Texas public school district will receive a rating of A, B, C, D, or F for overall performance, as well as for performance in each domain.
According to the state’s new 2018 A-F Public School Accountability System, the overall score for Community ISD is 77. The District received an accountability rating of “C” and was three points shy of a “B” rating. All four of our schools received the highest rating available for campuses under the 2018 system which is “Met Standard.” In 2019 the campuses will each be issued a letter grade and this year’s accountability reports include the campus overall scores, which allow us to see that if our campuses were issued letter grades this year NeSmith, McClendon and CHS would all have a B rating and Edge MS would have received a C. It is important to remember that all four campuses and the district met and exceeded every performance standard set by the state across all three domains and we earned three Academic Distinctions in Social Studies (CHS) and Academic Growth (CHS and NeSmith).
Now, I do not believe that a single letter grade can possibly represent the effort our teachers and staff have invested in learning, planning and growing for our students. The work we have been doing to increase academic achievement and enhance student learning experiences in Community ISD is NOT average! We are committed to providing individual experiences and making learning fun for each of our Braves. and that commitment has given us measurable results and significant improvement in our state accountability scores as you see in the chart below. (see improvements highlighted in green)
So, lastly, in the spirit of the first day of school I want to share with you the expectations we have in the Brave Nation. While we celebrate the improvements we have seen in academic performance, we must all collectively commit to the mantra that “good enough is not good enough!” We will not accept average effort from any Brave and we will not be satisfied with simply meeting the standard or approaching grade level. We must hold ourselves and each other accountable for the individual success of EVERY student. I want you to remember that Braves are Passionate. A Brave will always learn more, do more, do it right, stay hungry, love each other and finish strong! We expect the adults in Community ISD to inspire every child to give their best effort. We will continue to rise to the challenge. Braves do not make excuses. Braves fight and win to the end! We have made progress, but average is not our destination. Our destination is excellence. Our children deserve the very BEST.
You know the other thing I love about the first day of school? It is a day dedicated to setting the expectations for the year. As a former teacher and principal, I remember how vital it was to share the expectations for the experience in the classroom and on the campus. It is so important to make sure the expectations are clear to everyone on the very first day.
I am looking forward to expecting excellence and experiencing the BLUE with each of you this year!