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!
Welcome Back!!Posted by Dr. Roosevelt Nivens on 8/1/2018
Happy August everybody!
Can you believe it is almost time for a new school year already?!? Seems like just yesterday we were sending our 2018 graduates out into the world with over $1 million in scholarships! I hope you and your families have enjoyed some relaxing summer days and managed to escape some of this Texas heat! I know it is a busy season for all of us as we prepare to welcome over 2,300 Braves back-to-school on August 20th, but it is SUCH an exciting time in Community ISD I just had to take a few moments to share some updates and thoughts with you.
Today is August 1st and our new hires have gathered to begin their careers as Brave Nation educators. We are very excited about the talent and experience these teachers and staff will bring to our children. We are also launching a new online registration system for parents of new and returning CISD students. You can now register your Brave(s) from the comfort of your home or office by visiting our website www.communityisd.org/bts and following the instructions there.
Last year we introduced the concept of the “Fierce Urgency of NOW” and a favorite quote of mine from Martin Luther King, Jr. We challenged our staff, students and the community to have an attitude of urgency when it comes to providing and preparing for their future. Another quote I am fond of is, “good is not enough if better is possible” and while I am very proud of our recent accomplishments, I know that we still have work to do. As I prepare to begin my 4th year as your superintendent, I want you to know we remain fiercely committed to working together with each of you to provide THE BEST educational opportunities for our students.
In 2017-18 we also changed the way we think about teaching by embracing the ideas of making learning FUN! Our instructional team and campus administrators have worked hard to provide resources, training and inspiration for our teachers to think outside the box! Our classroom lessons and activities are designed to be engaging and interactive. With the technology and idea sharing platforms available to us today there is absolutely no reason for school to be boring! In Community ISD we want our students to enjoy coming to school and have FUN learning. We also want our staff and community to have fun, and so I want to remind you of the upcoming Back to School Bash on August 11th from 4 - 7 PM at the CHS Athletic Complex. (I hear we are having a petting zoo this year….be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter so you don’t miss my FUN selfies with the animals)
Lastly, I want to share with you our priorities for the 2018-19 school year. If you know me you know that I embrace accountability and I am excited to share with you our commitment to ensuring we see measurable gains in each of these three focus areas:
1. Increase student academic performance
2. Increase leadership capacity at all levels
3. Create and sustain a culture of excellence
Over the coming months I will share more with you about why each of these focus areas are so important to the work we are doing in Community ISD. I also want to provide you with opportunities to celebrate and learn with us as we share accomplishments and updates in these areas throughout the year.
Remember, our children are our most precious commodity and we welcome a partnership with you to ensure they are surrounded by people who want to see them be successful. I simply love being a Brave and I cannot wait see you throughout the year!