Friday, August 26, 2016

August 26, 2016


The Supt Dish              
                                                                                                   August 26, 2016


It is an exciting time of the year as we complete the first week of school.  At GISD, we have welcomed back 1,328 students! With “Meet the Teacher” night, first football games of the season, issuing laptops and textbooks, we are all very optimistic for a great year in 2016-17.

We have many fantastic things going on in GISD this week. From our state ranked volleyball team continuing their success from last year, our award winning marching band and cheerleaders preparing for the year, to our innovative teachers, GISD is prepared to meet the challenges of the 2016-17 school year. But where do we want to be in the future?

During the summer, GISD began the process of developing a five-year strategic plan. Representatives from each campus and community members have gathered several times during the summer, collaborating and developing strategies for us to meet the challenges in providing a superior public education for our children.  We have also included some of our recent graduates sharing their perspectives in our meetings. The results is the development of a) our beliefs, b) a vision c) profile of a Goliad graduate and d) profile of a Goliad teacher.  Our next steps are to develop strategic objectives with specific results and finalize the plan to present to the Board of Trustees in October.
 
As we continue to explore ways to enhance the education of our children, we are excited that GISD has been invited to attend a STEM Summit sponsored by Chevron. Harnessing Human Energy for STEM Success will take place at the Johnson Space Center in Houston October 26-28. De Helmer, GISD Director of Curriculum & Instruction and GHS Principal Brenda Gohmert will be in attendance with selected leaders from Texas school districts. During the Summit, Ms. Helmer and Ms. Gohmert will hear about advanced science concepts, meet with astronauts, see how astronauts train in an underwater lab, and have VIP tours of the Johnson Space Center.
As the first week comes to a close, I want to thank all of you for your commitment to our children. May this year bring many successes to all!

Friday, August 12, 2016

August 12th


  The Supt Dish                          
                                                                                                                August 12, 2016
WELCOME BACK TEACHERS AND STAFF!  The summer has flown by and it seems summers become shorter every year.  As I mentioned during Rally Day, our maintenance and custodial staffs have been very busy preparing your campuses for the 2016-17 school year. Middle school has a new roof, several classrooms have new carpet, and air conditioners have been replaced as well as lighting in some buildings. Many thanks to these dedicated employees who work tirelessly in making our learning environment look like new.
I have received many thank you notes/emails about our keynote speaker, Riney Jordan. I appreciate your comments, but please thank others who where involved in the development of Rally Day. Many thanks to De Helmer, Debra Bauer, Jason Howard, and David Luna for their contributions with our Rally Day schedule. Also, I would like to thank our very own “Hall Pass” band, Jason Howard, David Luna, Neal Tolbert, and Jennifer Bridges. Their performance was fantastic and we do want them to perform next year if not sooner!
Hall Pass
After everyone had left the auditorium, I stayed behind to assist Riney and his wife Karen. The Jordans are so appreciative of opportunities to visit school districts and speak to teachers and staffs. They have traveled and presented in almost all 50 states and several countries. However, Riney informed me that next Friday, August 18, 2016, will be his last speech. After many years of travel, he has decided to retire permanently to his farm near Hamilton, Texas.
I watched as many of you spoke with Riney after his speech, purchased his books or motivational items and get his autograph while visiting with him. It saddens me, knowing the impact he has had on us and on thousands of educators with his words of wisdom. As we have always had and always will have challenges in our daily and personal lives, Riney always puts things in perspective and reminds us to stay grounded. Students and family are important to us, and Riney reminds us of that.
During my career, I have heard many motivational speakers, from the east coast to the west coast, and international speakers. But none of these speakers can come close to inspiring educators as Riney has. I’ve had the opportunity to hear him present several times, and I always walk away recharged to work harder in our responsibility to educate our children.
Riney gave me a copy of his second book Wednesday. Kristi and I had purchased his first book and poster several years ago. I have referred to his first book several times over the years and have already read most of his second book.  You can feel the compassion he has for children and people reading his books. I visualize him speaking to us as I read his book.
Riney Jordan
As we begin the school year, let’s remember how blessed we were that our friend, Riney Jordan, inspired us to teach with compassion and love. May our “Ambassador of Public Education,” Riney Jordan and his wife Karen, enjoy retirement!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

May 17


The Supt Dish                   
                                                                                                                   May 17, 2016

As many of you know I am a fine arts and sports enthusiast. I love the arts and competition. There are so many life lessons and values that a person van learn playing an instrument or playing on a sports team. Chief among them is the importance of teamwork.
I’ve always maintained that the key to having successful schools is working together as a team. I learned a long time ago how important it is to fully appreciate how much we need to depend on each other, our Team, to be successful. If all of us play our roles on our Team in achieving our goal of educating the children we serve, we will have very productive and successful campuses.
Last week, I had the pleasure of taking two of our teammates, De Helmer and Liz Schubert, to Apple headquarters in California for a professional development activity for school leaders. Spending three days with Mrs. Helmer and Mrs. Schubert was an opportunity for us to learn more about each other as well as learning new things to improve our skills. It was also a time for us to collaborate on GISD’s design principles of a five-year strategic plan.
One key document that we will use as a guide for our strategic plan is the Visioning Document, produced by a group of 35 Texas superintendents in 2008. “Creating a New Vision for Public Education in Texas” as it was titled, was created to inspire others toward a common goal of making public schools better for all Texas children. This is centered on six principles or articles: 1) The New Digital Learning Environment, 2) The New Learning Standards, 3) Assessments for Learning, 4) Accountability for Learning, 5) Organizational Transformation, and 5) A More Balanced & Reinvigorated State/Local Partnership. During the upcoming weeks, I will write a summary of each Article of the Visioning document.
While at Apple, we were privileged to collaborate with three other Texas school districts as representatives from Apple led us through the framework needed in developing strategic planning and improved learning utilizing the Visioning document as well as digital tools. We learned more about TEKS aligned courses and activities in iTunesU. Yes, TASA has Texas courses, developed by Texas teachers in iTunesU. Also with the courses are lesson plans and activities. We will be sharing more information soon during various professional development activities this summer.
Another activity we participated in was coding. As many schools are implementing coding classes, Apple led us through a coding activity. We then were split in to two teams with Mrs. Helmer and I on one team and Mrs. Schubert on another team for a little competition among colleagues. After collaborating with her team, Mrs. Schubert successfully programed the drone and landed it on the target, winning the “Coding Administrator of the Day!” Mrs. Schubert’s winning drone “landing” was recorded which you may access below. Congratulations Mrs. Schubert! 


video

Friday, April 22, 2016

April 22nd


The Supt Dish           
                                                              April 22, 2016

Springtime is my favorite season of the year. Flowers begin to bloom, birds are chirping, the lawn is green, and the weather is very comfortable. It is also a time when I usually tune in to the Masters’ Golf Tournament held at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia. Even if you are not a golf enthusiast, you may want to watch this tournament just to view the beauty of the course with the dogwoods, magnolias and azaleas in full bloom.
Going in to this year’s tournament, Jordan Spieth, a native Texan, was the defending champion. As I watched the tournament, Jordan led the first three days and through the first nine holes on the last day. Leading by five strokes with nine holes to play, Jordan had a major collapse playing through the legendary “Amen Corner” including hitting his ball in the water twice on one hole. One had to feel sorry to see such a nice young man suffer through an embarrassing four-hole stretch with the world watching. When asked by a reporter what happened, Jordan replied “it hurt.”
I use this illustration because in our business as educators, we witness many times a student “hurts” when they are not successful. Sometimes a student hurts after an extra-curricular activity when they do not perform successfully. Sometimes a student “hurts” when they thought they did well on a test, but did not. When we see the hurt in these students, we are in a position to work with them so they can perform better the next time they compete or take an exam. The relationships we form with students have a tremendous impact on our students.
Jordan Spieth fell on that Sunday afternoon at Augusta National. Like all professional athletes, he surrounds himself with good people, family and friends, who will assist him in “bouncing back”.  He relies on those close to him to encourage and support him in his quest to be the best. Our students rely on us to continue to teach, mentor, and support them in their quest for knowledge and to be the best. Through your relationships, our students can “bounce back” quickly after facing adversity.
We are having a great year at Goliad ISD. With GHS currently in 2nd place for the UIL’s prestigious Lone Star Cup, our students continue to perform at a high level. Our One Act Play has advanced to State! Danielle Garza is advancing to State in tennis for the second consecutive year! We have several students and teams advancing in district and area competition. Our students continue to benefit from your leadership and mentoring. May the spring continue to bring memorable experiences for all. 

Friday, April 1, 2016

April 1, 2016




The Supt Dish                 
                                                                    April 1, 2016

It is a busy time of the year this spring as it is every spring. Students and staff are involved in several extra-curricular activities from track, baseball, softball, tennis, and golf to FFA, One Act Play, UIL Academics and upcoming field trips. We are very proud of how our students are performing at these activities. This is also the time of year in which we begin administering state assessments.
I would like to commend students and staff for their perseverance during the recent STAAR and EOC exams this week. In particular, our students and teachers who were involved with the English I EOC administered on Tuesday. These students and teachers experienced several technology glitches in which the students lost all their answers, some more than once. This was very frustrating and I commend you for your perseverance.
I was quite pleased to see our new commissioner of education, Mike Morath, respond to what was a state-wide problem through the new assessment vendor, Educational Testing Service (ETS). Commissioner Morath, who is a former Dallas ISD school board member, stated that these technical issues where “unacceptable and undermine the hard work of our students and teachers.”  I commend the commissioner for his quick response. Whatever the problem was, we are glad that our students taking the EOC English II exam did not experience many “glitches.”
As we continue to move forward and plan for next year, we have several professional development activities that some of our administrators will be attending in the next several weeks. These include “Digital Learning Design-Transforming Our Schools” with Alan November and “Embracing Transformational Leadership.” Our leadership team looks forward to bringing back several strategies to assist in 2016-17.
Thank you students and staff for working tirelessly in the pursuit of excellence. You continue to overcome daily challenges through teamwork and a willingness to succeed. Educator Angela Maiers (AngelaMaiers.com) once said, “When we dwell in possibility, we help others to do the same. This helps them dream, hope, and plan for a brighter future.”


Thursday, March 24, 2016

March 24, 2016

The Supt Dish                   
                                                                                                                   March 24, 2016

During spring break, Kristi and I entertained some friends and family for a few days and spent time unpacking the last few boxes from our move.  We also caught up with our reading and watched some of our favorite shows. We saw an advertisement for a new show, Little Big Shots, with Steve Harvey as the host and decided to watch it. For those of you who have not watched this show, Steve brings out children who have special talents and talks with them. Some of the things the children say are amazing!
All of us in education know that our students say some amazing things. After watching one of the Little Big Shots episodes, I reflected on a story about our granddaughter, Chloe, from two years ago.  Our daughter, Monica along with Chloe were living in Seoul, South Korea, as our son-in-law was stationed there in the Army.  When Monica became pregnant she and Chloe came to live with us to have the baby in the U.S.
Thus, “Papa” as I am called, was going to have a granddaughter attending our elementary school as she was in pre-kindergarten at the time. Chloe had visited us several times prior to going to Korea and spent time at my office, and going to the playgrounds. She was now proud to say she is going to “Papa’s school”.  It had been a long time since I walked a child to school. It was a special moment as Monica and I walked Chloe to her classroom her first day.
Ms. Wyble is a wonderful pre-kindergarten teacher and has spent most of her career in pre- kindergarten. During Chloe’s first day, the children were on the playground during recess. All of a sudden, Ms. Wyble saw all the children gathering around Chloe. Ms. Wyble very quickly ran to the children thinking the students were bullying the superintendent’s granddaughter on her first day. When Ms. Wyble approached the students she asked one of the boys, “what are you doing?” The young child responded, “we are lining up.” Ms. Wyble asked the child “why” and the child responded “because Chloe told us to!”  Chloe thought it would be cool to help Ms. Wyble as she had heard her Papa say many times that he is here to help the teachers.
Children are always listening. As educators we have a tremendous responsibility in shaping their lives to be productive in their adult lives. You never know how children will interpret things, as you see in the story about my granddaughter or in some of the things on the TV show Little Big Shots.  The late Rita Pierson spoke at a TED conference last year and stated “every child deserves a champion, an adult who insists that they become the best they can possibly be.”   Thank you for being the champion our students deserve!

Happy Easter!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

March 11, 2016

          The Supt Dish                
                                                                             March 11,  2016


It is hard to believe that spring break is upon us. It seems like yesterday Kristi and I arrived in Goliad. I guess one of the reasons I feel the first ten weeks of the semester have flown by is that we have had so many outstanding performances by our students and we have tried to attend many of them. From UIL Academics, spelling bees, One Act Play, FFA, basketball and powerlifting; our students have performed admirably. These performances would not be possible without outstanding teachers and staff who have prepared students for success. And of course our parents and community have attended these performances encouraging our students.
There is an old saying, “A good education can change anyone, but a good teacher can change everything.” When I became a teacher, I wanted to be that teacher that when my students look back on their education they feel love in their hearts, have a smile on their face, and can truly say they knew that I cared!  Most recently, I had dinner and attended the boys’ basketball playoff game in Seguin with one of my former students and his wife. It is very rewarding to see how former students succeed in their adult lives and remain in contact with me.
We are blessed to have such an impact on young lives. Last month I tweeted out a slide from edutopia entitled “5 Habits of an Effective Teacher.” I would like to share these 5 Habits:
1.     Enjoys Teaching – all of us probably became teachers simply for the joy of teaching and making a difference in young lives. We wake up each morning with the opportunity to mold students to be successful as adults.
2.     Embraces Change – our profession has changed tremendously in the last 16 years. As technology changes, our profession as well as all professions change. Do you realize that the Kindergarten class, the class of 2028, we are preparing this class for jobs that may not exist? It is important that we embrace change and we know that change is coming next year with the new teacher evaluation system. T-TESS will prove to be a more collaborative tool between teachers and campus administrators as we work together for the success of our students.
3.     Spreads Positivity – a colleague once told me that negativity brings failure and that we are not trying to fail we are trying to succeed. When we are positive, those around us are positive.  It is important that in our daily interactions with students and colleagues, we spread positive attitudes towards the success of our students and campuses.

4.     Finds Inspiration – we must be inspired every day as we have the opportunity to mold young lives. Someone recently shared a slide with me that states, “I teach because knowledge is the most powerful tool a person can have to create the life they have always imagined.” This statement should inspire us all.
5.     Makes a Difference – I stated above in “Enjoys Teaching” that one of the reasons I became a teacher was to make a difference in young lives. This is such a huge opportunity for us. Every day, we have the opportunity to inspire students to embrace education for each of them to make a difference now and in their adult lives.

As we leave for spring break, may each of you relax and come back “recharged” to inspire and make a difference in the young lives of our students. Have a safe spring break!