Friday, December 2, 2016

December 2, 2016

The Supt Dish            
                                                                December 2, 2016

With the November elections over, many of our elected state officials have filed several bills that will have an affect on education. The 85th Legislative Session begins January 10, 2017 but many committees have conducted several hearings during the fall listening to testimony to assist in crafting bills. If you have kept up with the news, public education will most likely be under attack by those who want to pass a voucher or educator savings account bill to privatize education.
Over the last two weeks, the leaders of the Texas Senate, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, and Texas House Speaker Representative Joe Strauss, have very different public educational priorities. Lt. Governor Patrick has a high priority on vouchers, while Representative Strauss has a priority on addressing and fixing the school finance system.
Locally, I have spoken at several groups this fall concerning the projected loss funding that Goliad ISD is facing. This funding pool, Adjusted State Aid for Tax Reduction (ASATR) was put in place during the 79th Legislature in 2005. During the legislative session, the legislature cut school property taxes by one third. No business or corporation much less a school district can lose 1/3 of their revenue and continue to operate efficiently, thus the state replaced this lost revenue with ASATR. However, as we faced an economic crisis in 2011, the 82nd Legislature voted to phase out ASATR by September 1, 2017.
As we have weathered the school funding crisis and received a Supreme Court decision with the school finance lawsuit over equity, ASATR was not addressed in the Supreme Court’s decision. Since the action taken by the 82nd legislature, many school districts have slowly had their ASATR funding phased out. As of the 2016-17 school year 253 school districts including Goliad ISD, receive ASATR funding. Most of these districts rely heavily on ASATR funding for their budgets. Of the remaining ASATR districts:
·      83% qualify as small districts
·      75% serve populations with more than 50% economically disadvantaged students
·      65% pay recapture
·      61% are rural
·      13% are mid-sized
·      5% are fast-growth

As you can see, the districts receiving ASATR funding vary in size and geographic location with the majority qualifying as rural and small districts. In the ESC 3 region, 21 districts still receive ASATR funding. For Goliad, ASATR funding is approximately 30% of our revenue for the 2016-17 budget. Of the district’s $14 million budget, GISD receives approximately $4 million in ASATR funding. This percentage is similar with many of the 253 districts still receiving ASATR funds.

GISD initiated strategies in the Spring 2016 to reduce expenditures as GISD faces the fiscal cliff with ASATR funding. The net savings the district initiated was approximately $1.1 million. GISD is still faced with having to reduce the budget an additional $2.9 million.

As our state legislature prepares for the opening of the 85th Legislative Session on January 17, 2017, we ask that you express your concerns to our elected officials below and ask that the Legislature extend ASATR funding to GISD and school districts in similar circumstances.

State Representative Geanie Morrison                       Senator Lois Kolkhorst
Room 1N.9                                                                 PO Box 12068
PO Box 2910                                                              Capitol Station
Austin, Texas 78768                                                   Austin, Texas 78711                  

Friday, November 18, 2016

November 18th

The Supt Dish  
                                                        November 18, 2016   

The holiday season is my favorite time of the year. Thanksgiving is a time that offers us time to reflect on the many blessings we have.
As I reflect on the school year, we are blessed to have such a wonderful staff, a UNIQUE staff. Each of you has dedicated your life to making a difference in our children’s lives. Our students’ successes are due to the impact you have on their education and life. We have had many successes so far; several Ag Science teams have qualified for Area competition, students in elementary science are doing amazing experiments, girls’ cross country qualified for Area and two GHS students participated in the State meet, the Roarin’ Tiger Marching Band was the Sweepstakes winner, the fine arts department is performing the musical “Lil Mermaid” this weekend, our football team won the District and plays in Area tonight, and our girls’ volleyball team went undefeated in District and plays for the State Championship tomorrow!
We have faced many challenges and will continue to face challenges with strength, determination, and with confidence. This is something I remind myself ever day as we work together in achieving our goals. So far, we have met these challenges as reflected with our students’ successes. Challenges are what make life interesting, overcoming them are what make life meaningful.

During the Thanksgiving break, please take time to give thanks for the many blessing we have. We are fortunate to work and live in a supportive and caring community. As you reflect on the year, please remember the difference you make in each other’s life and the lives of our students. For those of you traveling, be safe on the highways.

Friday, November 4, 2016

November 4th,

The Supt Dish           
                                                           November 4, 2016     

It is hard to believe that almost eleven weeks of school are completed and Thanksgiving break is in two weeks. Time has flown by! Walking through campuses, I see many great activities in classrooms and students engaged in learning. Volleyball, football, cross-country, band and other extra-curricular activities are performing at the highest levels. Our fine arts department is preparing to perform their first musical in several years. Staff and students are working in teams and collaborating. It is wonderful to witness such tremendous pride.
Last year, I attended a leadership conference at Google headquarters in Austin. I must say that it was one of the most enjoyable conferences I have attended in recent years. We learned about what Google expects of their employees and many strategies they use in employee and leadership development.
One item that was shared is hiring UNIQUE people. Webster’s definition of unique is “being the only one; being without a like or equal; and distinctly characteristic.” Google defines unique as “something or someone is unlike anything or anyone.” An acronym that Google has is:
U – unwavering belief that anything is possible
N – needs feedback to learn and grow
I – innovative
Q – questioning skills
U – understands the perspective of others
E – emergent leader

Looking at our school district, we are blessed to have UNIQUE employees. You have fostered learning environments in which students learn to solve complex problems, work in teams developing teamwork skills, and are creating future leaders. We must continue our journey in reaching our goals. I am proud of what each of you has accomplished the first eleven weeks in
“Shaping the Path” for our students to be successful. Thank you for being UNIQUE! GISD, Preserving the Past, Preparing the Future!

Friday, October 14, 2016

October 14th

The Supt Dish              
                                                                                                               October 14, 2016

October is National Principal’s Month and Governor Abbott has declared by proclamation October, as Principal’s month in Texas. The Governor asked that we recognize elementary and secondary administrators for their leadership, which is vital to the success of all students. “Principals are entrusted with our most valuable resource – our next generation of leaders” stated Governor Abbot in the proclamation.

With this in mind, GISD would like to give special recognition to our school leadership this month for their positive contributions to our students' education and the overall educational attainment of our community. We encourage you to take the time to congratulate the principals at your student's school for their hard work and commitment! Many thanks to GES Principal Patricia Huber and Asst. Principal Cedric Cunningham; GMS Principal Mary Tippin and Asst. Principal Amy Shedd; GHS Principal Brenda Gohmert and Asst. Principal Liz Schubert. Please join us in recognizing these outstanding instructional leaders. #ThankAPrincipal

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!