Superintendent
We Must Do More
06/04/2020

June 3, 2020

Goose Creek CISD Families,

 

It is with sincere heartbreak that we send our condolences to the Floyd family and the many other black Americans who have suffered at the hands of systemic injustice. The cry for change must be heard as we move forward in order for our nation, our state and our local communities to heal and become all that they may become together.

 

We have watched the atrocities on our televisions and social media over and over again this past week, and if one thing has become clear, it is that we are divided as a nation. The first step toward becoming the one unified force we seek to become is to stop thinking about our response to a statement we may not agree with and simply step back and listen. 

 

The progress we have made with human rights as a nation in comparison to others is admirable, yet unacceptable, if we continue to have such tragic events continue to cycle to the surface.

 

As superintendent of a diverse school district serving 24,000 students, I know that Goose Creek CISD must address racism head on. Our students and our staff members deserve nothing less. Our community deserves nothing less. We must all speak up when we hear of an act of intolerance, especially in one of our schools, classrooms or facilities. We must confront the situation and immediately take action.

 

While our district has, through policy and training, attempted to celebrate our diversity and manage racial injustice, we must do more. I ask that you join me in showing others respect and just treatment so that we may be examples to our children, whose minds and hearts may someday not feel the burden of racial injustice.

 

Sincerely,

Randal O'Brien Signature
  Randal O'Brien

 

 


 

3 de junio del 2020

 

Familias de Goose Creek CISD,


Con el corazón roto, enviamos nuestras condolencias a la familia Floyd y a muchos otros afroamericanos que han sufrido las injusticias sistémicas. El clamor por el cambio debe escucharse a medida que avanzamos para que nuestra nación, nuestro estado y nuestras comunidades locales sanen y se conviertan en todo lo que puedan llegar a ser juntos.


Hemos visto las atrocidades en nuestros televisores y redes sociales una y otra vez la semana pasada, y si una cosa ha quedado clara, es que estamos divididos como nación. El primer paso para convertirse en la única fuerza unificada en la que buscamos convertirnos es dejar de pensar en nuestra respuesta a una declaración con la que no estamos de acuerdo y simplemente dar un paso atrás y escuchar.


El progreso que hemos logrado con los derechos humanos como nación en comparación con otros es admirable, pero inaceptable, si continuamos teniendo eventos tan trágicos que continúan apareciendo en la superficie.


Como superintendente de un distrito escolar diverso que atiende a 24,000 estudiantes, sé que Goose Creek CISD debe abordar el racismo de frente. Nuestros estudiantes y los miembros de nuestro personal no merecen menos. Nuestra comunidad no merece nada menos. Todos debemos hablar cuando escuchamos sobre un acto de intolerancia, especialmente en una de nuestras escuelas, salón de clases o instalaciones. Debemos enfrentar la situación e inmediatamente tomar medidas.


Si bien nuestro distrito, a través de políticas y capacitación, ha intentado celebrar la diversidad y manejar la injusticia racial, debemos hacer más. Les pido que nos unamos en mostrar a los demás respeto y trato justo para que podamos ser ejemplos para nuestros hijos, cuyas mentes y corazones pueden algún día no sentir la carga de la injusticia racial.

 

Atentamente,

Randal O'Brien Signature
  Randal O'Brien

 


Strength Through Adversity
04/17/2020

This has been a long, stressful few weeks for our community, our state, our nation and the world. Waiting anxiously for news that COVID-19 is under control, we have worked to comply with the order to stay home and practice social distancing by closing schools and cancelling all our activities, much to everyone’s disappointment.

 

O'Brien Photo

This week, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo extended the stay at home order through most of May. Today, Texas Governor Greg Abbott confirmed the extension, although offering us hope in discussing a plan to turn our economy around with a layered approach to opening the state back up in tiers based upon necessity. I doubt we will see large venue gatherings such as concerts, sporting events--and yes, even graduation ceremonies-–anytime soon. However, I believe events with fewer numbers of congregants, such as smaller church services with rigid guidelines for size of groups and distancing practices clearly defined, may provide some hope of normalcy within sight.

 

This, of course, means that Goose Creek CISD, along with the other school districts in Texas, will not be returning to finish the 2019-2020 school year and will have to make alternative arrangements to celebrate our students’ success. We will continue our online instruction so that our students will be ready for next school year, and we will provide summer school for those who need the additional instruction, most likely to occur at the beginning of next year, rather than immediately following the end of this semester. While this school closure affects all of us, it is especially disappointing for our seniors, who left for spring break and will never return to their schools as high school students, but rather as alumni.

 

Seniors, my simple message to you is that we will not let your 13 years of hard work go unrecognized. We are just as proud of you as we have been of any of our graduating classes – maybe even more so, because you are showing strength and courage in the face of this pandemic that has kept you from participating in so many of your senior activities. When I arrived in Goose Creek, you were transitioning from elementary school to junior school, and I have seen so much growth in you as individuals, as we have elevated everything we do as a district, from our rigorous academics to the higher order technology, to our expanded extra-curricular, CTE and college course offerings.

 

You have embraced everything that has come your way with grace and enthusiasm, so I am not surprised at your extraordinary ability to persevere through this crisis. We know you have missed out on some of these rites of passage, but we fully anticipate that you will rise from this stronger than ever just as you have with a hurricane, a flood, a recession, and a host of other personal challenges along the way. We have some exciting plans to honor you in the months ahead and look forward to celebrating you and your many accomplishments with your family.

 

We simply cannot thank our staff enough for your willingness to step into these uncharted waters and embark upon our online instructional plan, technological distribution, the multitude of WebEx meetings, grab and go meal distribution, online student and parent conferences in addition to all of the other out- of-the-box new experiences you’ve encountered along the way. Hopefully, you will agree it has made us better collaborators, better teachers and yes, better people. Wishing everyone blessings for increased quality time with family and the opportunity for each of us to become a little more focused on the important things in our lives.


Sharing Success With the Community
02/19/2020

We are so proud of our partnership with the City of Baytown! The community and our school district gathered at Town Square for the Here, We Grow Giants Launch Party to debut our second video commercial, featuring many of our programs and opportunities in Goose Creek CISD. Thanks to everyone who participated in the video and to Rick King and Kenny Benitez of Southall 7 Creative for their expertise in bringing it to fruition. I’m grateful for this opportunity to showcase some of the wonderful things happening in our district.

 

We announced our Principals of the Year at a recent meeting of the board of trustees. Dr. Tricia Times, principal of POINT Alternative Center, was named Secondary Principal of the Year, and Andrea Zepeda, principal of Alamo Elementary, was recognized as Elementary Principal of the Year. They will be honored at a Region 4 dinner later this year. Congratulations to both principals! We applaud their leadership, hard work and dedication in making these schools exceptional.

 

It’s exciting to see so many of our staff and schools joining the It’s Time Texas Community Challenge, committing to a healthy lifestyle. The Administration Building staff kicked off the district challenge by walking a mile together and pitching the challenge to Victoria Walker Elementary and Baytown Junior. Creative efforts are being displayed by the schools accepting the challenge, such as a dance session at Robert E. Lee High School! The challenge ends March 1, so you still have time to register and earn points for our district and city. Just signing up will earn some points, so go to https://ittcommunitychallenge.com/ to register. The winning community in each category will receive funds for future health efforts!

 “Randal

 The 2019 bond has been in the design and development phase as the district prepares to break ground on Junior School #6 and the replacement for San Jacinto Elementary. Meanwhile, Stuart Career Tech High School Phase 3 and Phase 4 are well underway, which will enable the campus to house 1,000 students or more. We are excited about the growth in our CTE Department as it provides even more opportunities for our students to explore pathways to their future.

 

Another project that has been completed is the renovation and relocation of our Police and Truancy departments as well as our Tax Office to 607 W. Baker Road. Some people remember this as the skating rink. Most recently, it has been used as the Technology Center, before the Technology Center moved to 5950 N. Main, remodeled after Hurricane Harvey to better suit our municipal partnering programs. We’re obviously excited that these bond projects, focusing on providing the facilities our students and their families deserve, are underway. As a non-bond project, all of our competition athletic fields were recently topped with field turf as a way of generating energy efficiency, reducing water consumption as well as labor cost.

 

Our culinary team from Stuart Career Center, Hehejandro and The Boys, including Nathan Garza, Destiny Whitener and Alejandro Alcantar under the direction of Chef Kylie Sobczak, dished up a second-place win at the Lone Star Chef Competition, sponsored by Aramark. The seniors, who won first place last year, will split a $1,500 scholarship.

 

Piloted at Carver Elementary and Harlem Elementary this school year, our Kindergarten Dual Language Two-Way Program has students reading, writing and speaking both English and Spanish. Families were amazed at their progress as the students showed off their skills during student-led conferences. As these students move to first grade, we will welcome a new group of kindergarten students. Informational meetings will take place at both schools later this month. Interested families should contact the Bilingual/ESL Department at 281-707-3372.

 

As we approach assessment season, we ask that parents provide the power assist our teachers need by ensuring that students have healthy eating and sleeping habits. Please encourage your children to always do their best and stress the importance of good attendance. As we all know, success is strongly correlated to preparation. I hope everyone is having a fantastic start to the new year! Have a great six weeks!


Reflecting on the Past and Focused on the Future
01/09/2020

As I reflect on the events and activities of the first semester of the 2019-2020 school year (as I like to do every year), I could not be prouder to be the superintendent of Goose Creek CISD for so many reasons.

 

We started off the school year at Convocation focusing on our theme, “Here, We Grow Giants,” with a video, a billboard, a digital billboard, bus ads, digital signage and email signatures. Our partnership with the City of Baytown benefits our entire community as we collaborate to align our vision for the future together due to our common interests. We recognized our first Giant Alumni, Giant Educator and Giant Students of the Month, which has been ongoing, thanks to your participation and willingness to nominate so many outstanding people who have made or are making an impact on Goose Creek CISD.

 

Speaking of making an impact on GCCISD, we join other school districts in Texas to celebrate January as School Board Recognition Month. Our board members are volunteers who shoulder critical responsibilities and make difficult choices for our district, focusing on the future success of the children in our district. Please take a moment to tell our school board members how much you appreciate their service and dedication to Goose Creek CISD. Thank you, Agustin Loredo, III, president; Jessica Woods, vice president; Ben Pape, secretary; Howard Sampson, assistant secretary; and Richard Clem, Shae Cottar and Tiffany Guy, board members, for caring about our district.

 “Randal

 We also were proud to announce that The Health Science Academy at Ross S. Sterling High School and the STEM Academy at Robert E. Lee High School achieved Model Status, the highest rating granted by the National Career Academy Coalition. Lee High School was recognized for the third time as an Apple Distinguished School.

 

Our Dual Two-Way Language Program was piloted at Harlem and Carver elementary schools, and these kindergarten students conducted student-led conferences showing how much they have learned in English as well as in Spanish.

 

And what about that Employee Wellness Clinic? This free clinic is such a benefit to this district, helping us all stay healthy! I have taken advantage of the clinic as I know many of you have, and I’ve been so pleased with the results of my visits.

 

The Education Foundation hosted its second All-Star Gala celebrating its tenth year of operation, having distributed more than 1 million in innovative education grants to teachers in Goose Creek, ultimately benefitting our students with new learning experiences.

 

In an attempt to reign in operational expenses with older facilities, Goose Creek has partnered with ABM energy to address our sustainable utility goals and technological upgrades across the district, and we are enthusiastic about the project paying for itself through the realized future utility savings.

 

Our 2019 school bond is underway as the planning and designing stages of San Jacinto Elementary replacement school and Junior School #6 are being finalized for construction to begin. Meanwhile, Stuart Career Tech High School has entered into phase three of the four-part construction of a stand-alone P-Tech high school that may ultimately house up to 900 students focused on obtaining industry certification rather than a four-year degree program.

 

Our partnership with Be Well™ Baytown is still thriving and as part of the community wide initiative, sponsored by ExxonMobil and facilitated by MD Anderson, Goose Creek CISD has received new walking trails at Bowie, Carver, Harlem and Lamar elementary schools as an incentive to get students, faculty and, yes, even parents on a healthy pathway of exercise.

 

Perhaps one of the most important accomplishments, which involves all of you in one way or the other, is our academic accountability rating of an 87, or a B, this year. This excellent rating is no accident – it took hours and hours of work from our teachers and administrators as well as from our students. Even if you are at any of our other facilities, you play a giant role in supporting those who work directly with our students. This is a team effort, and I am happy to be part of this team.

 

There are so many other things of which to be proud – fine arts programs, including our three high school bands receiving superior ratings at contest; UIL competitions; sports programs and more - it’s impossible to mention all of them.

 

We have already hit the ground running as we start this new year, but I want to let you know I appreciate everything you do for our district and pray for your continued prosperity and positive effect on your entire sphere of influence. I look forward to seeing you soon.