Finish Strong
We are now in the final six weeks of the 2016-17 school year. Our seniors and their parents are probably anticipating graduation with mixed emotions. Although it signifies the end of their school years in Goose Creek CISD, it also serves as the beginning of post-secondary education opportunities and careers. I feel confident that our GCCISD graduates are prepared to make decisions that will pave the way to successful futures. This year, graduation for IMPACT Early College High School is May 25th at 7 p.m. at the Lee College Sports Arena. Ross S. Sterling (10 a.m.), Goose Creek Memorial (2:30 p.m.) and Robert E. Lee (7 p.m.) high schools will hold their graduation ceremonies at Ford Park Arena, 5115 Interstate 10 South, Beaumont, TX 77005.

Obrien photo
To bring you up-to-date on some 85th Legislative Session decisions as they affect our district, the A-F accountability system is being evaluated and modified to incorporate a bigger picture than just one test day. The Texas Commissioner of Education, Mike Morath, is working with educational leaders across the state to evaluate House Bill 5 to demonstrate a fairer panoramic picture of school districts versus a snapshot.

As for school funding, the legislature, in an attempt to simplify the complexities of school finance, has made recommendations to remove the cost of education index, simplify the formulas and begin to consider growth and inflation as primary tools for improved funding. Rather than an overhaul of school finance, we’re likely to see compromises at a minimal level as the movement to “deregulate” public education rather than meet the existing needs continues.

Since the inception of the $267.5 million bond, passed overwhelmingly by our citizens in 2013, the district has grown by more than 2,000 students, with projections of another 1,000 or more by its completion in 2018. The good news is that the delivery of the bond is on schedule and on budget, currently at 80 percent complete with a year to go.

One curricular variation to our traditional schools was the construction and implementation of an Early College High School, which opened in 2010, giving students the opportunity to graduate with college credits or even associate degrees from Lee College. A complement to the ECHS model, which has opened the doors for underserved student populations, is a bond project, Stuart Career Tech High School (SCTHS), scheduled to open in fall 2017. A renovated Kilgore Building, combined with the Stuart Career Center, will comprise SCTHS, which will follow the IMPACT ECHS model in offering college credit courses, but will provide a greater focus on career technical certifications. SCTHS will include four academies – Advanced Automotive, Culinary Arts, Environmental Conservation and Manufacturing and Industrial Maintenance. We are excited to offer our students and parents even more choices with their education.

As we enter this final six weeks of 2016-2017, one of the busiest times of the year, I want to encourage everyone, students and staff alike, to finish the year strong. We take pride in being a school district that focuses on continued improvement in all that we do. As I visit campuses, I see that we are all working together for the success of our students, and I am proud to serve our community!