Reflecting On the Past Year
As the holiday season approaches, I hope everyone will take the opportunity to reflect on the past year and to look ahead with a positive approach to all that the upcoming year may bring. What comes to mind first, when I look back at the past year and all that we’ve accomplished, is that I work among caring, dedicated educators who truly have a love for kids and the desire to work together to help them succeed in all aspects of their lives.

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Our Goose Creek CISD staff and students, with support from the community, have accomplished many wonderful things! The district and all campuses received “Met Standard” ratings from the Texas Education Agency, which is the highest possible rating for 2014.

The requirements of House Bill 5 have resulted in increased teacher staff development opportunities to further strengthen our instructional programs at all levels. Students and parents have been provided with numerous opportunities to learn about the changes in graduation requirements, including endorsements, and to attend College Fair Nights and informational transition meetings at our schools. The bonds between our Career and Technical Education programs and our local industry continue to align and become even stronger for our community.

We have opened three new elementary schools, which has greatly relieved overcrowding throughout the district, and held our dedication ceremonies for the community, honoring the memory of Dr. Johnny T. Clark, Jr. and Dr. Antonio Bañuelos and celebrating the Alamo traditions at the new location. Former coaches Ron Kramer and Dan Stallworth have been honored with plaques at Pete Sultis Stadium and at Stallworth Stadium. The new basketball court at the Winnie Brown Gym was named in honor of retired Sterling basketball coach Walter R. “Woody” Walker, and the Robert E. Lee High School Auditorium was dedicated to former Lee principal Henry Nelson Armstrong.

We have watched our first class graduate from IMPACT Early College High School, many with associate degrees, and held the groundbreaking ceremony for the new IMPACT Early College High School, which will provide a home for our students who are now housed at the Peter E. Hyland Center.

To keep up with the demands of technology, we have deployed iPads to all high school students and installed Promethean boards in all core classrooms throughout the district to enhance instruction. Twitter, Facebook and the new district blog “The Goose Call” are now widely used to provide information and to showcase the achievements of our students and staff.

This year, we launched the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, which is a school-wide effort at every campus that involves all adults and students in the school community. The safety of our students and staff is our number one priority, as our bond projects have also addressed secure entry vestibules at our schools, key card access, and classroom doors that lock from the inside.

We have expanded our Career and Technical Education offerings, introducing three new academies at our high schools, and have begun the expansion of Stuart Career Center to include the Kilgore building. SCC is planning its upcoming 40th Anniversary celebration to highlight the accomplishments of the students and the programs.

Continuing the tradition of excellence that has spanned the past 24 years, 10 Goose Creek CISD students advanced to National History Day. Six Goose Creek Memorial High School students competed in the state UIL competition, and one Stuart Career Center student placed in the National Collision Repair Conference competition.

The marching bands from the three traditional high schools all received first division ratings in the UIL Marching Contests. Fifty-six high school orchestra students were selected for the TMEA All-Region Orchestra, and one Sterling student was chosen for the 2015 All-State Orchestra. GCCISD choir students earned 140 spots in the All-Region Choir, which was 40 percent of the entire region choir. Artwork was selected for the Houston Livestock and Rodeo Art Show, with one going to auction, and several students’ artwork was selected to be displayed at the Capitol Building in Austin. Four students earned the honor of creating their artwork in chalk on the streets of downtown Houston in the Via Colori Street Painting Festival.

Highlights of the year in sports included the Ross S. Sterling High School girls water polo team winning the state championship for the second year in a row and the Goose Creek Memorial High School girls basketball team advancing to the regional semifinals. The Robert E. Lee High School boys track relay team placed fourth at the state track competition.

Through the Baytown Chamber of Commerce Partners In Education program, local businesses paired with all our schools. Creative projects and resources, initiated through the collaboration of our school and business representatives, have greatly benefited our schools and our students. We appreciate all the time, effort and funds that these partners have generously donated to Goose Creek CISD schools.

We also appreciate the generous support from other community partners in helping us enrich the curriculum for our students. ExxonMobil continues to fund the MathCounts competition, 5th and 7th grade field trips to the Eddie V. Gray Wetlands Center and visits to the Nature Center for biology students. Pre-AP Math and Science training for teachers was provided through funds from Bayer by a grant provided to the National Math and Science Initiative. Chevron Phillips provided a mobile interactive exhibit, called the Trailblazer trailer by the Texas Alliance for Minorities in Engineering, for all 6th graders to help them learn about space, energy, weather and aerodynamics.

Our relationship with Lee College is growing stronger every day, not only through our Early College High School program and dual credit courses, but also through GCPASS, a partnership to improve the college-going culture, increase the number of students who will attend college, and decrease the need for remedial courses. Programs at Lee College for our students, such as Girls Know Stem, M.A.C.H.O., Physics Day, Step Up 2 Life and STEM Day, inform them about courses and careers in STEM-related fields. As Lee College continues to expand to our neighboring districts to meet their needs, the college’s commitment to Goose Creek schools has never waivered.

The result of our economic growth has led to strengthening many partnerships with various planning teams from the city, county and state as well as our neighboring school districts. I truly believe that the prosperity we have enjoyed will only improve as these relationships align to improve our schools and community.

These are just a few of the good things happening in our district, and there are many more. I am excited about what we will accomplish together in 2015! Please take some time during the Christmas holidays to enjoy your friends and family, to relax a little, and—if you feel you must—to catch up on some projects around your home. Have a safe holiday!