June 2012, Edition

Dear Education Partner:

Dr Wanda Bamberg, Superintendent of SchoolsWe closed the chapter on the 2011-12 school year with our graduation ceremonies in early June and we are now preparing for 2012-13. Summer is an important time for our administrators and principals as we chart plans for the next school year, review data from the previous one and maintain our facilities.

We will open a new high school in August when Davis High School welcomes its first class. Principal Tom Colwell and his staff are busy staffing the building, arranging furniture and supplies and looking forward to opening the district’s fifth traditional high school and the district’s first since 1979.

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) recently released the STAAR End-of-Course results. Our ninth grade students performed well in Algebra I (82% passing rate), Biology (86% passing rate), World Geography (82% passing rate) and Geometry (99% passing rate). We have some work to do in English Language Arts Reading (60% passing rate) and English Language Arts Writing (42% passing rate), but our plans for instructional interventions are well underway. Our ninth graders’ performance is a direct result of district and campus initiatives and individual student interventions that we implemented during the 2011-12 school year. District and campus personnel are analyzing the test data to determine the instructional focus for the upcoming school year so that gains in student performance will be realized.

During the June Board meeting, our Trustees approved the budget for the 2012-13 school year and set the proposed tax rate. Trustees approved a budget of $477,544,051, a 5.75 percent increase from the 2011-12 budget. Trustees also approved keeping the tax rate at $1.328388 per $100 valuation. The tax rate will not be officially approved until the district receives the certified tax roll from the Harris County Appraisal District in late August.

Also at the June Board meeting, Trustees approved salary increases for all employees throughout the district. Many of our employees have not received raises in three years; while others have received salary increases due to a legislative mandate. We have asked employees to do more work with fewer resources, and this may be the last raise our employees will receive for several years. In short, our employees are working harder than ever before. Surrounding districts are also giving raises this year, and our loyal employees deserve to make a comparable wage.

We are excited about a recent grant opportunity from Chevron. Chevron presented the district with a check for $254,631 to fund the JASON Project in our middle schools. The JASON Project will connect AISD middle school students with JASON research scientists for face-to-face visual learning. Twenty-one district teachers will be trained as “coaches” to implement the program district wide. The experience will culminate with one teacher and one student being selected to receive hands-on experience aboard the exploration vessel Nautilus. Aldine ISD was one of only three Houston-area school districts to receive funding from Chevron to participate in the JASON Project, which was conceived by Dr. Robert Ballard, a National Geographic explorer and discoverer of the Titanic and Bismarck.

Look for more information in the fall about the newly established Aldine Education Foundation, a 501(c)(3) designed to provide funding for teacher grants, innovative projects in the classroom and student scholarships to Lone Star College as well as other colleges and universities across the country. We will have a “kick-off” celebration after school begins.

Summer is a busy time, but our employees will receive some much-deserved down time to recharge their batteries and come back refreshed and ready for the 2012-13 school year. We are looking forward to the coming year and working with all of our partners. Thank you for your continued support.

Wanda Bamberg Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

District Highlights

• Juan Jaramillo, a senior at Nimitz High School, was selected as one of 1,000 Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS) for the GMS class of 2012. More than 24,000 students from across the country applied for the scholarship. Funds will be made available to Juan to attend any accredited college or university of his choosing in the United States.

• Eighty-eight Aldine ISD seniors received Aldine Scholarship Foundation (ASF) scholarships during a reception held in their honor at Lone Star College-North Harris. The 88 scholarships were the most ASF has ever awarded AISD seniors and will allow them to continue their academic careers at any Lone Star College campus.

• Eleven students from Carver High School, Eisenhower High School and Nimitz High School competed at National History Day in June at the University of Maryland.

• Two Aldine ISD Magnet Schools, Bethune Academy and Reece Academy, were named Magnet Schools of Distinction at the Magnet Schools of America Conference. The two Aldine ISD schools were the only schools in Texas to receive the designation.

• Nimitz High School celebrated one of its most famous graduates when it held “Brittney Griner Day” in May. Brittney led the Lady Cougars to the 2009 Class 5A state title game and led her Baylor University team to the 2012 NCAA Women’s national championship and a 40-0 season. During the 2011-12 season, Brittney was named the NCAA’s women’s Player of the Year, along with being named the Big 12’s Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year.

The Nation’s Best!

Aldine ISD bus driver Inger Casey enjoys going above and beyond the call of duty for the students she transports. During the spring semester, Inger transported a group of MacArthur High School science students to a competition in Dallas. She maintained a professional manner throughout the trip, and was timely with her pickup and drop-off schedules the entire trip. She quickly became familiar with the area where the students and teachers stayed in Dallas and went the extra mile by taking the group to pick up some much-needed supplies for the competition when she could have been resting in her hotel room. MacArthur science teacher Paula Johnson said Inger made the experience in Dallas more enjoyable and stress-free because she did her job so well and with so much enthusiasm. Inger is just one more example of an Aldine employee who goes the extra mile and is definitely one of the Nation’s Best!

Upcoming Events

Friday, June 15
M.B. “Sonny” Donaldson Golf Tournament, Cypresswood Golf Course, 8 a.m.

Wednesday, July 4
Independence Day Holida (district offices closed)

Monday, July 16
Board Study Session, Board Room, 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, July 17
Board Meeting, Board Room, 7 p.m.

Thursday, July 26
APPLE Celebration, MOC Foyer, 11 a.m.