December 2012, Edition

Dear Education Partner:

Dr Wanda Bamberg, Superintendent of SchoolsOn Jan. 25, we held our annual State of the District Breakfast at the Sheraton North Houston Hotel. Close to 350 business partners, community members, and Aldine ISD personnel attended the event.

We looked back at highlights and challenges from the 2011-12 school year, updated the audience on projects that are underway in the district and looked ahead to the challenges we will face in the future.

Here is an overview of the information including demographic makeup of our district, academic achievement, student behavior and safety, finances and future challenges.

• Hispanic – 70%
• African American – 25.9%
• White – 2%
• Asian/Other – 2.2%
• Economically Disadvantaged – 85.1%

• Two Magnet schools named “Schools of Distinction” by Magnet Schools of America
• Twenty AISD schools were named to the National Center for Educational Achievement’s (NCEA) Higher Performing Schools List
• Five AISD high schools made U.S. News and World Report’s Best High School rankings
• Chevron selected Aldine ISD as one of three Houston-area school districts to participate in the JASON Project.
• 2,244 AISD seniors were designated as Texas Scholars by graduating on either the recommended or distinguished plan.
• 441 AISD seniors were awarded 1,026 scholarships totaling $15.9 million
• AISD was awarded 48 grants totaling $6.8 million

• 14% decrease in discretionary removals to alternative campuses
• 45% reduction in police action with campus behavior incidents
• 57.9% decrease in citations for disruption of class
• 19.9% reduction in citations for disturbances
• The district is conducting a facility analysis, which included inspection of all facilities, checking for vulnerabilities, and continued safety drills at campuses and support facilities throughout AISD

• AISD has a strong fund balance due to budget cuts over the last few years
• For the ninth consecutive year, AISD received a “Superior” rating from the State Comptroller’s FIRST (Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas) system
• AISD received four out of five stars from the Comptroller’s FAST (Financial Allocation Study for Texas), which measures how spending in every Texas public school translates to student academic progress
• Plans for fund balance: technology upgrades, revised timeline for maintenance projects, adding staff and compensation

• Testing
• Accountability
• Discipline
• Vouchers
• Health care
• No Child Left Behind (AYP)

During the 2011-12 school year, schools across Texas transitioned from TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills) to the state’s new accountability measurement, STAAR (State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness). Because STAAR was implemented for the first time during the 2011-12 school year, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) suspended accountability ratings for 2012. STAAR is more rigorous and more aligned to college and career readiness.

Parents and educators across the state have been critical of STAAR and proposed changes are being considered by the 83rd Texas Legislature. Proposed changes include: testing at grades 3, 5 and 8 in math and reading; grades 4 and 7 in writing, which will reduce the tests from 17 to 8.

At the high school level, proposed changes include reducing EOC (End of Course) tests from 15 to three, allowing for local assessment, allowing for college level courses and tests to count in lieu of EOC and not requiring a cumulative score.

We will keep you informed of any changes the Legislature makes to STAAR.

One of the major highlights of the 2011-12 school year was the formation of the Aldine Education Foundation (AEF). The foundation provides scholarships to Aldine ISD students to attend colleges and universities across the United States and provides grants to AISD teachers to fund innovative classroom projects. AEF brought the Aldine Scholarship Foundation (ASF) under its umbrella and AEF will continue to provide scholarships to AISD graduates to attend any college in the Lone Star College System. Since its inception in 1991, ASF has provided 937 full-tuition scholarships to AISD grads. As of spring 2012, ASF has more than $2 million in assets.

Our focus will remain on planning for success for all of our students, as well as continuing to focus on hiring adequate staff and financial solvency.

Thank you for your continued support, as a parent, business partner, or community member. It takes all of us to ensure success for our students.

Wanda Bamberg Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

District Highlights

• Keeble EC/Pre-K Center has been named one of five state finalists for the H-E-B Early Childhood Award, part of the retailer’s annual Excellence in Education Award program. The Early Childhood Award is designed to support public or private schools that focus on the care and education of children under the age of 5.

• Fifty-one Aldine ISD students earned gold, silver or honorable mention honors in the Scholastic Art & Writing contest sponsored by the Harris County Department of Education (HCDE).

• The Aldine community once again showed its support for our FFA (Future Farmers of America) and art students by pledging $120,450 on projects and art work during the 54th annual Livestock Show and Country Fair.

• MacArthur High swimmer Kaulen Applin won two gold medals at the Region III Swim Meet and advanced to the Class 5A State Swimming and Diving Meet, set for Austin on Feb. 22.

• MacArthur High volleyball players Dariane Jackson and Jacquelyne Quinterro earned all-state academic recognition from the Texas Girls Coaches Association (TGCA). To earn the recognition, both had to be graduating seniors, be members of the school’s varsity volleyball team, had to maintain an overall grade point average of 94 or above from their freshman year through their junior year and had to have good moral character.

• The Nimitz High Lady Cougars and Eisenhower High Lady Eagles earned spots in the Class 5A girls’ state basketball playoffs. Nimitz finished first in District 18-5A play while Eisenhower finished in third place.

• Eighteen AISD student-athletes earned college scholarships in cross country, football and soccer. The 18 received the chance to continue their academic and athletic careers when they signed national letters of intent on National Signing Day, Feb. 6.

• The Nimitz High girl’s swim team and the MacArthur High boy’s swim team each finished second in their respective divisions at the District 18-5A Swimming and Diving Meet, hosted by Davis High School. Forty AISD swimmers and 12 relay teams qualified for the Region III Meet held on Feb. 8 in Conroe.

The Nation’s Best!

On Jan. 22, a number of departments worked in concert to keep our students and staff safe and keep information flowing to parents and the public when gunshots were fired at Lone Star College-North Harris. We have four schools located within a mile of the college: Dunn Elementary School, Parker Intermediate School, Nimitz Ninth Grade School and Nimitz High School. I commend the departments that rushed into action, remained calm during a difficult day and carried out their assignments in a professional manner. The Aldine ISD Police Department under the direction of Ken Knippel, assistant superintendent of administration, Police Chief Brian Allen, Lt. Kevin Northey and AISD police officers led the district’s efforts to lock down the four schools in a quick and efficient manner. The police department and Mr. Knippel also kept principals informed about what was happening and how it would impact their campuses. He also kept the public information office informed so that media received accurate and updated information throughout the afternoon. Lt. Northey and his officers also assisted local law enforcement with the search for the suspect, established a safety perimeter of officers around the nearby schools and assisted with traffic control. Principals Terrie Sanchez of Dunn Elementary, Candace Hardin of Parker Intermediate, Dr. Crystal Watson-Barrow of Nimitz Ninth and Alex Jordan of Nimitz High coordinated their staff to handle the large volume of phone calls from parents and others about the safety of their children. They also locked down their respective campuses to prevent anyone from entering or leaving the buildings, supervised and cared for staff and students in need of special assistance, kept parents informed and reassured students and kept them calm. The public information office, consisting of Ben Wilson, assistant superintendent of community and governmental relations, Mike Keeney, director of public information, Leticia Fehling, assistant director of public information and Chris Labod, graphic artist, conducted live interviews with local and national media to keep parents and the public updated on the events throughout the day, translated messages and broadcast them to parents via the district’s automated phone system about lock downs, dismissal changes, transportation changes and the latest information from AISD police. Richard Delgado, director of athletics, and his department canceled all athletic contests at Nimitz Ninth and Nimitz High School, notified game officials and staff working games about the cancelations and notified the transportation department about the cancelations. Dani Sheffield, executive director of child nutrition services and her staff adjusted food service schedules interrupted by the campus lockdowns, ensured that all students were served despite the delays and made sure cafeterias were ready for breakfast the next morning despite a shorter window of time for preparation. The transportation department, consisting of executive director Robin DeRouen, director Mike Houston, assistant director Alfred DeBose and their staff adjusted to dismissal changes at the four schools, alerted other district schools that were impacted by the late bus runs and transported students home in a safe and efficient manner on a very difficult afternoon. These departments did an outstanding job and are clearly striving to be the Nation’s Best!

Upcoming Events

Thursday, Feb. 21
Parent Advisory Meeting, M.O. Campbell Educational Center, Room 104, 7 p.m.

Friday, March 8
Teacher of the Year Breakfast, Hyatt North Houston Hotel, 7:30 a.m.

Monday, March 11-Friday, March 15
Spring Break, district campuses and offices closed

Monday, March 18
Board Study Session, Board Room, 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, March 19
Board Meeting, Board Room, 7 p.m.

Thursday, March 21
Leadership Aldine, Board Room, 8 a.m.

Friday, March 29
Good Friday Holiday, district campuses and offices closed