June 2013, Edition

Dear Education Partner:

Dr Wanda Bamberg, Superintendent of SchoolsThe 2012-13 school year came to a close the first weekend in June with our annual graduation ceremonies. Approximately 2,800 AISD seniors received their diplomas and will now move onto a new chapter in their lives. We wish them well. Our administrators and principals will spend the summer planning for the next school year, reviewing data from the previous one and maintaining our facilities.

In August, we will open Davis Ninth Grade School. Principal Heather Kirk and her staff are busy staffing the building, arranging furniture and supplies and looking forward to opening the district’s fifth ninth grade campus and the district’s first since 1999.

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) recently released the STAAR End-of-Course (EOC) results. Our ninth- and tenth-grade students participated in Algebra I (73% passing rate), Geometry (81% passing rate), Biology (84% passing rate), Chemistry (92% passing rate), World Geography (72% passing rate), World History (67% passing rate), English I Reading (54% passing rate), and English I Writing (34% passing rate), English II Reading (70% passing rate), and English II Writing (36% passing rate). Our plans for instructional interventions are well underway. 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. We still have challenges to meet and work to do, but I am confident we will meet those challenges head on to best prepare our students for academic success.

Thanks to House Bill 5, which Gov. Perry signed into law in June, students across Texas will be required to take fewer EOC tests beginning with the 2014-15 school year. The new law will reduce (from 15 to five) the number of EOC tests students must pass in order to graduate and it will give students more flexibility to pursue career and vocational courses. Beginning with the 2014-15 school year, high school students must pass five EOC tests in Algebra I, English I and II, Biology and U.S. History in order to earn a diploma.

During the June Board meeting, our Trustees approved the budget for the 2013-14 school year and set the proposed tax rate. Trustees approved a budget of $531,997,343, which is an 11.4 percent increase from the 2012-13 budget.

Also at the June Board meeting, Trustees approved salary increases for all employees throughout the district. We appreciate this commitment from the Board. It proves their level of support for the work our employees do every day. I appreciate the time, effort and expertise our employees provide in their jobs and their commitment to the Aldine community. Our employees deserve the financial benefit for the work they do, and it’s our goal to remain competitive with surrounding districts.

Prior to the start of the June Board meeting, we held a reception to honor the Founding Partners of the Aldine Education Foundation (AEF). A wall was unveiled to honor the Founding Partners who either made at least a $25,000 or $10,000 donation to AEF. Diamond Partners ($25,000 donation) are The Arnold Foundation, The Brown Foundation, East Aldine Management District, Houston Endowment and The Texas Pioneer Foundation. Platinum Partners ($10,000 donation) are AXA Equitable, HEB, Jostens, and Wells Fargo Bank. We thank these foundations and organizations for supporting AEF as Founding Partners. We are excited about AEF’s future and growth potential.

Each year, we say good-bye to employees who retire from Aldine and this year, one of our key employees decided to conclude his career after 30 years of dedicated service. Jonathan Hantke, who served as our general counsel for all of his 30 years in Aldine, has been pivotal in researching policy for the Board, building a talented team of tax lawyers and serving as a sounding board for me, Mrs. Kujawa, Mr. Donaldson and M.O. Campbell. Jonathan brought professionalism, devotion and dedication to his job. We will miss his sharp wit, but most importantly his kind and caring spirit.

Kaye DeWalt is the new general counsel. Our legal department will be in good shape under her capable leadership.

Summer is a busy time, but our employees will receive some much-deserved down time to recharge their batteries and come back refreshed for the 2013-14 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

• For the fourth consecutive year, Aldine ISD received the Gold Circle Award from the State Comptroller’s Office. The award recognizes local governments across Texas that meet a high standard for on-line financial transparency.

• Conley Elementary School received a $5,000 grant from The Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries. The school will use the funds to expand, update and diversify its library book collections.

• Victory Early College High School graduate Kimberly Rangel was the recipient of a Gates Millennium Scholars Scholarship. Kimberly was one of 1,000 students from across the United States who received a Gates Scholarship.

• AISD softball players Asia Estrada of MacArthur High School and Caitlin Moerbe of Nimitz High School were selected to play in the Houston Power All-Star Game.

• Eisenhower High School senior swimmer Som-Mai Nguyen was named the top scholar athlete in her sport by the Touchdown Club of Houston.

• On May 23 the Aldine Education Foundation (AEF) and the Aldine Scholarship Foundation (ASF) awarded 139 scholarships to deserving AISD graduating seniors.

The Nation’s Best!

Nimitz High School senior Freddie Ramirez is only 18 years old, but he recently handled a very difficult situation in a manner twice his age. In the early hours one Sunday morning, Freddie was involved in an accident on Beltway 8 that was caused by a driver who was driving in the wrong direction. A woman in her early 20s got on Beltway 8 North driving the wrong way. She ran head-on into a Ford Focus with two people inside. Freddie’s vehicle crashed into the Focus, which resulted in him being injured. Despite being injured, he and another motorist sprang into action to help those in the other two vehicles. The two of them approached the Focus, called out to see if anyone would respond, but they received no answer. The Focus then caught fire. Freddie and the other motorist tried to extinguish the fire, but were not successful. They then approached the Altima to see if they could help that driver. Freddie and the other motorist pulled the female driver from her car, which had landed upside down on a concrete barrier. Freddie competed in athletics while at Nimitz and called on his physical and mental strength to help others even though he was hurt. We commend Freddie for his bravery. He is definitely one of the Nation’s Best!

Upcoming Events

Thursday, July 4
Fourth of July Holiday, District Offices Closed

Monday, July 15
Board Study Session, Board Room, 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, July 16
Board Meeting, Board Room, 7 p.m.