From the desk of Dr. Kirk Lewis

Updates from the Superintendent


Educator’s Mt. Rushmore

It rankles deep in the core of me when I hear a politician say that America’s public schools are failing. It is a broadly-stroked, thinly-veiled statement made for political gain that marginalizes the amazing work of teachers in every school across this country. We spend too much time denigrating the work of our educators, making their jobs more difficult through all the federal and state mandates that take time away from teaching and learning.

I thought this week about the presidents immortalized in granite at Mt. Rushmore. If I had my own South Dakota mountain, I’d carve the faces of four educators who impacted my life in such a strong way.

First, you’d see Ms. Wallace, a 3rd grade teacher who gathered fragments of my self-esteem and drew confidence from the inner soul of an insecure and shy boy. Second, Mr. Satterwhite, a junior school administrator who, with a sad shake of his head, let me know my behavior as a leader on campus had failed to meet his expectations; that  he held me to a higher standard because of who he thought I could become. Thirdly, Ms. Falk, a senior English teacher who would not accept second-rate work…ever…and repeatedly handed back an assignment until I had satisfied her expectations. Finally, Mr. Watts, a government teacher who taught me to look deeper, think harder and accept nothing at face value.

America’s schools are not perfect. Because of teachers and principals like those on my Mt. Rushmore, they are better than most alternatives for most students. I’m grateful to a Pasadena ISD community that recognizes the contributions of its outstanding educators.

Who’s on your educator’s Mt. Rushmore? Respond to this blog and let us know.

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Principals Have Impact

A principal is making his rounds of the school when he hears a commotion coming from one of the classrooms. He rushes in and spots one young man, taller than the others, who seems to be making the most noise.

He takes the young man by the hand, leads him into the hall telling him to wait there for the principal to return. Back in the classroom, the principal restores order and lectures the class about the importance of good behavior.

‘Now,’ he says, ‘are there any questions?’

One girl stands up timidly. ‘Please,’ she asks, ‘may we have our teacher back?’

That principal made an impact. Our principals impact our students everyday by leading them to learn the tools necessary for living productively in a global society.

Principals are charged with managing the discipline, instruction, physical operation, and staff of our campuses. It is a job that is not defined by the clock.

A principal’s day often begins before sunrise, opening the campus and checking the facility. Every day principals visit classrooms, judge student competitions, monitor the lunchroom, meet with parents, encourage first year teachers and guide students to make good choices.

October is National Principal’s month and I would like to extend this into our community.

We have amazing principals. Take a moment to let them know they are appreciated. Thank them for the impact of their leadership, love and support.

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Welcome Back, Alumni

Welcome Back, Alumni

Special Agent LeRoy Jethro Gibbs on NCIS reminds me weekly that “Once a Marine, always a Marine.”

It’s true. Institutional pride binds us together. As college alumni, we connect experiences with other Red Raiders, Aggies, Longhorns or Cougars. As high school graduates, we take pride in being Eagles, Trojans, Texans, Longhorns or Mavericks. For too many years, Pasadena ISD failed to actively reach out to alumni of our schools. We want to make up for that oversight.

A large number of alumni have been returning to our high school homecoming activities in recent years. Al Carter, communications coordinator for Pasadena ISD and SoHo alum, and a number of his friends took significant steps to build a viable alumni association for South Houston High School. The Trojans planned extensive activities this year involving hundreds of former students. The school inducted a new class of graduates into its Hall of Honor.  We’re seeing similar interest grow among alumni of Pasadena’s other high schools.

Graduates from all of our schools distinguish themselves each year in every conceivable career. Not limiting themselves to homecoming activities, many of our graduates give time and resources to the school that provided them such a solid foundation for success.

Welcome back alumni. We’re awfully glad you’re here.

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I Love It When a Plan Comes Together

Ensuring that all students are career and college ready stands at the heart of the mission of Pasadena ISD. Our students have big dreams and we must help make their dreams come true.

Plans developed by the Pasadena ISD Strategic Planning Committee in 2012 and by the Future Facilities Committee in 20011 are on the verge of becoming reality. In the next few days, you will see bulldozers clearing land near the intersection of Genoa-Red Bluff and Beltway 8, the first phase of construction for the new Career and Technology High School. Scheduled for completion in 2014, the new campus will serve 1,700 students in  six different career academies with dozens of pathways from which our students can choose. Most students who graduate from this campus will earn a high school diploma and career certifications. Some students may even earn an associate’s degree from San Jacinto College by the time they complete the 12th grade.

In the end, the new campus will meet the needs of a growing number of our students while meeting the work force needs of area businesses and industries.

I love it when a plan comes together and this plan will be an incredible opportunity for our community.

For more information follow this link.