From the desk of Dr. Kirk Lewis

Updates from the Superintendent

I have to admit, I needed a break. After a few days of wrestling with the district budget and responding to a host of legislative issues, I carved out some time to spend with students and teachers at Genoa Elementary School and Rick Schneider Middle School. Getting a little face time in our schools is like that first taste of coconut pie after six months on a diet. Sweet!

Dr. Lewis and Schneider Intermediate Students

Dr. Lewis and Schneider Middle School Students

As parents and members of our community, I wish you could have witnessed what I saw. The teachers were delivering meaningful instruction and the vast majority of students were completely engaged in learning. One class that had been actively involved in an assignment groaned out loud when the bell rang. They didn’t want the class to end.

I visited one class in the hall as they returned from the library. We talked about the joy of reading. They shared the great books they had read and those they were about to read. They readily asked questions and listened with polite attentiveness and eager excitement.

Lately, we have heard some negative opinions about public education as people push hidden agendas. Certainly,  we have areas in need of improvement within the system. One can always find a few students lacking daily, necessary motivation. However, the majority of students we serve from pre-kindergarten through high school dream big dreams and desire to be successful. Our task is to clear the obstacles from their paths.

My encounters with the teachers and students were quick today, but the exposure put a long-lasting smile on my face and an extra zip in my step. Armed with that shot of educational adrenaline, bring on the budget.

 


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Incomprehensible Sadness

Little can be said today to bring any sense of understanding to the senseless act of mayhem that occurred today in Newtown, CT. My heart grieves for the parents and families of those little ones who lost their lives and for the spouses and families of the educators who were killed. Each time tragedy like this strikes, something despicable eats away at all that is good and right and wonderful in our world. With incomprehensible sadness we are left to pick up the pieces of lives shattered.

The thoughts and prayers of the entire Pasadena ISD community go out to the Newtown community in the days, weeks and months to come. It is my hope that every parent and grandparent in our own community will hug their children or grandchildren a little tighter tonight and let them feel your presence.


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Parents as Partners

Our society experienced a rise in single parent households, an increase in the number of homes in which both parents must work, and a growing population of parents with English language barriers over the past 25 years. Life is different from what most of us knew as children, but parents still love their kids. Even though the culture changed, parents still want to play a meaningful role in their child’s education and desire significant interactions with the schools their children attend.

A Strategic Plan update this week outlined the many parent activities hosted throughout the district. Pasadena ISD’s 62 schools hosted 2,856 distinct parent programs in 2011-12 involving an aggregate of 185,997 parents. Schools offered student-led programs, parent orientation meetings, Family Literacy Nights, parenting classes, ESL classes, Books & Breakfast, computer training, citizenship classes, Helping Your Child with Homework workshops, Anti-Bullying programs, booster clubs and a variety of other types of programs designed to connect our parents with our schools.

Schools can be an intimidating place for many of our parents. We hope that these programs emphasize our commitment to strengthening these critical relationships.

Thanks, Parents, for being so involved in your child’s education.