CISD looks ahead

August 23, 2011

Preparing today’s students to succeed in tomorrow’s world” is the vision that Columbus ISD has adopted to drive the direction of our academic endeavors. We are responsible for the education and growth of this community’s children and this is a responsibility that we do not

take lightly. The staff and students of Columbus continue to do an outstanding job in the schools many endeavors.

The district’s performance has continued to improve under TAKS each year and we look forward to the challenges of the new STAAR assessment. STAAR will be a more rigorous e

xam but will be in the format of an end of course exam and by state mandate comprise 15 percent of the student’s grade for that semester. It is our goal to make each campus and the overall district the best that we can be in terms of academic preparation for all of our children.

We are in the process of instituting our new C-Scope curriculum which offers us a road map in terms of our academic direction. We are striving to implement all of the college readiness standards and make the right adjustments to our programs in order to insure that our students are well prepared for their post high school endeavors. Technology is an emphasis of this district and we continue to upgrade our technology and infrastructure to keep our students prepared for the challenges of the 21st century.

We are going to be exploring a 1:1 laptop initiative at the high school where every student would be provided with a laptop. It is in discussion phase now but it definitely warrants our analysis as to the fact that all of these students will grow up in a world of technology much different than today and our programming has to change to match those expectations and demands. Our mission statement is “Columbus ISD strives to empower student(s) to discover their interests and develop the talents necessary to pursue their goals and dreams”.

We are excited about the formation of the Columbus Alternative School where the purpose will be to recover the dropouts over these recent years. We will look to enroll anyone 21 years of age and younger who is currently not in school and look to utilize a blended approach with computer self-based instruction accompanied by face to face tutoring. Hopefully the end result is a high school diploma once the course work is completed and exams are passed. We also hope to set up a GED review for those who need this service and to set CISD up as a facility where the GED exam can be administered. If you are a student who is interested in these services, visit the Columbus High School for directions on how to register and become enrolled. A degree plan will be formed to calculate the number of hours or credits needed to graduate.

In terms of the budget and where CISD stands, the philosophy has been to plan for the worst and hope for the best. We were fortunate in that we did not have to plan for layoffs or furloughs and it was the Board’s commitment to keep the staff in place. CISD has been conservative in its hiring patterns and tax rate so we felt that to further cut this could cause us performance problems. The cut from the state for this year was not as severe as projected which was a relief.

We also have one year of extra revenue from EduJobs bill which was settled and released to us in the spring. Five Oaks Achievement Center is a residential treatment center in the CISD district boundaries that has come back under our control for this school year. This has been a change in revenue as well and has resulted in decreasing our blow in terms of the potential cut. CISD will be responsible for placing staff at the facility and providing educational services at their location in New Ulm. The intent is to keep the school tax rate at $1.19 but to increase the M&O line by one cent (this is the money for salary and supplies) and decrease the I/S by one cent (this is our debt payment for the bonds of 2004-06). So in other words the tax rate in terms of the school district will remain the same. We will continue to have the Columbus Youth Center available at all campuses for the 2011-12 school year. It will offer a structured setting for after school with a snack available and tutoring for homework assistance.

The high school will also have a credit recovery/ attendance component as well to serve those students who meet those criteria. There will also be a wellness component and it will run from after school until 5:30 p.m. Registration will start the first week in September- look for flyers to come home with your child and information is also available on the CISD website. We are in discussion now to eventually transition the Youth Center to a Boys and Girls Club and expand the opportunities available.

The Web site for Columbus ISD has undergone a transition as well. Hopefully all of this translates into easier usage for all and it serves as a vehicle for information delivery. We feel it is an excellent upgrade and offers us more features to communicate with our stakeholders.

High expectations is an attribute that all of us in Columbus ISD must consciously embrace. Success brings success and along with that a renewed set of expectations to exceed the previous performance or repeat the success. Even though we are constantly striving to be successful, our work is never done. We are excited about our possibilities and celebrate the opportunity that we have to work on a daily basis to educate the youth of our community. It is the start to a new and exciting year, so I invite you to come out and get involved and support the Cardinals and Lady Cards!

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