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Superintendent's Blog

 

 

"In the Loop" 

           by  Dr. Lori Blaylock

 

 

 

 

An Unfair Game - An Open Letter to our Communities

Little kids are notorious sticklers for fairness. Don’t believe it? Try giving one child a piece of candy and the other a pat on the head for a job well done. Then just sit back and watch the outrage!

Or, consider this classroom scenario. A teacher makes a research assignment but doesn’t specify a required number of pages.  Some students turn in five pages, others submit 10-15 pages, and still others write 20+ pages. After the assignments are completed and turned in, the teacher decides that all papers with less than 10 pages will receive an F and only papers with 20+ pages will receive an A. How would you feel if this happened to your child? How would you respond? Would your complaint be valid?

Each of us possesses an innate sense of fairness. We understand that we should take turns, play by the rules, and give everyone a chance.  We understand that the criterion has to be set ahead of time and shared before play commences. We understand that taking advantage of anyone, but especially those you claim to support is unethical and unfair.

That’s why it is so surprising to realize that the State Legislature is implementing an A-F rating system that is unfair to students, teachers, schools, and communities.

In 2015, the 84th Legislature enacted HB 2804 which in turn established an A-F rating system for public school districts and campuses to be implemented September 1, 2017 (TEC §39.054).  It is important to realize that the rules of the game were not established before Spring 2016 testing and that the Texas Education Agency has released A-F ratings eight months before the program rating system was legally scheduled to begin.

Click this link to view the full letter, and learn why, as school leaders, we oppose the A-F rating system.

 

Posted by acorder on Monday December 5, 2016 at 01:18PM
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Great Schools

What makes a school district great? If I asked that question to several different people I would probably receive several very different responses.

A mom that works out of town wants to know that her children are safe and cared for in her absence.

The parent of a college-bound senior wants a school system that will prepare their child academically.

The community desires thoughtful graduates that are able to communicate and collaborate because of their exposure to the fine arts, athletics, and other team events that enrich the culture of a town.

The owner of a local business wants graduates with job skills, character, and strong work ethics.

 Taxpayers want financial security and transparency.

 Our state and nation demands independent thinkers who possess a sense of social responsibility and citizenship.

The Texas Senate wants students that are able to produce passing scores on tests that do not consider security, job skills, citizenship, social responsibility, or practical applications AND do not test all academic subjects. They want to rank districts according to these tests using “A for Great” down to “F for Failure”.

So, let’s put this system to the test.

Kaufman High School and Norman Jr. High were just named UIL Academic District Champions for the third year in a row, defeating schools in our area by a large margin. Yet, based completely on test scores, it is possible that KISD would receive a lower ranking than the same schools we beat in an academic competition.

Each year, Kaufman ISD receives the highest financial rating possible on the state’s FIRST financial report. The district has been rated AAA by Standard and Poor and has also received the Comptroller’s Leadership Award for financial transparency. Yet, it is possible using the A-F system that Kaufman ISD would receive a lower ranking than a school in financial distress.

Each year, KISD students give back to their community in support of charity. Ongoing projects include Christmas at KHS for selected Pre-Kindergarten students, Meals for Mums which support the Kaufman Christian Center, St. Jude Children’s Hospital, Pink Out in support of breast cancer research, canned food drives, blood drives, scholarship donations, and countless community service projects. Yet, within the state’s proposed rating system, these important social contributions will not be recognized.

Each year, KISD students advance to state competitions in Band, Choir, Track, Cross County, Fishing and Archery. Even more of our student teams are District, Bi-District, Area, and Regional champions! Even though these activities teach vital life skills, they are not deemed important enough to consider in the proposed rating system.

What makes a school district great? You can decide. I believe that Kaufman ISD is GREAT because we strive to prepare students for the future, instill each of them with a sense of purpose, and provide a school system in which we can take pride! It’s a shame that our senators in Austin would rather assign arbitrary rankings that are harmful to students and communities than praise and support what is good for kids!

Posted by acorder on Tuesday March 31, 2015
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November 2014

On the steps of St. John’s Church, Patrick Henry urged the state of Virginia to join the Revolutionary War. He ended with a famous phrase that even now symbolizes the heart of a patriot - “Give me liberty or give me death!” The patriotism expressed by these few word has echoed throughout American history. It whispered in the breeze when James Bowie and William Travis faced certain death at the Alamo rather than surrender to the Mexican General. It spoke to generations of men that endured horrific overseas battles during two world wars. It awoke with a shout on September 11, 2001, as firefighters, medical workers, and ordinary people risked everything for the sake of their fellow citizens.  

Patriots vigorously support their country, their state, and their community and are prepared, if need be, to defend it. Fortunately, most of us have never known the horrors of war or had to choose between our life and that of a stranger. to demonstrate our patriotism. It can be humbling to realize that the only way we can demonstrate our patriotism is through small, safe acts of service like voting.

Last week, the citizens of Kaufman ISD voted FOR the proposed school bond package. Many voted during the early voting period. Others braved the cold and rain to cast their vote on Election Day. Regardless of the timing, I would like to thank each person who voted. Thank you for supporting the school bond election – your vote is important and your support is priceless. Thank you for voting against the school bond election – your vote is important and motivates us to try harder to become a school system that you can support. Thank you - Jeff Jordan, Ray Raymond, Jim Thompson, Brent Gentzel, and Wendy Thomas - for devoting your time, talents, and resources to this election.

 Finally, thank you Kaufman, for reminding our students how blessed they are to be part of a community that honors its veterans, defends its values, and cherishes its children. Not everyone lives in a democracy and not everyone dwells among patriots. But Kaufman ISD does…and for that we are truly grateful.  

Dr. Lori Blaylock

Posted by acorder on Monday November 10, 2014 at 09:47AM
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NEW is a great word!

A new school year means new school clothes, new supplies, new teachers, new principals, and new friends! For some of you, this may be your first year in the school district, or even your first year to have a child in school. We are so happy to have your children! Thank you for trusting us with your most precious treasures!

It is our desire to work in partnership with parents so that students will receive the best educational experience possible. Here are some tips for our new parents.

  1. Introduce yourself to the classroom teacher. If you meet the teacher in a large group setting such as “Meet the Teacher” follow-up with an encouraging note or email.

  2. Sign up to be a school volunteer. If you have time this is a great way to get to know other teachers and parents. If you don’t have time to be a regular volunteer, let the teacher know that you would like to help with class parties or other special events.

  3. Learn about your child’s school. Be sure to read the school handbook and visit the school website regularly for news and updates. Attend as many school events as possible.

  4.  Show your child that school matters. Praise your child’s efforts and improvements. Ask questions about their day. Instead of asking, “How was your day?” try asking “What was the best thing that happened in school today?” Avoid absences other than those related to illness. Let your child know that you respect their teacher and expect them to follow the rules.

  5.  Solve problems as they occur.Please contact your child’s teacher with your concerns and give them time to solve the problem. Only then should you contact the campus principal. Notifying other administrators or the school board will not cause the problem to be corrected sooner and may even delay the process.

Every successful partnership involves some give and take. Clear and respectful communication between teachers and parents is the key to making sure that you and your child enjoy the school year.

Posted by acorder on Tuesday August 19, 2014
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KAUFMAN INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT  | 1000 S Houston Street Kaufman, TX 75142  |  Phone: 972-932-2622  |  Fax: 972-932-3325  |  Privacy Policy

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