Important District Updates

Message from Superintendent Mark Estrada
Posted on 01/24/2019
Superintendent Letterhead


January 24, 2019


Dear LISD Parents, Staff, and Community Stakeholders,


Lockhart ISD is an organization that views itself as a group of continuous learners, always looking for ways in which we can improve. While we do a lot of monitoring and self reflection to guide our growth, we know we can make better decisions when we seek the feedback of those we serve as well as those who can provide us perspective from the outside looking in.


Recently, we sought stakeholder feedback related to the 2019-2020 Academic Calendar as well as school safety for students and staff. Thank you to those who shared your thoughts with us to help us through the process of identifying our next steps for action.


2019-2020 Academic Calendar

Staff and parents were invited to vote on an academic calendar for the 2019-2020 school year. Of the 1,449 votes cast, we saw that 56.19% of staff were in favor of Option A, the innovative calendar allowing for three weeks to be moved from summer for “Lion Leap Weeks,” a time for deeper learning and rich experiences available for all Lions. When looking at votes cast by parents, 58.62% preferred Option B, the traditional calendar which mirrors our current academic calendar.


Because of the overall feedback, the school district plans on recommending Option B, the more traditional calendar, for the 2019-2020 school year, at the regular Board meeting February 25.


However, the district is still going to look at an innovative academic calendar for the the 2020-2021 school year based on the interest demonstrated by staff and community through this process. We will spend more time with parents and staff to continue planning for a smooth implementation, mitigating any unintended consequences to student programs, and ensuring proper financial planning for successful programming. Just this week, our LHS students Skyped with students from El Dorado High School to learn about their experiences with the innovative calendar and how they schedule activities in a way that maintains their competitiveness.


We are a District of Innovation and will continue to find ways in which we can provide our students opportunities that uniquely benefit them as students in Lockhart ISD.


School Safety Exchange

In December, the school district emailed invitation to staff and parents to provide your thoughts on what are the things important for the district to consider as we work to ensure our schools are safe places for students to learn and for staff to work. A total of 598 participants shared 665 thoughts and offered 11,251 ratings of thoughts shared by others. We are grateful for those who participated in this important conversation.

Because each of you offers a different perspective, the district was able to capture concerns and suggestions we would not have been able to generate on our own. We know when we engage those we serve, we can learn more to have a fuller picture and make better decisions.


A report of all thoughts shared during the exchange were shared with the Board of Trustees in an electronic file which you can access here. Thoughts are listed by order of rank, showing those thoughts with the strongest agreement across the district to those thoughts with the least agreement.


Additionally, the district presented a report of the themes that emerged from the feedback, including strengthening security around playgrounds with fencing, addressing concerns of crowding at Lockhart Junior High School and Lockhart High School due to student population growth, ways in which to better secure schools and consistently monitor those who enter campuses, identifying ways to improve communication on a campus during a crisis, enhancing support for students in need of social and emotional support or mental health services, and continuing the important work of practicing drills and strengthening our partnerships with law enforcement.


While there are some areas in which groups differed in opinions, there were many areas in which groups had common ground. The Board and district leadership team are studying all of the comments, using the common ground as a way to help us prioritize our resources to strengthen safety and security, and developing a plan for implementation that improves safety for both students and staff.


Demographic Report

The district presented its most recent demographic report to the Board of Trustees at the December regular Board meeting. As you know, the district works with a professional demographer to closely track growth within the district, which helps us to make better decisions about maximizing resources while ensuring the best learning experiences for all Lions.


Last year, LISD experienced 3.6% growth in the student population, and this fall, we hit a record enrollment of 6,120 students. We fully expect to continue this trend and project that we will add an additional 1,000 students over the next 5 years. Additionally, as of this fall, the district has seen record sizes for classes from 6th through 10th grade, which is not a surprise to anyone with students attending Lockhart Junior High School or Lockhart High School. Finally, the sizes for Pre-K, Kindergarten, and 2nd grade classes are at record numbers across the district.


Others have discovered what we have known for quite some time--it’s good to be a Lockhart Lion, and our community provides the right combination of opportunity, diversity, and quality of living that attracts continued economic development and residential growth. We will continue to track this progress and ensure we are prepared for the next phase of growth for Lockhart ISD.


You can read the full report online


I want to thank you for your continued support of the work we are doing together to prepare students for success by ensuring all students are challenged, healthy, engaged, safe, and supported. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact me anytime at Mark.Estrada@lockhart.txed.net.


Regards,


Mark Estrada

Superintendent of Schools

Lockhart ISD



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