On October 20, Aldine ISD held its annual State of the District Breakfast at the Hilton Houston North Hotel. The presentation took a look back at the 2016-17 school year and ahead to the challenges the district faces in the future. The focus on this year’s event was on technology and how it is used in classrooms and across the district. The event also served as the kickoff for the Aldine Education Foundation’s (AEF) Relief Fund campaign.
Prior to the start of the breakfast, high school students in the robotics program presented hands-on demonstrations for attendees. In addition, virtual reality sets were displayed, students engaged in coding activities using Chromebooks, journalism students interviewed attendees as they entered the banquet room and live streamed the event across the district.
The Eisenhower High School Jazz Band entertained the audience.
For the fourth year in a row, members of Superintendent Dr. Wanda Bamberg’s Student Advisory Committee assisted with the presentation, and also informed the audience of their favorite technology tool.
Aldine High School student Angel Fonseca delivered the welcome, led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance and Pledge to the Texas flag. He also introduced members of the Aldine ISD Board of Trustees.
Davis High School student Nfia Goya introduced elected officials and their representatives who attended the breakfast.
U.S. Congressman Gene Green attended the event, as did Derek Darnell who represented State Senator Sylvia Garcia’s office, Giovanni Perez who represented State Rep. Armando Walle’s office, Janice Weaver who represented Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner’s office, and Kent Clingerman who represented Pct. 4 County Commissioner Jack Cagle.
Victory Early College High School student Charles Williams introduced AEF board members who were present at the breakfast.
Carver High School student Jazmin Navarro introduced district stakeholders, which included students, parents, grandparents, business partners, community partners, nonprofit partners and education partners. She also introduced AISD Board President Dr. Viola M. Garcia, who delivered the invocation.
Following breakfast, AEF President Bill Ginder spoke on behalf of the Foundation.
Ginder provided and overview of what AEF has accomplished since it was formed in 2012. He spoke of a new AEF effort, the formation of the AEF Relief Fund to provide recovery aid to AISD families who were impacted by Hurricane Harvey. AEF has thus far raised $304,000 (and its growing) for AISD staff and families. Harvey affected more than 4,200 families and Ginder asked that those in attendance donate to this worthy cause.
He also lauded AISD staff for contributing nearly $100,000 for student scholarships.
Carver High School student Checotah Burkhalter introduced a video produced by Alyssa Duty, the district’s multimedia communications specialist. The video centered on the many types of technology programs Aldine students are using in the classroom.
Eisenhower High School student Joceline Gonzalez provided information on the district’s demographics. During the 2016-17 school year, Aldine ISD had an enrollment of 69,768 students. The district’s current enrollment is 67,374. Important demographic information for the 2016-17 school year included:
•At-Risk Population – 73%
•Economically Disadvantaged Population – 86.19%
•Attendance Rate – 94.5%
•Hispanic Population – 72.85%
•African-American Population – 23.14%
•Anglo Population – 1.91%
•Special Education Population – 7.22%
•Gifted and Talented Population – 4.33%
•Graduation Rate – 83% (note: the official data is always a year behind. 2017 graduation rates will be reported next year)
Checotah also shared information on how AISD students performed on the state’s accountability test, STAAR (State of Texas Assessments and Academic Readiness). Math scores improved at all grade levels, including Algebra 1. Reading scores decreased in grades 3-8, writing scores decreased in grades 4-7 and the district saw some growth in End of Course (EOC) English I and English II scores.
Each year, the state gives the district and individual campuses a rating of either Met Standard, or Improvement Required. Seventy-three AISD campuses Met Standard and three campuses received a rating of Improvement Required. Last year, four campuses were in Improvement Required and three campuses came out of Improvement Required.
MacArthur High School student Victoria Rodriguez shared information of how a number of student organizations at MacArthur came together to create the Hurricane Harvey Relief Drive to assist people in the MacArthur community who were badly impacted by the storm. Students collected clothing, water, toiletries, baby formula, cleaning supplies and distributed them on September 9.
She shared information on how the storm affected other parts of the district. Aldine has 972 students identified as homeless. Out of those 972, 920 were displaced or had to move out of their homes due to the flooding. The flooding impacted 3,700 students and 861 staff members. In addition, the storm caused damage to some of the district’s schools, the most serious being Mendel Elementary, which had to be closed.
Mendel students in grades 1-4 now attend Greenspoint Elementary School and Mendel kindergartners attend Garcia-Leza EC/Pre-K Center.
Victoria informed the audience that the M.O. Campbell Educational Center and the Aldine Education Center (AEC) were used as Red Cross shelters during the storm. Child Nutrition staff members and volunteers served families in the shelters and in their respective communities after the storm. Donations continue to arrive to the district and campuses from around the state and country. Aldine ISD appreciates the generosity as students and staff put their lives back together.
Nimitz High School student Alexander Manzanares provided an update on a number of construction projects approved from the $798 million 2015 bond referendum. He told the audience eight new campuses are under construction and major renovations are underway at Aldine High School, MacArthur High School, Carver High School and Anderson Academy. Technology has been updated and repairs are in progress. The new campuses will open on schedule in the fall of 2018. Stakeholders can view a video on construction progress at www.aldineisd.org/bond2015.
Aldine High School student Mike Pham provided an overview of the district’s finances. The projected expenditures for the 2017-18 school year are $622,652,000 and projected revenues are $578,142,000, which leaves a deficit of $44,510,000. The deficit will be covered by AISD’s Ending Cash Reserves or our fund balance, which is $131,758,000. The district has a strong fund balance. The district’s one-month expenditures are $51,887,000. Its fund balance is healthy because it has more than two-and-a-half months of expenditures set aside. Pham also announced the district’s tax rate is $1.37 per $100 valuation.
Davis High School student Daniel Lopez shared information on AEF and other grants the district received during the 2016-17 school year. Last year, the Foundation awarded 135 student scholarships totaling $354,000 from AEF and 129 scholarships totaling $128,900 from the Aldine Scholarship Foundation. In addition, AEF awarded 18 teacher grants totaling $54,300. In addition to scholarships and grants awarded by AEF, Aldine ISD students earned 1,388 scholarships totaling $48,361,300. The district received 148 grants totaling $706,600.
Eisenhower High School student Shaydrian Flowers provided information on the District Improvement Plan. During the 2016-17 school year, a committee of parents, grandparents, teachers, administrators, students, community and business partners were part of a committee that participated in the process. After studying district data and working with stakeholders, the following goals were chosen for the strategic plan:
•Improve student achievement.
•Foster a safe and secure learning environment where students reach their potential.
•Develop a robust system for differentiated, ongoing professional development which integrates content, strategy, evidence and response.
•Attract, recruit and retain partnerships and capitalize on their strengths, resources and talents to meet student needs.
•Increase the attendance rate for students and staff.
•Improve strategic teacher retention.
•Identify, capitalize on and replicate the benefits of school choice within the district.
Dr. Bamberg provided closing remarks, thanked the Student Advisory Committee and those involved in organizing the event.