Tuesday, April 18, 2017

April 18, 2017 District of Innovation…What Does this Mean for Anna ISD? This past November, The AISD Board of Trustees approved a resolution for our district to become a District of Innovation (DOI). The DOI concept, passed by the 84th Legislative Session in House Bill 1842, exempts traditional independent school districts from certain provisions of the Texas Education Code. DOI status gives more local control to our school district and our stakeholders. A DOI committee consisting of community members, teachers, parents, and administrators was formed and met several times throughout this school year to determine the provisions Anna ISD will implement. My next few blog posts will address these different areas the committee chose to focus on to become a District of Innovation. One of the provisions the committee chose to address was to take control of our school start date and is the focus of this post. Discussions on adjusting the uniform school start date focused on four areas. The first being the benefits of adding more professional development days throughout the school year. In previous years, district-wide staff development was completed at the beginning of each school year. This did not allow for staff development follow up or the opportunity to address other areas of need throughout the year. The second area of interest was to balance the number of instructional days between the semesters, as much as possible, creating equal grading periods. This led to the discussion about AISD campuses moving to a nine week grading period. Beginning the 17-18 school year, all campuses will be on a nine week grading period. Parents with multiple children in our district will now find it easier to monitor their children’s grades with consistent grading periods. Next, the Committee recognized a need for closing the summer gap in order to increase the achievement of our at-risk students. Although next year’s school calendar reflects this change, ideas were generated on ways to close this gap even further in the future. The last area dealing with the uniform start date, was to review this area annually and seek input from students, staff, parents, and community members. In order to provide the best possible educational opportunities for our students, Anna ISD may be adjusting the district calendar over the next few years. I appreciate the community’s flexibility and support through this process.

The 2017-18 school calendar can be found here and on the Anna ISD Website.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Making Progress

1st Six Weeks
It’s hard to believe we are already wrapping up the first six weeks of the school year. We are off to an exceptional start! The high school football team is dominating with a 5-0 record. Volleyball has a winning record and has begun their district competition. The high school band has been preparing their program for their state competition. The band is in store for a very busy month, performing just about every weekend during the month of October. I am optimistic and hopeful that I will be making a trip to San Antonio to watch them perform in the State Marching Competition this November.

With three simultaneous construction projects underway in Anna ISD, the growth is undeniable. I appreciate the patience and cooperation our community has shown as we work to fulfill the district’s plan.

The final touches are being put in place on the interior of Anna Middle School. The exterior construction is in full swing with steel being erected for the new band hall and theatre arts area. The piers and footings have been poured on the new classroom wing. The foundation for that particular area is soon to follow.

The new athletic complex is in full swing with the hopes to have it open in February. Heaps of dirt have been dug out behind Anna High School, as the foundation is being prepared for the new surface. We will accommodate baseball, softball and tennis activities at the complex this spring.

The construction for Anna’s third elementary school is underway. Lee Lewis Construction has started moving dirt in preparation for utilities and the foundation.

Elementary #3 Naming/Boundary/Staffing
Be on the lookout for surveys and other information concerning Elementary #3. We are in the process of developing two surveys to gather community input regarding our third elementary school.

The first survey will address naming the campus. You will be able to vote from a list of Anna’s past educators or have the option to write in your own idea. The survey will be placed on the district Website and will run for two weeks during the month of October. The survey results will be compiled and presented to the AISD School Board. The Board will discuss your input and consider other necessary factors to determine the name of Anna’s newest campus. Our goal is to announce the name of the school at our January Board Meeting.

The second survey will address the boundary lines for Elementary #3. Anna ISD has been provided four different scenarios by our demographer to consider in determining the boundary lines. The survey will contain the four different choices along with some demographic information and will be placed on the district Website during the month of October. The AISD Board of Trustees will receive the results from this survey in November and consider all information before making the final decision at the January Board Meeting.

The district is also beginning to discuss staffing the new campus. Our staffing objective is that each campus will be as equal as possible with regards to years of experience. During the second semester, we will send out a questionnaire to the district elementary staff requesting volunteers to move to the new campus. District administration will review the results and consider other necessary factors in designating staff to the elementary campuses. At this time, our plan for Elementary #3 is to announce the new principal in January and the remainder of the personnel in April.

As a reminder to the staff of Anna ISD:
These are exciting times in our district! Embrace the growth and maintain a positive outlook for the benefit of our schools, families and community. Anna ISD is a desirable district filled with wonderful students and staff. We are blessed to be part of such a district. Every day pledge to be positive so that you may have a positive impact on those whose lives you touch.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Great Start to the 16-17 School Year

The 2016-2017 school year is off to a great start! Below are the first day enrollment numbers: 

817 - AHS
719 - AMS
646 - JKB
649 - SER
303 - ECC
3,134 - Total

On behalf of our teachers, staff and administrators, I would like to express our appreciation for the opportunity to teach your children here in Anna ISD. As I toured the campuses today, I was pleased to see everyone hit the ground running. Our teachers were teaching and our kids were learning. 

Thank you for your continued patience with the road construction and cautious driving through our growing city. There were the usual first-day-of-school-delays, however, everyone arrived safely and there were smiles all around.

I spent the morning at Anna Middle School. It was great to see our 7th and 8th graders come into the renovated building with smiles on their faces in response to the changes. 

We anticipate countless accomplishments by our hard-working students this school year. Please take every opportunity to support our Coyotes by attending events and activities and by volunteering wherever possible. Thank you for your continued support of Anna Independent School District!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

2016-2017 Anna ISD Employee Recognition

Well another year is in the books! It seems as if every year passes faster than the last. I would like to express my appreciation to the teachers and staff of Anna ISD for their dedication to our students. Anna is such a successful district due to the hard-working and kid-loving AISD family. We spent the last day of school recognizing various staff members for their contributions to the district.

5 Years of Service
Daniel Ackermann, Britta Borgardt, Tammy Darland, Jennifer Fulp, Kelli Gee, Anna Lisa, Gonzalez, Lisa Hutchinson, Jessica Justus, Allison Kennedy, Mindy Lacy, Heather Mackey, Margaret Martinez, Heriberto Nevarez, Becky Stahl, Nelda Stanley, Patricia Voit and Kristy Walters. Lauri Keck and Benton Timpanaro were also recognized for five years of service. Due to an error in calculating years of service it was recognized that they had not been recognized previously. Lauri actually has six years in the district while Benton has completed eight.

10 Years of Service
Anita Bickenbach, Malissa Cellars, Tomika Crosby, Dean Gladden, Paula McMillion, Laura Morales, Melanie O’Bier, Jeremy Patton Amy Pratt, Carol Silverglat, Pete Slaughter, Deborah Womack and Katrina York.

15 Years of Service
Delda Morrison, Paige Gililland and Zoila Lebo

20 Years of Service
Judy Smith

25 Years of Service
Dianna Olsen and Debbie Lindsey

30 Years of Service
Dawn Motley

Campus Paraprofessionals of the Year 
Gail Higgins, Miguel Diaz Sifonte, Shirley Beazley, Salma Rehman and Maria Gutierrez. 

Campus Teachers of the Year  
Laura Taylor, Zoila Lebo, Robin Latham, Mary Lewis and Rebecca Steffen.

District Para of the Year
Miguel Diaz Sifonte

District Elementary Teacher of the Year
 Robin Latham

District Secodary Teacher fo the Year
Zoila Lebo

Anna ISD Employee of the Year
Jesus Ramirez 

Anna ISD's Rockin' Retirees
Every year we honor our employees who are retiring with a rocking chair. 
Congratulations to Debbie Dumas and Judy Smith! 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

I would like to personally thank all the Anna stakeholders who voted in the May 7, 2016 election. The 585 voting citizens have elected to pass the AISD bond election, with a total of 413 (70.59%) votes for the bond and 172 (29.40%) votes against the bond.

Our first order of business will be the construction of the district’s third elementary school. At our May school board meeting, trustees will approve plans, select the site, and place the project out for bid. In order to complete the project in a timely manner, we will need to begin construction June 2016. Our goal is to have Anna’s third elementary school open the fall of 2017.

Beginning in the fall of 2016, Anna ISD will be in the midst of three different construction projects. The projects include: AMS expansion, AHS Athletic Complex, and Elementary #3. We will keep you posted on the details of each project throughout the summer.

Congratulations to the Anna Coyotes baseball team! The guys won the bi-district championship by shutting down Pinkston. The first game was a no hitter 19-0 victory. The second game was much like the first, a one hitter with a 19-0 victory. We would also like to congratulate Coach Hector who picked up his 300 career win during the championship. The guys are scheduled to play Sanger in the next round of the playoffs at Sanger High School, this Thursday at 7:30 pm.

AISD Staff
I would like to express my appreciation to the staff of AISD for making this such a great district. Every department and campus strives to create a student-centered environment. Thank you.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Anna ISD Fine Arts Programs Continue to Soar and Expand

Anna ISD believes that the arts play an important role in education and in the development of our students. I have always believed that Anna ISD has one of the best fine art programs in Texas! Anna students have a variety of fine art opportunities to excel in. As I walk our campuses and attend the various events hosted by our fine arts teachers, it is obvious that our students are extremely talented and are being taught well. I would like to recognize some of our high school students and their great accomplishments in our fine arts programs.

In March, AHS art students participated in the Visual Arts Scholastic Event (VASE) in Dallas, Texas. Several students received 4's, which is the highest score possible and given for their extraordinary artwork. We are especially excited for Katie Kemp, as her painting advanced to the state level. She will travel to San Antonio on April 22 for the State VASE Event.

This past Saturday, our theater arts students competed in the One-Act Play Area contest at Denison High School. The cast and crew advanced to the Regional competition. In addition, Andrew Shute was named “Outstanding Male Actor”. They did a phenomenal job and represented Anna superbly.  The Regional competition will be held at Texas A&M Commerce later this month.

The AHS Band has had an exceptional year. In the fall competition, our marching band received all ones (which is the highest score possible) for their performance. Under the UIL’s rotating competition schedule, next year our marching band will have the opportunity to compete for the state title. We are excited to see the performance they will select and to see how far they will advance. We have also had several concert band students advance to the state competition. Dylan Stepherson advanced to the Association of Texas Small School Bands All-State Jazz Band. The following students have advanced to the Texas State Solo & Ensemble Contest:

Devon Achenbach, Johnny Alvarado, Haley Anderson, Timothy Arellano, Noah Bert, Sebastian Boyer, Amanda Callahan, Evan Callahan, Austin Casada, Sayde Cummings, Madison Davis, Brenda DeSantiago, Samantha Divers, Dustin Drayer, Ben Drazil, Cassandra Erbynn, Gabrielle Fornoff, Dillon Garcia, Joe Garcia, Juanita Govea, Ariana Guillermo, Sean Henricks, Ryan Hoverson, Nolan Hutchins, Preston Isham, Darian Jones, Andre Joyce, Joel Lopez, Ashlynn Love, Sydney May, Reid McGowan, Cintia Medina, Dylan Morgan, Freddy Perez, Joshua Phakvang, Jonah Parker, Jairo Rubio, Omar Rubio, Heidi Sanders, Estrella Santibanez, Joe Sarro, Keira Schmidt, Riley Self, Alexis Smith, Dylan Stepherson, Tatum Wolf, Trevor Wolf, and Jacob Woodard

I am excited to announce that our Fine Arts program is expanding this upcoming school year, with two new opportunities for our students. We are in the process of adding color guard, which will add to the artistic performance of our marching band. We will also offer choir to our middle and high school and are currently in the process of interviewing candidates for a choir director.

I would like to invite you to see our students perform in their different fine art events. Please view the campus calendars for future dates and times of performances. My hope is that our students will take every opportunity to explore Anna’s different fine arts programs to see if they might find a new avenue to express themselves.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

I hope everyone had a restful spring break and are ready to finish out this school year. We have made many great strides this year and are looking to continue that trend next year.
I would like to congratulate AHS Junior, Keamoni Mattocks for a successful year in basketball. He was named to the 4A All-State team and he is currently 8th all-time in the state on 3 point scoring. He still has his senior year to add to his totals. All of our extracurricular teams have done an outstanding job this year. We are proud of our kids and look forward to a successful spring!

Bond Election
We will host a public meeting on April 11 at 6:30 pm to explain the bond process and information concerning the District’s plans. A meeting in Spanish will follow at 7:15 pm. The meeting will be held in in the Anna High School auditorium. The school bond election addresses the need for new schools and to improve existing schools in order to manage continuing growth. The bond will follow the AISD Facility Plan as developed by the Strategic Planning Committee. Early voting will begin on April 25 with Election Day being held on May 7. All voting will take place at Anna City Hall.

AMS Construction Update
Work has begun on expanding the middle school campus. In spite of all the rain during spring break, the AISD Maintenance Department managed to relocate and hook up the portable classrooms. Although this was a muddy and messy project, it allowed for progress to begin on the expansion.

As preparations for pouring a foundation are in the works, the construction company is in the process of tearing out the drive around the campus, so that piers can be drilled. Anna Middle School has set up temporary access to assist with student arrival and dismissal.