supers cover

September 8, 2017

Volume I, Issue 2

A child without education is like a bird without wings.  - Tibetan proverb

Good afternoon LISD,

The Tibetan proverb previously quoted is such a meaningful call to action because of the great responsibility with which we are charged as educators, parents and members of our Laredo community. Through quality teaching and learning, we can give our children all that is necessary to help them successfully soar above all challenges and rise towards countless opportunities to succeed in any career of their choice. In essence, we can give them their wings and guide them along their educational journeys.

This is precisely one of the reasons why you will often hear me speak about The Fundamental Five, a set of routines that define a systemic approach towards implementing quality instruction throughout our District. As is evidenced by the fantastic academic success that our students have achieved throughout the year, there is no doubt that many of you already practice these routines on a daily basis. 

The Fundamental Five:
1. Frame the Lesson.
2. Work in the Power Zone.
3. Conduct small group instruction that is purposeful and support of individual needs.
4. Recognize stakeholders and reinforce new learning.
5. Write critically.

The challenge, however, lies in the systemic implementation of these structures across the District. Moreover, I truly believe that doing so will further underline the great strides that have taken place in our schools, particularly over the last several years.

Identifying the T-TESS connection to these routines additionally guarantees that we are on the right track when it comes to establishing a Districtwide process to help us move in unison as we support our students in every classroom. Campus and District administrators will be working diligently to share the training that they received in our Leadership Summit and to support all staff as we systemically implement these routines. You can read more about the Fundamental Five in a book written by Sean Cain and Mike Laird. Their ideas not only complement our Super 8, but also delineate “the how,” in defining quality instructional best practice. 

Our good friends at KGNS –TV are placing books directly into the hands of children at Alma Pierce, Leyendecker, Santa Maria, and Farias Elementary Schools. Through the “Magic of Storytelling” program, KGNS donated 500 new books to the libraries of these four schools. At last week’s Accelerated Reader kick-off held at Alma Pierce Elementary, KGNS anchor Richard Noriega charmed boys and girls with his amusing reading style. Students wore Mickey Mouse ears and dressed as their favorite Disney characters. The new books help develop a lifelong love of reading and learning. We are deeply thankful to KGNS-TV, ABC Laredo, and the Disney Company for this priceless gift of 500 books. 

Cigarroa High School has done it again! For the eighth year in a row, the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center has named CHS as the top high school for donating blood to the community. CHS Toros donated 558 units of blood, which equates to saving 1,672 lives.  Kudos to HOSA Sponsor Elaine Ibarra who spearheads two bloods drives a year for the school and to all who donated blood at Cigarroa High School. If you want to participate in this initiative, CHS has scheduled a drive for Sept. 19-20. The demand for blood and blood products is higher than normal these days because of Hurricane Harvey. Anyone who is 17 years old and weighs at least 110 pounds and is in good general health many donate blood.

Hats off to Olga “Gogi” Gutierrez who has been recently named the 2017 Special Olympics Texas (SOTX) Coach of the Year! This award recognizes the coach who best demonstrates a positive influence on his/her athletes, while helping them to succeed in competition as well as in life. Gutierrez will be officially honored in Bryan/College Station in conjunction with their Special Olympics Fall Classic in mid-October. 

Over the past 25 years, Gutierrez has been an Adaptive Physical Education coach with LISD, South Texas Head Coach, and South Texas Head of Delegation for Special Olympics Texas Area 21. She currently serves as Adaptive PE coach at Farias, Santa Maria, Leyendecker, Dovalina, and J.C. Martin Elementary Schools and Christen Middle School.

And let’s not forget that Shirley Stadium has been hosting football over the last couple of weeks. On Thursday night, the Nixon Mustangs defeated cross town rival, the Alexander Bulldogs with a score of 19 – 14. On Friday night, the Tigers defeated Donna North High School 35-14. Our most sincere congratulations are also extended to the many students who participate in a variety of ways at our football games and many other events. Our school bands, cheer and dance teams, as well as their directors, sponsors and parent volunteers deserve a special word of thanks as they truly reflect a colorful display of perfection and commitment.

Amidst all of the wonderful things that are happening in our schools, we cannot forget that today is simply referred to as 911. This somber date brings to mind the unselfish sacrifice and heroism of many in the face of tragic loss and terrorism. It seems as if a new America was born out of the ashes of the fallen Twin Towers, an America defined by the unyielding courage of a country determined to model the principles upon which it was created. And while we may struggle to further define the inclusivity that our founding fathers envisioned, we are still hopeful that today’s youth can extend their hands and hearts in welcome to all who call this country, their home. Thus, we must educate those who will someday inherit our democracy and guide them towards their better selves.

With this being said, let us not lose sight of our own responsibilities and commitments as educators of our youth. Yes, there may be much to accomplish this year, but it is also important to note that our LISD family is large and passionately dedicated towards achieving the success our students so richly deserve. This is why we will continue to seek solutions that not only resolve concerns but clear the way for innovation that inspires and creates opportunities for our students and staff as they spread their wings to soar to new heights. It is my hope that we too, will stand as one as we navigate our new horizons. 

Best always,

Dr. Sylvia G. Rios 
Laredo ISD Superintendent of Schools 

When all is said and done, it is the teachers who do the heavy lifting in education. What and how well they teach our children is critical to our future success as a society. - - Mike Laird

Cuando todo es dicho y hecho, son los maestros quienes hacen el trabajo pesado en la educación. Que y cómo tan bien enseñan a nuestros hijos es fundamental para nuestro éxito futuro como sociedad. - Mike Laird


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