LISD: Flying High (from infinitie plus Magazine)

Mon Oct 6, 2014

He has solid reasons for being so upbeat.
Two hundred and sixty seven million dollar district bond project is essentially complete.
Enrollment has risen by 150 students.
Over the past three years 517 parents who could choose where to send their children decided on the LISD.

By obtaining additional state funding the district can do more for its students. Wilcox also gives considerable credit to his team for LISD successes.

He also points to the diversity of the educational opportunities the LISD provides to its students.

“If you want to be an elite student, we will train you. We have students with perfect scores on the SAT, and another with a premed scholarship to Duke [University.] Last year, a student received an eight-year scholarship to Purdue for nuclear engineering, but that is not all,” he said. “If you want to be a machinist, we will train you to be the best machinist there is. We are here to make our students’ dreams come true in whatever they choose to do.”

Wilcox believes that by doing everything possible to insure scholastic success, the LISD is helping not only its young scholars, but the whole Longview/Gregg County area as well. He has succeeded in seeing his students live up to his lofty expectations.

“We have raised the bar, and we expect everyone to up their game,” he said. “We instill confidence in our students and let them know we are here to help every student fulfill their dreams.”

It is important to note, LISD is the region’s only district with an International Baccalaureate offering high quality education from Kindergarten through 12th grade. To ensure further success, the high school has a state-of-the-art new Technology Education Center, that houses a new meat lab facility modeled on Tarleton State University’s renowned meat lab. The Technology Education Center is critical for workforce development. The innovative Career and Technology Education Center is a critical resource in training students for various careers including the oil and them for careers with the USDA. Wilcox is proud of the Technology Education Director Brian Kasper.

How Wilcox has brought this current level of success is by putting his extensive experience to work for LISD. According to Wilcox, he is willing to take risks, and is not content to leave well enough alone. He believes that if you settle for the status quo somebody will get ahead of you. He is convinced there is always room for improvement in one’s education, even those who do not aim to attend Baylor University, Rice or Texas A&M. For this reason, LISD’s faculty will work to prepare every student for academic success. However, if a student wishes to remain and make a life and career in Gregg County, the faculty will prepare him/her for this. To train students for their individual ambitions is keynote.

Also, constantly decreasing the student drop-out rate is another of the district’s high-priority objectives.

“We cannot afford to lose even one student,” he said. “We have to prepare every student, and we cannot short cut preparation, either.”

Ned E. Williams most recent academic distinction on the TEKS is a testament to Wilcox’s and his team’s dedication to his mission.

Ned E. Williams was the only school out of 96 in Region VII to accomplish this degree of academic achievement. Foster Middle School has also surged ahead in its students’ success, as has Ware Elementary School.

But that is not all. LISD has also started offering early graduation for nontraditional, exceptional students. This accelerates young scholars in attaining their aspirations and assorted interests. The Longview ISD campus that was formerly known as LEAD Academy has changed more than its name. Now called the Longview Early Graduation High School, this campus caters to progressive students who wish to graduate early. The facility also offers dual (high school/college) credit courses, Career and Technology options, virtual (online) learning, and ACT/SAT preparation.

The LISD is a diverse school district with approximately 8600 students and 1400 staff members. This school district mirrors East Texas’ rich culture and diversity. Apart from the International Baccalaureate Program, it offers the Montessori program for younger students, and dual college credit courses for high school students. The district’s high level of success is reflected in how one campus, Hudson PEP, has earned Exemplary status every year for more than a decade. Furthermore, Texas Monthly magazine selected Hudson PEP as one of the state’s finest elementary schools.

Furthermore, offering one of East Texas’ most extensive plethora of courses, Longview High School is a regional pacesetter in advanced courses. Longview High gives its students the most Pre-Ap and Advanced Placement courses of any school in this area. The high number of students already earning college credits testifies to the success of LISD. There is a steadily increasing number of National Merit scholars, GLOBE scholars, and Advanced Placement scholars. The school’s historic success in competitions hosted by the University Interscholastic League is another benchmark of success. Finally, the high school’s traditionally successful Academic Decathlon Team is a symbol of its emphasis on academic excellence.

LISD seeks to give a quality education to all its students–one at a time. Community partnerships are a means of achieving this objective. The LISD realizes education insures success and equality for all. The district seeks to prepare all its young minds for quality futures.

How seriously it takes this mission is also reflected in how the LISD is the city’s fourth-largest employer. In his farewell state of the city address, outgoing Mayor Jay Dean lauded the LISD’s successes and new schools. Wilcox’s fervor for his calling is a blessing to his students and Longview’s future.

The article and photo are courtesy of infinitie plus Magazine.