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Superintendent Dr. James Wilcox looks back on another amazing year of accomplishments and progress for Longview Schools in 2018...

District looks back on another successful year

Tue Jan 1, 2019

With the start of a New Year, I cannot help but look back on the previous year. There were so many amazing accomplishments by our students, staff, and entire district in 2018, I could fill up an entire edition of The Longview Voice. But in the interests of time, I'll just hit a few of the highlights...

'HI-5' for student safety

In March we announced the creation of the HI-5 Program, partnership with local law enforcement to create a higher police presence on all of our district campuses.

Spearheaded by Mr. Dennis Williams, Assistant Superintendent of Administrative and Pupil Services, the HI-5 program involves fostering an atmosphere of "community policing" by increasing positive interactions between law enforcement and the LISD community.

Participating agencies include Longview Police Department, Gregg County Sheriff's Office, Lakeport Police Department, and the Texas Department of Public Safety.

The district will be inviting both active as well as retired officers to visit campuses and participate in student activities, in addition to incentivizing volunteerism among off-duty law enforcement.

Duke University honors middle schoolers

Longview ISD middle school students Jordan Allen, Chloe Alzaga, Luke Archer, Jefferson Dunaway, Delia Fourie, Seth Fulton, Abigail Hilton, Christina Holder, Reagan Hull, Mary Leak, Jair Lopez, Nathaniel McAlister, Harrison Mcauley, Hannah McCrory, Kayden Newhouse, Jax Norman, and Mikeia Robertson all earned state recognition for their scores on college entrance exams in April.

These 17 students are among the top 25 percent of Duke University’s annual 16-state talent search.

Not only that, but Delia Fourie, Reagan Hull, Hannah McCrory, and Kayden Newhouse also received national recognition.

That means is they scored better than 90 percent of college-bound juniors and seniors taking the SAT or ACT tests. It's really quite remarkable.

Math & Science teams take State

Foster Middle School's Math & Science team finished in the top five of Texas at the TMSCA meet April 21 in San Antonio, with several students earning gold in individual competition.

Ranked 5th overall out of 77 schools in Class 6A (the largest classification in the state of Texas), Foster students took top honors in several events.

With a perfect score in the 8th Grade General Math category, Aditya Jagarlamudi was named Co-Champion.

6th Grader Aman Saridena earned 1st place in both Number Sense and Calculator events, and the Foster Calculator Team of Aditya Jagarlamudi, Rachna Eular, Natalie Holder, and Aman Saridena brought home the gold as well!

PEP named to Texas Honor Roll

Hudson PEP Elementary has been honored by the Education Results Partnership (ERP) as an Honor Roll school for high academic performance.

The Texas Honor Roll, presented by ERP and the Institute for Productivity in Education, recognizes public K-8 and high schools for demonstrating consistently higher levels of student academic achievement, improvement over time, and reduction in achievement gaps among ethnic minority and socioeconomically disadvantaged students.

Our teachers and administrators work tirelessly to keep the focus on high expectations and student academic achievement and to continuously improve our practices. This hard work and dedication is paying off for all of our students, no matter their background.

Students excel at TSA Nationals

LISD students finished near the top of various different categories during the Technology Student Association's national competition June 22-26 in Atlanta, Ga.

The teams consisted of 27 students from Longview High and Foster Middle School who competed in various skill and verbal competitions as well as elected offices.

15 of 16 LHS National qualifiers advanced to the finals, but it wasn't just the powerhouse high school team that brought home Nationals gold, but Foster Middle School team members.

10 of Foster's 11 competitors advanced to the National finals.

New academic offerings for diverse students

During their regular meeting April 16th, the LISD Board of Trustees approved measures to develop new in-campus elementary magnet schools, as well as transform an elementary school, a middle school, and a high school from traditional programs to magnet programs.

Thanks to support from the U.S. Department of Education's Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP), the district is developing schools that create critical, independent thinkers who will succeed academically and become productive members of society.

We are expanding Montessori and International Baccalaureate programming that infuses science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) education. Our goal is to build students’ skills so they are able to meet the workforce needs of local, regional, and global markets.

An important priority for this initiative is to reduce minority group isolation and increase socioeconomic integration by promoting systemic reform, developing innovative educational practices that promote diversity, and providing equitable access to high-quality educational programs.

STAAR scores show gains

Latitia Wilson, Longview ISD Director of Assessment, Research, and Accountability, said the results are varied across the different grade levels for the tested subject areas.

"We've improved in some areas, stayed the same in some areas, and gone down in some areas," she said. "We're always glad to see improvements, but will continue to work toward improving scores across the board."

It goes without saying that we are not where we would like to be. At the same time, we're continuing to see progress in various areas. So we're optimistic about where we can go from here.

Trustees OK pay raise for teachers

Board members unanimously approved salary increases for district staff in July.

Recommended to the board by LISD Human Resources director Loretta Thompson Martin, the measure includes normal step increases for teachers, counselors, librarians and nurses, with a 3 percent from the midpoint raise for other staff.

We continue to work toward recruiting top-quality personnel, while at the same time working to retain the excellent staff we already have.

District sets new voluntary desegregation plan

After the lifting of a 1970 federal desegregation earlier this year, LISD has developed a plan over the summer to ensure equitable access to education opportunities.

While Longview ISD is no longer under the direct federal oversight, the district will continue to ensure all of Longview's students have fair and equitable access to our best educational opportunities.

Longview ISD is committed to providing an equal opportunity for all students to learn through the curriculum offered, regardless of a student’s race, color, creed, disability, religion, sex, gender, ancestry, age, national origin, or socio-economic background, or any other legally protected characteristic.

No person shall be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination by the district on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, age, disability, or relationship or association with an individual with a disability.

Board awards more than $900k to teachers

In November the Board of Trustees awarded $900,000 in incentive pay for high achieving teachers.

The board unanimously approved Longview Incentive for Teachers (LIFT) pay for performance during the 2017-18 school year, almost three times the $350,000 paid out to staffers in 2014-15, the first year of the program.

Funded 100 percent through local funds from the fund balance, the extra pay went out in December's pay period...  just in time for holiday shopping.

District to partner for innovative charter program

In December LISD submitted an application for Senate Bill 1882 to partner with an open-enrollment charter school or other eligible entity to operate a district campus.

The Texas Legislature signed Senate Bill 1882 into effect during 2017 which incentivizes districts to work collaboratively with new and existing partners to promote innovation and dramatically improve student outcomes.

An 1882 partnerships offer districts the opportunity to expand the diversity of school options, bring in targeted expertise for innovation and turnaround support, and empower school leaders and partners with greater autonomy. Most importantly: effective partnerships give more students access to great schools.

There’s still MUCH more to come!

Whew! That might seem like a lot, but it's actually just a sampling of the many great things happening at Longview ISD. Most of which you might not hear about in various local media outlets, but every single one of those stories were covered this past year in The Longview Voice.

Longview ISD continues to be the best school district east of Interstate 45, and it's all because of our people: our students, our staff, our parents, and our many community partners.

Thank you all for a wonderful 2018, and my prayers are with you for an even better 2019!

It's a great time to be a Lobo!

 
 Dr. James Wilcox is Superintendent of Schools for Longview ISD. During his tenure enrollment and test scores have continued an upward trend, and LISD has continued to expand its academic and extracurricular offerings.