Eastside has been one of twenty-five schools selected as a "Model School" by the International Center for Leadership in Education. This fall, I submitted an application for Eastside to be recognized as a Model School, asking to present at their national conference so that I could share the powerful story of Eastside Memorial High School. In June I will be able to present at their national conference in Nashville, Tennessee, highlighting the methods we have employed at Eastside to showcase the wonderful qualities that the students at Eastside possess that were once overshadowed by the stigma of being a campus labeled as "Improvement Required."
At the beginning of this month, I received a letter from the Founder and Chairman for ICLE, congratulating our school for being selected as a 2017 Model School. Within the text of the letter he stated, "Eastside Memorial High School stood out as an exemplary leader among hundreds of others from districts across the country." I am so proud of our students and staff and all that they have accomplished to defy the odds. I truly have PANTHER PRIDE!
It is that time of year again... time for students to select their courses for the next school year. The counselors and I have begun visiting middle schools to meet with students and help them to select their endorsement for their graduation plan and their courses. As we meet with each student, it is clear that they are filled with excitement about their future in high school. While many students are fully aware of what career interests them, many are still unsure.
Any parent or student that is unsure of what courses are most appropriate for them to take should feel free to contact their child's grade level counselor or me at (512) 414-5810. Any of us would be happy to assist!
We visited Martin Middle School last week and look forward to meeting with students at Kealing Middle School tomorrow afternoon. We will visit Murchison and O'Henry Middle Schools next week. We are eager to meet our new students and help them to begin their journey into high school!
Over the course of the last school year, I noticed a trend... students that were fully capable of success in college level courses struggling to survive. My first glimpse into this problem was when we received our PSAT scores back... I saw many students with very high scores, but still, scores that were not competitive with the national averages. I knew we could do better. After seeing this, I also recalled hearing about many of our students that would gain admission into universities, but always struggled to balance their academic world with their demands from their life. Once again, I knew we could do better.
I began to collaborate with our English and Math Instructional Coaches to design a summer program designed to support students to improve their academic and leadership skills. Our three week institute works with students to help them to gain a better understanding of who they are, what their values are, where they fit into the world and what they might want to pursue as an ultimate career. From this point, they explore college options, college admission standards, and career expectations. Students also develop leadership skills that are so vital to post secondary successes - self advocacy, problem solving, goal setting, and perseverance... just to name a few.
Students are also exposed to a wide array of career options, learning what it takes to thrive in these careers. Many industry professionals have shared their time with us, speaking to what it is like to walk a day in their world. Each date listed below included a panel of speakers enlightening students to all of the options for career choices that are available to them. They also helped to illuminate the path to get there for them.
July 13th Visual & Graphic Artists Panel
July 14th Visual & Performance Artists Panel
July 19th Business & Finance Panel
July 20th Business Administration & Marketing Panel
July 21st Health Sciences Panel
July 25th Criminal Justice Panel
July 26th Business & Technology Panel
We will end the three week institute with a visit to Rice University to see what the college life is really like and how important it is to be mindful about the choices that you make before you get there. On our final day we will present the plan for the next year or two of high school and how students can make a difference in their world today.
I began my service at Eastside Memorial High School in February of 2012, assuming the role of Academic Director in July of 2012. I distinctly remember a day in the spring of 2012 when I caught a glimpse of the GREAT potential that lies within the student body here. Despite the numerous changes that the students had endured up to that point, I could clearly see that they were very willing and ready to take on any new challenge - all they needed was a push in the right direction.
Over the last few years, our campus has experienced many new successes with each new set of students that we excitedly receive. As we come close to the end of the current school year and I reflect on the progress that our campus has collectively made, I swell with pride. This school year we were able to celebrate not only receiving a "Met Standard" rating from Texas Education Agency, but also being honored with three academic distinctions - Student Progress, Closing Performance Gaps, and Academic Achievement in Math.
While we enjoyed our celebrations and accolades received over our rating with the state, we have certainly not been sitting around resting on our laurels. This school year, we have moved our academic focus even further and have worked very hard to make our student preparation for college equal to that of our student preparation for state testing. We have focused our sights on not just STAAR exams, but SAT and AP exams; not just on meeting standards for high school performance, but on truly preparing students for what lies ahead of them beyond high school: for some that may be directly into the workforce into a skilled career and for some that may be on to higher education; either way, at Eastside we aim to prepare our students for ANY goals that they choose to pursue.
Stay tuned for our spring testing results - great things lie ahead for our Panthers!