Woods' Weekly is written by Superintendent Brian T. Woods and is sent to Northside ISD staff every Monday to keep them updated on local and state education issues.
June 1, 2020
Good morning! Even though the last eleven or so weeks feel like an eternity, I also feel like the school year came to a close all too quickly. There is much to say in this small space. I want to convey an overall message of thanks combined with the need for short term rest and the certainty of a lot of work ahead of us.
But, before I get to that, I want to update you on some of the action our Board took at their recent meeting. We started the meeting by celebrating momentous years of service for three of our trustees. Bobby Blount celebrates 21 years of service on our Board (we should have celebrated 20 years in 2019, but just missed it). M’Lissa Chumbley has served NISD students and staff for 25 years. And, our longest tenured trustee, Katie Reed, celebrated 30 years of service. Thanks to these dedicated volunteers who dedicate so much time and talent to our school system.
In addition, the Board named an elementary school that will open in August of 2021. The school will be named for long-time NISD agriculture teacher and volunteer Mr. Joey Tomlinson. I was privileged to work with Mr. Tomlinson at both Marshall and O’Connor high schools and I can testify to his skill as a teacher both in delivering content and in building relationships with his students. In nominating Joey, it was these relationships with former students, some of which have existed for more than 50 years, that stood out. Congratulations Mr. Tomlinson!
Finally, with regard to the Board meeting, is some really good news regarding health insurance for 2021 and 2022. The board approved a plan that allows us to stay with our current provider and keep all of the same plans for both 2021 and 2022 with no price increase above our current total plan costs. This will give all of us, as well as the district budget, some certainty going into what will likely be uncertain financial times.
Now on to those messages I mentioned at the top. I’ll start with a reminder that Be Well Northside is the weekly communication to all staff with the goal of building capacity in self-awareness, self-care, motivation, inspiration and mindfulness. This weekly communication offers a much needed dose of connecting and caring, weekly wellness tips, and mindful moment videos featuring NISD Legends sharing how they take care of themselves and stay motivated and inspired. You can find this week’s edition at https://www.smore.com/pwcgh-connect-care #BeWellNorthside
I want to take a moment to thank and recognize a group who has devoted many years of service to our school district. Normally in May we would hold a ceremony to recognize those who have reached certain years of service to NISD students as well as retirees. Obviously, that did not happen this year. However, I am hopeful we can circle back to that in the fall. But, before we end the school year, I want to thank the recipients of 10, 20, 30, 35, 40, 45 and yes two employees with 50 years of service. These 800 employees have almost 13,000 combined years of service to Northside students. In addition, we have 239 retirees this year with a combined almost 5,000 years of service in NISD. Thanks to all of you for your consistent dedication to our students.
It is my sincere hope that you get some rest and the opportunity to recharge during the coming weeks. We will be asking many of you to work with us later in the summer to support student learning and to start to make up for what was lost during the closure of our buildings. It is my hope that some of that can be done in our classrooms. I know that there is a lot of uncertainty about what school will look like when we return for the 2020-21 year. We will communicate with you through the next several weeks about what to expect and how we can best serve our students.
It has been my honor and pleasure to serve as your superintendent for another year. I think I appreciate that more this year than ever before. I want to thank you more than words can express for your hard work, grit, creativity and empathy on behalf of our organization and our very important clients – our children. For those who work through the summer to keep our buildings well maintained and safe, a special thanks to you.
I thought I would end this message with one of gratitude from a parent to her child’s principal. Benjamin’s mother wrote this to Danielle Frei, the principal at Locke Hill ES, about an exceptional counselor who went above and beyond for her son. She wrote:
I wanted to reach out and give my immense thanks to Locke Hill, especially Mrs. Solis. My husband and I were very worried about him; he’s struggling to adjust to distance learning and broke down crying earlier this week because he misses school, friends, etc. so much. I reached out to Ms. Solis to see if she would be willing to talk to him. She responded quickly and made plans to see him. She FaceTimed him yesterday afternoon. He was immediately back to himself, and basically talked her ear off. For her to take the time from her day to make him feel safe, important and heard made me tearful. She even made plans to FaceTime again next week. I know that this has been a hard time for all, but I am so thankful that my son is surrounded with such amazing educators.
To Ms. Solis and everyone who reads this publication THANK YOU. Your ability and willingness to go above and beyond for children in this time of challenge will not be forgotten. There is much work ahead, but we can take the foundation we have built over the years and continue to innovate and create systems that serve our students.
This will be the last issue of Woods’ Weekly for the school year. Thank you for all you have done in the school year that is ending and all you will do in the future to bring learning and hope to the students and families of Northside ISD. God Speed. Be well.