Woods' Weekly

Books in front of a chalkboard

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.

January 19, 2021

Good morning! For the majority of us who had a long weekend to commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day I hope you enjoyed the additional time. I also hope that you appreciate the thoughts and sacrifices made by the man after whom the holiday is named. Dr. King was a strong advocate for the non-violent protest of unequal treatment based on race. As I visit our schools and talk with students and parents, I always appreciate the diversity of our clientele. I think that diversity and the strength it generates is the embodiment of Dr. King’s dream.

Those thoughts about diversity and inclusion are a key to the success of public schools and make up a core belief, in my mind, of what we are about in Northside. Those ideas are important reasons why I am always fighting against schemes that would further segregate students and lessen their exposure to a diverse peer group. Perhaps in no other time in our history is our remembrance and commemoration of Dr. King’s legacy more important.

As you probably have heard, last week I made an ask of NISD parents to keep their students virtual if they are able. This decision was made with city/county metrics and NISD metrics in mind. Somewhat ironically, the goal is to avoid school closures by temporarily limiting the number of students in our buildings. I am hopeful that as we get toward the end of this month, the surge in cases related to the holidays will lessen and we can again welcome more students into our buildings. This move is in no way a change in my belief that most of our students are academically, socially and emotionally better served by in-person learning.

Contrary to what I said just over a week ago, we have been able to offer the vaccine to some of our teaching staff. I am very appreciative of the University Health system and through the leadership of Don Schmidt we are on the way to offering the vaccine to all NISD staff. We don’t have complete control of who is offered the vaccine so please be patient. I can’t predict when we will get more supply, but be ready. Good news!

Each year in January we honor our Board members by acknowledging School Board Appreciation Month even though the commitment of trustees is a year around endeavor. Northside ISD is joining other districts across the state to gratefully acknowledge the incredible contributions the elected Board members make to their communities.

I’ve said many times that the work of a trustee can be long and grueling (especially during a pandemic), but also very rewarding. What I don’t think many people understand is that all of that work is completely voluntary. There is no compensation. Serving on the Northside ISD Board are: President Dr. Carol Harle, Vice President Karen Freeman, Secretary Joseph Medina and trustees Katie Reed, Bobby Blount, M’Lissa Chumbley and Gerald Lopez. Our district is enriched by the contributions of these local citizens who truly care about our kids. We applaud their efforts to serve as advocates for our children and as the voice of public education.

Lastly, I haven’t commented on the recent happenings in our nation’s capital as they are so politically charged. However, I have to admit that as an amateur historian and someone interested in how our Constitution has been interpreted over the years, I was horrified by what I saw. However, out of each crisis comes some good and one thing I heard that night really struck me. I can’t remember which member of Congress said it or what party he is affiliated with, but it went something like this: Don’t give in to those who monetize hate and fear.

I could not agree more. We live in a society in which bad actors have found a way to profit off of our fears and unhappiness. And, during a pandemic and in trying political times, there is plenty of unhappiness. I freely admit that I succumbed to this early in the pandemic and still find myself drawn occasionally to the steady stream of negative news. I’m not suggesting we disregard facts, but we have to be balanced in our approach. We have to resist this temptation to focus solely on the negative. Both because it is bad for our society and because it is bad for us individually. Too much cable news and social media is just as toxic to us physiologically as are drugs, alcohol, fast food, lack of sleep, etc. Remember to intentionally count blessings in your life. It will not only make you happier, but healthier as well.

Have a great week and be well! BTW


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