Alamo Heights ISD Task Force Presentation
Alamo Heights ISD Task Force Final Report
We hope your school year is off to a great start, and are thankful for your dedication to our community and district. We have a very busy year ahead of us with most of our efforts centered around three areas:
Implementing Recommendations by the Task Force to address the social and emotional, digital citizenship and character education issues facing our children and community, including the issues related to adolescent suicide and the five forms of mistreatment.
Implementing Steps Around the “Profile of a Learner”, the framework developed in Fall of 2015 to enrich the classroom experience and provide our students with the critical skills to be life-long learners in the 21st Century. We have already started using this framework in the 17 “engaged classrooms” piloted throughout our district.
Securing Bond Financing During Spring 2017 to fund critical infrastructure and classroom improvements at our schools, including the implementation of two initiatives above.
With regard to the first initiative, we would strongly encourage you to read the full report from the Task Force (found at www.ahisd.net), which was made up of 16 community members who devoted countless hours to researching and addressing the complex issues around social and emotional wellness. Many of their recommendations have already been implemented – including policy changes on cell phone usage at schools – while others will be staged over time, with progress being communicated to you in a timely manner.
As the Task Force noted in their report:
“Our sincere hope is that the comments and recommendations from the task force will begin conversations in our homes and community. Our work has brought a stark reminder that, as parents, guardians, grandparents, and others in our community, we model for our children. As we have been reminded, much of what our kids learn is caught, not taught…We have learned that we must be willing to be vulnerable. Then can we consider how we can be part of the solution or healing?” Page 3 of Task Force Report
It is important to note that the Task Force recommendations reflect substantial input from our community collected through multiple surveys and focus groups. Furthermore, these recommendations will require us to engage in difficult conversations, many of which may cause us to re-examine our own behavior and acceptance of activities that may not be in the best interests of our children. We’ve paraphrased two of the Task Force’s recommendations which relate to the sometimes tacit acceptance of alcohol consumption by students:
Request that parents not provide alcohol/drugs to students, or condone the use of such, and that they intervene when they see students participating in these activities.
Request that parents reconsider whether the arrangements around non-school sponsored events – such as Senior Party and Powder Puff football - are in the best interests of our children.
We are encouraged that event organizers of the above activities have informed us they are making sensible changes to address safety and legal concerns of our community. As your Board, we want to encourage those conversations, as well as others spurred by the Task Force report, to continue.
We understand these can be difficult discussions to have. For many, these may feel preachy or hypocritical. We get it. But we also know Alamo Heights is a school district whose passion is excellence. And this passion requires us to have higher standards for our children than perhaps we experienced when we were in school. We all want the absolute best for our children, and that requires us to have the courage to examine our mindsets and behaviors around these issues.
By considering these recommendations, we are not naively assuming that our children will no longer make mistakes. They will. And we will. But, when that happens, we have the opportunity to model responsibility, forgiveness and healing.
Our community has had a very difficult year, leaving many of us grieving, angry and looking for answers to very tough questions. We now have a chance to work together towards healing and engaging each other in discussions, such as those above, that will improve the wellness of all of our children and community.
AHISD Board of Trustees
Bonnie Giddens, President
John Tippit, Vice-President
Margaret Judson, Secretary
Lisa Krenger, Assistant Secretary
Lynn Thompson, Trustee
Perry Shankle, Trustee
David Hornberger, Trustee