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May 8, 2013     Hays Free Press
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Hays Free Press * May 8, 2013 COMING HOME Struggle to assimilate back to society harder for some veterans. - Page 1D Page 3B BY KIM HILSENBECK kim@haysfreepress.com The wait is over. At a special meeting May 1, the Hays CISD Board of Trustees unanimously voted to name Michael McKie the lone finalist in the search for a new superintendent. McKie hails from Fort Bend ISD (near Houston) and was most re- cently the interim superintendent for that district. The official state- ment from Hays CISD said McKie is a career educator with more than 30 years of experience. Board President Willie Tenorio said McKie is a perfect match. "We are incredibly excited about naming Mike McKie as our lone finalist," Tenorio said. "Throughout our search process, we used the input from our community as our guide. Mr. McKie is a perfect match. He puts students first. He is a person with strong moral character and integrity. And, he's a humble leader who inspires trust and treats people with respect. We are looking for- ward to welcom- ing him and his family as part of our community." McKie said, "I fully embrace the mission and be- liefs of Hays CISD. I truly believe that MCKIE all children have the right to an enriched and nurtur- ing learning environment filled with opportunities for growth and per- sonal development. My family and I look forward to meeting new people, making new friends, serving the district, and making the Hays CISD community our new home. I also look forward to developing personal and professional relationships with board members, teachers, and staff. Working together, we will meet the needs of the students and commu- nity we serve." ABOUT MCKIE McKie began his career as a classroom teacher and most of his education career has been at Fort Bend ISD. From 1988 - 1992, he was the assistant principal at Willowridge High School. From 1992 - 1995, he served as the associate principal for John Foster Dulles High School. From 1995 - 2006, he was principal at William P. Clements High School. From 2006 - 2011, he served as assistant superintendent for high schools for Fort Bend ISD. In 2011, he was named an as- sistant superintendent for Fort Bend ISD, responsible for the daily operations and executive leadership for about a third of all campuses in Fort Bend ISD. In August 2012, he was named acting superintendent, and later interim superintendent, at Fort Bend ISD. Fort Bend is the seventh larg- est school district in Texas, serving nearly 70,000 students at 11 high schools, 14 middle schools, 45 el- ementary schools, and four special- ized schools. McKie earned his superintendent certification from Region 4 Edu- cational Solutions (Texas Educa- tion Service Center Region 4). He holds a Master of Education from Stephen E Austin State University and a Bachelor of Science from Northern Michigan University. He also participated in the Leadership Academy at Lamar University in Beaumont and was a delegate to China and a delegate to Germany as part of two educator exchange programs. He is also holds the fol- lowing certifications: professional mid-management administrator, Classroom Walk-Through Training (CWT), Thinking Maps (trainer of trainers), and Mentoring the Reflective Principal (a Carolyn Downey professional development program). McKie describes himself as a See NEW SUPERINTENDENT, pg. 4B I BY KIM HILSENBECK kim@haysfreepress.com "ore than 2,000 high school students, along with about .130 elementary students, were locked down during a drill at Hays High School on Friday. Friday's drill was staged as part of the Texas School Safety Consortium's video training exercise. A film crew captured the drill from beginning to end. The footage will be part of a training video for school administra- tors. Assistant Principal Damon Adams announced the lockdown at about 10:45 a.m. over the intercom. '~ttention students and facul- ty: Please implement the lock down procedures. Students, please go to the nearest classroom and follow the directions of the adults," he said. Everyone sprang into action, many practically running to get where they were supposed to be. Forgotten were chemistry and al- gebra - this was not the time for PE or history. Students scattered like insects seeking a safe place to hide, drawn toward the nearest classroom or building that offered shelter and protection. Staff stood outside the doors of the various campus buildings, urging stragglers to hustle. "Let's go - come on, get inside," they yelled. Their arms waved stu- dents along like a third base coach telling a runner to head home. As the last of the students ran inside, doors slammed shut and locks engaged. Seconds later, the halls in the technology building were eerily silent, echoing an absence of chatter and footfalls. With no lights on in the hall- ways and classrooms, the experience bordered on surreal. No students or staffwere seen or Hays High School students wait out a Iockdown drill on drill to use in a training exercise video. heard - one of the most important parts of a lockdown drill is remain- ing absolutely quiet until the all clear either from the administrative staff during a drill or the police during a real emergency. Peering around the corner, we could see a man holding a handheld camera filming the vacant entry hall. In another part of the building, one of his colleagues filmed students sitting on the floor of a classroom, as quiet and still as 50 teenagers can be. Even with some fidgeting and fuss- ing, the atmosphere was calm with an undercurrent of electricity. The stu- dents knew it was a drill - yet perhaps they sensed the importance of their role in this new reality for American school students. Their grandparents, and possibly Friday - quiet and on the floor. their parents, may remember Cold War bomb drills, hiding under desks in preparation for the blast. In several southern and Midwestern states, tor- nado drills are not uncommon to this day, including at Hays CISD. This new drill - a lockdown - is a sort of post-Columbine response to school shooters. It focused on more concrete potential threats rather than weather patterns and unseen foreign enemies across the globe. After the elementary school shoot- ing tragedy in Connecticut this past December, public school systems nationwide reviewed their safety and security procedures. Local law enforcement agencies visited schools to re-familiarize themselves with the layouts. And lockdown drills are the new norm. The Texas PHOTO BY KIM HILSENBECK School Safety Consortium filmed the Friday's drill happened during a passing period. "That's the worst time to do the drill," said Rod Walls, Hays CISD's di- rector of facilities & new construction, who helped coordinate the filming. "It's like kicking the top off an ant hill - there are people everywhere." Normally, a lockdown drill would be done during a regular class period to cut down on trying to get that many students into position. Walls credited Principal David Pierce for agreeing to the drill, especially during a passing period. After what seemed like an eternity, Adams gave the all clear over the PA system, congratulating the students and staff for completing the drill in eight minutes. "Great job, guys," he said. SUBMITTED REPORT Commissioner of Education Mi- chael L. Williams announced April 23 the four components of the new 2014 state accountability system for school districts, campuses and charters in Texas. The first ratings under this sys- tem will be issued by the Texas Educa- tion Agency on August 8, 2013. "I have heard the criticism of the previous accountability system, with its overemphasis on a school's lowest performing areas and its blind spot to what a district or charter might be doing well," said Commissioner Wil- liams in a statement. "The new system makes use of multiple indicators to provide parents and taxpayers a more detailed overview of the successes, as well as areas of necessary improve- ment, for each school district, charter and campus." According to the statement, the re- vised system will still use student as- sessments. However, additional indica- tors will provide parents and taxpayers greater detail on a district or charter's performance at the individual campus level. The 2013 accountability system will use the following performance index framework: Student Achievement - Represents a snapshot of performance across all subjects, on both general and alter- native assessments, at an established performance standard. (All Students) Student Progress - Provides an op- portunity for diverse campuses to show improvements made independent of overall achievement levels. Growth is evaluated by subject and student group. (All Students; Student Groups by Race/Ethnicity; English Language Learners; Special Education) Closing Performance Gaps- Empha- sizes advanced academic achievement of the economically disadvantaged student group and the lowest perform- ing race/ethnicity student groups at each campus or district. (All Students; Student Groups by Race/Ethnicity) Postsecondary Readiness - Includes measures of high school completion, and beginning in 2014, State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) performance at the postsec- ondary readiness standard. This mea- sure emphasizes the importance of stu- dents receiving high school diplomas that provide the foundation necessary for success in college, the workforce, job training programs or the military. (All Students; Student Groups by Race/ Ethnicity; English Language Learners; Special Education) District and campuses with students in Grade 9 or above must meet targets on all four indexes. Districts and cam- puses with students in Grade 8 or lower must meet targets on the first three in- dexes (excluding Postsecondary Readi- ness). Districts, campuses and charters will receive one of three ratings: Met Standard - Met accountability targets on all indexes for which they have performance data in 2013 Met Alternative Standard - Met modified performance index targets for alternative education campuses or districts Improvement Required - Did not meet one or more performance index targets For eligible campuses that achieve the rating of Met Standard, distinction designations in the following areas will also be assigned for outstanding aca- demic achievement in reading/English language arts and mathematics: Top 25 Percent Student Progress Academic Achievement in Read- ing/English language arts Academic Achievement in Math- ematics These distinction designations will be based on campus performance in relation to a comparison group of campuses. "It's important to note that while the new system bases accountability on a index framework, the state will empha- size the importance of closing achieve- ment gaps and addressing the needs of all students in Texas," Williams said. "Those districts and campuses that are leaders in improving achievement for all its students will be easily identified under this system." The statement said 2013 is a transi- tion year since not all aspects of the performance index can be fully imple- mented right away. Accountability ad- visory groups will reconvene later this year to finalize recommendations for accountability ratings criteria for 2014 and beyond. In addition, work will continue on the conversion of this new system into anA-F rating system for 2014. Williams acknowledged various as- pects of the state accountability sys- tem are currently being discussed by the Texas Legislature. Any changes in bills passed during the legislative ses- sion can and will be incorporated into the system. For a detailed overview of all com- ponents of the 2013 state accountabil- ity system, visit the Texas Education Agency website at http://ritter.tea. state.tx.us/perfreport/account/2013 / index.html. Vole for Hays CISD board of trustees District 5 If you missed early voting, Election Day is May 11. The candidates are incumbent, Marty Kanetzky and challenger, Debbie Mufioz. Polling places are open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. at the following locations: Wallace Middle School and Driftwood Commtmity Center. Residents who reside in the following neighborhoods are eligible to vote in the Hays CISD District 5 board election: Arroyo Ranch Blanco Vista Champions Crossing Apartments Cross House Estates Dove Hollow Estates Driftwood Hometown Kyle Indian Hills La Ventana Marlboro Country Meadow Woods Mountain City Plum Creek Quail Meadows Ruby Ranch and some addresses on FM 50 and FM 967. Read the candidates' responses to our questions at www. haysfreepress.com. Click on Schools and scroll down to the story called,"Q&A: Hays CISD school board trustee candidates discuss pressing issues." Think Tank talk at Wallace Middle School Wallace Middle School Think Tank Students are holding a presentation on their research. Think Tank students are part of the school's Gifted and Talented program. Researched topics include mental health care, bullying, drug trafficking, high school drop outs and Joseph Kony and takes place 9-11 a.m. May 10 at the Wallace Middle School Library. RSVP to henryc@hayscisd.net. Pan Africa convention at Blanco Vista Later this month, Blanco Vista Elementary School will celebrate a yearlong, school- wide study of Africa at an all day convention. The student- led convention will celebrate Africa's 54 nations through informational presentations, music, food and games. Dr. Isaac Gang, a former"Lost Boy of Sudan," will present the keynote speech. True Vineyards, a nonprofit organization that aids widows of the Rwanda genocide, will sell African made products with proceeds going back to Rwanda. BlancoVista students already held two fundraisers this year; "Water Wednesday" was a five-week effort to raise funds forWater for South Sudan. More recently, BlancoVista fourth graders sold bookmarks to aid the Rwandan widows. Both gifts will be presented at the convention, which takes place from 7:40 a.m.-2:40 p.m. May 17 at the school. Contact Kelly Posey at (512) 268-8506 for more information. events planned for Hays High Sign up for the Washer Pitching Tournament benefitting the Hays High School Project Graduation. Sign up on the day of the event. Tournament begins at 12:30 p.m. May 18 at Buda City Park paxdlion. Registration is $20 per player; teams will be formed that day. All washers will be provided. On May 21, Centerfield Sportsbar & Grill in Kyle will give back a portion of sales that night to Project Graduation. Let your server know you are there in support of Hays High Project Graduation. See SCHOOL BRIEFS, pg. 4B