The following is a message for the community from HISD Superintendent Richard Carranza in which he shares his excitement about joining HISD and a few of his goals for the district.
At the start of every new school year, I would get “butterflies,” whether I was a parent sending my child off to a new grade, a teacher meeting my next crop of young scholars, or a principal in charge of an entire campus. It’s no different as superintendent, but I promise you these are good butterflies – they signal excitement and anticipation about the great possibilities of what’s ahead.
The 2016-17 school year has begun, and my first act as your new superintendent was visiting several HISD campuses across this vast and diverse district on the first day of classes.
I met elementary students at a dual-language school who could tell me about their summers and favorite foods while switching easily between English and Spanish. I visited pre-K and middle-school classrooms where teachers know literacy is the key ingredient for success later in life. I saw firsthand the challenging pre-college courses high school students are embarking on and the exciting career programs they are involved in, such as maritime studies and communications. And I had lunch with high school students who told me they are eager for more access to technology and want to address issues like discrimination and educational opportunity across the district.
Along the way, I met teachers who are well-prepared for the coming year, children who are excited to learn, and parents who are eager to guide their child’s success. I was impressed by the dedicated principals and staff I met, and intrigued by the issues people voiced about how to best equip our students to compete in a global workforce.
This is just the start of a much larger conversation. I am interested in the experiences of everyone in HISD, and I plan on spending the next 90 days meeting with the many communities in the district, asking lots of questions, and listening to what you have to say. I will also listen to your representatives on the Board of Education, who have a deep understanding of the needs of every neighborhood. And I will bring everyone together for a conversation about the positive things happening in the district and the areas that need more attention.
I have three key goals:
- I want to make sure every student in HISD, regardless of where they grow up and what means they have, has access to a high-quality education that gives them the tools and opportunity to decide their own path, whether it is a career, college, or the military.
- I want to address our district’s challenges through an “equity lens,” acknowledging that different communities have different challenges, and it is up to us to target resources in a way that ensures everyone’s unique needs are fulfilled.
- I want to be transparent and involve communities in how decisions are made. Everyone should be allowed to participate in decision-making and have their voices heard.
Our students will be competing globally for careers and college, and we need to give them the tools they need to be expressive individuals, build real-world skills, and succeed in a multilingual workforce. I plan on improving not just test scores but the overall student experience. I want to give our children the opportunity to make a choice about their futures.
I also know that many of our students have something standing in the way of reaching their full potential – whether they are being bullied, are learning English, don’t have strong support systems, or are facing discrimination – and it is up to us as a district to identify and address those issues. And I know that everything that goes on in this district – from how students are educated to what they are fed, how they get safely to school, and how supportive those school environments are – ultimately falls to me. But I want to involve you, every step of the way.
HISD’s strength is in the diversity of its students, its innovative educational programs, and the dedication of its staff – and in the passion of the community that surrounds it. The district is poised for a positive future, and I am thrilled to be a part of it.
You can look for further communication from HoustonISD.org, Twitter.com/HoustonISD, and Facebook.com/HoustonISD, along with text messages and emails, for information on upcoming community meetings and other opportunities to make your voice heard. I look forward to hearing from you.