Seven superintendents from various districts in the southeast Houston area met to discuss their accomplishments, future plans and challenges of the past year at the State of Education luncheon Oct. 15.
Hosted in League City, the panel consisted of the superintendents from Clear Creek ISD, Dickinson ISD, Friendswood ISD, Galveston ISD, Hitchcock ISD, Texas City ISD and Odyssey Academy.
One of the main topics among the panel was the lingering effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on education. FISD Superintendent Thad Roher said many students have not experienced a normal school year since 2019, which is a major issue for schools.
“We collectively in this room, this group of superintendents, are the only ones that can do something about that issue,” Roher said.
However, many of the superintendents spoke about how despite the many hardships that the pandemic brought about, they are seeing things return to normal.
“We are actually having some of the largest attendance ever at our high school football games, and so people are ready to be out and about,” CCISD Superintendent Eric Williams said.
Education leaders also commented on the lower amount of COVID-19 cases on school campuses. In CCISD, there are 75 active student and staff cases as of Oct. 15 as opposed to 670 active cases in the beginning of September, according to Williams.
A few superintendents spoke about how they have seen an increase in student enrollment. HISD Superintendent Travis Edwards reported the district has about 1,800 students enrolled, with 160 being added this school year.
The district is also expecting a large job growth in the coming years, due to an Amazon warehouse being built in League City, Edwards said. The delivery station on Tuscan Lake Boulevard is set to open in early 2022, Community Impact Newspaper reported.
Odyssey Academy—a public charter school located in El Lago, Galveston and Texas City—also saw a larger enrollment this year, with the addition of a third campus, Odyssey Academy Texas City, opening in 2020, according to Superintendent Jennifer Goodman.
TCISD Superintendent Melissa Duarte also spoke about expansions happening within its schools. Programs such as law enforcement and barbering are offered, and the district is working to add a STEM and robotic programming facility.
All of the superintendents, however, said their ultimate goal is to see their students succeed.
“We have a beautiful, amazing opportunity to make a difference in children's lives,” Duarte said.