The event brought together members of the community, administrators, and state and local officials for a progress report on its five-year Every Child 2020 plan and progress on implementing the $330 million bond referendum passed by voters in 2016.
SISD Superintendent Rodney Watson led the audience of several hundred through a series of slides describing progress the district has made on its five-year plan to increase student performance, college readiness and to make other improvements in the district. The Every Child 2020 plan launched in 2015, making 2018 the halfway point and an opportunity to reflect on the plan's progress and look at the district's next goals, Watson said.
Watson announced the following new facilities funded by the 2016 bond referendum that are slated to open in the next two years:
- A new Spring ISD Police Department headquarters will open in the third quarter of 2018.
- A central, districtwide stadium will open in the third quarter of 2019.
- A new building for Roberson Middle School will open in the third quarter of 2019.
- Middle School No. 8 will open in August 2019 next to Northgate Crossing Elementary School.
- Three ninth-grade centers will open at the district high schools in August 2020.
Here are some other takeaways from the hour-long meeting:
- Watson announced the district's partnership with EMERGE, a program currently serving students in Spring Branch and Houston ISDs. The partnership, possible through a donation to the district, helps to prepare students in underserved districts for competitive colleges.
- Since 2015, student performance on State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness tests has improved, including in challenging areas such as third-grade reading, which has declined slightly statewide, Watson said.
- The district has seen a 45 percent increase in students graduating with an associate degree through its Early College Academy.
- Students have been awarded $29 million in scholarships to college in the past year.
- The district has obtained $10.8 million in grants in the past two years.
- Through SISD's Literacy Applied initiative, the district provides 125 minutes of daily literacy instruction in reading and writing.
- Volunteerism in the district has increased by 20 percent.
- The district has the highest average teacher salary, $58,335 annually, in the region. Its starting salary is $52,775.
- The event was also attended by representatives from state, county and federal government, including state Rep. Valoree Swanson (R-Spring) and U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Houston).