As we come to the close of the 2017-2018 school year, I am finding it hard to express my gratitude for the support you have given me this past year. Bryan ISD is a family, and you welcomed me with open arms. You allowed me the chance to learn and to grow as we celebrated our students’ successes and tackled the challenges that came our way.
We started with a solar eclipse on the first day of school and then witnessed the wrath of Hurricane Harvey on our state. Our students and staff banded together to help those in need by gathering supplies for various schools and communities. I’m sure our students will never forget making a difference during such a hard time.
We had two parts to our theme this year. One part was “#TellTheStory” – and we have many stories to tell! We had stories of change – from the opening of two new schools and our overwhelming approval of our tax ratification election that will help bring $4.4 million in additional operating revenue to the District! We also had big changes to help improve our transportation efforts, and I can assure you that we will continue to take measures to get our students to and from school in a safe, efficient manner. Bryan ISD announced the purchase of a facility housing our state-of-the-art Career and Technical Education Center, opening in the fall of 2019.
The main stories that we like to tell, though, are the stories of our students, which brings me to the second part of our theme this school year – “Encourage the Heart.” As educators, our goal is to encourage the passions, talents and skills our students possess. We can only accomplish this if we truly know these children so we can help them grow as individuals. Our students continue to amaze us daily, and we thank you for sharing your children with us. Through our Evening of Academic Excellence and Showcase events, our parents and community members were given a glimpse into what we see each day – our students are the true stars! Whether they’re excelling in the classroom, on a stage, on the athletic field, or as a leader in a student organization, Bryan ISD students are making their mark and taking charge in their own education. For our seniors, these efforts will culminate in graduation ceremonies this week, and for me it is the highlight of my year to share these joyous occasions with you.
As you know, in order for our students to thrive, they must feel safe. What happened at Santa Fe High School is every educator’s worst nightmare. I want you to know that the safety and security of our 16,000 students is the highest priority of our nearly 2,500 employees, and we will continue our efforts in the areas of preparedness training, reviewing protocols, conducting drills, and working closely with local law enforcement. In August, we will be implementing several additional security measures that I will communicate with you prior to the start of the school year.
One of the strongest measures we can take, though, is something we do every day – build relationships. We will continue to build relationships with our students as we help them find success, in whatever form that may be. Our teachers, administrators, counselors, bus drivers, and cafeteria workers are all here to help your student succeed. We cannot thank you enough for partnering with us all year long to make this happen. For Bryan ISD, it is Children First. Always.
It has been my pleasure to serve as your Superintendent. I’m looking forward to next year. Have a wonderful summer.
Dr. Christie Whitbeck