“WE’RE READY FOR ANOTHER GREAT YEAR AT ELKHART I.S.D.”
By Dr. Ray DeSpain, EISD Superintendent
For the fifth consecutive year, I am delighted to report that Elkhart I.S.D. will start the school year as an “Exemplary” District in the areas of academics, financial accountability, related and support programs, and all aspects of compliance. The school business is the “people” business. We are very fortunate in Elkhart to have great kids to work with, and we have a staff that is dedicated to providing the very best educational opportunities for these young people.
First and foremost, we are here for academics. Our most recent Texas Education Agency “Accountability Summary” ratings indicated that we rank among the very highest in the state, earning “Distinction Designations” in the areas of Student Achievement, Student Progress, Mathematics, Science, Language Arts, and Social Studies. In several categories, we scored as high as twenty-eight percentage/scale points above the state norm. We attribute our success to academic departmentalization, diversified instruction by an outstanding faculty, and effective tutorial programs. In High School U.I.L. Academic and Literary competitions this past spring, we had thirteen students in eleven events advance to STATE! Several of our Elkhart Middle School and Elkhart Elementary students were also district champions.
A special point of pride at EISD is the broadening range of Career and Technology and Dual-Credit courses made available to students. Certification courses are now offered in the areas of Nursing, Phlebotomy, Computer Information Systems, Welding, Machining, Business Practices, Cosmetology, and Child Development/Principles of Education. And, our historically popular Consumer Science and Career Preparation programs have grown as well. All these student offerings bring EISD into full compliance with House Bill 5 requirements.
The Fine Arts programs at Elkhart I.S.D. are second to none. The Big Red Band has consistently earned “Superior” ratings in Marching, Concert, and Sight Reading competitions. Several of our students have been named to the All-Area Bands, and a number of both our high school and middle school band students have received Superior (First Division) ratings from Solo and Ensemble judges. Elkhart ISD is also very fortunate to have top-shelf Visual Arts programs at all four campuses. A number of our students have earned perfect scores at the annual VASE competition, and several have had their work displayed at the state capitol. Our Theater department consistently produces outstanding plays, and several of our students have earned “All-Star” cast and crew accolades. Our student-led Annual staff produces one of the finest yearbooks in the state.
The Elkhart Vocational Agriculture Department is growing, and our F.F.A. program doubled its membership and participation over the course of this past year. Introductory Agriculture classes have also been added at the middle school.
Our athletic teams and individual student-athletes performed very well this spring. Our Lady Elk Softball ended the season at 31 – 4, and our Elks were 23-7 in Baseball. Both teams were state ranked throughout the year. Our Boys Power Lifting team captured the regional championship for the third consecutive year. Both our Elk and Lady Elks qualified relay teams and several individuals for the state meet. The future looks bright for Elkhart track, as our JV and middle school teams also consistently won their divisions at meets throughout the season. In addition, three tennis players and two golfers qualified for regional competition. Our Cross Country teams are preparing to defend their District titles, and our football and volleyball teams look to return to the playoffs again this fall. The Elk cheerleading squads are also second to none.
Both our Elkhart High School and Elkhart Middle School campuses have very active National Honor Society groups and Student Councils, as well as Art Honor Society Clubs and Interact Clubs. Our students participate in several ancillary programs and projects throughout the year. Special events such as our Fellowship of Christian Athlete’s “See You at the Pole” and “Fields of Faith” programs are very popular. Other events such as the Veteran’s Day assembly, book fairs, blood drives, family movie nights, parades, and food drives for the needy are also popular with our students. “Character Counts” and the Drug Awareness and Resistance Education (DARE) programs have proven to be very beneficial for our younger students, as have the Self-Esteem and Anti-Bullying programs. We provide “Career Days” at all campuses, as well as science fairs and “Math Night” programs.
Over the course of the past year, Elkhart students and staff achieved outstanding scores in the areas of Community and Student Engagement and Compliance, Performance Based Monitoring and Assessments, Financial Integrity, Career and Technology Programs, and Highly Qualified Staff. Our graduation and student attendance rates were once again among the best in the state. Facility improvement and technology upgrades are also ongoing.
None of these accomplishments would be possible without the support of our TEAM of parents and guardians, community members, businesses, and site-based leadership members. We also very much appreciate the hard work and dedication of our support teams in Technology, Food Service, Transportation, Maintenance and Grounds, and Custodial. The positive input, encouragement, and assistance we receive from all of these stakeholders are invaluable. On behalf of the Board of Trustees, administration, and staff of Elkhart I.S.D., I sincerely appreciate the efforts of every individual who contributes to the development of soundly educated, well rounded students on the path to productive citizenship. As Peters and Walterman stated in their bestseller In Search of Excellence, the best run companies had a belief and a commitment to BEING THE VERY BEST. That is our goal at Elkhart I.S.D. for 2016 – 2017.
Come see us some time – You’ll be impressed!