January is School Board Recognition Month in Texas and, on behalf of Ector County Independent School District, I would like to thank our local leaders for devoting their time to supporting public education and serving our schools.
First and foremost, trustees serve children. They also represent their communities and face complex and demanding challenges, yet few people fully understand the scope and far-reaching implications of their responsibilities. They truly make a difference every day.
Their job is to establish a vision for the education program, design a structure to achieve that vision, assure schools are accountable to the community, and strongly advocate continuous improvement in student learning.
That job entails an endless string of meetings and school functions to attend; reams of reports, agendas, proposals, and other information to read and study; and a host of difficult decisions to make.
Our ECISD trustees are determined to push our school district toward world class status. They are responsible for an annual budget of about $184 million, 29,000 students, 3,400 employees and 37 campuses. They spent more than a year working with the Center for Reform of School Systems to sharpen their own skills and improve the way they lead.
In the past year our trustees established a managed curriculum framework that guarantees all of our students are learning the same quality lessons no matter which school they attend; they worked through difficult financial times with a balanced budget and substantial pay raises for teachers; they took a lead role communicating to the community the need for the recently-passed $129 million bond; and they are the driving force behind our renewed emphasis on creating District-wide parental involvement.
Even though we are making a special effort in January to show appreciation to our board members, we realize their many contributions reflect a year-round commitment.
They generously give of themselves to ensure that decisions directly affecting our local schools are made by representatives of this community, people who are close to our schools and know our teachers, parents, and students. In these challenging times, they face difficult choices and shoulder critical responsibilities. Their ultimate goal is always focused on the future success of the children in our district. We applaud their willingness to serve as advocates for our children and the voice of public education.
In recognition of this service, I invite you to make a special effort to tell each school board member that his or her hard work, dedication and commitment of time has been noticed and is truly appreciated and valued.
Hector Mendez is superintendant of the Ector County Independent School District.