An update regarding the Governor’s Executive Order
I wanted to provide you with an update on Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s Executive Order No. GA-34, which rescinds the statewide mandate regarding the required use of face masks or facial coverings. The Executive Order takes effect on Wednesday, March 10.
On Wednesday, March 3rd the Texas Education Agency issued further clarification regarding the Governor’s Executive Order. TEA clarified that the use of a mask or facial covering is still required when inside a school building, school facility, and facility used for school activities. TEA also stated that a local school board may modify or eliminate any existing district mask-related requirements by taking a formal action.
The Montgomery ISD Board of Trustees will have this issue as an agenda item when it meets for its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, March 23. Until then, Montgomery ISD will continue to follow its existing health and safety protocols requiring face masks or facial coverings on all district campuses and facilities.
It’s important to note that the TEA guidance did not change – or address – how removing a mask requirement would impact required close contact tracing, social distancing and CDC-required quarantining. This presents challenges in scenarios where campus administrators need to determine close contacts to an individual who tests positive for COVID-19.
For example, under the current close contact and quarantine requirements, in a scenario where an individual wearing a mask or face covering tests positive for COVID-19, only those individuals not wearing masks or face coverings determined to be in close contact with the positive person would be required to quarantine. Conversely, in a scenario where an individual not wearing a mask or face covering tests positive for COVID-19, all individuals – whether they were wearing masks or facial coverings or not – determined to be in close contact with the positive person would be required to quarantine. This scenario has the potential to result in large numbers of required quarantines impacting classrooms, sports programs and even an entire campus. We are currently seeking to gain further clarification from the TEA on quarantine requirements for districts considering removing mask-wearing requirements.
We understand that our community feels very passionately about all sides of this issue. Please know that as a district, our top priorities are the health of our students and staff and ensuring that in-person learning can continue without closing schools or quarantining a large number of students, sports programs or entire classrooms.
I want to thank our staff, students, and parents for their flexibility and understanding throughout this challenging school year. I am proud of not only how we successfully reopened schools for in-person instruction in August, but also of how we have ensured that our campuses have been able to stay open without any major disruptions due to the spread of the virus. While the state is averaging approximately 56% of students engaged with in-person instruction, MISD has over 94% of our students choosing in-person learning as their preferred method of instruction. We are proud of our students, staff and community.
Again, thank you for your patience as we continue to confront unprecedented challenges.
Dr. Heath Morrison
School District Personnel Now Eligible for the COVID-19 Vaccine
I am very thankful that our educators, campus staff and other district personnel are now on the COVID-19 vaccine priority list.
We are working diligently to ensure that any employee who wants to receive a vaccine will have access to one. On Monday, March 22 there will be an opportunity for employees who would like the vaccine to receive the here at the MISD ESC. Please know that we will work with your campus principal or supervisor to ensure your duties are covered during the time you need to travel to the MISD ESC to receive the vaccine. More information will be shared in the coming days.
Once again, I want to reiterate that the vaccine is optional. While we are working to provide vaccines as a courtesy to our staff, receiving one will never be a requirement for employment in our district.
Second MISD Strategic Plan Town Hall
Thank you to all who participated in our second Strategic Plan Town Hall meeting at Lake Creek High School on Thursday, March 4.
During this Town Hall meeting, strategic plan task force leaders shared results of each SWOT analysis performed in the first Town Hall meeting in January at Montgomery High School. It was important that each task force do a “deep dive” on perceived strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats relating to each of the five Board goals before starting to develop district initiatives and strategies aimed at targeted and measurable improvements in various areas.
Town Hall attendees also had the opportunity to participate in breakout sessions to discuss possible district initiatives and strategies addressing the district’s five goals: academic achievement, school safety, district finance and operations, human resources, and communications and customer service. I am both excited and thankful for the level of community support and participation in this process. Our five task force committees have grown in number of participants considerably since we first started this work back in December. It has been a true privilege for me to see first-hand the authentic work happening with the ultimate goal of evolving our great school district into the “premier” school district.
We will hold one final Strategic Plan Town Hall meeting in April before finalizing a draft plan to present to the MISD Board of Trustees.
Communication Council Conversation on Budget and Pay Raises
This week I met with our elementary and secondary communications councils to provide them with an overview of the district’s budgeting process for the 2021-22 school year and share with them what is being discussed as it relates to improvements to employee compensation. I also shared with them that it’s our intention to take a district compensation plan to the Board of Trustees for approval in April, meaning that you will have a clear understanding of your salary before signing a contract for the next school year.
As I stated to them during our discussion, we are committed to complete transparency as we develop budget options that provide our employees with well deserved pay raises. Over the next several weeks, I will be meeting with all staff from each campus to discuss our budget plans and answer any questions you may have about this process.
I look forward to engaging in these important discussions with you.
Superintendent Shout-Out – The MISD Fishing Team
I want to give a shout-out to Coach Mark Hooker and the MISD Fishing Team!
Coach Hooker and his anglers know what it takes to build a successful team. Over the past several years, The MISD Fishing Team has achieved historic success, winning several conference titles over nearly 50 competing districts, cementing Montgomery ISD as THE top program in the State!
Check out this awesome feature on these talented students and watch the video below to hear what “victory” means to them!
MISD Education Foundation “Together We Grow” Fundraiser
On Saturday, April 24, the Montgomery ISD Education Foundation is host its first “Together We Grow” community fundraiser on April 24 in downtown Montgomery from 7-11 pm. This is going to be a casual, adult night out with live music featuring the band Rapture, and a BBQ dinner catered by our locally owned Jr’s. Please mark your calendars and make plans to attend!
The goal of the MISD Education Foundation is to support each of our 10 campuses through scholarships, grants, special projects and other financial matters, and this event is a great way to be a part of all that we are doing for MISD schools!
You can purchase tickets for the event here.
A Conversation with Dr. Meeker – Part III
Please take some time to watch my latest conversation with Montgomery Jr. High School’s Dr. Meeker!
In this edition, we discuss the Governor’s new Executive Order, our recent inclement weather closure days, the MISD Strategic Planning and 2021-22 budget development processes, our work to improve employee compensation across the district and the upcoming MISD Board of Trustee elections!