Ready For a Strong Finish
I hope you all had a wonderful Spring Break with a chance to relax and recharge in preparation for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year.
This week, we were back in full swing at the District Office with a monthly Board of Trustees meeting, four “budget road show” meetings and a COVID-19 vaccination event for employees. I would like to send a special thank you to all who made this vaccination event opportunity possible for our employees.
I’m enjoying the opportunity to speak with campus employees during our budget update meetings. So far, I’ve had meetings at Stewart Creek, Lone Star, Keenan, Lincoln and Montgomery Schools, and Montgomery Junior High School. Next week, we’ll wrap up the meetings with stops at Oak Hills Junior High School, Madeley Ranch Elementary School, and Lake Creek and Montgomery High Schools. It has been a privilege to present to you the process we are going through to provide meaningful, across-the-board pay increases for employees. Your feedback during these meetings has been beneficial and improves our ability to better serve you.
Next week, all MISD employees will be provided a free lunch meal from Joe’s Italian Restaurant courtesy of HCA Houston Healthcare Conroe! We’re very grateful for this kind gesture from HCA Houston Healthcare Conroe and CEO Matt Davis, who is a parent in our district. I’m grateful for his organization’s partnership and generosity this year. Below is when each staff group will receive their meal next week:
Monday, March 29: Maintenance, Transportation (Liberty St. Location), Lincoln ES, Madeley Ranch ES, Montgomery ES, Montgomery Jr. HS, Montgomery HS, Stewart Creek ES
Tuesday, March 30: District office, Transportation (Bear Cub Dr. Location), Keenan ES, Lake Creek HS, Lone Star ES, Oak Hills Jr. HS.
Below you will find a few important updates on issues and events happening around the district. Please take a few moments to read this week’s MISD Minute to stay current on important district-related items. We have reached the “home stretch” of the 2020-21 school year, and I look forward to working together for ensure a strong finish!
Dr. Heath Morrison
March Board of Trustees Meeting
On Tuesday, the MISD Trustees met for their regular monthly Board meeting.
The Board took action on a few important items, including the issue of district health protocols in response to Governor Greg Abbott’s Executive Order GA-34, which rescinded the statewide mask mandate and delegated authority over school district health protocols to the Texas Education Agency (TEA). In response, TEA advised school districts that mask mandates should remain in place, but allowed a board of trustees to remove or modify a district’s mask-wearing policy through an official vote. TEA also urged school district’s to consult with local public health officials when making this decision.
The MISD board of trustees voted to keep the district’s current health protocols in place through the end of the 2020-21 school year and authorized me as Superintendent to remove the district’s mask-wearing requirement on May 31, 2021.
Following the Board meeting, Board President Fuller sent a letter to parents and staff outlining the decision and explaining how it was reached. There were several factors that drove this difficult decision, but the main focus of the board was ensuring that schools could remain open and student activities could continue to thrive for the remainder of the school year. If you have not yet read Board President Fuller’s letter, I strongly encourage you to take a few minutes to read it here.
Please know that this was not an easy decision for our trustees, or one they took lightly. In fact, the final decision had not yet been made as of Tuesday afternoon prior to the board meeting. Our students, staff and community all have very strong opinions on this issue, and I want to thank all who took the time to make their voices heard. I also want to thank our Board of Trustees for their continued leadership.
It goes without saying that, while our district health protocols have ensured that campuses have remained open and student activities have been able to occur, they have posed unique challenges in staff, students and their families. I urge you to continue to exercise compassion and grace when addressing health protocols and the topic of masks with your students.
Revision to 2021-22 Academic Calendar
In addition to addressing health protocols, the board also adopted a minor revision to the 2020-21 academic calendar.
After reviewing the operational minutes in the previously adopted 2021-22 calendar, we determined that an adjustment was necessary in order to account for the possibility of a school-day closure next year. Under the previously adopted calendar, we would not have had the necessary operational minutes to make up any canceled school days, meaning the school year would need to be extended should we need to close schools for any reason. This year alone, with hurricanes, brown-outs and other weather events, our school year would have needed to be extended into June had we not had additional operational minutes built into our academic calendar.
Restoring 15 minutes to the operational day for the 2021-22 school year resolves this issue. It’s important to note that these operational minutes are similar to what has been in place historically in our district, and that the number of staff work days – or daily duty hours – does not change with this revision.
The revised school hours for the 2021-22 school year are as follows:
Secondary: 7:15 a.m. – 2:40 p.m.
Elementary: 8:15 a.m. – 3:40 p.m.
The 2021-22 academic calendar can be viewed here.
The full video of the March Board of Trustees meeting can view watched below.
National Nutrition Month
At this week’s Board meeting, trustees and district administration gave a special recognition to our hard-working, dedicated Child Nutrition staff. March is National Nutrition Month, so this week’s board meeting was a great opportunity to thank our child nutrition employees for service to our children and families. The work they perform behind the scenes each day to keep children fed and well-nourished is a vital component to our efforts to ensure academic excellence for all students.
Please take a few minutes to watch the video below highlighting some of the great work of our Child Nutrition Department!
Superintendent Shout-Out: Montgomery High School Senior Kalani Hayden
This week I want to send a shout-out to MHS Senior Kalani Hayden!
Kalani, who is a member of my Superintendent’s Student Leadership Council at MHS, made her voice heard by speaking on the issue of district health protocols during the public comment portion of Tuesday’s board meeting. Kalani gave a heart-felt, passionate viewpoint of her opinion on district health protocols and impressed all who were in attendance. It took an incredible amount of courage for Kalani to speak publicly at the board meeting, and I could not be more proud of how she represented herself and her peers.
Kalani is a phenomenal leader who has a bright future ahead!
Final Strategic Plan Town Hall Meeting – April 27 at Montgomery Jr. High School
Please mark your calendars for the final MISD strategic plan town hall meeting on Tuesday, April 27 from 6 – 7:30 p.m. at Montgomery Junior High School. This is a final opportunity to provide your input on targeted items and issues the district should prioritize over the next several years in alignment with the Board’s five adopted goals: Academic Achievement, School Safety, Finance and Operations, Human Capital, and Communications and Customer Service.
The Montgomery ISD Strategic Plan will be finalized in May after we’ve had the opportunity to hold this town hall meeting on April 27.