Every month, we celebrate the extraordinary contributions of our teachers and staff in Montgomery ISD. Below are recipients of gold recognition cards during the month of March. Congratulations!
Important Update on High School Graduation Ceremonies
I wanted to provide you with an update on high school graduation ceremonies.
The date of our graduation ceremonies are scheduled for Monday, May 24 at 7 p.m. for Lake Creek HS and Tuesday, May 25 at 7 p.m. for Montgomery HS.
After consulting with both campus principals, and taking into consideration the desire of our graduates to have flexibility in the number of guests they may invite, we have decided to adjust our plans and move forward with an outdoor graduation ceremony at the Montgomery ISD Athletics Football Stadium.
District administration had been working with the principals and administration teams at both high schools to plan indoor graduation ceremonies at Sam Houston State University that would allow graduates to invite multiple guests. However, we were recently informed by the university that capacity at the ceremonies would be limited to 25% attendance with strict social distancing measures in place. As a result, continuing with the ceremonies at Sam Houston State University would limit guests to no more than three per graduate and restrict other graduation features like having bands in attendance. Throughout this year, seniors at both high schools expressed to me that flexible attendance and having traditional graduation ceremony features in place, like the bands, were top priorities for them.
The dates and times of our graduation ceremonies are unchanged.
Moving the graduation ceremonies to the Montgomery ISD Football Stadium will allow for much greater flexibility in the number of guests our graduates may invite. We firmly believe that although outdoors, a graduation ceremony at the MISD Athletics stadium will provide our graduates and their families with the memorable experience they deserve.
We’re excited to plan an exciting graduation ceremony for our seniors More details, including a contingency plan should weather impact the outdoor ceremony will be shared by each campus in the coming weeks.
Thank you for your continued flexibility.
Dr. Heath Morrison
MISD Master Teacher Cohort Celebrates Completion
This week, the MISD Master Teacher Cohort Class of 2018 celebrated the completion of the two-year program!
The pandemic delayed a few of the activities involved, but these persistent teachers refined their skills in the areas of content, pedagogy, and technology. The cohort sessions included in-person trainings, virtual experiences, book studies, and peer observations, and each member earned additional technology for their classroom. It was a valuable learning experience for all, and we are proud of their accomplishments!
Congratulations to the MISD Master Teach Cohort Class of 2018!
Heather Brown, Cheryl Hartner, Katye Hight, Matthew Monk, Robin Riley, Cindy Siple, Leah Taska, Carolyn Veillon, Sarah Wieghat, Tanya Gardner, Kerrie Johnson, Melissa Nordstrom, Nicole Petillo, Kristin Stevenson, Sheradon Sullivan, and Jennifer Gerbrecht
Superintendent Shout-Out – Montgomery HS Choir Earns National Recognition
This week’s Superintendent Shout-Out goes to Heather Orr and the Montgomery HS Choir!
The MHS choir has received the “Best Communities for Music Education” recognition from the NAMM Foundation! Through this recognition, MHS earned the 2021 Support Music Music Merit Award through the Best Communities for Music Education.
What makes this award special is that there are only 80 high schools in the nation that earned the Music Merit Award.
You can read more about this outstanding achievement here.
Way to go, MHS Choir!
MISD Board of Trustees Candidate Forum
I want to send a special thank you to the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce for hosting an outstanding Board of Trustees Candidate Forum on Tuesday evening at Lake Creek High School. This was an outstanding opportunity for our community to attend and hear first-hand from the individuals seeking to serve on our Board of Trustees. I’m thankful to all who participated in this event by attending in-person, submitting questions for the candidates, or watching it on Facebook Live.
Statewide STAAR Online Testing Issue
Thank you to our students, teachers and staff for their patience and flexibility on Monday when the Texas Education Agency’s online testing vendor experienced statewide outages. The issues experienced by TEA’s vendor did not affect students taking the STAAR on paper. Unfortunately, this was a statewide issue, and completely out of the district’s control. The TEA canceled testing on Monday while their vendor worked to resolve the issues. Campuses will keep you updated as it pertains to the re-scheduled test date.
Last Thursday our 4th graders participated in Camp Write Along. ⛺️ 📝 Check out the different “campsites” students rotated through in the link below! https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1184975005294395
Ms. Creamer’s 6th grade students chose novels to read and discuss with book clubs. Then clubs collaborated to create a poster that displayed their knowledge and opinions of the book in creative ways. Choices for sections of the poster included the theme, character relationships and changes, and flashbacks. Students were also encouraged to include questions they still wondered about the book and connections they made between their book club book and other stories they know. Students loved the experiences they got to share with their fellow book club members.
“Budget Road Show” Complete
This week, we completed our “Budget Road Show”, having now met with staff from all 10 campuses as well as the district office to discuss our work to develop the district’s 2021-22 budget recommendation to the Board of Trustees. As I stated during each of these meetings, meaningful improvements to employee pay has been – and remains – our top priority as we work to finalize a budget recommendation to the Board. I want to thank each of you who asked questions, provided input and gave comments during these discussions. Your critical feedback empowers me and my leadership team to improve how we serve you and our students. You have my full commitment of continued transparency and collaboration through the budget process.
It is our plan to bring forward to the Board of Trustees a proposed district compensation plan at the April 20 Board meeting. Putting a compensation plan forward now, rather than at the conclusion of the budget process, allows employees to have an understanding of what their compensation will look like heading into the next school year. We will provide additional information as it becomes available.
I enjoyed the opportunity to discuss are plans regarding an enhanced district compensation plan beginning in the 2021-22 school year.
As a reminder, all schools and district offices will be closed on Friday, April 2.
Have a safe and relaxing weekend!
Dr. Heath Morrison
Wendy Graves is retiring in August
It is with a wide range of emotions to announce that, after three decades of outstanding service to Montgomery ISD, Wendy Graves is retiring in August 2021. While we are sad to be losing a valued colleague, we celebrate her many accomplishments in the district and are excited about the next step in her leadership journey.
Wendy is in her 30th year with the district, having started her career in education as a teacher at Montgomery HS. She went on to become an assistant principal at Montgomery Intermediate School before being named principal of Montgomery Elementary School, a role she served in for 10 years. Wendy has achieve countless incredible accomplishments throughout her career, but perhaps the greatest was while a principal at Montgomery Elementary School. Under her leadership, MES became the district’s first ever Blue Ribbon School – a highly prestigious and coveted national honor awarded to schools for academic excellence and closing achievement gaps. Wendy was eventually named the Assistant Superintendent of Elementary, where she has spent the previous 10 years.
Over the past year, I have learned that Wendy’s knowledge, experience, selflessness and countless contributions to our district are what make her such an incredible leader in our district. She has been a trusted member of my leadership team and I am grateful for her many contributions during my first year as superintendent.
Please join me in congratulating and thanking Wendy Graves for her service to Montgomery ISD. We wish her all the best as she enters her next chapter.
Efforts to re-open campuses
Over the last several weeks, district administration has been working with principals and campus leadership to bring back a sense of normalcy for students and families on campuses. During the March Board meeting, I announced to trustees that this work had been underway, and I’m excited to let you know that many pre-COVID activities are returning, including proms, field days, Kindergarten and 5th grade celebrations, and volunteers on campus. This school year continues to present unique, unprecedented challenges. As we work diligently to close out this school year strong, it’s important that we continue to find ways to safely restore student, family and volunteer activities in our district.
MISD Education Foundation’s Together We Grow Community Fundraiser
As a reminder, the MISD Education Foundation is holding its first community fundraiser, Together We Grow, on Saturday, April 24 from 7-11 p.m. The event will take place outdoors at the Old Community Center in Historic Montgomery. This is a casual, adult night out with live music featuring the band Rapture and a BBQ dinner catered by locally owned Jr’s.
Together We Grow is a remodeled version of the Foundation’s annual Gala. Our Foundation board members, especially Jessica Grace and Shannan Reid have worked tirelessly on behalf of our district to make this a successful fundraiser for their scholarship and teacher grant programs.
There is also a competition to award one Montgomery ISD Principal with a $2,000 grant for a campus “Hustle Project”. You can help a campus win by sharing the ticket link and encouraging people to buy campus sponsorship tickets for the “Hustle Project” they would like to receive the grant. A video of each campus “Hustle Project” can be viewed here.
I encourage all employees to show their support for the Foundation by attending this event on April 24! Tickets to the event can be purchased here.
Superintendent Shout-Out: Lake Creek HS Varsity Softball
The Lake Creek Varsity Softball team is turning heads attracting some serious statewide attention, having improved their record to 24-0 after defeating Caney Creek this past Tuesday. The Lions are currently ranked #1 in the Area, and #2 in Texas and #18 in the nation according to MaxPreps. I want to give Head Coach Michelle Rochinski and the entire team a Superintendent Shout-Out for the amazing run they have put together so far this season!
The Lions take on New Caney tonight (4/1) at 6:15 p.m. at Lake Creek HS. Get out and support the Lions as they go for 25 in a row!
The Lake Creek Varsity Softball team and all other spring sports schedules can be viewed here.
Thank You HCA Houston Healthcare Conroe!
I would like to send a special thank you to HCA Houston Healthcare Conroe and CEO Matt Davis for their generosity this week in providing every Montgomery ISD employee with a lunch from Joe’s Italian Restaurant in Conroe. On Monday and Tuesday, Matt Davis and his leadership team personally delivered the lunches to all schools and district offices! I am incredibly grateful for this kind gesture to our hard-working employees and appreciate our partnership with HCA Houston Healthcare.
It’s early enrollment time for Pre-K and Kindergarten for the 2021-22 school year! Montgomery ISD offers high-quality Pre-Kindergarten academic programs taught by a certified teacher. Visit www.misd.org for more information on how to enroll!
Bobbi Jo Wells and Melissa Grisham, Keenan’s PE teachers announced that Tetherball was coming to Keenan! These ladies have gone over rules, etiquette, and procedures with all grades (Kinder-5th) in PE. This is a new, fun game for the Keenan Lions. To actually see students using things learned in the classroom or in the gym is very inspiring. By teaching etiquette as well as rules, these educators have impacted students’ physical activity and their social-emotional growth! Students and teachers think this is awesome!!
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 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.
Lake Conroe Area Republican Women had the difficult task of choosing only three winners from LSE for the “My American Hero” essay contest. Essays were heartfelt and inspiring, some students chose historical figures while others honored loved ones that served in the military or is a first responder. Congratulations to all the students that participated in this honorable tradition!
1st- Maddie Gatewood
2nd- Micah Posey
3rd- Jenna Novak
The Montgomery High School Chorale Women’s Choir was recently selected to perform at the National American Choral Directors Association’s 2021 Conference. They were one of only two women’s high school choirs in the country selected to perform for ACDA.
“Being invited to perform at a convention is the highest honor that a choir can receive,” MHS Choir Director Heather Orr said. “It is really awesome for these girls and the program.”
This year’s conference was virtual. A video of their performance was recorded for the event, which can be viewed below.