Montgomery ISD Introduces the Class of 2021 Valedictorians and Salutatorians

As the 2020-2021 school year comes to a close, Montgomery ISD proudly introduces the Valedictorians and Salutatorians for Montgomery and Lake Creek High Schools. These students have accomplished so much in their K through 12 educational career, ultimately earning the top two spots in their graduating classes. We are incredibly proud of them along with the entire MISD class of 2021!

Montgomery High School

Valedictorian, Nicholas Ensey

In addition to excelling in the classroom, Nicholas was involved in many organizations throughout his high school career. Some of his extracurricular accomplishments include National Honor Society President, Student Council Treasurer and playing on the MHS Bears football team. He was also named Mr. Montgomery High School and represented the bears at Texas Boys State. After graduation, Nicholas plans to attend The University of Texas in Austin, majoring in Computer Science. His career goals include software development and establishing a company.

“It’s truly an honor to be named the Montgomery High School 2021 valedictorian,” Nicholas said. “There have been some amazing teachers in my life who have shaped me into the person I am today.”

Salutatorian, Dustin Dillon

Although Dustin’s dream for his future has him looking to the stars, his history at Montgomery also had him looking skyward. He served on the team that built Purple Bearon, an RV-12 FAA certified airplane. He also served as the MHS Choir President and was a member of the Tri-M Music Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta and National Honor Society and VEX Robotics Team. Dustin plans to attend Texas A&M University to pursue an Aerospace Engineering degree. His career goal is to become a Flight Dynamics Officer for NASA.

“I’ve grown up in MISD and it is sad to say goodbye, but endings are just the start of something new,” Dustin said. “The most beautiful things come from new beginnings.”

Lake Creek High School

Valedictorian, Lyle Tobin

Lyle has a unique bragging right when it comes to his high school career, multiple state champion titles! In his senior year, he earned State Championship titles in Social Studies and Current Issues and Events as part of multiple University Interscholastic League academic teams. Lyle’s post-high school plans include attending the University of Mississippi in the pursuit of becoming an Oncologist.

Salutatorian, Isabel Harwood

Isabel’s high school career is an interesting mix of journalism and science. As part of the Lake Creek Journalism team, Isabel served as yearbook editor. She also competed on the UIL Science team, which may serve her well after graduation. She plans to attend The University of Texas as a Nursing major, with a career goal of becoming a Nurse Practitioner.

“Something I have learned throughout high school is that there is not one true definition of success,” Isabel said. “It is a measurement of how much work you are willing to put in to achieve your dreams, whatever they may be. Everyone is successful in their own unique way.”

Lake Creek Robotics Team Invited to Prestigious Competition

The Lake Creek High School robotics team 2854Y will soon take their talents to a global stage as qualifiers for the VEX Robotics World Championship. The team received the invitation to compete at the conclusion of the VEX Robotics Texas State competition and a year of virtual and in-person competitions.

“Lake Creek’s robotics teams began the school year with one goal in mind, return to the VEX Robotics World Championship,” Lake Creek Robotics Teacher Eric Moons said. “After each of these tournaments, teams would refine their robot and code to improve their world rankings.”

The competition consists of a challenge to build a robot for a game designed by the VEX Robotics Game Design Committee which allows students to use the engineering process to design, build and code competitive robots. The teams then compete in matchups with random teams at each tournament.

Competitors spend hours immersed in design, game theory along with pre and post-game analysis of their performance and their competitors in order to position themselves to be a dominant team in their competitive field.

“Being great at what they do is not the most impressive part to me,” Moons said. “Their willingness to share design ideas, strategies, tools and parts with random teams they compete with or against to help improve the robotics community and make the competition stronger, is what really sets them apart.”

The VEX Robotics World Championship will take place over the course of a week starting on Sunday, May 16th and running through Saturday, May 22nd.

The MISD Minute: Friday, Feb. 5, 2021

Dear Team MISD,

This week is National School Counseling Week!

Our school counselors play a critical role in both the academic and social and emotional well-being of our students. Each day, they push our students to achieve the goals and aspirations they’ve set for themselves, while ensuring that each of them receive the support they need to be successful. I could not be more thankful for the hard work and dedication our counselors have shown this year. They are truly making a tremendous impact on the lives of Montgomery ISD students, and the work they have contributed to our district’s collective efforts this year is without a doubt one of the reasons that nearly 95% of our students are currently participating in traditional, in-person instruction.

Showing appreciation for our counselors is especially important – even personal – to me. When I entered high school as a student, going to college was not an option I was considering. However, my high school guidance counselor not only inspired me to pursue college, but also helped me secure the scholarships I needed for financial support along the way. I would not have become the first person in my family to attend college and ultimately obtained my Master’s degree and Ph.D. without the guidance, support and inspiration of my counselor.

It has been a pleasure getting to know our dedicated counselors during my time as superintendent. Seeing their passion and dedication to our students is inspiring, and I’m excited about the work being performed in our district strategic plan to further strengthen the role of counselors in Montgomery ISD.

Sincerely,

Dr. Heath Morrison

MISD Strategic Planning Survey

As we continue our district strategic plan work, it’s important that we survey our employees, parents, students and community members on important issues encompassing the five Board of Trustee-adopted district goals, which are: Academics, Safety, Operations and Finance, Human Capital, and Communications and Customer Service.

Diverse community and stakeholder participation in the district strategic planning process is important to us as our strategic plan task force committees work on Key Performance Indicators and initiatives and strategies designed to meet our district goals.

Please take a few minutes to complete the survey by clicking the link below. The survey takes approximately 5-10 minutes to complete.

We appreciate your time and feedback. The survey will close at 5 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 15.

Click here to access the MISD Strategic Planning Survey

Budget Town Hall Reminder

On Tuesday, Feb. 9 at 6 p.m., we will hold a Budget Town Hall meeting in the Board Room of the MISD Education Support Center.

At this Town Hall, Chief Financial Officer Kris Lynn and I will discuss our budgeting process and priorities for the 2021-22 school year and provide the community with an overview of district revenues and expenditures. As we work through our budget process, we are fully committed to transparency, active engagement and making meaningful improvements to employee salaries.

I look forward to the community’s participation in these discussions.

Student Leadership Council Meetings

It is always the highlight of my week when I have the pleasure of meeting with our student leaders. This week, I held my monthly meetings with my student leadership councils at Montgomery HS and Lake Creek HS.

These leaders never fail to impress me with their passion and insight on how we can improve the student experience in Montgomery ISD. During this meeting, students provided us with valuable input on our strategic planning survey, which was launched today. We also discussed their personal growth as leaders by reviewing one of Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: First seek to understand, then to be understood.

Communication Council Meetings

This week I met with my District Elementary and Secondary Communication Councils. These groups are comprised of a representative from each campus who each bring to me various issues, thoughts, concerns and suggestions raised by their colleagues. In addition to the issues brought forward by members of the councils, we discussed the district strategic plan process and also spent time talking about culture and morale across the district.

These conversations are not only important, but valuable to me as we seek constant improvement in how the district supports our teachers and other campus-level staff. I charge myself, and my leadership team, with responding to the issues raised by the communications councils in writing, which we always share districtwide to all staff.

Our goal is to provide written responses to issues raised by the communications councils within the next two weeks.

Superintendent Shout-Out: Jayson Kimberly

This week, I want to give a Superintendent Shout-out to Montgomery High School’s Jayson Kimberly, who was recently featured on KPRC Channel Houston Life for his fantastic work through his own non-profit organization, Leave it for the Pooch. As the proud owner of a rescue dog, I am especially moved by Jayson’s story and dedication to this outstanding cause.

You continue to make us all proud, Jayson!

You can watch Jayson’s segment on Houston Life here.

Bears and Lions Take Next Big Step as Part of National Signing Day

It was an exciting day at both Montgomery ISD high schools as Bears and Lions made their higher education intentions known as part of National Signing Day. In total, 20 MISD athletes, nine from Montgomery High School and 11 from Lake Creek High School, signed letters of intent to the college of their choice. 

“National Signing Day is very exciting not only for the athletes, but their families, teachers and coaches,” MISD Athletic Director Clint Heard said. “This is the reward of years of hard work and dedication in their chosen sport while excelling in their academic studies, as well. We’re incredibly proud.”

Montgomery High School

Ty AlaridBaseballLyon University
Lacy ChilekSoftballTufts University
KJ DanesBaseballLeTourneau University
Josiah GaetaniFootballMount Marty University
Tre HardenFootballBlinn College
Adavion JohnsonFootballEastern New Mexico University
Dalton MerrymanFootballTarleton State University
Cameron MiddletonFootballMount Marty University
Frankie WatsonBaseballTexas A&M University-Texarkana

Lake Creek High School

Alexis MackVolleyballEast Texas Baptist University
Madison BlaneVolleyballLiberty University
Jenney RobisonSoftballMcClennan College
Emiley KennedySoftballTexas A&M University
Bryce JonesBaseballNavarro College
Dayeton SweetingFootballBlinn College
Ty SextonBaseballTexas A&M University
Chance NiesnerFootballColgate University
Xavier GabelFootballMount Marty University
Zach DownsFootballConcordia University
John SpikermanBaseballThe University of Oklahoma

The MISD Minute: Friday, Jan. 15, 2021

A Year of Flexibility

Dear Team MISD,

I want to thank you all for your patience this past Sunday as we wrestled with the difficult decision to close schools and district offices on Monday due to the hazardous road conditions resulting from the winter storm.

In many ways, closing schools due to weather is one of the most difficult responsibilities of a school district superintendent, and I never take these decisions lightly. After consulting with Montgomery County officials and neighboring superintendents throughout the day on Sunday and tracking the storm conditions and weather patterns, we felt it was in the best safety interest of our students, families and staff to close on Monday. Safety is always at the forefront when faced with the difficult decision to close schools due to weather.

Additionally, while each scenario presents different obstacles, we will always put forward our best effort to make final decisions on school closures with adequate time for staff and families to make plans for the following day. We will always communicate as much information as we can, as quickly as possible.

Of course, due to the schedule change on Monday, we will need to make up the instructional minutes later this semester to ensure we meet the number required by the state. Below, I outline the schedule change, which we were able to accomplish without adding an additional school day to our 2020-21 calendar.

Thank you all for your continued flexibility this school year. Please have a restful and safe holiday weekend.

Sincerely,

Dr. Heath Morrison

Inclement Weather Closure – Schedule Change

Due to the inclement weather closure on Monday, we need to make an adjustment to our second semester calendar in order to meet the state required number of instructional minutes. We are making the following changes:

  • For elementary campuses, there will no longer be an early release day on Wednesday, March 10. Elementary student dismissal on Wednesday, March 10 will now be at the regularly scheduled time.
  • For secondary campuses, there will no longer be a late arrival day on Wednesday, April, 21. Secondary student arrival on Wednesday, April, 21 will now be at the regularly scheduled time.

Please note that with these changes, we have avoided the need to add an additional school day to the calendar. The last day of school remains Tuesday, May 25.

COVID-19 Rapid Testing and Vaccines

The health, safety and well-being of students and staff is always our top priority. I’m happy to announce that voluntary COVID-19 Rapid Testing has begun and is now available for all MISD students and staff. Please know that we are providing the tests, which are available at no cost, as a courtesy. At no time with COVID-19 testing be mandatory. You can learn more about COVID-19 Rapid Testing eligibility and schedule an appointment to receive a test by clicking here.

We are still in the process of learning more about the availability of the COVID-19 vaccinations approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, once available, we have been informed that FDA-approved vaccines will be available free of charge in all TRS-ActiveCare plans. Similar to testing, barring any future state requirements, the district will not require employees or students to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of employment or enrollment.

You can learn more about COVID-19 vaccines here and TRS ActiveCare here.

87th Texas Legislative Session Update

State lawmakers convened for the 87th Texas Legislative Session on Tuesday, January 12.

The stakes are always high for public education during a Texas legislative session. Not only is public education roughly half of the state’s budget, in addition, because the Texas legislature only meets every other year, lawmakers are tasked with the difficult job of crafting a state budget for two years. This means that, in the weeks ahead, lawmakers will debate, and ultimately determine how much state funding will be allocated to schools for the 2021-22 and 2022-23 academic years.

This year, lawmakers are confronting some budget challenges primarily due to negative impact COVID-19 has had on our state’s economy. Public education supporters across the state will be urging lawmakers to avoid cuts to our schools as they grapple with balancing the state’s budget. It’s important that our community have a voice in the legislative process, because every policy change lawmakers make to public education statutes ultimately have an impact on student achievement. That’s why I’m proud of the fact that our Board of Trustees is working on a legislative platform to provide Montgomery ISD with that voice.

The Board is scheduled to adopt a set of legislative priorities for the district during its board meeting next week, which will effectively outline the district’s position on the various education-related policy issues lawmakers will tackle this year, like school finance, assessment and accountability, school safety, and COVID-19. I’ll provide you with more information on the district’s legislative platform and how you can get involved next week. I strongly encourage you all to stay informed on what is happening at the capitol this year.

MISD Board Meeting – Tuesday, January 19

The MISD Board of Trustees is scheduled to meet for its January regular meeting on Tuesday, January 19. Most notably, trustees will consider adopting the 2021-22 academic calendar and a district legislative platform to present to state lawmakers.

The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. in the board auditorium of the MISD Education Support Center.

You can learn more about the MISD Board, view meetings agendas and watch board meetings on our district website, or by clicking here.

District Advisory Meeting – Academic Calendar Process

The District Advisory Committee (DAC) met this week to finalize the academic calendar recommendation process. The DAC is a group of over 40 individuals who represent all MISD campuses. They are teachers, parents, staff members and community leaders.

The DAC convened for its first academic calendar meeting in October, and through multiple subcommittees containing parents and staff, five calendar options were developed for consideration by stakeholders across the district. After receiving input on all five calendar options, the DAC narrowed the calendar options down to two in December.

Between Dec. 17, 2020 and Jan. 8, 2021, the two academic calendar options were presented to MISD parents, staff and community members in the form of a survey for input. There were a total of 3,542 responses to the survey, with 57% of respondents preferring calendar Option A, and 43% preferring option B.

Based on the input received in the survey, DAC is recommending academic calendar option A to the Board of Trustees for approval next week.

Please note that instructional minutes in any adopted calendar may be subject to administrative adjustment based on the future requirements relating to remote learning, COVID-19 conditions, weather-related closures and considering the needs of teachers and students. Should we determine a need to adjust instructional minutes, the DAC will be consulted on the proposed adjustment and the changes will be brought back to the Board of Trustees.

I want to thank all who had a hand in the academic calendar development and recommendation process.

Lake Creek Senior Featured on FOX26 Houston’s ‘Making the Grade

On Monday, Jan. 11 Lake Creek senior Ethan Harper was featured on FOX 26 Houston’s Making the Grade, which is a weekly segment profiling a Houston area student athlete. As a sophomore, Ethan suffered a tragic leg injury in a football game which forced him to miss the remainder of the season. However, despite this setback, Ethan worked incredibly hard to get back on the field, while staying focused in the classroom. His hard work and determination paid off. Earlier this year, Ethan received a “preferred walk on” offer to play football at the University of Southern Mississippi.

You can watch Ethan’s segment on FOX26 Houston here.

Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday

All MISD schools and district offices will be closed on Monday, Jan. 18 in observance of Martin Luther King Day. As we enter the holiday weekend, I leave you with this quote from Dr. King on the importance of education.

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”