Superintendent Blog

Brock ISD

Updates from around Brock ISD from the Superintendent of Schools, Cade Smith

Blog Entries

5/31/19

Light update, HB3, and Facilities survey


Last Friday, the Brock High School Senior Class of 2019 walked across the stage and into the next phase of their lives. As bittersweet as it was to say goodbye to these young men and women, we cannot wait to see their lasting impact on our state, nation, and world. Over $1.2 million in scholarships were earned by this amazing class. We are indeed in very good hands.


In the past legislative session, lawmakers approved a new school finance bill - House Bill 3. A component of HB3 is some property tax relief provided to taxpayers. While we are still working through all the aspects of this bill, look for your school tax rate to be compressed in the very near future. Once we get a final update of how much that compression can be, we will communicate that information to you.


We have received an update from The Texas Department of Transportation regarding the traffic light at FM 1189 and Eagle Spirit Lane. Last spring, TxDOT informed us that the design of the light was taking place and noted that construction would begin in April, light testing in May, and completion in June. Now, TxDOT has informed us that the poles for the lights are on backorder, and are expected to arrive in August. As you can imagine, this is disappointing and frustrating news to all of us. Unfortunately, at this point, it does not appear they will have the light ready by the beginning of the 2019-20 school year. We are hopeful that it will be installed and working soon after we come back to school.


Many of you that are registered voters will begin to receive a phone and/or online survey regarding the growth in our district and the work our Citizen’s Advisory Committee (CAC) has done. As you may recall, Brock ISD had a demographic study done this past fall, and it was reported that our student population has grown by almost 30% in the last four years and is projected to grow another 30% over the next four years. Our committee has reviewed these numbers as well as our current capacity at our four campuses and is working on a recommendation to take to the board of trustees to address this growth. They need your feedback, so please take a few moments to take the survey. You can keep up with all of our CAC meetings and presentations on our website at https://www.brockisd.net/34075_1


Although school is not in session, there are plenty of opportunities for your child to stay involved with BISD during the summer months. A list of camps and activities can be also be found on our website at https://www.brockisd.net/183240_2


Enjoy the summer and the time with your children. Our offices are open throughout the summer on Monday-Thursday and will be closed the week of July 1st - 5th. Please do not hesitate to reach out if we can be of any help.


Cade



4/26/19


Brock ISD Taxes


This week, like all of our community members, I received my appraisal notice from the Parker County Appraisal District. While all of us have seen a vast increase in our property taxes, I wanted to attempt to answer some of the questions that surround how public school taxes fit into property values.


While school districts receive funding from property values, we have no jurisdiction or input on how the county appraisal district determine values. That decision is solely up to each appraisal district based on market property values. A decision we do make is the recommendation of our school tax rate to our Board of Trustees. Our current tax rate at Brock ISD is $1.62 and approved each August annually, by the Brock ISD Board of Trustees. Two parts make up that $1.62: the day to day operations known as the maintenance and operations (M&O) rate and our debt services known as our interests and sinking (I&S) rate.


Our (M&O) rate is the larger of the two rates, and currently sits at $1.17. That rate has stayed consistent for over 7 years. The last time it was changed was the 2011-2012 school year in which Brock ISD voters approved (over a 3 year period, incrementally) increases to the rate. The M&O rate funds our day-to-day operations which include teacher salaries, teacher and student supplies, utilities, buses, transportation cost, etc.


The second portion of our tax rate is our Interest & Sinking (I&S) rate. This side of the tax rate funds construction and renovation cost; large capital expenditures. While our state does not contribute much to help fund construction and renovation cost, school districts pay for large capital costs through I&S funds. Our I&S rate is set at $.45. This rate was changed in 2016 when voters approved a 7 cent increase to help fund the 2016 bond. Information regarding completed projects of the 2016 bond can be found here: https://www.brockisd.net/227423_2


You have probably heard talk this legislative session regarding “revamping our public school finance system.” The M&O rate is the basis of that talk. As property taxes continue to rise, what has occurred is that the state’s contribution to public schools has decreased. Simply put, your increased property taxes have been met with our state reducing their share of funding.


Our Board of Trustees took action in February and passed “Legislative Priorities” and sent these priorities to our state representatives. One priority specifically addresses this concern of rising property taxes and the state’s decrease in funding. The priority asks for our lawmakers to “create an equitable school funding system; one that reduces the state’s overreliance on recapture and property value increase.” Furthermore, this priority asks our legislatures to “provide transparency regarding how increases in local property values continue to allow the state to decrease the amount of funding it provides to public schools.” At this time of this blog post, there has been some good news out of Austin - our lawmakers are having property value/school funding conversations. While no legislation has been approved at this time, we are hopeful that lawmakers will allocate more dollars from the state’s side which could allow for school districts to reduce their tax rates.


Information regarding our budget, finances, and tax rate can be found on our website: https://www.brockisd.net/297388_4. As always, feel free to contact us if we can clarify any questions you may have regarding taxes.


Once again, a huge “thank you” for your support of our students, staff, and schools here in Brock ISD. The successes that we have had and continue to have could not be accomplished without you as partners.


Cade


4/18/19


This past Tuesday, our Brock ISD Steering Committee met and sorted through the hundreds of responses that our students, staff, parents, and community members provided regarding the future direction of our district. Thank you for your involvement in our listening sessions as well as the surveys we sent out. Your responses were incredible! It was quite clear what values and purpose you want from Brock ISD. The most challenging part of our committee’s work was putting the right verbiage together so that we are able to express your hopes and dreams. Nonetheless, in the true “Spirit of Brock,” the members that we have on this committee made it happen.


From here, we’ll take our work to the Brock ISD Board of Trustees this coming May for their feedback followed by action and adoption. Once the board adopts our new Brock ISD vision, mission, and core values, we will share this newly adopted framework with our stakeholders, and begin to set goals that pursue these charges.


Another committee that we have created is also hard at work, our Citizen’s Advisory Committee (CAC) - or bond committee - met again this past Monday. In their work, they have been exploring ways we can maintain the high expectations placed on our district during a time in which we have experienced a 30% growth in student enrollment over the past 4 years and are projected to receive another 30% over the next 4 years. At the top of our district webpage, you will find a new subpage entitled “Bond Projects.” On this page, we have added information related to the 2016 bond that you, as voters, approved. Additionally, we have added and will continue to add, all information and presentations from our current CAC meetings so that you are up to date in our work and conversations. You can find that subpage here: https://www.brockisd.net/34075_1


As we gear up for a final push toward the end of the school year, our students continue to approach each day with the same fire, intensity, and pursuit for excellence. Our UIL Academic team is taking a record number of students to the UIL Academic State Meet, tennis is competing at regionals, track won the area championship in both the boy’s and girl’s division and now heads to regionals, golf will compete at the regional tournament, and our softball and baseball teams are prepping for their playoff run.


Enjoy the long weekend, and to all of you - Happy Easter!


Cade




2/28/19


Over the past two weeks, our Board of Trustees convened and took action on two items that I want to share. First, our Board joined many other school districts and school boards across our state and voted unanimously to adopt Legislative Priorities that represent Brock ISD. As our state elected officials meet in Austin during this 86th Legislative Session, we want them to consider our collective voice regarding the future of public education when they are asked for their vote on any bills related to public schools. Therefore, these three priorities of Local School Governance, Safety and Security, and Local Accountability were crafted, approved, and sent to our state leaders in the House and Senate. You can find our Legislative Priorities and all of their details here.


Second, the Board unanimously approved the funding for the traffic light at FM 1189 and Eagle Spirit Lane. While there is some cost associated with the purchase and construction of this traffic light, our administrative team and Board agreed to move forward and ensure that the safety of our students and community remain our top priority. With this approval, and according to TxDOT, you may anticipate construction to begin in late March/early April with testing of the light to start in May.


Please mark your calendars for Thursday, March 21st, for a community listening session to gather feedback on your aspirations for our school district. Starting at 6:00 p.m., we will ask a series of questions with the purpose of collecting your thoughts and voice regarding our future direction. The result of this session will help us articulate the Brock ISD vision, mission, core values, and beliefs. From there, we will begin the process of putting together a 3-5 year action plan which will pursue these charges. If you cannot make the March 21st listening session, an online opportunity is being designed so that a scheduling conflict does not omit your voice. Look for that communication regarding how to be involved in late March/early April.


Hang on for the last few days of winter - spring is right around the corner!


Cade


2/6/19


Direction of Brock ISD


In a blink of an eye, February has rolled around, and we are inching closer to spring break. Over the past couple of weeks, I have had the pleasure to visit with various groups regarding the future direction of Brock ISD. The purpose of these conversations is to begin collecting data and establish themes, all leading toward a vision of Brock ISD’s future. In that work, we will develop core values of our organization as well as beliefs, so that decisions impacting our district are aligned with the hopes and dreams of our parents, community, staff, and students. As cliché as it sounds, we want to articulate the “Brock Way” so that we may ensure complete alignment along the path of our future.


You will start to see opportunities to provide input into this charge as we move into the spring and summer. Multiple “listening sessions” will be offered for all of our stakeholders, so their voice is heard and fully taken into consideration in this process. You will see those in the form of face-to-face community meetings, staff meetings, as well as online opportunities so that everyone can participate if they wish. We want and need your feedback in this process. Be on the lookout for dates and opportunities.


There is no question that our school district is growing. However, while that growth occurs, we stand committed to ensuring the traditions, values, and beliefs that have made Brock what it is today, remain.


So…we’re getting to work doing just that.


Thank you for entrusting us with your kids and thank you for your partnership in making Brock ISD not only the best school district in Texas, but the best school district in the nation.


Cade





12/21/18


Growth of Brock ISD


This past Monday, the Brock Board of Trustees convened and examined the future of our school district. In a presentation by Templeton Demographics, we saw a glimpse of what growth over the next decade might look like in Brock ISD. We elected to use Templeton Demographics again as their last report, in 2015 to Brock ISD, was almost spot on. Back in 2015, they predicted our district growing from a then student population of 1,303 students to a projected 1,542 for 2018-19. Currently, we have 1,527 students enrolled in Brock ISD; 15 students less than they had predicted.


The overall theme of their presentation this year is that Brock continues to grow and will do so into the next decade. Looking toward our future, they outlined the following:


  • Over the past 4 years, we have experienced a growth rate of close to 30%, and are projected to maintain that growth rate over the next 10 years;
  • With this current trend, our projected enrollment will be 1,750 students by the year 2020;
  • We should eclipse 2,000 students by the 2023-24 school year;
  • In 2028-29, over 2,600 students are projected to be enrolled in our district.



The complete PowerPoint presentation can be found on our district website: https://www.brockisd.net/221261_2


With this information, we will continue the process of preparing our district for growth. As we grow, we remain committed to ensuring the traditions we have in this community and district remain strong and our one-of-a-kind culture that is “Brock” paves our way in this journey.


During this Holiday Season, I hope that the next 2 weeks are filled with family, loved ones, and cheer. We look forward to another amazing and successful semester when we start back in January.


Have a very, Merry Christmas,

Cade



11/9/18


A great night last Friday night as Dr. David Stevens of the UIL presented Brock its 5th Lone Star Cup Trophy. The Brock Football Team went on later that evening to claim the District 4-AAA Championship. They’ll conclude the regular season this evening at Paradise, and begin their playoff run with the Bi-District Championship game next week.


Our Volleyball Team continues to shine in the State Playoffs after a 3-0 sweep of Nocona this past Tuesday evening. They are headed back to the Regional Tournament this weekend which will be held in Lubbock. First serve is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. this evening.


Many of you might have heard your children come home and discuss a reading assessment taken at school through a software program called “iReady.” The purpose of this assessment was to provide information that shows where our students are regarding reading fluency. One of the priorities from our Board of Trustees is that our school district “provide effective future-ready teaching and learning that results in career preparation, student mastery for graduation, and post-secondary success.” We believe that we cannot begin to move the needle on this priority without continuing to develop exceptional readers. By using tools like the iReady assessment, we can adjust and modify our instruction so that it may be customized to each student's learning needs; thus, measuring our progress on this priority’s attainment.


Thank you to all of you for turning out to the polls. Congratulations to Dr. Katarina Lindley who has been elected to Place 6 on the Brock Board of Trustees. Dr. Lindley will replace Dr. Shanna Boleman who did not seek re-election, ending a very successful tenure on our Board. Dr. Lindley will be sworn in as a trustee on November 14th and will serve at her first Board Meeting Monday, November 26th. Please offer your congratulations to her when you see her out in the community. We look forward to her leadership in our school district.


As the season of thanks approaches, there are so many things to be thankful for. I, personally, cannot begin to express how thankful I am for our staff that leads our amazing students and our parents in this community. Brock ISD is the envy of many school districts across the state, and this is because of every individual in Brock, Texas and our collective effort to provide the best for our children. Enjoy the Thanksgiving Break and allow me to be first to wish you a very, Happy Thanksgiving.


Cade


10/20/18


It’s been a great start to October, and that trend looks to continue as the pride of Brock ISD is showcased. On Friday, the 12th, we hosted our annual Fall Festival at Brock Elementary and had incredible turnout. A very heartfelt “thank you” to our community for coming out and donating to this event. Every penny collected at Fall Festival goes right back to educating our students. We also cannot go without acknowledging our staff and students for their hard work to make this event happen. Because of anticipated rain, we had to move our event inside with only a few, short hours to spare. Nonetheless, these men and women made the necessary adjustments to make Fall Festival spectacular. Without question, our students and staff will do everything they can to make Brock ISD successful.


Many extra-curricular events are in full motion allowing you to see how well our students represent this district and community. At Brock High School, our girl's cross-country team is headed to the regional cross country meet along with a runner from our boys’ team who qualified. Volleyball is concluding district play and has qualified for the state playoffs yet again. Football is nearing the midpoint in district play sitting in first place, and our marching band has their major performance of the season today (19th). You can also catch multiple athletic events at Brock Junior High and begin to mark your calendar to see our UIL Academic Teams from elementary to high school compete.


Last night, the 2018 Lone Star Cup Presentation was set to take place after being rescheduled from earlier this year. Unfortunately, this pattern of rain pushes us to another date. We are looking at our next home football game on Friday, November 2nd, for the presentation. We’ll continue to update you on this event.


From a construction standpoint, the Brock Elementary playground is being assembled as quickly as the rain allows. This week has slowed our progress to a standstill, but as soon as the skies clear, workers will get right back to assembling. For our traffic light at FM 1189 and Eagle Spirit Lane, TxDOT is still working on the design of that light and intersection. As soon as they complete their part, our board of trustees is ready to call an immediate, special meeting to consider and approve funding the light. Once approval has been granted, we anticipate a month or two for construction of the light to have it operable.

Thank you for allowing us to serve you and your children in this great community.

Cade





9/14/18


This past Monday evening, the Brock ISD Board of Trustees convened and held a tax rate hearing as well as acted on multiple items. A couple of noteworthy items were approved: 1) the annual tax rate for Brock ISD will remain the same as last year at $1.62 and 2) the board approved our district’s involvement in “Make Education a Priority” throughout the month of October. With our involvement in “Make Education a Priority,” we will invite local and state elected officials into our schools and district so that they may see all of the great things taking place in Brock ISD. The intent behind this campaign is to provide them with as much information as we can so that they may make legislative decisions that support public education.


Also, taking place in October is a new PSAT (Preliminary SAT) initiative that we are embarking on this school year. Every student in the 10th and 11th grade will be able to take the PSAT Exam on Wednesday, October 10th, with the cost of the exams fully funded by Brock ISD. The purpose of this initiative is to provide our students with an opportunity to take a practice version of the SAT so that they may see what the SAT looks like before taking the exam their senior year - all in hopes of attaining higher scores leading to improved college/university admission chances. Additionally, by having students take the PSAT, we can begin to identify those students who have the potential to be considered National Merit Scholars. Students who attain a certain score on the PSAT their junior year can be recognized as National Merit Scholars and exponentially increase their college admission status to just about every college and university.

For those families that have students in the 8th and 9th grade and want their child to take the PSAT, they may contact Brock Junior High or Brock High School to sign up. The cost of the exam is $16. Our vision of this initiative is to budget accordingly in the upcoming years so that all students in grades 8th – 11th may take the exam with no out of pocket costs for families.





Some events to add to your calendars:


  • The Brock High School Homecoming Parade and Bonfire will be at 6:30 p.m., on Wednesday, September 19th. The parade will take place on Eagle Spirit Lane.
  • Fall Festival will be October 12th, at 6:00 p.m., at Brock Elementary
  • Lone Star Cup Presentation – discussions are still taking place regarding a rescheduled date. We will keep you informed.



I hope you are enjoying the cooler temperatures and rain as much as I am. Thank you for allowing us the honor to serve you and your children.


Cade



8/31/18


The first two weeks of school are behind us as we begin the push into September. Our student enrollment in Brock ISD continues to remain at a 9% growth rate. As Labor Day weekend approaches, 1,525 students are currently enrolled in our schools. Because of this growth, Brock ISD has been identified as an “emerging district” according to Texas’ Fast Growth Schools Coalition. This October, we will be working with a demographer to help provide us with a projection of Brock ISD’s future growth. Typically, these estimates can project 10-15 years down the road with some variations. We anticipate a completed report to come back in December, and at that time we will inform our community of those projected estimates.


A “thank you” to all of you for your patience with the traffic in the mornings during drop-off and afternoons for pick-up. For over a year, Brock ISD has been collaborating with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) regarding the possibility of a traffic light at the intersection of FM 1189 and Eagle Spirit Lane. Until this week, TxDOT was in, what they referred to, their “study phase” of whether or not a traffic light is needed. We have now received notification that the study is complete and a traffic light is approved for the intersection. From past, historical experience (i.e., FM 1189 and Grindstone light), there is still quite a bit of work to be completed before a light is installed (light and road traffic design, bidding for contractors, purchase, installation, etc.). Unfortunately, as our team works diligently to expedite information requested by TxDOT, the majority of the work lies at the control of TxDOT. We will continue to provide you updates on this process as we receive them.


Lastly, for those of you that are active on social media, I would encourage you to follow some of our teachers, staff, and administrators on twitter. These folks are sharing a lot of good stuff that is taking place inside our schools, including pictures and videos of how and what our students are learning. A simple search of #brockisd will get you started and lead you to an array of information that helps tell the story of our district.


I hope that you enjoy our first “long weekend” this Labor Day Weekend. Thank you for your continued support of our students and school district. We look forward to seeing everyone back at school on Tuesday.


Cade




8/16/18


The 2018-19 school year for Brock ISD is officially underway! 1,496 students walked into the doors of our four campuses this morning, and we could not be more ecstatic to receive them. Despite the traffic light malfunction and the backup on FM1189, there were many smiling faces just as excited as we were to come back to school. Thank you for entrusting us to educate your children.

What a great week we have had leading up to our first day. At our “Welcome to Brock Cookout,” we served 200 hamburgers and almost 50 hotdogs to all of our new families of Brock. On Thursday, August 9th, we held our grand opening of Brock Elementary with a packed house on hand. Meet the Teacher, held on Tuesday evening, filled every spot of our parking lots and then some as we had vehicles lined up on both Grindstone Road and Eagle Spirit Lane. The support and encouragement this community provides our school district is truly astounding.

As many of you are aware, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) released our state accountability ratings this week. For the first time, school districts were given a letter grade of A-F depending on how well they met specific criteria; primarily results from the STAAR (State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness) Exam. Brock ISD received a grade of “A.” While we will use this information to improve and refine our practices, we believe our students are much more than scores on a state-mandated test that is given one time a year. As these results are a measure of student achievement, we believe they are not the sole measure of student achievement and complete accountability.

At Brock ISD, we desire to be accountable for the education that we provide. A high-stakes, multiple choice exam should not be the only instrument that determines a system of accountability; that system should, most definitely, include the voice of the students, parents, and community we serve. In the coming months, we will be asking for your input on the educational experience we provide through various modes of communication. We want to meet your expectations and be accountable to you, the community of Brock ISD.

Finally, we will have an early release on Friday, August 31st. Release time will be at 12:00 noon. Our first football game of the season will broadcast live on Fox Sports Southwest with a kickoff scheduled for 5:30 p.m. in Brownwood on that date. Although school will be released early and buses will run at noon, we will continue to provide supervision and additional bus routes that will run at our usual release time. For those parents that cannot pick up their child at noon or will not be home for the early bus drop-off, there will be options for you and your child. Our campus administration will be providing more information on this process in the coming days.

I hope that your start of this school year was exceptional and may this school year be the best you have ever experienced.

Cade



7/26/18


The countdown to the official start of the 2018-19 school year has officially begun. In a little over two weeks, our halls and classrooms will be buzzing with students, staff, teachers, and administrators embarking on another year of educational success. I am beyond ecstatic regarding the possibilities that lie on the horizon for this school year.

Construction across the district is nearly complete. Brock Elementary is going through its final walkthrough inspection while Brock Intermediate and Brock Junior High are entering their final stages of renovations. Our district will continue to have superb facilities thanks to your investment. One quick reminder: our Brock Elementary Grand Opening is Thursday, August 9th starting at 6:00 p.m.

Another date to add to your calendar is Tuesday, August 14th for our annual “Meet the Teacher” night across the district. From 6:00-7:30 p.m., all campuses will be open so that parents and students have the opportunity to meet their teachers before school officially begins. Understanding that some parents have children that attend multiple campuses, we have structured this night as a come and go event.

A very notable celebration and opportunity for Brock ISD has taken shape over the summer. For the past couple of years, the University Interscholastic League (UIL) and Fox Sports have teamed up to kick off the high school football season by televising the most elite two games in the state broadcasting them live on Fox Sports Southwest. Brock High School’s season opener vs. Brownwood was chosen as one of this year’s two games. Since this partnership between the UIL and Fox Sports is a doubleheader, our game will be the first of the two televised. Kickoff is set for 5:30 p.m. at Brownwood High School on Friday, August 31st. What a fantastic opportunity for Brock ISD to showcase our outstanding district! From our exceptional student-athletes, trainers, cheerleaders, band, and flag corps to our phenomenal coaches, directors, sponsors and fans, Brock ISD will be on full display to the state and the nation.

Enjoy the final weeks of summer vacation. We look forward to seeing everyone back in Brock ISD on August 16th.

Cade


7/3/18


Greetings!

A whirlwind of excitement and anticipation has ensued for me since being named superintendent of Brock ISD. Words cannot begin to explain the welcome our family has received from this great community and district. Every day, we meet more and more exceptional individuals that showcase the values, character, and culture of Brock. We could not be more thrilled to be a member of this district and community.

As the summer months press on, we are feverishly preparing for the 2018-19 school year. Brock ISD is officially a four campus district - Brock Elementary (grades Pre-K – 2nd), Brock Intermediate (grades 3rd – 6th), Brock Junior High (grades 7th & 8th), and Brock High School (grades 9th – 12th). Thanks to your bond dollars at work, construction around the district is right on track. The new Brock Elementary School is in its final stages and nearing completion. Brock Intermediate and Brock Junior High are past the mid-point of their renovations and should be complete within the next two weeks. By August 1st, all projects from the 2016 bond will be complete. Thank you for your investment in our school district.

Currently, preparations are being made to host a grand opening of the new Brock Elementary School for our community. Please mark your calendars for Thursday, August 9th from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. Come out and take a tour of the campus and join us in our celebration.

For the 5th time in 10 years, Brock High School is the 3A UIL Lone Star Cup Champions! The Lone Star Cup is awarded to the top performing high school of each classification. Results are calculated based on district and state competition in UIL extra-curricular activities. The presentation of the Lone Star Cup, by the UIL, is being scheduled for a date to be determined this fall.

This past Thursday evening, the BISD Board of Trustees convened and approved our annual school budget. The total budget for the 2018-19 school year is set at $13,035,200 without any changes to our tax rate ($1.62). Brock ISD, once again, continues to shine in fiscal responsibility. Txsmartschools.org has awarded us a 5-star rating for 2018. This is the highest rating that can be achieved in the state and is based on a balance between strong academic achievement and exceptional fiscal responsibility. Brock is 1 of only 49 school districts in the state that received a 5-star rating. 2018 marks the third year in a row that Brock ISD has received a 5-star rating.

As our Nation’s Independence Day draws near, I hope your week is filled with red, white, and blue, fireworks, family and friends, and a thanks to the men and women that have served and continue to serve this great country. From me, a very heartfelt “thank you” for putting your trust into our school district and allowing me to serve you as superintendent.

Cade