2019-20 Year in Review

"Cultivating Exceptional People"

Superintendent Dr. Jeff Burke Reflects on the 2019-2020 School Year

The 2019-2020 school year in Splendora ISD was certainly an interesting one and one that I will never forget. I will always remember the excitement that comes with every new school year, and especially this past year, as we were truly starting to see evidence that our culture and strategic plans were really taking off in a positive and innovative way. We were named one of six districts in the nation as a National Showcase District for Capturing Kids' Hearts, an honor that was a reflection of our commitment to building healthy, positive, appropriate relationships, and making Splendora a place where everyone feels valued and welcome. Even though Tropical Storm Imelda tested our mettle as a district and community in the fall, we rebounded and moved forward like we always do. As we finished the first semester, we were excited about the work we had planned, which included ramping up our commitment to digital learning and training our staff in designing engaging work for our students. We were excited about all of the student activities, both co- and extra-curricular, and all of the things that closing the school year brings, including honoring our seniors and making their senior year special. Then, the pandemic hit, and all of our plans had to be reexamined and readjusted. But, once again, we rose to the challenge. I could not be more proud of our staff and of our community in pivoting so quickly to meet the needs of our students. While we know there were plenty of areas for improvement, we learned a lot and have made necessary adjustments and changes that will serve our students and community in better, more innovative ways than ever before. We are excited about the future of this district, even though we are faced with many challenges. But, those challenges don’t worry us; they inspire us to be better, to work harder, and to remind ourselves of the purpose of our work. Even though we know challenges and obstacles lie ahead, the culture and systems we have built will allow us to meet those challenges head-on, and with a steadfast conviction that we will continue to serve this community and our students to the best of our ability.

Greenleaf Elementary

“I can honestly say that in my 37 years of education, this has been one of the most interesting,” said principal Dr. Carolyn King. The year began by getting Greenleaf Elementary School students involved in demonstrating noble actions for others. GLE's student of the month luncheons focused on recognizing students that had demonstrated noble actions toward others during the previous month. After the pandemic shutdown, parents, students, and staff worked together to continue student academic progress through videos, demonstrations, and Google Hangout meetings. One of the highlights during the absence from school were the wave parades through each school's attendance zone. Principal King added, "It was wonderful to see so many of our students and parents as we drove by to let them know how much we missed seeing them." The year ended on two high notes: the kindergarten drive-through graduation and being honored with an award. The kindergarten graduation was a great success and fun for everyone involved. It was great to see cars and students decked out in their graduation finery. Then, because of the relationships that students and teachers have built the last two years, GLE was honored to be named a Capturing Kids' Heart National Showcase school. "We look forward to our next adventure together when we return in August," added Dr. King.

Peach Creek Elementary

Peach Creek Elementary fourth grader JC Beaber called the 2019-2020 school year “different” and we couldn’t agree more! The staff began the year with an intense focus on instruction, community, and relationships and used the Community Based Accountability System (CBAS) to drive conversations about noble actions, personalized learning, and preparing students for the world beyond the classroom. In October, Peach Creek Elementary participated in the East Montgomery County Principal for a Day. Business leaders from across the county visited PCE, taking part in our 4th grade writing lab, guided math model, student-led read alouds, social contracts, and more. In January, PCE was spotlighted at the board meeting, celebrated for their focus on noble actions, success with Capturing Kids’ Hearts, student-led safety patrol, and their new student bucket-drumline! February brought the Student Academics and Innovative Learning (SAIL) competition. Students from across the district competed in events such as creative writing, storytelling, number sense, chess, art, social studies, and much more! PCE students took home medals and ribbons in almost every event. PCE launched into Spring Break with Field Day, sharing laughter and hugs. It would be the last time the campus was together for 2019-2020. The onset of COVID-19 proved the strength and adaptability of educators. Teachers shifted their mindset, providing learning through online platforms. It was during this time we saw the best of people. The PTO delivered motivational yard signs to every staff member. Some teachers made house calls, with social distancing of course! PCE hosted not one, but two, wave parades, driving by the homes of students with signs, banners, noisemakers, and lots of “air hugs!” In April, PCE was named a Capturing Kids’ Hearts National Showcase School, honored for their success with building positive relationships. In May, PCE hosted their “Drive-Through Kindergarten Graduation” celebrating young graduates in a new way! Peach Creek ended the year with its first grade teacher, Heather Brown, being honored as the Splendora ISD District Elementary Teacher of the Year! Principal Duana Brashear said, “The 2019-2020 school year was unexpected. We pivoted at a moment’s notice, adapting to our new way of normal. It was our teachers who held it together. They made learning continue. They gave grace, compassion, and still managed to teach. I am blessed to lead such a strong campus.”

Piney Woods Elementary

What a great start to the school year! Piney Woods' students rocked it out until Spring Break and virtually rocked it after that. They even got Field Day in this year in a timely manner, thanks to Mrs. Tobi Gober! PWE students had plays, parties, Fall Festival, Literacy Night, and so much more. The campus celebrated leadership, noble actions, and students' strengths and talents. "Our staff has done a fabulous job of cultivating exceptional students and helping them be successful," said Principal Heath Lucas. He also added, "If you are a country music fan, you probably remember the song 'The Dance' by Garth Brooks. What an amazing song with such an amazing message. Yes, it ended up being a great year with an unexpected and untimely ending. Who would have ever thought this year would end the way it did… or as Garth would say, 'the way it all would go,' but I can say with certainty that if we had to do it all again, I’m glad PWE didn’t know…. we could have missed the pain, but we’d have had to miss the dance! I sure enjoyed our time with your kiddos and I'm looking forward to that time when we get them back to school and back to some kind of normal."

Splendora Junior High

WOW, what a school year 2019-2020 was for Splendora Junior High! The year began with teachers and students high-fiving, hugging, and setting off to excel in all aspects of education. Everyone quickly adjusted and fell in love with the move to block schedule with WIN (Whatever I Need) Time that was included four days a week. This allowed students and teachers choice in activities they enjoy teaching and learning throughout the school day. Students, along with their coaches and sponsors, were having good seasons, building skills and learning valuable life lessons in extracurricular activities, too. SJH was honored to host the six schools from our district at the UIL Academic Meet on February 29. The SJH students and staff always represent Splendora well in all they do. As the junior high was preparing for a successful spring and end of the year . . . our world was turned upside down with the COVID-19 Pandemic. Principal Kent Broussard said, "Through the past few years of culture and climate change at SJH, we saw an ease in the rapid change to online learning! Partnering with our parents and community, SJH continued to educate our students from/at home. Thank you, parents, for this tremendous support and effort!" During the time apart, SJH learned that they earned the distinction of being a Capturing Kids' Hearts National Showcase School for the second year in a row and SISD was named a National Showcase District. SJH wrapped up the year celebrating students and teachers along with recognizing a few as District Award Winners. SJH is Cultivating Exceptional People!

Splendora High School

This year was most definitely full of the unexpected. As SHS kicked off another school year - staff and students made a few adjustments to their school day. The day went from an 8-period day to a block schedule and WIN time was added to learn new skills. SHS, along with the other campuses, was named a Capturing Kids' Hearts National Showcase Campus. The campus saw many sports early in the year achieve some great milestones. The volleyball team made school history, the FFA and CTE programs excelled, the UIL marching band received all ones, the flag corp competed for the first time ever and advanced to State, the powerlifting teams also qualified for State, and many other great accomplishments until it all came to a screeching halt due to COVID-19. Our world as we knew it and the comfort of our school day changed in a matter of minutes. Teachers and students were forced to switch to an online learning platform. Teachers worked tirelessly to shift their whole way of teaching, and students (and their parents) changed their ways of learning. Many of us felt great disappointment as we learned we would not finish the year at school; however, we figured out how to make the most of the situation and were able to finish strong. Principal Dianna Archer said, "We will say good-bye to a great group of seniors who adapted beyond expectations to make new memories. Our students did not let this define them or hold them back; but, used it to explore a new way of doing things. The work of our students and teachers definitely shows that we have the right people, doing the right things, in the right way with the right resources and the right relationships...and just like always - it’s a great day to be a Wildcat!"

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