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ALDINE ISD STATE OF THE DISTRICT ADDRESS

Aldine ISD Superintendent Nadine Kujawa addressed business and community leaders as she took a look back at the 2004-05 school year during the annual State of the District Breakfast, held Jan. 20, at the Sheraton North Houston Hotel.
Close to 300 business partners, community members and Aldine ISD personnel attended the annual event.
Kujawa, in her fifth year as AISD’s superintendent, reminded the audience that the district’s vision continues to be to produce the nation’s best students, help those students attain college scholarships to the best colleges and universities in the country and to land the best jobs possible.


She added that the district’s leadership team had modified the district’s objectives from four to three main points to live up to its vision statement of producing the nation’s best students.
The three objectives are:
•Demonstrate sustained growth in student achievement;
•Implement effective management strategies to improve student behavior;
•Increase communication and provide opportunities for active parent engagement.
Kujawa said the objectives changed because she believes student achievement rises when students are engaged in an atmosphere that supports learning, parents participate in and monitor learning and parents are kept informed of what is going on in the classroom with their children.
“You want to have high standards and you want your kids to attain skills that will help them become productive citizens when they leave us,” she said.
She also provided the audience with a snapshot of Aldine ISD’s demographics. Enrollment has reached more than 58,000 students due to the fact the district took in approximately 1,800 evacuees from Hurricane Katrina. The district is 60 percent Hispanic, 32.2 percent African American, 4.8 percent White, 2.1 percent Asian and 0.1 percent Native American. She compared those numbers to statewide public school enrollment, which is 44.7 percent Hispanic, 14.2 percent African American, 37.7 percent White and 3 percent Asian.
Adding 1,800 new students has been a challenge, Kujawa said, but she said the district has been up to the task.
“We don’t look at those children as Katrina evacuees, but as Aldine students,” she said. “They are ours to teach, and to meet their emotional and physical needs.”
Kujawa also highlighted a number of achievements and recognitions the district earned during the 2004-05 school year. For the second consecutive year, AISD was one of five national finalists for the Broad Prize for Urban Education. The district also received the Texas Business and Education Coalition’s Distinguished Achievement Award (one of only two school districts in Texas to ever receive the award), and seven AISD schools were named to the Just For The Kids Honor Roll. Additionally, Aldine was the subject of a study conducted by the Harvard School of Business, and a study by Texas A&M University/UT-Pan American and UT-Dallas/Oakland University which found that Aldine ISD ranked second among large school districts in Texas for educating African American students and it ranked third among large school districts in Texas for educating Latino students.
She also provided an overview of the district’s approach to teaching, which includes establishing a belief system, setting high expectations, identifying skills, identifying strategies, assessing progress and monitoring and adjusting.
Kujawa then discussed the two accountability systems public schools in Texas must adhere to, the State of Texas’ accountability system – the Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS) – and the federal government’s No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).
She explained the differences in the two systems and compared data of how Aldine ISD students fare with fellow students across the state. Aldine students perform at or above the state average in reading, writing and social studies. Kujawa admitted there is still work to be done in mathematics and science, but that the district is striving to make progress in those subject areas.
Aldine received an “Acceptable” rating from the Texas Education Agency after earning a “Recognized” rating for seven consecutive years under the previous state accountability system. The goal is to return Aldine ISD to being a “Recognized” school district, Kujawa said.
“Our goal is to move back into the “Recognized” area and it’s going to take a lot of diligence on our part to reach that goal,” she said.
The superintendent also discussed school finance, a key component to providing a quality education for AISD students. She provided detailed information of how funds are allocated and where the money comes from (state, federal and local level) to fund education in Aldine.
She concluded her address by looking at the challenges Aldine will face in the future. Those challenges include funding, accountability and growth.
Kujawa noted that as students’ needs grow and the academic bar rises, funding becomes more and more critical. She said the state must come up with a funding plan that is adequate, equitable and has the capacity to be flexible.
She also touched on the growth the district is experiencing. She said the 1960 area and the north side of the district are seeing a lot of new construction, and that displaced families from Hurricane Katrina and Rita have also increased enrollment figures in the district.
“Growth is a good thing, but it is another challenge we must meet,” she said. “We have completed all of our construction projects from the 2000 bond issue, but if we continue to experience the level of growth we are currently seeing, we will have to look at new construction projects to meet the enrollment needs of our students.”