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A New Way Forward for Aldine ISD: It’s time to focus on choice and opportunities

By Dr. LaTonya M. Goffney

This week, 124 freshmen are walking through the doors of a new high school.

Rose Avalos P-TECH School is a state-of-the-art high school designed to create pathways for students from high school to college. The Pathways in Technology program ensures that students graduate high school with workforce certificates and an associate degree from Lone Star College. Students will also have internships and career development opportunities. Principal Diana del Pilar, an Aldine ISD graduate, is charged with ensuring her students’ learning ties to the real-world needs of tomorrow. This is the future of Aldine ISD.

Nearly 70,000 Aldine ISD students started the 2019-2020 school year this week. During my listening tour last year, I heard from many of our students and their families. I agree with what they said should be our priority: Aldine ISD must do more to ensure that students receive a dynamic and unparalleled education that guarantees choices and opportunities today and in the future.

We must ensure that Aldine ISD students are receiving the highest-quality education. Providing innovative programming like Avalos P-TECH does just that.

Last year that included creating a pre-kindergarten pilot for three-year-olds at several early childhood schools, which resulted in 111 of our youngest scholars getting a head start. It also meant opening the Dr. Archie L. Blanson Career & Technical Education High School. The campus offers a unique learning setting that allows students to receive a diploma while working on a workforce certificate that can lead to an immediate job or be built upon at a college or university after high school graduation.

This school year, Aldine ISD families will have access to several new programs that offer additional opportunities and choices.

Goodman Elementary School and Worsham Elementary School, our first ACE Demonstration Schools, are under the helm of new leaders, LaDon Ward at Goodman, and Sandra Doria at Worsham. Under their leadership, and with strong support from district leaders, students and families will see a focus on instructional excellence, an extended school day, increased social and emotional assistance for students, and parent and community partnerships to ensure rapid academic improvement.

We are also launching Two-Way Dual-Language Immersion Programs at five primary schools across the district. Kindergarteners at de Santiago, García-Leza, Hinojosa, Magrill, and Vines will learn in both English and Spanish. Throughout the year, students will have access to rich content in both languages, celebrate and honor different cultures, and become true global citizens. These programs will grow each year until students can continue learning in two languages through high school.

Aldine ISD has partnered with EMERGE Fellowship, a Houston-based college-readiness program, to prepare high-performing high school students to attend and graduate from selective colleges and universities across the nation. Students participating in the program will receive SAT preparation, attend college admission and financial aid workshops, receive assistance with college applications and visit colleges and universities.

These programs are the beginning of a new way forward for Aldine ISD. We will continue to keep the community abreast of additional changes, programs, and initiatives. Each one is designed to ensure every student has access to a rigorous and enriching educational experience as we’ve outlined in our new strategic plan, A New Way Forward.

The plan focuses our work around five key priorities: rapidly accelerating student learning so that more students perform on or above grade level; creating safe and secure learning environments; developing the capacity of every teacher, leader, and staff member; aligning our systems to enhance student performance; and strengthening partnerships with families, communities, and the business sector.

I hope that as you learn more about the exciting things happening in Aldine ISD you will see that we are truly focused on ensuring students have access to enriching educational experiences that prepare them for success in college, career, and life.

I welcome your support as we take this journey.

Dr. LaTonya M. Goffney serves as the Superintendent of Schools for Aldine Independent School District.