Bond Update from the Superintendent - VotePosted by Melinda Brasher on 11/2/2018
Georgetown ISD has been the foundation of education for this community since 1917.
As you know, there is an important bond election happening on Nov. 6. You have an opportunity to play a role in shaping the future of our district by telling us how you want to see your local tax dollars spent.
I hope that you feel informed about the two propositions and encourage you to vote on Nov. 6.
If you want to learn more, please visit www.georgetownisdbond.org.
Bond Update from the Superintendent - October 22Posted by Melinda Brasher on 10/22/2018
The board of trustees voted last Tuesday to move forward with a memorandum of understanding between the district and the YMCA to build a potential swim facility, a project that voters will see on the ballot when they head to the polls this month.
This agreement is important in planning next steps and informing you about the project so you can make an informed decision when you vote.
The MOU states that the district would pay for and build a swim facility, and the YMCA would build out additional portions of the facility for YMCA programming. Jointly used portions of the facility, including locker rooms and weight rooms, could be constructed and funded by both organizations.
This partnership is a win-win for both organizations. It would provide:
- a climate-controlled competition-ready training center for the swim team, including locker rooms and spectator seating
- an opportunity for all GISD elementary students to learn swim safety
- a full recreation center and YMCA programming for the entire community
The full facility would be constructed on land owned by the district at the corner of Shell and Bellaire roads. The YMCA would assume responsibility for regular maintenance and operations of the facility, including staffing.
Since 1844, the YMCA has been offering community programming that helps people learn, grow and thrive. Successful partnerships exist between the Y and other school districts for similar swim programming, and we are excited to come this far in our planning with them.
Early voting has begun and runs through November 2 in Williamson County. Voters will have an opportunity to vote on this project, which is Proposition B for Georgetown ISD on the ballot, as well as Proposition A to accommodate for growth, safety and security, improvements and technology. You’ll find more information on all of these projects at www.georgetownisdbond.org, including many Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
I hope you exercise your right to vote. We are fortunate to live in a democratic society that affords us the opportunity to have a voice at the local, state and national level for the projects and people that impact our daily lives.
If you have additional questions about the bond, please consider joining us for one of two community presentations this week:
- Tonight, October 22, at Purl Elementary at 6 p.m. (Spanish presentation) and
- Tomorrow, October 23, at Ford Elementary at 6 p.m.
I will share details on all projects included in both propositions and answer your questions.
You can always send questions to use via Let’s Talk, and we’ll get you a prompt response as well.
This is an exciting time in Georgetown’s history as we experience record growth. Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your superintendent.
Bond Update from the Superintendent - October 15Posted by Melinda Brasher on 10/15/2018
This time of year, I am reminded of the many opportunities Georgetown ISD students have to be challenged and grow through activities both in and out of the classroom that are offered at their schools. As parents, we get to watch our children learn self-determination, dedication, and teamwork through rigorous coursework, athletic events, fine arts performances, and other school-based programs. These activities play an important role in helping prepare students for life after high school, whether it’s college, trade school, the armed services or the workforce. It is through these programs that we fulfill our responsibility to prepare students for their future.
This month, we are taking another focused step toward college-readiness by providing students with the valuable experience of taking college entrance exams, the PSAT and SAT, at no cost to the students during the school day. All GISD students in grades 8-11 have the opportunity to take the PSAT and SAT at our campuses in October. By offering these for free tests to any student who wants to take them, we are removing two major barriers: exam fees and transportation to testing locations. We believe it’s beneficial to make the PSAT and SAT available to all students because early and frequent exposure to these tests can boost a student’s performance. These tests are an indicator of college readiness, are used by most colleges and universities for admissions purposes and can even open doors to scholarship opportunities. I’m proud to say that students in Georgetown ISD are outperforming their peers on these tests, beating the State average by 6%.
GISD students also have the opportunity to learn how to express their voice through the democratic process. Voter registration drives were held this week and last on high school campuses, encouraging students to register to vote.
We have big political decisions ahead of us this fall, including the GISD bond proposal. The two bond propositions will be presented on the November 6 ballot as follows:
The issuance of $150,500,000 of bonds by Georgetown Independent School District for the acquisition, construction, renovation and equipment of school buildings, the purchase of school sites and school buses and levying the tax in payment thereof.
The issuance of $15,500,000 of bonds by Georgetown Independent School District for the acquisition, construction and equipment of a District swim center and levying the tax in payment thereof.
For both propositions, constituents will have the choice to vote either For or Against.
Components of Proposition A will address three major projects related to campus safety and security, which are ongoing priorities for GISD. In the last bond in 2015, we worked to secure all campus entrances. Now, we want to take those measures a step further and incorporate specialized cards (also called proximity cards) and access controls to give students and staff access to assigned areas of a campus. These enhancements would allow administrators to receive notifications via an app if a campus door is not secured and then secure it with the click of a button. This means a campus lockdown could occur within seconds using this technology.
Proposition A would provide new campus radios for all campuses that would link administrators directly to emergency services personnel. These radios will aid communication with the Georgetown Police Department, who will have access to our security cameras for monitoring and responding to emergencies.
Proposition A would also address enclosing and securing the walkway between GHS and the Annex, which is currently open, preventing its access to visitors.
I am committed to keeping you informed about the bond election.
- Watch for weekly emails from me.
- Visit the bond FAQs where we are adding information weekly.
- Follow us on social media, at the GISD Twitter page, and follow the hashtag #2018GISDBond.
- Attend an upcoming community presentation. Dates and times are posted here: http://georgetownisdbond.org/community-meetings
- Submit your questions via Let’s Talk. We want to hear from you.
Thank you, and have a great week!
Bond Update from the Superintendent - October 5Posted by Melinda Brasher on 10/5/2018
It’s hard to believe that October is already here. Fall break begins next Thursday afternoon with an early release, a sign that we have completed 8 full weeks of the 2018-2019 school year. It is our hope that both students and staff use this time to recharge and return ready to finish the semester strong.
As you know by now, the board called for a bond election in November. Since early September, I have had the opportunity to talk to more than 1,500 people and 35 groups including staff, civic organizations, and parent and community groups to inform them about the two propositions. These presentations have produced great questions. To keep you fully informed, we are including these items in our online FAQs. Today, we added 10 questions and answers related to how the bond will accommodate for growth and facilities within the district.
I want to keep you informed as we continue to address questions that come from these presentations. Look for updates from me weekly between now and the election on November 6. Additionally, we will be sharing information via Twitter, and you can follow the hashtag #2018GISDBond.
In order to be eligible to vote in the Georgetown ISD bond election, individuals must be a registered voter who resides within the school district boundaries. Your voice is as loud as your vote, and the deadline to register to vote is October 9. Voter registration applications can be completed online. Applications are also available at every GISD campus, the GISD Administration Building on Lakeway Drive or you can pick one up at the local Post Office, Public Library or DPS office.
I believe it’s our civic duty to vote and model democracy in action for our students. Therefore, I encourage you to exercise your right to vote. I will see you at the polls!
Inside GISD: Superintendent's ReportPosted by Jennifer Bailey on 2/15/2018 4:00:00 PM
In January, I had an opportunity to reflect on the work happening in our district and shared my State of the District Address. I hope you were able to attend and witness the amazing things happening in our classrooms. Students showcased their talents in the visual arts, project-based learning, underwater robotics, aquaponic gardening, musical performances, culinary arts and so much more. It was my wish that you would see what I see everyday in our schools. It’s truly remarkable!
What I see is learning that happens in an innovative environment, where students are encouraged to take risks, think critically and find meaningful purpose in what they learn. It’s our goal as a district to develop future-ready students, and I’m confident that is happening in GISD schools.
It doesn’t mean that we don’t have work to do. In 2015, with community input, we developed our Learner Profile, a framework that calls for student-centered learning, where students have voice and choice in how they learn. We do that through blended learning opportunities, dual language programs and creating opportunities for students to collaborate and apply the critical-thinking skills that are so highly desired by today’s employers.
Our focus on developing learning spaces and an aligned curriculum that support the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills and our Learner Profile continue.
This school year, we built two brand new campuses in our fast-growing southeast quadrant, installed secure entrances at several of our campuses, and rolled out new technology in our schools at a ratio of one device to every two students. In 2018, we will continue with planned renovations of existing campuses, including major improvements at Tippit Middle School. In January, we opened a “makerspace” at Georgetown High School that includes a fabrication lab, welding and woodworking space, engineering lab and more.
In December, we held a grand-opening event for the newest campus, George Wagner Middle School, which was named for a longtime GISD volunteer and advocate for our kids. At the event, residents and community members participated in student-led tours and heard first-hand how students and teachers are using the blended learning space to bring the Learner Profile to life.
Mr. George Wagner has been active inside our schools for more than two decades and during that time, has positively impacted a generation of learners. Like many of the great men and women in our retirement communities, Mr. Wagner brings tremendous value to our schools through his unwavering commitment to service and education. It is fitting that this amazing facility is named for one of GISD’s most beloved supporters.
Schools like Wagner Middle School and Purl Elementary look different from the schools that you and I grew up in. They’re specifically designed to meet the needs of today’s learners and prepare them for the workplace of tomorrow. Tippit Middle School is undergoing extensive renovations now that will model that same open workplace where flexibility, collaboration and personalized learning are achieved.
We welcome 2018 with excitement and promise as we continue working on our curriculum, use the Learner Profile to drive campus improvements and enhanced learning opportunities, and explore a system for community-based accountability that empowers students, parents and educators to build learning environments that honor and support student achievement.
The traditional model for assessment simply measures students on what they learned. Our strategic plan challenges us to go beyond that idea to look not only at what students are learning in the classroom, but to ensure that students are prepared for success after high school by developing skills like perseverance, personal responsibility, and critical thinking. I’m confident that is happening every day and appreciate your continued support.
GISD Superintendent of Schools
Inside GISD: The Superintendent's ReportPosted by Fred Brent on 1/9/2018 5:10:00 PM
As you likely already know, Georgetown is becoming a destination community. People love to live here because we have a beautiful city, strong schools and a healthy economy. You don’t have to go very far to see that new businesses and housing developments are popping up almost overnight.
It goes without saying, but this growth has an impact on our schools and classrooms. New residents to our community often mean new students enrolling in GISD, and we are continually and thoughtfully looking ahead to prepare for our growth.
In GISD, one of our core beliefs is that community engagement enhances the educational experiences of our students. Because of that belief, the Board of Trustees charged me as superintendent with facilitating a Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) to evaluate the possible need for renovating existing district facilities, as well as the possible need for constructing new facilities. To do this, the CAC will study GISD demography reports, current facilities, educational programs, and other data relevant to providing quality educational opportunities for all students.
The CAC will ultimately provide facility and equipment recommendations to the GISD Board of Trustees. Depending on what the CAC recommends, the GISD Board of Trustees may or may not decide to call for a bond election for the fall of 2018. This is a significant moment for our district because, while we know we are growing, we acknowledge that we have current challenges with some of the facilities and space we have available. As reflected in our core belief, we know that the voice of our community is critically important to this process and to the future of GISD. We want the CAC to represent all district stakeholders, including parents, district staff, civic and business leaders, as well as community members who live within the district. If you are able to give your time to this effort, I encourage you to consider serving on this very important committee.
We are currently seeking volunteers for the CAC who are willing to meet monthly beginning in March of 2018. If you are interested, please complete the online form at georgetownisd.org/CAC. If you have any questions about the committee, its responsibilities, or the process, please contact the GISD Communications Office at 512-943-5000 or email email@example.com.
On behalf of GISD, I sincerely thank our community for your continued support as we empower and inspire every learner to lead, grow and serve. I will provide more updates as we move forward with this process.
GISD Superintendent of Schools