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VISD hosts free dinner for those who want to help schools

By BY CAROLINA ASTRAIN - CASTRAIN@VICAD.COM
Jan. 30, 2013 at 7:03 p.m.
Updated Jan. 30, 2013 at 7:31 p.m.

Attendance at Victoria school district campuses throughout the years.

IF YOU GO

•  WHAT: A Community of Excellence

• WHEN: 5:45-7 p.m., Feb. 11

• WHERE: Victoria East High School, 4103 E. Mockingbird Lane

• COST: Free, RSVP necessary for dinner.

•  NOTE: RSVP by Monday at 361-788-2820 or diana.acosta@visd.net.

Attendance numbers have long been a standing issue within the Victoria school district.

During the 2006-07 school year, it was not uncommon for 800 students to be absent on any given day across the district.

According to numbers from the first six weeks of the 2012-13 school year, the average number of daily absences went down to 515.

Efforts from a local advocacy group made of administrators, teachers and community members has worked to improve those numbers since its first meeting last March.

On Feb. 11 the public is invited to the third meeting titled, "A Community of Excellence," to hear the progress made by the group's seven committees since their formation last fall.

Dinner catered by VISD's food services department will be available to those who RSVP by 5 p.m. Monday.

The seven committees focused on themes of communication and partnerships, character education, mentoring and support services, compulsory attendance support, educational awareness for parents, school improvement and career preparation.

Event co-coordinator and Victoria East High School counselor Kim Motley said the communication and partnerships committee has challenged students to create slogans in graphic design classes. The educational awareness committee plans to have a family night to talk about services offered by Kidz Connection and Mid-Coast Family Services.

Thus far, the committees have also created a new award, The Pillar of Excellence Award, to recognize students possessing one of the district's six pillars of excellence - trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.

"The only people who can nominate students right now are the teachers," said Tami Keeling, VISD school board president. "We've been trying to figure out how to expand it to the community because it's supposed to be a community award."

Cumulatively for the first 12 weeks of last school year, the attendance rate for all grade levels was 95.69 percent; and for the same period this year, the rate was slightly higher at 95.78 percent.

"I'm anxious to hear each group report back with not only what they've achieved, but the challenges they've faced as well," Keeling said. "We want to start having discussions on how to build on character, not just in school, but in daily life."

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