Superintendent's column: Challenges are opportunities for growth
Each and every day in the Victoria ISD, we are faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as difficult situations. As we continue to move forward as a school district, we are committed to working together with our stakeholders in providing our students with a future of hope and endless possibilities. On Wednesday, I had the distinct honor of presenting the State of the District address to the Victoria Chamber of Commerce. In the presentation, we discussed the importance of understanding where we were, where we are and, most importantly, where we need to be.
The Victoria ISD is made up of 27 campuses across our "612 Square Miles of Excellence." We have 14,542 students and 2,200 employees. We serve more than 2 million meals per year in our school cafeterias, travel 4,841 miles per day and 865,224 miles per year in the delivery of our students. There are 7,618 students enrolled in our elementary schools with 695 students attending our pre-kindergarten program. At the secondary level, there are 6,924 students with 3,168 attending middle school and 3,756 attending our high schools.
Our student population numbers are as follows: 63 percent economically disadvantaged, 6.5 percent (947 students) are identified as homeless, 9 percent special education, 4 percent limited English proficient and 5 percent gifted and talented. We are very proud to announce that our student participation in Career and Technical Education programs has increased to 60 percent. These career pathway classes allow our students to experience the benefits of the technical arenas and the diverse career options that await them after high school.
Increasing student engagement across all levels of our school district is imperative if we are to experience success for all students. One way is to offer multiple opportunities for students to become actual participants in their school setting.
We are extremely proud to announce that the number of activities for students to participate in and the number of students participating in these activities has experienced enormous growth over the last four years. The 2009-10 school year saw 328 activities offered to students with 12,883 participants in these activities. The 2012-13 school year witnessed the number of activities increase to 462 and the number of participating students increase to 17,425. This is a total increase of 134 activities and 4,542 student participants.
It has been said that we should not limit our challenges but instead challenge our limits. It is clearly evident in the VISD we have the passion, the commitment and the purpose to make a difference in the lives of our students and in the lives of each other. On behalf of our Board of Trustees and the entire VISD, we are extremely excited about our future and truly appreciate your support and service as a "Champion for Education."
Robert Jaklich is the superintendent for the Victoria Independent School District. Contact him at 361-788-9202 or through the VISD website, visd.com.