VISD welcomes back teachers in song
A sea of blue T-shirts filled the Faith Family Church auditorium, where more than 2,000 Victoria school district employees joined together in song.
On the stage, Mathew Ables, a Victoria East High School junior, sang the words to the Beatles' hit "All You Need is Love."
"It was really cool seeing all the teachers stand up and pretty much having a good time," said 16-year-old Mathew. "It's something you really don't see during the school year."
The annual convocation is meant to get teachers and district employees revved up for the upcoming school year.
Aric Bostick, a motivational speaker, returned for a second time after delivering a poignant speech at last year's convocation.
"Love is not a noun; it's a verb," Bostick said during his speech. "We're rebranding at VISD."
Of the 1,052 teachers the district has for the new school year, 156 of them are new to the district, said Robert Jaklich, Victoria ISD superintendent.
There were 31 teacher vacancies posted on the VISD website, including eight at Victoria West High school and three at Victoria East High School, as of Friday afternoon.
However, Diane Boyett, VISD communications director, said all teaching positions for the middle schools and high schools have been filled.
"At the elementary level, we are still analyzing our enrollment numbers to balance staffing," Boyett said. "We are strongly encouraging any parents who have not enrolled at this point to do so as quickly as possible."
Chatter filled the room as employees discussed with each other a prompt given to them by Bostick: "Why does what you do matter?"
James Rutledge, an English teacher at Victoria West, was sitting quietly in his seat.
"We have a lot of new teachers," said Rutledge, 37, who has been teaching at Victoria ISD for the past 10 years. "Hopefully, we veteran teachers can influence the new ones and teach them about our mission."
This year, Victoria West earned extra points on its state accountability rating for its math test scores.
Rutledge said he's working to achieve the same results in his English II and English III classes.
"I'm hoping we can produce better writers this year," Rutledge said.