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Superintendent's column: Success, achievement do not happen by accident

By Victoria Advocate
Aug. 22, 2014 at 12:06 p.m.

Robert Jaklich

It has truly been an exciting summer with the grand expectations of another outstanding school year directly upon us. We are extremely proud of all our Victoria Independent School District family members who have worked so diligently in preparing for the best year yet.

As a school district, we have earned a Texas Education Agency rating of Met Standard, and six of our campuses have earned the special recognition of Distinction Designation for outstanding student academic achievement.

Texas Education Agency Commissioner Michael Williams acknowledges earning a Distinction Designation is not easy. Williams also states: "Any school earning one or more distinctions should be recognized in their community for the outstanding work taking place on that campus."

We wholeheartedly agree with Williams and would like to extend our sincere appreciation and gratitude to the following VISD schools for this tremendous accomplishment: DeLeon Elementary - top 25 percent in student progress; Dudley Elementary - academic achievement in science and post-secondary readiness; Torres Elementary - academic achievement in reading/English language arts, academic achievement in mathematics and top 25 percent in closing the performance gap; Vickers Elementary - academic achievement in reading/English language arts and post-secondary readiness; William Wood Elementary - academic achievement in Reading/English language arts and academic achievement in mathematics; and Victoria West High School -academic achievement in mathematics.

Aug. 15, we held our VISD districtwide convocation at Faith Family Church with 2,200 VISD family members wearing their blue VISD Proud T-shirts and celebrating our 612 square miles of excellence. It was an incredible day as we heard inspirational messages from our students, outstanding performances in music, spirit and Air Force Jr. Reserve Officers' Training Corps, and we had an opportunity to reflect on the true business of our business. In VISD, we realize we are not in the education business serving people, we are in the people business serving education.

One wonderful example of this statement can be found in the following message from Gregg Epley, one of our fantastic teachers at DeLeon Elementary School. As we state often in VISD, the power of our school district lies deep within our people. We truly appreciate Epley sharing this wonderful message: "I just wanted to take a moment to comment on the VISD Proud convocation shirts. Both my wife and I are teachers for VISD. After the work day ended last Friday, we went out shopping for last-minute items for our rooms and then out to dinner.

Walking though the shopping center at Target, we noticed several people noticing our shirts. We were approached by a young mother and her children that were back-to-school shopping. She asked what the deal was with the shirts. I explained that we were teachers with VISD, and we were celebrating our students coming back to school. She told me that her children were excited about starting school.

The children told me where they went to school and what grades they were in. I told them how lucky they were to be going to such an awesome school and wished them well.

While in Target, we ran into several other district employees wearing the distinct blue shirts. We exchanged "you're awesome" and big smiles.

Later, while out to eat, a waitress asked us about the shirts. When she found out we were teachers, she thanked us for the job we do.

I just wanted to share what a positive impact the VISD Proud shirts had that day. There is a great story to be told, and I am glad we had a chance to share it with the community."

In VISD, we realize success and student achievement does not happen by accident. It starts and ends with an unwavering commitment from all teachers and staff who, in turn, build and make a team of passionate, dedicated people. A. Lou Vickery once stated: "Four short words sum up what lifted most successful individuals above the crowd - a little bit more. They did all that was expected of them and ... a little bit more."

On behalf of our board of trustees and the entire VISD, we are committed to providing our students and our community with a little bit more of ourselves and our time. It is going to be the best year yet.

Robert Jaklich is the superintendent for the Victoria Independent School District. Contact him at 361-788-9202 or through the VISD website, visd.com.

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