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VISD convocation promotes 'Excellence For All'

By KBell
Aug. 17, 2011 at 3:17 a.m.

Miguel Gonzalez, a teacher of graphic design, joins hundreds of his co-workers from Victoria West High School to show their appreciation for educators during the VISD convocation at Faith Family Church.

A giant black flag plastered with a "W" swayed on one side of the auditorium while on the other side, a white Titans flag popped among an audience dripping in red.

Though their chants were distinctive and their shirts boasted different loyalties, the rallying cry of the Victoria school district's convocation was all-encompassing: "Achieving excellence for all."

"Excellence is a state of mind put into action. It's a roadmap to success. When ... excellence exists, all things come easier," Superintendent Bob Moore said.

Pockets of colors filled Faith Family Church at Wednesday morning's convocation, which is a full-fledged pep rally for employees across the district. There was music, dancing, pompoms, signs and plenty of old-fashioned rivalry cheering.

"This is always like the New Year's day of the academic year to me, when we come back and we have a new sense of purpose and goals for the year that's about to start," Tami Keeling, school board president said.

Everyone from the east and west learning communities were there and recognized for their contributions to the district - from maintenance to transportation to teachers.

"It's really the only time everyone comes together under one roof," said Sherry Lampkin, who teaches in-school suspension at Patti Welder Middle Magnet School.

When it comes to the kids Lampkin teaches, "Excellence For All" has special significance. She said she has a connection with kids who may be struggling, and there's one piece of advice she gives above all: "Stay in school. Get all the education you can get," she said.

Moore praised the emphasis each employee puts on improving the number of students who complete their high school education with VISD.

"From my perspective, this improvement is the culmination of efforts by all," he said.

There were other reasons to celebrate, too, Moore said, like establishing smaller learning communities and more individualized student plans.

"The last five years have been driven by the vision of excellence for all," he said. "What we're accomplishing is what this community, this staff, students and parents share as part of the strategic planning process."

When the convocation wasn't showcasing the district's bands, choirs, dance or ROTC talents, it was looking something like an episode of "The Price is Right."

One after another, educators bolted down the aisle staircase to accept banners of recognition from the Texas Education Agency, high-fiving and beaming along the way.

The VISD Education Foundation also awarded four grants - for things like an art exhibit and Kindles - prompting even more roaring and clapping from the crowd.

The entire production tied back to the theme, "Excellence For All." A slideshow charged the crowd with its mission.

"If you capture their heart, you can capture their mind. What will you do this year to change a child's life in your classroom?"

Debbie Supak, a math facilitator at F.W. Gross Montessori School, was packing up from the celebration and had a quick comeback.

"We do that everyday. Without it, why are we here?"



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