Dear Lobo Community,
I hope this letter finds you enjoying an outstanding #lobosummer2017!
Before we begin the 2017-2018 school year, I’d like to take a moment to look back at the 2016-2017 year. As Little Elm ISD Board President, I am so proud of all that our students and staff have been able to accomplish this past school year, which makes it more exciting to see what is to come! We have grown so much as a District in a short period of time, not just physically, but academically and including the extracurricular activities. This is all thanks to the strong leadership in place who continue to amaze me by their vision for our students’ futures. I have no doubt the best is yet to come! We know, however, there will always be challenges. We must continue to focus on improving as we strive to fulfill our Mission to Engage, Equip, and Empower each student (and staff member) to realize their full potential.
Here is a list I wanted to share that shows off the great things happening here. This is proof we are moving toward a goal to positively impacting students in Little Elm ISD:
- Academic trend is upward at all grade levels, in all subjects, on all campuses.
- More of our sports, academic, and fine arts students reached higher levels in competition than ever before, many of whom placed at state and national competitions.
- Signed agreements with TWU and UNT for automatic admissions for a significant number of our students
- LEHS 2017 graduates received more than $5.5 million in scholarships.
- Held first annual Freshman College Tour by taking 500+ high school freshmen to college campuses to visit for a day, building the expectation that they CAN and WILL be able to attend college
- Increased the CTE focus by hiring a Director of CTE (Dr. Tony Tipton) who has established dozens of business relationships to provide mentoring and internship opportunities for our students
- Established equity of classes at Prestwick and Lakeside Middle School including: Engineering, Advanced Mathematics, and Spanish.
- Added of Academic Decathlon for underclassmen LEHS and Lakeside Middle School
- Established “College Mondays” for students K-12 and staff wear their college-branded shirts to build excitement for college
- Piloted Mental Management Leadership Class for LEHS students helping them to prepare for success.
- Piloted "LiiNK Project" ("Let's Inspire Innovation 'N Kids") based out of TCU and will expanded to all elementary campuses this fall. LiiNK is a project based on research out of Finland that shows children perform and focus better in the classroom when given recess every hour.
- Began a $21.5M expansion and upgrade project at Little Elm High School which is on track to be completed in time for first day of school
- Increased professional learning opportunities for our staff:
- Summer Learning Summit for teachers (which completed its third year) continues to expand our regionally-recognized professional learning program
- E3 (Engage, Equip, Empower) Conference focused on Professional Learning Communities
- Expanded the Aspiring Leadership Institute to include a second year
- Launched “http://mylittleelmnews.com/” in collaboration with the Town of Little Elm
- Formed the Little Elm ISD LE Education Foundation to provide innovative teaching grants (among other things) www.littleelmisdeducationfoundation.org
Little Elm is growing! This spring, in response to the District’s projected growth and other aging and evolving facility needs, Little Elm ISD leaders formed the Long-Range Facilities Planning Committee. The committee was made up of a dedicated group of community members chosen to study the facility needs of the District. Obtaining different perspectives from the entire community was very important to the process. Members of the committee studied a district-wide facilities assessment, enrollment projections, financial data, results of two community-wide surveys, and more in order to make the best recommendation. At June’s Board of Trustees meeting, the committee presented a recommendation to our Board for consideration and we will vote on a plan in August.
Many of you are aware in June our Superintendent, Dr. Lowell Strike, announced his December retirement. The advancements to our District under his leadership have been profound. Dr. Strike is an individual of tremendous integrity and vision. He has strengthened and enhanced our educational programs, with a focus toward opening every door possible for each student and ensuring they are prepared to make the most of their future as well as being caring, compassionate, and contributing world citizens. The long list of accomplishments above is, in great part, due to his and his administrative team’s support.
While we will miss Dr. Strike personally and professionally, he has set us up for continued success as we journey down the road to becoming THE Destination District.
The Board has begun the search for the District’s next Superintendent. We plan to find a candidate who will guide this ship much like Dr. Strike. Engage, Equip, and Empower is not just something we say, it is woven into the fabric as a part of our District culture. Our goal in the search is to allow for consistency, support for the culture of learning established, and a smooth transition for students, staff, and the community.
We look forward to sharing exciting news in the near future.
I am privileged to be just one trustee alongside six other clear-sighted and dedicated volunteers, passionately leading for our students. We work hard to represent our community and our children to the best of our ability. The policy decisions are not always easy. We are fortunate to have an excellent team of educators who take those policies and implements them to create the best possible educational environment for students and staff.
On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we thank you for your support to allow all of us to lead what I believe to be one of the best school districts in Texas!
Melissa Myers, President
Little Elm ISD Board of Trustees