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Parra says district going ‘in right direction’

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Districtwide review yields positive results

By LPR Staff
Editor/POST-REGISTER

During a lighthearted meeting wherein the Lockhart Independent School District Board of Trustees recognized more than 50 students for their accomplishments and contributions, Superintendent Dr. Jose Parra delivered an optimistic “State of the District Address” on Monday ev

ening.

Since joining the district in the fall, Parra has been hard at work, not only making the day-to-day decisions which keep the District running, but also preparing a campus-by-campus, department-by-department review to help him determine the best course of action for the district.

“Most of what I found, in Central Office as well as on the campuses, is a staff that is 100 percent dedicated to this district and to our students,” Parra said. “Across the board, I see staff willing to go the extra mile and a lot of good things going on.”

Parra noted six of the district’s seven campuses have already earned “Recognized” scores overall on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills Test (TAKS), but admitted there is work yet to be done.

“We have to improve our performance rates and focus on the kids, even the ones that don’t count toward our TAKS scoring,” he said. “The ones that don’t count for our accountability rating are still kids, and they still count to our district.”

He also recognized a need for the district’s human resources department to update procedures in order to open LISD jobs up to a wider pool of applicants, and noted most of the district’s schools are old, if well-maintained. He said some issues of Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance needed to be addressed at the older campuses, and suggested maintenance reviews of each campus would likely be performed in the near future.

Overall, the greatest problem Parra said he recognized within district staff was a want for leadership, and he said that was the most important void he hoped to fill. Upheaval within the ranks over the last 18 months left the district floundering between interim and short-term superintendents before Parra took the reins in August.

“I need to know what kind of leader the board expects me to be, and what kind of leader the staff needs me to be, and then I intend to lead to the best of my abilities,” he said. “We all want this district to be an “Exemplary” district, and I think we can get there.”

Parra said after completing his districtwide review he was more convinced than ever the board had made the right decision in choosing him, and he made the right choice in accepting the job.

“I know that this is the superintendency for me,” he said.

In other business:
The Trustees recognized dozens of students, including participants in Lockhart High School’s fall sports programs. In addition, students from each campus made presentations to the board members in honor of School Board Appreciation Month.

They approved a resolution designating March 23 – 27, 2009, as Texas Public Schools Week.

They approved a timeline that will have the board conducting a mid-year performance review for Parra in June, shortly after the next LISD Board election.

The LISD Board of Trustees meets on the fourth Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. in the Lockhart High School Conference Center at #1 Lion Country Drive.

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