ROAR REPORT: Great teachers keep schools going
By Dr. Susan K. Bohn, Lockhart ISD Superintendent
It is good to be a Lockhart Lion!
From scoring in the top 10 percent nationally on the PSAT to winning a state championship, our students are meeting the challenges of higher expectations, and even better, they are soaring! We are very proud of all our #LISDChampions, but it is also important to take a moment to acknowledge the ones who help our students grow and achieve — our fantastic Lockhart ISD teachers.
Last week, district administration surprised teachers who were nominated and ultimately selected by the peers for campus “Teacher of the Year.” These are teachers who consistently go above and beyond for every child, making sure each is on the track for success. As leaders on our campuses and in our district, they inspire greatness in others as they do in their students, and they set the bar for excellence for all of us to strive towards. Please help me congratulate our 2018 LISD Campus Teachers of the Year!
Bluebonnet Elementary School Emily Hilderbrand
Carver Early Education Center Cheryl Dozier
Clear Fork Elementary School Michelle Stephenson
Lockhart Junior High School Katie Harber
Lockhart High School Melissa Hardaway
Navarro Elementary School Michelle Lockhart
Plum Creek Elementary School Alyssa Gonzales
Strawn Elementary School Karen Chapa
The teachers will now undergo a process for consideration for the honor of District Elementary Teacher of the Year and District Secondary Teacher of the year. We will announce those winners later this semester, and they will advance to the regional competition.
While we often speak of high expectations in LISD, we also understand how important it is to provide balance and take care of our teachers so they are better able to take care of our students. The district administration, with support from the Board of Trustees, recently implemented policy changes to provide more flexibility to teachers. These changes were inspired by feedback from our teachers.
We are engaging teachers to attend forums hosted by our curriculum and instruction department to cultivate an ongoing dialog about learning and instruction in LISD. This aims to create greater opportunities for open communication about specific instructional initiatives, allowing teachers an even better understanding behind key decisions.
We have changed leave policies to allow more options and flexibility for our staff.
Rather than losing unused sick leave at the end of each school year, employees may now accrue up to 30 hours of unused sick leave. Any sick leave not used by staff this year will be rolled over in the 2018-2019 school year. We want to reward those with great attendance but also be able to provide support if and when an employee must use sick leave to attend to personal health issues or those of family members.
Employees will now be allowed to take personal or sick leave for any funeral. It does not have to be for an immediate family member.
The district has decreased the number of blackout dates for personal leave use. The days before and after a school holiday will no longer be blackout days.
We are working to keep teacher pay competitive so Lockhart ISD can continue to recruit high quality teachers to the district, including offering $4000 stipends for bilingual teachers and a $3000 signing bonus for special education teachers. Our district attends teacher job fairs across Texas, competing with other districts for teachers. LISD is able to offer a highly competitive salary and benefits package in addition to highlighting the benefits of working in a fast-growth district, in which there are many opportunities to grow.
While we are pleased to be able to better serve our teachers through these changes, we know our responsibility is to continue listening to understand their needs so we can continue to provide the support they need to be successful in their roles inside and outside of the school district.
As you see any of the “Teachers of the Year,” be sure to congratulate them on their well-deserved honor. In fact, if you see any of our LISD teachers, please join us in thanking them for their hard work for our #LISDChampions! They play a critical role in the success of our students, and they directly contribute to why it is so good to be a Lockhart Lion!