FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Sonya Cole-Hamilton
“Excellence Every Day…No Alibis, No Excuses”
Office: 972-218-1433 Cell: 972-358-7227
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Lancaster ISD Welcomes TEA Commissioner of Education for Exhibition of Excellence
Lancaster, Texas, Lancaster ISD
Lancaster ISD enthusiastically welcomed the Texas Commissioner of Education Michael L. Williams for an impromptu District Exhibition of Excellence. Commissioner Williams requested the visit to obtain a firsthand account of the transformation that is in progress in Lancaster ISD.
“I came here to celebrate the good,” Commissioner Williams said.
During his visit, Commissioner Williams stated that he is amid a statewide tour of districts.
“Having the TEA Commissioner of Education in the district adds credibility to the work that we have been doing,” Lancaster ISD Superintendent Dr. Michael D. McFarland said. “It is good to be recognized. We know we still have a lot of work to do, but we know the progress that we have made up to this point has been remarkable.”
The commissioner met with an assembled group of students, teachers, administrators and community members during the visit at Lancaster IB/STEM High School on September 16. He arrived in the district Monday afternoon to observe and learn about the implementation and progress of the STEM for All district-wide educational model, interact with the panelists view students in action in the new synergistic learning lab. In addition, he heard about the impact of the district’s early childhood programs as well as met some staff and the students of Elise Robertson Lancaster Middle School whose achievement scores ranked among the top contenders in their grade level statewide.
“This is a district that is getting it right,” Commissioner Williams said after the panel discussion. “I wanted to come by and praise the folks who are out there teaching youngsters – and teaching youngsters that some may believe are hard to reach – but still for these folks, are quite easy to teach.”
Lancaster High School Principal Joseph Showell said it was an honor to have the commissioner in his school.
“It is a great compliment to the great work that everyone has put forth,” Mr. Showell said. “Nobody wants to rest, we have to keep getting better.”
Lancaster High School sophomore Renita Williams said sitting on the panel and being able present her experiences to the commissioner was exciting.
“To have him in Lancaster, listening to what I have to say, lets me know what I have to say is really important and the students’ voice is always needed in the education field.”
LHS Assistant Principal John Matthews said the visit Monday speaks volumes about how Lancaster ISD is doing and the transformation that is taking place in the southern sector of Dallas County.
“I am so proud of what Dr. McFarland and the School Board have done along with partnering with the City of Lancaster to make this a mecca of education for the children of Lancaster ISD who can truly believe now they can graduate with more than a diploma.”
Additionally, Lancaster ISD Coordinator of Advanced Academic Studies Micah Taylor said the commissioner being here means the district is doing something right.
“We’re heading in the right direction as far as STEM and we are putting something out there that other people might want to model,” he said. “If someone like the commissioner is taking the time to come by, something’s going right.”
With the institution of a robust More Than A Diploma Initiative for all students, the development of a 21st Century approach to learning and an increased rigor in the curriculum during the last three years, Lancaster ISD now has the highest graduation rate of all the member cities in the Best Southwest with more than 90 percent of its seniors graduating with a letter of acceptance to a college, university, or military. Even, its early childhood programs have received the designations of Pre-K Centers of
Excellence from TEA and Region 17.
Excellence from TEA and Region 17.
We are excited that our intentional actions to ensure the increase of academic options, choices and opportunities for success has reached the ears and eyes of our state educational leaders,” Dr. McFarland said. “In Lancaster ISD, our Vision is 2020 and we are committed to preparing our students with the tools to succeed in a society that does not currently exist.”
The Lancaster Public Schools serve more than 6,000 pre-kindergarten through grade 12 students in 11 schools. The mission of the Lancaster Independent School District, a leader in providing innovative, quality programs, is to educate every student with the knowledge; skills; and principles to succeed and contribute in a competitive and technologically advancing world by providing rigorous and engaging learning opportunities that promote diversity; create an environment of integrity and respect; and establish a commitment to continued improvement in partnership with families and community.
422 S. Centre Ave. Lancaster, TX 75146 ~ 972.218.1400 ~ www.LancasterISD.org