Weatherford ISD administrators chose to forgo its annual tradition of hiring a motivational speaker for Tuesday’s convocation because they felt the money would be better served in the classroom.
The purpose of convocation is to help kick off the beginning of a new school year, but the District will be operating with $3.2 million less than it did last year because of state budget cuts.
“We want show our students, employees, parents, partners, and community members that we are good stewards of their taxpayer dollars,” Weatherford ISD Superintendent Dr. Deborah Cron said. “We have to get used to operating with a reduced budget because next year we will lose an additional $1.2 million in state funding.”
So, who will step in and take the place of a motivational speaker?
“That’s my job,” Dr. Cron added. “I’m going to speak to our staff about some of our accomplishments from last school year but, more importantly, talk about the changes that are in store for 2011-12.”
Arguably, the biggest change will be the implementation of the new State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) which begins in spring 2012.
According to the Texas Education Agency, the STAAR – which replaces the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) exam – is a more rigorous assessment program that will provide the foundation for a new accountability system for Texas public schools.
Also, the STAAR program at grades 3-8 will assess the same subjects and grades that are currently assessed on TAKS. However, grade-specific assessments will be replaced with 12 end-of-course (EOC) assessments at the high school: Algebra I, geometry, Algebra II, biology, chemistry, physics, English I, English II, English III, world geography, world history, and U.S. history.
This will be Dr. Cron’s final convocation because, in June, she announced her intent to retire by the end of the year.
“My decision to retire is bittersweet,” Dr. Cron said. “Weatherford ISD has a dedicated and caring cadre of educators and support staff and a visionary, student-focused Board of Trustees. Although I am looking forward to retirement after spending the past 40 years in education, I am going to miss working with individuals who are just as passionate as I am about educating children.”
Weatherford ISD staff members report to work on Monday, and Tuesday’s convocation will begin at 8:30 a.m. in the Weatherford High School Durant Auditorium.
The first day of school for students is Aug. 22.