Successes during tough times paired with encouragement to seek excellence dominated the return of teachers to Frenship Independent School District campuses Friday.
A convocation at Peoples Bank Stadium included the Frenship High School marching band, dancers and speeches.
FISD Board President Brad Draper congratulated teachers and staff on surviving budget cuts and making adequate yearly progress.
“The one thing I want to congratulate you on is making it through a difficult year last year,” said Draper. “We’re here to support you, and please continue forward.”
Draper said state legislators may throw additional curveballs at schools, but the school board is committed to not eliminating positions in Frenship.
Superintendent David Vroonland said it is because of the teachers that FISD earned a recognized rating again this year and had a 98.6 percent completion rate, meaning just four seniors last year did not walk the stage at graduation.
Vroonland also gave credit to Reese Education Center teachers because 90 percent of its seniors graduated under the recommended high school plan, rather than the 5 percent who graduated on the more rigorous recommended plan three years ago.
The superintendent noted teachers were involved in finding ways to cut the district’s non-payroll expenses by 15 percent to 20 percent. He said teachers will continue to receive their step increase raises, while employees on an hourly wage such as janitors will receive a 2 percent raise.
But Vroonland said even though the district has had many success stories, it cannot afford to rest. He encouraged the teachers to continue to seek perfection in hopes of catching excellence.
Principals from Frenship’s 11 campuses led teachers and FHS band members in dancing to “YMCA” at the beginning of the event. Later, a group of FHS teachers and students danced, and then the band played “Eye of the Tiger.”
Andy Penney, FISD director of public relations, said the schools have a football theme this year because Heritage Middle School is opening and becoming the district’s 11th school, similar to the 11 men on the field in football. The district’s new video scoreboard provided another reason to go with a football theme, he said.
School principals were announced and entered through the inflatable Tiger head used by the football team. Most ran into the stadium to cheers from teachers from their campuses, but FHS Principal Kim Spicer mocked FHS coach Brad Davis by walking slowly in while mulling over a program.
Heritage Principal Greg Hernandez was the last to enter, telling the crowd the new school is ready to open its doors for the first day. But he also said opening a new school might not be an experience he would want to repeat.
“I don’t know if I’d ever do this again, but it’s been a wonderful experience,” said Hernandez.
Teachers also watched a video on the new scoreboard of students, coaches, teachers and groundskeepers talking about what it means to be part of a team.
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