WO-C CISD off and running

Published 11:25 am Sunday, September 6, 2015

By Rickie R. Harris

We are, as they say, “Off and Running” two weeks into the West Orange – Cove 2015-2016 school year. The month of August has passed quickly. It was filled with excitement and activities targeted towards welcoming our students and staff.

The month started with welcoming teachers at a two-day District New Teacher Orientation. It was followed by an exciting Staff Convocation that featured the theme “Together We RISE.” Staff members wore t-shirts with our RISE theme of “Reach, Inspire, Sacrifice, and Encourage.” WOCCISD School Board President Ruth Hancock delivered an inspiring welcome to our staff and led a spirited and fun-filled campus roll call. We were also honored to have business and community partners participate with us in this important event. Thank you to the WOCCISD Education Foundation, Sabine Federal Credit Union, Jerry Hughes Realty, First Financial Bank, Stark Cultural Venues, the Orange Chamber of Commerce and their participating merchants for supporting our staff at Convocation. I would additionally like to thank all of the local businesses and organizations that participated in our Annual WOCCISD Health Fair and contributing to the success of this event.

It was just as exciting to attend the Back to School Orange – Orange County community event held at Lamar State College – Orange which supported all of the area’s students. West Orange – Cove participated with a booth. We shared our school calendar and bus route information, pencils, and other promotional material. The organizers of this Back to School event did an outstanding job! We appreciate the opportunity to participate.

Additionally, the month of August included changes within our team. Curriculum Director Dr. Wayne Guidry is taking on the new role of Executive Director of Operations. He is responsible for Maintenance, Transportation, Food Service, Testing, Accountability, and Federal Programs. This role will help us to be more proactive in the oversight of these departments.

At West Orange – Stark Elementary School, former Academic Coordinator Vickie Price is now an assistant principal. Ashton Knox, formerly a Region V Education Service Center Curriculum Coordinator, is now the Dean of Instruction at WO-S Elementary.

While speaking of the Elementary, I also want to congratulate first grade teacher Jenny Duncan for earning “Pay It Forward” recognition from a Beaumont television station. She was nominated and honored because of her dedication to students.

With our District embracing the theme of “RISE” and key staff in place, we are so excited about achievement opportunities that this school year provides. In reviewing recently announced state testing results, all of our campuses, as well as the District, have earned “Met Standard” designation by the State of Texas. West Orange – Stark Middle School earned distinctions in two areas: Academic Achievement in Social Studies and Top 25 Percent Closing Performance Gaps. West Orange – Stark Elementary School additionally earned two distinctions: Academic Achievement in Science and Top 25 Percent Student Progress. We are very pleased to report our results, but do realize that we must continue to work hard in order to take the next step toward greatness.

I do want to let you know that WOCCISD is also aware of needed improvements in the area of transportation route pick up and drop off; and, we are addressing those needs. We appreciate the patience and support of our parents as we work to make our system better. We are actively recruiting bus drivers to join our team and welcome applications.

Ultimately, we have had an overall outstanding start to the school year. I want to thank all of our staff, students, teachers, and parents for working together to make this happen.

As contemporary author John Maxwell said, “One is too small a number to achieve greatness.”

Go Mustangs!

Rickie R. Harris is the Superintendent at West Orange – Cove CISD.