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In pursuit of Excellence

By Rickie R. Harris

As a school district, we understand that excellence is not a destination, it is a continuous journey. With this in mind, we are in constant pursuit of the highest standards and always striving to build our professional learning communities. Our goal is to provide an education to our students that is not only outstanding, but also appropriate and challenging. It is imperative that all of our students be prepared for successful entry to a post-secondary system and/or the work force upon graduation.

It is extremely important for us to encourage and expose our students to colleges and universities. Just recently, West Orange – Stark Middle School took a group of 40 students on a field trip to Rice University in Houston. Our middle school students met with college students who spoke to them about college requirements in terms of high school grades, SAT/ACT scores, and extra-curricular activities. The Rice presentation included information regarding the differences in salaries of graduates of high school, graduates of college with bachelors’ degrees, and college graduates with masters’ degrees. A tour of Rice University followed. This exposure to post-secondary educational opportunity ignited student conversations about current academic goal setting, high school courses of study, college majors, and life career choices. It also provided the opportunity for families, teachers, and counselors to discuss scholarships and overall college preparedness. Other middle school students will tour another college later this school year.

West Orange – Cove CISD, at the same time, has also been in the process of visiting various districts to view best practices, consider the utilization of some of these same concepts, and ultimately improve our existing career path offerings that are available to our students. Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Silvia Martinez, with various district teams, has visited Scotlandville Magnet High School, and DeSoto, Lancaster, and Cedar Hill school districts. Additionally, I was able to visit three high performing New York City high schools as part of the Lamar University Superintendents Academy. We are excited to share our observations with our fellow team members and open new dialogues for growth opportunities within our system that will elevate our standard of excellence.

Finally, I would like to recognize our Stallions and Mustangs who have recently attained the highest level of knowledge associated with their profession. Congratulations upon the achievement of a doctoral degree to West Orange – Stark Middle School Principal Dr. Anthony Moten, West Orange – Stark High School Assistant Principal Dr. Alicia Sigee, and West Orange – Stark High School Dean of Instruction Dr. Ronald Wright. We know that our students and team members will benefit from the educational excellence and leadership that your doctoral degree brings.

Throughout WOCCISD our leaders and staff are empowering lives through excellence everyday! 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.