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All hands on deck

By Rickie R. Harris

As a District, we understand that creating an exceptional experience for our students cannot be done alone. It takes the support of stakeholders to create an extraordinary environment. West Orange – Cove welcomes all who wish to be a vital part of the educational process. This semester, our campuses have already hosted successful events for involvement in our schools. It is our intent to provide additional opportunities in the spring.

West Orange – Stark Elementary held their annual Family Reading Night at the end of October. It was wonderful. Students and staff brought storybooks to life by dressing as their favorite character. Red Riding Hood read stories to children in the school amphitheater. Clifford the Big Red Dog posed for selfies with students and adults. Other characters shared learning strategies and resources. The event stressed the importance that reading should be a family event.

Our district is very privileged to have a strong Parent Teacher Association that works to connect families and teachers. During November, the organization sponsored a “Bring Your Dad to School” event at our campuses. Approximately 300 dads participated district-wide. Various activities included breakfast, classroom visitation, and special activities. West Orange – Stark Elementary had the largest turnout. Over 185 fathers participated. It was a privilege to see fathers, uncles, grandfathers, and so many others participate in this inspiring occasion. We certainly appreciate the support that PTA provides, as well as the additional educational opportunities that are available through their hard work.

Earlier this semester, WOCCISD hosted our annual Pastor Luncheon. We understand the key role that pastors play in communicating and positively leading their congregations. Our luncheon serves as an opportunity for school and church leaders to frankly discuss educational accomplishments and challenges. This year’s dialogue was so successful that, as a group, we have committed to quarterly luncheons to work together. I want to thank pastors who were able to attend and say that I appreciate the open conversation. The invitation is open to all church leaders that would like to participate.

Before closing, congratulations to West Orange – Stark High School’s Aaliyah Teel for signing a track and field scholarship to Stephen F. Austin State University. We look forward to watching your accomplishments and cheering for you this spring in your final year as a Mustang!

I also want to say thank you for the amazing show of support this community has given to our High School football team as we continue in the state playoffs!

As you can see, we welcome “All Hands On Deck.” Community involvement is key to building an exceptional educational experience for every child. WOCCISD appreciates the support of parents, family members, community, and businesses. Please join us by elevating your involvement at our campuses. 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.