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A final note to close Act 1

By Rickie R. Harris

West Orange – Cove has enjoyed a very successful fall. Now, our students and staff are enjoying a holiday break at the close of the first act of the school year. We have accomplished a great deal during this first semester.

In athletics, the WO-S High School volleyball team had an outstanding season and advanced into the playoffs. Also, our varsity football team had another tremendous year, advancing to the State Championship football game. We are so proud of these athletes for their determination, hard work, and how well they have represented us.

During School Board meetings in October and November, North Early Learning Center and West Orange – Stark Elementary school principals recognized outstanding students and staff. Student honorees were, respectively, Mic’hael Sterling and Evelyn Jasso. Staff honorees were Julie Allensworth, Pam Lestage, Leighia Barron, and Terry Reid. Additionally, WOCCISD bus driver Burnadine Edwards was recognized.

The Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce also recognized outstanding individuals in November. High School senior Brandon Roy was recognized as “Student of the Month.” Payroll clerk Jennifer Russell was recognized as the WOCCISD “Employee of the Month.”

Each of these honored individuals exemplifies dedication and serves as a role model for their peers.

Also during the fall semester, I was able to enjoy a luncheon at each of our campuses with all of our “All A” Superintendent’s Honor Roll students. It is always exciting to meet with these exceptional students, hear their opinions, congratulate them on a job well done, and encourage them to excel at even higher levels.

North Early Learning Center celebrated a milestone in October. The campus celebrated the 50th birthday of the Head Start program with a school-wide party. We are so fortunate to be able to offer this wonderful program to our community!

Additionally on our campuses this fall, every campus food service department scored a perfect score on their cafeteria health inspection. This is outstanding.

As we transition to the second act of the school year, the spring semester, we look forward to more success. We will also begin to execute a new strategic plan which was developed by district stakeholders after the start of the school year. Our vision, mission, and goals will guide our work.

Here are the primary components. We believe:

  • That families are an integral part of the education process.
  • In our tradition of excellence.
  • That diversity is valued.
  • That learning should be our highest priority.
  • That faith is the foundation of our community.
  • That teachers are foundational to student success.

Our vision statement describes the direction for which we strive: “Empowering Lives through Excellence Everyday!” Our mission statement describes who we are and what our mission is in the development of students: “In partnership with our community, our mission is to transform lives through an exceptional educational experience.”

I am eager to begin the work associated with this new plan. The second half of the school year looks to be just as exciting as the first semester. 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.