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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Celebrate Texas Public Schools

Like our students, the Mansfield ISD is a work in progress. However, just as we like to celebrate the scholastic, athletic, and artistic successes of our students, we also have have reasons to celebrate Texas public schools.

Good things are happening in our Texas public schools and each year school districts throughout Texas open their doors and invite their local communities to take a first-hand look at the educational programs and opportunities occurring on their campuses. Traditionally this occurs in March during Texas Public Schools Week (TPSW). But in recent years TPSW has expanded into a yearlong campaign called Celebrate Texas Public Schools (CTPS).

Building Leaders. Today They Learn. Tomorrow They Lead. is the 2010 CTPS theme developed by the Texas School Public Relations Association (TSPRA). The focus is on building up and equipping students today, so that tomorrow they will have the tools necessary to lead in an ever-changing world. Engaging and exciting activities that educate students about new opportunities will start students thinking about “what do I want to be when I grow up?” Providing these opportunities to consider their future careers will assist students in choosing educational paths that will lead them into these fields of study and work. And it’s never too early to start them thinking about these important life decisions.

Texas communities have reasons to be proud of their public schools. During the past few years Texas educators have worked hard to improve the post-secondary readiness of our students. In collaboration with Texas colleges and universities, educators have implemented early college high school programs; science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs and articulated career and technical programs. Districts have added dual credit classes, expanded Advanced Placement (AP) offerings and increased the rigors of high school classes.

An October 2009 report from the National Governors Association, provides evidence that Texas is making significant progress to reduce the dropout rate by implementing four significant strategies: promoting high school graduation for all; targeting youth at risk of dropping out; reengaging youth who have dropped out of school; and providing rigorous and relevant options for earning a high school diploma.

But educators cannot do it alone. Parent involvement and community support are critical for the success of young people. Volunteer to serve as a mentor or tutor. Visit classrooms to discuss your career, what led you to choose this field and the school subjects you pursued to get where you are today. Encourage elementary students to begin thinking early about post-secondary training and education. Help high school students work toward more clearly defining their career pathways with post-secondary education and careers.

You may be surprised to know that often the majority of people in a community or school district may not have children in public schools. If you are one of these people, take the time to visit a local school, especially during Texas Public Schools Week. We hope you'll be amazed at the exciting and important work students are doing to prepare themselves for their present and future lives as productive citizens. If you cannot visit one of our schools, write a note or send an email to a principal or teacher letting them know you appreciate their efforts to educate all students and prepare them for life.