Since I arrived in Terrell ISD nearly two and a half years ago, we made it very clear that a major goal for this district was to increase student achievement in all areas. It is now, that I feel this district, and the community as a whole, is at a tipping point. As a school district, we have seen steady increases in academic achievement; we have completed some renovations to our campuses; and we have seen huge growth and achievements in our extra-curricular programs. Throughout this transformation, the community has been unwavering in their support for our students and our schools. It’s now, that we have the opportunity to do even more for our current students and for those students who will enter our schools years from now. The TISD community will soon have the opportunity to chart a progressive course for its future.
I recently read an article written by Terrell High School class of 2015 graduate, Daja Martinez, who is now a student at the University of Texas in Austin. The article is titled An Open Letter to Terrell, Texas, and in it, she writes:
“Dear Terrell, Texas,
Eighteen years. Eighteen long years, that now seemed to have gone by in a blink of an eye. Growing up, there was always mixed emotions about you, but in the end, everyone loves you, even if they won't admit it.
I loved growing up knowing all the students and teachers in my school. I know I had my fair share of great teachers, terrible teachers, and teachers that should have retired a long time ago. I had teachers who genuinely cared about their students enough to invest in them and encourage them.
Whether it was band, student council, or sports, I loved being part of something that made me part of not only the school, but of the town. Each organization always had a way of bringing everyone together.
I loved it. And although I never thought I would, I miss being part of such an amazing town with amazing people.
So, thank you for not telling on me when I was out way too late with my friends. Thank you for showing me how to bring a community together. Thank you for having the best $5.99 Chinese Buffet and Tex-Mex places. Thank you for all the changes you have made over the years, and thank you for always being my home.
You don't realize that some of your best days are happening when they are happening, but at least you get the opportunity to go back to the town where they all happened and be hit with a wave of nostalgia. I am glad that I was able to grow up here and eventually leave here to pursue my dreams and continue having some of the best days of my life. Terrell, Texas will always be home. Thank you to teachers like Mrs. Hogan, Coach Lantrip, Ms. Christeson, Mr. Kuhn, Mr. Drake (RIP) and many others for showing me what passion truly is and inspiring me to pursue a career in teaching. #ComeHomeProud”
Another student, who attends Wood Elementary School, recently wrote me a letter that reads:
“Dear Mr. French,
Thank you for creating the GT Academy because it helps me stay out of trouble. These past years, it has been very hard for me. Now, since my goals are higher, the only thing I have time for is reaching my expectations. So that is why I thank you so much.”
It’s students, like these, whose words remind us of exactly why we do what we do, and what we must continue doing to support our students and the programs that make such an impact on their lives. Our students deserve the best programs, educators, and facilities.
For those and many more reasons, Terrell ISD, in partnership with a Citizens Facility Team made up of parents, teachers, and community members, are in the beginning stages of planning for a bond election in May 2016. Much work will be done in the coming months to develop a scope of work that will have a positive impact on all TISD students and the community as a whole. Members of the Citizens Facility Team, TISD administrators, and I will begin visiting local organizations, churches, businesses, and other groups to share specific plans for the bond. Throughout this process, we will not only keep you informed, but also answer any questions you might have.
The district and community of Terrell ISD is at the threshold of greatness. The right push, in the right way, at the right time can forever change our community for the better and provide life-changing opportunities for our students. The time is now, and the future is bright for Terrell. I hope you will consider supporting TISD and our children as we develop a school district where students will continue to #ComeHomeProud.