Champions for Children, a year long leadership program that serves to educate the community on the process of the Waxahachie Independent School District, meets once a month for a breakfast meeting, at a different campus each month.

“This is the third year for the program,” said WISD director of public relations Nicole Mansell, who added, “each year we have about 18 to 20 participants.”

The first meeting of the program took place Tuesday morning at Marvin Elementary, where participants heard from WISD superintendent Tom Collins, who gave an overview of the district.

“Our goal is to bring the school to the community,” said Collins of the Champions for Children program.

Collins discussed the WISD goal to have no more than 650 students per elementary campus, the school buildings that are currently under construction, the re-zoning process that will soon take place and the future of WISD.

Collins explained that school board members and WISD administrators spend much of their time planning for the future, addressing the growth of our community.

WISD currently employs 912 persons, 300 of which are certified teachers, administrators and paraprofessionals.

The school board is made up of seven at-large members who are elected by the community to serve and meet for regularly scheduled and called meetings throughout the year. Collins noted that board members are truly “at-large” and the only requirement to run for the position is to reside in the district.

Collins pointed out that there were nine schools in the district during the 2006-07 school year and five of those schools were recognized by the Texas Education Association (TEA).

“This (school) year, there are ten campuses in the district and we hope all are recognized (by the TEA),” said Collins, noting Waxahachie Global High, which opened last fall, was the 10th campus.

Marvin Elementary principal Ora Frazier then spoke to the group, giving them information about Marvin Elementary, the school’s history and plans for the future, current statistics and programs offered.

Frazier noted that Marvin Elementary has 30 teachers and classrooms, 24 of which are kindergarten classrooms.

“That’s up from 19 (kindergarten classrooms) when the school opened (Aug. 2001),” she said.

Frazier mentioned that four of the classrooms are bilingual and two are PPCD.

“Our motto is ‘First Steps to Success,’” said Frazier, who spoke highly of all teachers and staff at the school and also gave special recognition to the school’s physical education teacher and curriculum and the school’s counselor and her program.

The Champions for Children program, which first began in 2005, gives Waxahachie community members the opportunity to gain inside knowledge on how the district operates.

“I am very excited about this year’s participants,” said Mansell. “Class members range from CEOs to ministers to community volunteers.”

Each month, Champions for Children participants have the opportunity to meet district administrators, campus principals and other key staff members, as well as to receive information on topics such as curriculum, school finance, community education and support services.

“The purpose of the program is to teach community leaders – present and up-and-coming – about the inner workings of the district,” said Mansell. “This year one of the district’s goals is engaging all families. This is one of the ways we’re engaging the community.”

Champions for Children members will have the opportunity to job shadow a member of the district prior to December when the leadership class culminates with graduation.

“Champions for Children is an innovative and unique opportunity for Waxahachie citizens ….. We feel it is very important to offer a leadership program such as this so as to keep our community informed of the strides we are making to improve the quality of education we provide our students,” said Collins.

For more information about the Champions for Children leadership program, contact Nicole Mansell at the WISD public relations office at 972-923-4631.

E-mail Jennifer at jennifer.howell@wninews.com.