WISD is going that extra mile in making sure the district and its officials are fully equipped for success in the upcoming 2007-2008 academic year by introducing some suggested changes.

Giving insight on future goals during a recent interview was superintendent of schools, Tom Collins.

“The district has several goals outlined for the 2007-2008 academic year but my No. 1 goal is obviously student achievement coupled with family engagements,” Collins said. “If we engage families in our school activities, that helps the child. We have to realize we’re all in this together and that we can all work toward our students.

“We’re attempting to engage the students’ families by hosting several activities throughout the year,” he said. “We really think it’s important to have parents visit the school, and this year, we’re planning to get out to the community more and in a sense, take the school district to them.”

Some of the parent-student related activities and changes Collins is speaking of include Meet the Indian Night, Texas Public Schools Week and possible parent academies.

“Three of our activity goals geared toward parents include joining in a community pep rally with Meet the Indian Night on Aug. 23, creating one night of student showcases so parents could visit with all their children instead of having to travel to other schools during Texas Public Schools Week and possibly hosting parent academies at schools, churches and the civic center,” Collins said. “During Meet the Indian Night and the pep rally, we’re just trying to get some student involvement and invite everyone from the community to attend. For Texas Public Schools Week, we’re going to hold a student showcase night. We’ll have our students’ work on display for the parents and public to view. As far as hosting parent academies, we’re hoping to get more into the community and involve our parents.

“We also have a few communication goals to help engage parents. We’re trying to make sure that communication translators are available for our parents. We’re even looking to set up a telephone voicemail information system for the parents, where teachers will identify themselves and explain the topics, which they are teaching,” he said. “We’re just trying to make sure that parents know what is going on in their child’s classroom. Our focus is always on the students but we really want to engage their families also. Our first and foremost goal is to engage families and with these three goals are how we plan to do that.”

Collins also touched on a few changes that have been made to the 2006-2007 secondary dress code that will go into effect for the 2007-2008 school year.

Students and parents have been informed of the board of trustees-approved changes for grades six through 12 through a letter.

“In an effort to maintain an orderly and safe learning environment, all secondary WISD students must meet the current and new expectations in the 2007-2008 WISD Student Code of Conduct: Dress Code,” the letter reads. “This letter is intended to assist parents in shopping for school clothes which meet the current and new dress standards. Students, parents, teachers and administrators must work together to assume responsibility for complying and enforcing the dress code adopted by the WISD board of trustees.”

Collins also provided an update on the $59.25 million bond program approved by voters in November. The district is in the process of welcoming a new elementary school, a new sixth-grade center, a new junior high school, renovations at the Wilemon building for Waxahachie Global High, renovations at Turner Middle School, parking lot renovations at several campuses and capital improvements for Waxahachie High School.

“We had the groundbreaking for the new junior high school in March at its location on Broadhead Road by the city’s sports complex,” Collins said. “The workers have been diligently working but because of the weather, work has been delayed.

“We’re also in the process of redoing the high school student parking lot and also the parking lot at Marvin and that way we’re hoping to alleviate the congestion problem we’re experiencing,” he said. “We are also planning to restabilize the sidewalk at Dunaway before the start of school because it has buckled. We’re hoping to have the permits for the sixth-grade center and the new elementary school soon. The architects are working on that now.”

Collins said he is confident in the district to make everything happen successfully.

“We provide the best education possible to our students and we attempt to graduate students who are responsible citizens,” he said.

E-mail Chicarra at chicarra.dense@waxahachiedailylight.com