• Superintendent's Memo

    Posted by Eduardo Suarez on 8/16/2019 12:30:00 PM

    SUPERINTENDENT'S BLOG - New employees and new learning is invaluable as new school year approaches

    Next Tuesday, approximately 16,000 students will walk through our doors as we begin the 2019-2020 school year. We’ll have a few tears from young children attending school for the first time, and perhaps some sniffles from parents too. 

    This week, we have been gearing up for the advent of classes. Our Convocation was a huge success. A huge, “Thank You” to Schertz Bank & Trust for sponsoring the event. Our SCUC Video made its debut, and we are proud on how it captures the greatness of the community, our students, and employees, who personify the Core Values we hold dear of Leadership, Character, Commitment, Service and Learning.

    Each year, we welcome new teachers, aides, paraprofessionals, and operations staff to SCUC. They bring fresh ideas and infectious enthusiasm. Some are new to our profession, while others come to us, eager to be a part of a Top Workplace in San Antonio. Additionally, the SCUC ISD Education Foundation sponsored the New Teacher Luncheon, welcoming the majority of the newest members of our workforce as we celebrated over 200 new staff members to SCUC.

    We make every effort to give our new employees the resources they need to succeed. Some of it will come through mentorship opportunities; in other instances it is through feedback. In all cases, it is done in a spirit of encouragement so that every new employee feels connected to the Mission. We look forward to a great 2019-2020 school year.

    Another underpinning to their success, and ours, will come through professional development, such as the 2nd Annual SCUC-U, a two-day symposium held earlier this week for all district employees to continuously work on common goals with a deep focus on learning. Congratulations to Kelli Kovacs, Director of Curriculum & Professional Development, and all of our dedicated employees who worked on organizing and implementing the program.

    Thank you again the support you provide that allows our students to achieve their potential every day. And remember, SCUC is a District with both Passion and Purpose!

    Dr. G

    2019-2020 AREAS OF FOCUS

    2019-2020 SCHOOL YEAR CALENDAR

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  • Superintendent's Memo 07-25-19

    Posted by Eduardo Suarez on 7/25/2019 11:00:00 AM

    SUPERINTENDENT'S BLOG - SCUC Commitment to Music Education is secure

    The most recent issue of Texas Lone Star magazine, the flagship publication for TASB (Texas Association of School Boards) contained an article saluting the sixty eight Texas school districts in the state recognized for Best Communities for Music Education by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM). It is gratifying to see our school district’s commitment to music education acknowledged in such a prominent forum for a second consecutive year.

    The school districts honored by NAMM are very diverse. Some are well-to-do, while some hail from some of the poorer regions of the state. There are urban, suburban and rural school districts. But a common thread appears to be passion that their respective school boards and administration created an atmosphere of support that ensures every student has access to music education. It’s worth mentioning again how our Trustees (with a commitment to overall cost efficiencies) expanded our music programs in 2011 during the state’s budget crisis.

    Next week, we’ll see band students at Samuel Clemens High School and Byron P. Steele High School return from their summer vacations early to begin preparations for the upcoming season. A few short weeks after that, our orchestra, choir, visual arts and performing arts will be in full swing as well. We can assure them that our commitment to music education will never waver.

    These opportunities provide life lessons helpful in developing the Traits of a Graduate we are trying to nurture in every student from our school district: Dynamic Leader, Self-Motivated, Skilled Communicator, Service Oriented and Future Ready. And our students respond with hallways full of trophies and medals!

    Thank you for your support. And remember, SCUC is a District with both Passion and Purpose!

    Dr. G

     

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  • Superintendent's Memo 07-18-19

    Posted by Eduardo Suarez on 7/18/2019 5:30:00 PM

    SUPERINTENDENT'S BLOG - The best is yet to come for SCUC ISD

    This afternoon, the Board Agenda Notice was posted for our July 23 regular monthly meeting. The posting includes two items I want to make SCUC staff and community aware of.

    First, the Board will be asked to consider, and accept my letter of retirement. Additionally, they will be asked to consider and approve the posting of a request for bids to hire a search firm to find my replacement. After ten years at SCUC, and twenty overall as a Superintendent, it is time for me to move on to my second career; that will allow for additional time and flexibility for my immediate and extended family.

    I want everyone to know that the Board and I have worked collaboratively on this process to this point, and will continue to do so until my successor is in place. The eight of us will work, “hand in glove” over the coming months to ensure the smoothest transition possible for this great school district and great community.

    To that end, I will be flexible and work with the Board to ensure the new Superintendent is in place no earlier than February of 2020, and no later than August of 2020. Additionally, we (the Board and I) will keep you posted and be very transparent during this entire transition. You should expect numerous updates in the coming months.

    The purpose of this blog is awareness, not a farewell communication. We have a lot of work to accomplish between now and next spring. There will be plenty of opportunities for goodbyes at that time. Now, having said that, I cannot even begin to express my appreciation as a professional and as a father for all that SCUC has given Oteka and me, along with our children. This community will always hold a special place in our hearts.

    See you (still) around the District,

     

    Dr. G

    2019-2020 AREAS OF FOCUS

    2019-2020 SCHOOL YEAR CALENDAR

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  • Superintendent's Memo 06-27-19

    Posted by Eduardo Suarez on 6/27/2019 4:00:00 PM

    SUPERINTENDENT'S BLOG - New school finance bill is helpful to SCUC ISD but demands financial discipline

    We are gratified our Board of Trustees resolved the employee compensation package at last week’s meeting. They acted quickly and decisively after state lawmakers settled the HB3 bill that increases funding for all public schools in Texas. (MEMO LINK)

    SCUC ISD will receive almost $7.9 million from the state. Thirty percent (approximately $2.3 million) must be spent on all staff not on the administrative pay scale, and 75% of that figure (about $1.75 million) mandated to go toward staff raises for teachers, librarians, nurses and counselors.

    While it was long overdue, and a step in the right direction, not every school district received the same piece of the pie. Our staff members will receive the raises they richly deserve, but they may be wondering why some area school districts and others throughout the state seem to be awarding larger percentage increases.

    Simply put, HB3 favors school districts with a greater percentage of low socio-economic students, and wealthy districts, known as Chapter 41 schools, who had been returning money to the state under the previous plan known as “Robin Hood”. SCUC did not fall under either category. That means smaller percentage increases than other school districts. Higher percentage raises may put the district at the increased risk of having to make difficult decisions in the future if the state and local economy takes a downturn.

    Trustees made sure to put a purpose to every remaining dollar. We will add new special education staffing (approximately $3 million) to comply with federal guidelines after the U.S. Department of Education’s ruling found Texas had failed to provide students with disabilities the resources necessary to meet legal requirements. New general education teachers will be hired (about $1.2 million) to address our fast-growth needs. Other funds will be used to meet needs and the district’s TRS contribution requirements, leaving SCUC with about a $500,000 buffer for funding fluctuations and any unanticipated needs that may arise.

    SCUC will continue with the responsible use of all resources, including the Board’s responsible financial management and common sense planning.

    We hope everyone is taking some time to refresh their bodies, minds and spirits during the summer, so that we can come back with the skill, dedication and enthusiasm that continues to make SCUC the Destination District in South-Central Texas.

    Thank you for your support, and remember, SCUC is a District with Passion and Purpose!

    Dr. G

     

     

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  • Superintendent's Memo 06-07-19

    Posted by Eduardo Suarez on 6/6/2019 3:45:00 PM

    SUPERINTENDENT'S BLOG - Graduation Ceremonies are a celebration of accomplishment for everyone

    Graduation season is here! This week is a celebration of the hard work the seniors at our three high schools have put in this year. It is also the zenith of their scholastic accomplishments, up to this point. So much dedication has gone into lifelong learning, and now it culminates into a moment we can all cherish.

    On behalf of the Board of Trustees and all of us at SCUC ISD, I’d like to congratulate everyone who has met the requirements for graduation and for those who cross the stage. We’d like to extend those kudos to all family members, be it parents, grandparents, extended family and/or guardians who have contributed to this achievement.

    Every senior who receives a diploma has a story. All of them, in some form or fashion, incorporate the Core Values we live by: Leadership, Character, Commitment, Service and Learning. These traits will serve them well, as we make it our goal to have 100% of our graduates College and/or Career and/or Military Ready. We wish all our graduates all the best for their future; we know they will continue to represent us as they have during their time here and make a difference!

    Also, we wish our teachers and many of our staff a restful break. Every employee makes a difference in the lives of our students and community, and we thank you. Meanwhile, the hard work and planning for a successful 2019-2020 school year is already underway. There will be opportunities for the community to continue to engage with us, either through board meetings, or other venues open to the public that we will communicate through our website or other social media outlets.

    Please take the time to review our Everyday Successes for the week (LINKED BELOW).

    Thank you for your support. And remember, SCUC is a District with Passion and Purpose!

    Dr. G

     

    EVERYDAY SUCCESSES 

    2019-2020 AREAS OF FOCUS

    2018-2019 BUDGET  

    2019-2020 SCHOOL YEAR CALENDAR

    Comments (-1)
  • Superintendent's Memo 05-31-19

    Posted by Eduardo Suarez on 5/31/2019 6:00:00 AM

    SUPERINTENDENT'S MEMO - School finance bill a very positive development for public schools but challenges remain

    Last week, our state legislators reached an agreement on a new school finance bill for the next biennium.  It is historic in the sense that the State of Texas reversed a generational trend of a declining percentage of funding for public schools. Like any other bipartisan legislation, it is not a perfect bill, but the consensus agreed upon by both political parties does reverse the troubling decline we have seen the last 15-20 years, at least temporarily.

    We informed Trustees about the bill’s impact (LINK) to SCUC earlier this week, which comes out to an approximately $7.8 million dollars, according to the information we have at this time. This is great news, and we are appreciative that common sense prevailed to help all of Texas public school districts, including ours.

    In the spirit of transparency, though, there are a few caveats. Thirty percent of the aforementioned $7.8 million, by law, is designated for pay raises for teachers, librarians, counselors, nurses and other non-administrator staff. This is a resounding positive and long overdue. Yet, it will take a significant amount of discretionary spending away.

    Furthermore, Board-approved actions in April, and again earlier this week, will allow SCUC to increase special education staffing to comply with federal guidelines after the U.S. Department of Education’s ruling found Texas had failed to provide students with disabilities the resources necessary to meet legal requirements. Additionally, we are hiring elementary and secondary teachers to meet our fast-growth needs. SCUC will be left with a very limited percentage of discretionary spending for a $150 million annual budget, including salary adjustments for employees not covered in the bill.

    We are not telling you this to pour cold water on very upbeat news. The alternative, which would have been the state’s neglect in meeting its constitutional mandate for public education, would have had dire consequences throughout the state.

    Public schools, however, did not suddenly become flush with money. The truth is we have breathing room for two years. It would be presumptuous to assume anything beyond this biennium. There are still a lot of unknowns about this bill until we receive clarifications from the state. Nevertheless, our school board, in collaboration with senior leadership, will continue its responsible use of all resources to maximize the dollars going into the classroom to fulfill our Mission, “…to empower all students to fulfill lifelong potential through inspiring learning experiences.”

    On another note, I want to thank all of you for helping us have another successful school year. For those in pre-K through 11th grade, have a great summer. We will see you in August. For our graduates, see you next week at our high school commencement ceremonies. It is a joyous experience for students, parents and the entire community as we see our College and/or Career and/or Military-ready students cross the stage. Congratulations!

    Finally, please take the time to enjoy our Everyday Successes. (LINKED BELOW).

    Thank you for your support. And remember, SCUC is a District with both Passion and Purpose!

    Dr. G

    EVERYDAY SUCCESSES

    APRIL 2019 BOARD BRIEFS

    SCUC ISD LEGISLATIVE AGENDA

    2019-2020 AREAS OF FOCUS

    2018-2019 BUDGET  

    2019-2020 SCHOOL YEAR CALENDAR

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  • Superintendent's Memo 05-24-19

    Posted by Eduardo Suarez on 5/23/2019 5:25:00 PM

    SUPERINTENDENT'S BLOG - Feedback from Parent and Student Survey assisting SCUC ISD in better serving their needs

    SCUC ISD is always striving to be a listening and learning organization. As part of that approach, we reach out to parents and students with yearly satisfaction surveys, in keeping with Priority 3 of our Strategic Plan – Highly Satisfied Students, Parents and Community.

    We utilize a third party to collect surveys and provide us with results of our parent and student surveys which were conducted. The feedback received will allow us to develop action plans for improvement for the 2019-2020 school year and beyond.

    SCUC ISD received a mean score of 4.03 on a 5-point scale on the Parent Satisfaction Survey; the district mean on the Student Engagement Survey was 3.63. There is much to be proud of on how we are perceived. Parents rated SCUC highly on treating families with respect, giving high priority to every child’s learning and keeping clean and well maintained campuses. They have expressed to us that we have room for growth on a few key items: regular feedback on their child’s progress, and positive news (phone calls, notes and emails) about their children. We value transparent, clear and timely communication (Belief Statement 7), therefore we are going to work on improving our performance in those areas and other concerns that may have scored below the mean.

    Our students believe we value their learning at their school, and are pleased we offer an abundance of extra-curricular opportunities to them. Results from their survey did indicate we need to improve at teaching students to show respect for one another. Here again, we will design a blueprint to show real advancement on their concerns.

    Soon, we will unveil a Community Engagement Survey as we seek feedback from stakeholders. This is the third leg of Priority 3, and as we do with the other surveys, we will use these opinions to help us in our Continuous Improvement process. I am thankful we live in a one-of-a-kind community that helps guide the school district to best live up to our Mission Statement, “…to empower all students to fulfill lifelong potential through inspiring learning experiences.”

    Please take the time to enjoy our Everyday Successes for the week. (LINKED BELOW)

    Finally, on this Memorial Day weekend, please take a moment to reflect on the sacrifices of the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice since this nation’s inception to ensure the freedoms we enjoy today.

    Thank you for your support. And remember, SCUC is a District with both Passion and Purpose!

    Dr. G

     

    EVERYDAY SUCCESSES

    APRIL 2019 BOARD BRIEFS

    SCUC ISD LEGISLATIVE AGENDA

    2019-2020 AREAS OF FOCUS

    2018-2019 BUDGET  

    2019-2020 SCHOOL YEAR CALENDAR

    Comments (-1)
  • Superintendent's Memo 05-03-19

    Posted by Eduardo Suarez on 5/2/2019 10:45:00 PM

    SUPERINTENDENT'S BLOG - Stark differences in school finance bills under consideration have serious implications for SCUC ISD 

    Last week, we outlined the differences between House Bill 3 (HB 3) and the Senate committee substitute for HB3 (SCSHB3), both being debated in the halls of power in Austin regarding school finance during the 86th Legislative Session. We have made the case for the House version of the bill to be the one that deserves final consideration. It is broader, deeper and takes steps to address the state’s decreasing contribution to public education.

    SCSHB3, in its current form, provides raises for teachers and librarians, but does not address the structural issues that have plagued school finance since 2011. If SCSHB3 is adopted in its current form, it will have a devastating effect on SCUC ISD, as seen by the chart comparing the two proposed bills (LINKED BELOW).

    Next week, we will review scenarios with Board Trustees to view the possibility of no additional funding for district operations when they meet for a scheduled budget workshop on Tuesday, May 7th. As we currently understand it, any under SCSHB3 will be “pass through” funds, or money we have zero control over. This goes against one of our cherished Belief Statements, “We believe public education is defined by the local community, with limited state involvement.”

    HB 3 provides school districts with autonomy on 75% of the funding, which will allow SCUC ISD (and all school districts) the discretion to direct money for its most immediate needs, including teacher/librarian pay raises. In fact, it will provide Trustees the freedom to provide raises for all district employees, meet the ever-increasing special education mandates school districts face, sustain district facilities and maintain education and extra-curricular opportunities for all students.

    Recently, the SCUC ISD Great Conversations Team presented a statement to me regarding the difference between HB3 and SCSHB3. (LINKED BELOW). You might find it very interesting. Great Conversations is also preparing more trips to Austin to ask our state Senators and Representatives to find a solution to this ideological impasse. We plan on communicating the differences in these two bills with our stakeholders, and anyone else who will listen.

    SCUC Belief Statement seven states, “We believe transparent, clear and timely communication among all is critical to success.” These are not scare tactics; this is a factual exposition of what all public school districts will face if SCSHB3 is adopted. We will keep you posted.

    Please take the time to enjoy our Everyday Successes for the week (LINKED BELOW)

    Thank you for your support. And remember, SCUC is a District with both Passion and Purpose!

    Dr. G

     

    HB 3 vs SCSHB3 CHART

    GREAT CONVERSATIONS LETTER TO LT. GOV PATRICK

    EVERYDAY SUCCESSES

    MARCH 2019 BOARD BRIEFS

    SCUC ISD LEGISLATIVE AGENDA

    2019-2020 AREAS OF FOCUS

    2018-2019 BUDGET  

    2019-2020 SCHOOL YEAR CALENDAR

    Comments (-1)
  • Superintendent's Memo 04-26-19

    Posted by Eduardo Suarez on 4/26/2019 12:45:00 PM

    SUPERINTENDENT'S BLOG - Two proposals, but only one clear choice for school finance

    The window for coming up with a comprehensive school finance bill in the Texas Legislature is narrowing quickly. The good news is that the House and Senate both agree to add $9 billion to public education. After years of indifference and neglect, this can only be interpreted as positive.

    However, the two chambers are worlds apart on how the money will be spent. The House version, HB 3, is a much broader and deeper proposal that will assist every public school district in Texas. This is not just my opinion; it is the consensus of almost every superintendent and school board in the state. It will provide a larger increase in the basic allotment, and provide much-needed property tax relief.

    Meanwhile, while we appreciate the Senate matching the House at $9 billion for public education, approximately 45% of SB 4 is specified exclusively for teachers and librarians in the form of a $5,000 raise, with no guarantee this amount will be funded during the next biennial session and with no funding specified for any other district staff positions.  The state will also retain control of remaining SB 4 funds in the form of other mandatory requirements.  SB 4 also provides fewer funds for the basic allotment.

    If all additional dollars in the basic allotment increase are eaten up by the mandatory pay raise and other requirements, SCUC will be in a world of hurt, while the state makes it appear that they have increased support to public schools.

    Superintendents from ESC-20 have sent Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick a letter expressing its support for HB 3 (LINK PROVIDED BELOW). It is not perfect, but is the first serious attempt at school finance reform without a court order in generations. It deserves our full support. We will remain laser-focused in our message regarding school finance for the remainder of the session.

    On another topic, please take the time to look at the Board Briefs from our April 16th meeting and our Everyday Successes for the week (LINKS PROVIDED BELOW).

    Thank you for your support. And remember, SCUC is a District with both Passion and Purpose!

    Dr. G

    LETTER TO LT. GOVERNOR PATRICK 

    HOUSE BILL 3 CHART

    2019 APRIL BOARD BRIEFS

    EVERYDAY SUCCESSES

    SCUC ISD LEGISLATIVE AGENDA

    2019-2020 AREAS OF FOCUS

    2018-2019 BUDGET  

    2019-2020 SCHOOL YEAR CALENDAR

     

    Comments (-1)
  • Superintendent's Memo 04-18-19

    Posted by Eduardo Suarez on 4/18/2019 11:00:00 AM

    SUPERINTENDENT'S BLOG - Trustees commitment to District Staff much appreciated

    Earlier this week, our Board of Trustees brought about a bit of good news, approving the recommendation of a one-time, lump sum payment to all eligible SCUC employees. The compensation comes out to $1,000, minus the applicable federal and state taxes. It was made possible by the greater than projected enrollment into our school district, and by the school board’s desire to convey the message that they appreciate the hard work of all district employees.

    Trustees understand that budget constraints, brought about the state’s inability to properly fund public education, forced the district to forego raises at the beginning of the school year. We appreciate their initiative to keep in the spirit of Priority 2 of our Strategic Plan of a “High-performing and Engaged Workforce”.

    Right now, this is the only bit of good news to bring forth. The Texas Senate is threatening to torpedo the very positive House proposal, HB 3. If the legislative session were to end today, the House version of the bill would result in approximately $8 million more for SCUC; the Senate proposal would be a net loss for the school district.

    Needless to say, this Senate proposal is troubling, and it is holding public education funding hostage. We hope common sense is injected into this conversation by the House, so we may move forward to the business of having all of our graduates College Ready, Career Ready and Military Ready.

    On another note, we hope you enjoy the three-day weekend and get a chance to spend it with loved ones.

    Please take a moment to enjoy our Everyday Successes (LINKED BELOW).

    Thank you for your support. And remember, SCUC is a District with both Passion and Purpose!

    Dr. G

    EVERYDAY SUCCESSES

    MARCH 2019 BOARD BRIEFS

    SCUC ISD LEGISLATIVE AGENDA

    2019-2020 AREAS OF FOCUS

    2018-2019 BUDGET  

    2019-2020 SCHOOL YEAR CALENDAR

    Comments (-1)