In this season of thankfulness, I must admit I am thankful to have the best job in the world. As your superintendent of schools, I have the privilege to serve the staff, parents and students of Lufkin ISD. As I reflect on the opportunities our students have enjoyed so far during the 2019-20 school year, I would be remiss not to first celebrate our diversity.

Our students are a reflection of our world with diverse thoughts, cultures, and backgrounds. The one statistic that we wrestle with daily is that we are around 80% low income. We work to make the school culture the leveling agent, so that all students have an opportunity to learn and succeed. This year, we implemented the Community Eligibility Program, where all students can eat free breakfast and lunch. In October we served 3,296 more breakfasts and 9,139 more lunches than we did in October last year. Those statistics speak volumes to the success of the program so that all students can concentrate on academics instead of hunger.

To accelerate our academics programs, we have extended our Young Scholars program to include second-graders. This program provides enrichment for advanced learners who are not enrolled in the Dual Language or Gifted and Talented programs. During each unit, students meet once per week for hands-on sessions with art and technology specialists.

We have been busy hosting events and providing opportunities for students and parents to access all that Lufkin ISD has to offer, such as:

■ Innovation Night, where students and parents could see demonstrations of digital-assisted learning throughout our schools and grade levels. Even our youngest students were solving advanced problems, researching ways to harness the power of technology in the classroom and make learning relevant to the real world.

■ College Night was hosted at Lufkin High School, with more than 51 colleges and university representatives on hand to speak to parents and students. This evening allowed our students to connect with someone from their college of choice or perhaps to make that final decision about where they want to apply to go to college.

■ Evento en Español was held this past week. This event is conducted completely in Spanish so all parents can have access to information about how to support their students academically and to seek higher-level learning opportunities for their students.

Mark your calendars for the upcoming events:

On Feb. 3, 2020, we will host a night at J.D’s Center for Hope for our African American parents so that they can learn about advanced academic opportunities for their students.

  • Advanced Academic Night is on Feb. 6, 2020, at Lufkin High School, where all of our programs will be showcased and students can apply for these programs as they make decisions about course selections for the 2020-21 school year.
  • Parents will choose between a wide variety of courses and programs to include: the SFASU STEM Academy, the Lufkin Early College High School, Dual Language, Gifted and Talented program, over 21 Advanced Placement courses, Robotics (Our team will soon unveil the problem and challenge for this year. No pressure, but after going to world competition last year, the bar is high), or Career and Technology classes.
  • You can begin to understand why I consider myself to have the greatest job ever. I will be speaking about all things Lufkin ISD at the Chamber of Commerce’s First Friday luncheon on Dec. 6.

In a few short days we will end a decade and welcome the year 2020. As we celebrate a new decade, let us all commit to helping every student excel. Lufkin ISD has something for everyone, which is why so many students, staff members and parents Choose Lufkin ISD.