Monday, January 16, 2017 is a student holiday and a professional development day for staff. In an effort to keep our staff safe, we will begin at 9:30 am to provide more time for travel and hopefully more time for the temperature to get above freezing! Stay warm and be safe!
Good Morning PISD!
As you know, we have a winter storm heading our way that has the potential to bring 2-4 inches of snow that may impact our road/travel conditions in Pampa and Gray County. Below is a brief reminder of our Inclement Weather protocol.
If it is obvious to us tonight by 9:00pm that our conditions will inhibit our ability to safely begin school on time, we will activate our late start protocol. However, it is very likely that a decision will not be made until the early morning. I realize the “knowing” is important and that it is difficult for families to make last minute plans. But, I also realize that the weather in the Panhandle is unpredictable at best and may leave us in a state of limbo for a while. Regardless, we will keep you informed and do our very best to make the best decisions for our students, families, and staff.
Have a great day and stay warm!!
Inclement Weather Decision-Making will follow the timeline below:
4:30 a.m. District Administration, begins evaluating road conditions. Ø Monitoring weather forecasts, conference calls with the National Weather Service in Amarillo and discussions with neighboring school districts is an ongoing process that begins days before a forecasted winter storm or other inclement weather.
5:45 a.m. District Administration will make decision regarding school start or cancellation.
6:00 a.m. Public Announcements Begin § The Pampa radio stations KGRO/KOMX and Amarillo television stations will be notified of school status. § Pampa ISD “ALL CALL” automated phone notification will be initiated.
Weather conditions will continue to be monitored throughout the day.
When conditions exist that do not dictate the need to cancel school Pampa ISD may delay the start of school, to allow everyone additional time to drive slowly and take extra precautions. When this occurs the start time will be 10a.m. (2 hours late). Students who ride a bus; if the normal pickup time is 7:15a.m., the pickup time will be 9:15a.m. (2 hours later than the normal pickup time).
Tanya Larkin, Superintendent
Article by Superintendent Tanya Larkin
First, let me begin by saying Happy New Year to all of our students, parents, families, staff, business partners, and community members. Each new year holds new Hope for us all as we continue to work together to nurture, develop, support, and challenge ourselves and our students to do more, to want more, and to become more than they ever dreamed.
The new year always provides me with an opportunity to reflect on what I have learned and measure how I made a difference in the lives of my own children and in the lives of the staff, students, and families I serve. This past year I felt compelled to define in very specific terms what I value and asked the stakeholders in Pampa ISD to do the same.
As a result I learned that as a collective community we value relationships, kindness, service, and generosity. We also declared that our mission was to produce learners who are compassionate, competent, confident and future-ready! This is the purpose of our work together and exemplifies what we value. We value our children and want them to be successful, happy, and healthy no matter what college or career path they choose. We have dedicated our time and energy to providing experiences and knowledge to our students so they may have guidance and choices as they answer the question, “What’s Your Plan?”.
I do not recall one conversation in the past year where we indicated that we value the labels given to our schools. I have not seen evidence that being evaluated by legislators and an agency 600 miles away has made us change what we value. Of course we want to continue to improve our schools so that we may better serve our students and families here in our community. We embrace accountability because it represents whether or not we have achieved our mission. If our students are not competent and confident that they have the skills necessary to become future-ready, then we have work to do. And an assessment of how we are currently doing clearly shows that we have pockets of excellence in our schools but we also have much work to do.
Our values indicate that we want to expect more FROM ourselves and our students because we want more FOR ourselves and our students. We don’t need a label like the letter grades being handed down from the state to remind us that we want so much for our students and families. Being given a label of an A, B, C, D, or an F does not motivate nor inspire. No, we get our inspiration and passion for or work through our values!
Our accountability is in the faces of our neighbors, the support from the families with whom we attend church, and the hard work of our staff and students. We know what accountability is and that it is a necessary part of improvement, development, and meeting the Vision we have for ourselves, our children, and our community. We have not finished our work, nor have we achieved the level of excellence that we want for our students, the level of excellence they deserve.
It is important that we keep ourselves informed about what is going on in the lives of our children so we may help guide their learning, support them where they need extra help, and encourage them to grow everyday so they may be FUTURE-READY! This is our inspiration! This is our purpose and passion! It is equally important that we keep ourselves informed about what is going on in the educational world and the legislative session.
This week the Texas Education Agency will release letter grades to label our campuses and our district. This system has not even been fully developed and educators received the methodology for this vast new system only days before the ratings were to be released to the public. Did you know that this system is still under construction and will not be official until 2018? As I noted earlier, there is much controversy around these labels for various reasons. They will no doubt place poor labels on campuses and districts with high levels of economically challenged students and families. Pampa ISD currently serves a student population where 62% of our students meet the criteria for free and reduced meals and suffer from the consequences of limited financial resources. These labels are part of the new accountability system and will no doubt reflect reality of the challenges we serve. Did you know we already have an accountability system that communicates whether our schools have met a standard set by the state and even provides distinctions for campuses who are performing above the standard?
If you recall, we recently reported that all of our campuses have met this standard and two of our campuses have even received distinctions. Even with these “met standard” ratings Pampa ISD engaged in a district-wide improvement process. We did this because we are not and never will be “satisfied” with how we are doing until ALL of our staff and students are compassionate, competent, confident, and future-ready! Even when that happens, we will raise the bar of expectations because that is the right thing to do for our children and for our community.
The information the state uses to provide ratings is only a portion of the data that is necessary to fully meet the complex needs of our students. This targeted improvement process included campus level teams working in the summer to develop strategic plans based on multiple sets of data to improve how we teach, so that students will improve how they perform. We did this because we value our staff and students and we want them to have the very best opportunities to learn, to grow, and to compete in a global market. Regardless of the ratings, labels, or whatever they come up with next, our values remain and our dedication to continuous improvement holds fast. As always, I want to thank you for your support and welcome ideas and suggestions on how we can better serve so that our staff, students, families, and our community can experience the excellence they deserve.