The 2018-19 school year in Aldine ISD got off to a roaring and inspirational start thanks to the Convocation program that was held on Thursday, Aug. 9 at the M.O. Campbell Educational Center.
The Convocation was broken into two sessions. The morning session was attended by the district’s instructional staff, while the afternoon session was attended by the district’s departmental staff.
Aldine ISD Superintendent Dr. LaTonya Goffney and Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Dr. Selina Chapa served as masters of ceremony. This was Dr. Goffney’s first opportunity to address both instructional and departmental staff in one setting and she used the occasion to share her vision for the district and the important role education has played in her life.
Dr Goffney grew up in abject poverty, but thanks to a number of caring and nurturing administrators, teachers and counselors she had in her life, she was able to attain success in the field of education. Prior to being named AISD’s superintendent, Dr. Goffney served as a teacher, assistant principal and superintendent of Oakhurst-Coldspring CISD and Lufkin ISD. She has 10 years of experience as a superintendent and 19 years of experience in the field of education.
“The reason I am standing here today is because of people like you,” she said. “I had so many teachers that told me I was smart. I had teachers who put life into me.”
She challenged AISD’s staff to make a difference in their students’ lives.
“We need you to be all in,” she said. “We have students who need people like you. It doesn’t matter how our students come to us. What does matter is that you should add some sort of value to that child.”
She also shared with the crowd three ideals that she values.
“Your attitude matters,” she said. “Attitude is contagious. Surround yourself with positive people. Your appearance matters and your attendance matters.”
State Senator Sylvia Garcia delivered the welcome at the morning session and AISD Board President Steve Mead delivered the invocation.
Senator Garcia told the assembled educators the important role they play in society and in the lives of Aldine’s children.
“Focus on things that really do matter,” she said. “Education is the key to success.”
Both the morning and afternoon audiences were treated to an electrifying performance by student performers from across the district. The performers came from the Aldine Dance Company, the Carver Dance Company, AISD theater students, and AISD band and choir students, along with staff members. The production was under the direction of Refugio Rodriguez, AISD’s director of music education, Sarita Salinas, Carver High School dance instructor and Carver High School drama teachers Roshunda Jones, and Jabari Collins coordinated the thespians who performed during the Convocation. Others who assisted with the production were MacArthur High School band director, who composed and directed the Aldine ISD All-District Band, Brianna McCray of the Aldine Dance Company, Daryle Freeman of Davis High School, Megan Truelson of Plummer High School, Melissa Dightman of Nimitz High School, who directed the Aldine ISD Convocation Choir. Courtnay Holiday of Drew Middle School served as the piano accompanist for the Convocation. Jocelyn Dorsey of Carver High School sang the National Anthem and Yasaar Ellis and Miriam Hernandez led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance and the Pledge to the Texas Flag. Narius Nedd introduced the keynote speakers at both the morning and afternoon sessions.
The student performance highlighted the dance, choir and instrumental talent that is rich in Aldine ISD. Both audiences gave the student performers rousing standing ovations.
The keynote speaker for the morning session was Ron Clark, a motivational speaker who focuses on education. Clark has worked with disadvantaged students in North Carolina and Harlem in New York City and founded the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta. He has published four books and is a New York Times bestselling author. He has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show twice and is a past recipient of the Disney Teacher of the Year Award. His first year in Harlem was the focus of a 2006 made-for-TV movie, The Ron Clark Story, starring Matthew Perry.
Clark’s energetic address delighted the crowd and his message hit home with the assembled educators in the audience. He roamed the MOC arena, many times getting up close and personal as he addressed his audience.
He challenged Aldine’s teachers to help their students reach their full potential.
“When you let your kids know you see potential in them, that’s when your kids are going to shine,” he said. “The last thing kids want to see is negativity. Kids can tell if you see potential in them.”
During his 90-minute address, Clark shared humorous stories of his teaching career and discussed his innovative teaching methods. He also pointed out the importance of getting parents involved in their children’s education.
“You should never be too busy to make parents feel special,” he said.
He also challenged the teachers in the audience to be fair, but firm with their students.
“We are coddling children way too much,” Clark said, which drew applause from the crowd. “We coddle them so much to the point where we don’t expect much from them. We need to teach our kids to have a work ethic. Other countries are pushing their kids three years ahead of us. We are the top economy and military superpower in the world and our infrastructure is the best as well, but we are ranked 36th in the world in education. Think about that! We need to have an educated society.”
As he closed his address, Clark reminded the audience the vital role they play in the lives of children.
“We are in our prime. We can profoundly impact the lives of these children,” he said.
Clark also received a rousing standing ovation at the conclusion of his remarks.
In the afternoon session, State Rep. Armando Walle delivered the keynote address.
He was the first person in his family to graduate from high school, college and law school. Rep. Walle said he is proud to call Aldine his home.
“I am a proud, proud graduate of Aldine ISD,” he said. “Growing up, we always had a sense of community and that Aldine was going to take care of us.”
He reminded the support staff in the audience the important role they play on a daily basis in the lives of AISD students.
“If you are a bus driver, you are the first person students see in the morning, so make sure you welcome them with a smile,” he said. “Same with the cafeteria workers. You all play an important role in our children’s lives. Continue to treat our kids with caring, kindness and courtesy.”
He also challenged the support staff to look out for themselves as well.
“Take care of yourself as well. You gotta love yourself before you can love someone else,” he said.
Ken Knippel, assistant superintendent of administration, followed Rep. Walle and echoed many of his same sentiments.
“All of you in this room are important to our students’ success,” he said. “It’s not what you do, but how you do it. You add value. You are the face of Aldine. We appreciate each and every one of you for what you do. When people see you, they see Aldine and I want to thank you for that.”
The Convocation was sponsored by the Aldine Education Foundation (AEF). Attendees wore T-shirts with the motto: Aldine ISD. All In. All Students. Always! The following organizations donated funds for the purchase of the T-shirts: AEF, InvesTex Credit Union, Solid IT Networks, Stanton Engineering Group, Bracewell, H-E-B, East Aldine District, BakerRipley, Near Northwest Management District and Molina, Walker, Almaguer Architects, Inc.
Director of Public Information Aldine ISD
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