Dr. López Letter to Families and Staff 8/14/20
Dear Garland ISD Families and Staff:
The hardest step to take in any journey is always the first one. We not only took our first step of the 2020-21 school year this week, we also made great strides in continuing our tradition of excellence and innovation. In visiting with so many people this week, I felt the energy from teachers setting up their classrooms and making the best of a virtual environment; I saw counselors working patiently with families to resolve a multitude of issues – many out of their control; I marveled at how our principals set such a calming atmosphere; and I loved hearing parents tell me how they appreciate the new structure and login process. Although this year is unlike any other in my career, I will say it is the best start ever.
Garland ISD was the first district in North Texas to start the school year with our innovative Intersessional Calendar. This new learning opportunity allows students to close learning gaps in real time while providing additional acceleration and enrichment activities as well. Our first Intersession, October 6-9, will no doubt be a shining example to others as #GarlandUSA continues to lead the way.
This week, we also implemented GISD’s first districtwide learning management system, Canvas. I have seen so many who are already thriving in Canvas. If you’re still figuring it out, we’re here for you. We have support available for both families and educators. Reach out to the district, your child’s teacher, a colleague or a friend. We are all learning a new “normal,” and we are always better together.
A big thank you to all staff for following our social distancing and mask procedures. It is important to make these safety measures a habit since we will have students return for face-to-face learning in three short weeks. Safety is our priority, and now is the time to get it perfect. You’ve got this!
Looking ahead to the future, our Board of Trustees made a courageous decision to call a Tax Rate Election (TRE) for the November 2020 ballot. We flipped the traditional process and will be able to have a TRE (added funding to support our programs) while reducing the tax rate for our homeowners and businesses – an unprecedented opportunity in the state of Texas. If approved, the district’s TRE will provide the needed funds – almost $42 million annually – for GISD to maintain its high-quality programming for all students. In addition, it will be a tax rate decrease that results in lowering the district’s property tax rate by nearly 5 cents.
Our journey this school year has only just begun, but I am already so inspired by our progress. As a district, we are facing all challenges head on and helping everyone reach their goals. That is why our district is the best in the nation. You have each done exceptionally well in these unprecedented times, and I know you will continue to shine. Our future is brighter than ever!
You are now much farther along than that first step just a short week ago. Parents, students, staff, take time to look back and see how far you have gone in a few days – you are a trailblazer and will reach new heights. We are here to support you through the journey. Together, we are strong. Together, we will succeed. Together, we are #GISDAlwaysConnected.
Ricardo López, Ed.D.
Proud Garland ISD Superintendent