Welcome from Keith McBurnett
Welcome to Burnet CISD. Located in the Hill Country, Burnet CISD is spread out over 700 square miles and serves 3,100 students in 6 campuses. Burnet CISD has a rich history of excellence in academics and extracurricular activities, and is committed to CRAFTING the FUTURE. That future is as unique as each of our students. For some that means preparing them for college or a trade school, while others it means preparing them to earn a certification or enter the workforce with demonstrable skills. Our students are excelling inside the classroom and outside the classroom. I am proud to be the superintendent of Burnet CISD and to be a member of this wonderful community. You will find that there is a real sense of care and community within the District. If I can be of assistance to you, please feel free to contact me.
In order to keep District stakeholders informed, I write a newspaper article twice a month and post it on the District's website. You will find the three most recent articles below.
November 29, 2017
When I first considered applying to be the superintendent in Burnet CISD, my family and I travelled to Burnet and spent the first weekend in December visiting area attractions, eating in local establishments and attending church so that we could get a feel for the community. This was a big decision for our family and we wanted to make sure Burnet was the right fit for us.
Our first evening in town, we attended Main Street Bethlehem. I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but what I found was an immersive experience with the sights, sounds, smells and even a taste of Bethlehem coming to life. After that weekend spent in Burnet, Pat and I knew this was a place that we wanted to live and raise our boys because it was easy to see then (and now) what God is doing in Burnet, Texas. As the 25th year of Main Street Bethlehem kicks off this weekend, I want to offer my thanks to all those that had a vision for Main Street Bethlehem 25 years ago and for all of the volunteers that have made it possible these many years. Happy 25th anniversary Main Street Bethlehem! I know what the experience meant to my family six years ago, but we will never know the true impact on the tens of thousands of people that have travelled to Burnet to walk in the sandals of Joseph, Mary and Jesus.
Did you know that in 2010, a Texas House Representative won the election by only 4 votes out of about 52,000 cast? I share that piece of trivia, because every vote counts. Unfortunately, too many people take for granted our local and state elections and choose not to participate by not registering to vote or not actually voting. We can change that!
Here is another fact for you- Did you know that the results of 90% of Texas elections are determined in the primaries? So, for all the people that have the attitude that they’ll wait to vote in the real (general) election, they might as well be buying a lottery ticket today for a drawing that took place last week- the winner has already been determined. If you want your voice heard in Texas, you need to make sure you vote in the primaries.
I want to strongly encourage our community to register to vote and then take the time to actually vote during the primaries and general elections. Early voting is easy and convenient with little to no waiting in lines. The last day to register for the 2018 Primary Elections is February 5, 2018. By registering to vote before February 5, this makes you eligible to vote in the primaries and the general elections. It also would allow you to vote in the upcoming School Board Elections in May. If you’re not registered to vote, you can do so by going to http://www.votetexas.gov/
which is a web site sponsored by the Texas Secretary of State.
Finally, the Board of Trustees will wrap up the year with its last meeting of 2017 on Monday, December 18. At 6:00 p.m. the Board will host a hearing on the annual financial audit and the regular Board Meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. As a reminder, Burnet CISD will have a 3 hour early release on December 22 with all campuses being closed for Christmas Break December 23-January 8. All classes will resume a normal schedule on Tuesday, January 9.
November 8, 2017
This Friday, we will be celebrating Veterans Day across Burnet CISD. Specifically, RJ Richey Elementary and Bertram Elementary will both be hosting Veterans Day celebrations at 10:00 a.m. on their campuses. The public is welcome to attend, and of course our veterans have a special invitation to attend one of the campus ceremonies and enjoy an all American lunch! By celebrating and remembering our veterans, we say thank you. None of us should ever forget that we cannot rightfully celebrate the joy of freedom without remembering the great price paid for that freedom.
In addition, we take this time to remember our “Blue Star” and “Gold Star” Military Families and thank them for their sacrifice and generosity. We want them to know that they are a part of our community and I can’t tell you how lucky I am to live and work in this community. In this community:
• we ALL stand during the national anthem
• we have prayer before school board meetings and city council meetings
• we play Amazing Grace before football games
• we say the pledge of allegiance every morning
• we support our police and all first responders
• And more importantly… we honor our veterans
Burnet CISD says thank you to all veterans for their unwavering service in peacetime and wartime, here in this nation and throughout the world. We will never forget you or your service.
This week I had the opportunity to meet with local pastors over coffee and kolaches. Each year I schedule a couple of opportunities to meet with our area pastors so that we can discuss how we can support each other and each of our missions. I appreciate the work of pastors in serving our community and especially their focus on our young people. When I hear stories of the many good things happening in our community, those “good things” can often be traced back to our area churches. No matter your faith background, there is no denying that our pastors work long hours away from home in service of others. Having met with many of them, there is also no denying their care and concern for this community and school district. I hope you will take an opportunity to thank a pastor- yours or one from another church. Collectively, our churches and our pastors are a big reason why I love living in this special community.
Finally, you have probably heard about the “Gatesville performance enhancing drug” issue. I don’t want to spend any time rehashing that situation, but I do want to be clear that I believe strongly that performance enhancing drugs have no place in high school athletics. Having spoken with many of our coaches, I know they believe the same as I do, and we are all concerned that the UIL ruling in the Gatesville situation has made the issue of performance enhancing drugs murkier than ever before.
I love winning. I love winning football games and volleyball games and softball games. I love winning state championships in UIL Social Studies and earning division I ratings in marching band. I love winning, but I also want to do it the right way. I know that Athletic Director Kurt Jones believes the same because of this story- Several years ago, a Burnet athlete was randomly drug tested as their team was preparing for an important competition. Before the drug testing results arrived, the athlete went to Coach Jones and shared with him that they would not pass the recent drug test. Coach Jones could have by policy allowed this athlete to participate in the upcoming competition since no official results had been received yet. Instead, Coach Jones followed the spirit of the policy and the student did not participate since they had self-reported drug use. The athlete immediately began counseling and community service, in lieu of competing. I have told Coach Jones privately and publicly how much I appreciated his handling of that situation. There is no doubt that Coach Jones loves winning, but not at all costs. Our athletic program is designed to not only build champions, but it is also designed to develop outstanding young men and women. As a school district, we strive to not only do the right thing in all we do, but we try to do it the right way.
October 25, 2017
This week we are celebrating Green Ribbon Week in which Burnet CISD and the community focuses on the prevention of drug use within our community. One of the ways that we celebrate is by having students dress up in different types of themes like crazy sock day or camo day. These are fun activities for our students with a serious purpose. I remember the crazy mornings in my home trying to get my boys dressed in their crazy socks, but I want to challenge our parents to use these theme days as natural conversation starters to talk to their children about the dangers of drug abuse and to set clear rules for them about not using drugs.
The conversations don’t have to be long or complicated and parents don’t have to be an expert in order to share information or ask questions. Some conversation starters for parents include:
• Talk to your kids about what the drug trends were when you were in high school. Make it personal, talk about friends or family members who used drugs.
• Ask your kids to tell you about a friend or someone they know who has experimented with drugs and the consequences they faced.
• Tell your kids what your family’s position is on alcohol and smoking pot.
• Ask your kids what they think is the biggest issue facing teens today. Ask how you can help them to better face this issue.
In addition, in cooperation with Join the Journey, each time a middle school or high school student participates in a Green Ribbon activity they will be entered in a drawing to attend the “Drugs: Cost & Consequences/Opening Eyes to the Damage Drugs Cause” exhibit at the Texas Museum of Science and Technology. This exhibit is from the Drug Enforcement Administration Museum and began a national tour in 2002. The exhibit has an in-depth look at drug production and trafficking and then presents an overview of the science of addiction and some of the tragic costs and consequences of drugs in our society-costs to the environment, costs to the body and brain, costs to communities, costs to health, and costs to children. A limited number of students will be able to attend, but this would be a great exhibit for families to attend together. More information can be found at http://www.drugexhibit.org/.
Last week I had the privilege of attending a field trip to New York City as part of the Thompson Executive Leadership Institute. I was awarded a scholarship to participate in the 25th annual Superintendent Academy along with 24 other superintendents from Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Alabama. During my time in New York City I attended leadership development sessions at Columbia University and visited several New York City schools. There is an old adage that says, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes.” After spending time visiting New York City schools it became clear to me that schools system in Texas and New York are different, but they rhyme. During my visit I witnessed outstanding teachers and students; I saw innovative programs and observed a school system with more than 1.1 million students and 1,700 public schools that is addressing many challenges. During my visit, I was also constantly aware of the fact that I was in one of the greatest cities in world.
With that said, I can safely say that schools in Burnet CISD compete well with schools in New York City. Our class sizes are better, our attendance and graduation rates are better and we offer programs that match and surpass the programs I witnessed. In addition to teaching and learning, our extracurricular offerings far surpass NYC Schools. Every school district has its strengths and challenges and it was a wonderful learning experience for me, but I was very happy to be back home in Burnet.
Finally, the next step of the District’s Strategic Planning process will take place this week. The Strategic Planning Steering Committee met in September to create the foundation for the BCISD Strategic Plan. Over the next two days Action Planning Team will develop action steps to accomplish the strategic goals. The full plan will be finalized in November and the Board of Trustees will consider the plan for approval in January. The District will then begin implementing the plan in the spring.
October 4, 2017
When I first arrived in Burnet CISD, a major element of my entry plan was about listening, learning and seeking feedback from district stakeholders. To that end, I met with every campus and department and held forums to meet with the public. During these meetings, I asked the same three questions to help guide the conversations:
•What is getting in the way of all students being successful?
•What do you need to help all students learn?
•What do you expect of me as superintendent?
The feedback I received was invaluable as I worked with the Board of Trustees and the administration to chart a course of meeting the expectations of stakeholders. Many of our actions as a District the past five years have been guided by that feedback including providing additional planning time for teachers, expanding CTE offerings, adding elementary counselors, adding school resource officers, renovating our facilities, adding behavior staff and many more.
As I enter my sixth year in Burnet CISD, it is important for me to again engage our stakeholders to make sure as a District; we are working on the right things. In September, the Strategic Planning Steering Committee, comprised of 40 members representing staff, students, parents and community members, met to develop the foundation for a three-year strategic plan. The work included developing a new vision statement, mission statement and goals based on four areas identified by the Board of Trustees as priorities (Academic Achievement, Culture & Climate, Educator Quality and Family & Community Engagement). Later in October, the Action Planning Committees will be adding specific actions toward accomplishing the goals. A draft of the final plan will presented to the Board of Trustees in January for approval, but I wanted to provide our community a sneak peak of the foundational elements of the plan:
Vision- Burnet Consolidated ISD will craft an inspiring future for each student that embodies spirit, pride, and honor.
Mission- Burnet Consolidated ISD, in partnership with the community, prepares all students for a successful future in an ever-changing world. We provide diverse opportunities and a quality education that values academics, extra-curricular activities, innovation, and mutual respect.
Goal 1- Burnet Consolidated ISD will implement a comprehensive, challenging course of study that addresses the individual and diverse needs of learners while preparing all students with the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in an ever-changing world.
Goal 2- Burnet Consolidated ISD will implement a safe and positive culture of spirit, pride, and honor for all staff and students.
Goal 3-Burnet Consolidated ISD will recruit, retain, and support quality educators.
Goal 4- Burnet Consolidated ISD will build a collaborative relationship that actively engages our district, families, and communities.
Finally, next week I will be hosting Coffee and Tea with the Superintendent to provide updates about Burnet CISD. I hope that you can join me for a cup of coffee on October 12 at 8:00 a.m. at the Parent Resource Center located next to the Central Office at 208 East Brier. I look forward to sharing information and answering questions.