Welcome from Keith McBurnett
Welcome to Burnet CISD. Located in the Hill Country, Burnet CISD is spread out over 700 square miles and serves 3,200 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 on a regular basis and post it on the District's website. You will find the most recent articles below.
June 17, 2019
The Burnet CISD Board of Trustees and Administration are proud to announce as part of the 2019-2020 compensation plan a 7% midpoint general pay increase for teachers and librarians and a 5% midpoint general pay increase for all other staff. The starting salary for a teacher in Burnet CISD will increase from $44,500 to $48,100 for the 2019-2020 school year. The total cost of the 2019-2020 compensation plan is over $1.3 million, and well exceeds the legislative requirement of HB 3 by over $400,000.
“We are thrilled to provide this level of compensation to staff, and these pay raises would not have been possible without the passage of HB 3 and outstanding planning on behalf of the Board of Trustees and Administration,” said Superintendent Keith McBurnett. “Our mission of crafting the future with our students to ensure they are college, career, and military ready is made possible by all of our staff, whether they work in a classroom, a kitchen, or on a bus.”
In addition, the Board has approved increasing the District’s contribution for health insurance to $385 a month and the dental insurance to match the high premium plan. This will allow the District to continue to provide to employee-only free health insurance, free dental insurance, free vision insurance, and free telehealth services. “The Board of Trustees has been committed for years to making sure that when staff receives a pay raise, it is not negated by increasing insurance premiums,” McBurnett said.
In planning for the future, the Administration has shared with the Board its intention to recommend for the 2020-2021 school year a starting teacher salary of $50,000, a 4% midpoint general pay increase for all current teachers and a 2% midpoint general pay increase for all other staff.
“Outstanding compensation is just one of the ways that we can demonstrate to our staff how much they are valued and appreciated,” said McBurnett. “A major focus of the District’s Strategic Plan is to recruit and retain outstanding teachers and staff. We believe offering market-leading compensation and benefits is a key element of that plan.”
In addition to market-leading compensation and benefits for staff, the Board has also approved additional staff positions to increase the level of support provided to classroom teachers. This includes the hiring of an instructional coach at each of our traditional campuses along with the addition of two instructional partners at each campus. The Board has also approved hiring an intervention counselor that can support mental health needs for students in crisis.
The District will finalize the budget adoption in August, and the Board of Trustees and Administration are pleased to be able to develop a budget with a strong focus on the people within the organization, while also reducing the District’s tax rate. The Administration is forecasting an 8 cent decrease in the overall Burnet CISD tax rate for the 2019-2020 school year.
“Outstanding financial management does not happen by accident. I want to thank our Board of Trustees for the countless hours they have spent in special meetings this spring, and to the Business and Human Resources staff that have worked behind the scenes to bring the compensation and budget plans forward,” said McBurnett. “Our entire staff is extremely talented and hard-working. Together, we are committed to making sure students achieve at the highest level possible while living our vision to craft an inspiring future for each student that embodies spirit, pride, and honor.”
May 15, 2019
The UIL Lone Star Cup is awarded annually to six high schools, one in each of the six UIL classifications (1A, 2A, 3A, 4A, 5A and 6A), based on their team performance in district and state championships. The winning schools in each classification receive the UIL Lone Star Cup trophy. In Burnet CISD we have established the Lone Star Cup criteria as one of the many ways in which we measure our success. Our expectation of ourselves is to be the very best at everything in which we compete. At the most recent standings for 4A districts, Burnet CISD is just outside the top 25. We still have work to do to crack the top 25 and continue our march up the standings, and the performance of our UIL academic teams this spring are going to help with our standings when UIL releases the next update at the end of May.
One team that is going to add to that point total is the Burnet High School State Championship UIL Academic Spelling and Vocabulary Team. By capturing the gold medal two weeks ago in Austin, the Spelling and Vocabulary Team showed that hard work and focus pays off. Congratulations to Coach Mike Walzel and his team comprised of Cecilia Navarro, Emerie Danson, Kade Schrader, and Mitchell Howard. In addition, I want to congratulate to Kade Schrader for placing 2nd individually and Emerie Danson for placing 5th individually. In addition to the Spelling and Vocabulary Team, at the May 20 Board Meeting, the District will be honoring a whole host of students that competed at state level competitions this spring. That means there will be standing room only at the meeting, and that is a great problem to have when it is because you are honoring so many students!
The District has been working on developing its budget since January and conducted its first budget workshop in March. The next budget workshop is scheduled for June 3. The most challenging aspect of the budget development process at this point is not having a finalized school finance bill approved. Without having a revenue projection from the state, it is challenging to finalize a budget. The other challenge is not knowing how much money we will be required to send back to the state as part of recapture. Under the current law and projections, we expect to send over $3 million back to the state in the 2019-2020 school year. Our hope is that the legislators can wrap up their work on school finance before the session ends on May 27 so that we will have real numbers to work with at our June 3 budget workshop. The good news is that because of strong fiscal planning, if the state did not provide any new money to Burnet CISD, we have the funds available to maintain our current level of staffing and programming, and at a minimum, provide all staff with a 2% midpoint general pay increase for the 2019-2020 school year. With that said, the Texas Legislature must do their job in fixing school finance.
Tomorrow, May 16 at 7:00 p.m., the HCCF will award $390,000 in scholarships to Burnet and Quest High School students. Since 1983 the HCCF has awarded over $5.5 million in scholarships to 3,656 Burnet CISD graduates. That is an incredible investment in our young people, and a commitment that you don’t find in other communities. If you want to see this community’s investment in our future at work, feel free to join us at Burnet High School tomorrow. It is a special evening.
Finally, looking ahead to the end of the school year, I wanted to make sure everyone is aware of the following dates:
May 23 Last Day of School; Early Dismissal; Quest High School Graduation, 7:00 p.m. at the BHS Auditorium
May 24 Burnet High School Graduation, 7:30 p.m. at Bulldog Field
May 1, 2019
As you know, through the District’s strategic planning process, Burnet CISD formalized its volunteer program this school year and attracted over 600 volunteers. We hope to build on our success next year by attracting more volunteers, earning a greater number of volunteer hours. Another way that we are going to accomplish the goal of building collaborative relationships that actively engages our district, families and communities is through the soon to be launched Burnet CISD Adopt-A-School program.
The mission of the Burnet CISD Adopt-A-School program is to create school and community partnerships that positively impact student achievement. Adopt-A-School is a partnership between our school district and our community, whereby businesses, churches, or other organizations agree to provide volunteers and/or goods, donations, and/or discounts to individual schools or to support all schools within the District. The degree of participation by the Adopters is as varied as the Adopters themselves. Some organizations are able to organize more volunteers or donate more items, but every organization can make a commitment to a school.
In turn, Adopters will be recognized by an invitation to an appreciation reception in April, being listed on the District's web site and receiving a sign to be displayed at their business or organization.
If your business or organization would like to adopt a school in Burnet CISD, it is as easy as completing a short survey letting us know of your interest. The survey link can be found on the homepage of the BCISD webpage.
Once a business or organization has expressed interest in adopting a school via the survey, then a campus representative will reach out to the business or organization. During this meeting, it will be determined if the adopter is a fit for the campus, and the business or organization will be asked to complete an application to formalize the relationship.
Finally, I want to wrap up by sharing six words with you- Your Generosity. Our Community. Their Future. These six words capture the mission of the Hill Country Community Foundation (HCCF). The HCCF is a non-profit organization committed to the support of civic, health and educational programs that enrich the lives of citizens in Burnet. The HCCF invests in students and the community by offering a scholarship to EVERY student graduating from Burnet High School or Quest High School that is pursuing post high school education or training.
You can see the Foundation at work on May 16 at 7:00 p.m., as the HCCF will award over $300,000 in scholarships to Burnet and Quest High School students. Since 1983 the HCCF has awarded $5.2 million in scholarships to Burnet graduates. That is an incredible investment in our young people, and a commitment that you don’t find in other communities- big or small. If you want to see this community’s investment in our future at work, feel free to join us at Burnet High School on May 16- It is a special evening.
April 17, 2019
Two weeks ago the Rotary Club of Burnet gave away $21,000 in community grants to local non-profit organizations and service organizations. As a member of Rotary, I am very proud of its community grants, and it is another reason that you can add to my list of why I love living and working in Burnet. This community gives back to its citizens and there are hundreds of volunteers across the community working to serve people in need. I see examples every day in which these nonprofits are supporting the students and families of Burnet CISD. Kudos to Rotary for helping out these organizations and a big thank you to the local non-profits and service organizations that exemplify the Rotary motto of, “Service Above Self.”
Another group of people who truly exemplify “Service Above Self” are the Burnet CISD Volunteers of the Year. Our VIPs or Volunteers In Public Schools make a difference by giving back to Burnet CISD. Please help me congratulate these outstanding volunteers:
Burnet High School Volunteer of the Year - Gloria Flores
Quest High School- Michael Barnard
Burnet Middle School- Craig Lindholm
Bertram Elementary- Afton Floyd
Shady Grove Elementary- Vicinta Stafford
RJ Richey Elementary-Kristina Bailey
Parent Resource Center- Nancy Cranfill
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and is a time to celebrate the important role that communities play in protecting children. Everyone’s participation is critical. Focusing on ways to build and promote the protective factors, in every interaction with children and families, is the best thing our community can do to prevent child maltreatment and promote optimal child development. Burnet CISD is committed to creating a safe environment for students, and we are lucky in Burnet County to have the Hill Country Children’s Advocacy Center (HCCAC) as a resource to help in preventing child abuse and supporting families that have been victimized by child abuse. To learn more about the HCCAC please go to www.hccac.org.
Finally, please join me in welcoming Rachel Jones and her family to Burnet CISD. Rachel is the District’s new Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction and her first official day was this past Monday. She is hitting the ground running by meeting with campus staffs to hear from them directly what support they need from the Department of Curriculum and Instruction to help all students be successful.
As a reminder, Rachel’s hire is just one part of a reorganization plan to provide greater direct support to campuses and teachers. The District has hired an Elementary Curriculum Coordinator to support elementary campuses and a Secondary Curriculum Coordinator to support secondary campuses, especially in the areas of curriculum revision, instructional resource adoption, professional development and formative assessments. To provide direct support to classroom teachers on a daily basis, the District is in the process of hiring an Elementary Instructional Coach and a Secondary Instructional Coach. This newly configured Department of Curriculum and Instruction is designed to support campus staff in continuing to improve teaching and learning and the District’s achievement as measured by the state accountability system. The Curriculum and Instruction Department should be finalized by May in order for the team to begin planning together this summer for the 2019-2020 school year.
March 27, 2019
We have always had dedicated volunteers in Burnet CISD, but through the District’s Strategic Planning we have formalized the process this year by having our volunteers submit an application, go through a background check and track their volunteer hours. This means that we have taken another step toward ensuring the safety of our students. We are very proud to have over 500 VIPS (Volunteers in Public Schools) working in our schools and they truly are VIPs to Burnet CISD. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?” Our volunteers have resoundingly answered that question through their selfless service to Burnet CISD.
To show how special our volunteers are to us, Burnet CISD is hosting a Volunteer Appreciation Reception on April 11 from 4:00-5:00 p.m. at the Burnet CISD Central Office located at 208 East Brier. One of the highlights of the reception will be the awarding of volunteer of the year awards for each of our campuses. If you have volunteered in any way with Burnet CISD, please join us on April 11 so that we can say thank you!
Technology alone cannot transform a classroom, but in the hands of talented student-focused educators, technology can create opportunities for personalized instruction and learning. Because we know that technology can be a game changer for students and teachers, we are currently having discussions about putting a computer device in the hands of every student in Burnet CISD. At middle school and high school, that would mean that students would be assigned a computer and would be able to travel with it from class to class and even to home. At the elementary level, it means having a device for every child in the classroom, and the devices would stay at school. Today, we have a lot of computers in our schools, but students and teachers often still have to share devices.
We are not having conversations about what we want to do with more technology. Rather, we are having conversations about what we want to do differently in terms of teaching and learning in our classrooms, and then we are making decisions about what technology best accomplishes our goals. There have been other school districts that have adopted 1:1 initiatives before us, but it is very important to me that we do it the right way. Buying devices is a fairly simple activity. Utilizing technology to enhance teaching and learning is more challenging, but ultimately it has to be our goal.
It is a costly initiative, especially since Burnet CISD has become a recapture district and is projected under current law to send $3.4 million back to the state next year to be redistributed to other school districts. So, not only are we having conversations about infusing technology into classrooms, but we are also discussing how to fund the initiative. Even with the challenge of funding, we have been building and investing in our technology infrastructure so that it will be ready to support a future 1:1 initiative.
As a District, we are very proud to offer world class learning opportunities while being a smaller, more rural school district. Infusing technology into all of our classrooms, and placing it directly in the hands of our secondary students to use at home and at school is critical as we prepare students for the future. As we continue to have conversations and to plan for that eventuality, I will look forward to sharing with you details of the initiative.
February 27, 2019
Imagine how shocking it was for me to read in my newsfeed Wednesday evening a week ago the following headline, “Are Texas Kids Failing? Or Are the Tests Rigged?” In the summary of the Texas Monthly story, Mimi Swartz writes, “Leading educators and testing experts have studied the exams and find that they are asking kids to understand passages aimed two or more years above their grade level.” I would encourage you to take time to read the article in full for yourself at www.texasmonthly.com.
As I read the article, I couldn’t help but get mad knowing how hard our students and teachers work only to find out the challenge they are facing (reading passages that are 2 or more years above the grade level being tested) is not realistic when considering 56% of BCISD students are economically disadvantaged, 8% are English language learners and 13% are served through special education. It appears to me that the bar of what we expect of students has been raised so that we are no longer testing AT grade level knowledge, but rather ABOVE grade level knowledge. Former member of the State Board of Education, Thomas Ratliff estimates that, “25 to 30 percent of Texas school kids are misidentified as reading below grade level.” That is a shocking number, and at what cost to our students and families?
Superintendent of Schools for Alief ISD, HD Chambers sums up my feelings exactly when he states in the article, “Every reading and literacy expert who has studied our concerns can’t be wrong on this. This is not anti-testing, this is not anti-accountability. We just want the truth.”
As I have shared previously, we are not satisfied with the letter grade of C that the District received as part of the A-F Accountability System, and our teachers and students are working hard to make improvements within the existing system. When a district is two points away from earning a B, the reality is that every student and test question matter. With that said, this new information highlighted in the Texas Monthly story, truly makes me question the current accountability system. An accountability system is only as good as the tests used to measure students, and there is evidence that Texas may be missing the mark.
I recognize that we cannot change the test or the accountability system today, but along with four of our School Board members, I will be meeting with our State Representative and Senator this month at the Capitol. We have added this topic and the Texas Monthly article to our Legislative Priorities that we will be discussing with them.
February 13, 2019
Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, and for over a hundred years Sweethearts Conversation Hearts have been a staple of elementary Valentine’s Day Parties. Growing up I have fond memories of the candy, but if truth be told, they were never my favorite candy to eat. I preferred chocolate over the chalky candy hearts, but when I think of Valentine’s Day candy, I am most nostalgic for the Sweethearts Conversation Hearts. Some of the most popular heart phrases over the years have been "Marry Me," "Be Mine," "Be True" and "Kiss Me." Unfortunately, Necco, the company responsible for producing the hearts has gone out of business and the new manufacture of the hearts won’t have inventory available until Valentine’s Day 2020. Valentine’s Day Parties will go on as planned, but there will be a little bit of the tradition that is missing this year.
A tradition in Burnet CISD that continues to be strong is Spirit, Pride and Honor. These three words have been a part of Burnet CISD for a very long time, and a committee of the Strategic Planning process wants to make sure that our students truly understand what the phrase means. To that end, the committee has created Sprit, Pride and Honor standards. Informational posters have been produced with the intent of teaching students these important character traits:
• Spirit (What you are doing.) Creating a fun, safe, positive, and exciting classroom culture for all students.
• Pride (How you are doing it.) Taking pride in your work, your school and yourself. Hard work and dedication.
• Honor (Why you are doing it.) Respect. The way you treat others and yourself. The golden rule.
Sometimes, people think Spirit, Pride and Honor is just about athletics, but as you can tell from the definitions, it is much more, and I appreciate the work of our staff members to be intentional in maintaining this important tradition.
President Trump recently offered his State of the Union address to the Nation, and on Wednesday, March 6 at the Community Center, Mayor Crista Goble and I will be offering short talks on the State of the Community from the city and school district’s perspective. Our event is more fun to attend because we treat attendees to a great lunch, and I promise our speeches won’t last as long as a typical State of the Union address. The doors open at 11:30 a.m. so that attendees can visit tables representing the city and school district. Lunch will be served beginning at 11:45 a.m. and the program will begin at 12 noon. The lunch is always delicious, and once again the dessert is being provided by the Burnet High School Culinary Arts Program. The event is free of charge and citizens are encouraged to attend. No RSVP is necessary.
Finally, this past Saturday, the District honored the 6th group of inductees to the Burnet CISD Hall of Honor and the BCISD Educator of the Year at the annual Chamber Banquet. It was a special evening honoring people that make up the fabric of Burnet CISD and the Burnet community. I want to personally congratulate the following recipients:
Distinguished Former School Board Member- Danny Floyd
Distinguished Former Athlete- Stephen McGee
Distinguished Burnet High School Graduate- Travis Lewis
Distinguished Former Employees- Bonnie and Donald Fawcett
Educator of the Year- Adrian Connolly
In the way they each live their lives, our honorees have answered what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said is, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question- What are you doing for others?” We thank them all for their contribution. In addition to their names being added to perpetual plaques, a brief story on every honoree will be posted on the District’s web site at www.burnetcisd.net.
January 30, 2019
Each year, on the third Monday in January, the MLK Day of Service is observed as a "day on, not a day off." On January 21 students in Burnet CISD learned about the contributions and sacrifices of Martin Luther King, Jr. and each campus participated in service projects. Some of the projects students participated in include: canned food drives, cooking meals for first responders, picking up trash, volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club, making treat bags for the animal shelter, creating therapy bags for nursing home residents and helping clean up areas impacted by the floods.
In response to the day, one parent wrote on Facebook, “I love that the kiddos learned so much by not missing school today. Usually a “holiday” means a day in their PJs watching cartoons, but instead they were learning about Martin Luther King, Jr. and spending time helping others. Brodie has talked so much about who he was and what he stood for and that’s something I could not have given her if she had missed today.” Burnet High School principal Casey Burkhart also heard from a former student who is currently attending Texas A&M University, and he wrote, “It was touching to see images from the MLK Dawg Day of Service, which exemplified Spirit, Pride, and Honor to the highest degree. I showed my roommate and some friends and it was very impressive to us all, as MLK day is a very serious and important time for our university, and our nation, and it is apparent that Burnet is doing its part to honor MLK’s legacy.”
Reading, writing and arithmetic are important parts our written curriculum, but just as important to us is developing a servant’s heart in our students so that they recognize that they are a part of a bigger community in which they need to give back. Although, Burnet CISD’s MLK Day of Service won’t ever show up on any of the state assessment reports, we believe the lessons learned are invaluable to our students. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” Our students and teachers are already discussing how to make next year’s Day of Service even bigger and better.
On January 21 the Board of Trustees approved the Burnet CISD Legislative Priorities for the 86th Legislative Sessions. There are four priories that focus on the following areas:
• Unfunded Mandates: Burnet CISD believes any mandate of local school districts through legislation, must be accompanied with adequate funding to fulfill the mandate for the life of the mandate.
• Assessment/Accountability: Burnet CISD believes that the number of standards expected to be taught and learned should be reduced and students should only be assessed on the “essential” standards or “readiness” standards.
• Safety and Security: Burnet CISD believes safety and security funding should be flexible and allow local leaders to address their own specific needs and not create future unfunded mandates. Burnet CISD should not be denied funding because of its early investment in safety and security measures the past 5 years.
• School Funding: Burnet CISD believes the basic allotment funding schools should be increased while reducing the growth of recapture which causes districts like Burnet CISD to send money back to the state.
These priorities will guide the Board in its discussion with legislators. Board Members are scheduled for their first visits with legislators when they visit the Capitol at the end of February.
As a reminder, I hope you will join me next week for the Join the Journey’s 6th Annual Safe and Drug Free Wellness Fair on Thursday, February 7 from 5:00-6:30 p.m. at the Burnet Middle School Auxiliary Gym (1401 North Main). The fair will include a FREE pizza meal along with health screenings, drug/alcohol education, a Genius Bar featuring Chromebooks, an inflatable obstacle course, and great door prizes.
January 16, 2019
January is School Board Recognition Month, and Burnet CISD is joining school districts across the state in thanking these community volunteers for their commitment and contributions to our public schools. The theme this year is, “Planting Seeds of Success” and utilizes the visual of planting and tending to a plant as it grows.
Debby Boone (yes, the same one that sang the 1977 hit song, “You Light Up My Life”) once said, “Dreams are the seeds of change. Nothing ever grows without a seed, and nothing ever changes without a dream.” The Burnet CISD Board of Trustees is especially effective in planting seeds of vision, high expectations and goals that communicate their desire for Burnet CISD to set the standard for other school districts across the state. Because of their leadership, Burnet CISD offers a wide array of award winning instructional and extracurricular offerings, which allows students to “plant the seeds” of their choice for their future.
Elected Board Members play a crucial role in our community and schools. Trustees are extraordinary people who voluntarily tackle the enormous job of governing a school district with 3,200 students, 490 employees and a $28M budget. Each one of them does it because they want to give back to this school district and to our community. Their actions and decisions affect the present and future lives of our children- they are truly CRAFTING the FUTURE for our students.
From a personal perspective, I have the opportunity to visit with a lot of superintendents across the state, and those conversations reinforce for me what an outstanding Board of Trustees this Board truly is. I am very lucky to be a member of this exceptional “Team of 8”.
Although showing our appreciation should be a year-round commitment, taking advantage of the designated School Board Recognition month in January assures that these important people receive the thanks they deserve. So please join me in thanking the Burnet CISD Board of Trustees comprised of President Andy Feild, Vice President Angela Moore, Secretary Earl Foster and Trustees Robby Robertson, Suzanne Brown, Mark Kincaid and Ross Behrens.
At the January 21 Board Meeting, not only are we going to have the opportunity to recognize the Board of Trustees for their volunteer service, but the Board will also receive information and take action on issues covering topics like academics, personnel, budget and policy. I would encourage our community members to visit a Board Meeting sometime to learn more about Burnet CISD, and to gain a perspective on the important work of the Board. The January 21 Board Meeting will kickoff at 6:30 p.m. with a hearing on the District’s Texas Academic Performance Report followed by the Regular Board Meeting at 6:45 p.m.
Finally, I want to encourage you to mark your calendars for Join the Journey’s 6th Annual Safe and Drug Free Wellness Fair. The fair will take place on Thursday, February 7 at the Burnet Middle School Auxiliary Gym (1401 North Main). The fair will include a FREE pizza meal along with health screenings, drug/alcohol education, a Genius Bar featuring Chromebooks, an inflatable obstacle course, fitness tips and more. We will also have great door prizes available like a Bluetooth speaker, a Google Home, a bow-fishing trip, an electric scooter and more. Participants will go on a TREC for tokens that will allow them to be eligible for the door prizes. In this case TREC stands for Treatment, Response, Education and Communication- all ways that Join the Journey is addressing drug use in our community. I hope you will join us for this knowledge and fun-filled TREC!
December 10, 2018
Spirit, Pride and Honor means a lot of things, including being the very best at everything we do in Burnet CISD. Last year, Burnet CISD earned five state championships in UIL Social Studies, UIL Current Issues and Events, FFA Wildlife, FFA Forage and 110 Meter Hurdles. This year, the Esprit de Corps made it to the UIL State Marching Competition placing 18th out of 165 4A bands across the state, and on Saturday 24 band members earned a seat with the All Region Band. The Board of Trustees and administration is committed to continuous improvement in academics and extracurricular offerings. With that goal in mind, the administration is making several staffing adjustments for the 2019-2020 school year in the areas of curriculum, instruction and athletics.
The District will be reducing two senior leadership positions in Curriculum and Instruction and replacing them with one Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction. In addition, the District will be adding an Elementary Curriculum Coordinator to support elementary campuses and a Secondary Curriculum Coordinator to support secondary campuses, especially in the areas of curriculum revision, instructional resource adoption, professional development and formative assessments. To provide direct support to classroom teachers on a daily basis, the District is also adding an Elementary Instructional Coach and a Secondary Instructional Coach. This newly configured Department of Curriculum and Instruction is designed to support campus staff in continuing to improve teaching and learning and the District’s achievement as measured by the state accountability system. The District is currently interviewing candidates for the Assistant Superintendent position, and the candidate is expected to be in place in the spring of 2019. All other Curriculum and Instruction staff changes will go into effect in August 2019.
Burnet CISD has set a goal of winning the Lone Star Cup (awarded annually by UIL to six high schools, one in each of the six UIL classifications 1A-6A, based on their team performance in district and state championships). To that end, after studying other successful athletic programs, the District will be splitting the current Athletic Director/Head Football Coach position into two separate positions. This will allow the Athletic Director to have sole focus on the District’s overall athletic program and the Head Football Coach to have sole focus on the football program. I believe separating the Athletic Director/Head Football Coach into two positions (which is the standard today in 5A and 6A athletic programs) is a trend that we will see going forward in 4A athletic programs, and with this move, Burnet CISD will be ahead of that trend.
Under this plan, Kurt Jones, who has served as Athletic Director and Head Football Coach since 2012, will remain in his role as Athletic Director, and Rick Gates will continue to serve as Girls Athletic Coordinator. Jones has 23 years of experience in education, including 18 with Burnet CISD. In his 7 years as Athletic Director, the Burnet Athletic Program has advanced every team sport to the playoffs, experiencing postseason success in Girls Basketball, Boys Basketball, Softball, Girls Soccer, and Football. In addition, both the Girls Cross Country Team and the Girls Golf Team have advanced to the State Meet/Tournament in that time. Along with his duties of supporting and coordinating all of the District’s athletic programs, Jones will also coordinate school safety and emergency planning, cheerleading, physical education, stadium management, rentals of athletic fields and facilities, and the School Health Advisory Council for Burnet CISD. The Athletic Director’s office will be located at Burnet High School beginning in the spring of 2019.
Jerod Rye, current Burnet Bulldogs Offensive Coordinator, has been named the Head Football Coach of the Burnet Bulldogs and will be responsible for coordinating and leading the football staff, athletes and budget. In Rye’s 20 years of experience in education he has been a part of three football state championship games and has held several coaching assignments including: Offensive Coordinator, Defensive Coordinator, Quarterback Coach and Receivers Coach. Rye has also previously served as a Middle School Athletic Coordinator and understands that the foundation of a varsity football program is built beginning in middle school. In addition to two different coaching stints at Burnet High School under three different head coaches, Rye also coached at 6A Midlothian High School where as Quarterback Coach he coached former Baylor QB and current Miami Dolphin Bryce Petty. Rye believes that athletics is a great avenue in the educational process to teach life lessons to student-athletes, and that if we focus on making our kids better people and students first, we will see the results that we all desire on the athletic fields. Coach Rye will assume his responsibilities in January 2019.
This investment of significant resources in the area of curriculum, instruction and athletics and the District’s historical strong financial support of the fine arts program are all indicators of our desire to be the very best in everything we do by providing unprecedented levels of support for our staff and students to achieve at the highest levels possible.
As we wrap up the first semester of the 2018-2019 school year, I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. As a reminder, Christmas Break is scheduled for December 22 - January 7 with students reporting back to school on Tuesday, January 8, 2019.
December 5, 2018
On Tuesday, January 8, the 86th Legislative Session will begin, and for 140 days the Legislature will work to set the State’s budget for the next two years and address policies and laws in areas as diverse as transportation, border security, healthcare and education. Even though the session doesn’t kick off until January, pre-filing of bills began in November and by noon of the first day to pre-file over 400 bills had been filed. To give perspective of the enormity of the process, during the last legislative session over 6,600 bills were filed.
Sometimes the work of legislators seems so far removed from our everyday lives, but the reality is the decisions made in Austin during the upcoming January – May time frame impacts all of us. As for Burnet CISD, there are two specific areas that we will be advocating for and watching closely.
At a time in which schools are facing an increasing demand for safety and mental health support, Burnet CISD believes every school district needs access to additional state funding to help support their local needs for school safety and mental health. This funding should be flexible and allow local leaders to address their own specific needs and not create future unfunded mandates. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has requested funds to support these efforts in fiscal year 2020, but TEA should not be picking winners and losers regarding this funding. Funding should be made available to all school districts. An increase in state funding or through an allotment, will allow schools to have adequate dollars moving forward to fully invest in these programs with local solutions.
Ask any teacher the biggest challenge they face, and time to plan and teach is always at the top of that list. The State Board of Education and TEA have increased the number of testable standards while going through a process of streamlining the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). Within the 22 tested subjects, the number of standards has grown From 924 to 995 standards. The more standards that are mandated for teachers to teach at each grade level or content area, means less time for teachers to teach those standards and for students to learn those standard before the high stakes assessment takes place. With the state’s accountability system relying heavily on one exam, it is critical that students have sufficient time to master “essential” standards of the TEKS. Burnet CISD believes that the number of standards expected to be taught and learned should be reduced and students should only be assessed on the “essential” standards or “readiness” standards.
An early positive note for education during the upcoming legislative session is the fact that Dennis Bonnen, the projected next speaker of the House, singled out school finance as the priority for the House. As I mentioned earlier, Burnet CISD will be advocating and watching closely.
The deadline to submit nominations for the sixth annual Burnet CISD Hall of Honor is quickly approaching. Nominations are being accepted through January 7 for the Hall of Honor and can be submitted electronically by going to www.burnetcisd.net and selecting the Hall of Honor link under the Community tab at the top of the homepage. In February, we will honor four individuals in the following categories: Distinguished Burnet High School Graduate, Distinguished Burnet High School Athlete, Distinguished Former School Board Member and Distinguished Former Employee. We are looking for nominations of individuals that have not only brought great honor to themselves, but they have also brought great honor to Burnet CISD.