Happy New Year! We hope that this letter finds you well and that your 2020 is off to a fantastic start! It is the goal of the district to communicate effectively with you, the shareholders of the Ennis School District to inform you on the various happenings of the school. We encourage you to contact the school with questions or concerns as well as visit our school website www.ennisschools.org to learn more about the school. Also, you can download the Ennis Mustangs app from the Apple App Store or Google Play.
In the Spring of 2017 the district’s strategic plan was adopted; this plan guides the decision- making for the school district. In November, a strategic planning session was held, which welcomed approximately 30 staff and community members. The session focused on the review and update of the following 3-5 year goals:
Enhance Student Opportunities such as adding art in elementary classes and new electives such as STEM and journalism in middle school.
Keeping an Engaged and Dedicated Board and Staff through professional development opportunities.
Focus on Community Relations by keeping communications open and soliciting engagement.
Keeping Facilities well maintained, open for public use, and ready for growth. As our community grows, we have to be ready to accommodate students. Our current enrollment is 382, with 11 new students since October. We will be closely keeping track of growth and evaluating the need for possible changes to facilities.
We are constantly working to meet these goals, and have scheduled a facilitated action planning session on January 22 at 3:30p.m. in RM # 3 of the HS. As a shareholder of the district, we encourage you to attend and participate.
Keeping our school safe for staff and students is a top priority; we continue to work hard in keeping our learning environment positive and safe by:
Establishing strong partnerships with local law enforcement, emergency services, and medical center.
Having a safety committee who meets monthly to determine the district’s safety priorities, training staff in safety protocols, and performing safety drills.
We recently installed a new and improved PA system to make communication more effective in the event of a crisis.
Keeping up to date, clean and safe facilities.
-Unfortunately, many students have experienced some sort of trauma in their lives, making it difficult to thrive in a school environment. Schools are tasked with providing services for students that may need social, emotional or academic counseling, but often struggle keeping up with the need for these services. Until recently, the district had access to a mental health counseling program in the school. AltaCare has shut its doors, leaving many students at a disadvantage.
We have increased our school counseling services, and even though school counselors are not mental health counselors, they provide students an opportunity to talk and connect to a counselor. We are fortunate to have access to local private practice counselors, as well as an excellent medical center, so if you have any questions or concerns about the schools’ role in emotional wellness, please contact us.
-The CDC has reported that vaping among high school and middle school students has increased by 48% since 2017. Access to vaping has evolved rapidly and has gained traction over the past several years, posing serious health concerns for children. Vaping is performed by inhaling a vapor created from a liquid heated up inside a delivery device. Delivery devices may include, but are not limited to e-cigarettes, e-pipes, vaporizers, or hookahs. Companies have marketed these vaping products offering several flavors making it more appealing with the message that vaping is a safe alternative to smoking. What makes vaping extremely dangerous is what the liquid contains and the ability to swap out nicotine for dangerous drugs.
Vaping devices vary, but may look like your ordinary pen or flash drive. The devices can look deceiving making vaping discreet and easy to do. I encourage parents and community members to become more educated on the dangers of vaping.
-The Ennis School District is still challenged with finding bus drivers. Currently, we have 4 bus route drivers that do an incredible job getting kids to and from school. The district also has a shortage of activity and substitute drivers. Our school offers a variety of activities for our students which requires taking a bus. We invite anyone interested to contact the school to learn more about becoming a driver.
-We invite anyone to apply for a substitute position in the areas of teaching, kitchen, office, or custodial. Substituting for these different areas may not be consistent, but an absolute necessity.
-Looking towards summer, we are seeking applicants to take care of the lawns and school grounds. These duties include weed eating, mowing, spraying, painting, etc. Hours are Monday-Thursday 7am-5pm.
-Lastly, we are seeking applicants for summer custodial to assist in the preparation for the next school year. These duties include cleaning, waxing floors, painting, etc. Hours are Monday-Thursday 7am-5pm.
Please contact the school if you are interested in any of these positions.
Due to the generous support of our shareholders in 2016, a seven-year technology levy was approved. This school year marks year number four of that levy, which will expire in 2023. This levy allows each classroom to be equipped with an up to date SmartBoard, one-to-one devices for our high school students, efficient and up to date computer labs, accounting software, IT salary, student information software, boiler system software, and much more. This fund is extremely important to our school and without it, other funds such as salary and classroom supplies would be limited. Funds are spent responsibly to provide our students and staff the technology needed to be successful. In the future, we hope to ask shareholders to consider approving another technology levy, and when that time comes, reliable and relevant information will be shared to keep you informed.
Every spring, a calendar committee made up of teachers and administration meet to create a school calendar for the following year. Developing a school calendar has many moving parts and can be tricky. Typical school calendars contain around 180 student instruction days and 187 days for teachers. The state requires schools to have a specific number of instructional hours, not days. We try very hard to accommodate families by building the best calendar we can and still make sure we meet the requirements of the state, and most importantly, to provide our students the best education possible. We also take into account school start and end times to coordinate with busy work schedules as well as after school activities. Very soon, we will start the process of working on next year's calendar and be seeking input from families.
On behalf of the Ennis School District, thank you for your continued support of our students. This community's support of education is wonderful, and because of you, our students have so many amazing learning opportunities.