The accolades just keep pouring in. Brownfield ISD was visited recently by Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath and members of his team. They went to a few campuses and classrooms, where they observed instruction and learning taking place. They also listened in on some teacher training time. Mr. Morath had all good things to say about Brownfield during his visit.
Recently, at the Texas Association of School Boards 2021 Convention, Mr. Morath kept pouring on the praise.
“I was recently in Brownfield ISD, a smaller school district, which has had a number of academic struggles in the last few years. But look at this information. A history of principal turnover. But look at the principal turnover during the pandemic. Not one left. Leadership in Brownfield, with the superintendent, is dialed in on instructional leadership, on improving academic instruction, and yes, maintaining a safe place for our students, and safely deal with everything related to the Coronavirus, but also continuing to improve for each student in the classroom. BISD feels this is their moral duty to each student served.
“I sat in on a Kindergarten planning meeting and watched as teachers talked about adjusting instruction for each child. Deep focus on content. All this while the Delta variant and all the other things swirl about them. I watched them continue to stay focused on instruction and how to best teach each child,” continued Morath.
Brownfield ISD Superintendent Chris Smith stated, “I was just beaming. You know me. I am a pretty emotional guy, but I just kept thinking how proud I am of, not only our faculty and staff, but of our students for the hard work they are doing.”
Smith continues to beam even now that he is home. “There are good things happening in Brownfield and good things happening at Brownfield ISD. We have been working to improve everything we do. We are improving instruction, using best practices and we have set rigorous standards for our faculty, staff and students.”
Melissa Oliva, Assistant Superintendent at BISD stated, “It is, in a word, humbling. It was humbling to be noticed at that level and it is humbling for us at home to see how completely our teachers are pouring into the work. When we look back at what was, compared to where we are now, it is humbling.”
The State of Texas has provided great support to help schools cope with learning loss due to COVID. Smith stated that what BISD has done is taken those supports and tied them into systems already in place.
“What is happening is what needed to happen. We had to improve and we had to find a way to make this happen. We have added resources to best practices, and you see our data backing up what we have done,” stated Smith.
Oliva stated, “We remind each other all the time that it is kids first, always. It is about kids getting what they need, and us doing what we need to do to ensure that is happening.”
Smith stated, “When you look at our demographics, our testing history, etc. the scores you see in our latest data are not the norm. That is what draws attention to us. We pretty much stayed level or even went up in our testing, after a COVID year of lost classroom time. We did see some drops, but overall, we did well.”
Smith, who just can’t say enough good things about BISD, says, “We are just beginning. I am excited about the future here.”
BISD will be having regular district data meetings with administrators across the district. “We want to be sure we are keeping the main thing, the main thing,” stated Smith.
“We will continue to reap the benefits of this, as time goes on. The great buy-in we are seeing by faculty, staff and students is just amazing. When you have staff recognizing that what they do and how they do it matters, then you begin to see changes,” stated Oliva.
“This is more about the kids and the teachers. They are the ones who are doing the real work. Our kids need to know how proud we are of them. Being at TASB, and hearing Mr. Morath talk about BISD in front of a room full of administrators across the state was truly a proud moment for BISD and for Brownfield.”