More than 11 years ago, the board of trustees adopted a goal of “instilling community and ethical values in our students.” A committee of citizens, parents, teachers, pastors and leaders convened to craft a list of core ethical values that any Wylie ISD graduate should possess and be proud to call their own. The values of respect, responsibility, caring, giving, preparation, grit, celebration and gratitude reflect core ethical standards and the character of a Wylie ISD graduate. Since that time, these core ethical values have guided our students, our teachers, our staff members and our community members and have become standards that bring us pride. They are a symbol of our commitment to who we want to be. They are a symbol of the Wylie Way.
Each of our grading periods is focused on a set of values that we learn and repeat every year. Talking about values is good practice, learning about values is better practice and upholding values is the BEST representation of who we want to be. In our school district, living these values is a way of life. In our school district, living these values is the Wylie Way.
This nine weeks, we focus our attention on the values of giving and caring. We want our students to experience the importance and enjoyment of helping others.
Have you ever been given something that you needed? Or, have you ever given someone else something that they needed? What did that feel like? As a receiver, maybe you felt cared for and grateful, or as the giver, you may have felt like it was your responsibility to help because you’re a loving person. When we apply those same actions and feelings to children, what a gift that can be. That is one of the core reasons the Wylie ISD Back-to-School Fair was created. It exists to meet our kids’ needs and show them that we care about them. We advertise the event to families experiencing low income and for children with military parents. The event is run by a huge number of volunteers, 100 of them being students, and this year they served 1,177 students. It allows us to care and give and helps our school counselors and administrators to know of specific families that may need resources during the year. It has become a tradition that Wylie ISD looks forward to each year, and it continues to make a difference in our community.
WYLIE WAY FOOD DRIVE
Another long-standing community outreach program we have in Wylie ISD is our partnership with the Wylie Christian Care Center. Supporting the organizations that support our families is a way for our students, our staff members, and our families to actively live the values of caring and giving. Each year, we have our sights set on a big donation, and each year we deliver. Last year, our kids donated a record-setting 128,600+ cans. We are always grateful for each donation that comes in, and we are always so incredibly proud of our community for showing up BIG at this time of year.
WYLIE WAY CHRISTMAS AND HOLIDAYS
Wylie Way Christmas and Holidays is an annual event that begins after our food drive ends and always brings JOY to those involved. Joley Martin, Wylie ISD Family Liaison, has a team of volunteers who provide the framework to make this happen. We host a signup event with staff and community volunteers and also work with our school counselors to identify families that could benefit from the support of the program. Once families are identified, individual tags are made to represent each student or sibling getting a gift. Student groups, teachers, families, and businesses buy gifts, return them to the district, and create an opportunity for Wylie ISD families to be blessed. Prior to the Christmas and holiday break on Dec. 10, all of the donated presents are picked up, sorted, and prepared for families.
If you feel slightly overwhelmed by looking at this picture, I can promise you that it does not begin to do justice to actually being in the room where it happens. I can tell you with certainty that witnessing this feat in person would cause your jaw to hit the floor. It is an overflow of love, care, and hard work. It is truly a sight to behold!
At last count, we had 411 families signed up for gift assistance which equals 1,140 individuals this year. So I’ll take this moment, on behalf of Joley, to have a little advertisement for this. The week before we are out for Thanksgiving, you can adopt a tag from any campus to provide the gifts requested or provide a donation. This community, no matter the year, has always provided. It’s humbling to be surrounded by so many caring and giving people.
WYLIE ISD DISTRICT FAMILY LIAISON
As our district Family Liaison, Joley also coordinates the big categories such as community collaborations, crisis assistance, parent/adult assistance, and more. A lot of what she does helps meet the individual needs our school counselors and teachers discover while working with our students. She’s incredibly passionate about the people and the work, and she has wonderful relationships with our churches and outreach organizations in our community. I don’t know what we would do without her. She has made such an incredible impact on our school district and our community. Thank you, Mrs. Martin, for all you do in Wylie ISD!
WYLIE ISD MENTOR PROGRAM
There is no way to accurately convey the impact of our MENTOR program on our schools. I hope everyone has had someone in their life who has offered them the same type of kind, caring, and giving attention that those in our MENTOR program offer to our Wylie ISD students. We know that there are children in our district who need a positive connection with an adult, and this program helps to make that happen. Students involved in our MENTOR program are matched with a MENTOR who meets with them once a week throughout most of the school year. That dedicated time is so incredibly important for our students, and it makes a positive impact on their lives. We started this year with 129 MENTOR volunteers, and we are still hearing from others who are showing interest in participating. I will be forever grateful for the dedication, energy, and love shown to our kiddos. They are life changers!
VETERANS DAY CELEBRATION
As mentioned earlier, the values of caring and giving come right after our values of respect and responsibility, and those are driving forces for our yearly Veterans Day breakfast. In 2015, we started hosting our local veterans for a breakfast before the Veterans Day ceremony that our Air Force Junior ROTC has every year to honor these men and women who have done so much for us. We look forward to this event to be able to welcome them, shake their hands, and visit with them and their families to show them how much we appreciate their service. Our elementary students write letters and thank you cards to them, and our 544 Cafe serves them meals. We hope they feel loved when they walk out of our doors. This is the least we can do for those individuals who have served our country and have made this nation the place it is today.
CARING AND GIVING, THE WYLIE WAY!
When I think of caring and giving, I think of the Wylie community. Over the years, we have been faced with circumstances which have challenged us, tested us, and allowed us the opportunity to practice fortitude and grit. No matter what has come our way, we have always come out stronger on the other side. As the superintendent of Wylie ISD, I cannot begin to express the admiration I have for those in Wylie. We are a community of servants who pour their hearts out to help others, no matter the cost. In this season of giving, I want to wholeheartedly express my gratitude for you and all you continue to do to bring joy and comfort to those around you. Thank you for always being such huge supporters of this district, and thank you for supporting us in our community outreach efforts. I appreciate your heart and your time. You, my friends, are the Wylie Way.