It’s the last day of school and we are finishing up the last special events of the year today. I love celebrating with banquets, awards ceremonies, concerts, competitions, and graduations. During the month of May, schools celebrate a LOT! Celebrating your kiddos is awesome. The month of May also means that kids are coming home from college. Dinner with our family is a celebration that remains at the top of my favorites list. Each meal includes a recap of the day and a chance to revisit the ordinary miracles that made our day special. Hearing their excitement fills my heart. The Vinson family has a lot to celebrate, and this blog post focuses on the good things that bring me great joy and remind me of what a blessing life can be. These are moments that I cherish. These are moments that I would never take for granted.
Happiness expert, Shawn Achor, says that “Focusing on the good isn’t just about overcoming our inner grump to see the glass half full. It’s about opening our minds to the ideas and opportunities that will help us be more productive, effective, and successful at work and in life.” In a world that seems to focus on challenges and strife, let me help you find your happiness with a few rays of sunshine that give us hope and happiness. For example, our student nutrition folks served nearly 2,000,000 meals to appreciative and kind students. While post-COVID still impacts student attendance, EVERY campus improved attendance rates, and Wylie ISD gained a full percentage point from last year.
Wylie ISD can attribute student success to our thriving dual credit program with Collin College. Our high schools offer 21 different courses and 111 sections, serving 740 students. Wylie kids have the highest dual credit passing rates compared to other Collin County school districts. This partnership increases Wylie ISD student achievement and graduation rates from colleges and universities.
Our definition of college in Wylie ISD means more than a four-year degree. Zetyn Becerra is a sophomore at Wylie East High School pursuing a career pathway in welding. Zetyn has already completed 24 nationally-recognized certifications.
This school year, eighty percent of high school students enrolled in a Career and Technology Education course, including 439 in a practicum or career prep course. Wylie ISD students continue to have numerous options to pursue their passions.
We offer courses in the following areas: agriculture, floral design, architecture, construction, graphic design, animation design, video production, video game design, business, marketing, finance, culinary arts, welding, robotics, education, health science, law enforcement, cybersecurity, and engineering. Over the past year, students in Wylie ISD earned over 900 certifications. Wylie ISD offers certifications in a wide variety of areas from Texas State Florist Association Certification and Autodesk Revit to Certified Patient Care Technician and Educational Aide Certification.
We have seen other students enjoy many successes with the help of our CTE program. Wylie High School’s Andrew Casillas secured his second year as an intern with WRA Architecture in Dallas. During his internship last summer, he planned, executed, and presented his design and model of an early child development center for the Dallas Early Education Initiative. One of the lead architects at WRA said that his project is something you would see from a college sophomore.
With both high school marching bands advancing to the state marching contest and tons of kids reaching all-region and even all-state honors, it’s evident that our programs are strong. Behind these achievements are teachers who use art to make personal connections with their kiddos. WHS teacher, Susan West, had three students this year who did not speak English. Ling was one of them. Mrs. West realized she was talented and used their mutual love for art to build a relationship that gave Ling hope.
“I encouraged Ling to go to our regional art contest. I contacted the director and made sure the judges could speak with her using Google Translate. The morning of the contest, I gave Ling a note that said, ‘Hello, my name is Ling. I do not speak English, and I will need a translator.’ I told her to give it to anyone she encountered. Ling received a gold medal for her portrait that day. It was her first. A few weeks later, I found chocolates on my desk with a note attached. It was from Ling. She wrote in English. She told me how much the art class meant to her and that it was a place where she felt included and appreciated. It was a sweet reminder to me that my job is not just teaching art.”
Parents, you rock; I believe we have the best parents on the planet! As President, Monica Munoz, says, “Membership equals support, equals belief and trust in and with PTA.” In November, for the first time in Wylie ISD PTA history, we reached 5-digit numbers, surpassing over 10,000 members supporting our kids and campuses. With more than 12,000 memberships, more than 70% of our student population is represented by folks advocating for the betterment of education on their behalf.
Did you know that research tells us that HOPE is the number one predictor of student success in college? We believe hope matters in Wylie ISD. Each Wylie Way Day and beyond, our kids focus on the values that will help them navigate life and explore the foundational attributes of an emotionally healthy and happy human prepared to build strong relationships. Students from grades 3-12 participated in assessments that measured their happiness, hopefulness, and grit. Students in grades 5-12 were also asked about their perceptions of their teachers’ capacity to build strong relationships with their students. Nearly 95% of Wylie ISD students believed their teachers cared about them.
Beyond our students’ success in academic subjects, our kids are also emotionally and socially happy and healthy, with strong relationship skills that help them become balanced adults, prepared for the future. Throughout the year, students in grades 3-12 have the opportunity to fill out their Achievement Profile. To see your student’s Achievement Profile, click on this link and have your child log in using their district username and password. You’ll be able to talk with them about some wonderful things!
As the school year ends, I want to thank everyone for their love, support, and dedication to our Wylie ISD students. We see the hoisted trophies in the air, the medals around kids’ necks, and the lists of honor rolls representing grit and dedication. Behind these recognitions are the ordinary miracles we experience between our teachers and their students. We have accomplished and overcome so much this year. My soul is filled with joy and gratitude. I love your kids and appreciate your trust in helping us love and grow them together, the Wylie Way!