Sixty years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. addressed a crowd of more than 250,000 people with a message of hope and direction forward and his dream of a tomorrow where his “four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
I applaud Dr. King for his insight into the future and the value of developing character and relationships as a foundation for effective teaching and learning. It’s a mentality we live by in Wylie ISD, and it resonates in the core values that we work to instill in all of our students.
Borrowing from the vision of my college alma mater, I believe that “from here, it’s possible,” and we hold the keys to making positive progress in our ability to embrace our differences, encourage one another, and make our world a better place.
After a recent study of student performance across the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Commit Partnership recognized Wylie ISD as “What’s Possible, Regardless of Demographics” for preparing students for college and career readiness. In Wylie ISD, for example, the average SAT score for an African American student is 92 points higher than the state average. This is just one example of the myriad of ways that all of our students excel and shine. We are so proud of our students and the teachers who guide them in being successful.
We are a school district and group of communities that intentionally and proactively recognize students for their character with awards and celebrations. The foundation for our process of developing character, we call the Wylie Way, is built on relationships. Many of our staff’s relationships with students have extended beyond the classroom. I love seeing teachers at students’ activities and cheering them on. Whether it’s at a play (sidenote: y’all be sure to get your tickets for Wylie High’s production of The Addams Family this weekend!) or at a basketball game, our teachers show pride and dedication towards the students they serve. What a blessing it is to have such amazing educators lighting the way for our kids.
In addition to seeing the power of relationships in our schools, I also love witnessing the strong relationships made over the years on social media. It is not uncommon to find alumni thanking a former educator during Teacher Appreciation Week or seeing a photo of a teacher at a former student’s wedding. The relationships built in Wylie ISD are everlasting.
When I reflect and see our district through the lens of Dr. King and his vision for how he saw our country, I am proud. I am proud that we care about all the people who walk through our doors. I am proud that we do everything we can to ensure everyone feels like they belong and are valued. I am proud that at every level and in every space of our school community, from kindergarten classrooms to intermediate and junior high art rooms, to band halls, basketball courts, theater stages and everywhere in between, we see a diverse group of students, staff and families working and thriving together at the highest levels.
When I see our district, I don’t see glass ceilings hindering anybody’s growth based on how they look or where they are from. And I hope we’ve created a culture where others don’t as well. Do we have challenges? Of course. Every school community does. But we have people at every level who care, and who work hard to make sure that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream is the Wylie Way.
As we recognize Dr. King for his contributions, I take pride in knowing that we are continuing to contribute to his dream of building a nation that recognizes our children for the content of their character. It is a privilege to support this mindset, and it is not one I take lightly. We hope you enjoyed your long weekend with your families, Wylie ISD. Thank you for your support in guiding the dreams of our students. Thank you for your support in guiding our future, the Wylie Way!
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