PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Local News

February 26, 2014

Porterie delivers State of Schools address

PORT ARTHUR — When representatives from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) visited the Port Arthur Independent School District to address the district’s repeated failures to meet educational standards in various programs, including bilingual education, in December, Superintendent Mark Porterie found that the district and the agency shared much of the same concerns.

“Yes, there are some challenges as to how we ensure that all of our children are given a quality education,” Porterie said Wednesday during PAISD’s annual State of the Schools luncheon at the Robert A. “Bob” Bowers  Civic Center. “How are we going to get all of our students to be successful in life?”

Despite the obstacles presented, Porterie said that the district has not lost its passion and desire to ensure that all 9,000 of its students excel.

“We do not believe that the challenges we face can keep us from being successful,” he said. “We sincerely believe that we have a chance to create an excellent product for this community.”

The audience heard from some of those very students who exemplify that product, including students from Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson Middle Schools who earned awards in a regional math and science competition sponsored by the Golden  Triangle-Texas Alliance for Minorities in Engineering (GT-TAME); participants in Memorial High School’s Career and Technology Education (CATE) program; and Scripps National Spelling Bee district winner Johnasha Coleman.

“What I associate the most with PAISD is opportunity,” said Coleman, who placed sixth in the Zone 4 competition, which included Jefferson and Liberty counties. “I never missed a practice. How many of you can say that about your jobs?”

The citizens of Port Arthur have invested in the students of PAISD, Porterie said, and it is the district’s responsibility to guarantee a return on that investment.

“It is our responsibility to meet your expectations,” Porterie said.

Near the end of his speech, Porterie emphatically reminded the community that each one of them has a role to play in the students’ success.

“If they have a little bit of want, a little bit of hunger, we will take them the rest of the way,” he said. “All we need is for the community to tell a child that they are worth it.

“Failure is not an option,” Porterie concluded, to ringing applause. “Our children will succeed.”

Email: ecallahan@panews.com

Twitter: @ErinnPA

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