School district looking ahead by looking toward its community

Published 5:26 pm Friday, January 20, 2017

They say it takes a village to raise a child and it appears it takes an entire community to educate that child.

Nederland Independent School District will be hosting four Strategic Planning Education Summits (SPES) starting Jan. 26. The goal is to invite input from the community and “to provide parents and community members the opportunity to voice their ideas for our future success,” according to their press release.

Dr. Robin Perez, superintendent for NISD, invited the community’s response.

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“We want the support of our community in what they want for the students,” Perez said. “We’re asking questions like ‘Where are we?’ and ‘Where do we want to go?’”

In addition, Perez asked, “What are the current practices we have in our organization and how effective are these practices?”

Perez said the district is looking more to the future and would like to establish a five-year plan.

According to Perez, each of the four summits will feature the same questions in order to ensure that whatever summit session a person attends, they will be privy to the same format. The summit events will be facilitated by Dr. Robert Nicks.

“He has worked with our school board and faculty before,” Perez said of Nicks, who has been a long time educator and school administrator. “But we need input from our community.

“Each year when we write new goals, we will have a long range plan to go with it,” Perez said. “We want to drive our resources of people, money and time into what they want for our students.”

Perez said the discussions would start at a larger, or global, perspective and most likely narrow to more specific strategies and procedures as the process moves along.

Perez said the district has always depended on community support.

“For our continuing success, I would say it is our community,” Perez said. “They have very high expectations for our school system. We’re always striving for excellence.”

Perez said the Nederland community has been very supportive of them and of what they do.

“I think it boils down to the community. It is a phenomenal community,” Perez said. “I think it will help to provide us for continued education.”

In speaking of the future, the superintendent mentioned college, career and the acquisition of skills for students.

“We’re just always trying to prepare the students for the world they would be living in,” Perez said. “We want them to leave our schools both college and career-ready.

“The world is changing so quickly; we’re preparing them for jobs that may not have even been created yet,” Perez said. “We provide them with critical thinking skills, as well as skills like elaboration and communication.”

Perez emphasized the community aspect of the SPES.

“This is an opportunity for us all to come together for the education summits,” Perez said. “And what we learn and can glean from our community will help us to focus on the future and be very strategic.”

Perez expressed hope that the four summits would be well attended.

“We hope that they come out and they will learn about the state of our school and the state of education in America,” Perez said. “We just want to hear from them what their aspirations and dreams are for their children.”

“It’s going to be a good process. It’ll set the path for going forward for the district,” Stuart Kieschnick, assistant superintendent for NISD curriculum and instruction, said.

“It will provide a five-to-10-year vision and give our stakeholders a say-so in our direction — and a say for what to do with our tax dollars.”

The four SPES will be held at the following times and places:

  • 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on Jan. 26 at Hillcrest Elementary
  • 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Jan. 26 at Nederland High School
  • 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Feb. 2 at Central Middle School
  • 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Feb. 16 at Highland Elementary

Those unable to attend are encouraged to send comments or feedback to Perez at