Nederland ISD volunteering, partnership plans progressing

Published 12:23 am Wednesday, December 18, 2019

NEDERLAND — Nederland Independent School District have begun assessing their district goal updates of 2019.

Alongside student performance, maintaining facilities and recruiting quality personnel, the district made moves to increase parental involvement, community partnerships and volunteer programs.

Rene’ Latiolais, public information officer for NISD, said goal update No. 3 includes key elements to student success.

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“As of the end of October, one of our goals was to increase our volunteer participants from 0-50,” she said. “(In November) we had 38 volunteers and trained 28 of them. We are constantly doing all sorts of things to increase those numbers.”

Volunteer opportunities between the district and city of Nederland include popular programs like Bulldog Book Buddies, which pairs community members with first and second graders to inspire them to read at or above their grade level, and M.E.N., a program that encourages men in the community to become active in students’ lives.

In addition to community volunteers, the goal also includes increasing business partnerships.

The Parisi Speed School is holding lessons in P.E. with second through fourth graders, Rotary Club members are reading to kindergarten students and serving milk and cookies, and YMBL is partnering with NISD to host a basketball tournament. They are a few examples of current business interactions.

Nederland ISD is also hoping to bring the district and community together by hosting various unity projects.

“Something that we are going to be doing through administration is planting trees across every campus on the 100th day of the 100th year, which is Feb. 4,” Latiolais said. “I’ve been told we are planting oak trees.”

Nederland ISD Superintendent Robin Perez said other unity projects include toy and canned food drives, raising money for charities and volunteering to help families in need during Christmas time.

“One of our future unity projects is called the Helena Gardens,” she said. “It’s purpose is to create an outdoor area for the students to learn how to grow a variety of plants and vegetables, and allow an area for the students to go outside, calm down and de-escalate.”

Central Middle School is also planning to build an outdoor learning space sometime next year by utilizing an empty space and a $3,500 grant.

C.O. Wilson Middle School is hosting an ongoing event called backpack buddies, where students in need can grab a backpack full of hygiene products, groceries and necessities.

Nederland High School is in the middle of raising funds for C.A.S.A, a plan that will be revealed around Valentine’s Day.

“We are teaching our students that there is more to school than just academics,” Perez said. “We are working with the whole child and teaching them to give back to our community.”

Schools that have already completed unity/volunteer projects include all the elementary campuses. Highland made turkeys and food baskets for families in need during Thanksgiving. Hillcrest students raised money for local charities. Langham students, along with the Parent Teacher Association, helped use spare change to buy underprivileged students books at the book fair.