Ponderosa Elementary School Principal Shanna Swearingen, from left, and Counselor Jennifer Meehan, center, coordinate donations for their students’ families who were hard hit by flooding.
HOUSTON – Sept. 22, 2017 – Hundreds of Spring ISD employees will take to the streets on Saturday, Sept. 30 in a special walk designed to check in on families and students, many of whom are still recovering from Hurricane Harvey.
The walk will serve a two-fold purpose, according to Dr. Lupita Hinojosa, the district’s chief of School Leadership and Student Support Services.
“We really want to see how our families are doing five weeks out from Harvey to connect them with resources if they need them and to show them that we’re here to support them,” she said. The goal, she said, is to help address any issues that might be keeping students from coming to school.
Although the walk falls in September, which is designated as Attendance Awareness month across the country, in Spring, the focus on improving attendance among both students and staff will be a year-long priority.
“Our students can’t learn if they aren’t coming to school every day,” said Spring ISD Superintendent Dr. Rodney Watson. “An important step in improving academic achievement is making sure students aren’t missing classes.”
Hurricane Harvey already posed a big challenge, forcing the district to close for two weeks, just as the new school year had started. The Texas Education Agency granted a waiver that means the district won’t have to make up the lost days. But Hinojosa said teachers and campus leaders are determined to make everyday count.
“We had already named our campaign ‘EVERYday Counts, Attendance Matters,’ before the hurricane hit, but those words mean a lot more today, because essentially we have no time to waste with our students,” said Hinojosa.
Employees who visit families will hand out information on resources if needed.
Ponderosa Elementary Principal Shanna Swearingen has already been in touch with hundreds of families since the hurricane, which devastated the neighborhood around the school.
She said she and her campus staff are looking forward to the Sept. 30 community walk to show their support for those still dealing with the emotional and financial stress from the storm.
“If Hurricane Harvey showed us anything, it’s that we are a family here in Spring ISD, and that we’ll be there for each other, no matter what,” Swearingen said.