Did anyone else get goosebumps on Sept. 11 when Roger Moore read the following statement over the public announcement system before the Burnet Bulldogs’ football game against Boerne?
“On Patriot Day, we solemnly remember the nearly 3,000 people who perished on September 11, 2001. With gratitude, we honor the brave first responders, resolute members of our military, and ordinary Americans who showed extraordinary courage to save others on that fateful day.”
What about when Andrew Hicks, Burnet High School band director played “Taps,” or when the Burnet band played its traditional “Amazing Grace” during a moment of silence?
I did, and it reminded me why I am so proud to be an American and live in the small town of Burnet. I never want to take our community for granted because the things I just described don’t happen in every community or in every school district, as evidenced by an email I received on Sept. 12.
It read: “I am a trustee on the Boerne ISD Board of Trustees and a loyal Greyhound and Charger fan. I would like to extend both my compliments and gratitude for the outstanding pre-game ceremony held at last night’s Bulldog-Greyhound football game. The combination of a moment of silence, the praise for those who serve our country, followed by the band’s playing of Amazing Grace was very moving and truly touched my heart. More school districts in Texas and indeed, throughout our nation, should follow Burnet CISD’s example. Please extend my appreciation to all who played a role in Friday night’s game.”
This email is a great reminder that, sometimes, the smallest acts can have the greatest impact.
It is hard to believe, but Friday, Sept. 25, represents the last day of the first six-weeks grading period. Friday is slated as a student holiday and staff-planning day. Our staff will utilize the time to plan for the second six-weeks grading period, which includes preparing for more in-person learners. As I have shared previously, when we started the school year, approximately 70 percent of our students chose in-person learning and 30 percent selected remote learning. As we enter the next grading period, the percentage of in-person learners will increase to approximately 80 percent of our students.
Offering both in-person instruction and remote instruction, in addition to developing and implementing COVID-mitigating protocols, has been very challenging. It is important to remember that we were one of the first school districts in the state to reopen and to offer both options of instructional settings; the first to do something that has never been done before. The Texas Education Agency didn’t finalize the rules or requirements for remote instruction until late July. To receive funding, a district’s remote instruction plan must be approved by TEA, and Burnet CISD was one of the first districts in the state to have its plan approved. Currently, only 20 percent of districts have had their remote instruction plan approved.
All of our plans have not been perfect in design or deployment, but we have continued to make refinements and adjustments as an organization based on feedback from our stakeholders. We will continue to focus on continuous improvement. Even with the challenges of COVID, our staff has worked tirelessly to not only meet the academic needs of our students, but they have also created a sense of normalcy through hosting events like the homecoming parade and bonfire, spirit days, and athletic competitions.
In talking with some our teachers, I have heard a common theme of them working harder than they have ever worked before and way out of their comfort zone. As we wrap up the first six weeks of school, please join me in thanking our teachers and staff for all of their hard work in rising to the occasion and demonstrating perseverance and resilience in order to meet the needs of our students.
Keith McBurnett is the superintendent of Burnet Consolidated Independent School District.