Raise Your Hand Texas Hosts Educational Leadership Luncheon

Pasadena ISD Leaders Talk Education at Raise Your Hand Texas Luncheon
Posted on 11/04/2013
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Raise Your Hand Texas and Pasadena ISD leaders gather for a luncheon at the Frank Braden Educational Center to discuss ways of strengthening Texas public schools. Pictured here (from left): Raise Your Hand Texas CEO Dr. David Anthony, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kirk Lewis, Morales Elementary Principal Kathy Connolly, and Bondy Intermediate Principal David Connolly.
*  Raise Your Hand Texas (RYHT), a non-profit educational advocacy organization, hosted a luncheon at the Frank Braden Education Center on Wednesday, Oct. 30 to discuss major initiatives and legislation impacting Texas public schools. 
  Despite heavy rain, the event attracted about 60 Pasadena ISD administrators, board of trustees, business executives and other community leaders from around the area who discussed ways of improving the public school system and how RYHT positively impacted their lives. 
  “We’re talking about who we are as Raise Your Hand Texas; what we’re doing to invest in public education and the importance of having community leaders work with our public schools to ensure that we’re getting a quality workforce from every segment of the economy – doctors, lawyers, to industrial technicians, but that everyone needs to be postsecondary ready,” Dr. David Anthony, CEO of Raise Your Hand Texas said.
  The event, coordinated by Raise Your Hand Texas Community Ambassador Laura Ewing, was the latest in a series of luncheons across the state aimed at gathering local educators together to talk about ways of supporting Texas public schools. 
  Keynote speakers included Bondy Intermediate Principal Daniel Connolly, Morales Elementary Principal Kathy Connolly, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kirk Lewis and Raise Your Hand Texas CEO and Former Cy-Fair Superintendent Dr. David Anthony. 
  Both principals shared personal experiences and lessons learned while they attended the Harvard Graduate School of Education Institute, a national leadership program that teaches educators how to lead change.
  Daniel Connolly talked about the benefits of integrating special needs students into traditional learning environments as a means of meeting the needs of all students, while his traveling partner and wife, Kathy, learned about the power of instructional rounds as a means of improving teaching and measuring growth among students and teachers. 
  Dr. Lewis reflected on changes in Pasadena ISD over the past 30 years and how the district has adjusted in order to enhance the educational needs of students of all backgrounds, including committed efforts to provide career readiness options for students and strengthen the workforce in the area. 
  He also discussed the benefits of House Bill 5 (HB 5), which expands options for student success. 
  “The next key is ensuring that the State Board of Education does not try to take away the course flexibility created by the passage of House Bill 5 during the last legislative session,” Lewis said. “Without the new flexibility it will be harder for students to complete a full career and technical program.
  Dr. Anthony raised awareness about several major initiatives discussed at the 2013 legislative session, including charter schools, public school funding vouchers, graduation requirements. He also talked about how Raise Your Hand Texas advocates for public policies that positively affect Texas schools. 
  “The purpose of these luncheons is to engage and inform citizens to improve our Texas schools,” Dr. Anthony said. “If you’re not concerned about Pasadena ISD, then no one else will be. So we are trying on the local level to make sure that you do have people who are engaged in making a positive impact on your students.” 
  The event was well received by community leaders.
  “It was certainly very informative to listen to the presentations from Raise Your Hand Texas,” Judge Jo Ann Delgado of Precinct 2 said. “I learned quite a bit and I am so grateful of an organization on a statewide level that recognizes that every student my not have it in their resources to attend a four-year university or college, but we are tapping into our students and giving them hope and preparing them for a career that is affordable to them in the future.”


Dr. Lewis

David Connolly

Kathy Connolly