HPISD has long been known as one of the best school districts in the state, if not in the nation. Do you believe this is still true and if not, what would you do to revitalize HPISD's standing?
Both Candidates for HPISD Board of Trustees were asked this question, here are their answers:
Sam Dalton Reply
I firmly believe that the HPISD remains one of the best school districts in the state and the nation. The fact that my wife and I live in the Park Cities and send our four children to our schools is evidence of this belief.
The question we should be asking, however, is do we want the HPISD schools to be "good public schools" or do we want them to be "good schools" when measured against all schools, public and private. Public universities like the University of Virginia are dealing with this very question.
The residents of the Park Cities demand excellence, and consequently deserve that our schools be considered "good schools" as a whole. With the difference in the amount spent per student in private schools compared to the HPISD schools, this is going to take some leadership and creative thinking.
I look forward to the opportunity to take on this challenge.
Please take the time to vote on May 14.
Amy Titus Reply
In 2010, both Newsweek and U.S. News and World Reports ranked HPISD as one of the top high schools in the country and all of HPISD’s campuses are rated as exemplary by the state of Texas. So, by current standards, HPISD is clearly still one of the best. And, if you remember the challenges posed by Robin Hood and increases in student enrollment, this has been no trivial accomplishment.
What worries me is not how well HPISD has done, but how well it will continue to do. Long-term changes in the job market, the world economy and college admissions are creating enormous stresses for new graduates. Jobs and careers are uncertain and some of HPISD’s best graduates are still struggling to find jobs or meaningful careers. Sooner or later, this all brings about changes in the school district. We must ascertain how to best prepare our kids with the basic skills and attitudes that will give them the best chances going forward.
We should revisit foreign languages in our schools but not as simply a check-off item but as a path to being multi-lingual. We should revisit our math instruction because a majority of the jobs in highest demand have a strong math foundation. We should revisit our English and communications because bookstores and libraries don’t play as strong a role in our children’s lives as they did when we ourselves were kids. In brief, the world is changing dramatically and HPISD should be prepared to change too. We have to resist the urge to teach to the test and have faith that if we truly educate our children and teach them to be thinkers and learners, they will do well on standardized tests. I believe that we need to do whatever we can to recruit, hire and retain top-notch teachers and keep the class sizes as low as possible. While there are significant budget challenges, it doesn’t mean that we can’t prioritize the monies we do have to spend.