Photo: Dr. Jose Parra shares his thanks for the many contributions made by IISD Partners in Education. /Photo by Courtney Ouellette
An evening of praise and appreciation was hosted by Irving ISD’s Partners in Education in honor of the program’s 30th year on Tuesday, Jan. 19. Presented in the Irving ISD Administration Building’s atrium, the reception and ceremony recognized local businesses that dedicate time and money to Irving schools.
“We are just so honored to be here tonight, but even more, so grateful for all of the ways that you partner with our schools,” Leslie Weaver, Irving ISD director of communications said.
“We know that your partnership helps bring activities to our students, to make sure that they’re achieving at their maximum potential. You provide wonderful incentives for our teachers. You come together with our schools to make Irving a great community,” she said.
Weaver also recognized the contributions of students to the evening’s atmosphere, including the Nimitz High School culinary students who provided anniversary cupcakes for the event, art students whose work was displayed around the atrium, and the Nimitz students responsible for creating the floral arrangements.
In addition to thanking the current ISD partners, Randy Randle, president of the board of trustees, recognized his fellow board members for their dedication to the schools.
“It’s really an honor to represent our school board,” Randle said. “We have a fantastic board of trustees that is focused on students, parents and teachers. It’s really a team effort. As a volunteer board member, we contribute our time, not for recognition or credit. Like you, our partners in education, we get involved because we care about student achievement; we care about our kids living a productive life after they leave our campuses. That drives us to serve, and I know that drives you to volunteer your time and resources, and we greatly appreciate it.”
Randle takes his dedication to the district one step further.
“In addition to serving on the board, my family is also involved with Bowie Middle School. We’ve been doing stuff with Bowie for a while and officially became a partner last week,” Randle said.
“We provide cutting boards that administrators use to give out to teachers for gifts as door prizes, incentives, whatever. We also help contribute to a rolling cart of snacks that are for teachers’ rooms, just for a nice little break for them during the day.
“It’s a very small way that we can give back. But from what I understand, the teachers really appreciate it. We’re going to continue to grow that partnership, and we’re looking forward to it,” he said.
The Irving ISD’s Partners in Education program began in 1986 and has grown and evolved over the decades. It currently boasts over 220 partners.
“Participation of the business community in our schools is welcome and necessary for healthy school climate. As a result, this program provides students the opportunity to benefit from the knowledge and expertise of key people in the community,” said a note written by former superintendent Jack Singley.
The district’s current superintendent, Dr. Joes Parra, outlined some of the measurable impact the 200 plus partners made last year.
“Businesses large and small, faith based groups, community organizations working hand in hand with us at Irving ISD to offer students the best education possible,” Parra said.
“Irving ISD is fortunate to be part of a city that is dynamic and has a heart for service. Partners contribute more than 8,000 volunteer hours at our schools annually. The impact our partners make in our district equates to more than $210,000. It’s phenomenal,” he said.
Looking forward to future growth and success, Thelma Cantu, the partnerships in education coordinator, summed up the district’s appreciation.
“Thirty years of partnerships, isn’t that incredible? The partnership program began with a handful of partners in 1986 and has grown significantly over the last three decades,” Cantu said. “We appreciate the decades of service that your companies and groups have given tirelessly to our students, our teachers and our schools, and look forward to many more years of productive collaboration to come.”