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Dear Parents and Friends of BBES,

I hope you and your family have had a restful summer break, and
that you’re as excited about the coming school year as I am.

As you’ve probably heard or seen on our marquee, we received


some fantastic news from the Texas Education Agency last week.
Bill Brown Elementary achieved a 2007 rating of, “Exemplary”
based on our students’ scores on the Texas Assessment of
Knowledge and Skills (TAKS).

This rating is quite an achievement, and I’m so very proud of our


kids and teachers that I can’t resist bragging on them! To put this
into perspective for you, I checked on the accountability ratings of
all schools within a four county area north of San Antonio and
west of I-35 (Blanco, Comal, Hays, and Kendall Counties). There
are a total of 88 public schools in the towns of San Marcos,
Wimberley, Dripping Springs, New Braunfels, Bulverde/Spring
Branch, Blanco, Johnson City, Boerne, Comfort, and places in
between. Of these 88 schools, we’re one of only four which rated
Exemplary for 2007 (our neighbors down Highway 46, Arlon Seay
Intermediate, are another of the four. Our congratulations go out
to them!). Never in our school's 16-year history has the rating of
Exemplary been achieved until this year.

This reflects a high level of proficiency among our students and a


lot of support coming from you at home. It also represents some
hard work and dedication among our fine group of teachers,
paraprofessionals, and support staff. I’m a lucky guy to get to
work with these folks because they’re truly outstanding and they
deserve mountains of praise. Willie Nelson sings, “my heroes
have always been cowboys…” but I’d like to tell you that my
heroes have always been teachers, and if you knew Bill Brown
teachers the way I do, you’d know why!
I want to share some of the secrets of their success:

1. Bill Brown teachers plan lessons together well. Every


Thursday while your children are at Specials classes, grade levels
meet to share ideas, effective strategies, and materials. When it
was time for our third and fourth grade teachers to devise a
tutoring plan to get kids ready for the TAKS tests, our Specials
team worked with groups of kids as well, lowering student to
teacher ratios for tutoring while practicing specialized skills with
kids who didn’t need tutoring. These ’06-’07 BBES examples of
collaboration are typical of highly-successful schools.

2. Bill Brown teachers engage kids and get them excited about
learning. High test scores are nice to celebrate, but the rich,
meaningful learning experiences which naturally lead to those
high scores come first, and teachers here are mindful of that fact.

3. Bill Brown teachers use data collected from various


assessments to inform their instruction. They study the data to
find out what kids understand, and to figure out where kids need
some extra practice. Lessons are planned based on these
determinations, allowing teachers to accelerate through material
which kids easily grasp and slow down to re-teach concepts which
are more difficult.

4. Bill Brown teachers understand that “one size does not fit
all” when it comes to teaching kids. The educational phrase for
that idea is “differentiated instruction”, but what it means for your
child is that if they need to be challenged more, you can expect
for them to be challenged, and if they need a teacher to slow
down and explain a skill or concept in a different way, you can
expect that, as well.

5. Most importantly, the teachers and support staff of Bill


Brown are simply good people. They love kids and are very
dedicated to this profession. When I began working here a year
ago, I was extremely thankful to find that the school’s culture was
so healthy. Many schools don’t enjoy the collegiality exhibited
here, and that harmony filters directly to the kids, who obviously
benefit from it.

Give your kids a hug for us! We love them very much, and we
can’t wait to see them again on the afternoon of August 23rd at
“Meet the Teacher”. Pat yourselves on the back, as well.
Exemplary status takes teamwork, and we couldn’t have done it
without you! You send us great kids every morning and you
reinforce at home what we work on here at school.

Finally, I’ll ask you to help me out in this way: when you and your
children return to campus in the coming weeks, please join me in
taking some time to congratulate our teachers and staff for an
outstanding ’06-’07, and wish them well for a fantastic ’07-’08. It
means very much to folks working in schools, whether we’re
teachers or nurses or assistants or librarians or secretaries, when
we’re encouraged and supported by you.

Wishing you and your kids a Happy New Year!

Ross McGlothlin
Principal, Bill Brown Elementary
ross.mcglothlin@comalisd.org
830.885.1400

P.S. Please spread the word among members of the BBES


community who are not signed up for the bbes listserv that I plan
to use it to communicate frequently this year. To U.S. mail this
letter to every BBES household would use up almost $300 of our
budget- money I'd rather direct toward instruction, library books,
field trips, etc... As you know, signing up for the listserv is easy.
Direct folks to www.comalisd.org and tell them to click on "Comal
ISD Hot News".