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 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 and tell them to click on "Comal ISD Hot News".