November 22, 2016
School Priority Day visitor Jeff Newman peeks through a microscope during his tour of a veterinary medicine classroom at Cy-Fair High School on Nov. 14.
Nov. 22, 2016—Cypress-Fairbanks ISD welcomed more than 100 community members, including elected officials, to see public education in action during the inaugural School Priority Day on Nov. 14.
Modeled after the “Make Education a Priority” resolution launched by districts in the Dallas/Fort Worth area in 2011, the event launched and concluded at the Berry Center. Guests took school buses to and from the facility to take student-led tours of school buildings.
Cypress Woods High School physics teacher Bob Chaya, right, meets District 126 State Rep. Kevin Roberts during School Priority Day on Nov. 14.
“We liked the idea of opening our schools up to legislators before they go into session, and to show our community and elected officials how technology is being used and how curriculum is being implemented,” said Bob Covey, CFISD Board member. “Legislators need to see and know what’s going on in our public schools before they make laws that affect them.”
Texas representatives who participated in School Priority Day were Rep. Kevin Roberts (District 126), Rep. Dr. Tom Oliverson (District 130) and Rep. Mike Schofield (District 132).
District 130 State Rep. Dr. Tom Oliverson speaks with his student tour guide at Woodard Elementary School on School Priority Day.
Rep. Oliverson said the 21st-century learning environment he toured at Woodard Elementary School was impressive.
“Gone are the days of the quiet classroom. I saw a lot of collaboration and a lot of small groups,” he said. “I was really impressed with the technology and the layout of the school, which utilized a lot of natural light. I had a great tour and I’m really proud of the work you all are doing in Cy-Fair.”
Assistant Principal John Edmun and A. Robison Elementary School students answer questions about the school to School Priority Day campus visitors on Nov. 14.
During his visit of Cy-Fair High School, Rep. Schofield observed several regular-education subjects, as well as career and technical education courses including engineering, culinary arts, veterinary medicine, welding, woodworking and Air Force Junior ROTC.
“The thing I was most impressed with is the level of technology. I’ve been through three classes and I haven’t seen a book yet,” he said. “Those of us who are getting older have a view of schools that was formed when we were there. I don’t think they’re using the stone tablets and chisels I used when I was in school. It’s important to get an updated view of how we’re delivering education.”
Cy-Fair High School engineering teacher Deanna Beach shares student projects with School Priority Day visitors, including District 132 State Rep. Mike Schofield, far right.
A visiting group from Sweden also participated in School Priority Day to see American schools firsthand.
Other schools that groups toured included A. Robison Elementary School and Cypress Woods High School.
School Priority Day visitor Chuck Brandman speaks with Principal Gary Kinninger during his tour of Cypress Woods High School on Nov. 14.
Guests finished the day back at the Berry Center, where they shared lunch and offered their perspective on the experience. Dr. Mark Henry, superintendent of schools, shared some closing thoughts with the visitors.
“We are trying to get the good news out about CFISD,” he said. “We have been told over the last several years that the competition is good, but we believe we still have the best product. Those of you who own houses and businesses and want to see an area prosper know you have to have a quality education system in place. We are going to continue to serve this community by providing that.”
Travis Fanning, CFISD assistant superintendent of secondary school administration, greets School Priority Day visitors as they exit their bus at Cy-Fair High School on Nov. 14.
Woodard Elementary School visitors see how students are using technology during School Priority Day on Nov. 14.