TO: Northwest ISD Students, Parents/Caregivers, and Staff

FROM: Ryder Warren, Superintendent

SUBJECT: Superintendent Update

For our students, families, and staff – we’ve waited a long time to say this … we made it to the end of the 2020-2021 school year! Considering all of the challenges we faced this year, I am personally thrilled to say that. In light of all of those challenges, I am amazed and impressed by how well our students and staff overcame. This year has been unlike any other we have had – and hopefully will ever have. I cannot begin to list all we have accomplished together … and working together was truly the key this year. We had so many mountains to climb, but more times than not, we stuck to our purpose and our mission, and our students excelled.

All of our students need to be celebrated, but a very special “shout out” to our senior class. All four high schools are graduating phenomenal young men and women, and they have overcome so much these last 16 months. They will forever be remembered as THAT senior class that persevered and overcame to be the successes they are. We have one more very important activity for them – graduation. We will say goodbye to our Steele Accelerated seniors tonight in the NHS Vernon Solomon Performing Arts Center, and we plan to hold the ceremonies for our three comprehensive high schools on Tuesday, June 1, at the NISD Stadium. 

For all our seniors, families, and staff who are watching the weather, please know we will be ready to improvise and adapt if the weather interferes with the ceremonies at the stadium. We might have to change times, we might have to hold some of the ceremonies the next day (Wednesday, June 2), but we will get them in, and we will have as many family members there to celebrate as we can pack into the stadium. If any of our schedules do change on Tuesday, we have a communication system set up, so everyone will know the new plans if need be, and we will roll with it.

At the bottom of this update are several items of information to help everyone prepare for the summer and the new school year. Probably the most important link is to register for the new school year – all families (current and new) need to do this as soon as you can. 

As all of us prepare for the 2021-2022 school year, please remember we are back to business as usual next year (or at least as normal as we can be in our everchanging world). The 2020-2021 COVID protocols will expire June 4 (so masks will no longer be required, and visitors can be on campus), and we will welcome ALL students back in our schools with In-Person Learning. In case you missed it, the decision to offer In-Person Learning only was finalized by our School Board on Monday night. We believe students learn best – and that we do our job the best – when teachers and students are together, face-to-face. 

I know and understand that there are still students and families with health concerns, and I can assure you that your school and your child’s team will work with you. To accommodate those students with extenuating circumstances, we are prepared to increase our homebound services for those students who qualify. 

The last item for our students, parents, and caregivers is just the realization about the coming school year. We all need to have a wonderful (and as stress free as we can get it) summer. But we also need to be resolute about our challenges for the new year, because 2021-2022 is probably more critical for our students than any previous year. 

Parents and caregivers of students who took the STAAR or EOC exams this year will start getting results in June. As I stated during my Facebook Live presentation this week, if you see your student has regressed on their scores, please do not panic. With everything our kids and our teachers have been through these last 16 months, every school district is experiencing an academic “slide.” My advice for parents is to truly dig into these scores when you have access and see what areas your student’s scores might have dipped. Every NISD campus is doing the same thing, and we will be ready to address this slide. Working together with our students and our families, our goal is to have every NISD student back to pre-COVID achievement. Again, we have to work together on this, but it is more than attainable for our children. 

I cannot say “thank you” enough to all of our NISD stakeholders (students, families, and staff) for everything you’ve done this year. We will get back to normal, but we will also be stronger going forward because of what we have done this year to take care of our children. Thank you for supporting them and supporting our schools. Everyone have a wonderful summer!

Ryder Warren, Superintendent
Northwest Independent School District