Waco ISD selects Saxenian as next Waco High principal

She has served as an assistant principal and dean at the campus for 21 years.

By Kyle DeBeer

Waco ISD Superintendent Dr. Susan Kincannon announced Friday, July 16, that she has selected Lisa Saxenian as the next principal of Waco High School. For more than two decades, Saxenian has helped lead the campus as its dean of academies and an assistant principal.

“A generation of Waco High families know Lisa as someone who has made a difference in their students’ lives,” Kincannon said. “Her commitment to the campus, its students and our community is unmatched, and I am confident that she is the right person to lead Waco High forward.”

Lisa Saxenian

Saxenian joined Waco ISD as a Spanish teacher in 1986 and became the assistant principal of Lake Air Middle in 1996. She moved to Waco High in 2000 to serve as one of the campus’s assistant principals and became the school’s dean of academies in 2016. Saxenian was honored as the Region 12 Secondary Teacher of the Year in 1992 and as the Region 12 Assistant Principal of the Year in 2006.

Saxenian knows the Waco High building inside and out. In addition to serving as an administrator there for 21 years, she is a 1980 graduate of Richfield High, as the campus was known before Waco ISD consolidated high schools in 1986.

“Waco High is home for me in more ways than one,” Saxenian said. “As both a Richfield Ram and a Lion, I’ve seen the pride that our community has in this school. There is a team of educators here that goes to work everyday committed to helping kids excel, and I am honored to have the opportunity to lead them in service to our students.”

Saxenian becomes principal at a momentous time for the campus. Earlier this year, a community advisory committee recommended that Waco ISD replace the existing Waco High building with a new campus at the same location. The school board is currently weighing whether to ask voters to approve issuing bonds to fund the construction of a new Waco High and other facilities. That decision could come as soon as next month.

“Education has changed since Waco High was built in 1961,” Saxenian said. “Regardless of where they live or which high school they are zoned to attend, every student in our district deserves the same educational opportunities, including a modern learning environment.”

Saxenian succeeds James Stewart, who became the principal of Waco High in 2019. Stewart will become the dean of academies at University High.

Kyle DeBeer is chief of staff of Waco ISD.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email Ferrell Foster at [email protected].

Waco ISD names Gutierrez deputy superintendent

She brings more than two decades of experience in educational leadership to the role.

By Josh Wucher

Waco ISD Superintendent Dr. Susan Kincannon has selected Dr. Josie Gutierrez as deputy superintendent starting in August. Gutierrez is now Waco ISD’s assistant superintendent for human resources. Prior to that, she was a consultant on educational leadership and held senior leadership positions in some of the largest school districts in Texas.

Josie Gutierrez

“We were fortunate to recruit someone with Josie’s experience to lead our human resources department,” Kincannon said. “In that role, she has worked closely with principals for the past two years supporting them as they recruit, develop and retain great teams to serve our kids. In her new role, Josie will work even more closely with our campus leaders to give them the support they need to make a difference for our students.”

As deputy superintendent, Gutierrez will provide leadership and direction for all Waco ISD schools, working closely with principals to ensure that their priorities are aligned with the district’s strategic plan. In addition to serving as the district’s senior administrator in the superintendent’s absence, she will oversee major projects that involve multiple departments.

Gutierrez is also one of three Waco ISD leaders who have been tapped to participate in the inaugural cohort of The Holdsworth Center’s school leadership pipeline program. The center’s materials describe the 18-month program as an effort to “build internal leadership capacity, with the end goal of having a strong bench of leaders ready to step into school leader positions when they arise.”

Gutierrez previously served as the chief of schools officer in Spring ISD, an assistant superintendent for school leadership in Dallas ISD, and as district steward and director of school leadership in Fort Worth ISD. Her consulting work has taken her across the country in support of the University of Virginia Partnership for Leadership in Education Program and the Woodrow Wilson MBA Fellowship in Education Leadership among other projects.

“I’ve worked in school districts across the state and around the country, but this community’s willingness to invest in making sure that every student has access to a great education stands out,” Gutierrez said. “That commitment became evident to me this past spring during the long-range facilities planning process. More than 60 parents, educators and community members spent five months studying our facilities needs. Their recommendations focused on addressing the all too dramatic differences in the condition of our school buildings in order to provide more equitable and modern facilities for our students – especially our middle school and high school students.”

Gutierrez has a doctorate and a master’s degree in education administration from the University of North Texas. Her undergraduate degree from Texas Christian University is in education. She holds current principal and superintendent certifications.

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The community advisory committee recommended that the district replace Waco High, G.W. Carver Middle, Tennyson Middle and Kendrick Elementary with new schools built in the same locations as those existing campuses. The committee also recommended renovating South Waco Elementary. Waco ISD’s school board is currently reviewing the committee’s recommendations and could decide as early as next month whether to seek voter approval to issue bonds to fund the projects.

Joshua Wucher is Waco ISD’s executive director for communications.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email Ferrell Foster at [email protected].

Waco ISD trustees approve $10,000 retention bonuses for teachers

Custodians and cafeteria workers will receive a $1,000 incentive for hard-to-fill positions.

By Josh Wucher

During Thursday night’s school board meeting, Waco ISD trustees unanimously approved a multi-year plan to pay classroom teachers $10,000 in retention. The district will use $8.1 million from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief grant to fund the bonuses over the next three school years.

Dr. Susan Kincannon

“Considering the shortage of certified teachers throughout the State of Texas, it’s essential that we show our appreciation and encourage our best and brightest to stay in Waco ISD,” Superintendent Dr. Susan Kincannon said. “Getting our teachers in place, providing our students with stability is really important right now and we want our students to succeed.”

The retention bonuses are structured in tiered payments depending on teacher start dates. For teachers beginning this August, a total retention bonus of $10,000 will be divided into three payouts across December 2022, December 2023 and September 2024; for new hires starting August 2022, $5,000 will be divided into two payouts across December 2023 and September 2024; and new hires starting August 2023 will receive a one-time payment of $2,500 in September 2024. 

“Our educators placed themselves on the front lines during this pandemic, and we have the funds to show that not only do we value our teachers, we want them to stay with us,” Board President Angela Tekell said. “These retention bonuses reflect the Board’s and district’s ongoing commitment to staying competitive in recruiting and retaining hardworking educators who are passionate about addressing our students’ academic and social emotional needs.”

The Board also approved an additional $500,500 in ESSER funding for retention bonuses for custodians and cafeteria workers. There will be three total payouts based on the employee’s years of service with the district: 0-4 years – $500; 5-9 years – $750; and 10+ years – $1000. The three payout dates are December of 2022 and 2023 and September of 2024. 

“We average about 12-15 custodial vacancies and 35-40 cafeteria worker vacancies at any given time during the school year,” Kincannon said. “Though these positions are hard to fill, they are incredibly rewarding jobs for people who care about our kids and want to make a difference.”

Joshua Wucher is Waco ISD’s executive director for communications.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email Ferrell Foster at [email protected].

Waco ISD names new principal for South Waco Elementary

By Josh Wucher

South Waco Elementary School is welcoming Lauren Frasure as its newest principal. Frasure is currently an assistant principal at Cesar Chavez Middle School, where she has worked for nine years. 

Lauren Frasure

“I’m looking forward to continuing the rich history established at South Waco,” Frasure said. “I am eager to help our staff be the best versions of themselves in order to help our Spartans grow academically, socially, and emotionally in the coming school years.”

Frasure has served in a number of roles at Cesar Chavez including teacher, instructional specialist, dean, and assistant principal. She taught sixth-grade math in Killeen ISD before joining Waco ISD.

“While at Cesar Chavez, Lauren has spent almost a decade building relationships with students who attended South Waco Elementary,” Dr. Susan Kincannon, Waco ISD superintendent said. “These strong connections, along with the knowledge and skills that she has developed to analyze student achievement data and coach for effective instruction, will serve Lauren well as she leads the South Waco Elementary campus.”

Frasure received a bachelor of science in education with a specialization in middle school mathematics from Baylor University and a master’s degree in education from Lamar University. Recently, she was part of the inaugural group of Waco ISD’s Academy for Aspiring School Leaders, a professional development program launched in February to recruit, train, support and retain high-quality leaders.

Joshua Wucher is Waco ISD’s executive director for communications.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email Ferrell Foster at [email protected].

Waco ISD feeding the future with Summer Food Service Program

By Maddie McNamee

On June 14, the Waco ISD Summer Food Service Program returned to Waco with promises to provide meals for all children ages 1-18, regardless of their enrollment in school. The program, which has been in effect in Waco for a few years now, was a saving grace for many families last year who were financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Food insecurity became a global issue as income began to dwindle and everyday expenses remained. The Summer Food Service Program took some of the financial burden away from struggling caretakers and ensured that no child would have to worry where their next meal came from. 

Summer meals are being served at Crestview Elementary School Friday morning, as well as at 37 other Waco ISD locations.

With the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine and the end of the pandemic in sight, Waco seems to be showing signs of healing. Businesses are reopening, restrictions are being lifted, and people are reuniting with their loved ones. Going for a quick drive around Waco only to get stuck in traffic feels like things are slowly going back to normal.

Despite these returns to normalcy, food insecurity is still a very real and prevalent problem in Waco. An issue before the coronavirus, the challenge of putting food on the table, only became greater when the world went into lockdown. It is easy to wish for things to go back to normal, but it is also important to remember that while the option to go to a restaurant is now available, not everyone has the financial ability to do so after such a challenging year.

The Waco Independent School District identified these difficulties that residents of Waco were facing and not only brought the Summer Food Service Program back, but expanded it substantially, making it easier for children to have access to a free breakfast and lunch seven days a week. With 38 locations serving the free meals at designated times, every child in Waco should have the opportunity to enjoy the return of a semi-normal summer without the pangs of hunger. 

The service will run Monday through Friday, with the exception of July 5, when it will close for the Independence Day holiday. Packaged meals will be available to pick up for the weekend on Fridays. With the return of school in the fall, the program will end August 18. For more information on service times, locations, and updates, you can head to https://www.wacoisd.org/summermeals. Many of these schools are seeking volunteers and if you would like to help operate a Summer Food Service Program site, check out https://www.fns.usda.gov/sfsp/summer-food-service-program to see if you are eligible. 

Maddie McNamee is a creative writing intern with Act Locally Waco. She is a student-athlete at Baylor University and is pursuing a major in Professional Writing and Rhetoric. 

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email Ferrell Foster at [email protected].

Waco ISD celebrates Class of 2021 at commencement ceremonies

By Josh Wucher

More than 750 Waco ISD seniors from Waco, University, and Brazos high schools crossed the stage during graduation ceremonies this weekend at the district’s athletic complex. 

University High School Commencement

Waco ISD joined parents, family, and friends in recognizing graduates as they capped off their high school experience as the Class of 2021. It was a special celebration of all that the students had accomplished.

“My heart is filled with pride,” Dr. Susan Kincannon, Waco ISD superintendent, expressed to seniors. “How this class, the Class of 2021, has met this moment is inspiring. You have reinvented traditions like prom, embraced new ways of learning, overcome quarantines, and excelled.”

The Class of 2021’s resilience throughout the pandemic was a topic of many graduation speeches.

“We thrived because we did not give up despite all the obstacles we had to overcome,” Emily Alvarado, University High School salutatorian said. “We all went through experiences that changed us, but helped shape us to who we are today.”

Waco High School Salutatorian Bonnie Gibson echoed that sentiment.

Waco High School Commencement

“Saying that this year has been unusual would be quite the understatement,” she said. “Yet in spite of it all, we have made it to this day. … As you enter into a new chapter of life, face whatever challenges that may come with determination and perseverance.”

Karin Rodriguez and Evelyn Guevara, University and Waco high school valedictorians respectively, acknowledged how much their families helped guide them on their 13-year educational journey, as well as honored their Hispanic heritage.

“I personally am proud of my Hispanic origin and proud to be a son of Mexican immigrants, who traveled here to make a better life for me and my brothers,” Rodriguez said. “Even though they had their own hardships and came home from work tired and drained, they constantly pushed me to do my best. … Because of their constant support, I am forever grateful.”

Guevara, Waco High’s first Hispanic female valedictorian, similarly shared a pride in being a first-generation student.

“Thank you to my parents, who immigrated to the United States with nothing, to give me everything. This is for you and by you,” she said. “As much as we have grown and matured over the years, Waco ISD has grown alongside us. They have given us the opportunities and the platform to become the best version of ourselves … I am very proud to say that I am a product of Waco ISD for this reason.”

Speaking to that foundational vision of supporting students, School Board Vice President Stephanie Korteweg said Waco High’s Class of 2021 represents the latest chapter in the school’s history, which dates back more than a century to a building on Columbus Avenue.

“While the location has changed over the years and new buildings have replaced old, the school’s legacy of preparing students to succeed beyond its walls remains constant,” she said. 

Korteweg also emphasized the united team of University staff and administrators, along with friends and families, who have encouraged and guided students throughout their time in Waco ISD.

“This community won’t come to an end when you walk across this stage,” she said. “You will share these moments with your fellow graduates for the rest of your life, and no matter where that life takes you, we will be cheering you on.” 

Principals concluded each ceremony with words of wisdom they typically share during morning announcements.

“We encourage you to remember two things: [Our Goal] Love, Serve, and Care; and Once a Trojan, Always a Trojan,” Ricky Edison, principal of University High, said.

“Graduates, know your worth; know the greatness that you possess. You are here to win; you are born to win,” James Stewart, principal of Waco High, said.

Joshua Wucher is Waco ISD’s executive director for communications.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email Ferrell Foster at [email protected].

Dean named principal at Hillcrest PDS

By Josh Wucher

Hillcrest PDS Elementary School is welcoming Haley Dean as its newest principal. Dean is currently an assistant principal at Lake Air Montessori Magnet School, a position she has served in for the previous three years.

Haley Dean

“It’s been my joy and honor to call Lake Air home for over a decade,” Dean said. “I’m very excited to continue my journey as the next leader of Hillcrest’s amazing campus. My wish is to lead with the heart of a mother, mind of an educator and spirit of a servant leader.” 

Dean holds nearly 20 years of experience as an educator, more than half of which at Lake Air as a teacher, instructional coach, and assistant principal. She began her career in Conroe ISD as a fifth- and sixth-grade math and science teacher at Travis Intermediate School and then began teaching seventh- and eighth-grade math at Peet Junior High. She joined Waco ISD in 2009 as a sixth-grade math teacher at Lake Air Intermediate School.

“Haley has done a superb job as assistant principal at Lake Air, and I am confident she’ll continue empowering our staff to meet the needs of students and families in her new role at Hillcrest,” Waco ISD Superintendent Dr. Susan Kincannon said. “She is well versed in supporting the professional growth and development of our teachers. And I’m excited to see the dynamic leadership that she’ll bring to Hillcrest.”

Dean received a bachelor of science in interdisciplinary studies at Lamar University and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Texas at Arlington. 

“Waco ISD has tremendous, hardworking staff who all want what is best for our students,” 

Dean said. “I look forward to furthering our commitment to provide spaces where students know they belong and will have challenging learning experiences.”

Dean, who is succeeding Jennifer Lundquist, will begin her role in July. 

Joshua Wucher is Waco ISD’s executive director for communications.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email Ferrell Foster at [email protected].

Waco ISD recognizes 2020–21 outstanding teachers

Kendrick Elementary’s Isabel Lozano also announced as Principal of the Year.

By Joshua Wucher

Waco ISD celebrated top educators in May during a special virtual Outstanding Teacher ceremony. The annual event honors all of the district’s teachers of the year for their deep commitment to student success.

“Our outstanding teachers exemplify excellence in the classroom,” said Waco ISD Superintendent Dr. Susan Kincannon. “They create unique, hands-on experiences that make instruction engaging for students and help them grow. They are shining examples of what it means to meet our mission to provide an educational foundation that empowers and values all.”

Among the educators recognized, were Bell’s Hill Elementary School first-grade teacher Lindsey Melancon and University High School ninth-grade Pre-AP biology teacher Lacey Merrifield, the district’s outstanding elementary and secondary teachers of the year, respectively.

“A successful teacher has to display a level of enthusiasm and passion for what is being taught,” said Melancon, who has taught at Bell’s Hill for eight years. “I strongly believe if we can motivate young minds, then we have created life-long learners.”

Bell’s Hill Principal Rebekah Mechell describes Melancon as an educator that “goes above and beyond to serve her students, their parents and other staff” and creates a warm and positive culture.

“I believe in immersive learning that places students in local cultures, landscapes, opportunities and experiences that can create cross-curricular connections,” said Merrifield, who coaches junior varsity softball and freshman volleyball and has been teaching for 13 years.

“Coach Merrifield continues to challenge her students daily,” said University High School Principal Dr. Ricky Edison. “She routinely engages the students in rigorous coursework and hands-on projects. She has so much passion and energy that students just gravitate to her.”

At the ceremony, the district also honored Kelly Miah, a third-grade teacher at Hillcrest PDS, and David Gerada, an assistant band director at Cesar Chavez Middle School, as the Virginia DuPuy First Year Teachers of the Year.

Like the district’s outstanding teacher awards, the recipients of the Virginia DuPuy First Year Teacher of the Year awards are nominated by their respective campuses. Named for the former mayor and advocate for public education, the awards recognize one elementary and one secondary teacher, who are starting their careers in education.

Jennifer Lundquist, principal at Hillcrest PDS, describes Miah as having “a passion to motivate students to learn and a drive to give 110% to everything she does.”

Similarly, Cesar Chavez Principal Alonzo McAdoo, says Gerada “is an incredible teacher whose actions, level of commitment and ability to be here consistently for our students encourages us all to be anchored in student success.”

Another exciting celebration happened this month at the district’s principal leadership meeting where Kendrick Elementary School’s Isabel Lozano was surprised with the announcement that she was selected as the 2020-2021 Waco ISD Principal of the Year.

“My parents instilled in me that hard work plus determination equals success,” Lozano said. “This is a humbling experience, and I feel blessed to live and work in a community that puts our kids first.”

Lozano is in her third year as principal of Kendrick Elementary School. She has previously served as a classroom teacher, instructional specialist, academic advising coordinator, middle school assistant principal, and high school assistant principal.

Kincannon said: “With a heart for children and their families, Mrs. Lozano represents the best
kind of leader in Waco ISD. I have no doubt that many of our students can see themselves and
find inspiration in Isabel’s journey to the principalship.”

A recording of the full ceremony is available here.

Joshua Wucher is Waco ISD’s executive director for communications.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email Ferrell Foster at [email protected].

Community committee recommends big changes for four Waco ISD schools

The district’s school board will now consider whether to replace Waco High, G.W. Carver Middle, Tennyson Middle and Kendrick Elementary with new buildings.

By Joshua Wucher

For the past five months, a committee of more than 60 parents, educators, and other community members has been studying Waco ISD’s long-term facilities needs. Monday night, May 24, that group concluded their process by recommending that the district consider replacing four campuses with new buildings.

WISD’s Community Advisory Committee tours the facilities of Waco High School with O’Connell Robertson Architects, Dr. Kincannon, committee members, and campus staff.

Early in the committee’s process, members began focusing on some of the district’s oldest buildings: Waco High built in 1961, G.W. Carver and Tennyson middle schools built in the 1950s, and Kendrick Elementary built in 1952. While all four campuses have had some renovations in the intervening decades, the committee concluded that the buildings do not meet the educational needs of today’s students and that it makes more sense to replace the existing campuses with new buildings at their current location than to incur the high maintenance costs anticipated over the next 10 to 15 years.

In some cases, the committee also discussed replacing existing campuses with larger buildings that could serve more students and, in doing so, offer more academic programs while reducing administrative costs. One possibility discussed was to build a replacement for G.W. Carver Middle that would be large enough to accommodate the students currently attending both G.W. Carver and Indian Spring middle schools. Another was to build a larger Kendrick Elementary that could also serve many of the students now attending Alta Vista Elementary.

The architectural firm hired by Waco ISD to advise the committee estimates that building a new high school, two new middle schools and a new elementary school along with renovations at an existing elementary school could cost $376.1 million. The district’s financial advisor told the committee that issuing bonds to pay for those projects would increase the district’s tax rate about 12.49 cents per $100 of assessed valuation or $12.23 per month for the average homeowner in Waco ISD.

Architects will present the community advisory committee’s recommendations to the school board in June. This summer, the school board will review the recommendations and decide which projects to move forward as well as whether to seek voter approval to issue bonds to pay for the construction of new schools. For that question to appear on the ballot this November, the school board would need to call a bond election by mid-August.

“I am deeply appreciative of the community advisory committee members who volunteered their time to take an in-depth look at our school buildings and whether or not they are meeting the needs of our students,” Angela Tekell, board president, said. “As school board members, we are stewards of the investment that our community has made in our schools. The schools don’t belong to us; they belong to this community. That’s why it is so important for the board to hear from a broad range of voices as we develop a plan to guide our facilities work in the years ahead.”

“Education has changed since the 1950s and 1960s,” said Dr. Susan Kincannon, superintendent. “We need to prepare all of our kids to compete in the modern workforce, and we need modern schools to do that. In their discussions, the community advisory committee expressed a deep commitment to making sure that every student in Waco ISD has access to a safe learning environment that truly meets their needs. These recommendations are an important step in that direction.”

Joshua Wucher is Waco ISD’s executive director for communications.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email Ferrell Foster at [email protected].

Waco ISD is not letting down its guard on COVID

By Rhiannon Settles, BSN, RN-BC

On March 10, 2020, I shared my first Facebook post about COVID-19. I had spent all week scrolling the CDC website trying to decide just how bad this virus could be. I met with other nurses, epidemiologists, and employees at the health district. I gathered as much information as possible to help our Waco ISD decide what this would mean for our students.

School supplies and COVID-19 prevention items

I learned that two weeks at home would be helpful in case anyone was exposed over spring break. Two weeks turned into a month, turned into three months. The next thing I knew, we were planning a socially distanced outdoor graduation for both of our Waco ISD high schools. 

Over the summer, I kept thinking, surely this is going to improve, surely we will not be rolling into next school year still battling this virus. It has now been one full year. ONE YEAR! I would have never guessed that we would still be fighting COVID-19 a year later. 

We have seen our share of tragedy and loss during this pandemic. The first death from COVID-19 in McLennan County was one of our own, Mr. Phillip Perry, the G.W. Carver Middle School principal for the 2019-2020 school year. We’ve lost employees, our students and employees have lost loved ones, have battled the virus themselves, and have experienced the dreaded two-week quarantine at home time and time again. Our nurses have spent countless hours after work and on the weekends contact tracing, making quarantine phone calls, answering questions, and providing a supportive and encouraging ear to fearful parents and employees.  

Waco ISD numbers mirrored the county numbers from the beginning. If the county had an uptick, so did we. If the county began to drop off, so did we. We knew we were doing everything in our power to control the spread of this virus within our walls. 

Masks were mandatory for all Waco ISD students, employees, and visitors. Everyone who comes through our doors has their temperature taken. Employees answer daily screening questions to check for symptoms of COVID-19 and potential exposures. 

Even with every CDC recommendation in place, we still experienced a number of cases on our campuses. When we noticed an increase of cases on a particular campus or area of town, we hosted free drive-through testing sites open to all students and staff. These sites would average 300-400 people in a few hours. 

When we returned from Thanksgiving, Christmas, and spring break, we held drive-through testing sites in hopes of catching as many people as possible before they returned to our campuses and exposed others.  

In January, we began conversations with Ascension Providence and Midway ISD to offer COVID-19 vaccinations to our eligible employees. We hosted four clinics during February and March and vaccinated over 1,000 employees from Waco, Midway, Bosqueville, Connally, La Vega, and West school districts. We currently have employees in series with their PCPs, local pharmacies, and the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District. We are confident that any educator who wants a vaccine will be able to obtain one very soon. 

As we look to the final 12 weeks of this school year, our case counts are lower than they’ve been since September.

We will continue to offer free testing on all Waco ISD campuses through the nurses’ offices and from 3:00-5:00 each day at GWAHCA for all WISD students and staff.

We will continue to require masks and social distancing as often as possible in classrooms.

We will continue contact tracing and quarantining on the same day we are notified of a positive case.

We are not letting our guard down. We are not taking any chances. We will continue to follow all CDC recommendations to keep our students, our staff, and our community safe. This isn’t over yet, but there is an end in sight. 

Rhiannon Settles, BSN, RN-BC, is director of health services for Waco Independent School District.

The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email Ferrell Foster at [email protected].