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Southlake Style

Dragons Unite

Apr 16, 2013 01:38PM ● By tina

Dragon Nation unites and works together to find solutions for continued student safety

CISD News with Dr. David Faltys, CISD Superintendent

Dragons Unite In Face Of Public Education Challenges and Change

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

I prefer comfort. I think most people do. But more and more, I find myself standing on the brink of significant challenge and change. Admittedly, it creates internal strife. Given the choice, I personally prefer comfort. But like Dr. King, I know change is inevitable, and that in moments of true challenge, we are forced to reach deep inside ourselves to find the fortitude to press on and the will to excel.

In today’s public-education environment, I spend a good portion of my day with a team of dedicated individuals, problem-solving, collaborating and finding solutions to what can seem like insurmountable problems. Budget deficits, school safety, high-stakes testing, bullying — all of these take me out of my personal comfort zone and make me stretch in new ways. But as I’ve learned rather quickly, life is much less about what happens to you and much more about how you respond to what happens to you. Thankfully, our perspectives undergo change and challenge on a regular basis.

Our thoughts on security, for instance, changed dramatically following the violence at Sandy Hook Elementary. The horrific memory of that morning stands out as a stark reminder to each of us that life is fragile, and as much as we prepare and train and fortify, we cannot avoid the terrible realities of a broken world. Just when we think things are safe, someone does the unthinkable.

And if that single tragedy wasn’t enough to cause fear and apprehension in the heart of every parent, Southlake and Grapevine faced another challenge when a fugitive, armed and dangerous, went into hiding nearby. For four long days, our schools operated in soft lockdown as local law enforcement teamed up with other agencies to track down an escaped Miami prisoner.

As uneasy as those few days were, our children remained as safe as we could possibly make them in our schools. True to their calling, our teachers, administrators and support staff made the safety of your children their top priority. Police officers patrolled regularly and provided us with calm reassurance during uncertain times. We learned a lot in the days and hours following that crisis, and we did as we always do in the face of adversity, we made it through, together.

We remembered that it is really the people in our lives — our family, our friends, our children — who matter most. Everything else pales in comparison to these relationships and our need to reassure, love and provide strength in times of trouble. Learning became secondary; testing became of even lesser importance; safer schools became our mantra, and, remains to this day, our constant goal.

It’s been a tough year. Just last month in this column, I applauded our Dragon community for supporting children during times of grief and personal loss. After losing a significant number of students, parents and graduates, we stood up against challenges to school safety and worked together to find solutions, ensuring even safer schools.

I appreciate the support this community is providing us during unprecedented times in public education. Your words of encouragement for me as superintendent have meant more than you could ever know. And despite the challenges we face, I believe strongly in the people who make up the Dragon Nation. I believe we are up to the challenge of doing what’s best for students. And I believe we will do it best, together.

Dr. David Faltys serves as superintendent of Carroll Independent School District, the largest 5A Exemplary district in the state of Texas.  He was named the 2010 Region XI Superintendent of the Year after being nominated for the award by his local school board.