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Superintendent Dr. Kyle Heath's March Newspaper Column

                Happy Spring! We—students and staff--are refreshed following a week of Spring Break and are now back in our places with bright, shiny faces! It is hard to believe, but the finish line for Cleburne ISD students is coming into sight. Graduation exercises for the Cleburne High School Class of 2021, taking place at Globe Life Field, are only two short months away, as we celebrate their achievements the evening of May 27.

                Among my favorite things, as an educator and superintendent, is seeing our students demonstrate what they are learning in the classroom. On Monday, seventh and eighth grade robotics students from Smith and Wheat Middle Schools displayed their construction and programming skills as they manuevered a four-wheeled robotic craft across the dais during our school board meeting. The presentation by these 21st century scholars also included a performance by three “dancing drones,” which were programmed to autonomously fly to a song. It was spellbinding—and amazing. Thank you to Wheat students--and future engineers--Melanie Coleman and Elanah Lopez for giving us that wonderful experience.

                Trustees also honored seven CISD kindergartners with School Board Citizenship Awards and recognized members of the Cleburne High School chapter of Texas Association of Future Educators, who competed in skills events at the state level, with several now headed to national competition. We also recognized members of the Jackets Swim Team who advanced to the State Meet, led by senior Matthew Harman, who won the silver medal in the 100-yard breaststroke. #JacketPride!

                I want to extend a special shout-out to the Cleburne HS One Act Play Team—cast and crew—in being named a UIL District champion. On Tuesday, they performed at the Bi-District contest and were named first-alternate to the Regional competition for their production of scenes from “Peter Pan.” Antares Ewell received the Best Actress Award at District, with Julie Hall and Takara Bailey receiving All-Star Cast honors at District and Bi-District. Theater technician honors were presented to Solomon Drane and Beverly Flowers. This is the fourth consecutive year for our One Act Play entry to continue past the District level. A standing ovation goes to CHS Theater Arts teacher Keli Price for this ongoing record of excellence.

                You will have the opportunity to experience the talents of Antares and Julie, who will be featured on the program of Thursday’s community Holy Week Service, which will be led by CHS seniors. This year only, the Holy Week series of morning services, sponsored by the Cleburne Christian Business Club, will take place in the Jeff D. Cody Arena, as the Cleburne Conference Center is in use as a COVID vaccination site. The weekday services begin at 7 a.m. and will feature special music and a lay speaker.

                We are continuing in our efforts to provide and equip our CISD residents with information regarding the 2021 Bond Referendum. I have had the opportunity to visit with several of our civic and community organizations to share the facts and detail the projects to be addressed by this “no tax rate increase” bond election. I invite and encourage you to learn more about the referendum, which will have three separate propositions on the May 1 ballot, by visiting our homepage, www.c-isd.com.

                Seven Cleburne ISD teachers and staff members received surprise visits from members of the Cleburne Education Foundation, who came to their classrooms with “giant” checks. Congratulations to Sylva Killion-Marti Elementary; Gwenda Davis-Wheat Middle School; Jeffrey Bowman and Stacie Maples-Smith Middle School; Terri Bond-Coleman Elementary and Trevor Williams and Angela Watson-Santa Fe Elementary, who are receiving funds for special classroom projects and materials through the 2020-21 CEF Innovative Grant Awards program. Together, $27,707 in grants were presented by the Cleburne Education Foundation to underwrite a variety of projects to take students to a higher level of learning—from equipment for middle school podcasters and updates to first grade classroom libraries to the 21st century version of flash cards that has students in grades 2-5 excited about learning their math facts.

                Before signing off, I want to extend my appreciation to Dr. Ken Shaw, president of Southwestern Adventist University, and a fellow Times-Review columnist, who will begin a new chapter in his career as the incoming president of Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, Tennessee. Dr. Shaw has been a good friend and colleague and has been very instrumental in expanding and strengthening the bond between our school district and SWAU. His presence in our community will be missed.

                As always, I invite you to visit our website to learn more about all the exciting things going on in CISD, and to also follow us on social media. Have a great week—and Go Jackets!!