November 11, 2011

Dear Community Members and Friends of Alief ISD:

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

On September 8, 1892 a Boston-based youth magazine “The Youth’s Companion” published a 22-word narration for school children to use during planned activities to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ discovery of America. Under the title “The Pledge to the Flag” the composition was the earliest version of what we now know as the Pledge of Allegiance.

Today, Americans everywhere will be honoring members of the Armed Forces as we celebrate Veterans Day. November 11 of each year is the day that we ensure our veterans know that we deeply appreciate the sacrifices they have made to keep our country free and safe and to protect our right to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Last Friday, I attended “Operation Military Salute” and was deeply inspired by the presence of more than 700 service men and women from all branches of the military, including retired Brigadier General Mike P. Cokinos, who fought in World War II. The event was sponsored by the West Houston Chamber of Commerce and among the honored guests were an Alief ISD administrator and two Alief ISD principals. Here in Alief, at least 100 of our staff members are veterans, and most of them are teachers. Today is certainly an appropriate time to thank them for their dedicated and loyal service to our country and to our students.

I also want to pay tribute to the many former students who are now serving in the military. It is always an honor when they come back to visit us. Yesterday, I had the privilege of taking part in the Alief ISD Marine Corps JROTC traditional cake-cutting ceremony. In fact, I had the honor of cutting the cake in celebration of the U.S. Marine Corps 236th birthday. I can’t begin to describe how proud I felt as more than 300 cadets-all Alief students-marched in uniform around the stadium. In attendance were several Alief ISD alumni and parents who are currently serving in the Marines and other branches of the military.
As I express my gratitude for these American patriots, I am mindful that we have many things to be thankful for at this time of year. I am especially grateful to be a citizen of this great county and to have the privilege of serving as superintendent of an outstanding school district. How fortunate we are to live in a country that supports the opportunity for every child to receive a quality education! Earlier this year, we celebrated being one of the largest districts in the state to earn a Recognized rating from the Texas Education Agency for the second consecutive year and to meet the federal Annual Yearly Progress measures. Then, in late October, we learned that eight Alief ISD campuses were named to the 2011 NCEA (National Center for Educational Achievement) High Performing Schools list. The annual list recognizes Texas public schools that are most successful at preparing students for college and careers and identifies those elementary, middle, and high schools that have consistently outperformed their peers over a three-year period. Please visit our web site for a complete list of these campuses.

These are significant achievements, and we want to continue to celebrate success as we meet the challenges of a continuous push for higher expectations. Our students are our focus, and the Main Thing will always be student achievement and development. With your continued support, we can achieve these goals. Thank you for your interest and support of Alief ISD



HD Chambers
Superintendent of Schools