Superintendent Carol Nelson answered questions on topics ranging from school safety to vaping concerns on campus.
ALVIN, Texas — Alvin ISD is a growing district with a need for new schools and new security enhancements.
In our KHOU 11 back-to-school survey, a lot of parent asked questions about school safety, like what’s being done to better secure the campuses.
“We have the new vestibule at the front. And actually, it’s a new generational vestibule, meaning that they can’t even get into the office. There’s like, a teller window is what I would call it, in order to check in or do business per se,” said Alvin ISD Superintendent Carol Nelson.
Alvin ISD parents who took the survey overwhelmingly wanted to know about the district’s police personnel.
“Will there be better surveillance and officers around schools, do you have enough officers at every campus?” KHOU 11 anchor Mia Gradney asked.
“Yes. So like I said, we have 40 officers, trained officers, armed officers that we employ in Alvin ISD,” Nelson replied. “That’s above and beyond what’s required. And we continue to add more. But in addition to that, we have our 150 contract officers that will pick up different jobs each day for us and help cover. And then we have our municipalities who we have great working relationships with.”
Parents also wanted to know what kind of surveillance and security system is watching over the campuses.
“We do have cameras on each campus and they are monitored continually,” Nelson said.
We also wanted to know what Nelson thought was the biggest challenge Alvin ISD is facing.
“Social media for students. And I think about that is a safety thing as well. If parents want to do one thing, monitor what your students see on social media, we have no control over that,” Nelson explained. “During instructional time, cellphones are not allowed. But we have no control when the child goes to the restroom, what they’re looking at before or after school what they’re looking at…and so yes that can become a challenge.”
Mia Gradney asked Nelson whether social media contributes to bullying issues in the district.
“I can tell you I think it does because when we have seen a fight or something, it’s usually started outside of the school,” Nelson answered. “It’s something somebody sent me last night, and they’re upset about it. And then they let it escalate versus getting an adult or a teacher or someone involved. A lot of times parents aren’t aware of it.”
She’s also asking parents to lead by example.
“A lot of people can hide behind a screen and say whatever they want, be it true or false narrative and then we wonder, why our kids are acting out? Sometimes it’s because they’re seeing the adults in their lives act out and how they handle things when they don’t agree. So we do need to work hard to be good role models for our students and set the right example,” Nelson explained.
As for advice for the upcoming school year, here’s what Nelson had to say:
“Be kind to one another, be nice. Look out for one another. Be a friend.”
She said school and everything that comes with it is challenging enough.
“Just be a kid, you know, you grow up way too fast. Just be a kid and enjoy, and really take advantage of the opportunities that are there both academically, as well as extra extracurricular,” Nelson said.
Another concerning issue is the growing use of vapes in school.
“When there is vaping, we test it to see what it is the student is vaping. Of course, parents are notified. Students are put into ISS and or alternative placement, depending on what’s in the vape, and so we will continue to aggressively address that with the support of parents,” Nelson said. “If students are getting the OK at home and we have had a parent say, ‘Well, what’s wrong with it? It’s not hurting.’ It’s not allowed in schools, period. I mean, e-cigarettes are not allowed. vaping is not allowed. THC is not allowed. So don’t even bring it.”
The vaping policy is part of the district’s code of conduct. They’ve also held assemblies to further educate students and hope to start raising awareness at an even younger age.
Parents also wanted to know about grade-level preparedness. Gradney asked Nelson about what academic supports are available for struggling students.
“One of the things that we have found effective, and of course it’s research-based, small group instruction. And we have seen gains in small group instruction, also intensive tutoring small groups, either before or after school are carving out time during the day to pull small tutoring groups,” she said.
She said small sizes vary both outside and within the classroom, ranging from three to five students.
Next up in our Houston-area superintendent chats is Katy ISD’s Dr. Ken Gregorski. So Katy parents, get your questions and concerns in through the survey below.
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