FISD is in full recovery mode. I wanted to give you an update on the status of the District and some of the issues we will be facing over the months ahead and maybe answer some of the questions parents have about the impact of the storm on the schools.
First, I would like to give the highest praise to the administrators, counselors, teachers, staff, custodians, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, and all others that are part of the FISD team for the exemplary effort to welcome back those we are charged to serve — our students. This team continues to go above and beyond to make our students’ return to school from the devastating floods a big part of our community’s shift toward normalcy, hope, and recovery. Harvey pushed us down into a dark corner, but we have come out swinging.
Here are the most frequently asked questions and the answers for today:
How many students have been displaced from their home by the flooding? As of today, there are 438. This number includes those “displaced” from a typical living arrangement in their original home — living upstairs or in a different location at the same address or living in a trailer at the same address. The majority are those living in another house, a hotel, or some other arrangement.
How many FISD students have we lost and added because of the storm? We have kept our word to retain the students who were in FISD prior to the storm. At this time, 3 students have withdrawn and we have enrolled 5 students from other districts. Our current enrollment is just a few students higher than it was one year ago today.
What services do you have for the displaced students? The counseling staff for each campus is keeping a close eye on these kids and trying to determine what is needed. The McKinney Vento Act provides many services to displaced students. Every displaced student’s family should have received communication about these services. If not, please contact your campus registrar or counselor. PTO’s have been the mechanism to provide funds, contributions, gift cards, etc. for these families.
How do the displaced kids get to school? Our community has stepped up as it always does and organized carpools to help neighbors. The FISD transportation dept. put in countless hours to work through the logistics of all our displaced students. We have added routes which cross elementary zone boundaries, as well as a service to pick up those displaced that live outside the FISD boundary. Right now we are transporting approximately 30 of the 134 students in locations outside of the FISD boundary. These students are all protected by federal guidelines for displaced students and have the right to attend the school they were attending prior to being displaced.
Do we have to make up the days that were missed? No. The state has provided a waiver for the days missed for the hurricane. We missed a total of 7 instructional days. However, district leadership felt it was best to change the September 18th day from a staff development day to an instructional day. We are considering doing the same with the October 30th staff development day. A final decision will be made soon. We will get this out to you as soon as the final decision is made. By having student instructional days on these two days, we will increase the student instructional days to help make up for some of the lost time in the first semester. Professional learning is critical for our staff, but this is a unique situation.
What about homework now that we are past the 15th? After meeting with the District leadership team and hearing from principals, we will return to a typical pattern of work in each class. However, all are aware of the situation and are monitoring affected students closely. Continue to communicate with teachers, principals, and counselors as the recovery continues.
Have the school buildings and materials in the schools made it through the storm? Fantastic. We are blessed to have schools operating in the same fashion as the first day of school prior to the storm. Relative to many other districts, FISD was spared from the storm. We will continue to do evaluations of our roofs and other equipment, but it appears all is well.
What is the impact on FISD employees? There are 109 FISD staff members that have flooded homes and cars or both or have sustained some type of material loss as a result of the storm. However, one of the characteristics of Mustang Pride is resiliency. These employees are at work and giving their best for your students. The Education Foundation created a fund to assist FISD employees who need financial help. These funds will go directly to employees to assist them in recovery. If you would like to contribute, please go the FISD Educ Foundation Link and click on the donate button. The District continues to provide many services to these employees as possible to assist with recovery.
How does the District continue to help the community recover? One of the main ways is to house recovery efforts on district facilities. Last week we hosted Galveston County Health Department to provide over 200 tetanus shots to community members at the FISD boardroom. We also have allowed multiple large cleanup teams to use FJH showers after being in homes in flooded areas. On September 18 from 6:00 – 9:00, the district will host FEMA and SBA representatives who will be giving presentations outlining disaster assistance programs for residents. This meeting will take place at FJH at 1000 Manison Pkwy. Continue to stay tuned to FISD social media. This will be the source for updates as new information arises.
“Mustang Voices” is a new venue developed to keep the lines of communication open between the district and the community. It will be an opportunity for citizens, parents, or anyone to meet with me and other District level leaders. We want to hear your questions about the storm or other issues related to the District. We have several questions for you to consider as well. The discussion will be in a small group format led by a member of the district staff. Our first Mustang Voices will be held on September 27th at 4:00 p.m. at the FISD Boardroom.
Our community is a group of “risers.” The following link is a video the district put together as a tribute to the community and to Kingwood for the football game. I would offer it to you as a conclusion to this letter. Harvey Video
Have a great week,
Thad J. Roher, Superintendent
Students, faculty affected by Harvey return to Friendswood ISD featured on FOX 26
FISD wants to reach out to all of our families who have been affected by Tropical Storm Harvey with important resources and information.
If you have not yet filled out our “Displaced FISD Students” CLICK HERE please take a brief time to complete this form.
If you have completed this form once, you do not need to provide updated information.
By providing us with this information, we will continue to communicate with you.
The Friendswood ISD Education Foundation is providing an opportunity to donate to the nearly 80 Friendswood ISD employees whose homes have been flooded. This specific donation will be distributed directly to the affected employees to assist them as they get back on their feet and back to serving the students of FISD. Donations are tax deductible.
Parents of FISD:
The beginning of school on Wednesday, September 6th will be difficult for all of us. It will be most difficult for so many of you which have flooded and are living with family or friends, in a temporary home, or a home that looks nothing like it did two weeks ago. All of us talk about getting back to “normal,” but we all know there will be nothing normal about this school year. However, FISD will provide stability in this troubling time, and please know we will do our best to care for your student(s) in a way that will bring healing and hope each day.
We are trying to capture as much information as possible about displaced students in an effort to provide the smoothest transition possible. Many of you have been contacted by your child’s teacher and have provided information to him/her. Nonetheless, if you have been displaced and have not already filled out this form, please click on this link DISPLACED STUDENT LINK to fill out a google form to provide your information to the school to help them serve your needs.
As we start up school after the floods, I want to try to address a few questions many of you may have:
Is the District taking care of teachers and staff that have flooded? The District has provided work crews, offers of housing, and many other resources to help staff that has flooded. If needed, we have a system of support in place to help cover these teachers while they are handling flood recovery details in the weeks to come. If you would like to donate toward the recovery of our FISD employees, there is a link to do so on both the District and Education Foundation websites.
What if I live outside district boundaries now? Because you have been displaced by a natural disaster, you can still attend FISD even if you live outside of the district borders. If we do not already have the information on where you are living, we will gather that information from you on Wednesday in order to update our records and also to capture transportation information.
What if I have a student from another District living in my home that wants to attend FISD? These students need to go to the school they are attending in FISD on Wednesday and check in with the front office. The campus will gather basic information and place students in a class that day. We will work with parents to obtain the required documentation later in the week.
What if my student lost school supplies in the flood? We have donated school supplies and lunch kits at each campus.
What about transportation? Transportation is going to be a big challenge for all in these first few weeks. Buses will run current routes and capture lists of riders who have moved to new locations. Likely we will have to adjust routes to get students to school. Buses also will have to navigate through the debris on the streets which will be there for several weeks. This will mean buses will be late and there may be some confusion. Please be patient, we understand there will be parents and students arriving late and returning home late until transportation arrangements can fully work themselves out in the weeks to come.
There will also be people carpooling together for the first time and trying to get to multiple schools. Carpooling is a big help and a way that you as a community member can help those who have been displaced — invite new neighbors to carpool with you to reduce the burden on transportation.
What about lunches? If you have been displaced and are having a difficult time getting things pulled together for lunch, do not worry. Hot lunch will be provided for those who are unable to get supplies together. Students can tell the cafeteria workers their name and it will be handled.
What about homework and tests? There will be no homework, tests, or projects requiring work outside of school until September 15th. The district leadership team will re-evaluate at that time.
Doesn’t bringing students back to school take away the work force to clean homes? Our FISD students and staff are heroes for all the work they have done to clean up flooded homes in our community. They have cleaned hundreds of homes. However, more help is on the way. I am aware of many large groups coming in this next week from out of town to work. Also, several local groups continue to provide volunteers for the cleanup. The City of Friendswood has also launched a call center to connect those who need help with those who can help. Information is on the City’s website.
If there are more specific questions that you may have, please address those to individual campuses.
Our community was built by those that used the debris from the famous hurricane of 1900 to build the first church and a school. This resiliency is woven into the fabric of the community of Friendswood. I have witnessed this same spirit across our community over these past few weeks and am confident we will come out of this stronger than ever as a community and a school district.
Thad J. Roher, Superintendent
To the parents of students who have become displaced:
We want to express our deepest sympathies to you and your family as you deal with this tragic event. It is the desire of the district to assist you and your child’s educational needs in any way possible.
Assistance may include:
Breakfasts and lunches
Counseling services as needed
Transportation from a location outside of the district
Other needs as expressed by your family to our school counselors
In order for us to account for needs, we are asking you to complete this form. We ensure the utmost of confidentiality as we assess the needs of our FISD students.
Please fill out THIS FORM so that we can begin to make arrangements for you.
If you are unable to access this form, please contact Lynn Hobratschk at 281-482-1267 or [email protected] to assist.
Should you live outside the district, we will be coordinating transportation services with school districts in which you are residing. In addition, if you will be housing a student who is coming from another district, we ask that you also let us know about any new student.
Friendswood ISD will resume operations next week. All employees will return to work on Tuesday, September 5th and students will return to classes on Wednesday, September 6th.
There are many students and employees who have been displaced by the floods. The District will continue to communicate with those who have been displaced via campus or district email to provide information that will make the transition back to school as easy as possible in these difficult times. Continue to monitor communication as we near the start of school next week. Stay safe.
Statement released to FISD Parents and Faculty –
“Our hearts are torn by what has happened to our FISD family and community, and our sympathies go out to those who have been affected by this catastrophic event. I cannot express how grateful I am for this community and the outpouring of support many of you gave to provide every need for the shelter at Friendswood High School and for the recovery aide for our community. We have so many heroes in this community who have given so much through these difficult days. You do not know how proud I am to be the Superintendent of this school district and a member of this community.
Though our facilities are fully functional, we continue to receive information on the status of our staff to determine when best to begin school. Many of our staff members have been affected by the flooding as well. We will likely finalize a decision for our school starting date later this evening or first thing in the morning.
I want to assure all who have been displaced by the extensive flooding that your kids will remain FISD students no matter where you have to live for the next few days, weeks, or months. We met as a leadership team this morning to begin working out the details to best capture this type of information, but be assured displaced students will remain FISD students.
Please stay alert to all district communication.
Mustang Pride . . . Unleashed — now more than ever.”
Thad J. Roher, Superintendent
FISD will be closed Monday, August 28 – Friday, September 1.
Classes will resume on Tuesday, September 5.
The last few days have been such a difficult time for so many Friendswood families, but to see this community come together has been truly inspirational. … Thad J. Roher, Superintendent
Friendswood ISD is closed Monday, 8-28-17.
Our hearts are with Friendswood during this difficult time. Obviously school has been canceled until we are able to assess our facilities and talk with our faculty before determining when we can open school again. We will keep you updated daily. Please stay safe!
After our conference calls this evening, FISD will wait until Sunday at 6 p.m. or sooner if possible, as to whether or not there will be school on Monday.
In order to give the District’s families and staff time to prepare for the landfall of Hurricane Harvey, all FISD schools and facilities will be closed on Friday, August 25.
The safety of our students, and staff is our highest priority, and while we are not in the direct path of the storm, we understand that potential flooding and high winds are highly probable, and we want to ensure that our community has time to plan accordingly.
Decisions about school on Monday, August 28 will be made Sunday by 6 p.m. after district officials communicate with the City of Friendswood Office of Emergency Management other emergency management offices.
Please continue to monitor your local media stations, myfisd.com and social media for the latest information.