As we start the new school year, our priority is the safety and well-being of our students, faculty and staff, and other members of our Ortiz Family. To that end, we will make sure our building is safe, clean, and conducive to learning. We will make sure all students have three nutritious meals a day; and we will relax our uniform policy until January 2018 to give families time to obtain some financial stability. Moreover, we will work in close collaboration with the various government agencies to make sure our families have access to the services available in our city.
Once the safety and well-being of all our students is assured, our focus for the rest of the year will be on providing every Ortiz student a strong academic foundation complemented by two premiere programs now in their implementation phase: The Magnet Program and the International Baccalaureate Program.
The Magnet Program for the Performing and Visual Arts is well on its way of becoming one of the premiere programs in HISD. In addition to the courses we offered last year, we are now offering new courses such as piano, guitar, choir, mariachi and ballet folklorico. In the future, we will continue to expand the courses available in our Fine Arts Department. Moreover, this year we will continue our collaboration with the Houston Symphony and with the Houston Ballet.
In November of this year, Ortiz will have its first ever visit by the International Baccalaureate Authorization Committee. I am confident that after the committee has an opportunity to learn all the hard work the Ortiz Family has done in preparation for this visit, we will become a fully authorized IB World School. Our goal here is not, however, to simply get authorization. Our commitment to the IB program is to fully embrace and to live, day in and day out, by the worthwhile and noble principles established by the IB philosophy.
As you may see by this summary, our goals are ambitious and our challenges are many. However, as I stated above, our Ortiz Family is strong and will, no doubt, achieve above and beyond anyone’s expectations. Working together, parents, faculty and staff, and our many community partners will ensure that by the time we finish this year, in the mind of every Ortiz student Hurricane Harvey will be but a fading memory as they set out to forge ahead achieving their goals and dreams and constructing a better world for us all.