February 19, 2018
Dear BTWHSPVA parents and students,
The safety of our students, faculty and staff remains our number one priority at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. Throughout the school year, we routinely conduct safety drills to assess our responsiveness and readiness for threats to our campus. As we join with schools across the nation in grieving for the school shooting in Florida, I have included Superintendent Hinojosa’s response to this tragedy:
“Amidst heavy hearts today, Dallas ISD joins in mourning with the Broward County community in the wake of Wednesday’s tragic attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The senseless loss of so many lives is a national tragedy that is especially difficult for everyone connected to schools.
“Student safety is Dallas ISD’s top priority. Campuses are trained and equipped to support students by teaching and modeling social and emotional skills. Teachers, students and staff are always encouraged to monitor the school environment and to bring to the attention of administrators and security any potentially troubling behavior.
“In the wake of this horrible event, Dallas ISD is reviewing all safety and security procedures to ensure students, staff and community remain safe. Additionally, counselors stand ready to assist any students experiencing emotional distress.”
In the coming week, we will be conducting a lock-down and severe weather drill, as well as reviewing the lockdown procedures with our students and staff for non-class situations such as before and after school as well as our lunch period. As with all drills, I will continue to keep all parents and students informed whenever they occur. We continue to remind our students – “If you see something, say something.” In addition, we will continue our daily focus on IDs – all students are REQUIRED to wear their IDs and keep them visible while they are on campus. This is critical in our efforts to maintain a safe environment. I reminded the students that it is a part of their daily wardrobe. Parents, please assist us by reminding your students to wear their ID each and every day.
We received some outstanding news in the past two weeks. Over the past three years, our BTW Advisory Board has committed to completing a capital improvement project that was part of the initial design of our school. Working with Russ Berger Designs, a world-renowned studio design firm, formal plans for a Production Studio were developed. Through the generosity of the Advisory Board and other donors, the funds for Phase 1 – the construction of the studio – were raised in order to begin the bidding and construction process. I am pleased to announce that the Crystal Charities Ball selected the Booker T. Washington Advisory Board as one of their beneficiaries for their upcoming grant cycle, and will donate over $766,000 to complete Phase 2 of the project, which includes the equipment, wiring, and soundproofing for satellite recording areas in our building. These funds are specifically earmarked for the completion of this multi-year project, and the studio is slated to open during the 2019-2020 school year. This new studio will give all students access to high-quality audio and video recordings to assist them in college and scholarship recordings.
As we conclude the fourth six-weeks grading period, we will have our third PB&J Day of the year, focusing on cross-conservatory collaboration and the African-American Heritage Show in honor of Black History Month. As a reminder, Friday, February 23rd is a regular school day and attendance will be taken throughout the day. Parents will receive phone calls after the first attendance check if their student is marked absent. Students will remain with their FLEX groups throughout the course of the day. All exits to the building will be monitored during the school day. These days are designed to bring our students together in different ways, to celebrate their artistry, and to highlight the unique tapestry of our school.
As we enter into our final preparations for EOCs, UIL competitions, Spring Trips, and the like, it continues to be a very busy time for our Pegasi. Thank you for continuing to support our school – we simply couldn’t do it without the entire BTW family. I look forward to seeing you at one of our upcoming exhibitions or performances.
Scott M. Rudes, Ph.D