Lubbock ISD’s Rollo reflects on 2022-23 school year (2024)

LUBBOCK, Texas: This is a transcription from an interview conducted by KLBK’s Matt Stell with Lubbock ISD Superintendent, Kathy Rollo.

Matt Stell: What went well this year? What did you learn this season?

Kathy Rollo: We had the ability to start the year with some great celebrations for our academic progress. We went from 42% of our kids being in an A and B campus, to 75% and so it’s been a great year to really celebrate our schools and our teachers. Then just looking at all of the things that our kids have accomplished this year, we’ve had more students qualifying for state level competitions and national level competitions than we’ve ever had in our history.

Matt Stell: One thing that has been big this year, that we’ve heard about across the state, are teacher shortages. I imagine that is still a problem here in Lubbock ISD. Speak to that, if you can?

Kathy Rollo: You know, it’s not so much that we have teachers leaving the profession. There’s not a mass exodus that you might hear about in the national news. But one thing we have seen and we’ve we’ve actually witnessed over the last several years, is that there are not as many people going into the profession, and then the route that those who do come to us from is different than what it used to be. It used to be a much more traditional route by going through a university or a teacher preparation program. Many more of our people are now alternatively certified.

Matt Stell: Another big thing that has been talked about, especially down in Austin this legislative session, is school choice and school vouchers. What are your thoughts on school vouchers and how it might affect public schools?

Kathy Rollo: I’m all about parent choice, and I believe here in Lubbock ISD, we offer parents a great deal of choice and we have a really open transfer policy where parents can choose our schools. And if a parent chooses to send their child to a private school, I absolutely believe that is their right to do so. My concern with any kind of education savings account or vouchers, whatever you want to call it, is that those are public dollars, paid for by taxpayers, going to entities with absolutely no accountability other than maybe an accreditation process. There’s no fiscal accountability, and certainly no accountability for student outcomes. I worry that some of our most vulnerable children and families could really be hurt by some of those systems that are put in place right now. We have two systems that we are supporting in public schools, and that’s charter schools, and then our traditional school districts like what Lubbock ISD is. Inserting a third system to support financially, it’s just that over the long-run, it’s not sustainable to do a great job in all three of those. It’s hard to look at our teachers and wonder if we’re gonna be able to give them a raise. They deserve it. Absolutely. It’s hard when we look at all of the programs that we offer and options that we offer for our students, and wonder if we’re going to be able to keep all of those. If we’re going to truly make an impact on the 5.5 million children in Texas that are in public schools, we need to adequately fund them.

Stell and Rollo also discussed school safety within Lubbock ISD after the one-year anniversary of the Uvalde massacre, where 19 students and two teachers were killed inside Robb Elementary on May 24, 2022.

Kathy Rollo: We have been keeping our doors locked, both external doors and internal doors for the last five years. As far as what we’ve learned from Uvalde, is the importance of making sure that that we don’t let children fall through the cracks. The shooter in that [Uvalde] situation is one who who did fall through the cracks. So we are really monitoring attendance, making sure that we’re checking in with kids who are struggling, and making sure all of those supports are there. One thing I am very confident in, is Lubbock ISD police, our protocols, and also our partnership with our local law enforcement agencies. We have very quick response times and I without a doubt know that our police officers would do the right thing if something were to happen.

Lubbock ISD’s Rollo reflects on 2022-23 school year (2024)
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