It felt like the first day of school all over again when we came back after Hurricane Ike disrupted all of our lives so soon after the school year started. So to our students, parents and staff: I hope you all had the best second “First Day” of the school year ever! This was my first hurricane and I truly was not prepared for the horrific blow dealt to the Gulf Coast and to our area. It became apparent soon after the storm that all of my prayers were not answered as so many members of our community suffered devastating and tragic losses in this disaster. Of course, children suffered these same losses and our focus in Humble ISD must be students – both those who have been with us before and those students who are enrolling with us for the first time after being displaced from other areas of the Gulf Coast. While there is no one more anxious than me to get back to a focus on learning, that academic learning will not work unless we pay very close to the emotional needs of our young people. Our teachers and staff members want to be sensitive to all that our students have been through and what they may be continuing to experience. To that end, I have asked our teachers to hold off on homework assignments and tests through Friday. In addition, free breakfast and lunch will be provided to every student through Oct. 8 thanks to special funding from the United States Department of Agriculture. I want to ask our parents to please turn to our teachers and counselors if you believe your child is hurting and may need special attention. Now our prayers must shift to helping our neighbors to recover as quickly and completely as possible. Even as the challenges we faced as we first kicked off this school year have not gone away and Ike has only added to them, I assure you that together we will make academic and affective learning happen for our kids better than ever before! Our academic coordinators are going to be working with teachers to determine how we can best compact and accelerate academic learning for the rest of the school year. A frequent question is how will the school district handle making up the lost time? While I personally believe that lost time cannot truly be regained, our State Commissioner of Education will be determining the number of days that he will waive from this year’s school calendar for hurricane affected districts. Once he makes that determination, it is my intention to follow his lead. Finally, I want to thank all of those who worked to get our schools ready to re-open as quickly as possible after Ike. So many employees and volunteers worked long and hard despite their own personal losses and difficult situations. Custodians, maintenance and construction workers, campus and central administrators and others must be commended for their dedication to our children. I am so very proud of their efforts to make a difference for our children. Guy Sconzo, Humble ISD Superintendent

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