Mendi Perry is a member of the Westwood ISD Watchdog group and Westwood Class of 1989. 

It is time for our school board to demonstrate leadership in what happens within our school district. We entrust you with the leadership to achieve the educational success of each and every student entrusted to Westwood Independent School District.

It is time to hold school board members accountable for what they have not done to retain a greater number of students until they graduate, to provide them with a quality education that prepares them for college, and to close all achievement gaps.

Walking a fine line not to cross into school administration entails strategic planning with the superintendent and other community stakeholders for targeted school transformation efforts that lead to high student achievement. The use of external experts to advise this strategic planning group is essential.

Educational mediocrity reveals itself through a lack of academic accomplishments that is unacceptable and a threat to our school district.

The fact that our academic accomplishments place us below many other districts is reason for concern.

Our school board members must wake up and assume their leadership roles more assertively, and with greater dedication, as guardians of educational excellence and equity.

The school board is crucial to our success as a whole and for every one of our students.

I ask that you become better informed about community assets and needs, student characteristics, and implications for a quality educational system. I ask that you rededicate yourself to knowing our community or basic knowledge about a quality education program. How can we entrust the education of our children to people who are responsible for school policy but who have a limited knowledge?

Unfortunately, I realize it is not uncommon for school board members to become totally disconnected from their role and the duty that they are elected or appointed to carry out. The community that elected you demands greater interest, action, and leadership.

Please engage in constant dialogue with community leaders and parents to ensure that schools work in partnership with community members and parents. A successful school board will meaningfully engage our community in periodic forums, meetings, and reflection sessions to check how Westwood is doing in preparing graduates for college, retaining students, and creating school environments that are safe and responsive to the needs of all students.

Building community consensus and support for school transformations based on research and compassion are powerful methods. Listen, you were elected to represent your district.

Promoting and facilitating partnerships with community members and parents is a powerful way to create and sustain educational change and quality.

We want an effective school board with members who are strong advocates of meaningful engagement.

Each of you bring different, essential perspectives. You are in a position to change policies to enable Westwood to make the necessary changes we need.

The total disengagement of communication from school board members on this school bond topic has been profoundly silent. By disengaging, you as a board member have abdicated the power and responsibility entrusted to you through the democratic process.

I ask that you be accountable to the community for excellence and equity in the provision of services and the resultant academic accomplishments.

In conclusion, I would say that the benefits of a more involved school board cannot be underestimated.

Your efforts as a school board can result in greater community support and acceptance, stronger collaboration and increased participation of community. Our children cannot be the victims of an indifferent and unconscionable system that can be manipulated by self-serving and insensible politics. Our children deserve better.

In regards to the current proposed bond for our school, I would ask each of you: Did you personally talk with a significant amount of community members within the district you represent other than those affiliated with the FAC or district employees? Did you as a board member do your homework?

~Mendi Perry

Westwood ISD Watchdog

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