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Katy ISD Addresses Pandemic Challenges; Plans for Growth as ‘Destination District'

KATY MAGAZINE NEWS

October 22, 2021

By Natalie Cook Clark


Katy ISD Superintendent Dr. Ken Gregorski discussed a wide range of topics in this year’s State of the District. The growing District of 88,000 students celebrates success despite continuing to address struggles through from the pandemic.

Photo courtesy: KISD


Annual District Leadership Meeting

The Katy ISD District leadership team met to discuss many topics related to the growing district. The team is made up of principals and department heads. Each year they follow a districtwide theme that reflects the spirit of the school community.



'ONE Katy, Stronger Together'

“This year, that theme is ‘ONE Katy, Stronger Together.’ And, wow, we truly have shown the power of our collective strength and will this past year,” says Dr. Ken Gregorski, Katy ISD Superintendent of Schools.


Gregorski spoke on how the District has navigated the unprecedented challenges that came with COVID-19 pandemic. He says the District made it a priority to provide “world-class education to all students in a safe environment.”


District Works to Mitigate COVID Cases

Katy ISD worked to mitigate COVID cases through cleaning protocols, onsite COVID Testing Center, and other safety measures.

“I continue to be in awe of the work our teachers, support staff, administrators, technology group, and operations team have performed over the past 19 months to ensure our students could safely learn, engage, and grow,” says Gregorski.


According to the District's COVID-19 Dashboard, they have had a cumulative of 4,809 reported cases of COVID-19 since June 1, 2021.


Economic Impacts, other Factors Led to End of KVA

The District started this academic year with Katy Virtual Academy as an option for students K-6 grade. The Board of Trustees voted to not extend KVA (which had around 4,000 students enrolled) after the first grading period ended on October 15. As of this week, the district had all students in person.

“We had hoped to extend the KVA program until the end of the fall semester,” says Dr. Gregorski. “However, we simply did not have the capacity to do so because of the economic impacts of the pandemic – some of which have led to the teacher shortages we are seeing across the nation.”


He also said that the District didn’t believe it could continue “to provide the quality of educational services for which the District is known” with the range of limitations they saw with KVA.

Learning loss, Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds (ESSER funds), student mental health supports, staff culture, and strategic planning were also discussed during Gregorski’s address.



A Growing District

Katy ISD currently has 88,000 students and is planning for more growth.

“Our district is on a three- to four-year bond cycle to accommodate growth and ensure we’re taking care of our aging schools and facilities. This past spring, our community, and staff developed and approved four school bond propositions to address that growth, as well as provide needed renovations for aging campuses, and updates for technology and security systems across the District,” says Dr. Gregorski.


“That bond includes five new schools, seven major campus renovations and/or expansions, safety and security improvements, buses, building component replacements, classroom technology, and campus athletic facility improvements,” says Dr. Gregorski.


Though the District has seen struggles as any school district has during the COVID pandemic, Katy ISD celebrates many accomplishments and successes this year.

A Lot to Celebrate

  • Maintaining an “A” rating from the Texas Education Agency, the largest District in Texas with such a rating

  • Being ranked the number one school district in the entire Greater Houston area by Niche this past school year

  • Receiving an “A” rating for the 19th consecutive year from the Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas

  • Being ranked the 8th best employer in all of Texas for 2021

“By all accountings, Katy ISD is a destination district,” says Dr. Gregorski. “Katy ISD parent groups, business partners, community leaders, and staff are some of the most exceptionally talented and dedicated people I’ve had the opportunity to work and live alongside, and I am so proud to be part of this Katy community. We are committed to our mission and will always strive to improve.”


Learn more about Katy ISD on their website.


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