We are grateful for the recently-approved agreement between Memorial Hermann Health Systems and Pearland ISD. It provides benefit to both our athletic program and the medical education we are newly providing our students.
As is true in many districts, there is a long “wish list” of items desired for the athletic program. When I arrived here in 2011, parents and coaches lobbied for, among other things, a video scoreboard to enhance the spectator/athlete experience at our stadium. But I cautioned that such an item should not come from taxpayer funds — since there are many more pressing academic needs. The door was left open if the athletic director could find private donations to fund the project.
Not coincidentally, the hospital system is now enlarging its presence in our growing community and seeks high visibility for its services. When our athletic director approached Memorial Hermann, the video scoreboard became a topic of mutual benefit. Essentially, in exchange for a payment to the Athletic Department of almost twice the funds needed for the scoreboard, we will broadcast various informational/advertisements on it, as well as ads on our Pearland ISD website and in signage at our gyms. In addition to the hospital videos, there will be ample space for other businesses to advertise in like manner at football games. Thus, we have a new source of revenue, and Memorial Hermann receives a prominent place.
The agreement with Memorial Hermann also provides optional services at little or no cost. For example, we’d like to expand opportunities for athletes to get baseline concussion testing, EKG analysis of high-risk athletes, injury clinics and fast-track services for emergencies. While we are not obligated to use Memorial Hermann for these purposes, the hospital system stands ready to provide any gaps in service — and any other needs that benefit our students and staff.
The amount paid to Pearland ISD in this agreement totals $680,000, leaving about half of the funds for other Athletic Department items. This fits in nicely with our coming district-wide demographics and facilities studies. Our school population is now surpassing the 20,000-student mark. Some of our older schools are in obvious need of classroom additions/upgrades/etc. Such needs will include athletic/P.E. areas, but even the most pressing Athletic Department needs must take a back seat to academic needs. So with this new Memorial Hermann donation, we save precious district funds for those more pressing academic needs.
With the opening this fall of Turner College and Career High School, we are greatly expanding opportunities for medical profession preparation among our student body. The new agreement with Memorial Hermann will provide internships and other educational experiences matching its hospital system with our students and staff. If/when we need, Memorial Hermann is offering annual health and wellness events for Pearland ISD, professional speakers, nursing education, a Pediatric Weight Management program, and other options.
We will continue to enjoy a close working relationship with other doctors and medical providers within our community, some of whom have ties to Memorial Hermann and some who are independent. There are obviously more needs than services in a community our size, and many have volunteered to help.
We are also newly creating an education foundation to benefit the students of Pearland ISD. We envision this new foundation will supply funds for academic needs, teacher innovation, and student scholarships. It is my hope that the example already set by local businesses and most recently by Memorial Hermann will stimulate new contributions. With the Pearland community now reaching a population of 102,000, and with new businesses vying to locate here, we believe our school district can be a worthy beneficiary of the goodwill exhibited by so many.
On behalf of Pearland ISD, I express our thanks to Memorial Hermann and to all the other businesses and organizations that partner with us to provide a better future for the children we serve!