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Angry at the Texas legislature? Get to work! » 13

Increase parent participation in your class » 20

Life, teaching, and the importance of failure » 22


Field Guide TO




El Paso

Fort Davis

Johnson City

San Antonio







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“I love that we have a voice and that we fight for what teachers and students need. The bonus is that I have amazing employment rights defense insurance*, so I don’t have to worry when I walk on campus.” Fourth-grade teacher Leslie Ward has been an ATPE member since 2013.

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The official publication of the Association of Texas Professional Educators

State Officers Carl Garner. . . . . . . . . . . President, Mesquite (10) Byron Hildebrand. . . . Vice President, San Antonio (20) Tonja Gray. . . . . . . . . . . . . . Secretary, Abilene (14) Jimmy Lee. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Treasurer, Paris (8) Julleen Bottoms. . . . . Past President, Corsicana (12)

Board of Directors Hector Cruz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Weslaco (1) Cesarea Germain. . . . . . . . . . . . Corpus Christi (2) Cathy Stolle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Karnes City (3) Eli Rodriguez . . . . . . . . . . . Cypress-Fairbanks (4) Suellen Ener. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Beaumont (5) Charles Lindsey II . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Magnolia (6) Kim Dolese. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Nacogdoches (7) Open. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (8) Dale Lovett. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Olney (9) Meredith Malloy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ferris (10) Karen Hames. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Lewisville (11) Jason Forbis. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Midway (12) Christie Smith. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Pflugerville (13) Desirie Ries. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Hawley (14) Jose Delgado. . . . . . . . . . . San Felipe-Del Rio (15) Dawn Riley. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Amarillo (16) Brenda Bryan. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Hale Center (17) Bridget Loffler. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Odessa (18) Rudy Romero. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Clint (19) Tina Briones. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . San Antonio (20)

ATPE Staff Gary G. Godsey. . . . . . . . . . . . . Executive Director Alan Bookman. . . . . . Deputy Executive Director

ATPE News Staff Gary G. Godsey. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Executive Editor Elaine Acker. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Editor John Kilpper. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Art Director Leslie Trahan. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Managing Editor Erica Fos. . . . . . . . . . . . . Senior Graphic Designer Sarah Gray . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Associate Editor Jean Schlitzkus. . . . . . . . . . . . . Contributing Editor ATPE News contains legislative advertising contracted for by Gary G. Godsey, Executive Director, Association of Texas Professional Educators, 305 E. Huntland Dr., Ste. 300, Austin, TX 78752-3792, representing ATPE. ATPE News (ISSN 0279-6260) is published quarterly in fall, winter, spring, and summer. Subscription rates: for members of the association, $3.32 per year (included in membership dues); non-members, $10 per year. Extra copies $1.25 each. Published by the Association of Texas Professional Educators, 305 E. Huntland Drive, Suite 300, Austin, TX 78752-3792. Periodical postage paid at Austin, Texas, and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to ATPE News, 305 E. Huntland Dr., #300, Austin, TX 78752-3792. Advertising rates may be obtained by sending a written request to the above address. Opinions expressed in this publication represent the attitude of the contributor whose name appears with the article and are not necessarily the official policy of ATPE. ATPE reserves the right to refuse advertising contrary to its purpose. Copyright 2017 in USA by the Association of Texas Professional Educators


very year, I walk away from our annual summit feeling revitalized by the energy of our members. I love seeing your passion—it’s clear we all care deeply about our students, our schools, and our organization. Even though we don’t always see eye to eye on every issue, it’s important for us to remember that we have the same goals. We all want Texas public schools to succeed, we all want bright futures for our students, and we all want ATPE to flourish. The only way we can make these things happen is if we speak with one voice. Together, we are strong and powerful, and we need to make sure the Texas legislature knows it. There’s no question that we’ve taken a beating this past year. We must keep up the fight together. Texas politician Carter Casteel once said, “We will not yield!” We should all remember those words. There will always be more work to be done. Remember, as we move forward together this year, your ATPE board and state officers are here to serve you. If you have questions or concerns, please call me or your local board member. You elected us to serve you, and we’re thrilled to do so! Find your board member’s contact info at, and reach out to your state officers at Your-ATPE/About-ATPE/State-Office-Bios. Thank you for your passion and commitment to Texas public schools! I look forward to seeing you all at the 2018 ATPE Summit in Dallas!

Carl Garner ATPE State President

ISSN © ATPE 2013 0279-6260 USPS 578-050 305 E. Huntland Dr., Ste. 300 Austin, TX 78752-3792 (800) 777-ATPE (2873) |





On the Cover

A Field Guide to Field Trips Explore six diverse field trip destinations across the state.




ATPE members share their tips for involving parents in the classroom.

Dr. Adolph Brown discusses life, teaching, and the importance of failure.

Making Parents Relationships Your Partner in Worth the Classroom Fighting For

Š Photo courtesy of Caverns of Sonora

ATPE NEWS Fall 2017, Volume 38, Number 1


 A Voice for the Future F irst-time summit attendees from Texas Southern University came to Austin to help guide the future of the association.

26 2017 ATPE Summit

Members came together in July to lead, learn, and connect with fellow educators. Learn more about the decisions made at the event.

32 Meet Your 2017-18 ATPE Leaders ATPE state and region officers

IN EVERY ISSUE 6 Calendar 8 Regional Roundup 10 Education Inspiration Beginning-of-the-year activities to help break the ice with your students

12 Your Ally

New law tightens regulations on teacher-student relationships

13 Your Voice

Put your anger with the Texas legislature to work

14 PAC Honor Roll 34 Members Speak

How standardized testing affects students and teachers

38 ATPE News

Membership recruitment rewards • Recruiting tips • Membership dues amounts • Carl’s quarterly call

43 Brain Break

36 Family Album ATPE NEWS 5


September 4

State office closed for Labor Day

8–10 12–15 30 First-quarter ATPE Board of Directors meeting

State Board of Education meetings

Last day to join ATPE or renew to avoid a 30-day wait for employment rights defense insurance to be effective*

October 6

State Board for Educator Certification meeting


Fall ATPE committee meetings


Last day to register to vote**


First day of early voting**


Deadline for first-time professional members to join ATPE and be entered to win one of two $500 Classroom Makeover Giveaways; STAR Membership Challenge and Each One, Reach One submissions due

November 3

Last day of early voting**


Daylight saving time ends


Election Day

7–10 17–18 22–24 State Board of Education meetings

Second-quarter ATPE Board of Directors meeting

State office closed for Thanksgiving break




Working Together for You

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Earning your degree from Grand Canyon University represents a positive next step in achieving your career goals. Founded in 1949, GCU offers more than 150 online programs for bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs in some of the fastest-growing career fields. ATPE has a special arrangement with GCU that allows eligible participants to earn a degree, certificate or take a single course with special benefits.



• 10% scholarship off tuition

Contact your local university representative for a complimentary credit evaluation. Within 24 hours, we will evaluate your coursework and provide a personalized graduation plan – including a preliminary schedule and your anticipated graduation date.

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For more information, please visit or call 855-428-1772

Important policy information is available in the University Policy Handbook at The information printed in this material is accurate as of April 2017. For the most up-to-date information about admission requirements, tuition, scholarships and more, visit For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program and other important information, please visit our website at Please note, not all GCU programs are available in all states and in all learning modalities. Program availability is contingent on student enrollment. Grand Canyon University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (800-621-7440; GCU, while reserving its lawful rights in light of its Christian mission, is committed to maintaining an academic environment that is free from unlawful discrimination. Further detail on GCU’s Non-Discrimination policies can be found at 17COEE0071




here are more than a thousand school districts in Texas and each one has success stories. Regional Roundup highlights some of the achievements happening in our public schools. When something special happens in your school district, let us know! Send news to

Oklahoma 6









Gulf of Mexic

From Across the State ypress-Fairbanks fifth grader 1 Cnow a best-selling author

outh San Antonio program 4 Shelps deaf students thrive

It took one week for Sydney McGee to become a best-selling author. Her first book, Sydney Sunshine and the Not-So-Magic-Mirror, made it to No. 1 on the African American Literature Book Club (AALBC) best-sellers list. The now fifth grader at Wilson Elementary School is the youngest ever AALBC No. 1 best-selling author. Sydney hopes her books will help kids across the globe develop self-confidence.

Through a combination of American Sign Language, spoken word, and iPads, classrooms in South San Antonio ISD transform into a hub of learning for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. The Regional Day School Program for the Deaf provides students in the area with barrier-free classes at no cost. Students study subjects like English, algebra, and world geography with the help of teachers, interpreters, and iPad apps.

aredo fifth grader named 2 LStudent Hero

encourages female 5 Program students to enter STEM field

The State Board of Education received thousands of nominations for its Student Heroes award. For the vast area between El Paso and Laredo, this honor fell to Amanda Aguirre from Don Jose Gallego Elementary. Between preparing care packages for military-dependent children and collecting plastic bottle caps to raise funds for chemotherapy, Amanda exemplifies what it means to give back to the community.

The name says it all: Powerful Opportunities for Women Eager and Ready in Science, Engineering, and Technology, or POWER SET. Made possible by a partnership between Palacios High School educators and Texas A&M University’s Nuclear Power Institute, the program arms female high school students with the resources, encouragement, and mentoring needed to seek opportunities in the STEM field.

odified ride-on cars assist 3 Mstudents with disabilities

itness initiative allows 6 Fstudents to give back

Twelve students in Frisco ISD were gifted customized ride-on cars, created by high school engineering students at Frisco’s Career and Technical Education Center. The modified vehicles give students with physical disabilities more independence and mobility. Funding was provided by a grant from Frisco Education Foundation’s Grants for Great Ideas program and from the Frisco Sunrise Rotary Club.

A unique plan put together by Mary Orr and Crystal Davis of DeKalb ISD combines fitness with aiding malnourished children across the globe. The program started as a way to teach third-grade students about other cultures. Thanks to a grant from UNICEF, it expanded to include tracking the students’ steps each day. Each step earns points that go toward “unlocking” packets of therapeutic food sent to children in need.




Louisiana Photos courtesy of Cy-Fair ISD, Laredo ISD, Frisco ISD, South San ISD, Palacios ISD, and DeKalb ISD







Getting to Know You Looking for classroom inspiration? You’ve come to the right place! In this department, we highlight fun and inspiring educational activities found on social media. Check out these simple ideas for the beginning of the school year.

Younger students will love making their own All About Me posters. Hang the posters up when they’re finished so students can see what they have in common.

2 This icebreaker game involves fun questions and candy! What’s not to love? Students answer the question that corresponds to the color of M&M they pick out of a bowl (without looking, of course). This is a great activity for middle and high school students.



Use Ping-Pong balls as conversation starters! Write one interesting question on each ball. Then have students select balls and bounce them to other students in the class. This site also has a great list of gettingto-know-you questions!



This photo booth is a fun activity for younger kids—and parents will love the photos, too! Take another photo on the last day of class to show students how much they’ve changed!

Photos courtesy of: (1); (2); (3); (4)


Use your ATPE discounts and save! Stocking and sprucing up your classroom with supplies and decorations is an important part of many teachers’ back-to-school activities. And we know many of you use your own hard-earned cash to do it! Don’t forget to use ATPE’s partnership at Office Depot/OfficeMax, in store or at Members can get up to 80 percent off preferred products and shop 93,000 items discounted at below-retail pricing.

"I use the discounts to cover the cost of my membership. If people don't believe me, I tell them to ask me how I took my family to Sea World for just $200. Or I show them my Office Depot receipts." —KALLY EVANS, WILLIS ATPE


New Law Tightens Regulations on Teacher-Student Relationships



nfortunately, stories of inappropriate relationships between teachers and students continue to make headlines across the state. Only a tiny fraction of Texas educators engage in inappropriate relationships, but these stories nonetheless inspired Texas legislators to pass Senate Bill 7 (SB7). Already signed by the governor, SB7 strengthens existing laws against inappropriate teacher-student relationships and creates new penalties for administrators who do not appropriately report allegations.

Superintendents and principals who fail to make required reports may receive an administrative sanction of up to $10,000. Additionally, if it is found that either administrator intentionally concealed the educator’s misconduct, that administrator may be charged with a state jail felony. Additionally, SB7 requires certified professionals applying to new positions to submit a pre-employment affidavit disclosing whether they have ever been charged with having an inappropriate relationship with a minor. If the charge was determined to be false, the applicant can still be considWhat Does SB7 Do? ered for the position. However, if an administraSimply put, SB7 broadens the scope of the law. tor is aware that an applicant has been convicted Existing law made improper sexual relationships of having an inappropriate relationship with a between an educator and a student enrolled in student and employs the applicant despite this the educator’s district a felony. SB7 amends that knowledge, the administrator’s certificate may statute to criminalize be revoked. improper relationships The bill allows the between all educators board to suspend or and students—regardeven revoke the certifless of whether they are icate of any educator in the same district. who assists another ALREADY SIGNED BY THE SB7 also extends the person in obtaining GOVERNOR, SB7 STRENGTHENS duty to report allegaemployment at a school EXISTING LAWS AGAINST tions to principals. This district if the educator INAPPROPRIATE TEACHERchange was made to knows that person has prevent educators from previously engaged in STUDENT RELATIONSHIPS AND avoiding penalties for sexual misconduct with CREATES NEW PENALTIES FOR inappropriate activity a minor student. Note ADMINISTRATORS WHO DO by simply changing disthat whether there was tricts. Previously, only an actual conviction NOT APPROPRIATELY REPORT superintendents had a or charge is irrelevant. ALLEGATIONS. legal obligation to reWhat matters is that port an allegation of inthe person who helped appropriate contact with a student. Under SB7, a the educator find employment had knowledge of principal must notify the superintendent within the sexual misconduct. The bill notes that the rouseven days of becoming aware: tine transmission of administrative files (such as a • that an educator has resigned or had employ- service records) would not count as assistance for ment terminated following allegations of in- these purposes. It is more likely that lawmakers appropriate contact with a student (and other meant to deter certified employees and administypes of serious misconduct); or trators from providing good references or recom• of an educator’s criminal record. mendations for someone who has been charged SB7 also creates harsher penalties for failure to with misconduct. report allegations or a prior record of misconduct. continued on p. 40


Don’t Get Mad. Get Busy.

T BY JENNIFER M. CANADAY ATPE Governmental Relations Director

he 85th legislature blog. We just completed a tuurged legislators to intervene. multuous special For educators facing drasession, tasked by Gov. Greg matic healthcare cost hikes, Abbott to tackle 20 subjects it’s hard to find comfort in TEXAS EDUCATORS not addressed to his liking the 85th legislature’s efforts ARE A MILLION during the 2017 regular sesto prevent the demise of TRS STRONG AND CAN sion. The special session was healthcare programs. In the MAKE A STUPENDOUS an engineered opportunity regular session, legislators for a legislative bonus round. leaned on local taxpayers to STATEMENT IN As media have reported, Lt. provide funding for about half THE 2018 PRIMARY Gov. Dan Patrick worked with the TRS-Care deficit, forcing ELECTIONS IF WE a handful of legislators at the TRS to rejigger the design of STAND TOGETHER FOR end of the regular session to healthcare plans for retirees take hostage or stonewall vital and active educators to fill PUBLIC EDUCATION. medical agency sunset bills in the gaps. Lawmakers heard the order to advance his pet pricomplaints of retired educators orities—like private school vouchers and state and compelled the governor to add to his special regulations on bathroom usage. The demise of session call an item addressing retirees’ healthcare. those bills and resulting political pressure are the ATPE lobbied for the additional $212 million that reason many of us spent our dog days of summer legislators are now sending to TRS, but we know in the halls of the Texas State Capitol. it’s a stopgap and that many will still feel the pain. We’re proud that we ended this special session The impact of legislative apathy on educators’ without the enactment of reckless voucher bills pocketbooks is a tough pill to swallow. We’ve heard or over-regulation of local school districts, and your voices, and we understand why you are angry. we defeated the blatantly anti-educator “union We cannot turn back time to make lawmakers do dues” legislation favored by the governor and what should have been done over a 15-year time lieutenant governor. Already, Abbott and Patrick span: slowly increase state appropriations to keep are threatening another special session and blam- up with market forces and rising healthcare costs. ing the Texas House and Speaker Joe Straus for Nor can we change the hearts of officials who were those “failures,” which we celebrate as victories elected on anti-public education campaigns. They for Texas schoolchildren and educators. remain determined to limit spending on educaImportantly, we’re also ending the session with tion (i.e., for your classrooms, salaries, and students’ half a billion more dollars for public education needs), de-professionalize your work, and privatize than we had in June, thanks to a vocal education our schools to benefit special interests and camcommunity. But is it too little and too late to stop paign donors. No amount of pleading from lobthe surge of discontent among educators? byists or constituents will make such politicians We entered the regular session facing a true crisis— turn away from their campaign promises. But we not the kind of make-believe crises manufactured can change one important thing: who’s in office. by political operatives to generate “scorecard” votes Go ahead and get mad, but let’s put that feeling to for elections. We at ATPE knew the state’s educator work. Texas educators are a million strong and can healthcare program would implode if lawmakers make a stupendous statement in the 2018 primary did not act this year. For years, we wrote about the elections if we stand together. Now is the time to looming collapse in our publications and on our get busy.


For full coverage of how public education fared during the special session, see our blog at ATPE NEWS 13


THANK YOU FOR YOUR INVESTMENT IN TEXAS PUBLIC EDUCATION! The following ATPE members donated $50 or more to ATPE’s Political Action Committee (ATPE-PAC) from March 30, 2017, through June 30, 2017. Abilene Tonja Gray

Comal Carla Carter

Ennis Mary Dowell

Amarillo Nelson Bishop Yolanda Capetillo Eunice Green Dawn Riley Kristel Sexton Cindy Smith Tiffany Vann Shane Whitten

Corpus Christi Cesarea Germain

Ferris Meredith Malloy Betty McCoy

Austin Elizabeth Abrahams Axtell Janice Hornsby Ballinger Darlene Kelly Boerne Margie Hastings Carrollton-Farmers Branch Dana Carroll

Corsicana Julleen Bottoms Crowley Jeannie Evans Steve Pokluda Kitty Smith Cypress-Fairbanks Stephanie Bailey Dallas Deborah Pleasant Del Valle Cris Rocha Edinburg Benjamin Lozano El Paso Elizabeth Bulos

Forney Wendy Smith Galena Park Lynn Nutt Debra Welch-Marks GrapevineColleyville Kelley Walker Groesbeck Gina King Hale Center Brenda Bryan Humble Gayle Sampley Hurst-EulessBedford Trasa Cobern

Irving Connie Kilday Bobby Villanueva Jacksboro Kristi Daws Killeen Eileen Walcik Melissa Walcik Ron Walcik Sharon Woody Krum Betty Ann Plunkett La Joya Vangie Garza Leander Jayne Serna Lewisville Karen Hames Maypearl Edith Stanley

McKinney Richard Edwards Mesquite Jerry Bonham Carl Garner Michele Garner Alison Kimble Millsap Deann Lee Nacogdoches Janie Leath Northside (20) David de la Garza Olney Dale Lovett Paris Jerrica Liggins Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Mike Sweet

Plano Rebecca Bottin Jill Gipson Julie Riggs San Antonio Skip Hildebrand San Marcos Genie Rolfe Spearman Sherry Boyd Waco Jane Sykes Waxahachie Kim Kriegel Weslaco Hector Cruz Woden Teresa Millard

McAllen Twila Figueroa

Invest in the ATPE Political Action Committee today!

It’s easy to set up recurring monthly or quarterly donations online at



Field Guide TO


Get out of the classroom and into the field … trip. Dig in, dive in, and discover these six diverse destinations across Texas. BY S A R A H G R AY & G . E L A I N E AC K E R



Caverns of Sonora



he landscape around Sonora is classic Texas ranchland. But below ground waits an extraordinary experience for Texas students. Bill Stephenson, the founder of the National Speleological Society, says the Caverns of Sonora are “the most indescribably beautiful cave in the world. Its beauty cannot be exaggerated, not even by a Texan.” The cave is a constant 71 degrees and plunges to depths of 150 feet beneath the earth. Students explore passages and formations with intriguing names such as the Valley of Ice, the Devil’s Pit, and the Crystal Palace. “One of the best features about our educational tours is the underground classroom,” says Ed Mayfield, marketing director. “Students learn about cave formation, and it’s all done inside our auditorium room of the cave.” In addition to lessons in geology, your students can also learn about cave biology and paleontology. Tours can be customized depending on the size and age of your group and include activities such as digging for fossils or panning for gemstones. The staff’s best advice for teachers is to collaborate with them ahead of time. “It’s good for teachers to have a thorough understanding of how our cave operates to protect the cave,” says Mayfield. Some areas of the cave, such as the Crystal Palace, can only be explored with 12 students at a time. “Allowing time to get all the kids into the cave is important.”

Plan your spelunking adventure by calling (325) 387-3105 or visiting



© Photos courtesy of Caverns of Sonora; Science Mill; Heritage Farmstead


ust three years ago, the Science Mill was an iconic, Johnson City but dilapidated, 1880s TEXAS grist mill. But Johnson City’s landmark silos now have new life. Bonnie Baskin, a former microbiologist, university professor, and entrepreneur, saw the mill and envisioned it as a high-tech, interactive, immersive science museum. In an unusual twist, the Science Mill was created with a focus on middle school students. “Middle school is when kids start to lose interest in science,” says Baskin. “We wanted to create a place where they could get excited about science again.” The Science Mill features technological exhibits, which include game-based challenges, coding, and engineering. While the exhibits invite students to discover careers in science, the Science Mill’s clear mission is to help teachers. “There’s nothing more important than the teachers,” says Baskin. “The thing that makes it worthwhile for me is when we have a teacher who says they watched their students interact with the exhibits and

saw a new spark of curiosity.” With this in mind, all materials are TEKS aligned, and there is support for teachers before, during, and after the scheduled field trip. Baskin’s advice for educators who visit the Science Mill is to plan to spend as much time as possible on-site. “It breaks our hearts when kids only have two hours,” says Baskin. “There’s so much to do!” To check out the educator guide and book a field trip, visit, email, or call (844) 263-6405, ext. 1007.

SOWING KNOWLEDGE Heritage Farmstead


efore the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex became the vast, concrete jungle it is today, it was a sweeping prairie covered in tallgrass, known as the Blackland Prairie region. Historic landmarks like Plano’s Heritage Farmstead Museum offer Texans a glimpse into prairie life during the 18th and 19th centuries and give your students the chance to be a pioneer for a day. Totaling 4.5 acres, the Heritage Farmstead Museum is the premier living museum of agricultural history in North Texas. The farmstead offers school tours on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and each tour is 90 minutes long. According to Lindsay Bradshaw, director of education at the museum, most groups range from pre-K to fourth grade. “One of my favorite things about field trips here are the hands-on activities,” Bradshaw says. “Students get to learn through grinding corn and feeding chickens, plowing and planting the old-fashioned way, milking our pretend cow, and having a lesson in a replica schoolhouse. They learn through explanation but also through immersion.”


Start planning your pioneer day by heading to the Heritage Farmstead Museum’s website and checking out all they have to offer your little farmers in the making:




ocated in the heart of San Antonio, the Witte Museum provides students the opportunity to explore all that is “Texas born, bred, and excavated.” The museum completed a two-year transformation in March 2017 by adding 170,000 square feet of renovated and San Antonio expanded exhibits and program areas, headTEXAS lined by Dinosaurs, People of the Pecos, and Texas Wild exhibits. From learning about the says Amy Mitchell, director of education. Educators can preview dinosaurs who roamed Texas millions of years ago, to the exhibits, hear from curators, and explore how to best incorpothe people of the Lower Pecos who inhabited Texas thousands of years ago, up to the early settlers from hundreds of years ago, a field trip rate the museum’s learnings into their classroom curriculum—and even earn continuing professional education credit! to the new Witte complements any Texas history curriculum. “All of our field trips are dynamic with hands-on components,” says Christina Cate, director of play at the museum. Many of the field trips take place in a “lab” that accompanies the new exhibits, so field trips aren’t just a museum educator standing and talking at schoolchildren.

The Witte Museum has a variety of programs that accommodate K–12 students. Read their educator’s guide ( wp-content/uploads/WitteEduGuide-Spring2017v11e.pdf) or check out the “Program & Events” section on their home page.

Educators are encouraged to attend free Evenings for Educators sessions, which take place twice a year before the spring and fall semesters. “Teachers are very much part of what we do here,”

When you’re ready to excavate Texas’s history like never before, contact, visit, or call (210) 357-1910.

ORCHESTRATING STUDIES El Paso Symphony Orchestra


llow your students to take different kinds of notes by experiencing the El Paso Symphony Orchestra. Started in the 1930s, the orchestra “is the oldest performing arts organization in El Paso and the longest continuously running symphony orchestra in the state of Texas,” according to its website ( With its main mission being to engage, educate, and entertain the vibrant and multicultural community of the El Paso region,

El Paso the symphony orchestra offers three programs specifically geared toward educating schoolchildren in music.


One such program, the Young People’s Concerts, has been in existence for 76 years and specifically targets fifth graders in the area. Now connected with the Carnegie Hall Link Up program, the Young People’s Concerts allow students to participate in the show through recorders and singing. Two other programs, Kids for Klassics and Angel Ticket, provide free tickets to classical music concerts for local school districts, including a pre-concert talk for participating classrooms. Additionally, various chamber ensembles perform concerts in schools and partner with schools to use music as an instrument (in more ways than one!) to enhance students’ understanding of classroom subjects. Bring the sound of music to your class by calling (915) 532-3776 to reserve a spot at the next concert. See for more details.


TELESCOPIC FINDINGS The McDonald Observatory

© Photos courtesy of Witte Museum; El Paso Symphony Orchestra; The McDonald Observatory


he dark night skies in Fort Davis offer some of the best stargazing in Texas. And perched atop Mount Locke, under the McDonald Observatory’s white and silver domes, some of the best astronomers in the world are waiting to share their enthusiasm with your students.

Fort Davis TEXAS

The visitor’s center features a full classroom, theater, and Decoding Starlight exhibit hall. Programs can include daytime tours of the telescopes, solar viewing, and nighttime star parties. Every learning experience supports TEKS and STAAR goals, and is customized to K–12 audiences. For teachers who are nowhere near the remote west Texas observatory, there’s good news. The observatory offers interactive, virtual field trips for grades three through 12. Whether you’re visiting in person or online, the McDonald Observatory offers a wide array of resources for teachers. Learn more at teachers/visit, or call (432) 426-3673 to start planning your trip to the stars.

Field Trip Tips Looking for a low-stress guide to planning your field trip? Read ATPE member Celena Miller’s expert tips on the ATPE Blog at planning-a-science-field-trip.


Making Parents Your




But every teacher also knows that keeping parents engaged in the classroom can be a challenge. We asked ATPE members to share their secrets for keeping parents informed and involved in the classroom. Thanks to all our members who contributed tips and stories!


Š Illustration by iStockphoto/Anastasiia_New

very teacher knows that parent involvement is critical to classroom success. And research has consistently confirmed that students with involved parents have higher grades, better attendance, and better social skills.

Tech Paves the Way

Don’t Forget the Food!

“I love sharing Google Suite access rights so parents can see what is happening in the classroom as it is happening. My parents love adding comments to their students’ essays and products, and the curriculum is demystified, thus increasing future engagement.”

“A Morning Coffee Break: Have coffee and set up a table where parents can come in and pick up special work that needs to be done. They can do it while an aide, admin, or teacher welcomes them. Let them know about the school calendar and how the school could use their help.

Members agreed that technology makes parent interactions more efficient. Here are some of your favorite classroom apps.

—Stephanie Stoebe, fourth-grade English/language arts teacher, Round Rock ISD

“I love using Remind with parents and students.”

—Kellie Williams Smith, high school math teacher, Southwest ISD

“This past year was the first year that I used ClassDojo. Absolutely loved it and was in touch with parents frequently through this. It is a mixture of texting, sharing photos and videos, and behavior— all in one place. It is a closed group and parents have to have a code to join. It focuses on the positive, but there are consequences for the negatives. We have class rewards as well as individual rewards for points.” —Brenda Browning, third-grade teacher, Granbury ISD

“I make sure my parents can access my resources through the school’s website, email, and by using Remind, a program that parents join to receive classroom news. I am confined to 140 characters, which means I am super-specific with info. Parents like the 24-7-365 access of Remind. I update my web page once a week as well. Yes, my parents can call me at home.” —Pam Torre, seventh- and eighth-grade social studies teacher, Lackland Air Force Base

Eden Renovato, paraprofessional at Hempstead Early Childhood Center, offers these smart tips for getting parents to help out on campus.

A Midday Snack: Parents come in during the kids’ lunch break and have a small snack while they talk with the teacher or counselor about upcoming events or how they can help their kids with their studies. A Saturday Sundae: This is a good way to open the doors to working parents who can’t stop by during the week but want to be part of the school. Once a month, open the school for parents and grandparents to help out with simple gardening, bulletin board décor, getting supplies ready for testing, or anything else the school needs help with. At the end, they can all enjoy a sundae! Brown Bag Kits: Remember that some parents are willing to help but have young kids, so a Brown Bag Kit can help them feel welcome. This kit has a special project a teacher may need help with (cutting, tracing, gluing) that the parent can pick up on Monday and deliver back to the school finished by Thursday, for example. I think all parents really want to help, but the time limitations we set close the doors on some of them.”

Care and Communication Are Key

Social studies teacher Pam Torre says understanding parents’ culture is key to a successful relationship.

“My priority has always been effective parent-teacher-student communication. I have been known to schedule a conference at the Base Library and even at the food court on base. My favorite time? That's easy: 1 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon during football season. You would be surprised at the punctuality and the brevity. As a former military member, I understand the unique culture of my military families, and if it makes sense to conference over a glass of iced tea or a slice of pizza with the family, I am all for it. My mission is to serve my families to the best of my ability. Care and communication are very important to me.”


For more tips on how to improve communication with parents, read the ATPE Blog post by member Cheryl Drews at ATPE NEWS 21



r. Adolph Brown has achieved the kind of success most people only dream of. He’s one of the most sought-after education speakers in the country (if you attended the 2016 ATPE Summit, you’re likely still talking about his energetic and inspiring keynote address). He has multiple advanced degrees, and at age 29, he became the youngest tenured full professor in the country. But if you ask him about his successes, the first thing he’ll tell you about is his failures. Brown was raised by a single mother and grew up in an inner-city housing project. As a child, he never thought he would graduate from high school, much less become the first person in his family to graduate from college. He is quick to emphasize that his success is a direct result of the challenges he faced as a child, and the freedom he felt to fail over and over again before he found the path that was right for him. Now, Brown has dedicated his life to helping students and teachers find their own paths. His research focuses on childhood trauma and the importance of positive relationships between educators and students. ATPE talked to Dr. Brown about his research and his advice to educators for the upcoming school year.


“Teachers also need to remember the importance of relationship building. Kids need you to know their story. That will help you relate to them.”

© Photo courtesy of Dr. Adolph Brown


Can you share a little about your background and what motivated you to go into the education field?

u My mom and dad divorced when I was two. We had a family of five and a one-income household, so we moved to the inner-city projects. My saving grace was the fact that my grandfather stepped in when my father stepped out. I grew up in an environment where there were murders, drugs, and gangs. I grew up in Virginia, seven miles from the ocean front, but I didn’t see the ocean until I was a late teenager. Parents and guardians didn’t want kids to

venture too far out because they weren’t sure we would be welcome in certain areas. My oldest sibling and only brother was murdered when I was 11, and that was a trying time for me. I’ve always loved learning, but there was a point when school was pretty tough for me because of the background noise. So, enter a village of caring and high-performing educators, teachers, and administrators who took me under their wing. Everyone in my family was an advocate of education. My teachers knew that there was more to me being a ATPE NEWS 23

good student than just showing up I got a master’s degree with a con“Stand up for students. to school. They knew that I came centration in effective classroom Keep the morale in your from a home and homes somemanagement and differentiated classroom up. Make times have issues. teaching strategies and then went sure you’re bringing My grandfather only had a thirdon to get a doctorate in clinical psyyour best every day. I grade farm school education, chology. I wanted to teach, and my have yet to be a part of where all the grade levels were instructors told me I would make anything worthwhile taught in one room. He told me a good professor. I was a graduate that wasn’t tough.” that he wanted me to be better assistant and would teach for them than him. That stuck with me besometimes. I wasn’t sure I wanted cause of course at that age I didn’t to teach young adults, though. I think anyone could be better than wanted to help people like Mrs. my grandfather. I didn’t appreciate Tolley helped me. that comment from him. But as I I became a middle school science grew older, I understood exactly what he meant. teacher and, eventually, a general education special ed teacher. I loved it, but I saw educators who loved teaching Did you have any teachers who really inspired and and loved students get bombarded by so many different motivated you? things. Simple relationships took a back burner. They u In third grade, we had a new teacher. It was her first were forgetting that if a child knew you believed in them, year teaching, and I thought she was as different from me that child would run through a wall for you. And if they as night and day. She comes in. She’s dressed well and ev- didn’t, they put up a wall against you. eryone sees that. And she smells great, so we think she’s I eventually got a tenure track position at Hampton rich, and we’re poor. She’s white, and we’re black and University, where I became the head of the psychology brown. She’s Jewish, and I’m a Christian. education department and eventually the dean. I was 29 Despite our differences, she met us where we were. at the time, and I became the youngest tenured full proBecause of her expectations, we achieved more in her fessor in our country. class. The biggest thing that stuck with me is when she said, “If you come here, if you get to school, then you best It’s really impressive that you’ve been able to achieve believe you’re going to be safe.” It was almost as if she so much despite facing so many obstacles in your knew what many of us went through to get there. early years. She said, “I’m going to be here for you. I’m going to push u I think it’s important to note that I’m successful beyou. I’m going to challenge you. But you’ve got to come to cause I’ve failed so much. That often gets left out of the school.” That was the light switch for me in education. I story, but it’s the most important part. think I was on a decent path, but how productive of a path It used to be OK to fail in school, to have failures. But encan you be on if it lacks a formal education? ter high-stakes testing and all of the sudden, school isn’t She told the teachers who came after her that I was a as safe to fail in anymore. diamond in the rough—that I was a good kid, smart—even I also had teachers who made me believe that I could do though I had one leg in gifted education and one leg in anything. I still believe that made the difference for me. alternative education. I decided that maybe I wanted to continue with my education, though I didn’t know how. What inspires you now? No one in my family had graduated high school before. u My wife and I have a 17-year-old daughter who has That teacher’s name was Susan Tolley. She’s now a re- hydrocephalus and cerebral palsy. It’s been by far the tired administrator, and we work together. best educational experience I could have obtained. Being Dana’s dad is what education really is. My wife’s a biolYou eventually became a teacher yourself. Can you ogist, so people will sometimes tell us our children are talk a little about that journey? fortunate to have parents who are educators. But Dana u I wound up going to the College of William and Mary didn’t need us, we needed Dana. She’s taught our family in Williamsburg, Virginia. I studied psychology and an- so much. thropology. I thought I wanted to get into education, but Growing up in today’s world, it would be easy to have there were some other issues on my mind, popping back seven children with a huge sense of entitlement. Dana’s up, and those were why I behaved the way I did. I didn’t siblings look out for her. They go into a movie and the first immediately want to help people before I helped myself. thing they do is look to see where their sister’s going to And that’s the crux of my message today: Reflective edu- sit and how she’s going to get there, and they make sure cators are effective educators. there’s accessibility for a wheelchair. Their compassion 24 ATPE NEWS

has broadened my eyes in regard to people with disabilities in America and how we should stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves in that arena as well.

You’ve worked alongside Colin Powell at America’s Promise Alliance to help improve outcomes for all children in this country. How did you get involved with America’s Promise?

u William Harvey, the president of Hampton University and my mentor, was friends with retired General Colin Powell, and that’s how I heard about the opportunity to become youth co-chair of America’s Promise Alliance. It was difficult for me because I’m an introvert. I just don’t get my energy from people. And then I go to America’s Promise, and I was “voluntold” to participate by Dr. Harvey. He told me that this was an opportunity that I couldn’t afford to turn down. It was from that point on that my impact became greater. It’s more challenging than anything I’ve ever done, but it’s worth it. My work with America’s Promise is what led to my becoming a corporate and education speaker on leading and learning issues. I love sharing my research. My grandfather used to tell me that true intelligence was being able to talk to everyone. He would say, “You don’t measure anybody.” Activism to me was being an advocate at the national level, and I’m a part of that now. I just wanted to send the elevator back to the people who weren’t able to ride it with me.

What are you working on now?

u In my spare time, I research how to address the impact of childhood trauma on learning because that is the kind of child I was. When I’m not traveling, I’m writing. I just finished a book called Two Backpacks, which is about trauma-informed relationship building. We all have a backpack that we see, and we all have a second backpack that’s part of our story, too. Some of us have friends of 20 or 30 years that still don’t know everything there is to know about us. Because they’re things that we’re not comfortable sharing— they’re traumas, they’re hurts. The end goal of unpacking our second backpack is pretty much the same for everyone. There’s a little laughter, maybe some tears, but there has to be a whole lot of forgiveness. That book is out now. I’m also working on a tribute to my mother that’s called “Being a Father Like My Mother Was.” I’ve been working on this for years. I’ve been interviewing my mom and learning more about what she went through to make sure we made it. It’s a pretty big undertaking.

What’s the most important thing you think teachers should keep in mind going into the new school year?

u Burnout comes when we feel lonely, like we’re doing

it ourselves. If we all got in a circle and threw our problems in the middle, and you found out what other people are going through, you’d want your problems back. You’d realize you’re not the only one going through things. The more we talk, come together, have learning communities, the more strength we have. Teachers also need to remember the importance of relationship building. Kids need you to know their story. That will help you relate to them. You don’t have to use a specific strategy or technique. Learning may be on the student’s hands, but we don’t realize how much of it is in the teacher’s eyes. What they see is often what you get. If you see all of me as opposed to pieces of me, our relationship and that experience is likely to be greater. Students aren’t the only ones with these second backpacks. We all have them.

Here in Texas, we’ve had a tough legislative session, and it’s not over yet. What advice do you have for teachers like ours, who keep fighting the same battles and often feel like they’re getting nowhere?

u I live about three hours from DC, and I am a huge advocate for public education. Education is one of the few areas that people consider themselves experts in by virtue of having been a student. It doesn’t happen in any other profession. People who have had a surgical procedure do not attempt to operate on me. If I’ve gone to court, I don’t try to represent people. That’s one of the battles that we face. Often the people deciding what goes on in our schools and classrooms really have no idea. There is strength in numbers. Keep fighting the good fight. My grandfather would say, “You know what’s right.” Not everyone has that same ideology, but we know what’s right, and we know what helps children. We know the power of public education, and in knowing it, we have to fight. Is it tiring? Of course. It’s going to be hard. But as it gets harder, we get smarter. Fight that fight. Stand up for students. Keep the morale in your classroom up. Make sure you’re bringing your best every day. I have yet to be a part of anything worthwhile that wasn’t tough. Texas is my second home. I’ve seen some of the best educators in the country in Texas. My heart goes out to you for all that you deal with there.

Is there anything else you’d like to say to our members?

u Take advantage of everything your association offers. ATPE does a great job of bringing people together and providing professional development opportunities. Sometimes we cloak things as professional development, but they’re a great opportunity for us to see people we haven’t seen in a while. I can bounce things off others, and they can do the same. Teachers need to not only be an advocate for public education, but for the organizations that support public education as well. ATPE NEWS 25





his year, in the heat of the Texas summer, ATPE members traveled to Austin for the association’s annual leadership training and governance conference, or summit. Here, ATPE member volunteers receive training to help them successfully run ATPE local units and regions, participate in the House of Delegates (HOD) meeting, elect state officers, and network with their peers from around the state. Our association is a family that cares deeply about students and educators, and summit is our homecoming. The next few pages highlight leaders, members, and supporters who are making a difference in ATPE and their communities. You will also find information about decisions made during the HOD. The ATPE state office thanks everyone who participated in the 2017 ATPE Summit.



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Thank you to our generous sponsors and volunteers.

Corporate partners

Frost Bank, La Quinta Inns & Suites, Liberty Mutual Insurance, and Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union

Region and local unit sponsors

We’d also like to thank our region and local units who sponsored the following events and activities: Region 2—Connect Reception entertainment Region 6—Connect Reception gifts Regions 10, 11, 13, and 14, and Abilene ATPE—Connect Reception food

Educator of the Year Committee members

Chair Stephanie Bailey, Donnetta Allen, Shasta Bryan, Jennifer Gleaves, Katelyn Hanson, Greg Platt, and Robert Zamora

Leader of the Year Committee members

Mysak, Connie Phosay, Mary Poret, and Jacquline Price

Nomination/Election Committee members

Chair Billy Monty, Tiffany Gygi, Ygnacia Capetillo, Ron Fitzwater, Carolyn Hess, Heidi Langan, Betty McCoy, and Laura Sides

Bylaws Committee Chair Gayle Sampley

Resolutions Committee Chair Michael Balderas

Legislative Committee and PAC Committee Chair Kristi Daws

Chair Courtney Jones, Artemio Cantu, Evelyn Mitchell, Wilma


HOUSE OF DELEGATES ATPE’s HOD gathering reflects our member-owned and member-governed philosophy. At the HOD, delegates represent local unit members and vote for leaders and on policies that will guide our association. This year, delegates met on July 12 to hear candidates for 2017-18 state office speak and to consider proposed bylaws amendments; honorary, current, and standing resolutions; member motions; and the ATPE Legislative Program.

Bylaws Amendments

Members can visit house-of-delegates to read the updated ATPE State Bylaws. The adopted amendments take effect immediately: • The ATPE Board of Directors will have the ability to remove a state officer who has committed financial impropriety or engages in a criminal act, after a fair trial, with a four-fifths vote. • The ability to set ATPE’s membership year and fiscal year has been transferred to the ATPE Board of Directors.

Resolutions Honorary Resolution

The HOD adopted an honorary resolution in honor of Past State President Cory Colby for his service to ATPE. The HOD also voted to honor Speaker of the House Joe Straus and State Representative Dan Huberty for their support of public education during the 85th Texas Legislature.


The HOD readopted 13 standing resolutions and adopted a new current resolution on opposing privatization. Members can read the resolutions by visiting about-atpe/governance/house-of-delegates.

Prefiled Resolutions

It was resolved that ATPE will establish a recruitment reward program for retirees and will encourage more retiree


participation in recruitment from August through October. It was resolved that the ATPE Board of Directors will reconsider its decision to impose a moratorium on the activation and reactivation of local units.

Main Motions

The following main motions passed during the 2017 HOD: • The ATPE Board of Directors will consider redirecting funds from deactivated local units back to those local units’ regions. • The ATPE Board of Directors will reconsider and clarify its proposed amendment to transfer authority to establish, name, and define membership classes to the board. • The Nominations/Elections Committee will assess the viability of providing a set of questions on relevant topics for state officer candidates to answer prior to officer elections. • The ATPE Board of Directors will consider the viability of holding a special electronic election for the HOD.

ATPE Legislative Program

The ATPE Legislative Program, presented to legislators at the beginning of each legislative session, outlines the association’s legislative priorities and guides ATPE Governmental Relations in its advocacy efforts. The HOD adopted the 2017-18 ATPE Legislative Program with one amendment; visit to review the program.

2016-17 AWARDS ATPE honored educators, students, ATPE leaders, and friends of Texas public education at summit.

Charles Pickitt Educator of the Year Award

The Charles Pickitt Educator of the Year Award recognizes ATPE members who demonstrate exceptional or innovative capabilities in their respective educational fields. Winners receive $5,000 each.

Administrator of the Year David Vroonland Mesquite ISD Finalists: Cecilia Meza, Galena Park ISD, and Susana Ramirez, Pharr-San JuanAlamo ISD

Associate of the Year Yolanda Salinas Edinburg ISD Finalists: Hilda Martinez, La Joya ISD, and Teri Nail, Boerne ISD

Elementary Teacher of the Year Christopher Adams Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD Finalists: Ilene Pappert, Austin ISD, and Michael Sweet, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD

Secondary Teacher of the Year Krysta Reed Andrews ISD Finalists: Lynn Burleigh, Axtell ISD, and Claudia Cortez, Brownsville ISD

Doug Rogers Campus Representative of the Year Award

The Doug Rogers Campus Representative of the Year Award is designed to acknowledge those special ATPE volunteers who are fundamental to the continued growth and development of our grassroots organization. Winners receive $1,000 each, and their local units receive $250 for future local unit activities.

Local Units with 201–500 Members MaElena Ingram McAllen ATPE Finalists: Teri Nail, Boerne ATPE, and Celena Miller, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ATPE

Special Services Educator of the Year

Local Units with 501+ Members

Michael Balderas Edinburg ISD

Hilda Martinez La Joya ATPE

Finalists: Angelica Cuellar, Galena Park ISD, and Rebecca Monsevalles, Weslaco ISD

Finalists: Cynthia Balderas, Edinburg ATPE, and Norma Vega, La Joya ATPE


2016-17 AWARDS Local Unit of the Year Awards

The ATPE Local Unit of the Year Award acknowledges local unit efforts and accomplishments during the year. Each winning local unit receives $1,000.

Excellence in Communications Award

This award recognizes outstanding local unit communications. Each winning local unit receives $250.

Local Units with 1–200 Members

Local Units with 201–500 Members

Lackland ATPE Region 20

Local Units with 501+ Members

2016-17 officers: President Mary Reyes (pictured), Vice President JoAnne Moulder, Secretary Heather Kiesling, and Treasurer Ninfa Aguirre Finalists: Hempstead ATPE and Rio Hondo ATPE

Local Units with 201–500 Members Boerne ATPE Region 13 2016-17 officers: President Teri Nail (pictured), Vice President OnaBeth Day, Secretary Jeri Willis, and Treasurer Kimberly Grosenbacher Finalist: McAllen ATPE

Local Units with 501+ Members Alief ATPE Region 4 2016-17 officers: President Christina Stark, Secretary Jerry Rider, and Treasurer Jorge Cavazos Finalists: Cypress-Fairbanks ATPE and La Joya ATPE

University Local Units Lone Star College—Cypress-Fairbanks Region 4 2016-17 officers: President Karina Torres (pictured), Vice President Ulysses Guerra, Secretary Andrea Michaca, and Treasurer Rachel Patel

Boerne ATPE

Edinburg ATPE

2016-17 Political Action Committee Honorees William B. Travis ATPE-PAC Honorees

We’d like to thank all 130 of the 2016-17 William B. Travis honorees. These members donated $150 or more to ATPEPAC between May 1, 2015, and July 31, 2016. We greatly appreciate their commitment to ATPE-PAC! To see all honorees’ names, go to

Stephen F. Austin ATPE-PAC Honorees The members below have contributed the following cumulative amounts to ATPE-PAC since July 1997. $500 Charlotte Anthony Mary Betke Rebecca Bottin Brenda Bryan Alafair Hammett Dale Lovett Katy Matthews Gina F. McNeely Daisy Palomo Annie Perez Betty Plunkett Julie Riggs Dawn Riley Dwight Smith Kitty Smith Cathy Stolle Floyd Trimble Kelley Walker Belinda Wolf Kay Young $1,500 Shari Emmons


Suellen Ener Ron Fitzwater Jason Forbis Karen Hames Margie Hastings MaElena Ingram Deann Lee Debbie Massey Bill Monty Diane Pokluda Judi Thomas $2,500 Betty Berndt Jerry Bonham Syed Haider Tina Hardarson Sharon Phares Jayne Serna $7,500 Bickie Coffey Twila Figueroa

2016-17 AWARDS Davy Crockett Fundraising Challenge

This challenge was established to recognize the regions and local units that raise the most money per member for ATPE-PAC. Regions with 10,001 or more members Region 10 Regions with 10,000 or fewer members Region 20 Local units with 501+ members Cypress-Fairbanks ATPE Local units with 201–500 members McAllen ATPE Local units with 1–200 members Woden ATPE

ATPE-PAC Hall of Fame

STAR Membership Challenge Winners

This award is bestowed to those members who have donated $10,000 or more to ATPE-PAC since July 1997.

The STAR Membership Challenge is designed to encourage new member recruitment by recognizing and rewarding successful recruiters.

Richard Wiggins

First Place

ATPE-PAC Statesman Award

The ATPE-PAC Statesman Award honors ATPE members who have donated $20 or more to the ATPE-PAC for 12 consecutive months. Stephanie Bailey Betty Berndt Julleen Bottoms Hector Cruz Tonja Gray Tina Hardarson Margie Hastings Connie Kilday Steve Pokluda Eli Rodriguez Jayne Serna Richard Wiggins

Alafair Hammett Media Awards

Michael Balderas, Edinburg (141 qualified entries)

Second Place

Hilda Martinez, La Joya (103 qualified entries)

Staff Service Awards

Congratulations to the following staff members honored during summit for their 105 years of combined service.

5 years of service

Amanda Bernstein, office administrator Diane Pokluda, regional representative

10 years of service

Tammie Brown, legal assistant Martha Moring, staff attorney

15 years of service

Named for ATPE’s first state president, this award recognizes individual local media reporters for their outstanding support and coverage of public education. The recipients were:

Sonia Castañeda, legal receptionist Jessica Strickel, staff attorney

Ashlei King, KABB-TV (San Antonio) Khyati Patel, KTRE-TV (Nacogdoches) Priscilla Torres, KRIS-TV (Corpus Christi)

Paul Tapp, managing attorney

20 years of service 25 years of service

Eddy Williams, data and business services analyst


Meet Your 2017-18 ATPE Leaders 2017-18 State Officers

Carl Garner

Byron Hildebrand

Tonja Gray

Jimmy Lee

Julleen Bottoms






Mesquite Region 10

San Antonio Region 20

Abilene Region 14

Paris Region 8

Corsicana Region 12

Garner is a sixthgrade math and science teacher with 17 years of experience.

Hildebrand is a retired math teacher and high school coach with 33 years of education experience.

Gray, a 29-year educator, is a K-5 Literacy Success teacher.

Lee, a 30-year education veteran, is a food science teacher.

Bottoms is a K-5 technology applications teacher and campus technical specialist with 25 years of experience.

2017-18 Region Officers REGION 2





Hector Cruz Weslaco

Cesarea Germain Corpus Christi

Cathy Stolle Karnes City

Eli Rodriquez Cypress-Fairbanks

Suellen Ener Beaumont

Charles Lindsey II Magnolia

Michael Balderas Edinburg

Barbara Ruiz Corpus Christi

Danna Roppolo El Campo

Ryan Nassif Clear Creek

Susan Harrell Newton

Susan Ambrus Navasota







Rebecca Monsevalles Weslaco

Lorraine Gomez Corpus Christi

Shelley Newsom Palacios

Ron Fitzwater Alvin

Katelyn Hanson Vidor

Jessica McHale Navasota







Norma Vega La Joya

Alice Hartlaub Corpus Christi

Andy Erdelt Palacios

Shawn Mustain Spring Branch

David Ochoa Vidor

Jessica McHale Navasota






Michael Sweet Pharr-San Juan-Alamo

Vienna Delagarza Mathis

Sharon Dixon Galena Park

Maya Issac Newton



Gidget Belinoski-Bailey Willis

Jackie Hannebaum Corpus Christi

Imelda Hernandez Galena Park











Kim Dolese Nacogdoches

Special election pending

Dale Lovett Olney

Meredith Malloy Ferris

Karen Hames Lewisville

Jason Forbis Midway (12)

Christie Smith Pflugerville

Betty Berndt Tyler

Christel Stokely Jefferson

Amy Murphy Graham

Wanda Bailey Mesquite

Holli Rice Denton

Patty Reneau Waco

Gregory Vidal Pflugerville








Beverly Leath Nacogdoches

Jerry Jarrell North Lamar

Laura Epps Jacksboro

Wendy Smith Forney

Christopher Adams Hurst-Euless-Bedford

Janice Hornsby Axtell

Heidi Langan Austin








Teresa Millard Woden

Karen Pfiester North Lamar

Belinda Wolf Wichita Falls

Donnetta Allen Mesquite

Betty Plunkett Krum

Jane Sykes Waco

Danielle Sanders Austin








Michelle Adams Pineywoods

Connie Phosay Rivercrest

Patti Gibbs Nocona

Jackie Davis Garland

Diane Forester Aubrey

Christina Flores Connally

Holly Griffin Round Rock






Kristi Daws Jacksboro

Shane Huff Kaufman

Teri Naya Birdville

Ron Walcik Killeen

Phyllis Crider Leander










Desirie Ries Hawley

Jose Delgado San Felipe-Del Rio

Dawn Riley Amarillo

Brenda Bryan Hale Center

Bridget Loffler Odessa

Rudy Romero Clint

Tina Briones San Antonio

Leslie Ward Abilene

Darlene Kelly Ballinger

Sherry Boyd Spearman

Mariah Robinson Lubbock

Gail Adlesperger Big Spring

Michael Slaight Clint

Yvette Milner Northside (20)








John Tyson Abilene

Candace Beal Coleman County

Shane Whitten Amarillo

Cynthyna Haveman Lubbock

Shasta Bryan Stanton

Robert Whitman Ysleta

Richard Wiggins Boerne








Mary Crisp Abilene

Sarah Beal Coleman County

Yolanda Capetillo Amarillo

Susan Wilson Lamesa

Tina Hardarson Andrews

Patricia Garcia Ysleta

Kimberly Woerner Medina Valley







Tommie Hicks Hawley

Maria Mendez Junction

Kiersten Diamond Bushland

Lynette Ginn Hale Center

Eduardo Sierra San Elizario

David de la Garza Northside (20)



Jennifer Adams Ysleta

Marcie Helmke Judson






The Tornadic Effect of Standardized Testing How Standardized Testing Affects Schools, Teachers, and Students, and What We Can Do about It BY TRACY EGGERS, SECOND-GRADE TEACHER IN CLEAR CREEK ISD


tandardized testing has become a huge part of our school system in recent years. Testing can be beneficial because it highlights potential changes to the curriculum and helps districts see in what areas their students perform well. However, standardized tests are also problematic for many parents, teachers, and students. In his book The Case Against Standardized Testing: Raising the Scores, Ruining the Schools, Alfie Kohn states, “The more we learn about standardized testing, particularly in its high-stakes incarnation, the more likely we are to be appalled.” Unfortunately, standardized tests don’t always reflect students’ and teachers’ abilities.



Students’ increasing test anxiety means the tests don’t show us what students are capable of or what they really know. Standardized tests are most often multiple choice. This format doesn’t encourage students to think about what the answer to a question actually is. Kohn tells us, “Students are unable to generate a response; all they can do is recognize one by picking it out of four or five answers provided by someone else. They can’t even explain their reasons for choosing the answer they did.” In short, standardized tests don’t motivate our students to think critically but rather to memorize and recite answers. The pressure and stress of standardized testing also cause schools to lose good teachers. Many teachers feel that they spend more time preparing students for standardized tests than they do teaching. According to Kohn, some of our best teachers are leaving the field, and those who stay often become defensive and competitive. Demands on teachers that their students perform well are so intense that some teachers have resorted to cheating or turning against their students. Teachers often don’t have time to teach the content they should because standardized testing has changed the way instruction takes place in a classroom. Many teachers acknowledge that they “teach to the test.” As Kohn states, “Teachers often feel obligated to set aside other subjects for days, weeks, or even months at a time in order to devote themselves to boosting students’ test scores.” Some teachers may even halt all instruction to concentrate on taking practice tests instead. We are teaching students how to take a test rather than

skills that they need to get through life. What a disservice we are doing to our children today! If this was not already bad enough, we are subjecting children as young as six years old to standardized testing. Other countries around the world do not give these kinds of tests to young children. As Kohn states, “Our children are tested to an extent that is unprecedented in our history and unparalleled anywhere else in the world.” We know we should not be testing children this young. So why are we? Standardized tests have a tornadic effect on schools. Administrators pass the pressure on to an already stressed staff. Teachers are afraid of losing their jobs and then wind up leaving the profession altogether. Students are so distraught that they throw up on testing day. What can we do about all this testing? Here is what I suggest: We cannot rely on data from one test, on one day of the year. Why not use cumulative assessments to collect data throughout the year? Some students do not test well, others get sick on testing day, some are tired, and some just plain don’t care about how they do on their test. Creating a portfolio of assessments would allow schools to truly see what a student can do without creating a ridiculous amount of stress on all involved. It is time for a change! For more info, see Alfie Kohn’s book The Case against Standardized Testing: Raising the Scores, Ruining the Schools, published in 2000 by Heinemann. ATPE works hard to reduce standardized testing for public school students. See for more information.

Tracy Eggers is a second-grade teacher in Clear Creek ISD. She graduated from the University of Houston-Clear Lake with a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies. She holds a master’s degree in education with a reading concentration.

STAAR by the Numbers Grades tested:

3-12 Hours allotted for each test:


Number of standardized tests students must pass to graduate high school:



Amount of a student’s final grade determined by end-ofcourse STAAR test scores:


Number of days in the school year:


Number of days high schools may designate for state testing: UP TO

45 Source: TX01923126/Centricity/domain/ 24/2013/staar.pdf



OUR FAMILY ALBUM SHOWCASES ATPE MEMBERS WORKING, COLLABORATING, AND HAVING FUN ACROSS THE STATE. Are you or someone you know featured on these pages? If not, send us a photo for the next issue! You can send a highquality photo to Don’t forget to include the names of the people in the photo and tell us what event was taking place.

REGION 3 Imelda Hernandez, Galena Park ATPE and Region 4 president, and Teresa Toliver, Alief ATPE, participate at the Delta Kappa Gamma Convention.

REGION 10 Plano ATPE president Rebecca Bottin shows off ATPE’s latest community project: Plano members participate in highway trash pickup once a month.




Colleagues such as Willis ATPE member Donna Ward gather to celebrate ATPE member Judi Thomas’s (left) retirement.

The Denton local unit held their spring meeting and elections at a local Crossroads, Texas, BBQ joint. Left to right: Joan Phillips, Marcia Lewis, Holli Rice, Lesle Lehman, Darla Purcell, and Lori Wolf.


Photos by ATPE staff

ATPE college student members of Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi received ATPE red and white cords for their graduation, thanks to the Corpus Christi local unit and Region 2 officers.


REGION 18 REGION 13 Christie Smith and Daniel McMinn-Reyna, officers of Pflugerville ATPE, deliver $300 to the city’s new Mott Elementary.

Region 18 members set up an ATPE booth during a Fourth of July festival in Big Spring, Texas. Left to right: Angelita and Manuel Sosa, Stephanie Laplante, Crystal Aguirre, and Gail Adlesperger.



Austin ATPE officers cool down with a mini ice cream social at Amy’s.

Victoria Farruggia and Heather Stude take part in a study abroad class for diagnosis and remediation of reading difficulties in students in Punta Gorda, Belize.

REGION 4 Taylor Hicks, Cierra Griffin, Regional Rep Cynthia Villalovos, Eden Renovato, Jay Guerrero, and Imelda Hernandez enjoy an ATPE Night with the Houston Dynamo.





Win a Gift Card for Recruiting a New Member

Recruit the most members and win. It’s that simple! The STAR (Success Through ATPE Recruitment) Membership Challenge rewards successful recruiters. If you recruit five or more new professional, first-time professional, administrator, or associate members between now and Oct. 31, 2017, you will receive a gift in December 2017! The volunteer leader who recruits the most new members will receive $1,000, and participating recruiters will be entered into a $500 grand prize drawing. For more information, see

We want to reward you for spreading the word about ATPE. That’s why the Each One, Reach One Incentive Program offers you a gift card just for recruiting ONE new member. It’s as easy as that. If you recruit a new member between now and Oct. 31, you will be eligible to receive a $10 Amazon or $10 Starbucks gift card. (Limit one gift card per recruiter.) For guidelines or to submit an official entry form, go to

NOT A VOLUNTEER LEADER? Then make today the day you get started as a campus representative, local unit officer, or ambassador! Contact ATPE’s volunteer program coordinator at to learn about opportunities in your district.


QUARTERLY CALL A conversation with the ATPE state president

All ATPE members are invited to join ATPE State President Carl Garner as he hosts a series of quarterly conference calls to recap ATPE Board of Directors meetings, discuss association issues, and answer members’ questions. This is a great opportunity to get to know the association and our state president a little better! The conference calls will be held from 5:30–6:30 p.m. on the following dates: • Tuesday, Sept. 12

• Tuesday, Feb. 20

• Thursday, Sept. 14

• Thursday, Feb. 22

• Tuesday, Nov. 28

• Tuesday, May 22

• Thursday, Nov. 30

• Thursday, May 24

Instructions: At the scheduled date and time of the meeting, dial in to the conference line. When prompted, enter the access code followed by the pound sign (#). Dial-In Number: (319) 527-2757 Access Code: 577815



RENEW NOW! ATPE offers peace of mind, so you can focus on what matters most —your students. You can save now and pay later through our convenient payment options. Sign up for bank draft or credit/debit card installments so that you don’t have to worry about mailing a check each month. Once you’ve enrolled, spread the word about ATPE’s superior benefits to coworkers! We welcome membership from all public school employees.

Luckily, encouraging fellow educators to join the state’s best educators’ association isn’t a hard sell. People join ATPE because we are the largest family of Texas educators, our attorneys know education law, our lobbyists are actively negotiating on behalf of Texas educators, and we offer huge savings and discounts to our members. As you share those great reasons to join with your colleagues on campus, keep the following recruiting tips in mind!

1 Share ATPE content in your social media networks

Check out our membership categories and dues below, and join or renew your ATPE membership for the 2017–18 school year NOW!

Professional Membership



First-Time Professional Membership



Associate Membership



Administrator Membership



Student Teacher Membership



College Student


Not insured

Retired Membership


Not insured

Public Membership


Not insured

2 Always have a stack of ATPE applications or fliers available

3 Invite non-members to ATPE events (like ATPE Connect)


If you were enrolled in payroll deduction last year and change your payment method to bank draft OFFER! rollover or credit card rollover for the 2017-18 membership year, you can save $20 by renewing online and using the promo code: SWITCH20.


Wear your ATPE shirt or pins to school-related events

5 Talk to fellow educators on campus about the benefits of ATPE membership and ask them to join


continued from page 12

Administrators should consult their district if they have questions as to whether a report should be made on an educator. The circumstances that must be reported are narrowly defined, but with SB7’s new penalties for failure to report, the stakes are high. And, with a seven-day deadline, time is of the essence.

Loss of Retirement

Finally, SB7 adds a particularly significant penalty for educators convicted of engaging in a sexual relationship with a student—loss of their TRS pension. Under the new law, an improper sexual relationship between an educator and a student could render a convicted educator ineligible to receive retirement benefits if the offense was committed while the educator was employed and participating in the Texas Teacher Retirement System. Changes were made before the law was passed to ensure that only the state’s contribution would be forfeited and that the retirement funds would still be accessible to the educator’s family in certain circumstances. The final version of the bill allows a judge to determine whether the educator’s family can still receive the pension benefits. ATPE appreciates that lawmakers worked with our lobbyists and others in the education community to pass a bill that will protect students and ensure fairness.

ATPE THANKS LUMENBRITE, a professional training and consultation company, for providing our Marketing and Communications Department staff the opportunity to take software training at a special rate. Lumenbrite specializes in, but is not limited to, Adobe training courses for print, video, and web technical applications.

To find out more, visit their website at

If You're a School Health Champion, This Event is for You!

Nov. 6th - 7th, 2017 Austin, TX

CPE credits available for Texas educators!

Register today at an early bird rate: This material was funded by USDA's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program -- SNAP




Method of Payment (select one) | (800) 777-ATPE

Payroll deduction— Complete this application form, including step 4

All other forms of payment–JOIN ONLINE

(not accepted after January 31, 2018)

Including credit card payment, credit card installments, and ACH bank draft

Personal check—Complete application form and attach personal check STEP 2

Personal Information

Name (first, middle, last)

Last 4 digits of SSN

ATPE member ID (optional)


Birthdate (MM/DD/YY)




Cell phone (required)

Home phone (optional)

Personal email (required)

Position (optional)

Campus email (optional)

Employee ID number

Physical Mailing address City


I understand that ATPE may contact me via the information provided on this application form, including email and text, to communicate with me about my benefits and to administer my account.

I am interested in becoming an ATPE volunteer. STEP 3


Membership Category (select one) & Invest in Education

Student Teacher, College Student, Retired, and Public members may join online at 2017-18 Professional, Associate, and Administrator memberships will not be accepted after Jan. 31, 2018. First-Time Professional memberships will not be accepted after Oct. 31, 2017.

Professional (teacher, counselor, etc.). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $175 First-Time Professional (never been a professional member). . . . $125

How to Submit Your Application Mail the application to: ATPE 305 E. Huntland Dr., Ste. 300 Austin, TX 78752 Or hand deliver it to an authorized ATPE representative. Faxed or scanned applications are not accepted.

Associate (para-educator, aide, support staff, etc.) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $90 Administrator (principal, superintendent, etc.). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $225


Invest in Education ATPE Local Unit Dues (optional). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Political Action Committee (optional) . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Received Date

Support ATPE in your local school district.

Print Name

Support legislative advocacy for educators and students.



The ATPE membership year begins 8/1/17 and ends 7/31/18. Some benefits effective dates may not match effective membership dates. Visit for disclosure details and limitations.


Payroll Deduction Authorization

2017-18 Professional, Associate, and Administrator memberships will not be accepted after Jan. 31, 2018. First-Time Professional memberships will not be accepted after Oct. 31, 2017. I authorize ISD to deduct membership dues and donations. I further authorize ATPE to notify the ISD of changes in the amount of my annual dues and the ISD to deduct the new amounts. If my employment with the ISD ends, I authorize any unpaid balance to be deducted from my final check. This authorization for deductions is effective until I give notice to the ISD that I want to revoke it.

Last 4 digits of SSN

I wish to cancel deduction of membership dues for: TX AFT





Date Printed Name

Total Amount $

Total # of Deductions


Employee ID


Scan the QR code or visit to join ATPE online.

ATPE Membership Categories You must join in the appropriate insured category in order to qualify for Professional Liablilty coverage. ATPE reserves the right to determine eligibility for the appropriate membership category. Commissioned peace officers are eligible for public membership only. Professional, First-Time Professional, Associate, and Administrator membership is open to persons employed in Texas by a public school district, institution of higher education, Regional Education Service Center, State Board for Educator Certification, or the Texas Education Agency. If you have a question about the eligibility of job descriptions not listed below, call (800) 777-2873. INSURED CATEGORIES


Professional Member ($175)

Administrator Member ($225)


First-time Professional Member ($125) (Rate available only through 10/31/17)

Educators who are employed in Texas by a public school district as a principal, assistant/deputy/area superintendent, or superintendent, and whose position requires certification by the State Board for Educator Certification

College Student Member (Free)

Athletic Director/Coordinator Athletic Trainer At-Risk Coordinator Audiologist Band/Choral Director Business Manager Coach Counselor Curriculum Director Dean of Instruction Department Head/Chair Diagnostician Instructional Officer Intern Teacher IT Director/Coordinator Librarian Nurse (RN) Parent/Community Coordinator Assistant Principal Regional Service Center Staff School Psychologist/Associate Social Worker Teacher Therapist/Pathologist University Professor Visiting Teacher



Associate Member ($90) Aide to position in Professional category Alternative Center Aide Bus Driver Cafeteria Worker Clerk–General Computer Programmer/Entry Custodial Worker Deaf Interpreter Educational Aide/Technician Maintenance Worker Nurse (LVN) Regional Service Center Aide Secretary Security Guard (Unarmed) Substitute Teacher Student Teacher Member (Free) Student teacher in Texas

Non-teaching college student Retired Member ($10) Retired former school employee Public Member ($35) Friend of public education


Can you spot all ten differences?


elcome back to Brain Break, the section featuring games, quizzes, and fascinating factoids. This issue, we are putting an ATPE spin on a “Spot the Difference” game. Take a look at the two photos of members at the ATPE Summit Vegas Night. At first, the two shots might appear identical, but if you look closely, you’ll see several differences. Once you’ve spotted all the differences in the two photos, head to the ATPE Blog at Fall17/BrainBreak to see an answer key. Good luck!


ENTER TO WIN AN ATPE-BRANDED PRIZE! If you’d like to be entered into a drawing for an ATPE-branded prize, snap a photo of this page after you’ve circled the differences and email the photo to by Sept. 29.


Association of Texas Professional Educators 305 E. Huntland Dr., Ste. 300 Austin, TX 78752-3792

Las Vegas, Nevada | November 13–15, 2017 Caesars Palace

Leadership NOW prepares leaders at all levels to become agents of positive change. Bring a team to create a passionate core group who will lead the transformation


EXPERTS Douglas Reeves

Rebecca DuFour

Justin Baeder

Claim your seat today 800.733.6786

Cassandra Erkens

Brandon Jones

Anthony Muhammad

Regina Stephens Owens

Solution Tree

Profile for Association of Texas Professional Educators

Fall 2017 ATPE News  

Fall 2017 ATPE News  

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