THE INDEPENDENT VOICE FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION IN TEXAS FOR 58 YEARS
Let’s Talk About Sex Ed The birds and bees in Texas schools
Meet incoming TCASE President Paige Fuller, Floresville ISD
In the Spotlight Groesbeck ISD’s Cathy Koenig talks technology
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TSB contents news and features
In the Spotlight Technology Director Cathy Koenig brings Groesbeck ISD up to speed
12 photo features
by Elizabeth Millard
TSPRA celebrates 50 years
TCASE hosts annual conference 17 TCEA members rally in Austin
TCASE President Profile Paige Fuller answers call to work with children with special needs
From Our Readers
TSB Professional Development & Events Calendar
by Whitney Angstadt
columns From the Editor
by Katie Ford
The Law Dawg — Unleashed
by Jim Walsh
Let’s talk about sex First-ever national sex education standards get districts talking by Leila Kalmbach
by Terry Morawski
by Bobby Hawthorne
The Back Page
by Riney Jordan
The views expressed by columnists and contributing writers do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher or Texas School Business advertisers. The publisher also makes no endorsement of the advertisers or advertisements in this publication. April 2012 • Texas School Business
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Texas School Business • April 2012
From the Editor I want to warn you in advance that reading the April cover story could cause the song “Let’s Talk About Sex” by Salt-n-Pepa to lodge inside your brain for a handful of hours, or worse, an entire workday. Yours truly hummed the 1991 hit song off and on for days while working on the April issue. If this happens to you, I offer my condolences. Just know that this too shall pass, my friend. It was interesting to read the range of opinions in Leila Kalmbach’s cover story, from districts that don’t offer sex education to those that teach abstinence only to still others that include the topic of contraceptive use in classroom discussions. Whatever the approach, the fact remains that every 10 minutes a teenager in Texas becomes pregnant, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. Every 10 minutes, people. That makes for a lot of derailed lives — some temporarily, but many irreparably. And then there are the sexually transmitted diseases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that approximately 19 million new infections occur each year in the United States — almost half of them among people ages 15 to 24. Given this reality, I will step out there and say this: I think we need to be educating those teens who are going to be sexually active no matter what the adults in their lives say. We need to be giving them straightforward, in-your-face, medically accurate information — the good, the bad and the incurable — so they understand what’s at stake in the heat of the moment if they don’t take responsibility for their health. It seems that there’s a movement among Texas public schools in this direction, but I’m not sure it’s happening swiftly enough. I’d be interested to hear from districts both large and small on where your sex education programs stand, and how they are received and perceived by students, parents and the community at large. Leila had a bit of a difficult time getting administrators to talk on record for our cover story, so I invite all readers out there to send me an email with your two cents on the topic. Your thoughts will make an engaging “From Our Readers” section in a future issue! Let me hear from you at email@example.com.
Katie Ford Editorial director
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From Our Readers Hello, Katie. In his recent address to the administrators gathered at the TASA Midwinter Conference, Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott lamented the press not covering good news about Texas education. We at the local level sometimes share the same concerns. We want to thank you and Texas School Business for giving voice to many of the great things going on in Texas schools. We at Lytle ISD were honored to see our efforts acknowledged in the Fifth Annual Bragging Rights 2011-2012 special issue (December 2011). Raven’s work reflected the spirit and energy we feel in our efforts to provide learning opportunities to our students. Thanks for giving us the opportunity to celebrate and “brag” about our efforts. It gives us a sense of renewed energy when we know others feel our efforts are worth publishing. Randy Ewing Director of Public Relations Lytle ISD
Texas School Business • April 2012
Good afternoon, Katie! Words cannot express my gratitude and overwhelming feeling of appreciation for the article that was published in Texas School Business (“In the Spotlight,” February 2012). To my surprise, I have received numerous emails, text messages and phone calls from colleagues all across Texas. Honestly, I was concerned after the interview because I thought I rambled; however, your writer, Jennifer LeClaire, made sense of it all and wove it into a brilliantly written story. (My grandmother is very proud.) Thank you very much for the opportunity. Respectfully, LaTonya M. Goffney Superintendent of Schools Coldspring-Oakhurst CISD Ms. Katie, I just got through reading your piece on school funding (“From the Editor,” February 2012). As a former superintendent of schools and as a member the board of directors and immediate past
chairman of ESC Region 1, I understand the perennial problem. So any pointers, ideas, et cetera, regarding this dilemma, are greatly appreciated by us, particularly those in the trenches trying to meet mandates, even the non-funded ones. Sincerely, Manual Gomez Jr. Parsons Roofing [Editor’s response: You can bet that school funding will factor heavily in our editorial coverage this year and, unfortunately, for years to come. It’s apparent that public schools are having to be more creative in stretching existing dollars and raising additional funds to maintain standards of excellence. As part of our mission at Texas School Business, we promise to go beyond the problem to explore solutions, citing exemplary districts along the way. We make it our business to highlight the best practices of Texas public schools.]
THE LAW DAWG – Unleashed by Jim Walsh
Let’s take a closer look at some Legislature hopefuls
f educators get out and vote in force this year, we will see a major change in our Legislature. Due to redistricting and retirements, we have the potential to elect 30 to 40 new lawmakers. Educators have a huge stake in this next election — so do parents and anyone, in fact, who cares deeply about public education. Our Legislature includes many who only pay lip service to the importance of public education. Some would like to privatize education; some are willfully ignorant of the challenges public education faces. We need people in the Legislature who understand our school finance system. We need people who truly will make educating all of the members of the next generation our top priority, not some afterthought. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting several candidates I believe will serve us well if elected. Bennett Ratliff, for example, has served on the school board in Coppell ISD and now seeks to represent House District 115. Trent Ashby is president of the school board in Lufkin ISD and hopes to win a seat from House District 57. Cecil Bell is president of the school board in Magnolia ISD and is running in House District 136. Pancho Nevarez has served on the school board in Eagle Pass ISD and is running in House District 74. Trent McKnight of Throckmorton is not a Throckmorton ISD trustee, but his commitment to public education comes through when you talk to him. He’s a candidate in House District 68. And then there is Sarah Winkler, longtime Alief ISD board member and past president of the Texas Association of School Boards. She hopes to fill Scott Hochberg’s seat in House District 137. I’m sure there are many others, but these are some of the candidates I have met and talked to. They get it. They understand that we have to value our public education system, not kick it around for political purposes.
I am convinced that the people currently serving in the Legislature do not truly represent the will of the people. They do, however, represent the will of the voters who put them in office. If we want a better group of legislators, we have to find them, support them, promote them and elect them. We have to vote and encourage our colleagues to vote.
We need people who truly will make educating all of the members of the next generation our top priority, not some afterthought. I expect that the vast majority of the readers of this publication are fully on board with these thoughts. The term “preaching to the choir” comes to mind. But all of us have friends, neighbors, relatives and other acquaintances who do not understand what is at stake, or who choose not to pay attention. Each of us can influence these people. Let them know that the future well-being of our state is hanging in the balance. Public education is the ultimate example of something too important to fail. If public education fails, even for just one generation, we will do immeasurable harm to our free society. We cannot sit idly by while power brokers dismantle public education. There are moneyed interests that favor a private system that serves the few very well and leaves the many to fend for themselves. So the message is pretty simple: Pay attention. Choose wisely. Vote. JIM WALSH, an attorney with Walsh, Anderson Gallegos Green and Treviño P.C., serves as editor in chief of Texas School Business. He can be reached at jwalsh@ wabsa.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @JWalshtxlawdawg.
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Texas School Business • April 2012
ecently, thanks to Kindle’s recommendation feature, I’ve happened upon a series of great books. One of the key concepts covered in this series is how to operate your business — and your life — in the same way the scientific community approaches a problem. The following is a list of ways you can incorporate the wisdom of science into your life and work. Utilize a great team. It is part of our American consciousness to think of great innovators as loners who sit quietly in a dark garage, toying with an idea until it is just right. This story has persisted through time, from the mythologized garage startups of YouTube and Apple Computers to perhaps the most famous loner genius, Thomas Edison. In Edison’s example, did you know a group of nearly 20 men assisted with the creation of the lightbulb? This group included carpenters, mathematicians, a clockmaker, a glassblower and many lab assistants. As school leaders, what can we take from this scientific thought? Although it can be very self-gratifying to think that you have done great things alone, this is really never the case. Find the passionate, bright people in your organization and sic them on your biggest issue. Diverse approaches and knowledge will save you from making shortsighted decisions that sounded good at lunch but will not work in the real world.
Ask yourself: What makes me sit forward in my chair? What topic could I talk about for hours and feel like I was just getting started? Find your great project. Let’s face it: We all get stuck in the mire of paperwork and meetings, no matter how much we love our assigned job. Much of the work of a scientist is tedious, but would anyone question the tedium of the person working on the cure for cancer? Education is one of the greatest callings in the modern world. It can be easy to lose touch with the impact of a great education on students. To this end, be sure to plug in to projects in your district that move you. Ask yourself: What makes me sit forward in my chair? What topic
could I talk about for hours and feel like I was just getting started? Plan to make mistakes and sometimes fail big. Science is a playground for failure. Failing is part of every process. Think of the cliché image of a scientist in a lab who has blown up a test tube full of mismatched chemicals. The business world is no stranger to failing big. New Coke was a disaster in many ways, but it birthed the Coca-Cola Classic brand that is still alive and kicking today. Schools aren’t programmed to be accepting of mistakes. The basic culture of a school environment is often set up to reward high achievement and discourage failure. If leaders adopt this mentality, then many great ideas will never be tried because of a fear of failure. As budgets shrink, it can be even more attractive to shelve an idea due to the possibility it might fail. To be truly successful and innovative, expect some ideas to fail along the way. It can be a challenge, but it also can support a culture in which people aren’t afraid to fail. When was the last time you congratulated someone for attempting a major project and failing? Lastly, we’re all familiar with the scientific method. I’ve condensed it a bit, to be more school administrator friendly. Next time you approach a project, try to think of it as an experiment and follow these steps. The challenge is to push past Step 3 once a project yields results. 1. Plan. 2. Execute. 3. Succeed, fail or a little of both. 4. Tweak the process. 5. Repeat steps 1-4. These are the four books that inspired this column. Have a favorite book? Please share. “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” by Carol S. Dweck “Outliers: The Story of Success” by Malcolm Gladwell “The Talent Code” by Daniel Coyle “The Myth of the Garage” by Chip and Dan Heath TERRY MORAWSKI is the assistant superintendent of communications and marketing for Mansfield ISD. He will be speaking April 23 at the National School Boards Association conference in Boston and July 7 at the National School Public Relations Association conference in Chicago. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to think like a scientist
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TSPRA celebrates 50 years with annual conference The Texas School Public Relations Association marked its 50th anniversary during the 2012 Annual Conference in February in Austin, which attracted school communications professionals from across the state.
Jody Gidley of Santa Fe ISD and Amy Borel of Livingston ISD.
Felicia Michael and Judy Rimato of Klein ISD.
Chris Neet of Adobe Academic and Daniel Escobar of Socorro ISD.
Suzi Pagel of Midway ISD, Amber George of Waco ISD and Traci Marlin of Midway ISD.
Barbara Williams of Texas Association of School Boards, Maya Bethany of Lindale ISD and Melinda Purcell of Alvin ISD.
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Texas School Business â€˘ April 2012
Clee Upchurch and Ana Amezcua of ESC Region 13.
GAME ON! by Bobby Hawthorne
Indeed, I think this team just might have turned the corner
couple of years ago, I produced the text for a big book of beautiful photographs of Texas high school football stadiums titled “Home Field.” My task wasn’t to “write,” but rather to collect observations and anecdotes. I interviewed the predictable cast of characters, and along the way, I interviewed J. P. Weeks of Premont. I met J. P. on my way to a UT alumni luncheon in McAllen where I was the guest speaker. I agreed to attend because I knew the trip would take me through towns whose high school stadiums would be showcased in the book. I cruised into Premont around 4:30 p.m., whipped by the empty high school, and then trolled up one dusty street and down another in search of a willing victim. I was about to cut and run when I spotted three guys sitting on the steps of the Lopez Tire Company, a momand-pop outfit that sells retread tires out of a old gas station. The three were enjoying a quiet moment, and about the last thing they expected was someone like me, a city boy in khakis and penny loafers, toddling over to ask a couple of dumb questions. “Good afternoon, gentlemen,” I warbled. Two of the fellows spoke no English — or seemed not to — but the guy in the middle, J. P. Weeks, did and responded, “Well, what can I do for you?” I explained I was a writer working on a book project and asked him if he would entertain a question or two. “Sure,” he answered. “Shoot.” Are you from Premont? Yes. Did you attend Premont High? Yes. Do you go to the high school football games? His blank stare morphed into a suspicious squint that suggested, “You’re pretty stupid, even for a city boy,” but then he answered slowly, “Yes, I do.”
I had some of this figured out already, but needed him to confirm it. What I really wanted to know was this: “Are you a stander or a sitter?” Well, big shock: he’s a stander. He and his buddies huddle along the fence, right about the 50-yard line, razzing the refs and the coaches but never the players. “Kids always try hard,” he said. J. P. and I chatted for a few more minutes and shook hands, then I toddled back to my truck, scribbled out my notes, wheeled out onto Highway 281 and continued south. Here’s why I mention this: In January, Premont ISD’s school board canceled sports as part of a desperate effort to save the district from being taken over by the state and possibly closed. It was a gut-wrenching decision, but it had to be done. Even CNN showed up to provide the community a forum to express their shock and dismay that such a thing could happen in Texas. It was testy for a while, but the anger petered out while the adults worked to keep the district from flat-lining. Today, it looks as if Premont ISD might have skirted life support. As one board member told me, “I think we’ll make it.” Sports will resume in November, if all goes according to plan. Until then, the kids are buckling down. A handful have transferred to other districts, but most have chosen to stay put and fight for their school. You have to admire them — and feel for them too. They’re missing some of the best times of their lives. In exchange, they get to save their school. What a deal. Perhaps the Premont High parents and fans will pack into the dinky, old stadium this fall and cheer for them, just as if they are out there in helmets and pads. And in a perfect world, CNN will show up again with cameras rolling, and we can all watch and marvel at what “school spirit” truly means. BOBBY HAWTHORNE is the author of “Longhorn Football” and “Home Field,” both published by The University of Texas Press. In 2005, he retired as director of academics for the University Interscholastic League.
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April 2012 • Texas School Business
Groesbeck ISD’s Cathy Koenig brings her district into the 21st century By Elizabeth Millard
s technology director of Groesbeck ISD, Cathy Koenig is leading the way in making a one-toone laptop initiative a model to follow. For the 2011-2012 school year, the district received the Apple Distinguished Program from Apple. Given Koenig’s passion for technology-fueled education and equal access for all students, it’s not surprising that the district was one of only 49 schools in the nation to receive the honor. “I believe that appropriate use of technology prepares students for the world outside the classroom,” she says, adding that Groesbeck is a small, rural district with a large population of students from low-income families. “We’re leveling the playing field and making sure all our students are prepared — and not just the ones who can afford computers.”
As she talks, Koenig glances at a photo that hangs prominently in her office: a ninth grader sitting in a lawn chair in his backyard, with one foot on a basketball. He pets his dog with one hand and types on his laptop with the other. Koenig loves this image because she believes it depicts the way that technology can integrate seamlessly into students’ lives and make a difference. Says Koenig: “We’ve seen our scores in the TAKS test come up, and technology access is a big reason why.” Koenig understands what it’s like to face the kinds of challenges that come with small towns and limited opportunities. After setting a goal for herself to graduate from college — one of the few in her family to do so — she ended up leaving college early after getting married and
having her first child. When she moved to Groesbeck, she went back to college, first at McLennan Community College and then on to Baylor University, where she graduated in 1987. She says her love for technology stems from her earlier days at McLennan, where she studied computer science. “I liked working with computers because it was a way to get information quickly,” she recalls. “Programming was just solving problems, and I love problem solving. I’ve always enjoyed that type of work.” Joining Groesbeck ISD in 1987 as a programming teacher, she eventually became a technology facilitator in 1995. When a new superintendent, Harold Ramm, joined the district in 2008, Koenig remembers their first meeting.
Cathy Koenig, technology director for Groesbeck ISD, visits a fourth grade classroom at Enge-Washington Intermediate School, where students have access to all kinds of technology, thanks to Koenig and a supportive administration and faculty. 12
Texas School Business • April 2012
“He asked me what I saw for the district, and I said I see every kid having a computer; I see teachers engaged and electronic whiteboards. I said our kids should have everything they can and more. Fortunately, he smiled and agreed. It was very lucky that he was protechnology,” she says. With Ramm at the helm and Koenig as a key navigator, the rural district’s technology reach ramped up to full speed. After a bond election — the first one in Groesbeck ISD in more than 30 years — the district received the funds it needed and ordered laptops and electronic whiteboards. By May 2009, Koenig notes, they finally had “21st century classrooms.” Teacher training over the summer helped to ease any growing pains felt among staff and faculty who weren’t up to speed with classroom technology tools. Never one to rest on her laurels, Koenig also went back to school, earning a master’s degree in education and instructional technology from Sam Houston State University in 2009. Since the adoption of the one-to-one initiative, Koenig has kept the enthusiasm going by encouraging teachers to be more creative in how they use the new tools. She admits that it wasn’t easy at first. “Not only did they have to deal with computers, but they had classroom management problems,” she says. “It changed the atmosphere. So, they had to exercise their educational muscles and adapt.” The teachers rose to the occasion, coming up with fresh approaches to teaching their subjects, rather than relying on worn-out lectures. One English teacher went completely paperless, creating electronic dropboxes for students. There, students could retrieve assignments, complete their homework on their laptops and then send their work back to the dropbox. Other teachers are creating videos so students can view lessons at home before coming to class. Koenig loves hearing these stories. “Technology changes all the time, and so does my job; that’s why I love it,” she says. “Seeing what people can do if you give them these tools is just exciting. Definitely there are challenges as well, but the rewards outweigh those. We feel that we’re headed in a direction where everyone — teachers and students — are living up to their potential.” ELIZABETH MILLARD is a freelance writer.
FUN FACTS ABOUT CATHY KOENIG If I could hit “delete” to make ANYTHING disappear, I would delete: broken laptops The technology at home for which I’m most grateful: my iPad, because I can go online quickly, check email and play games The most frequent IT question I receive from staff/faculty these days is: “What’s my password?” When I want to “unplug” from technology, my favorite thing to do is: read a plain old book ― not an e-book, but a real one
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TCASE PRESIDENT profile A former Army brat, Paige Fuller puts people skills to work in Floresville ISD by Whitney Angstadt
aige Fuller is on a mission. Currently serving as the director of special education in Floresville ISD, she has spent her career of nearly 40 years helping, teaching and advocating for students with special needs. Ask her how she got into the field and Fuller, who takes the reins as president of the Texas Council of Administrators of Special Education on July 16, will give you an unexpected answer. There was no personal childhood experience with disabilities from which to draw; no family member or friend with special needs to prompt her into service. In fact, it was her father’s military service that gave Fuller a perspective that led her to this work. Born in Maryland, Fuller and her family moved all over the United States, including Louisiana, Kansas, Texas and Hawaii, as well as overseas to Germany. She even attended four different high schools. Exposed to a myriad of cultures from an early age, Fuller grew to be an independent and perceptive child, which enabled her to adapt successfully to each new environment quickly and seamlessly. “I have a very good sense of people,” says Fuller. “I can relate to people well because I’m an Army brat.” Fuller eventually landed in Killeen, where she graduated from Killeen High School before heading to Memphis State University. Her initial idea was to become a German language teacher. “I’ve always loved kids and I’ve always had a gift for teaching, and so I thought, ‘Well, I’ll try that!’” she says. It was during college, however, that she took a class called “Mainstreaming Exceptional Children” and worked with special needs children for the first time. Drawing on her ability to read people and situations well, Fuller found that she had an almost innate ability to connect with children with special needs, especially those with autism, an area that eventually would become her expertise.
Texas School Business • April 2012
Floresville ISD Special Education Director Paige Fuller reads with Floresville High School freshman Tomek Lewanski in the school library. Fuller has taught and supported Lewanski since he was 3 years old. At age 5, he was included in kindergarten. Says Fuller: “Tomek is fully included at his school, meaning he is on all general education classes with facilitated support from special education. He loves to read and write stories about things he likes.”
“Something just drew me to the children with autism because I could observe their behavior, predict what was going to happen next, get there before it happened and teach them the right communication skills,” she says. “It was something I really liked. And I thought the kids had a lot more in them than what they were expressing.” She changed her major to special education and rehabilitation, receiving a bachelor’s degree in 1973, and never looked back. After earning a master’s degree in special education and rehabilitation in 1976, also from Memphis
State, Fuller worked in the Memphis City School System as a teacher of students with learning disabilities in a self-contained classroom. She then moved to Georgia in 1977, where she taught her first inclusive class at the North Metro Children’s Center in Atlanta. Fuller took a year-long sabbatical before moving to Austin in 1982 to work as the unit manager of the Community Living Autism Support Program at the Travis County Mental Health Mental Retardation Center. Fuller left Austin in 1990 to become director of the Autism Treatment Center in San Antonio, where
FUN FACTS ABOUT PAIGE FULLER Bad habit I wish I could break: Drinking too many diet cokes and also not relaxing when riding my horse Last good book I read for pleasure: Currently reading a series of mystery novels by Aaron Stander If money were no object, my next vacation would be: bareboat charter to the British Virgin Islands the scope of her expertise expanded to include adults with autism. She says that working with adults gave her a different, more well-rounded view of what schools need to provide children with autism — as well as children with other special needs — before they leave public school. In a word, they need inclusion. “In the world outside of school, these individuals have to be able to get by, to communicate,” says Fuller. “If we can teach them that as children, then they will carry it with them as adults. All kids are different, but to separate all special needs and autistic children from other children is just unrealistic. The world is all-inclusive; we need to teach our kids to be able to exist in that world.” Prompted back into public education
in 1995, Fuller served as an inclusion specialist at Fort Sam Houston Elementary in Fort Sam Houston ISD, where she helped integrate students with learning disabilities and behavioral/emotional disorders and atrisk students into mainstream classrooms. Fuller joined TCASE that same year, agreeing to serve on a special task force for speech and language. Later on, she served as a legislative liaison. She also served stints as the principal of extended year services at the Military ISD Cooperative in 1997 and as the special education department chairperson at Robert G. Cole Junior Senior High School at Fort Sam Houston ISD in 1996. As president of TCASE, Fuller says she plans to continue providing supportive services to its members through professional
development and more opportunities to grow and lead within TCASE. “No one person can do all the work,” says Fuller. “By giving more people within TCASE leadership roles, it gives them a chance to shine and makes them more involved within the organization. It’s a great way to put all of our talent to good use.” TCASE is also reaching outside of its organization, building relationships with the Texas Computer Education Association, the Texas Education Agency, and advocates and superintendents of Texas schools. “In the current education depression, we need to pool our resources and work together. We have to do what it takes to help the kids,” says Fuller. For Fuller, her mission has always been the same. “From the beginning, these kids were kind of like a magnet to me and such a puzzle, and I knew that there was so much more in there that they could offer,” she says. “I knew that they could be productive members in life, so it just became like a passion, a mission to help these kids.” WHITNEY ANGSTADT is a freelance writer and filmmaker in Austin.
April 2012 • Texas School Business
The 26th Annual TCASE - LEGAL DIGEST
CONFERENCE ON SPECIAL EDUCATION LAW A One-Day Conference on Current Legal Issues Concerning the Education of Students with Disabilities
TUESDAy, APRIL 3, 2012
Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center
FBA’s, BIP’s & MDR’s: Oh My!!! Jim WAlSh – Walsh, Anderson, Gallegos, Green & Treviño, Austin Practical Strategies for Working with Parents and Advocates DAvE RiChARDS – Richards, Lindsay & Martín, Austin
WEDNESDAy, APRIL 11, 2012 Arlington Convention Center
A School District’s Legal Obligations to Provide Related Services, Including Transportation pAulA mADDox RoAlSon – Walsh, Anderson, Gallegos, Green & Treviño, Houston The STAAR Exam & the Student with a Disability John FESSEnDEn – lead4ward, LLC, Austin
Special Education Evaluations: The Legal Issues JAnET hoRTon – Thompson & Horton, Houston Three Key Perspectives in Special Education: The School Administrator, College Professor, and Parent DAviD ThompSon, phD University of Texas, San Antonio
Texas Council of Administrators of Special Education
Professional development credits available to Special Education Directors, Special Education Personnel, Curriculum Directors, Superintendents, Principals, School Board Members, and School Attorneys
Texas School Administrators’ Legal Digest
Texas School Business • April 2012
TCASE meets for annual conference in Austin In January, members of the Texas Council of Administrators of Special Education met at the Hilton in downtown Austin for training and networking at the organization’s 2012 Great Ideas Annual Conference.
Iann Flowers and Kathy Krenek of Huffman ISD. Lisa Buckner of Brownfield ISD, Stacy Leonard of Lamesa-Sands SSA, Darla Myatt of Muleshoe ISD, Carrie Barron of Levelland ISD, Kathy Hutchinson of Levelland ISD, Jane James of Levelland ISD and Kristi Waters of Swisher Brisco SSA
Sylvia Casas and Nellie Garza Silva of La Joya ISD. Robin Graves and Joan McCleery of Miles ISD
Cindy Fussell of ESC Region 5 and Sonia Cain of Big Thicket Co-op.
Kirsten Allman and Chad Allman of Klein ISD.
Michelle Gonzalez and Sandra Uriegas of Carrizo Springs CISD.
Ed Azziz and Renae Azziz of Virtuoso Education Consulting.
Veronica Trevino, Deborah Jones, Mari Garza, Barbara Tumlinson, Graciela Pizzini and Kimberly Cook, all of ESC Region 2. April 2012 • Texas School Business
Professional Development & EVENTS WEEK OF APRIL 30 April 30
Texas Retired Teachers Association Leadership Training Conference, District 18 ESC Region 18 offices, Midland For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org
Texas Retired Teachers Association Leadership Training Conference, District 7 Holiday Inn Select, Tyler For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org
TASB Alpine Spring Workshop Sul Ross State University, Alpine For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org TEPSA District 3 Meeting Carino’s Italian Restaurant, Victoria For more info, (512) 478-5268 or (800) 252-3621. www.tepsa.org
TASB Cross Timbers School Development Council Spring Workshop Tarleton State University, Stephenville For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org TASB Uvalde Spring Workshop Sul Ross State University, Uvalde For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org TEPSA District 5 Meeting Sanderson’s, Nederland For more info, (512) 478-5268 or (800) 252-3621. www.tepsa.org TESA STEM Class: Professional Image Garland ISD offices, Garland For more info, (512) 477-0724. www.tesatexas.org Texas Retired Teachers Association Leadership Training Conference, District 19 St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, El Paso For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org
WEEK OF MAY 7 May 7
Texas Retired Teachers Association Leadership Training Conference, District 10 First Baptist Church, Allen For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org 18
Texas School Business • April 2012
Using Data to Pull Small Groups in Mathematics (Elementary) Harris County Dept. of Education For more info, (713) 696-1306. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $100.
TEPSA District 12 Meeting Location TBA, Killeen For more info, (512) 478-5268 or (800) 252-3621. www.tepsa.org Texas High School Athletic Directors Association Region 7 Meeting Logan’s Road House, Round Rock For more info, (469) 593-0121. www.thsada.com Texas Retired Teachers Association Leadership Training Conference, District 11 First United Methodist Church, Granbury For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org
TASB Workshop: Grounds Management TASB offices, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org Cost: On-site registration for members, no charge; nonmembers, $325. TASBO Workshop: Federal and State Compliance Issues ESC Region 11 offices, Fort Worth For more info, (512) 462-1711 or (800) 338-6531. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $180; nonmembers, $220. Texas Retired Teachers Association Leadership Training Conference, District 6 ESC Region 6 offices, Huntsville For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org
TASB Workshop: Indoor Air Quality TASB offices, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org Cost: On-site registration for members, no charge; nonmembers, $425. TASB Region 14 Spring Workshop ESC Region 14 offices, Abilene For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org TASBO Workshop: Federal and State Compliance Issues ESC Region 15 offices, San Angelo For more info, (512) 462-1711 or
(800) 338-6531. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $180; nonmembers, $220. Texas Retired Teachers Association Leadership Training Conference, Region 8 College Church of Christ, Paris For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org Texas Retired Teachers Association Leadership Training Conference, District 16 ESC Region 16 offices, Amarillo For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org
Texas Retired Teachers Association Leadership Training Conference, District 5 First Baptist Church, Nederland For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org
WEEK OF MAY 14 May 14
STEM Careers in Science and Engineering Harris County Dept. of Education For more info, (713) 696-1306. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: No charge.
TASB Commerce Area Spring Workshop Texas A&M University, Commerce For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org TASB Nacogdoches Area Spring Workshop Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org
TASB Canyon Spring Workshop West Texas A&M University, Canyon For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org TASB Victoria Spring Workshop Parkway Church, Victoria For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org Texas Retired Teachers Association Leadership Training Conference, District 17 Lubbock Women’s Club, Lubbock For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org
Professional Development & EVENTS
Public Funds Investment Act (PFIA) Part 1 Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-8246. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $100. TASB Temple Spring Workshop Temple High School, Temple For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org
Differentiating the Curriculum for the Gifted and Talented Learner Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1308. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $100. Public Funds Investment Act (PFIA), Part 2 Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-8246. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $100. Texas Retired Teachers Association Leadership Training Conference, District 4 Memorial Church of Christ, Houston For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org
For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org
WEEK OF JUNE 11
TASSP/Legal Digest Conference Convention Center, Austin For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.legaldigest.com Cost: Early registration (by May 12): Members online, $135; members off line, $150; nonmembers online, $160; nonmembers off line, $175. Regular registration (after May 12): Members online, $180; members off line, $195; nonmembers online, $205; nonmembers off line, $220.
Texas Retired Teachers Association Leadership Training Conference, District 12 ESC Region 12 offices, Waco For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org
WEEK OF MAY 28 No events listed.
WEEK OF JUNE 4 TASBO Workshop: The Three Ps (Payroll, PEIMS and Personnel) Wichita Falls ISD, Wichita Falls For more info, (512) 462-1711 or (800) 338-6531. www.tasbo.org Cost: $180.
Summer Best Practices Conference: Teaching Diverse Learners Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-8223. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $100. TASB Workshop: MIA (Managing Inevitable Absences) TASB offices, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org Cost: Members, $180; nonmembers, $120.
WEEK OF MAY 21
Texas Retired Teachers Association Leadership Training Conference, District 13 First Christian Church, San Marcos For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org
TASB Huntsville Spring Workshop ESC Region 6 offices, Huntsville For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org Texas Retired Teachers Association Leadership Training Conference, District 15 Brownwood ISD, Brownwood For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org
TASSP Summer Workshop Convention Center, Austin For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org Cost: Advance registration: Members, $205; nonmembers, $375; student nonmembers, $95. On-site registration: Members, $225; nonmembers, $395; student nonmembers, $95.
TASB Region 1 School Board Association Spring Workshop South Padre Sheraton Hotel and Convention Center, South Padre Island For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org
TASB Workshop: Get a Grip on the Family and Medical Leave Act TASB offices, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org Cost: Members, $120; nonmembers, $180.
TEPSA Summer Conference Renaissance Hotel, Austin For more info, (512) 478-5268. www.tepsa.org Cost: By May 15: Members, $304; nonmembers, $543. After May 15: Members, $329; nonmembers, $568.
STEM Careers in Science and Engineering Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1306. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: No charge.
TASBO Summer Conference Location TBA, Allen For more info, (512) 462-1711 or (800) 338-6531. www.tasbo.org
All About Grants: Two Day Institute Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1393. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: Early registration: $350.
WEEK OF JUNE 18
Texas Retired Teachers Leadership Training Conference, District 20 DeLeon Events Center, Floresville For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org
TASB Summer Leadership Institute Marriott River Center, San Antonio For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org
TESA Summer Work Conference Omni Hotel at the Colonnade, San Antonio For more info, (512) 528-0046. www.tesatexas.org
Texas Retired Teachers Association Leadership Training Conference, District 14 ESC Region 14 offices, Abilene
See CALENDAR on page 20 April 2012 â€˘ Texas School Business
Professional Development & EVENTS June 20-22
CALENDAR continued from page 19 June 19
Texas ASCD Southwest Pre-Conference: The Southwest Building Learning Communities (Southwest BLC) Technology and Curriculum Conference Embassy Suites, Frisco For more info, (512) 477-8200. www.txascd.org
Texas ASCD Southwest Conference: The Southwest Building Learning Communities (Southwest BLC) Technology and Curriculum Conference Embassy Suites, Frisco For more info, (512) 477-8200. www.txascd.org
Texas Rural Schools Association Summer Conference DFW Marriott Hotel and Golf Club, Fort Worth For more info, (512) 423-0293. www.txrea.com Cost: Team of 5, $650; each additional team member, $130; individuals, $150.
TASA Summer Conference on Education Renaissance Hotel, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361 or (800) 725-8272. www.tasanet.org
WEEK OF JUNE 25
Procurement Made Easy
TASB Summer Leadership Institute Omni Hotel, Fort Worth For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org
WEEK OF JULY 2
Legal Contracts for Renovation, Maintenance and More Construction
• Job Order Contracting • Trenchless Technology Rehab
• Flooring • Roofing
• Modular Buildings
Custom Furniture, Fixtures and Equipment • Furniture: Instructional, Office, Science Lab, Cafeteria • Whiteboards: Electronic, Replacement Vinyl, Smart Boards
Building Exterior and Grounds • Playgrounds
• Water Quality/ Waste Management
• Exterior Cleaning
Energy Conservation /Management • Energy Conservation (ESCO) • Purchase and/or Aggregation
• HVAC (Equipment & Service)
Disaster Recovery/ Restoration
• Smoke/ Water Extraction • Consulting & Public Adjustor Services • Power Generators • Tree Trimming /Debris Removal
Building Infrastructure • Digital Archiving
• Security Systems
No Cost Membership
Sign an interlocal agreement to use CFP premium facilities contracts. Download form at www.choicefacilitypartners.org/members.php.
Texas School Business • April 2012
No events listed.
WEEK OF JULY 9 July 9-13
Texas Girls’ Coaches Association Summer Clinic Location TBA, Arlington For more info, (512) 708-1333. www.austintgca.com
TRTA District Presidents Training Conference Airport Hilton, Austin For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org
TASSP New Principal Academy Trinity University, San Antonio For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org
TETA SummerFest San Antonio College, San Antonio For more info, (877) 530-8382. www.tetatx.com Cost: Early registration, $90; on-site registration, $120.
TAHPERD Summer Conference Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center, Frisco For more info, (512) 459-1299. www.tahperd.org Cost: Early registration (by May 15): Professional and associate members, $75; student and retired members, $35. Preregistration (by June 15): Professional and
Professional Development & EVENTS
associate members, $85; student and retired members, $35. Late registration (after June 15): Professional and associate members, $95; student and retired members, $45.
WEEK OF JULY 16 July 17
TASB Workshop: Asbestos Designated Person TASB offices, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org Cost: On-site members, no charge; nonmembers, $425.
WEEK OF JULY 23 July 27-29
July 29-August 1
Texas PTA Summer Leadership Seminar Hilton Hotel and Convention Center, Austin For more info, (512) 476-6769. www.txpta.org
Texas High School Coaches Association Convention and Coaching School Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio For more info, (512) 392-3741. www.thsca.pointstreaksites.com
WEEK OF JULY 30 No events listed.
TCASE Summer Camp: Keeping the Fires Burning Hilton Hotel, Austin For more info, (512) 474-4492. www.tcase.org. Texas ASCD Curriculum Leadership Academy V Pat May Center, Bedford For more info, (512) 477-8200. www.txascd.org
TxEIS selected as a State-sponsored Student Information System by the Texas Education Agency! www.txeis.net
TASB Workshop: Integrated Pest Management Coordinator TASB offices, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org Cost: On-site members, no charge; nonmembers, $425.
TASB Workshop: Environment/Facilities Regulatory Compliance TASB offices, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org Cost: On-site members, no charge; nonmembers, $325.
TASPA Summer Law Conference Doubletree Hotel, Austin For more info, (512) 494-9353 or (800) 3464111. www.taspa.org
TASPA Summer Conference Doubletree Hotel, Austin For more info, (512) 494-9353 or (800) 346-4111. www.taspa.org
Comprehensive Business and Student administrative software, including: Human Resources Purchasing Warehouse Graduation Plan Historical PID Enrollment Tracking (PET) export Scheduling Texas Records Exchange (TREx) extract txGradebook ** teacher grade book txConnect ** parent portal tx MyZone ** student portal And much more... ** Mobile device-compatible! PEIMS-compliant TCC software used by over 900 Texas school districts and charter schools Contact your regional education service center or Education Service Center, Region 20 John McCauley, Information Technology 210.370.5250 email@example.com April 2012 • Texas School Business
Let’s talk about sex As first-ever national sexuality education standards are released, more Texas schools incorporate abstinence-plus programs By Leila Kalmbach
his past January, a group of health organizations published the first-ever National Sexuality Education Standards, which outlines minimum levels of student knowledge for grades K-12. Among other things, the standards say that kindergartners should be able to use the correct names for body parts; fifth graders should be able to define sexual orientation; eighth graders should be able to describe and identify sexual harassment, rape and bullying; and high school seniors should be able to describe the potential repercussions of power imbalances in relationships. The standards are not mandated or regulated by law; they simply provide a framework for curriculum development and selection, instruction and student assessment in health education, says Stephen Conley, the executive director of the American
School Health Association, one of the organizations behind the national standards. “Long term, we hope to reduce pregnancies and STDs and make children aware of the health risks of sexuality — but also hopefully (help them to) look at it in a positive light. It’s part of humanity,” Conley says. Texas is known for its embrace of abstinence-only sex education, a movement with roots in 1995 legislation that requires Texas school districts to “present abstinence from sexual activity as the preferred choice of behavior.” (Texas Education Code, 28.004(e)(1)). However, in recent years, it appears that classroom conversations about sex are changing. According to a study by the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund, 3.6 percent of districts in the 2007-2008 school year offered “abstinence-plus” programs, which teach contraceptive use in addition to practicing abstinence. By the 2010-2011 school year, that percentage increased to almost 25 percent. The catalyst behind the trend is debatable, but it’s a fact that Texas ranks third in the United States for teen pregnancies, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP). The Texas Department of State Health Services furthermore reports that every 10 minutes in Texas a teenager becomes pregnant. On a national scale, more than 750,000 teens become pregnant every year, and more than 80 percent of those pregnancies are unplanned, according to the national standards, which cited research from numerous academic research journals and organizations such as the CDCP. Moreover, one in four sexually active teens has a sex-
To read the National Sexuality Education Standards in full, visit: www.futureofsexed.org/fosestandards.html 22
Texas School Business • April 2012
ually transmitted infection, and individuals ages 13 to 29 contract one-third of the newly reported HIV cases each year. Conley says he believes that it’s important to establish a national baseline of core content and skills for more than traditional academic subjects. The national sex education standards were a collaborative effort among the American Association of Health Education, the American School Health Association, the National Education Association Health Information Network, the Society of State Leaders of Health and Physical Education and the Future of Sex Education Initiative. “We think the standards have raised the national discussion, and that’s always hopeful in an area that has tended to be pushed under the rug or ignored and not answered in a truthful, clear manner for youth,” Conley says. Conley says he has, however, heard some disagreement surrounding what sex education “core knowledge” should include. The standards list seven content areas: • Anatomy and Physiology provides a foundation for understanding basic human functioning. • Puberty and Adolescent Development addresses a pivotal milestone for every person that has an impact on physical, social and emotional development. • Identity addresses several fundamental aspects of people’s understanding of who they are. • Pregnancy and Reproduction addresses information about how pregnancy happens and decision-making to avoid a pregnancy. • Sexually Transmitted Diseases and HIV provides both content and skills for understanding and avoiding STDs
and HIV, including how they are transmitted, their signs and symptoms, and testing and treatment. • Healthy Relationships offers guidance to students on how to navigate changing relationships among family, peers and partners. Special emphasis is given to the increasing use and impact of technology within relationships. • Personal Safety emphasizes the need for a growing awareness, creation and maintenance of safe school environments for all students. Sex education debuts in Midland ISD As the new sexuality education standards debut on a national front, Midland ISD plans to debut a sex education program for seventh and eighth graders for the first time in many years. The program will begin in May — the soonest educators could be trained following the school board’s approval of the program. Tracey Dees, the district’s director of health services, says that while the topic has been broached before, the district has not offered sex education at all in recent years. “There was nothing that had to do with abstiTracey Dees nence or anything else; there was just nothing,” she says. Meanwhile, “our pregnancy rate here in Midland is continuing to increase. Our community, for one, was not seeing an impact without a defined curriculum.” Dees is an enthusiastic supporter of the new national standards; however, she points out that her district already had decided to adopt a sex education curriculum prior to the standards being released. “I think it’s high time that educators, school districts and politicians actually took a real look at what is happening in our communities,” she says. Dees was interested in instituting sex education in Midland ISD for 18 months before the school board and the district’s School Health Advisory Council (SHAC) agreed to choose a program. A key component of this choice was a web-based survey the SHAC posted on the district’s website for six weeks, asking for community input on sex education in Midland ISD. “People told us, ‘We live in a very conservative West Texas community, and no one will allow you to do that,’ but we
were exceptionally surprised when we did our community survey,” Dees says. Almost all survey participants said they wanted the school district to have a role in sex education, and the vast majority wanted an abstinence-plus curriculum. The district chose an evidence-based sex education curriculum, meaning the program has been rigorously evaluated and shown to be effective in reducing sexual risk-taking behaviors. Dees says that she and the science teachers who will be teaching the curriculum are very excited about introducing these principles in the classroom. Weighing what works in McAllen ISD In McAllen ISD, Mario Reyna, coordinator for health, physical education and after-school enrichment programs, says he is glad that national standards have been established for sexual health, but he is hesitant to acMario Reyna cept them at face value. Traditionally a supporter of abstinenceonly education, Reyna remains concerned about student pregnancy and STDs being a problem in his district. “We definitely need to continue to explore providing abstinence-only education as the primary instruction,” he says, noting that, in certain instances, additional instruction might be necessary, but “only as long as we have the backing of researchbased documents.” Whether teaching abstinence or something more, Reyna says he believes that sexual health is a warranted classroom subject. “If your daughter is out with a young man,” he recalls saying to a parent opposed to sex education, “would you prefer for her to be out with a young man who had been through a sex education class or not? What if he has not had a sex talk with his parents and has had no sex education? Doesn’t that increase the chances of something happening?” Reyna says the parent changed her mind after considering the hypothetical situation. Sticking to abstinence in Benjamin ISD In Benjamin ISD in North Texas, Superintendent Olivia Gloria says that her district currently does not offer a sex education program, aside from the occasional
guest speaker. However, the school board and the district’s SHAC have been discussing the possibility of one. Gloria says she is familiar with the recently released national standards, but it is the district’s teen pregnancy rate — not the standards — that is prompting the district’s discussion. If Benjamin ISD does adopt sex education curriculum, many topics addressed in the national standards will not be discussed in the classroom because the district is researching abstinence-only programs exclusively. “Most everybody agrees with that,” Gloria says. “For the most part, that’s what is popular right now with the council and the board.” Just saying no just won’t cut it According to Susan Tortolero, director of The University of Texas Prevention Research Center, abstinenceonly programs just aren’t cutting it. She says that kids are becoming sexually active at an early age. She cites statistics that show 10 percent of students becoming sexually active in middle school. By their senior year, 70 percent of students are sexually active. For that reason, it’s important to intervene early, Tortolero says. “We find that kids are not getting medically accurate information,” she says. “What’s more, most of our Texas schools are using programs that are not proven to work.” See LET’S TALK on page 24 April 2012 • Texas School Business
Who’s News Bandera ISD The board of trustees officially tapped Interim Superintendent Regina Howell to be the new superintendent. Howell had been named lone finalist for the job at the beginning of February. Howell has worked for Bandera ISD in a variety of capacities during the Regina Howell past 16 years. She has been a high school Spanish teacher, assistant principal at Hill Country Elementary, principal at Alkek Elementary, and the assistant superintendent for personnel and student services. Birdville ISD George “Ged” Kates is now the head football coach and athletic director for Richland High School. He was most recently a government teacher and head football coach at Arlington Heights High School in Fort Worth ISD. Prior Ged Kates to that assignment, he was a teacher and coach at Grand Prairie High School in Grand Prairie
ISD, Trinity High School and Harwood Junior High in Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD, and at Richland High School in Birdville ISD. He has been a coach for 13 years. Kates holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University and a master’s degree from Texas Woman’s University. The new executive director of technology information management systems is Randy Sumrall, who has served in a similar position in Coppell and Judson ISDs. Since 2006, he has been chief information officer for ESC Region 10. He Randy Sumrall earned his bachelor’s degree from North Texas State University and his master’s degree from the University of North Texas. Brenham ISD Assistant Superintendent Deanna Alfred has announced her upcoming retirement, effective at the end of the school year. She has been with the district for 36 years, starting in 1975 as an English and speech teacher. She also has been a secondary curriculum director. In addition to her time with Brenham ISD, Alfred was a teacher in Leesville, La.
Brownwood ISD Alice Cox, director of special education, was named 2011’s Special Education Director of the Year by the Texas Council of Administrators of Special Education. She was recognized in January during the annual TCASE convention in Austin. A special Alice Cox education professional for 19 years, she worked in general education for 19 years before that and taught at both the elementary and secondary levels. Bryan ISD Ross Rogers has been named athletic coordinator and head football coach of Bryan High School. He has served as high school athletic director and head football coach in Hempstead, Waller, Giddings and College Station ISDs and as athletic coordinator and head football coach for Harker Heights High School in Killeen ISD. A new position has been created to manage campus testing, master plans and fund utilization. Donna Willett will move from her position as Bryan High School’s dean of
LET’S TALK continued from page 23
Schools might not be the primary barrier to offering effective sexual health programs. Tortolero says she frequently encounters parents who believe that teaching sex education equates to giving kids permission to have sex. Contrary to that belief, Tortolero says the most effective sex education programs actually advocate for delaying sex altogether, while encouraging safer behavior in kids who chose to be sexually active. “Delaying initiation of sex should be the primary goal of sex education,” Tortolero says, “but for those kids who are sexually active, we’ve got to get those kids to use protection. The more we teach about medically accurate information and talk about the subject, the less likely kids are going to be having sex and engaged in risky behavior.” Tortolero says the most important factor in teaching sex education 24
Texas School Business • April 2012
is implementing evidence-based programs. She and her colleagues have developed such a program called “It’s Your Game: Keep It Real.” Its reception has led Tortolero to believe the tides are turning in Texas when it comes to sex education. “We’re getting calls from all over the state,” she says. Reyna of McAllen ISD says that if being effective means going beyond abstinence-only lesson plans, he thinks it’s worth at least considering. “It’s kind of like the definition of insanity,” he says. “If we keep doing the same thing, then we’re going to get the same results.” LEILA KALMBACH is a freelance writer in Austin.
Who’s News instruction to serve as director of student assessments and planning. Carroll ISD A new executive director of technology services has been hired. He is Randy Stuart, who comes to his new position from Greenville ISD, where he held the same position. He has a master’s degree in computer information systems from Boston University. Comal ISD Superintendent Marc Walker has announced his upcoming retirement, which will bring to a close a 34-year career in public education. He has been Comal ISD’s superintendent for the past eight years. Marc Walker
Cypress-Fairbanks ISD Former Cy-Fair High School Associate Principal Teresa Baranowski has been appointed principal of Truitt Middle School. An educator for 22 years, she has been a math teacher at Cook Middle School, a counselor at Langham Creek High School and an assistant principal and director of instruction at Cypress Ridge High School. Teresa She was also a counselor Baranowski in Spring Branch ISD. Baranowski earned her bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University and her master’s degree in education from Prairie View A&M University. Michael Maness is the new principal of Spillane Middle School. An educator with 18 years of experience, he was most recently principal of Warner Elementary School, which he opened in 2007. He was also a teacher at Hairgrove Elementary, Michael Maness assistant principal of Ault Elementary and principal of Jowell Elementary. Maness holds a bachelor’s degree from Abilene Christian University and a master’s degree in education from Sam Houston State University. Denton ISD The new head coach and athletic coordinator for Denton High School is Kevin Atkinson. He was a health teacher and coach in Grapevine Colleyville ISD and Lewisville ISD, arriving in Denton in 2000 to serve as offensive coordinator at Ryan High School. For
the past 10 years, he has been head coach and athletic coordinator for Keller High School in Keller ISD. After arranging for a special needs student to score a touchdown in a varsity game, he received Inspire Financial’s Inspirational Educator of the Year Award. In 2006, he was named Citizen of the Year by Goodwill Industries. In 2009, he was chosen as an Armed Forces Coach of the Week. Atkinson’s bachelor’s degree in kinesiology is from Stephen F. Austin State University. ESC Region 11 A new executive director has been named. He is Clyde Steelman, who has served as interim executive director since September. Prior to that, he spent five years as ESC Region 11’s deputy director of administrative and business services. Clyde Steelman Steelman began his career in 1984 in Granbury ISD, where he was a junior high and high school teacher and UIL athletic and academic coach. In 1989, he moved to Tolar ISD, where he also taught and served as a UIL coach. He was then assistant high school principal in Glen Rose ISD before taking the position of superintendent of Bluff Dale ISD, where he served from 1996 to 2000. His last position before joining ESC Region 11 was as superintendent of Muenster ISD. Steelman earned his bachelor’s degree in industrial education and technology and his master’s degree in secondary education from Tarleton State University. His doctorate in education leadership was awarded from Lamar University. Forney ISD Warren Middle School Principal Kenneth Pearce has been honored by the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals with the title of ESC Region 10 Middle School Principal of the Year. He came to Forney ISD in 2008 to Kenneth Pearce take his current position, having served previously as assistant principal of Lake Dallas Middle School in Lake Dallas ISD. Pearce earned a bachelor’s degree in food science technology and his secondary biology certification from Texas A&M University. His master’s degree in education administration was awarded from the University of North Texas. Fort Bend ISD A new principal is in place at Scanlan Oaks Elementary School. He is Mike Hej-
ducek, an educator for 23 years and most recently the head of the lower school at Grace School in Houston. He began his career as an art teacher and coach and has been with Fort Bend ISD since Mike Hejducek 1988, serving first at Briargate and Mission West elementary schools and going on to be assistant principal at Mission West. In taking his new job at Scanlan Oaks, he returns to the school that he opened in 2004. Hejducek earned his bachelor of arts degree from Bridgewater State University in Bridgewater, Mass., and his master’s degree in education from the University of Houston. Fort Worth ISD Walter Dansby has been named superintendent, making him the first minority to hold that position in the district’s history. A graduate of Fort Worth ISD’s Dunbar High School, he went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from The University of Texas Walter Dansby at Arlington and his master’s degree from Tarleton State University. He has been with Fort Worth ISD for 38 years, beginning as a teacher and coach at Rosemont Middle School and going on to serve as a coach at several district campuses, including Paschal High School, where he then was named assistant principal. He was principal of Wyatt High School until he was promoted to area dean of instruction. He has held other administrative roles in the district, including supervising the areas of instruction, athletics, student affairs, maintenance and the district’s 2007 bond program. Rodney White, currently principal of Glencrest Sixth Grade Center, has been chosen to serve as principal of the district’s first all-male school, the Paul Laurence Dunbar Young Men’s Leadership Academy, when it opens in Rodney White August. The academy, which will be housed in the renovated, historic Dunbar High School, will open with sixth and seventh grade classes, adding a new grade level each year and graduating its first seniors in 2018. An employee of Fort Worth ISD since 2000 when he began his career teaching science, White has been a lead content teacher, science department chair and See WHO’S NEWS on page 26 April 2012 • Texas School Business
Who’s News WHO’S NEWS continued from page 25
assistant principal. A graduate of Fort Worth ISD’s Cooper High School, White earned his bachelor’s degree from Abilene Christian University and his master’s degree in educational leadership and policy studies from The University of Texas at Arlington. Goose Creek CISD After 36 years in Texas public education, Superintendent Toby York has announced his upcoming retirement. He has been with Goose Creek CISD since 2001, when he was named executive director of school administration, going on Toby York to serve as assistant superintendent for personnel and student services and deputy superintendent in the same area. Before coming to Goose Creek CISD, he was associate superintendent of curriculum and instruction for New Caney ISD. He was also high school principal in that district, assistant principal of Oak Ridge High School in Conroe ISD, and athletic director
and football coach in Conroe and Cameron ISDs. York, who earned his bachelor’s degree in education from Abilene Christian University and his master’s degree in educational administration from Texas A&M University, holds a doctorate in administration and supervision from the University of Houston. Granbury ISD Kendall Condit, who has been serving as assistant principal of Acton Elementary School, is the district’s new at-risk programs coordinator. Her career in education began in 1997 when she taught kindergarten at Tanglewood Elementary Kendall Condit in Fort Worth ISD. She arrived at Acton in 2000, where she again taught kindergarten and then became the school’s counselor. She was appointed assistant principal in 2004. Condit earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas Christian University. Groesbeck ISD Groesbeck High School has a new
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Texas School Business • April 2012
principal. He is Luke Allison, who began his career teaching in College Station ISD. He came to Groesbeck ISD as a middle school social studies and high school U.S. history teacher. He also has Luke Allison coached football, basketball, track and power lifting. Allison’s bachelor’s degree is from Texas A&M University and his master’s degree is from the University of Cincinnati. Keri Thoele is now assistant superintendent. She comes to her new job from Groesbeck High School, where she was principal since 2007. She began as a teacher in Cleveland (Texas) ISD, going on to teach high school in New Caney ISD for nine years before coming to Groesbeck in 1998. She taught English at Groesbeck High for seven years prior to being named the school’s assistant principal and, ultimately, principal. Thoele’s bachelor’s degree was awarded from Sam Houston State University and her master’s degree from Tarleton State University. Houston ISD The district’s new chief high school officer is Orlando Riddick, who comes to Houston from Austin ISD, where he was director of high school operations. He began his career in Dallas ISD as an English teacher, going on to hold secondOrlando Riddick ary assistant principal positions in Fort Worth ISD and to serve as lead instructional coordinator in San Antonio ISD’s Edison High School. Additionally, he was principal of White High School in Dallas ISD. Joshua ISD Superintendent Ray Dane has announced his upcoming retirement after 13 years with the district. LaPoyner ISD The district has promoted Sherry Douglas from her position as interim superintendent to superintendent. Douglas began her career as a middle school science teacher and coach in Athens ISD, then was a middle school counselor in Palestine ISD Sherry Douglas and a high school counselor in Mabank ISD. She came to LaPoyner in 2005 and spent two years as the district’s elementary principal, then a
Who’s News year as an instructional specialist. She was appointed assistant superintendent in 2009, remaining in that position until taking on the role of interim superintendent in 2011. Douglas earned her bachelor’s degree and her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from The University of Texas at Tyler. Leander ISD Sally Hill has been named principal of Giddens Elementary School. An educator for 17 years, she has spent the past seven with Leander ISD, most recently as assistant principal of Mason Elementary. Additionally, she has been an instructional coach, a campus data assessment coordinator and a second grade teacher at Knowles Elementary. Before joining Leander ISD, Hill was an elementary special education teacher in Lewisville ISD. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia and her master’s degree in education from Lamar University in Beaumont. Levelland ISD After 44 years as an educator, including 33 years with Levelland ISD, Superintendent Mark Holcomb will retire at the end of the academic year. He had been Levelland ISD’s superintendent from 1999 to 2008, when he announced his retirement. That same year, he came out of retirement to serve once again as superintendent until now. He was principal of Levelland ISD’s South Elementary School from 1982 to 1996. Holcomb earned his bachelor’s degree in education from McMurry College in Abilene and his master’s degree in education from Texas Tech University.
School. Mauldin holds a master’s degree in education with an emphasis in curriculum and instruction. Her doctorate in education with emphasis in leadership was earned from the University of Phoenix. Meyersville ISD Superintendent Laura Whitson, the first female to hold the top job in Meyersville ISD, has announced her upcoming retirement after 39 years as an educator, 25 of those with Meyersville ISD. She began her career in Eula Laura Whitson ISD, where she spent nine years as a special education teacher, elementary teacher and principal. She also worked for ESC Region 14 as a technical assistant and for Liberty Hill ISD as an administrative assistant. Whitson holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from Abilene Christian University and has done post-graduate work at The University of Texas.
Nacogdoches ISD Bobby Reyes has been named head football coach for the district. North East ISD Christina Mank, assistant principal of Dellview Elementary School, has received the Distinguished Administrator Award from the Texas Music Educators Association. She was specifically recognized for her input and assistance in organizing music clubs and programs at her campus, including a glee club, after-school strings class, theater arts club, dance club and drumming classes. Northside ISD Kathy Gorsche, formerly principal of Scobee Elementary School, will lead Los Reyes Elementary as its principal when the new school opens in August. She began her education career as an elementary teacher in Fort WayneKathy Gorsche South Bend, Ind., arriving in Texas in 1997 as a fifth grade teacher in San Antonio ISD. She moved to Northside See WHO’S NEWS on page 29
Luling ISD Jason Hewitt, most recently principal of Smithville High School in Smithville ISD, is Luling ISD’s new director of curriculum and instruction. He is completing work on his doctoral degree in public school administration at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. Marble Falls ISD Janice Mauldin has been named assistant superintendent of academic programs. After teaching math at the elementary, secondary and college levels, Mauldin began working as a school improvement consultant. She served in that capacJanice Mauldin ity with ESC Region 10, working as the coordinator of professional service providers for the School Improvement Resource Center in Austin. For the past two years, she has managed implementation of the Texas Title I Priority Schools grant program for Marble Falls High
Tex. Arch. Lic. #10138 Photo Scott Hales
George H. W. Bush Elementary School Addison, Texas Dallas Independent School District
April 2012 • Texas School Business
TCEA offers 400 training sessions at annual event Members of the Texas Computer Education Association rallied in Austin in February for four days of educational technology professional development during TCEAâ€™s 2012 Annual Convention and Exposition.
Melanie Smith and Kelly Grigg of Deer Park ISD.
Michelle Wiederhold and Tammy Lee Ramos of Texas A&M University.
Charles Harris of Garland ISD and Jaime Arizaleta of Brainchild Corp.
Jennifer Dennard, Brian Eaves and Laura Stephens of Denison ISD.
Laura Christopher and Cindy Moak of Rusk ISD.
Marci Beene, Toby Klameth and Lisa Gilbert of Lubbock ISD. 28
Texas School Business â€˘ April 2012
Tracy Christiansen and Sandra Negro of Elgin ISD.
Ben Rice, Tara Allday and Sarah Feimster of Atlanta ISD.
Who’s News WHO’S NEWS continued from page 27
ISD in 2001 to serve as a reading specialist and helped open Nichols Elementary in the same capacity the following year. She took her first administrative position in 2005 when she was appointed principal of Beard Elementary. She accepted the same role at Scobee in 2008. Gorsche received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Indiana and her master’s degree from The University of Texas at San Antonio. Xavier Maldonado, who was a classroom teacher at Neff Middle School, is now assistant principal of Garcia Middle School. He began his career in San Antonio ISD as a fifth grade teacher at Cameron Elementary School, going on to teach mathematics at Tafolla Xavier Middle School and to serve Maldonado as an assistant principal at Irving Middle School. He came to Northside ISD in 2007 as a campus instructional technologist at Neff Middle School and then taught sixth grade science. Maldonado holds a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from Texas A&M University and a master’s degree in educational leadership from The University of Texas at San Antonio. He is working on his doctoral degree in instructional technology from The University of Texas at Austin. Ross Middle School has a new principal. She is Lisa McConoghy, previously the academic dean of the school. She began her career in San Antonio’s Southwest ISD in 1994 as a teacher and coordinator of the district’s Teen Parent Program, goLisa McConoghy ing on to become director of community education four years later, followed by the appointment to serve as assistant principal of the Southwest Enrichment Center in 2001. She left San Antonio for Boerne ISD to be the assistant principal of Boerne High School. She then became academic dean of Boerne-Champion High. She returned to Northside ISD to take her most recent position in 2010. McConoghy holds a bachelor’s degree in home economics from Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University) and her master’s degree in educational administration from Texas A&M University. The new executive director of secondary instruction is Dennis Ann Strong, formerly principal of Holmes High School. She has spent all of her 18 years as an educator with the district, nine of those as an administrator. She began as a social studies teacher
at Holmes High School, moving four years later to the new O’Connor High, where she was social studies coordinator. She next was academic dean and then vice principal at the school. She returned to her first Northside ISD Dennis Ann Strong school, Holmes High, as its principal in 2007, remaining there until accepting her new position. Additionally, she has been an adjunct professor at The University of Texas at San Antonio and at Palo Alto and Northwest community colleges. Strong earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The University of Texas at San Antonio. S&S CISD Tommy Hunter, the district’s superintendent, comes to his new job from Walnut Bend ISD, where he also held the top position. Tyler ISD A new head football coach and athletic coordinator has been named for Lee High School. He is Darrell Piske, an educator and coach for 27 years. He comes to his new position from Fairfield High School in Fairfield ISD, where he spent the past four years in a similar position. He was previously with Valley Mills High School in Valley Mills ISD.
He also has coached high school football in Terrell, Scurry-Rosser, Copperas Cove, Kennedale, Bartlett and Llano ISDs. He was named District 20 3-A Coach of the Year for the past two years. Piske earned his bachelor’s and Darrell Piske master’s degrees in physical education from Tarleton State University. Wills Point ISD Suzanne Blasingame has been named superintendent. She has been serving in the interim position. Blasingame, who has spent 35 of her 37 years in education in Wills Point ISD, taught elementary school for 15 years before transferring to Wills Point High to Suzanne serve as assistant princiBlasingame pal and then principal. She then was the district’s director of curriculum and instruction and assistant superintendent. Blasingame earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from East Texas State University and her master’s degree in educational administration from The University of Texas at Tyler. TSB
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April 2012 • Texas School Business
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My career as a shoe shine boy
ne thing I think some parents could work on is to give their children opportunities to participate in a variety of activities so that their interests and abilities might become more evident. That’s one thing my Momma, especially, tried to do. In spite of the fact that she didn’t have a formal education, she was a great teacher. She believed that hard work was essential to one’s success. She knew that to be happy in life, one needed to follow his or her instincts and do a job they found especially enjoyable and fulfilling. She felt that exposing her children to a variety of jobs was the best way to learn what worked for them — and what didn’t. I was about 8 or 9 years old, and I remember Mom walking in with the neatest little wooden box with handle and sizeable compartments on each side. In each compartment were little tins of shoe polish – black, brown, cordovan, neutral, et cetera. Then, on the other side, there were little round brushes and a couple of larger brushes with soft bristles. Soft white cloths were neatly folded at one end. “Son, you’re going on your first job,” she said. “And what fun you’re going to have!” Now, at that young age, it was difficult for me to get too excited about it, but I swallowed hard and sputtered, “Work? What am I gonna do?” “Son, you are going to go downtown and shine shoes for the people!” “But, but, but how do I do it? I don’t know how to polish shoes. I don’t wanna do this, Momma!” I wailed. “Hush! Of course you can do this. Nothing to it.” Within the hour, I was unloaded from the family car at the south end of Center Avenue and told to go all the way to the other end and then head back on the opposite side of the street. “Have fun, son!” she shouted as she drove off in our 1949 black Chevy coupe. “I’ll pick you up in a couple of hours.” I don’t think I’d ever seen a bigger smile on my Momma’s face as I did at that moment.
Texas School Business • April 2012
So, with my head hung low and my shoulders drooped, I started sauntering down the busiest street in my hometown of Brownwood. About midway down the street, I came to my first major problem: a real, first-class shoeshine stand just outside the barber shop. The proprietor of that business, who was the biggest man I’d ever laid eyes on, looked at me with a scowl that would scare a grown man. “What you think you’re doing?” he growled. “If you think you gonna shine shoes around here, you got another thing a’coming. Now, move on down the street. This is my territory!” “Yes, sir” was all my shaking little frame could mutter. I got back to the place where Momma was going to pick me up and hid behind a bush. When she pulled up, I could see the look of anticipation on her face. She couldn’t wait to see how much capital her little investment had reaped. “Well?” she said. “How’d my boy do on his first day of work?” Tears welled up in my eyes as I blurted out, “Nothing! I didn’t make a penny! And this shoeshining is not my thing! Please don’t make me do this again! Ever!” And then Momma smiled, put her arms around me and softly said, “That’s all right. Don’t you worry about it. We can always use a shoeshine kit at home. At least you tried. “But, son, there’s a big golf tournament this weekend out at the country club and the paper said that they were going to need a bunch of caddies. I’ll bet that’s your thing!” And while we’ll save the telling of that disaster for another day, I can’t help but wonder if somewhere in America one day another mother set her little boy out on the street and said, “Son, sell this coffee by the cup. And let’s call it Starbucks.” RINEY JORDAN, whose best-selling book “All the Difference” is now in its sixth printing, is an international speaker and humorist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting www.rineyjordan.com.
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