TEXAS ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS PROFESSIONAL JOURNAL
• Featured Speaker Dr. Mark Milliron • Pre-session with Dr. David Conley • More than 70 Concurrent Sessions
December 12-14, 2013 Gaylord Texan Grapevine, TX
For more information or to register go to www.avid.org
fall 2013 Volume 28
No. 3 Featured Articles Leadership Focus
What College Students Think…About Where They Went to High School
by Lawrence W. Speck Shares responses from more than 300 undergraduate students at The University of Texas at Austin on how the physical environment of the high schools they attended supported or detracted from their social and educational experience
Transforming Learning Environments
Featured Architects Focuses on transforming the design of learning environments at all grade levels and how space can be redefined for enhanced educational opportunities
Where Students Grow
by Jim Brady Presents typical concerns with portable and modular construction, the characteristics of a Green School, and Sprout Space—an international design winner
Making a Great Place to Learn Even Better
by Marcus Johnson Overviews a district renovation project in Mount Pleasant ISD that uses a well-planned performance contract in which the note is paid through savings realized from energy conservation measures
Carpet Tile That Offers Unique Benefits While Adding Inspiration to the Floor
by Milliken’s Global Floor Covering Division Emphasizes that floor covering can change the experience of a building’s interior, creating a warm, nurturing, and vibrant atmosphere that sparks natural creativity and imagination
Creating Virtual Professional Learning Communities
by Lloyd Goldsmith, Kim Pamplin, Donnie Snider, and Jerilyn Pfeifer Provides case studies that take at peek at technology’s potential to move teachers from geographic professional isolation and encourage collaboration without geographic constraints
Many Schools, One Community
by Jamie Mount and Guy Sconzo Offers ideas from Humble ISD for community engagement programs that could be easily duplicated or adapted to support any district
Also of Interest…
Highlights four TASB-related entities endorsed by TASA and their board members
Departments TASA Fall Calendar President’s Message Executive Director’s View
5 7 9
Darrell G. Floyd, President, Stephenville ISD Alton L. Frailey, President-Elect, Katy ISD Karen G. Rue, Vice-President, Northwest ISD Jeff N. Turner, Past President, Coppell ISD
Executive Committee Steve Flores, Harlingen CISD, 1 Paul Clore, Gregory-Portland ISD, 2 Vicki Adams, Palacios ISD, 3 Trish Hanks, Friendswood ISD, 4 Shannon Holmes, Hardin-Jefferson ISD, 5 Eddie Coulson, College Station ISD, 6 Fred Hayes, Nacogdoches ISD, 7 Rex Burks, Simms ISD, 8 Louis Baty, Knox City-O’Brien CISD, 9
TASA Headquarters Staff
Executive Director Associate Executive Director, Administrative Services
Assistant Executive Director, Communications & Information Systems
Johnny L. Veselka Paul L. Whitton, Jr.
Alfred Ray, Duncanville ISD, 10 Wayne Rotan, Glen Rose ISD, 11 John Craft, Killeen ISD, 12 Douglas Killian, Hutto ISD, 13 Shane Fields, Albany ISD, 14
Ann M. Halstead
Leigh Ann Glaze, San Saba ISD, 15 Robert McLain, Channing ISD, 16
Director of Communications Suzanne Marchman and Media Relations
Kevin Spiller, Seagraves ISD, 17 Kevin Allen, Iraan-Sheffield ISD, 18
Jose G. Franco, Fort Hancock ISD, 19
Kevin Brown, Alamo Heights ISD, 20
INSIGHT is published quarterly by the Texas Association of School Administrators, 406 East 11th Street, Austin, Texas, 78701-2617. Subscription is included in TASA membership dues. © 2013 by TASA. All rights reserved. TASA members may reprint articles in limited quantities for in-house educational use. Articles in INSIGHT are expressions of the author or interviewee and do not necessarily represent the views or policies of TASA. Advertisements do not necessarily carry the endorsement of the Texas Association of School Administrators. INSIGHT is printed by 360 Press Solutions, Cedar Park, Texas.
Buck Gilcrease, Hillsboro ISD, Legislative Committee Chair
At-Large Members Jodi Duron, Elgin ISD, At-Large Cheryl Floyd, Huckabay ISD, At-Large Martha Salazar-Zamora, Round Rock ISD, At-Large Nola Wellman, Eanes ISD, At-Large
Editorial Advisory Committee Darrell G. Floyd, Stephenville ISD, Chair Kevin Brown, Alamo Heights ISD John Craft, Killeen ISD Shane Fields, Albany ISD Buck Gilcrease, Hillsboro ISD Karen G. Rue, Northwest ISD Martha Salazar-Zamora, Houston ISD
TASA Fall Calendar September 12–13
TASA Future-Ready Superintendents’ Leadership Institute (Session 5 of 5)
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Austin–University Area, Austin
Dallas Convention Center, Dallas
S.M.A.R.T School Transformation Academy (with QLD) (Session 1 of 5)
TASA Headquarters, Austin
Academy for Transformational Leadership, Austin (with the Schlechty Center) (Session 1 of 4)
DoubleTree North by Hilton, Austin
Academy for Transformational Leadership, Region Seven (with the Schlechty Center) (Session 1 of 4)
ESC Region Seven, Kilgore
S.M.A.R.T. School Transformation Academy (with QLD) (Session 1 of 5)
Harlingen CISD, Harlingen
TASA Future-Ready Superintendents’ Leadership Institute (Session 5 of 5)
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel–University Area, Austin
29–Nov. 1 Level I: Curriculum Management Audit Training Jan Jacob (with CMSi)
TASA Headquarters, Austin
First-time Superintendents’ Academy (Session 2 of 4)
Austin Marriott North, Round Rock
Academy for Transformational Leadership, Region Six (with the Schlechty Center) (Session 1 of 4)
ESC Region Six, Huntsville
Academy for Transformational Leadership (with the Schlechty Center) (Session 2 of 4)
DoubleTree North by Hilton, Austin
Level II: Curriculum Management Audit Training (with CMSi)
Academy for Transformational Leadership, Region Seven (with the Schlechty Center) (Session 2 of 4)
ESC Region Seven, Kilgore
Texas A&M University/TASA Administrative Leadership Institute
A&M University, College Station
TAS/MUS Fall Conference
Moody Gardens, Galveston
TASA Headquarters, Austin
S.M.A.R.T School Transformation Academy (with QLD) (Session 2 of 5)
TASA Headquarters, Austin
S.M.A.R.T. School Transformation Academy (with QLD) (Session 2 of 5)
Harlingen CISD, Harlingen
Academy for Transformational Leadership, Region Six (with the Schlechty Center) (Session 2 of 4)
TASA Headquarters, Austin ESC Region Six, Huntsville
Dream it. Do it.
What will you do with Centricity2 ? ™
Put the power of community at your ﬁngertips
Find out how Schoolwires® Centricity2 website and content management system can help you connect your entire district to the people, information and services you need to succeed. schoolwires.com
CENTRICITY2 & WEB HOSTING SERVICES
Forging Ahead and Making a Difference he 83rd Legislative Session dealt with a number of key school issues.The push for vouchers quickly lost steam, the teacher retirement system underwent some changes, a portion of the public school funding cuts from the previous legislative session were restored, and the testing and accountability systems were significantly revised.
President’s Message The Texas High Performance Schools Consortium has been striving to transform Texas public schools by improving student learning via a focus on digital learning, high-priority learning standards, multiple assessments, and community involvement. I encourage continuation of that effort, in spite of the governor’s recent veto of HB 2824.
The first ratings under the new accountability system have now been issued.The revised system includes a new framework consisting of four areas: student achievement, student progress, closing performance gaps, and postsecondary readiness. Districts and campuses received one of three ratings: Met Standard—met accountability targets on all indexes for which they have performance data in 2013; Met Alternative Standard—met modified performance index targets for alternative education campuses or districts; or Improvement Required—did not meet one or more performance index targets.Although an attempt was made to “simplify” the accountability system, I think an argument can be made that the new system is neither easy to understand nor easy to explain. Thus the need remains evident for TASA to continue its efforts regarding support for MISSION: School Transformation. The Texas High Performance Schools Consortium has been striving to transform Texas public schools by improving student learning via a focus on digital learning, high-priority learning standards, multiple assessments, and community involvement. I encourage continuation of that effort, in spite of the governor’s recent veto of HB 2824.The effort is worthwhile, valid, and important. With digital learning becoming a necessity, the USDE’s Director of Educational Technology, Richard Culatta, recently pointed out that educators trying to use technology to promote innovation in the classroom should ask themselves five critical questions: (1) How are we using data? Schools should learn to use data about individual learners to improve learning in much the same way as Netflix makes it easier to choose movies by recommending films based on one’s previous selections and in much the same manner as the Khan Academy offers a kind of GPS educational system that helps show students where they can go with their own learning. (2) How are we using “open” resources? Sorting through the myriad resources available to teachers can be challenging. One resource available is called the Federal Registry for Educational Excellence (FREE). (3) How do we personalize learning? Learners learn differently. The worst thing we can do is treat all learners the same. Learning needs to be personalized. (4) What can we stop doing? Rather than piling more onto teachers, try to find out what you can strategically abandon. (5) Rethink how teachers learn? Empowering teachers to become connected to technology is crucial to the success of today’s digital native students. Finally, I urge you to: (1) renew your TASA membership, (2) encourage another administrator or aspiring administrator who is not yet a TASA member to join TASA, and (3) become actively involved in TASA’s School Transformation efforts by joining the School Transformation Network, participating in regional consortia work, and sharing your ideas on TASA Connect. We are making a difference!
Texas Association of School Administrators ■ Texas Association of School Boards
Steven Berlin Johnson Best-Selling Author
Friday, September 27
Mrs. Laura Bush Former First Lady
Saturday, September 28
EdLeader21 Chief Executive Officer
Sunday, September 29
September 27–29 Dallas Convention Center
Earn up to 17 CEC hours. Legislative update and OMA training available.
Friday, September 27 Larry Speck
Former Dean of The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture
Busch Update Editor-in-Chief
Saturday, September 28 Nikhil Goyal
Author and Learning Revolution Leader
Author and Award-Winning Educator
Save the dates
Generating Momentum ropelled by the resolution against high-stakes testing, TASA has embarked upon the mission to transform the Texas public education system. During the process, we have generated more and more momentum, resulting in the establishment of regional consortia, TASA’s School Transformation Network, the Texas High Performance Schools Consortium, and legislation this session that reduced the number of high-stakes high school tests, energizing superintendents and education and community leaders across the state.Along the way, it has also become the target of certain groups that seem to be, at best, misinformed, or worse, ill-willed—about what transformation really means.
Executive director’s VIEW The idea behind school transformation is simple: schools must move from teacher-focused, lecture-driven, one-size-fits-all instruction that centers around memorization and teaching to the test to one that is studentfocused and digitally integrated, with teachers as the designers of engaging lessons to create futureready students who are critical thinkers, problem solvers, and lifelong learners.
Transformation (noun)—the act, process, or instance of making a major change in form, nature, or function.Transformation is not about socialism,“group think,” or corrupting the system—unless enabling students to think critically is a bad thing. The idea behind school transformation is simple: schools must move from teacher-focused, lecture-driven, one-size-fits-all instruction that centers around memorization and teaching to the test to one that is student-focused and digitally integrated, with teachers as the designers of engaging lessons to create future-ready students who are critical thinkers, problem solvers, and lifelong learners. School leaders recognize that students today are different and the world they live in is continually changing, so it is vital that schools change—modify, adapt, transform—the current system to provide our Texas students with the best opportunity in our global society to be successful in their post-secondary education, a career, and life. As an organization, we are proud of the enthusiastic reception that MISSION: School Transformation has garnered, and the work that is underway in hundreds of districts but, at the same time, we clearly recognize there is still a long way to go. We know some superintendents may be asking themselves,Where do I start? How do I encourage my staff, students, and community to understand and embrace these changes? How do I begin to restructure my district to address the transformation principles? One of the most proactive ways to begin the transformation work is through a subscription to TASA’s School Transformation Network.The network focuses on the development of digital integration, high-priority learning standards, the use of multiple assessments, and an accountability framework that involves local communities, utilizing the principles and premises in TASA’s Creating a New Vision for Public Education in Texas. The purpose of the network is to empower leaders from subscribing districts to progress from the theoretical idea of changing schools and classrooms to the practical actions of implementation. Throughout the coming year, subscribers will share useful ideas and solutions with committed school leaders from across the state to help begin the real work of transforming the organizational structure of their districts. In addition, subscribers can participate in special webinars, executive briefings, and exclusive gatherings at TASA events throughout the year that will feature experts in assessment, accountability, digital learning, and organizational transformation, providing you with an in-depth understanding of the theories and actions that create the foundation of a transformed educational system. Together, we can accomplish our mission.
What would change...
if you knew exactly where each child was on their learning journey and could track their progress along the way?
MAP速 Measures of Academic Progress速
Computerized adaptive assessments for grades 2-12 Math
set growth targets and take ownership of learning. They become energized by their success and achieve their aspirations.
use MAP data to differentiate instruction, create flexible groupings of students and inform intervention strategies.
use MAP to predicit proficiency on highstakes tests, track college readiness grades 3-11, turn around low performing schools and more.
Precision Fully adaptive tests that produce a true measure of student growth and achievement
Consistency Student Growth that can be measured over time from kindergarten to high school
1-866-654-3246 or visit
Scalability Aggragated data that meets the needs of decision makers at all levels
Flexibility Create instructional groupings, determine place, predict proficiency on high stakes tests and more
What College Students Thinkâ€Ś About Where They Went to High School by Lawrence W. Speck During the spring of 2013, more than 300 undergraduate students at The University of Texas at Austin responded to a request to evaluate the physical environment of the high school they attended and indicate how it supported or detracted from their social and educational experience. The students were drawn from a very broad range of majors and included freshmen through graduating seniors.The questions asked were open-ended, and responses were in essay form so that students were able to express, in their own words, what elements of the built environment affected them most significantly. It is hard to imagine a more appropriate group to make this kind of evaluation. Respondents were very bright, articulate individuals with keen perceptions and very strong points of view.All of the students had deep personal experience to draw from and had, for better or for worse, been impacted personally by the issues they were discussing.Yet they also had some distance from the places they were evaluating and could draw on some perspective about the impact the environment of their high school had on them over time. In addition to the essays, the students filled out a matrix asking them to rank what qualities were most important in creating a supportive environment for growth and learning.They also assessed whether, overall, the environment of their high school enhanced or detracted from their academic performance and social interactions and were asked to give reasons why they made that evaluation.
Reasons for Satisfaction Two-thirds of the students gave an overall positive assessment of their high school environment.The two factors they considered most significant in contributing to that success were their high schoolâ€™s accommodation of a wide range of people and activities and the presence of some significant natural relief. Students appreciated environments that were diverse and stimulatingâ€”that had a lot of different programs and activities going on in close proximity to each other.They favored multi-use spaces and liked environments with a wide variety of scales, from close and intimate to large and gregarious.They felt they learned better in energizing places where there was variety and the ability to make choices.
Reasons given for why their high school enhanced their performance and interactions and natural environments as a significant deterrent to positive performance. Lack of natural light, in particular, was noted as a factor in reducing ability to concentrate. Many students noted the combination of homogeneity of visual experience and isolation from outdoors and natural light as features that made their high school feel “like a jail.”
An equally prominent factor for success noted by the students was connection to nature. Students appreciated the way views out to natural environments and/or the ability to access courtyards or other outdoor spaces refreshed and relaxed them. They especially appreciated outdoor spaces where social interaction could occur and where they could take a break from their routine.
Reasons for Dissatisfaction
With this group, as well, functional issues were significant factors. Location and the building’s response to its location were often considered isolating and alienating in a very negative way. Physical distances between various activities were frequently cited as excessive and inconvenient, contributing to serious disfunction. Distractions like inadequate heating or cooling, poor indoor air quality, and acoustical interference seriously compromised the ability of students to accomplish their work proficiently.
One third of the student respondents, on the other hand, felt the physical environment of their high school deterred positive performance and interaction. The greatest contributor to this group’s feeling of dissatisfaction was noted as the homogeneity of experience and “boring” character of the place that turned them off to learning.These students felt their high school detracted from The next tier of factors that weighed their ability to focus and made them feel dull Physical environments that did not support heavily in encouraging student satisfaction and tired.They said the environment stifled student interactions also garnered heavy had to do with functional arrangements. creativity and reduced academic motivation. criticism from this group of students. For many students, the location of the They specifically cited long, disorienting They often noted their high school as school and how it “fit” in its larger context corridors that made the school hard to unwelcoming or unfriendly. Some people strongly influenced the school’s success. navigate and arrangements of spaces that felt the physical environment isolated subsets Integration and connections with the city discouraged student interactions as negative of students in an inappropriate way creating cliques and divisions by age or interests. or neighborhood around it made the school design features. Design of potential social areas was criticized seem like a larger community enterprise. This group of students also identified the for being too dark or too inconvenient to Efficiency and convenience of room absence of connections to the outdoors function effectively. arrangements also fell in this tier of priorities. Students appreciated a sense that someone thought their time was important and that Reasons given for why their high school diminished their performance and interactions functions and operations of the school were arranged with that in mind. Circulation within the school was noted as a particularly important element in optimizing convenience. Simple, straightforward paths between various functions with adequate room to move and interact with friends and acquaintances along the way created a sense of friendliness and ease that students valued greatly.
In Their Own Words The most cogent way to understand both the strong feelings of students about their high school environments and the importance of the design of these places to academic performance is to read the students own words. It is striking how eloquent students can become when they are writing about something they know about and care about deeply. Some students were proud and enthusiastic about the learning environments that contributed to their education. They described in detail how well their high school served their needs. Others were disillusioned and even angry, feeling they were somehow cheated by going to high school in a place that made them feel insignificant and alienated.The following are both positive and negative comments from students, grouped according to several topics that received attention from a critical mass of the student respondents.
On the General Arrangement of Schools Positive comments—
“The simplicity and order, along with the use of natural light helped create a perfect learning environment in my high school, free from distractions. I believe order in a school helps set the right tone that this is a place to be studious and productive.”
“The hallways in my high school were monotonous and gave me a sense of travelling around in loops, without really getting anywhere. I believe this detracted from my performance. It felt very mundane and monotonous trudging around in the square loop day after day, cramped in the small hallways, pushing past students going either direction. The result, I felt, left school feeling pointless and constrained.”
“The underlying structure of my high school was very simple; there was a main entryway which provided quick access to the offices and the two divided wings. I thought the overall structure of the building inspired safety, familiarity and creativity.” “My high school was organized to house different subject matters in different ‘pods’ throughout the school.When going from pod to pod, you knew exactly what subject was being taught around you. The natural human flow around the school provided for an easy-going environment that helped keep students calm and focused.” “The fluid movement, light, colors and open space in my high school prevented students from feeling trapped and forced to work.” “My high school was an academic meeting ground in a community of middle to lower class neighborhoods. For myself and others, this school was a place of calm and order.”
“The chaotic hallways in my high school during the passing periods were much too busy and loud to have a meaningful conversation, or even greet an acquaintance.” “Unfortunately my high school did not function well or reflect the values of those who used it. The lack of light and poor acoustics certainly detracted from the happiness of the students and faculty.” “Each grade level in my high school had its own hallway, so you hardly ever came into contact with other grade levels. This made people feel as if we were still small children being protected from the older bullies. It basically made us feel like babies, which could account for the high crime/drug rate in our school.”
…seeing the space for the first time made me feel as if I was in the middle of something really spectacular, but, more importantly, it made me aspire to be spectacular myself.
On the Impact of Light and Temperature Positive comments—
“Almost every classroom in my high school had an exterior window and was accompanied by vast skylights in the main hallway. It was a beautiful and powerful structure that promoted order, learning, and prestige. Going to such a beautiful school was essential to my performance and happiness in school, as well as my classmates.”
“Ever since I was allowed to go to school, I’d been happily attending. I prized each day when I would take my lessons, visit the library, see my classmates.This changed drastically when my parents decided to move us to America. Classrooms, once naturally lighted airy things, became harshly lighted, cold, entrapment machines. Gone were the windows, the sunlight, and the ability to focus. My high school was no different than that first fifth grade classroom that almost robbed me of my love of education forever.”
“Natural light was the primary source of light in my high school. This design feature led to you never feeling trapped in the school; you were always in the open. The building didn’t confine us. It empowered and encouraged us to keep learning and moving forward. It felt like it was designed just for us.” “My high school was well designed given the budgetary constraints of the time. Because the classrooms have breezeways on their south side, they are protected from the hot coastal Texas sun.The windows are located along the north side, letting in crisp natural light which facilitated the learning experience.”
“Two things in my high school detracted from my academic success—lack of natural light and lack of thermal comfort. Both contributed to a ‘stuffy’ environment during classes that made it hard to pay attention.” “There was not enough natural light in the classrooms in my high school which made many of us feel sleepy, constrained and bored.”
On Connection to Outdoors Positive comments— “Some rooms in my high school stimulated my brain and encouraged my half-awake eyes to focus on Hamlet for another 30 minutes, while some rooms had the capacity to trap me in a state of oppressive slumber that felt like a prison.Those that helped me stay awake were the rooms with ceiling to floor windows.” “Because of the way my high school was laid out, students were outside a lot in-between classes which is an amazing thing in nice weather and also a mini stress relief, refreshing your brain before the next class.” “My high school did a lot of things right. A series of outdoor courtyards throughout the school not only fostered interaction (especially during lunch and after school) but also provided a bit of nature which is especially important considering the amount of time spent indoors during the school day.”
…students were outside a lot in-between classes which is an amazing thing in nice weather… A series of outdoor courtyards throughout the school not only fostered interaction…but also provided a bit of nature…
On Interaction and a Sense of Community Positive comments— “My high school’s campus consisted of six main buildings. The biggest one had a large foyer that everyone passed through and socialized in. It was a guarantee that you would run into a friend there even though there were 1,200 students per grade.”
a courtyard with a small turtle pond… gave much needed natural relief
“My high school housed over 2,000 students, yet it seemed like everyone could find their place. Each elective had its own separate building surrounding a courtyard with a small turtle pond that gave much needed natural relief. This arrangement helped encourage a sense of community.”
On Visual Character Positive comments—
“My high school was a place to be proud of, and our pride trickled into other aspects of our lives.We were proud of our friends as well as our diploma—all enhanced by the quality of the architecture.”
“Walking to class everyday felt like getting booted into prison. It was as if you were expected to leave your personality and beliefs behind as soon as you entered, and it took the will to learn out of me and my classmates. It caused many of us to develop a rebellious attitude.”
“The building definitely supported and even improved my high school performance, just because of the relaxing, rejuvenating beauty this building afforded. I found myself spending my free periods relaxing and studying in this building.”
“The school itself was a box. I found it very hard to be motivated to think outside the box when I spent half of my day inside one. All the classrooms looked the same with no creativeness at all. Going everyday to a school with a creative and intellectual design would inspire the students to perform better.”
Overall Impact Positive comments—
“In my high school our new building’s free form and openness fit very well with the school’s and students’ overwhelming progressive nature and allowed for a lot more openness and diversity. The new building significantly increased my happiness looking back.”
“My high school’s buildings had an impact on my life—a negative one. The lockers and classrooms were all the same. There was little or no natural light. Hallways were loud and crowded. Community interaction was discouraged by a lack of space and privacy. The building failed to foster academic success.”
“Almost every classroom in my high school had an exterior window and was accompanied by vast skylights in the main hallway. It was a beautiful and powerful structure that promoted order, learning, and prestige. Going to such a beautiful school was essential to my performance and happiness in school, as well as that of my classmates.” “The central hall of my high school is still one of my favorite spaces I have ever seen. As a wide eyed freshman, seeing the space for the first time made me feel as if I was in the middle of something really spectacular, but, more importantly, it made me aspire to be spectacular myself. The architecture of this space had a definite impact on my happiness and, ultimately, my success as a student.”
“My high school’s building reflected the school system’s desire for uniform carbon copy students. It did not promote creativity or a passion for knowledge. It was a miserable environment that favored regularity and averageness. It reflected the administration’s hunger for successful students measured by standardized test scores.” “The scale of my high school was enormous, and the building was just not able to house all the vibrant lives within it. Instead, it stifled, sanitized, and intimidated, commanding the inhabitants to succumb to the de-stimulating structure made especially to control them.The building greatly detracted from my performance and happiness. I felt like a prisoner lacking individuality, and this attempt at suppression only ignited feelings of rebellion in me. I had to get out.” n
Lawrence W. Speck is a principal at PageSoutherlandPage. FALL 2013
Transforming Learning Environments As students and our communities have changed, so have the ways students learn and teachers teach. The education system that adequately served our parents and grandparents is in transition. Curriculum and instruction have evolved rapidly, technology has virtually exploded, and our students are interacting with the world in ways undreamed of a few decades ago. In spite of the phenomenal changes in nearly every other aspect of education, school facilities, for the most part, have been relatively slow to reflect change. Savvy architects and school leaders, however, recognize that the traditional designs of the past do not adequately support learning in the current era. TASA invited nine Texas architectural firms to present at the 2013 UT/ TASA Summer Conference, where they shared their ideas and concepts on transforming the design of learning environments at all grade levels. The following is a selection from that presentation. When taken all together, these ideas and concepts provide focus for a new dialogue and conversation on designing transformative learning environments to meet the needs of all students.
…provide work environments for students K–12 education expanded to the next level. This school allows students to experience the work environment of their chosen profession while attending high school. The building was designed to embrace the future of the students’ environment before they graduate.
Dubiski Career High School Grand Prairie ISD Corgan
…incorporate curriculum concepts in the facility design Education facilities used as a teaching tool. Environmental, science, and alternative energy were woven into the building as an expansion of the curriculum. Students learn by experience. This school was designed as a teaching module for the district.
Lady Bird Johnson Middle School Irving ISD Corgan
…utilize students in the design process Asking the question, “How can your new school be more relevant?” cues were taken from students to design a space that accommodates project-based learning while allowing teachers and administrators to monitor a variety of concurrent activities. This middle school houses collaborative learning spaces throughout the campus.
Timberview Middle School Keller ISD Hahnfeld Hoffer Stanford
…provide display and presentation areas Originally built in 1917, this high school pays homage to its rich history while embracing new ideologies in education. Small group spaces provide areas for collaboration, congregation, and conversation. The tackable walls complement the original architectural details and allow for display of student work as well as presentation opportunities.
Waxahachie Global High School Waxahachie ISD Huckabee 18
…are transparent and have fingertip access to learning The “Neighborhood” takes advantage of unused space for independent and group learning. As extensions of the classroom, these spaces are used by students and teachers for exploration, collaboration, one-on-one support, and planning. Fundamental to its success is age appropriate furniture, fingertip access to technology, soft finishes, and transparency.
Parkside Elementary School Leander ISD Pfluger
…support collaboration and exploration The district for this middle school planned for its students to learn and study from technology devices for the most part in lieu of conventional books. This collaborative model for the learning experience drove the classroom wings to be more podular than conventional linear in design.
Timberview Middle School Keller ISD Hahnfeld Hoffer Stanford
â€Ścreate student activity hubs This career center houses multiple career programs serving 1,200 students who attend classes at multiple campuses. With varying schedules, students can select hot lunch or prepackaged options and dine in the commons area. As the hub of the campus, the commons can also accommodate meetings, lectures, or events.
Killeen CTE Killeen ISD Huckabee
â€Śsupport student learning styles A variety of learning styles, from individual to collaborative, is critical for learning. This common area between classrooms allows rearrangement of furniture accommodating large and small groups. Technology is ROBUST! and in the hands of the students. Furniture supports student movement and comfort. Articulated ceilings and walls provide superior acoustics.
Cedar Creek High School Bastrop ISD Pfluger
…are cost and energy efficient This school supports the educational curriculum by using the latest classroom technology and landscaped outdoor classrooms. Those features plus an automated lighting system and a 450foot long, computer-automated louvered skylight that runs the entire building length are tied into energy management software that promises to reduce energy consumption and maintenance costs.
Gillett Intermediate School Kingsville ISD LaMarr Womack & Associates, LP
…are student-focused By reducing the size of the central library at this high school, space was provided for individual and specialized media centers located within each small learning academy. These student-focused spaces provide a place for students to hang out, collaborate, and study while offering curriculum-tailored resources for students and teachers.
Cedar Ridge High School Round Rock ISD Perkins+Will, Keith Hickman Architects and Interior Designers FALL 2013
…are interactive and hands on This unique facility presents 12 thematic interactive discovery areas designed to focus on technology, math, science, and literacy. The discovery areas’ themes range from arctic, jungle, desert, sea, and more, creating spaces for children to explore different times and places in the world from a “look, feel, and hear” standpoint.
Early Scholars Academy ESC Region 2 LaMarr Womack & Associates, LP
…support individual, small, and large group learning activities In order for students to customize their learning experience, they need spaces throughout the building at a variety of scales. Spaces for individuals, such as a fun reading spot within the library shelving or a nook under the stairs, are as important as small group spaces.
Ridgeview Elementary School Keller ISD VLK Architects, Inc. 22
…provide flexibility to maximize building utilization By using block scheduling at this high school, increased flexibility was provided by locating the 400sf “laboratory space” and prep room in between the two comprehensive science classrooms, thus reducing unused space while also increasing student collaboration by including two retractable wall partitions allowing each classroom to independently access this interactive project space.
Cedar Ridge High School Round Rock ISD Perkins+Will, Keith Hickman Architects and Interior Designers
…are digitally engaged learning places Learning must reflect the new digital reality. Technology for today’s students is a way of life. These children have been brought up using digital devices since they were very young, and are adept at using these tools. Schools must be designed to utilize these tools and keep the students engaged.
Salyards Middle School Cypress-Fairbanks ISD SHW Group
…celebrate local or regional industry Educational environments are enhanced when communities are engaged. This school, located in the Energy Corridor district, reflects its neighborhood through a curved hallway dubbed “The Energy Corridor.” This corridor houses a series of interactive, energy-related learning stations to enrich the experience of students through relevant learning exercises and richly illustrated graphics.
Wolfe Elementary School Katy ISD, Energy Corridor District PBK
…are exciting and engaging tools for learning Technology has changed the way today’s students learn. Because of this, school designs must also change. Schools must be exciting and engaging. They must be flexible, comfortable, age appropriate, with transparency and connectivity to the learning. Schools are not just a place to learn but also a tool for learning.
H. D. Woodson STEM High School District of Columbia Public Schools SHW Group
…are designed in context of community heritage Historic King Ranch Tower has served as a land lighthouse for generations of cattle hands. Likewise, this elementary school’s tower serves as a “learning lighthouse” for students. Located within the “Ranch,” the tower contains numerous Ranch references that help students connect and learn from the legacy surrounding them.
Santa Gertrudis Elementary School Santa Gertrudis ISD PBK
…extend the learning zone outside of the classroom If you want to change teaching and learning, start with the classroom. At this elementary school, each pair of classrooms is folded together to create extra corners for collaboration. The classrooms are extended by a transparent connection to a collaborative learning zone in the corridor.
Ridgeview Elementary School Keller ISD VLK Architects, Inc.
If you wanted to spend your days putting out fires, you would have become a firefighter instead of a school administrator. Learn How to Work Less, Produce More, and Still Get the Job Done in a Sensible School Week with Malachi Pancoast, President, The Breakthrough Coach. It’s one of the most practical – and liberating – programs you will ever attend. UPCOMING PROGRAMS IN YOUR AREA: • Oct. 21 & 22, 2013 - Houston, TX • Nov. 14 & 15, 2013 - Fort Worth, TX • Jan. 16 & 17, 2014 - Austin, TX
Management Development for Instructional Leaders (904) 280-3052
To register, visit http://www.the-breakthrough-coach.com/pages/calendar.php half page ad.ai 1 8/2/2013 7:50:17 AM
• Faster time to completion buildings can be manufactured and installed in under 90 days
7/23/13 12:28 PM
ADVANCED MODULAR BUILDINGS for
• Energy efficient and green building options • Multiple interior and exterior finish options • Modular and Portable Classrooms, Classroom Complexes and Campuses, Dormitories, Science & Computer Labs, Communications Labs, Restroom Buildings, Administrative Offices, Multi-Purpose Rooms, Cafeterias
Contact us today for a Free Consultation, and get a Free Estimate
Palomar Modular Buildings DeSoto, Texas Toll-Free: 866.312.4032 www.palomarmodularbuildings.com 26
Where Students Grow by Jim Brady At first glance the contrast is startling.The 1887 masonry building’s massive size dwarfs the single story framed modular classroom. Had it not been placed strategically on the West Lawn of the National Building Museum in Washington, DC, one would have missed this exhibit entirely. Normally, portables and modular school buildings are tucked behind and out of site of the main entrance, thus avoiding this comparative focus. But a portable building on the grounds of the National Building Museum? My interest has been piqued. Years ago during my school district tenure we called them “T-buildings,” a district slang for temporary buildings that generally were lacking in plumbing, walkways, central communication, and campus respect. The only redeeming attribute was having control of your own thermostat for heat, maybe a window air-conditioner, and fewer interruptions from the front office. All photos ©Sam Kittner except page 28 ©Jim Brady
The National Building Museum, Washington, DC, is a structure of more than 15,000,000 bricks constructed in 1887. The Museum, dedicated to the building arts of architecture, design, engineering, construction, and urban planning, was created by an act of Congress in 1980.
Nationwide, there are about 350,000 portable classrooms, and that number grows by 20 percent annually, according to the Modular Building Institute. In Texas, portable and modular use seems to have become a common and necessary construction strategy starting 27 years ago with the mandate of a 22-1 student teacher ratio in the lower elementary grades.There was not enough planning time, or bond issue approval, to construct permanent classrooms in time to meet the legislative mandate and only a few short summer months for districts to comply. It seemed like most were forced into quick and temporary solutions to house students that fall.While the benefits of smaller class size was obvious, the quality of the learning environment was all too often not considered, as the focus was on the time frame to get the portables set up.That rush created a reoccurring maintenance issue years later as the quality of the construction was not in line with normal maintenance and renewal budget cycles. Often, districts fell even further behind in their maintenance as they considered permanent replacement instead of renewal, but the funding for permanent construction often never materialized to keep up with enrollment and program growth and for portable removal. So portables have become a mainstay for many communities, often shortchanging a whole generation of students of a healthy and engaging learning environment.
One example is my neighborhood elementary school. Built in 1986, it now is host to 8 double classroom portable buildings. This educational trailer park of 16 classrooms no longer can be hidden out back and is all too typical throughout the district. Cargo shipping containers provide needed storage but add to the site clutter.
Typical Concerns with Portable and Modular Construction The United States Environmental Protection Agency lists the following most common problems with portable classrooms: • Poorly functioning HVAC systems that provide minimal ventilation with outside air • Poor acoustics from loud ventilation systems • Chemical off-gassing from pressed wood and other high-emission materials, which may be of greater concern because of rapid occupancy after construction • Water entry and mold growth • Site pollution from nearby parking lots and loading areas
The district’s heavy reliance on the use of portable buildings now is reported to be more than 600 units.
In contrast, here on the lawn of the National Building Museum is a modular classroom that is known as “Sprout Space.” It is designed to overcome the traditional shortcomings of modular construction with student health in mind by making a conscious effort to select healthy building materials along with increased ventilation. It opened in March 2013 as part of the Green Schools exhibit, which focuses on the next The effects of poor indoor air quality in generation of school buildings. Sprout Space portable classrooms are no different than is not just display boards of photographs, those found in permanent classrooms. plans, and charts, but is a full scale, fully In modular portable construction, functioning, life-size prototype modular however, there is often the use of pressed- classroom demonstrating best practices of wood products that can contain higher Green Schools. concentrations of formaldehyde and are generally used more in the factory-built Characteristics of a Green School portable units than in permanent buildings According to the U.S. Green Building constructed on-site. As a result, levels of Council’s Center for Green Schools: airborne chemicals are sometimes higher Green Schools are more than buildings. in new portable classrooms, especially if They are places where children learn and teachers prepare the next generation ventilations are reduced or turned off. of leaders and citizens. Green Schools are When poor acoustics are added to the built and operated to be full of clean air and equation due to the noisy HVAC equipment sunlight and to be free of toxic materials in the portable building, it has been reported and harmful chemicals. Green Schools are that teachers turn off the ventilation energy efficient, helping to lower utility system to be heard, thus adding to the risk costs, conserve resources, and reduce waste. of increasing poor indoor air quality and Green Schools showcase a community’s the compounding effects on children with commitment to its children and their future, and they in turn learn from an early age asthma.
the importance and benefits of acting as responsible stewards of their communities and the larger world. The Center for Green Schools has identified the following Characteristics of a Green School: • Conserves energy and natural resources • Saves taxpayer money • Improves indoor air quality • Removes toxic materials from places where children learn and play • Employs daylighting strategies and improves classroom acoustics • Employs sustainable purchasing and green cleaning practices • Improves environmental literacy in students • Decreases the burden on municipal water and wastewater treatment • Encourages waste management efforts to benefit the local community and region • Conserves fresh drinking water and helps manage storm water runoff • Encourages recycling • Promotes habitat protection • Reduces demand on local landfills Studies have shown that with the implementation of certain principles of Green Schools, fewer days are lost due to illness, money is saved, and test scores go up.
This strategy saves energy and therefore dollars. And very importantly, research has shown benefits on student success in naturally lit classrooms. Site planning is critical to provide proper solar orientation to maximize this daylighting benefit.
Sprout Space functions as an active learning environment where during the spring of 2013 more than 37 school groups utilized the classroom. The 1,008 square-foot modular prototype is a ready-made solution, outfitted with photovoltaic panels, a rainwater collections system, and an educational garden.
Sprout Space—an International Design Winner Sprout Space was originally conceived as a design concept in response to the 2009 Classroom Challenge hosted by Architecture for Humanity and the Open Architecture Network. Designers from around the world were invited to envision the classroom of the future. In response to this challenge and seeing that the availability of thoughtful modular designs were limited, Perkins+Will began planning a modular solution with one driving question: “How can we create the most research-based, inspired, and sustainable modular classroom where children will want to learn and teachers will want to teach?” Sprout Space won the Relocatable Classroom Design Award category in this open architectural design challenge.
Sprout Space Design Considerations. In order to create a superior learning environment, special attention was paid to both natural and “smart” artificial lighting systems. Interior lighting utilizes natural daylight harvesting technology to optimize light levels in the classroom. LED lighting provides light during cloudy days that is low maintenance, programmable, and dimmable.
Natural ventilation with enhanced air filtration improves air quality and benefits learning. Care has been taken to incorporate only those materials that are low in volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. Many modular classrooms have concerns with urea-formaldehyde, and Sprout Space is formaldehyde-free. Another benefit of this construction is that it is built in an enclosed controlled environment, which means a mold-free environment can be delivered to your site. The HVAC system is a high-efficiency split system heat pump that meets the latest LEED and ASHRAE standards for dehumidification and fresh air for classrooms. An ionization generator is also implemented as an added feature to clean the air and remove airborne mold and other particles. When weather permits, the large bi-fold doors can be opened to provide natural ventilation, fresh air, and reduced energy consumption.
Natural daylighting is carefully considered and incorporated through a butterfly roof system that tips its hat upward allowing daylight to stream in through the high clerestory windows. The butterfly roof design also provides for a rainwater catchment system with the rainwater guided to the rainwater cisterns that can be used to water student gardens.
So four years later, the concept has become a reality with the opening of the Green Schools Exhibition at the National Building Museum. Sprout Space was the first prototype to be constructed based on that winning design concept that incorporates green building strategies, eliminates energy cost, creates a healthier learning environment, and reduces construction cost.
requirements.The projected cost of the basic classroom unit is around $150,000.
Comparable Correlations. With a better understanding of the design and construction aspects of Sprout Space, I now can see the comparable correlations between it and the National Building Museum: Ventilation:
Through simple design choices, Sprout Space offers large amounts of flexible space both for group and individual work and can be reconfigured to enhance any instructional strategy.
The rain and sun screen exterior panels are separated from the structural wall behind it by about an inch, where they float thereby protecting the building from heavy, winddriven rain. This setup also helps with airflow. When the sun hits the wall surface, the natural airflow behind the wall helps cool the building instead of having the embedded radiation seep into the building.
This type of modular offers efficiency through reduced construction time, fewer wasted materials, and a longer building life cycle, as it is designed and built to permanent construction standards with a projected life of 40 years.The basic unit can be transported anywhere in the world.A three-four month schedule should be adequate from the time of the purchase order to occupancy barring any unique or unusual site issues or permit
The Museum was built before modern artificial ventilation, so it was designed to maximize air circulation. All offices not only had an exterior window but also opened onto the interior court to admit cool air at the ground level and exhaust hot air at the roof. Sprout Space’s indoor air-quality and ventilation provide a healthy learning environment along with having operable windows. Access:
The Museum’s original design as the pension building provided stairs that were designed for the limitations of disabled and aging veterans having a gradual ascent with low steps. Sprout Space is designed to not only meet the ADA requirements but also accommodate all learning styles as well in a joyful harmonious environment.
There is a 16-panel solar array installed on the roof of this Sprout Space prototype that is a 4-kilowatt (kW) system, meaning The exterior rectangular panels provide a rain/sun screen system. Exterior white marker that it can produce 4 kilowatts per hour boards support outside instruction. in direct sunlight. The size of the array is customizable, depending on the school district’s price point and energy goals. This system can also be attached to a website, where students can watch in real-time how much energy is being produced, adding to the experiential toolbox. The solar roof along with other energy-saving design features results in a net-zero building.A netzero energy building means that over the course of the year the building produces as much energy as it consumes.
Patrick Glenn, AIA, REFP, LEED AP, Perkins+Will Principal, and K–12 Texas Regional Practice Leader stated that “Sprout Space was designed from the inside out with the same focus on quality learning environments which is the hallmark of good school design regardless if it is permanent or portable construction.”
The Museum provides a variety of school programs introducing kids and teachers to design education as a hands-on way of enhancing math, science, and art skills simultaneously. Sprout Space is a three dimensional experiential learning place. Quality:
The Museum’s Corinthian Columns in the spacious Great Hall are among the world’s largest; this is the site of presidential inauguration balls and the annual Christmas in Washington program filmed with the President and First Lady, which all speaks to heritage and values. Sprout Space demonstrates a core value that all students deserve and offers a healthy engaging learning space. So it is not about the classroom box housing students nor is it about permanent or portable construction, as the focus must now center on providing a quality learning place that is healthy, engaging, affordable, and enhances student success. Let us set our vision to transforming our learning environments for all students so that they will grow. n
Resources: Sprout Space http://www.sproutspace.com/ National Building Museum http://nbm.org/ EPA Tools for Schools http://www.epa.gov/iaq/schools/ actionkit.html EPA Portable Classrooms http://www.epa.gov/iaq/schooldesign/ portables.html
Jim Brady, AIA, CEFP, has 37 years in education as an architect, planner, and educator/practitioner. His career has centered on collaborative models for development of strategic and facility plans, development of educational specifications focused on teaching and learning strategies, and leadership development. He is a nationally recognized authority and leader in educational facilities planning and a TASA facility consultant. JimBradyAIA@aol.com
Center for Green Schools http://www.centerforgreenschools.org/ home.aspx Great classroom acoustics are accomplished by decreasing the level of background noise within the space through absorptive walls, floor, and ceiling surfaces and an ultra-quiet mechanical system that uses a fabric “duct sock” to supply air that is very quiet. When the system turns on, the sock slowly inflates making the movement of air “visible” and providing another teachable moment.
Helping schools protect their most valuable assets with more than
$29 million in energy savings NextEra Energy Solutions provides energy expertise, operational discipline, and innovative technology to help clients manage energy to save money, improve efficiency, and reduce consumption. In 25 years, NextEra Energy Solutions has never missed a savings estimate.
Examples of our education projects in Texas:
NextEra Energy, Inc.
Muenster School ISD
Mount Pleasant ISD
5 buildings, more than 83,000 square feet analyzed $244,518 total savings over contract term
20 buildings, more than one million square feet analyzed $634,939 total savings over contract term
» Lighting » DX Systems » Programmable Thermostats » Bond Construction Consultation
Phase I » Lighting » Mechanical: Cooling Towers, RTUs, DX Systems » Roof Replacements » 2 -10 kW Solar Arrays
Phase II » Lighting » Mechanical: Roof Top Units, Replacements of Multi-Zone Units » Roof Replacements » Energy Management System
Our family of companies operate and have a presence in 26 states & Canada, including owning and operating over 5,200 net MW of energy resources in Texas: » Gexa EnergyTM » NextEra Energy Resources, LLC » FPL FiberNet » Lone Star Transmission, LLC » Texas Clean Energy Express
NextEra Energy, Inc. through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Gexa Energy, is making a direct impact on the lives of Texans every day by providing power to thousands of homes and businesses across the state. Gexa has been helping Texas businesses and nonprofit organizations save money on electricity costs since 2002. Gexa currently serves many of the top organizations across Texas, including major universities and school districts.
Visit www.NextEraEnergySolutions.com/ESCO or call (469) 737-5600 to learn how we can help your school district save energy and lower operating costs.
NextEra Energy Solutions is a “dba” name of FPL Energy Services, Inc. (FPLES). FPLES is a subsidiary of NextEra Energy, Inc., and an affiliate of Florida Power & Light Company (FPL). ESCO (Energy Service Company) projects within FPL’s service territory are performed as FPL Services, LLC (FPLS), a subsidiary of FPL, whose parent company is also NextEra Energy, Inc.
Making a Great Place to Learn Even Better— Mount Pleasant ISD Facilities Get Energy-Saving Overhaul, with Minimal Disruption by Marcus Johnson In 2012, Mount Pleasant ISD (MPISD) was facing issues familiar to educators and school administrators across Texas. Like many school districts throughout the country, MPISD had aging facilities and systems, limited capital budgets, and expanding educational requirements. Critical improvements were needed, some urgently, to most of the 25 academic buildings in the district, but a tax-based solution to pay for them was not an option. “We had critical infrastructure needs,” said MPISD Superintendent Lynn Dehart. “Things we had to address very quickly included aged cooling towers, air-conditioning units, heating systems, and leaky roofs at several facilities.This was not about luxury items; this was about keeping the buildings usable and safe for our staff, our students, and their families.”
With many buildings in need of short- and long-term repairs, the district administration knew something had to be done. “We were spending a tremendous amount of time doing urgent maintenance just to keep everything running,” said Russell Luck, director of facilities for MPISD. The district requested qualifications for the work and, after a review, awarded a contract to NextEra Energy Solutions. After reviewing all financing options for the project, the district
chose to go forward using a performance contract. Under this format, the contractor facilitates financing through a third party. Energy and maintenance savings, combined with deferred capital expenditure, pay for the improvements. Over the performance period of the contract, savings are guaranteed by the implementation of specific energy conservation measures (ECMs). A performance contract can create positive cash flow immediately and stipulates that if projected savings are not delivered, the contractor covers the shortfall. “Addressing just the immediate issues would have cost up to about $1.5 million out-ofpocket. And that was money the district
simply did not have,” said Dehart. The structure of the MPISD contract allowed the most urgent work to begin immediately. Once all renovations are completed (by September 2013), projected savings will surpass $500,000 per year. Since the contract is structured over a 15-year period, savings are projected to exceed $7.5 million, more than covering the total cost of the project and making both the immediate and
more extensive upgrades possible without additional capital expense to the district.
Planning for Success and Savings
The recommended ECMs included lighting renovations; the replacement of cooling towers, HVAC systems, and roofs; the development of a centralized building management system; and increased insulation levels. Safety improvements included upgraded or new outside lighting and replacement of the high school’s worn sports track and artificial turf football field.
Working closely with the district, NextEra created a multi-phase renovation plan. A formal investment grade audit, covering 23 separate facilities, was undertaken to assess needs and demonstrate how the planned ECMs would upgrade building systems, reduce energy consumption, and lower Besides savings from energy conservation ongoing maintenance expenses. measures, additional savings will be realized through rebates from the local utility. The The audit included reviewing original district also saved thousands of dollars construction documents of all the affected in interest by taking advantage of the facilities as well as a detailed analysis of Qualified Zone Academy Bonds (QZAB) current electricity, gas, and water usage in the program, offered by the U.S. Department of Education. The QZAB program enables qualifying schools to borrow at nominal interest rates, as low as 0 percent, for costs incurred in connection with improving energy efficiency, implementing renewable energy measures, and teaching STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) academic curricula. The contractor helped the school district apply for utility rebates and the QZAB funding.
district. NextEra, working with the district’s facility managers, did field measurements and made observations of all the actual buildings and systems.This data was used to predict the impact of each proposed ECM, quantifying the energy, maintenance, and material savings. Finally, each conservation measure was reviewed to determine the amount of savings generated through capital cost avoidance.
As part of the QZAB process, NextEra committed to an in-kind contribution of products and services equal to 10 percent of the overall project cost. Besides additional lighting and HVAC systems, this included the installation of two 10-kilowatt solar arrays that not only produce electricity but also provide a teaching platform to support STEM curricula. Real-time information about the solar panels and the savings they are generating is available to all the district’s computers.That information is used to teach lessons about sustainable energy production, conservation, and other topics.
Putting First Things First According to Luck, perhaps the toughest aspect of starting the project was just figuring out where to begin. “The cooling towers at the junior high school were old and failing, as were some rooftop AC units at the early childhood development center, and
Mount Pleasant Junior High School’s failing cooling tower before and after replacement by NextEra.
we had several leaky roofs. Itemizing what we wanted to do first and figuring how to get it done without disrupting the school year could have been a challenge,” he said. Greg Hanlon, vice president and general manager of NextEra Energy Solutions, said that the company’s experience in executing projects at other types of facilities where disruption of day-to-day operations is not possible, such as correctional facilities and military bases, helped. “Teamwork between the Mount Pleasant district administration and building staff, our subcontractors, and our company was integral to solving the immediate issues and also coming up with a plan that could deliver sustainable savings for the life of the contract.” Luck said that seeing the most serious issues addressed quickly eased concerns about the rest of the construction, which was predicted to take about a year. “That helped us realize that this could be done in the predicted timeframe and with minimal disruption of the school’s operation.”
Teachers See and Feel the Difference One of the most extensive—and immediately noticeable—upgrades was to the district’s lighting.The audit revealed that even where lighting systems were adequate, they were inefficient. Some facilities had areas where light level measurements showed that older lighting, which once was adequate, was now below recommended values. By the time the project is completed, more than 3,000 fixtures will be repaired or replaced with high-efficiency fluorescents, LEDs, or other new technology lighting products. Mount Pleasant High School Principal Judd Marshall said that teachers and staff have noticed the upgrade. “The improvement in the lighting has been one of the most obvious benefits. Simply put, the students can see better,” he said.“Some of the lighting was 35 years old, and the more consistent, higher-quality lighting has definitely improved the teaching environment.”
Superintendent Dehart added, “Every educator knows that lighting is critical. There are numerous studies that suggest a direct correlation between good lighting and how well students learn.” “The other huge benefit was the upgrading of the HVAC systems,” said Marshall. “The new heating and cooling equipment has allowed our classroom temperatures to be more stable, consistent, and reliably comfortable. That consistency makes teaching and learning just a little bit easier. It has also alleviated some maintenance issues so we are not spending time chasing down problems and disrupting classes.”
No More Control Issues One of the final steps of the project was the installation of a new energy management system (EMS) for the district. The system features a front-end computer that communicates with the individual building systems through the existing local area network.
The Leadership and Learning Center®
Your Learning Communities to Boost Achievement When instructional leaders and teachers collaborate not only about student data, but also about their individual instructional practices, real change occurs. Whether you are just beginning the collaborative process or want to strengthen existing Learning Communities, implementing our Data Teams® Process will move you from “drowning in data” to a “data-driven” decision making structure that directly improves instruction. Let’s get started! Power-up your Learning Communities today.
ATTEND A DATA TEAMS EVENT SEPTEMBER 10–11 • OKLAHOMA CITY, OK NOVEMBER 5–6 • DES MOINES, IA DECEMBER 10–11 • AUSTIN, TX
Why Work with Us? Together we can empower your leadership team with the practices and processes that deliver sustainable results. The Leadership and Learning Center® and Data Teams(R) are registered trademarks of Advanced Learning Centers, Inc. © Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved. 08/13 MS80367
Call 866.399.6019 or visit leadandlearn.com
The new EMS allows district facilities personnel to manage and monitor the entire district’s HVAC and other energy systems from a single seat. Some buildings that once were “energy islands” are now part of the network, allowing facilities personnel to track and control usage as well as identify issues anywhere in the district. NextEra provided training to the district maintenance and facilities management staff on the new system. “Having the whole district on a building management system, where all the information we need is available on the computer network, has saved us a lot of work hours,” said Luck.
Sustainable Solutions Are the Key Major renovation projects at public and private facilities such as schools, correctional facilities, and municipal buildings are often required, by policy or statute, to demonstrate how energy and cost savings are going to be delivered. In many cases, replacing existing systems is actually less expensive than trying to repair older products or technologies. Of course, any successful program must deliver energy savings year after year. Fast response times, easier maintenance, training of support staff, simplified inventory control, and long-term reliability are also prime factors in determining which products and technologies are used. For this reason, NextEra employs a “product neutral” approach, using standardized, best-of-breed products and technologies. The company also strives to work with local suppliers and subcontractors, bringing jobs to businesses that have a vested interest in the community. Because capital expenditure is typically reduced or eliminated under a performance contract, schools can use operating budgets to make infrastructure improvements that might have otherwise been impossible.
When a renovation project is launched using a well-planned performance contract format, the cost savings, positive environmental impact, and improvements to comfort and convenience can be real, immediate, and sustainable.
A Win-Win-Win The district’s administration said the project has been a success, and at times a pleasant surprise, for the students, school staff, and taxpayers of MPISD. “The improvements and savings at almost every facility in the District are remarkable and, more importantly, measurable,” said Dehart.
Superintendent Dehart said,“One thing that surprised me was the more than $23,000 in rebates that we have already received from our local utility. That may not seem like a huge amount of money for a district, but it’s $23,000 more than we would have gotten.” Because the project came in under budget, another phase was added and NextEra was able to deliver construction upgrades that went beyond the scope of the original contract. “As educators, we all know that you have to maintain stability to have a positive learning environment,” he said. “You can’t do that with poor lighting, inconsistent climate control, and old equipment that you’re always trying to repair.”
Assistant Superintendent Michael Lide said that the process, from planning to construction to completion, was transparent. “We were all kept in the loop. Everyone at each facility knew what was going on at all times. If we had a question, we could pick up the phone and someone would be available to give us an answer.That says it all to me.”
“I’ve managed projects like this in two different districts,” Dehart concluded. “With a carefully constructed performance contract, you can take care of infrastructure needs—par ticularly heating, airconditioning, or other energy issues—while deferring payments over a long period of time to avoid increased capital cost and the Though Principal Marshall was originally use of taxpayer dollars.The savings from the concerned about disruption of the school’s energy conservation measures pay the note. day-to-day activities during construction, I don’t know a better vehicle for getting he found that wasn’t an issue. “I was very this kind of work done in these challenging surprised, because any time you do anything times. From both an economic and an of this magnitude, it could easily cause academic perspective, this project has been n people to be displaced,” he said. “That nothing but positive.” didn’t happen because the planning and cooperation among all parties was very good. We’ve been able to just ‘have school’ Marcus Johnson is a senior sales consultant for NextEra Energy Solutions, serving while the work was going on.” institutional, healthcare, and private markets in From a facilities management standpoint, the Texas-Oklahoma territory. He is a LEED Luck says, “The improvements have been AP, Certified Energy Manager, Certified huge. We used to work on the high school Lighting Energy Professional, and a member of HVAC systems half a dozen times a week or both ASHRAE and the Association of Energy have to put someone up on the roof to work Engineers. For more information, visit www. on an AC unit during the hottest part of the NextEraEnergySolutions.com/ESCO and www.gexaenergy.com. day.That’s been cut to almost nothing.”
mor e than archiTecTs – consensus builders – Serving Texas schools since 1967 800.687.1229 | www.huckabee-inc.com
M aking an iMpr int
The East Texas community of Sabine ISD had long been divided and was unable to come together in support of their school district. A bond election in 2009 failed by a 2:1 margin, leaving their youngest students in a run-down, decades-old building. They had come to a fork in the road and needed help to move forward. The district hired Huckabee to develop a new bond program for a new elementary school. The process had to involve much more than architecture in order to bring about change. It focused on rebuilding trust and bridging the wide division for the sake of their students and community. Huckabee’s public relations team led the charge, planning and implementing a campaign to educate and motivate voters in support of the vision. From a thorough planning process that involved the community each step of the way to a comprehensive communications strategy, a movement was created and a sense of hope emerged. As the polls closed on May 11, members of the community linked arms and stood silently with jaws tense. All eyes focused on the door of the polling location and the results hidden behind it. Cheers rung out and tears of joy were shed as the results were read: the bond had passed – and by a 2:1 margin! It was a turning point for their community. “I think this is healing,” said a young parent. “It means the school and community are looking forward instead of looking back.”
TogeTher, w e can m ak e a n impr inT on your communiT y. we’re more than architects, because you need more than a building.
Carpet Tile That Offers Unique Benefits While Adding Inspiration to the Floor by Milliken’s Global Floor Covering Division Learning environments that feel like cold institutions do little to encourage and motivate students. Floor covering can change the experience of a building’s interior—creating a warm, nurturing, and vibrant atmosphere that sparks natural creativity and imagination. As designers, end users, and vendors are working closer together than ever to create innovative solutions— floor covering is quickly moving towards products that offer flexibility for designers to truly take environments to the next level, offering limitless opportunities to create what their end users have in mind. Modular carpet tile is a growing trend because of the unique functionality that it offers.As opposed to broadloom, tile provides ease of maintenance benefits in the event that a portion needs to be replaced or removed. If a spill or stain occurs, you can simply replace one, or a few, carpet tiles, instead of ripping up the entire carpet—providing an easy, eco-friendly solution. Milliken’s modular carpet tiles offer flexible design solutions that use complementary and coordinating patterns in a variety of scales, allowing the carpet tiles to appear seamless. Milliken also incorporates a host of technologies in its modular carpet tile products to protect their long-term appearance as well as ensure hassle-free installation, including: • ComfortPlus® cushion and TractionBack® technology. The built-in, standard ComfortPlus ES cushion backing and TractionBack technology not only enhances durability by prolonging the life of the carpet but also provides underfoot comfort for students and faculty to walk on. • Dow Polyurethane backing improves acoustic quality. Milliken›s Dow Polyurethane backing also helps create an acoustically sound environment. It is proven to be 10 times more efficient in reducing noise compared to other flooring options (Source:American Institute of Interior Designers). • Antimicrobial built-in protection. The AlphaSan® antimicrobial protection inhibits odors caused by mold and mildew. The effective technology demonstrates efficacy against all bacteria. Additionally, carpet tiles contribute to healthier indoor air quality. • Ease of maintenance benefits. Carpet tile provides a warm and inviting environment, all while having great functionality and ease of maintenance benefits. All are imperative for a successful learning environment.
Here are two examples where Milliken created an ideal flooring solution for educational facilities: Arizona State University’s Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building Arizona State University worked with Milliken to bring realistic crater formations to life in the university’s School of Earth & Space Exploration atrium. The flooring plays a strong role in communicating the building’s dedication to earth sciences and active space missions, which houses astronomers, physicists, and system engineers. Milliken’s high-resolution large-scale printing capabilities and color palette enabled a photo-realistic interpretation of crater formations on each tile.When placed together at installation, 20 separate tile designs combine to create a unique mosaic. Milliken was an ideal fit because its products, expertise, and capabilities offered: • A large scale carpet tile (1 meter x 1 meter in size) designed for several different installation methods. • Variety of textured, loop bases that showcased the high-resolution images when manufactured with Milliken’s broad range of colorways. • A wear rating for severe traffic applications.
York Comprehensive High School The York County School District consolidated the area’s three high schools into a new two-story, 360,000 squarefoot high school and technology center—and the only school housing grades 9 through 12 in the district. Milliken’s unique design and color capabilities provided the flexibility needed to encourage a cultural change with staff and students, while providing a fresh and inviting atmosphere.The carpet tiles: • Created a sense of pride—the interior colors needed to reflect the heritage of each community of the three formerly separate high schools that consolidated into one. • Played an important role in identifying a means of wayfinding throughout the two story, 360,000 squarefoot facility. • Offered a unique range of design flexibility, and allowed the school to include the colors of the three formerly separate schools’ mascots in the interior design. All photos courtesy of Ehrlich Architects/HDR Architecture, Inc.
With a rich history of delivering innovative floor covering solutions, Milliken understands that the right carpet helps make learning environments more welcoming and engaging. n
Milliken Floor Covering is a division of Milliken, headquartered in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Milliken has a rich history of delivering innovative carpet and soft surface flooring from its award-winning global design studios, research center, and manufacturing facilities. Milliken’s unexpected and purposeful flooring products offer great design solutions built from unique insights and an exceptional array of technical capabilities.
Learn more about Milliken floor covering at www.millikencarpet.com, on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MillikenCarpet on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MillikenCarpet, and on Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/millikencarpet.
The Right Choice How do you know if a financial plan is the right one for you? Financial planning is not a “one-size fits all” product. Your financial plan should be created specifically for you. As an executive in the Education industry, that is a particularly challenging task. CMW staff includes highly trained people specializing in: State Retirement System Options Cost Effective Analysis for Purchasing TRS Years/Service Credits • Retirement Strategies for Superintendents and Education Executives • Asset Management • Long-term/Disability/Life Insurance • •
Christina Winters Gears, CEO
Open the door to your financial future today.
5201 North O’Connor • Suite 200 • Irving, Texas 75039 972.831.8866 ° 800.488.0020 • CMWFinancial.com Advisory Services and Securities offered through Lincoln Investment Planning, Inc. Registered Investment Advisor, Broker Dealer Member FINRA/SIPC. Creating & Managing Wealth, LLC. and Lincoln Investment Planning, Inc. are independently owned and each is responsible for its own business. Supervising Office: 218 Glenside Avenue, Wyncote, PA 19095 (215) 887-8111 This is for information purposes only and is not intended to be a solicitation, offer or sale of securities products or investment advisory services to anyone who resides outside of the United States. Lincoln Investment Planning, Inc. is registered as an investment advisor with the US Securities and Exchange Commission and as a broker dealer in all fifty states, Financial Representatives of Creating and Managing Wealth, LLC offer advisory services and securities through Lincoln Investment Planning, Inc. and may only transact business in a particular state if first registered and only after complying with registration requirements.
Creating Virtual Professional Learning Communities by Lloyd Goldsmith, Kim Pamplin, Donnie Snider, and Jerilyn Pfeifer Typically, teachers work in isolation. The door closes and much like what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas…what happens in the classroom stays in the classroom. Rick DuFour asserts that encouragement is not enough to change this isolationism but requires making collaboration a part of the school’s culture (DuFour, p. 58). Unfortunately, changing this behavior can be challenging. We now know that a collaborative professional learning community (PLC) has a strong positive impact on student achievement; making this collaboration a reality often poses a challenge. Learning Forward, formerly the National Staff Development Council (NSDC), recognized the term “professional development” had negative connotations and now uses the term “professional learning.” This change in terminology implies that professional learning is something done with others rather than to others (Sorenson, Goldsmith, Mendez & Maxwell, 2011).This paradigm shift is significant and is essential for PLCs (DuFour, DuFour & Eaker, 2008). For the past decade the authors, using Teacher Quality Grant (TQG) funds provided through the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, have worked with middle school science teachers and high school chemistry teachers to foster PLCs. Incorporating technology as a tool to develop a PLC allowed collaboration to go beyond the boundaries of any particular campus or district to form a PLC in cyberspace, one that develops virtual content and community. The following case studies provide a peek at technology’s potential to move teachers from geographic professional isolation and encourage collaboration without geographic constraints. Removing district or campus boundaries enables educators to broaden their thinking by establishing virtual PLCs based on common interests.
Craig & Clack Middle Schools Case Study Craig and Clack Middle Schools are part of Abilene ISD, a diverse school district of approximately 18,000 students. These middle schools have many teachers who have participated in the Abilene Christian University (ACU) administered teacher quality grants for multiple years. These teachers continue to return to the grant for several reasons: (1) new science content, (2) technology equipment, (3) new technology skills, (4) collaboration with science colleagues, and (5) new concepts in virtual pedagogy (Pfeifer, 2013). Teachers in these TQGs have developed a solution to sustained professional development. Science teachers at Craig and Clack Middle Schools created a virtual PLC.Traditionally, PLCs have been limited to a campus or a district; these teachers created their own virtual PLC ignoring geographic boundaries by having middle school teachers from other school districts participating in the TQG as members of their virtual PLC. Using technologies such as video conferencing and open source learning management systems, these grant participants independently created their own virtual learning community using Edmodo, an open source learning management system targeting K–12 educators.
ACU’s 2012 TQG Summer Institute introduced participants to Edmodo. This exposure led to virtual PLCs that have matured over the past two years. Initially, these teachers worked in professional isolation to design science lessons for their individual classrooms. As these teachers became more proficient in the use of Edmodo, a virtual PLC emerged—one that extended to multiple campuses and districts. Driven by their own initiative, these teachers used Edmodo to share virtual lessons with other science teachers on their campuses and beyond (Anonymous Grant Participant 1, 2012). Dr. Jerilyn Pfeifer, the grant external evaluator, had similar findings in her evaluation (Pfeifer, 2013). Dr. Pfeifer also noted, “They [TQG participants] have accepted assignments at regional levels to design instruction for multiple districts” (Pfeifer, 2013). This in turn expanded to other middle school campuses, increasing the influence of the ACU-administered TQG beyond the initial grant participants.
During the 2012–13 school year, these teachers used Edmodo to design and deliver virtual lab activities. While this new teaching paradigm took time to develop and implement, the teachers received ongoing professional support through the TQG. As educational pedagogy evolves, Craig and Clack Middle Schools are better prepared because of their virtual PLC.
campus-wide virtual PLC for middle school science classrooms.TQG participants brokered the technology skills acquired through the TQG. The grant participants became mentors for other middle school teachers on iPad use in the classroom, creation of virtual content, and flipping the classroom for content acquisition.
Like many initiatives, the one-to-one iPad initiative in Sweetwater ISD is a work in progress. The district committed resources Sweetwater ISD, a West Texas K–12 school to expand the iPad initiative to the high district, has approximately 2,300 students. school with the intent of continued funding The 2010–11 Academic Excellence until all students in grades 6 through 12 Indicator System data describe the district utilize iPads. Although a one-to-one iPad ethnic distribution as 41.8 percent white, initiative is not unique to Sweetwater ISD, 49.2 percent Hispanic, and 9.0 percent other what is exceptional is the level of classroom ethnicities. Economically disadvantaged implementation. students represent 67.8 percent of the student population with Limited English TQG-trained teachers assisted middle Proficient students at 2.4 percent.The 2011 school classroom teachers through the district science test score data reveal a TAKS virtual PLC in the use of Promethean passage rate of 83 percent for grade 11, 72 boards, acquisition of iPad applications percent for grade 10, 78 percent for grade 8, for classroom instruction, design of virtual Science teachers at these middle schools and 90 percent for grade 5 (Texas Education content, collaborative assimilation of virtual noticed the improved quality of virtual Agency, 2011). content into lessons, and transitioning science lessons designed and developed by the classroom to a paperless environment. multiple teachers sharing lessons, materials, ACU’s TQG targets academically diverse Students now have 24/7 access to content and websites. Twitter was especially useful districts with the greatest academic need through their iPads. The combination of in the professional learning network in science. Based on this criterion, one iPads, sustained professional development (Anonymous Grant Participant 2, 2012). high school and two middle school science in the TQG, and increased technology skills Grant participants became mentors to teachers were selected from Sweetwater ISD. provide the students at Sweetwater Middle other science teachers, assisting with the Upon entering the grant, these teachers self- School with robust lessons designed to meet acquisition of virtual content, use of iPad reported their technology skills as limited. all learning styles via face-to-face and virtual applications, design of virtual lessons, and Scarce technology resources, inadequate environments. As educational pedagogy assimilation of resources for new technology professional development in software/ continues to evolve towards virtual delivery skills. Teachers were no longer tethered to hardware, insufficient collaboration of content, Sweetwater ISD will be ahead paper or online textbooks or limited to among district science teachers, and lack of the curve because of the expertise of the local expertise. The textbook became one of awareness of new virtual content for TQG participants. of many resources used in the design and the classroom instruction (Pfeifer, 2013) delivery of science content through the contributed to their limited technology Conclusion virtual PLC. An unintended consequence skills. In 2006, 35 superintendents participated in the use of Edmodo was expanded in the TASA-led Public Education teacher-to-teacher and teacher-to-student This combination of inadequate technology Visioning Institute, which acknowledged communication. Increased student-to- resources and pedagogical limitation resulted the importance of the digital learning student and student-to-teacher interaction in a grant-funded one-to-one iPad initiative environment for 4.7 million Texas students. resulted when teachers expanded Edmodo’s for the middle school.The addition of iPads, Their work led to the publication of the use to meet a variety of communication coupled with the gain in science content 2008 document, Creating a New Vision for needs, including homework notices, lesson knowledge and increased technology Public Education in Texas: A Work in Progress planning, and course procedures. skills for the TQG teachers, created a for Conversation and Further Development.The 44
Sweetwater Middle School Case Study
authors of this report noted the importance of engaging the digital generation as well as “embracing the potential of new technologies and making optimum use of the digital devices and connections that are prevalent today to make learning vibrant and stimulating for all” (p. 2).The importance of digital learning was established in the first of the report’s six articles, “The New Digital Learning Environment.”
The five National Education Technology Standards for Administrators (NETS•A) provide a road map for digital learning.
as school leaders seek ways to effectively support teaching and learning. n
Lloyd Goldsmith is a professor and principal program director at Abilene Christian University, Kim Pamplin is associate professor and chair of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department, and Donnie Snider is associate professor and dean of the College of Education and Human Services. Jerilyn Pfeifer is superintendent of Everman ISD and TQG External Evaluator.
Standard 1: Visionary Leadership Standard 2: Digital-Age Learning Culture Standard 3: Excellence in Professional Practice Standard 4: Systemic Improvement Standard 5: Digital Citizenship
Article 1: The New Digital Learning Environment
These standards help us as digital leaders to Digitization and miniaturization of shape current and future learning. Creating infor mation processing power are and supporting teachers in developing and expanding exponentially and are changing growing virtual PLCs is one way to support the world, our lives and our communities teaching and learning—curriculum and at an overwhelming speed. To be viable, instruction. schools must adapt to the new environment. We must embrace and seize technology’s Teachers such as those in these case studies potential to capture the hearts and minds of are at the forefront of 21st century learning. this, the first digital generation, so that work Virtual PLCs provide fertile ground where designed for them is more engaging and digital learning and teaching can flourish. respects their superior talents with digital Promoting professional collaboration in a devices and connections. virtual environment deserves a closer look
What inspires great teaching?
References Anonymous Grant Participant 1. (2012, November 28). Grant Evaluation Survey, Weinburgh DuFour, R. (2011).Work Together But Only ifYou Want To. Phi Delta Kappan, 92(5), 57 DuFour, R., DuFour, R., & Eaker, R. (2008). Revisiting professional learning communities at work, new insights for improving schools. Bloomington: Solution Tree Pfeifer, J. (Everman ISD, Everman, TX). 2012–13 Evaluation Report for Teacher Quality Grant Project #498. Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board; (2013, July 26) Award No.: 9658
What inspires engaged learning?
Feb. 3–7, 2014 AUSTIN, TX
You will be inspired at TCEA 2014 with resources, tools, and best practices for successful technology integration, revamping curriculum to inspire your students and improve learning outcomes.
Registration Opens September 5 MAKE PLANS TO ATTEND TODAY!
Sorenson, R., Goldsmith, L., Mendez, Z., Maxwell, K. (2011). The principal’s guide to curriculum leadership. Thousand Oaks: Corwin Press Texas Association of School Administrators. (2008). Creating a new vision for public education in Texas:A work in progress for Conversation and further development. Austin,TX:Author Texas Education Agency, (2011). Academic excellence indicator system 2010–11 district performance (177902). Retrieved from website: http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/cgi/sas/ broker
TSPRA VOICE TASA joins TSPRA in supporting the critical role of public information and communications professionals in Texas public schools.
Many Schools, One Community by Jamie Mount and Guy Sconzo Texas is rich in children. Over the last 10 years, public school enrollment in the Lone Star State grew 20 percent. By 2050, the Hobby Center for the Study of Texas at Rice University projects there will be nine million students enrolled in Texas public schools, compared to the nearly five million enrolled today. More children means more schools, but creating and maintaining community requires deliberate focus as districts grow and change.As districts expand, how can they maintain united communities? With new schools, what strategies work for forging community bonds? Humble ISD, a suburban district in northeast Harris County, knows about growth. During the last decade, our student population grew 40 percent.To prevent overcrowding, the community supported the construction of additional campuses—including three new high schools that have opened since 2006. Here are ideas for community engagement programs, utilized in Humble ISD, which could be easily duplicated or adapted to support your district, too.
BizCom “I wanted to see if we could make the high school the hub,” said Trey Kraemer, Humble ISD assistant superintendent for high schools, explaining the origins of BizCom. Kraemer’s vision was to invite business leaders into the district’s newest high school for meetings as a way to develop school-community partnerships. The initiative proved so popular that the Chamber of Commerce formalized the program into BizCom (connecting business and community), assumed responsibility for coordinating monthly meetings, and expanded it throughout the area. “In a fast growth suburban area, one of the challenges you face is trying to bring the community together,” Charles Dromgoole, president of the Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce, said.“There are many new people, and things are moving so fast. We’ve been able to partner with the schools so people can get a feel for what’s going on in the area. It’s a way to disseminate information and build support for programs.” Meeting in high schools was a natural fit.“The high school is kind of a central rallying place,” Dromgoole said.“The schools are a major part of quality of life.” Each month, citizens and business leaders gather in one of the district’s high schools over lunch for a one-hour meeting featuring fast-paced presentations on varied topics. What new restaurants will be opening? Is the highway expansion that we’ve heard about for years really becoming reality? Who are the developers behind that new neighborhood, and what are their plans? This is the type of information one gleans by attending a BizCom meeting.The presenters typically are developers, 46
business owners or managers, elected officials, or local government staff members. Of course, a school district spotlight always is included on the agenda. Since the meetings rotate to each high school, individual schools are responsible for playing host three to four times a year. The BizCom meetings bring visitors onto campuses who otherwise may never have a reason to be at school. Once there, they take stock in the safe, creative, and energetic environments that characterize schools. These positive, personal experiences lead to word-of-mouth endorsements for public education from the community’s movers and shakers.
Principal for a Day “Principal for a Day gives the community an insider’s view of the struggles and challenges that schools face and presents opportunities for how to address them,” said Jerri Monbaron, director of Humble ISD’s Office of Community Development. “We have found that once people know and understand the issues, they want to get involved and make a difference.” Invited community members serve as Principal for a Day. Their day begins with an early morning assembly featuring a welcome from the superintendent. The guest principals, who are business owners, professionals representing the area’s major employers, clergy, parents serving in district leadership capacities, reporters, and others, then ride with their assigned principal to school. Principals for a Day conduct classroom walk-throughs, attend staff meetings, make campus announcements, and listen to parent concerns alongside the principal. The guest and real principals gather together again for a late lunch sponsored by Outback Steakhouse to share impressions. The luncheon is a special time for district and community unity to shine, as stories told there illustrate what all schools have in common.
“The overarching theme, from everyone’s comments, is a newfound understanding of how hard our schools work, how they do so much with so little, and how proud everyone is to be associated with the school district,” Monbaron said.
audience during the Humble ISD Education Foundation Gala. Gala committee members then approached others to obtain more prizes. United Airlines and Thomas Markle Jewelers sponsored a trip to Hawaii for a teacher who would not be receiving the car but would still be representing the district in Sometimes, the Principal for a Day program the Region ESC contest. (The Region ESC yields tangible benefits. For example, when contests allow districts to nominate two Adam Zaske, a financial advisor with AXA, teachers as representatives, an elementary was asked to serve as Principal of the Day at teacher and a secondary teacher.) A generous Maplebrook Elementary School, he thought family stepped up to award iPads to all 10 it would just be a one day event. Zaske Teacher of the Year finalists. All prizes were was so inspired he ended up volunteering at announced publicly, with the 10 finalists Maplebrook throughout the school year as on stage at the Education Foundation Gala. a Career Day speaker and mentor to a fifth- “It was so much fun,” Wagner recalled. “I grade boy.At Humble Middle School, a PTA was really proud to be a part of our school officer mentioned to the guest principal that district on that night.” the school had been fundraising for years in hopes of obtaining an electronic marquee. Obtaining a fabulous prize for your Teacher The guest principal informed his employer, of the Year may not be as difficult as you who offered a $12,000 donation to provide initially suspect because people naturally for the sign’s purchase. want to express gratitude to teachers. After donating the car to a Humble ISD teacher, Reed announced he will be expanding the An Extraordinary Teacher of the program in 2013–2014 to nine markets. Year Program TV news tends to focus on crises, but “Teachers give so much for our children the ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC affiliates and are creating a future, if you think about in Houston all turned their cameras last it,” Reed said.“I think of them as superstars.” spring to a good news story that celebrated teachers.What captured their attention? The As a school administrator, your time and donation of a new car and a trip to Hawaii resources are stretched every day just to keep to Teachers of Year—a joyful occasion that schools operating and students learning. reminded every educator their work matters. Partnering with the community to plan trust-building events requires dedicated “People saw it on the news. People that attention but proves worth the extra effort. were not in education saw it. At church, For in the words of Abraham Lincoln: the grocery store, people approached me “Public sentiment is everything. With to talk about it,” said Sally Wagner, a former public sentiment, nothing can fail; without n Humble ISD Teacher of theYear who served it nothing can succeed.” on this year’s District Teacher of the Year Selection Committee. “The community truly embraced it. Seeing teachers rewarded in such a special and unique way—everyone really appreciated it.” Randall Reed’s Planet Ford offered to award a free car. To heighten excitement, it was decided that the name of the teacher to win the car would be announced in front of an
Jamie Mount is director of public information in Humble ISD and a TSPRA member. Dr. Guy Sconzo is superintendent.
Lone Star Investment Pool
The BuyBoard Purchasing Cooperative enables school districts to save money on the products and services they need while streamlining the purchasing process. Members can avoid the time and expense of undertaking a competitive process alone and can find all the products they need in one place, with a wide range of well-known brands.
Since 1991, the Lone Star Investment Pool has strived to make fund management safer and easier for school districts, while closely adhering to the basic tenets of the Public Funds Investment Act: safety, liquidity, and yield.With $7 billion in average annual assets under management, Lone Star is the only local government investment pool to offer a dual portfolio manager platform, adding an additional layer of risk management in terms of counterparty diversification.
The Local Government Purchasing Cooperative Board
Lone Star Investment Pool Board of Trustees (Lone Star)
Charles Cunningham, Chair
Robert Blount, Jr., Chair
Board Member Humble ISD
Board Member Northside ISD
Director of Purchasing Harlingen CISD
Superintendent Clear Creek ISD
Coordinator of Purchasing Lancaster ISD
Superintendent Bullard ISD
Charles E. Dupre
Director of Purchasing Denton County
Superintendent Fort Bend ISD
Mayor Pro-Tem City of Belton
Executive Director for Business Services Midland ISD
Cyd V. Grimes
Purchasing Agent Travis County
Board Member Edinburg CISD
Purchasing Manager City of Richardson
BoardVice President Victoria ISD
Director of Purchasing Abilene ISD
Chief Financial Officer Coppell ISD
Board Member Clint ISD
Board Member Klein ISD
Purchasing Director Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City ISD
Board Member Leander ISD
Purchasing Manager City of Cedar Park
Board Member Duncanville ISD
James Crow 48
TASB Executive Director Secretary
TASB Risk Management Fund
TASB Energy Cooperative™
The TASB Risk Management Fund is the oldest and largest risksharing pool serving Texas school districts and other members of TASB. The Fund provides workers’ compensation and property, liability, auto, and unemployment compensation coverage to more than 1,100 members.The Fund’s “Five S difference”—focus on Savings, Stability, Strength, Service, and Simplicity—has been the foundation of its success for almost 40 years.
The TASB Energy Cooperative helps school districts procure electricity and fuel at fixed costs. The program gives participants an easy, costeffective way to earn a competitive rate for the deregulated portion of their bill and to meet the competitive procurement requirements that now apply to electricity. The Cooperative also offers a fixed-rate transportation fuel program that helps districts budget with certainty and meet state procurement laws.
TASB Risk Management Fund Board of Trustees (Fund)
TASB Energy Cooperative Board of Trustees
Kevin Carbo, Chair
Dr. Filomena Leo
Margaret G. Holmes, Chair
Board Member Mesquite ISD
Board Member South Texas ISD
Board President Iraan-Sheffield ISD
Director of Risk Management Services Copperas Cove ISD
BoardVice-President Aldine ISD
Board President Stephenville ISD
Eduardo “Ed” Ramos
Assistant Superintendent Hutto ISD
Board President Katy ISD
Superintendent Lamar CISD
Board President Burkburnett ISD
Irene G. Rodriguez
Board Member Big Spring ISD
Director of Energy Management Frisco ISD
Robert E. Sheppard
Board Member Pleasant Grove ISD
Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Operations Rio Grande City CISD
Board Member Longview ISD
Morris Blankenship Board Member Adrian ISD
Dr. Jo Ann Bludau Superintendent Hallettsville ISD
Wesley Eversole Deputy Superintendent Lake Dallas ISD
Gerry M. Fleuriet Board Member Harlingen ISD
Dr. Irene M. Garza Superintendent Seguin ISD
Dr. Dee Hart Superintendent Tatum ISD
Scott Singletary Business Manager Madisonville CISD
Dr. Dan J.Troxell Superintendent Kerrville ISD
Delores Warnell Superintendent Bloomington ISD
James Crow TASB Executive Director Secretary
TASB Executive Director Secretary
Larry Hawthorne Board Member Hubbard ISD
David Ickert Board Member Olney ISD
TASA proudly endorses these four TASB-Related Entity Programs, listed with their current board members. We encourage our members to give every consideration to utilizing these programs in their districts. Participation in these programs helps TASA and Texas public schools.
MENTS E IR U Q E R 8 F O T U O 5 E V ACHIE . H T L A E H L O O H C S D E T A for COORDIN es initiatives Fuel Up to Play 60 enhanc ol Health. such as Coordinated Scho d start Join the program today an als! achieving your school’s go
Healthy School Environment
Physical Education Nutrition Education Community and Parent Involvement
© 2012 National Dairy Council®. Fuel Up is a service mark of National Dairy Council.
Visit www.dairymax.org for information about enhancing your goals with Fuel Up to Play 60.
Apple CHEVRON College Board Common Sense Media Dell Northwest Evaluation Association–NWEA Pearson Schoolwires SHW Group SMART Technologies
Corporate Partners TASA is grateful to our corporate partners for their support.
Amplify Catapult Learning CompassLearning Edgenuity Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Indeco Sales, Inc. K12 Insight Organizational Health Scholastic Schoology Scientific Learning WIN Learning
Each level of the Corporate Partner Program is designed to offer our partners quality exposure to association members. Partners at the President’s Circle, Platinum, and Gold levels may customize special events and opportunities.
Creating & Managing Wealth, LLC Discovery Education Health Matters Huckabee Learning Together Company LoudCloud Milliken Design, Inc. PBK Think Through Math SILVER
Balfour Cisco LTS Education Systems Reasoning Mind Renaissance Learning TCG Consulting The JASON Project BRONZE
FirstSouthwest Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, LLP NextEra Energy Solutions Silverback Learning Solutions Southern Management ABM
Presorted Standard U.S. Postage PAID Austin, TX Permit No. 1941
Texas Association of School Administrators 406 East 11th Street Austin, TX 78701-2617
We stand by our commitment to Texas public schools. The Lone Star Investment Pool was created in 1991 with public schools in mind. And now more than 700 schools in the state rely on our services. Call us today for a free analysis of your investment needs. 800.558.8875 firstpublic.com
TASA proudly endorses
A subsidiary of