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THE INDEPENDENT VOICE FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION IN TEXAS FOR 58 YEARS

June 2012

Texas schools find success with Response to Intervention

In the Spotlight John Kuhn Perrin-Whitt CISD

TASSP Profile Manuel Lunoff Mathis ISD


The Independent Voice for Public Education in Texas for 58 Years Since 1954, Texas School Business has published the good news for and about Texas educators and the vendors who serve the public schools. Today, Texas School Business is considered an institution among school leaders and decision makers. Published 10 times per year, Texas School Business has a paid circulation of approximately 3,000, and additional copies are distributed at conferences and shared by school districts. School and college libraries also are among the Texas School Business subscribers. Our readers include superintendents, board members, central office personnel, principals, association and agency leaders and vendors.

THE INDEP ENDENT

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IN TEXAS FO R 58 YEAR S

John Folks Northside ISD

SUPERINTEN DENT of the YEAR

THE INDEP ENDE

NT VOICE FO R PUBLIC ED UCATION

IN TEXAS FO R 58 YEAR S

January 201

The Power Principal The e ry 2012

Februa

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AR 58 YE S FOR

EXA N IN T

UBLIC FOR P VOICE DENT

ATIO EDUC

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In the Spotlig ht James Ponce McAllen ISD

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12 texas school districts share their bright ideas


TSB contents news and features

Texas resolution sparks national movement

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by Jenny LaCoste-Caputo

In the Spotlight

12

Perrin-Whitt CISD superintendent chooses mighty pen to defend education by Jenny LaCoste-Caputo

Response to Intervention frees up special education resources for those who need it

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departments TSB Professional Development & Events Calendar

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Who’s News

25

Ad Index

30

columns From the Editor

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The Law Dawg  —  Unleashed

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Tech Toolbox

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by Katie Ford

by Elizabeth Millard

by Jim Walsh

by Terry Morawski

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Texas schools report great strides in academic, student behavior trends by Archie E. McAfee and Thomas H. Leyden

TASSP President Profile     

Game On!

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Would-be doctor finds calling in serving Texas public schools

The Back Page

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by Bobby Hawthorne by Riney Jordan

by Jennifer LeClaire

22 The views expressed by columnists and contributing writers do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher or Texas School Business advertisers. The publisher also makes no endorsement of the advertisers or advertisements in this publication. June 2012 • Texas School Business

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TexasSchool Business_MAY12.indd 1 Texas School Business •

June 2012

5/1/2012 10:26:30 AM


From the Editor You might have noticed that www.texasschoolbusiness.com has changed significantly, and all of you serving in Texas public schools, central offices and regional education service centers are the reason why. In a nutshell, you are doing such a great job out there that we need more space than what’s available in our print magazine to report on your best practices and achievements! To better report on your successes, we’re maximizing our online “real estate” by using www.texasschoolbusiness.com as a place to post web-exclusive stories, news briefs and happenings that you can’t find in our printed issues. Also, beginning with the July/August issue, we’re taking the professional development and events calendar out of the magazine to make room for more positive press about Texas public schools. The calendar is now exclusive to our website. From www.texasschoolbusiness.com, you can peruse listed events, export them to your personal calendars and directly access the event websites to register! To be clear, the print magazine isn’t going anywhere! Our 3,100 paid subscribers will continue to receive their magazines in the mail, as well as have access to an e-reader version of the magazine at www.texasschoolbusiness.com. (Digital-only subscriptions are also available for those who want to receive only the e-reader version.) Anyone can peruse our online archive of past issues by registering on our website at no charge. I’d love to hear your feedback and ideas as we continue to expand our coverage online. Just send me an email at katie@texasschoolbusiness.com! Happy reading!

Katie Ford Editorial director

(ISSN 0563-2978 USPS 541-620) June 2012 Volume LVIII, Issue 9 1601 Rio Grande Street, #455 Austin, Texas 78701 Phone: 512-478-2113 • Fax: 512-495-9955 www.texasschoolbusiness.com Publisher Ted Siff Editor in Chief Jim Walsh Editorial Director Katie Ford Design Phaedra Strecher Columnists Riney Jordan, Terry Morawski, Jim Walsh Advertising Sales Manager Jim Johnson Director of Marketing and Customer Relations Stephen Markel Office Services Ambrose Austin ISSN 0563-2978 USPS 541-620 Published monthly, except for July/August and November/ December, and for the Best in Class issue published in August and the Bragging Rights issue published in December (12 times a year) by Texas School Business Magazine, LLC, 1601 Rio Grande Street, #455, Austin, TX 78701. Periodical Postage Paid at Austin, Texas and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Texas School Business,1601 Rio Grande Street, #455, Austin, TX 78701. SUBSCRIPTION RATES: $28 per year; $52 for two yrs; $72 for three yrs. Group rate: 10 or more, $18; single issues, $4.50.

© Copyright 2012 Texas School Business Magazine LLC June 2012 • Texas School Business

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TASA is pleased to present our 2012–13 officers.

Jeff N. Turner, President

Darrell G. Floyd, President-Elect

Alton Frailey, Vice-President

Rod Townsend, Past President

Superintendent Coppell ISD

Superintendent Stephenville ISD

Superintendent Katy ISD

Superintendent Decatur ISD

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Texas School Business • June 2012


THE LAW DAWG – Unleashed by Jim Walsh

Addressing transgender and cross-dressing students

T

he Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) officially has declared that discrimination against transgender individuals is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title VII. This puts the EEOC in alignment with the Miss Universe Pageant and its owner, Donald Trump. The pageant recently changed its rules to permit transgender women (born male) to compete for Miss Universe. I take particular interest in these developments because I am soon to speak on the topic of transgender and cross-dressing students in our public schools at this year’s legal conference sponsored by the Texas School Administrators’ Legal Digest and the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals (TASSP). TASSP specifically asked that someone address this issue at the legal conference, which takes place June 12 in Austin, and I was delighted to take on the challenge. The mere fact that this issue is being discussed at a legal conference is a perfect illustration of something I learned from a school superintendent a long time ago — that public schools inevitably will have to address the same conflicts that are being played out in the larger society. That supe also taught me that public schools do not create the controversies in our society, but they do reflect them. It has always been thus. In the 1950s and ’60s, our schools grappled with racial integration, just as restaurants, hotels and employers did. In the 1960s and ’70s, American culture — and American public schools — wrestled with drugs, dress codes and free speech issues. In the 1980s and ’90s, the “religious right” came to prominence and challenged what it perceived to be a secular culture that bordered on hostility toward religion. In the school setting, this led to the Equal Access Act, which required public schools to let religious groups meet on campus as long as any other “noncurriculum” group was allowed to meet. As it turned out, though, the Fellowship for Christian Athletes was not the big

beneficiary of the Equal Access Act. The Gay Straight Alliance was. It turned out that the Christians did not need a law to protect them, but the gay students did. At least that was the case in Texas. And so as we moved into the 1990s and the 21st century, the social issue in the spotlight had to do with gay and lesbian soldiers, citizens and students.

It turned out that the Christians did not need a law to protect them, but the gay students did. At least that was the case in Texas. Now, principals and assistant principals are dealing with girls who want to wear tuxedos to the prom, boys who wear lipstick, parents agonizing over a possible sex change operation for their child, and the full array of community opinion and pressure that these issues will spark. Obviously, the schools will serve these students — but what bathroom do they use? What are the rules for athletic competition? How do we talk about this with the kids and the community? How do we prevent bullying, but allow for free speech? The specifics are new, but the pattern is the same. We take the most controversial conflicts in our society, toss them into the local public school and then look to the law for resolution. The law will not provide resolution; it will only provide an answer, as the EEOC has now done. Resolution will come just as it has with the other issues we have addressed: through the compassion and common sense of educators. JIM WALSH, an attorney with Walsh, Anderson Gallegos Green and Treviño P.C., serves as editor in chief of Texas School Business. He can be reached at jwalsh@ wabsa.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @JWalshtxlawdawg.

The 25th Annual TASSP – Legal Digest

Conference on Education Law for Principals Tuesday, June 12, 2012 Austin Convention Center Produced in partnership with the Texas Assoth ciation of Secondary School Principals (TASSP) YEAR this conference features Conference on EDUCATION LAW presentations on legal isfor PRINCIPALS sues of particular concern to school principals and other campus-level personnel as well as superintendents, school board members, and school attorneys.

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Topics and Speakers include: Transgender & Cross-Dressing Students: The Legal Issues • Jim Walsh, Walsh, Anderson, Gallegos, Green & Treviño, P.C., Austin What Principals Need to Know About Special Education: A Hearing Officer’s Perspective • Lucius D. Bunton, Law Offices of Lucius Bunton, Austin Avoiding Common Mistakes in Handling Tough Personnel Issues • Sandra Carpenter, Walsh, Anderson, Gallegos, Green & Treviño, P.C., Houston

2012 Legal Update on Student Discipline • DAVID HODGINS, Thompson & Horton, Houston

Student Off-Campus Use of Technology & Their Rights Under the First Amendment JOE TANGUMA, Walsh, Anderson, Gallegos, Green & Treviño, P.C., Houston The Latest on Religion at School • JOY BASKIN, TASB, Austin Complying with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act in the Electronic Age Ellen Spalding, Rogers, Morris & Grover, L.L.P., Houston

visit www.legaldigest.com for more information

June 2012 • Texas School Business

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Keep Current As all school administrators, board members, and school attorneys know, school law does not stand still. The Legal Digest is dedicated to providing relevant, timely and comprehensive reporting, analysis and training on all aspects of school law. The Legal Digest leads off with an in-depth article on a contemporary school law topic written by Texas attorneys and legal commentators. The rest of the issue is devoted to digests of the latest federal and state rulings, Commissioner decisions, special education hearing officer decisions, and Attorney General opinions affecting Texas schools. Adding a dash of humor to each issue is Jim Walsh’s “Law Dawg” column. Published ten times a year, the Legal Digest provides the latest developments in the law to help administrators stay abreast of this rapidly changing field and avoid litigation.

New Subscriber Rate: $99 (Regular Rate: $140)

512-478-2113 www.legaldigest.com

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Texas School Business • June 2012

PLUS: Web Exclusive content for subscribers only!


Tech Toolbox by Terry Morawski

iPad lessons from Eanes ISD

I

was invited to visit Eanes ISD in Southwest Austin to learn more about its iPad initiative. For the 2011-2012 school year, the district put iPads in the hands of the juniors and seniors at Westlake High School. They appropriately named the initiative Westlake Initiative for Innovation, or WIFI. Eanes ISD should be proud, but it also learned some important lessons along the way. Eanes ISD officials said they selected the iPad for the variety of apps that were available. They also liked the battery life, the portability and other factors. Administrators estimated the iPad offered teachers nearly $2,500 in classroom technology resources that used to be purchased individually (video camera, desktop computer and software) in a $600 package. Before this becomes a fullon iPad commercial, let’s look at some of the lessons learned and advice from the WIFI initiative. Do this: 1. Free yourself from any worry about a learning curve for students. Students will be immediately comfortable with the device. 2. Let go of the traditional concept of school-owned technology. We, as school administrators, often can get bent on control and regulation. Part of the power of the iPad is that students are able to use the device for a one-stop shop for personal computing, such as email, music and movies. But they also can use the device for educational uses, such as reading textbooks, researching, writing and preparing presentations. Yes, this is a tough one. 3. Develop guidelines and best practices on classroom technology use that teachers can implement and enforce. Signs were regularly seen outside of teachers’ classrooms warning that: “Only approved technology devices allowed during class.” iPad use can also be disallowed during certain lessons, if necessary. 4. Talk with your community as much as possible. Eanes ISD officials were pleased with their community outreach, but they admit they would have liked to have communicated more. 5. Prepare for common needs and issues,

such as charging devices and students misplacing their iPads. For charging, Westlake High integrated a charging station in a newly established Internet cafe in the library. For students with lost iPads, the school mounted an iPad to a wall in the library, giving students easy access to an iPad application that helps locate lost iPads. 6. Have fun and be flexible. The leadership team has injected fun into each element of the iPad launch, such as staff development “Appy Hours.” Do not do this: 1. Don’t implement too quickly. Be sure to give teachers ample time to learn the device and begin integrating it into their lessons. Eanes officials wished they had provided more training up front. In addition, teachers need some time to get comfortable with the iPad as a learning tool, especially those who take longer to learn new technology. 2. Don’t roll out all the apps at the same time or your connection will crash. Eanes ISD learned to save the release of larger apps for weekends or off times, so they would be downloaded on external Internet connections and not all at once. 3. Don’t count on selling the iPads to students or teachers after two or three years. According to Eanes ISD’s research, no device can be sold until it reaches “end of life.” They estimate the device could be sold after about six years. This was too bad because many students told me they could not see living without an iPad at college. I’ll give you one guess what the most popular graduation gift in Eanes ISD will be this year. 4. Don’t worry about failure. One of the greatest fears of an ambitious project is that it will be messy and some failure is built-in. As Carl Hooker, Eanes ISD director of instructional technology, said in a presentation: “You have to fail a little bit to innovate.” TERRY MORAWSKI is an assistant superintendent in Mansfield ISD. He writes for levelupedu.org and can be found on Twitter @terrymorawski. He’ll be presenting a session July 7 on Mobile App Strategy in School Communications at The National School Public Relations Association Conference in Chicago, Ill.

We are now We are now seeking seeking for candidates candidates Assistantfor Assistant Principal and Principal and Principal Principal Positions. Positions. HISD is looking for

promising leaders who want

HISD is looking for to make a deep impact in the promising leaders who want lives of students by to make a deep impact in the supporting their journey to lives of students by college, and beyond. supporting their journey to college, and beyond.

If you are interested in being considered for a campus leadership position with If the youDistrict, are interested beingaconsidered please in submit detailed for a campus leadership position withto resume and cover letter electronically the vgarza2@houstonisd.org District, please submit a detailed resume and cover letter electronically to

vgarza2@houstonisd.org June 2012 • Texas School Business

 

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Texas resolution sparks national movement by Jenny LaCoste-Caputo

S

chool superintendents around the state are leading a growing movement to transform education in Texas. One of the most public examples of that movement is the “Resolution Concerning High Stakes, Standardized Testing of Texas Public School Students.” By the end of April, more than 400 school districts in Texas representing 2.3 million students had passed the resolution. The document says that too much emphasis is placed on standardized testing, and that emphasis has taken the joy of learning from the classroom, which ultimately hurts students. The resolution, drafted and distributed by the Texas Association of School Administrators, has drawn national attention from the likes of Diane Ravitch, writer for Education Week and The Washington Post. Recently, a group of organizations — mostly for education, civil rights and children’s issues — created a National Testing Resolution, which is based on the Texas resolution. While the resolution has created a stir in the media, the initiative to transform education began several years ago with a group of superintendents. Frustrated with the current tide that seemed to be holding students back rather than propelling them forward, they began to meet in 2006 to discuss what a 21st century classroom should look like and what would need to happen to make it a reality. The group concluded that the core business of schools is to provide engaging, appropriate experiences for students so that they learn and are able to apply their knowledge in ways that will enrich their lives and ensure their wellbeing. The school leaders also pointed out that the current bureaucratic structure has taken that focus away and replaced it with a system based on compliance, coercion and fear. One of the chief results of those meetings was the creation of the document “Creating a New Vision for Pub-

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Texas School Business • June 2012

lic Education in Texas” (see full text at www.tasanet.org). It outlines six articles that cover the principles and premises behind the visioning movement. They are: the new digital learning environment; new learning standards; assessments for learning; accountability for learning; organizational transformation; and a more balanced and reinvigorated state/local partnership. The birth of a resolution When Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott told thousands of school administrators gathered for TASA’s Midwinter Conference in late January that the current accountability system had become “a perversion of its original intent,” he earned a standing ovation. Scott’s noholds-barred speech gave voice to the frustration many educators have been experiencing for years. “I believe that testing is good for some things, but the system we have created has become a perversion of its original intent,” Scott said to applause. “The intent to improve teaching and learning has gone too far afield.” But soon after, Scott drew criticism from some who claimed schools wanted to back off of accountability. Superintendents jumped to his defense. Members of the North Texas Regional Consortium, a group of nine high-performing districts working to transform education in their districts, wrote a letter to members of the Texas Legislature. “The real work of delivering a quality education begins by changing what goes on in our classrooms every day,” the letter reads. “Our Vision is that all students be engaged in relevant learning activities that provide for student choice and embrace the concept that they can be more than consumers of knowledge. Only by creating classrooms where innovation, creativity, problem-solving skills, collaboration,

communication and critical thinking are celebrated will we actually make progress toward the very skills desired by the TAB (Texas Association of Business). Relentless test preparation and boring memorization of facts in order to enhance performance on the test are stealing the love of learning from our students and assuring that we fall short of our goals.” The letter morphed into a resolution, which eventually went statewide. After reading about the Texas resolution in the press, a school board in Queens, N.Y., and another in the Palm Beach County, Fla., approved versions of the resolution. Now, the National Resolution on High-Stakes Testing, available at http://timeoutfrom testing.org, is taking the issue nationwide. The resolution is an important vehicle for building support and spreading the message that educators and parents are fed up with the current direction of public education and an accountability system that relies too heavily on the results of standardized tests. They know public schools can do better for kids. Already, chambers of commerce are passing versions of the resolution and support continues to build. Also, the Texas Parent-Teacher Association is providing a version of the resolution for PTA groups across the state. Despite the impressive momentum, even more support is needed from around the state so that lawmakers get the message: It’s time to transform public education in Texas. JENNY LACOSTE-CAPUTO is the director of communications and media relations for the Texas Association of School Administrators.


GAME ON! by Bobby Hawthorne

There’s an ‘I’ in journalism and a ‘you’

T

his summer, I’ll teach a workshop in Dallas for young sportswriters. A few write for blogs and a few report for their local daily newspapers or radio stations, but most are staff members at high school student publications. By and large, they’re smart and they know their stuff, especially when it comes to pro and college sports. But that’s not entirely good. They know just enough to have mulish opinions about events they’ve never attended and athletes they’ve never met. My job this summer will be to remind them that they know nothing about Tony Romo and Tiger Woods that the typical casual fan doesn’t know. This won’t go over particularly well. “What, then,” they’ll ask, “do you propose we do?” “Forget Tiger and Tony,” I’ll suggest. “Cover your school — your teams, your athletes. If I want to know about the Longhorns or the Spurs, I’ll go to the experts.” I’ll repeat it about 50 times in five days because they think covering high school is beneath them. Besides, it’s real work: going to games and interviewing and all that. Now, you might be thinking, “So what’s this got to do with me?” Well, like all journalism, scholastic journalism is struggling, and I’m not sure it’ll survive. I do know this: No one waits three or four weeks to find out who won and who lost, but that’s the thrust of the average high school sports story. For example: “The boys (or girls) are stepping up to the plate, and we’re excited because we think we have the makings of a special suchand-such season,” said coach Buzz Sawyer. “We hope to make the playoffs, and if everything works out the way we want it to, we will.” It’s clipped, pasted into a scrapbook and perused 25 years later. It’s never read because it isn’t meant to be read. It’s meant to fill a hole on a page. Then, around mid-season, the reporter will crank out a second story based on questions along the lines of: • What’s happened? Still excited? • Still hope to make the playoffs?

This will produce an equally abysmal article: If the future of student media totters on such stories — news, features or sports — then kiss it goodbye, and that would be a pity, so, please… • Value your student publications. You shouldn’t expect shameless adulation, but should expect fair, complete coverage. That won’t happen unless you’re open and helpful and honest. You don’t have to be a friend. Just be friendly. • Skip the clichés. OK, there’s no “I” in team. We know, and we get it. But players are people, individuals — not widgets. Also, we know some wins and some losses are bigger than others. Don’t expect anyone to pretend they’re not. • Be a reliable source. If you coach or know of an athlete who has a compelling story, who has hurdled a particularly daunting obstacle, pass along that information to a student reporter or editor. For example, two years ago, I wrote — on the advice of a coach and an athletic department secretary — a short piece for this magazine about an amazing kid whose mother died of cervical cancer, leaving him in charge of two younger brothers and two younger sisters. Then, as if his life weren’t hard enough, he was forced to petition the city, county and state to remove his abusive father, who resurfaced and figured he’d whip everyone into shape. Literally. Well, the young man was having none of that, so he had his father bounced and banished. There are kids like this in every school, perhaps on every team. Help young sportswriters find them. Join the team. Help them crank out stories readers can’t obtain anywhere else — not in their daily newspapers, not on the Internet. In short, help these young sportswriters step up to the plate. Thanks. BOBBY HAWTHORNE is the author of “Longhorn Football” and “Home Field,” both published by The University of Texas Press. In 2005, he retired as director of academics for the University Interscholastic League.

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Re-energize your staff! Lift their spirits! Let him make a difference! • More motivational talks to educators than any other current Texas speaker. • Convocations, Conferences, Staff Development Workshops, and Graduation Ceremonies. • 30 years in Texas public education. • Hear him once and you’ll see why thousands have requested him nationally and internationally. • His best-selling book, All the Difference, is now in its sixth printing.

RINEY JORDAN A Motivational Humorist 254-386-4769 www.rineyjordan.com June 2012 • Texas School Business

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In the

Spotlight

John Kuhn chooses the mighty pen to defend public education by Jenny LaCoste-Caputo

J

ohn Kuhn is only in his second year of leading a school district, but already the young superintendent has made a name for himself across Texas and beyond. It was Kuhn’s first year as superintendent of Perrin-Whitt CISD when the 2011 legislative session was under way. There’s no doubt among educators that the roughly $5 billion in education cuts made during last year’s session were painful, but early on during the session when legislators were discussing cuts double that amount,

the potential outcome was nothing short of brutal. It was against that backdrop that Kuhn penned his now-famous “Alamo letter” to his local lawmakers. Patterned after the historic letter sent by William Barret Travis from the Alamo just before it fell in 1836, Kuhn’s letter begins: Gentlemen, I am besieged by a hundred or more of the Legislators under Rick Perry. I have sustained a continual Bombardment of increased high-stakes testing

John Kuhn is always a welcome sight at Perrin Elementary. The superintendent attended Perrin schools himself as a young boy. 12

Texas School Business • June 2012

and accountability-related bureaucracy and a cannonade of gross underfunding for 10 years at least and have lost several good men and women. The ruling party has demanded another round of pay cuts and furloughs, while the schoolhouse be put to the sword and our children’s lunch money be taken in order to keep taxes low for big business. I am answering the demand with a (figurative) cannon shot, and the Texas flag still waves proudly from our flag pole. I shall never surrender the fight for the children of Perrin. The letter served as a rallying point for educators, parents and students across the state, and Kuhn showed he was as good an orator as a writer when he read the letter in front of 13,000 people who filled the Capitol grounds in March 2011 as part of the Save Texas Schools rally. He was invited to return to the 2012 rally at the Capitol, and once again he delivered an inspiring speech. So, why did he write a letter that acted as a match to a tinderbox, igniting the frustration and emotion of supporters of public education across the state? “Probably because I didn’t know any better,” Kuhn quipped during an interview with Texas School Business. One on one, Kuhn is not fiery nor controversial. He’s self-effacing and a little chagrined at all the attention the letter has drawn his way. But the courage, intellect and passion that are embedded in every word of his Alamo letter come through. Kuhn grew up in Perrin and landed his first teaching job in Graford ISD. A twoyear mission trip to Peru just after college helped him become fluent in Spanish. He spent five years in Graford teaching high school Spanish and junior high English. He also was a K-12 ESL teacher, the National Honor Society sponsor, the one-actplay director and, every now and then, a school bus driver.


Fun Facts about John Kuhn

Biggest lesson I’ve learned in the past five years: Don’t write letters when you’re angry. You will always find these artists on my music playlist: Metallica and Robert Earl Keen. Early bird or night owl? Both. Five guests (living or deceased) at my dream dinner party: Socrates, Thomas Jefferson, Jim Bowie, Albert Einstein and “Stout” Jackson. A bad habit I’d love to break: Twitter. He eventually moved on to Mineral Wells ISD as a teacher, then an assistant principal and finally a principal. When the job in his hometown came open, he was tempted. “I really struggled with it,” he says. But thanks to the mentorship of Jim Yancey, a former superintendent who worked with Kuhn at Mineral Wells High School, he was prepared. “Jim was the one who encouraged me to start on my superintendent certification. I told him, ‘Jim, I have no intention of being a superintendent,’ but he said I ought to do it just in case I ever changed my mind.” But no one could’ve prepared Kuhn for the reaction his letter would spark. He wrote it after attending a Raise Your Hand Texas event in February 2011. Senate Education Committee Chairwoman Florence Shapiro was the speaker. She talked about the $27 billion budget shortfall lawmakers faced, the “new normal” and how the new STAAR test was non-negotiable. “It sounded to me like we’re too broke to pay for teachers, but not too broke to pay for this expensive new test,” Kuhn says. At question and answer time, Kuhn’s hand went up and he made that exact point to explosive applause. “I was just so upset at the gulf between us. I wanted to express how I felt and how teachers feel,” he says. “We do feel besieged and under attack.” He wrote the letter that night and emailed it to education historian Diane Ravitch. Ravitch, author of “The Death and Life of the Great American School System,” has a huge following on Twitter and writes a weekly blog for Education Week. “I was fired up,” Kuhn says. “And the next morning I woke up scared to death.” The calls started coming from the media that very day. On Feb. 11, 2011, Kuhn’s

letter landed in The Washington Post. It’s often not in the nature of educators to stir up a ruckus, Kuhn says, but sometimes it’s the only way. “There’s a point when we realize this is doing long-term harm to public education and to our kids, and some of us will bow up,” he says. JENNY LACOSTE-CAPUTO is the director of communications and media relations for the Texas Association of School Administrators.

Vacation was so great! I could actually leave

my smart phone behind

knowing that everything at work was as calm

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13


Response to Intervention After nearly a decade in operation, RtI is freeing up special education for those who really need it by Liz Carmack

T

he number of Texas students referred to special education programs is dropping, thanks, in part, to multiple districts adopting the Response to Intervention (RtI) model during the past decade. “We have one of the lowest identification rates for special ed in the country – 8.8 percent (as of 2011),” says Gene Lenz, director of the Division of Federal and State Education Policy at the Texas Education Agency. “We attribute that to a number of things, including RtI, which has played a tremendous role in getting our numbers down during the past several years.”

What is RtI? The reauthorization of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in 2004 recognized the RtI model as one approach that districts could use to identify students with learning disabilities who need special education. But maybe even more importantly, it’s an instructional approach that provides children who are struggling academically with researchbased intervention instruction within general education classrooms. The goal is to intervene early when kids first demonstrate problems, versus taking a reactionary approach and playing the

special education card prematurely. Through RtI strategies, educators can help skills-deficient students learn in mainstream classrooms. The method includes “whole child” assessments that consider both academic and behavioral issues, individualized instruction and periodic screenings to gauge progress. Meanwhile, special education resources are freed up to focus on students who have diagnosed disabilities. It’s a multi-tiered approach, says Lenz, who described the tiers as follows: •

Tier One: High-quality general education in a regular classroom.

Irving ISD Superintendent Dana T. Bedden visits Pierce Early Childhood School for an Irving Reads! event called “10@10.” It entails all students in the district stopping what they are doing at 10 a.m. to read for 10 minutes. The district makes a strong push for literacy initiatives as part of its Response to Intervention strategy. 14

Texas School Business • June 2012


Tier Two: High-quality instruction in specific areas where a child appears to struggle based on the student’s level of performance and rate of progress.

Tier Three: More individualized, intensive intervention that targets the student’s skills deficit based on additional information about the child. Students who don’t respond at this tier are considered for special education referral.

Lenz says the initiative by the governor, the state Legislature, the TEA and local school districts to ensure Texas schoolchildren would be reading by the third grade helped lay the foundation underlying RtI’s successful statewide implementation. “Our state made millions of dollars in investment in not just reading academies or professional development academies for K-3 teachers, but in providing teachers with a screening tool like the Texas Primary Reading Inventory to identify kids struggling in reading. “The planets have really aligned to get us to the point where we are today,” Lenz adds. “Real successes have come at the local level.”

Success in Region 13 The Region 13 Education Service Center, which includes 60 school districts and 16 Central Texas counties, has seen a drop in the region’s special education program referrals. This trend is based on anecdotal evidence, Ed Vara not statistical reporting, says Ed Vara, Region 13’s deputy executive director for academic services. “We do see a reduced number of special ed referrals,” Vara says. “And we certainly see a dramatic decrease in early referrals. There’s a less reactive response. Now it’s ‘Let’s talk about what’s going on with this kid. It may be premature to immediately jump to special ed.’” Because RtI considers a struggling student’s behavioral issues, as well as his or her academic struggles, the region also has seen a drop in the number of students referred for disciplinary problems, Vara adds.

Vara says that districts within his region had implemented some elements of RtI – such as its Kinder Reading Academy – before the reauthorization of IDEA, but the 2004 passage of the act has “… given us a common language and systematic approach to how we’re meeting kids’ needs.” The intent behind RtI is to provide an effective instructional program for all students. “The goal isn’t about where to refer them,” Vara says. “It’s really about a systematic response to ensure the quality of instruction at all three tiers is the highest. It’s caused us to look more deeply at the quality of the program to see if we’re meeting needs and to bring all the resources we have to bare to reach more kids and be more successful with them.”

Response in Irving ISD Likewise, Irving ISD’s students have been referred more quickly to receive intensive reading, math and language instruction since the district introduced the RtI model during the 2007-2008 Judy Rudebusch school year, says Judy Rudebusch, assistant superintendent for student services and federal programs. Forty percent of students in the district are considered Limited English Proficient and more than 80 percent qualify for a free or reduced lunch in the National School Lunch Program. The district includes 36 schools and four learning centers. As in many districts, RtI is one of a variety of methods Irving ISD uses to meet students’ learning challenges, Rudebusch says. With RtI, the staff primarily concentrates on kids having trouble in reading and math. “We provide focused intervention and extended learning opportunities for about 15 to 20 percent of our elementary and middle school students each year. I haven’t seen any real patterns yet, but we’re seeing referrals (for RtI) sooner so we’re getting help to the children who really need it sooner. And everyone is much more aware of what it takes to teach literacy and numeracy to children who struggle.

When the district rolled out RtI, it learned the hard way that laying a foundation of procedures should come first. “We jumped out fast to provide intervention for children before solidifying our process for monitoring their progress and how we make decisions about them based on that data,” Rudebusch says. “This year, we’re developing a decisionmaking process that’s data-driven based on students’ responses to the intervention.” She says the new procedures should be in place by the coming school year.

Improvement in Pasadena ISD Pasadena ISD has tweaked its RtI process since rolling it out during the 2005-2006 school year, says JoAnn Wiechmann, special education coordinator of evaluation. Pasadena ISD includes 59 schools and six alternative schools. “When we started, we had a process that addressed only academics — and even more narrow, just reading,” she says. “Some campuses were circumventing RtI by just referring kids for a speech evaluation because we didn’t have it spelled out that they needed to be included in the intervention process. We quickly revised our procedures then broadened them to be more comprehensive — not just academics, but a behavior piece and a clearly defined speech and language component as part of academics.” Today, if Pasadena ISD educators are concerned about a student who is not meeting grade-level expectations, an intervention team discusses the whole child, including his or her skills deficiencies and behavioral issues. The staff then works to address them all. According to the district, early intervention, intensive instruction and progress monitoring have been used with great success to aid children with articulation problems. In the 20062007 school year, 89 children struggling with articulation at 18 Pasadena ISD elementary campuses received intensive instruction using the ARtIC Lab teaching tool (developed by Wiechmann and Deborah Balfanz and published by Super Duper). After completing the 10-week program, 87 of those students improved to the point that they no longer needed assistance. Only two students were See RTI on page 19 June 2012 • Texas School Business

15


TSB Calendar

Professional Development & EVENTS WEEK OF JULY 2 No events listed.

WEEK OF JULY 9 July 9-13 Texas Girls’ Coaches Association Summer Clinic Location TBA, Arlington For more info, (512) 708-1333. www.austintgca.com Cost: Annual membership and clinic: $100. Clinic only: $50. Membership only: $50.

July 12 School Finance Council Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-8249. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: No charge.

July 12-14 TRTA District Presidents Training Conference Airport Hilton, Austin For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org

July 12-15 TASSP New Principal Academy Trinity University, San Antonio For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org

www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $260; nonmembers, $300.

WEEK OF JULY 23

July 17

Texas ASCD Workshop: Media Literacy Location TBA, Tyler For more info, (512) 477-8200. www.txascd.org

TASB Workshop: Asbestos Designated Person TASB offices, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org Cost: On-site members, no charge; nonmembers, $425.

July 17-19 TCASE Summer Camp: Keeping the Fires Burning Hilton Hotel, Austin For more info, (512) 474-4492. www.tcase.org Texas ASCD Curriculum Leadership Academy V Pat May Center, Bedford For more info, (512) 477-8200. www.txascd.org

July 18 TASB Workshop: Integrated Pest Management Coordinator TASB offices, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org Cost: On-site members, no charge; nonmembers, $425.

TETA SummerFest San Antonio College, San Antonio For more info, (877) 530-8382. www.tetatx.com Cost: Early registration, $90; on-site registration, $120.

TASPA Summer Law Conference Sheraton Hotel at the Capitol, Austin For more info, (512) 494-9353 or (800) 346-4111. www.taspa.org Cost: Early registration (through July 11): $75. After July 11, $95.

July 15-17

July 18-20

July 13-15

TAHPERD Summer Conference Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center, Frisco For more info, (512) 459-1299. www.tahperd.org Cost: Pre-registration (by June 15): Professional and associate members, $85; student and retired members, $35. Late registration (after June 15): Professional and associate members, $95; student and retired members, $45.

WEEK OF JULY 16 July 16-17 TASBO Workshop: PEIMS Boot Camp Hurst Conference Center, Hurst For more info, (512) 462-1711 or (800) 338-6531.

16

Texas School Business • June 2012

TASPA Summer Conference Sheraton Hotel at the Capitol, Austin For more info, (512) 494-9353 or (800) 346-4111. www.taspa.org Cost: Regular registration through July 11: $175. After July 11: $195.

July 19 TASB Workshop: Environment/Facilities Regulatory Compliance TASB offices, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org Cost: On-site members, no charge; nonmembers, $325.

July 23

July 23-24 TASBO Workshop: PEIMS Boot Camp Inn on Barons Creek, Fredericksburg For more info, (512) 462-1711 or (800) 338-6531. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $260; nonmembers, $300.

July 23-26 Science Teachers and Industry: Learning About Chemicals and the Environment Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-8246. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $100.

July 26 Ethics for Accountants Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-8249. Cost: $100.

July 27-29 Texas PTA Summer Leadership Seminar Hilton Hotel and Convention Center, Austin For more info, (512) 476-6769. www.txpta.org Cost: Standard registration (June 2-29): $100. On-site registration: $125.

July 29-August 1 Texas High School Coaches Association Convention and Coaching School Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio For more info, (512) 392-3741. www.thsca.pointstreaksites.com

WEEK OF JULY 30 July 30 Nature and Needs of Gifted/Talented Learners Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1308. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $100.

July 31 Identification and Assessment of Gifted/ Talented Learners Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1308. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $100.


TSB Calendar

Professional Development & EVENTS

August 1 Social and Emotional Needs of Gifted/ Talented Learners Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1308. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $100. Strengthening Reading, Writing and Language Skills: Activities That Make the Connection Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1308. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $100.

August 2 Creativity and Instructional Strategies of Gifted/Talented Learners Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1308. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $100. STAAR Expository Writing: Grades 3-4 Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1308. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $115. STEM Careers in Science and Engineering Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1306. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: No charge.

August 3 Differentiating the Curriculum for Gifted/ Talented Learners Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1308. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $100.

WEEK OF AUGUST 6 August 7 Identifying Quality STAAR-Like Assessment Items Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1306. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $160.

August 9 Gifted/Talented 6 Hour Update Session: Strategies to Differentiate Curriculum for G/T Students Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1308. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $100.

WEEK OF AUGUST 13 August 17 School Finance Council Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-8249. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: No charge.

August 18 Texas PTA Summer Leadership Seminar Convention and Performing Arts Center, El Paso For more info, (512) 476-6769. www.txpta.org Cost: Early registration (until June 29): $40. Standard registration (June 30-Aug. 1): $50. On-site registration: $60.

Cost: Early registration (by Aug. 6): online, $110; off line, $130. Regular registration (after Aug. 6): online, $13, off line, $155.

September 6 Take It to Your Seat: Science Centers for Grade 1 Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1306. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $130.

September 7 Social Studies Leadership Group Harris County Dept. of Education For more info, (713) 696-1318. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: No charge.

WEEK OF AUGUST 20

September 8

No events listed.

Texas PTA Summer Leadership Seminar Pearl South Padre Hotel, South Padre Island For more info, (512) 476-6769. www.txpta.org Cost: Early registration (until July 30): $40. Standard registration (July 30-Aug. 15): $50. On-site registration: $60.

WEEK OF AUGUST 27 August 28 Legal Digest Back to School Workshop ESC Region 10, Richardson For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.legaldigest.com Cost: Early registration (by Aug. 8): online, $110; off line, $130. Regular registration (after Aug. 8): online, $135; off line, $155. Texas ASCD Workshop: E=MC2, Middle School Victoria ISD Conference Center, Victoria For more info, (512) 477-8200. www.txascd.org

August 30 Legal Digest Back to School Workshop ESC Region 17, Lubbock For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.legaldigest.com Cost: Early registration (by Aug. 16): online, $110; off line, $130. Regular registration (after Aug. 16): online, $135; off line, $155.

WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 3 September 4 Take It to Your Seat: Science Centers for Pre-K and Kindergarten Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1306. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $130.

September 5

WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 10 September 10 Legal Digest Back to School Workshop ESC 11, Fort Worth For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.legaldigest.com Cost: Early registration (by Aug. 10): online, $110; off line, $130. Regular registration (after Aug. 10): online, $135; off line, $155. Take It to Your Seat: Science Centers for Grade 2 Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1306. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $130. Texas ASCD Workshop: Math, 6th-8th Grades Victoria ISD Conference Center, Victoria For more info, (512) 477-8200. www.txascd.org

September 10-11 TASBO Internal Audit Academy Crowne Plaza Riverwalk, San Antonio For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $260; nonmembers, $300.

Legal Digest Back to School Workshop ESC 18, Midland For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.legaldigest.com

See Calendar on page 18 June 2012 • Texas School Business

17


TSB Calendar

Professional Development & EVENTS Calendar continuned from page 17 September 11 English/Language Arts Leadership Group Meeting Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1308. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: No charge. Texas ASCD Workshop: Math, Algebra 1 Victoria ISD Conference Center, Victoria For more info, (512) 477-8200. www.txascd.org

(800) 725-8272. www.tasanet.org Cost: $595 for all four sessions; $195 per single session.

September 15 HCDE and Greater Houston Area Reading Council Present Donalyn Miller, The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (713) 696-1308. www.hcde-texas.org Cost: $50.

September 16-17

September 12 Legal Digest Back to School Workshop ESC Region 8, Mt. Pleasant For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.legaldigest.com Cost: Regular registration (by Aug. 13): online, $110; off line, $130. Regular registration (after Aug. 13): online, $135; off line, $155.

September 14 Legal Digest Back to School Workshop ESC Region 7, Kilgore For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.legaldigest.com Cost: Early registration (by Aug. 14): online, $110; off line, $130. Regular registration (after Aug. 14): online, $135; off line, $155.

September 14-15 First-Time Superintendents’ Academy (session one of four) Marriott North, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361 or

TASPA Fall Support Staff Conference Sheraton Hotel at the Capitol, Austin For more info, (512) 494-9353 or (800) 346-4111. www.taspa.org

WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 17 September 18

Legal Digest Back to School Workshop ESC Region 1, Edinburg For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.legaldigest.com Cost: Early registration (by Aug. 18): online, $110; off line, $130. Regular registration (after Aug. 18): online, $135; off line, $155. Legal Digest Back to School Workshop Harris County Dept. of Education, Houston For more info, (512) 4780-2113. www.legaldigest.com Cost: Early registration (by Aug. 20): online, $110; off line, $130. Regular registration (after Aug. 20): online, $135; off line, $155.

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September 25

Legal Digest Back to School Workshop ESC Region 20, San Antonio For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.legaldigest.com Cost: Early registration (by Aug. 25): online, $110; off line, $130. Regular registration (after Aug. 25): online, $135; off line, $155.

September 27

Legal Digest Back to School Workshop ESC Region 13, Austin For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.legaldigest.com Cost: Early registration (by Aug. 27): online, $110; off line, $130. Regular registration (after Aug. 27): online, $135; off line, $155.

September 28-30

TASA/TASB Convention Convention Center, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361 or (800) 725-8272. www.tasa.tasb.org Cost: Pre-registration (through Sept. 14): TASA/TASB members, $295; nonmembers, $395. On-site registration (after Sept. 14): TASA/TASB members, $365; nonmembers, $465.

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RTI continued from page 15

students who really need more intensive help.” In addition, Wiechmann says that the district used to see more kids who spoke English as a second language referred to special education, when in truth those kids simply were struggling to develop language skills in two languages. “Although they appeared to have language development problems, they just needed support to learn both languages,” she says. “Now (through RtI Tier 1 supports), teachers provide that support. We provide English as a Second Language teaching strategies to help the teacher know how to work with the student.”

referred to special education for further help. In 2007-2008, of the 114 students at 21 elementary campuses with articulation problems, only seven were referred to special education after they completed the intensive learning program. Followup assessments with these students have shown that their articulation continues to improve. RtI is not only helping to keep some Pasadena ISD kids out of special education who shouldn’t be there, it’s also helping focus limited special education resources on those children who have diagnosed learning disabilities. “Each year since 2006 we’ve seen an evolution in the make-up of our special education speech therapy caseload,” Wiechmann says. “We used to see a lot of students with articulation problems. Now it’s things that take more intensive work, such as autism and stuttering. By addressing those students with articulation problems in the (general) classroom, we’re not putting them into the special education caseload. That frees up time that can be used to provide quality services to those

LIZ CARMACK is an Austin freelance writer, editor and researcher and owner of Liz Carmack Communications. Her latest book, “Rodeo Austin: Blue Ribbons, Buckin’ Broncs and Big Dreams,” was released this past spring by Texas A&M University Press.

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Vara says that he is looking forward to the day when RtI is so prevalent that educators don’t even refer to it by name, it’s just part of “what we do.” He adds, “I celebrate the fact that it’s an approach that continues to help us get better at what is important to the teacher, which is meeting all the kids’ needs. When I see that intervention, success and impact

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across the system are becoming everyday conversations for educators, that tells me we took the critical attributes of RtI and now it’s become part of our work. It’s not to say we’ve arrived, but it certainly is a good mile marker in the journey toward meeting every student’s needs.” Texas educators must rely upon a multitude of tools and methods to ensure all children receive a high-quality general education. RtI is at the heart of that, Lenz says. “When you set up these systems and structures, it allows teachers to follow their passion. One of the things that keeps them going is when they’ve taught something and they look into a kid’s eyes and see that he gets it; it’s the single greatest high they’ll ever have.”

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TASSP PRESIDENT profile Would-be doctor finds higher purpose in serving Texas public schools By Jennifer LeClaire

M

anuel Lunoff always aspired to be a doctor. But the Texas native landed in a classroom to operate on the academic health of students instead. Lunoff, principal of Mathis High School in Mathis ISD and president of the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals, comes from a family of educators. In fact, his mother was his elementary school principal and his father was his high school principal. “When I told my dad I wanted to go into education, he actually tried to talk me

out of it,” Lunoff recalls. “He wanted me to follow through with pre-med or work with oil companies in the region. My dad knew there was a lot of stress on a daily basis as an educator and especially as an administrator. He just wanted the best for me.” Although he respected his father’s advice, a young Lunoff just couldn’t see himself in medical school for another eight years. So he went back to the drawing board, so to speak, and followed in his parents’ administrative footsteps. He views education as his calling — and

Principal Lunoff, who works in Mathis ISD, says: “My dad is a sounding board. To this day I call him for advice personally and professionally.” 20

Texas School Business • June 2012

he has no regrets about changing career paths. Lunoff launched his Texas classroom career as a middle school teacher and coach. He started working on his administrator certificate when he was faced with a possible re-assignment as track coach. You see, Lunoff didn’t particularly consider himself athletic, and the thought of possibly serving as a track coach spurred him to search for — and quickly find — an assistant principal job at Corpus Christi ISD’s Calallen Middle School. He was three years into his education career at the time. Two years later, he became a principal. “One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in my 18 years in education is that if you are going to be a leader of learners, you have to be willing to learn yourself,” Lunoff says. “I’m more of a team player who wants to support my teachers so we can accomplish great things together.” Lunoff also tries to balance his professional and personal life, but he admits he’s still working to find victory in that battle. He enjoys playing poker, hunting and golfing. He says the most precious moments of his life are the ones he spends with his wife and 2-year-old daughter. He strives to find the balance between being there for his teachers and students and being there for his family. While he works toward spending as much quality time on the home front as possible, Lunoff also is working toward his next career goal: superintendent. But a humble Lunoff says he doesn’t quite think he’s ready to take the leap. Although he’s confident in his skill set, he still wants to make a greater impact at the campus level before advancing any further. “My dad is a sounding board. To this day I call him for advice personally and


professionally,” Lunoff says. “I give him scenarios and get his input. I ask him to critique me. He gives me the perspective of a principal and of a superintendent. He tells me when I am right and when I am wrong.” At a time when Texas public schools are facing a critical teacher shortage, administrators are leaving, the student population is rising and budgets are being slashed, Lunoff struggles with many of the same issues other principals do: maintaining consistency and meeting accountability standards. His solution, he quips, is to drink a lot of coffee and cope with it as best he can.

‘One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in my 18 years in education is that if you are going to be a leader of learners, you have to be willing to learn yourself.’

“As an instructional leader, you have to take the good, the bad and the ugly. But if you are just showing your staff the ugly all the time, you aren’t moving people in the right direction,” Lunoff says. “You have to point out the successes we have every day. You have to be the light in a dark and uncertain time, and they have to be the light for the students.” Beyond his father and some other professionals along the way, Lunoff says his role model is Jesus Christ. Lunoff tries to do everything from a stance of Christian values. For example, he’s been driv-

ing the same car for the past 12 years because he believes in being a good steward of finances. “The car has about 250,000 miles on it,” Lunoff says. “I figure I’m going to run it into the ground. I might call into work one day and ask someone to pick me up from the side of the road, but I’m going to keep driving it until it dies.” JENNIFER LECLAIRE has written for The New York Times and Christian Science Monitor.

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Fun Facts about Manuel Lunoff If you started your career over and could not serve in public education, you would be a: late-night or talk show host or a deejay if I were able to go back to school for it. Were you ever sent to the principal’s office as a child? If so, for what? I was sent to the office in junior high school one time on suspicion of cheating. I had no clue what was going on. Turns out the other student was copying off my work when I turned papers in to the front. No consequence for me. My father was my high school principal. I was never sent to the office then. That would have been suicide on my part. A piece of advice you often give out but have trouble following yourself: Take care of yourself because you’re no good when you’re sick or unhealthy. Last book you read (fiction or nonfiction) that you really liked: “The Resolution for Men” by Alex Kendrick, Stephen Kendrick and Randy Alcorn. 

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Texas students make great strides in academic performance and positive behavioral trends by Archie E. McAfee and Thomas H. Leyden

T

exas public elementary and secondary schools have been on an intentional mission for a number of years to raise the bar of academic performance and social behavior among the system’s more than 4 million students. The ever-evolving student appraisal system has required budget-strapped schools to ratchet up academic performance, attain greater graduation rates and decrease the student dropout rate. At the same time, administrators and classroom educators must respond to and deal with negative student behavioral trends. It takes strong leadership at the campus level to manage both academic and behavioral challenges presented in today’s public schools. Christine DeVita, president of the Reader’s Digest Wallace Foundation, sees the challenge this way: “More than ever, in today’s climate of heightened expectations, principals are in the hot seat to improve teaching and learning. They need to be visionaries, community builders, public relations experts, budget analysts, facility managers, special program administrators, and expert overseers of legal,

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Texas School Business • June 2012

contractual, and policy mandates and initiatives. “They are expected to broker the often-conflicting interest of parents, teachers, students, district office officials, unions, and state and federal agencies, and they need to be sensitive to the widening range of student needs.” Texas school principals have taken on these challenges, and the good news is that — based on various measures — academic performance and behavioral trends have improved in almost every category. This article highlights some of those positive strides being made in Texas public schools. Strides in academic performance Periodically, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) releases reports when significant academic performance has been achieved. Below are segments of those news releases: Texas students showed dramatic academic growth during the TAKS era. In this last full year of TAKS testing, passing rates on every single Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills test at every grade (level) improved dramatically since 2003 when the exams were first given, according to preliminary results released by the Texas Education Agency. This substantial improvement occurred even as the passing requirements increased over the life of the testing program and as results on TAKS Accommodated (a test given to some special education students) were included in the calculations in later years. (May 26, 2011, www.tea.state.tx.us/news_release. aspx?id=2147500911) According to TEA, the College Board released data that over the past five years, Texas has experienced a huge increase in the number of college-bound minority students who take the SAT college admissions test. Over the same five-year period, the number of AfricanAmerican SAT examinees in public schools increased 43.4 percent, while the number of Asian examinees in Texas


increased 23.4 percent. The number of all Texas public school students taking the test increased by 21.6 percent during this period. Robert Scott, commissioner of education, stated: “There is clearly an increase in the college-going culture in this state. Whether it’s elementary schools decorated with college pennants, new high-tech science and technology programs, or expanding dual enrollment and advanced placement courses, there is a synergy in Texas that is causing more students to consider going to college.” (Sept. 14, 2011, www.tea.state.tx.us/ news_release.aspx?id=2147503072) Texas has the 10th highest overall graduation rate among 34 states that are reporting the National Governors Association Compact Graduation Rate (students completing high school on time within a four-year window) for the class of 2010, according to a comparison study done by the Texas Education Agency. Texas had the second highest graduation rate for white students, at 91.6 percent and, along with Arkansas, the fourth highest rate for Hispanic students, with 78.8 percent. Texas also had the fifth highest rate for AfricanAmerican students, at 78.8 percent. When comparing the overall graduation rate, only the following states ranked higher than Texas: Iowa, Illinois, Vermont, North Dakota, Tennessee, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Virginia and Arkansas. (Feb. 21, 2012, www.tea.state.tx.us/news_ release.aspx?id=2147505559) At the middle school level, Texas Hispanic and African-American students earned the second highest score among their peer groups on the 2011 eighth grade National Assessment of Educational Progress mathematics test. The state’s white eighth-grade students ranked fourth, missing out on the second-place position by less than one point. (Nov. 1, 2011, www.tea.state.tx.us/news_release. aspx?id=2147504160) The advanced placement (AP) program is growing as Texas experienced an almost 11 percent increase in the number of public school students taking an AP test in 2011. Participation gains for the state’s Asian, African-American, American Indian, Hispanic and white students outpaced the growth rate for their peer groups nationally. (Sept. 28, 2011, www.tea.state.tx.us/news_release. aspx?id=2147503424)

It’s good to pause and appreciate the tremendous improvements made in Texas public schools; however, the pause can’t last long. The newly required high school end-of-course exams and the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) are yet more rungs on the ladder that Texas schools must climb. Based on past performance of our public schools however, there’s every reason to believe that these new challenges will be met successfully.

Annual Dropout Rate (%) School Year African American * 2005-06 3.8% 2006-07 4.1% 2007-08 3.5% 2008-09 3.1% 2009-10 2.7% School Year Asian Pacific Islander ** 2005-06 1.0% 2006-07 1.0% 2007-08 0.8% 2008-09 0.7% School Year Asian * 2009-10 0.6% School Year Pacific Islander * 2009-10 1.7% School Year Hispanic * 2005-06 3.5% 2006-07 3.7% 2007-08 3.0% 2008-09 2.6% 2009-10 2.1% School Year Native American ** 2005-06 2.1% 2006-07 2.0% 2007-08 1.8% 2008-09 1.6% School Year American Indian * 2009-10 1.8% School Year White * 2005-06 1.3% 2006-07 1.3% 2007-08 1.1% 2008-09 0.9% 2009-10 0.8%

Strides in social behavior Although the vast majority of students regularly attend school and positively engage in academic, co-curricular and extracurricular activities, there are always those who remain passively on the sidelines or slip through the cracks. Fortunately, Texas’ annual dropout rate has declined steadily in recent years due, in part, to school principals and staff members thinking creatively about how to make education accessible to all students. Innovative approaches such as credit recovery programs, flexible school hours, personal behavioral/academic contracts, alternative education programs and summer programming are all designed to make it easier for students to stay in school and earn a diploma. In their attempts to engage all students, administrators have had to compete with the societal influencers that

*Texas Education Agency (2011). Secondary school completion and dropouts in Texas public schools, 2009-10 (Document No. GE11 601 08). ** Texas Education Agency. (2010). Secondary school completion and dropouts in Texas public schools, 2008-09 (Document No. GE10 601 08).

See GREAT STRIDES on page 24

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GREAT STRIDES from page 23

shape today’s young people. Changes in these influencers over the years can be seen in the chart below: Major Influencers of Young People 1950

1980

1990

2000

1

Home

Home

Peers

Media

2

School

Peers

TV

Peers

3

Church

TV

Home

Home

4

Peers

School

School

School

5

TV

Church Church

Church

Source: Ako Kambon, Visionary Leaders Institute, Columbus, Ohio

Almost consistently over the past 50 years, school has trailed behind peers and home. However, many in society expect — and often need — schools to help guide young people toward acceptable societal behaviors. Consequently, more public schools are organizing character-building initiatives and good citizenry programs to help students grow in their understanding of appropriate societal behaviors.

Moreover, principals have had to change their responsive disciplinary measures to maintain a safe learning environment as society in general faces more serious behavioral issues. The chart below reflects the negative trend in disciplinary issues in American public schools. Public School Principals Rate the Top Disciplinary Problems 1940s

2000

Talking out of Turn

Drug Abuse

Chewing Gum

Alcohol Abuse

Making Noise

Pregnancy

Running in the Hall

Suicide

Cutting in Line

Rape

Dress Code Violations

Robbery

Littering

Assault

Source: Snell and Volokh, University of Michigan, 2005.

For minor missteps, schools use traditional discipline measures, such as positive intervention, to help students stay

on track and stay in school. For chronic disruptions or more serious infractions, the state of Texas has provided principals with tools of removal to ensure campus safety. These actions include suspension from class, suspension from school, disciplinary alternative educational programs or, if need be, expulsion from the school district. As all seasoned educators know, providing a rigorous and relative education that is embedded in a culture of positive relationships is no small order. Principals who can create a harmonic climate by actively involving students, teachers, staff, parents and community can achieve those three Rs. It simply takes strong campus leaders who are willing to empower all stakeholders to get involved and who are mindful of the conditions that promote a safe learning environment. ARCHIE E. MCAFEE is the executive director of the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals (TASSP). THOMAS H. LEYDEN is TASSP’s associate executive director.

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Texas School Business • June 2012


Who’s News Abilene ISD Dan Dukes will be principal at Craig Middle School starting in the 2012-2013 school year. He is currently associate principal at Abilene High School. Prior to that, he was principal of the Model Secondary School for Dan Dukes the Deaf in Washington D.C. for two years. He spent from 2004 to 2007 as the honors program coordinator at the Model Secondary School for the Deaf and at Kendall Demonstration Elementary School. He also has been a teacher at Birdville High School in Birdville ISD. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas Christian University and a master’s from The University of Texas at Arlington. He is working toward a doctorate from George Washington University. Dukes will replace Gustavo Villanueva, who is moving to a position as administrator of instruction at Abilene High School. Carla Garrett has been named principal of Austin Elementary School starting in the 2012-2013 school year. Garrett is associate principal at Abilene High School. Her prior experience includes 11 years as an elemenCarla Garrett tary school teacher. She also has experience as a middle school and high school teacher. She served as vice principal at Irving Nimitz High School between 2006 and 2010. Garrett holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston at Victoria and a master’s degree from Tarleton State University. Garrett will replace retiring Principal Candy Scarborough, who has served in Abilene ISD for 25 years and has been an educator for 30 years. She began her service at Austin Elementary School as a guidance counselor and has been principal of the school for the past eight years. She also has taught in Lubbock and in Austin. Scarborough earned her bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University and master’s degrees from Hardin-Simmons University and Abilene Christian University. Jane Allred-May, currently associate principal at Jefferson Center, will be executive director of special education starting in the 2012-2013 school year. She will replace Connie Mangin. Allred-May served

as the administrator for Houston SAC (now a part of Jefferson Center) from 1979 to 2003. From 2003 to 2011, she was an associate principal at Cooper High School. She Jane Allred-May holds a teaching degree from Hardin-Simmons University and a master’s degree from what is now Texas State University. Abilene native and Cooper High School graduate Jay Lester is returning home to serve as Abilene ISD’s director of fine arts, replacing Barbara Perkins, who is retiring. Lester, who previously directed bands in Abilene ISD at Jay Lester Clack Middle School and at Cooper High School, has served as director of fine arts for Victoria ISD since 2008. He also served in the Odessa and Allen school districts, including a stint as an assistant director and ninth grade coordinator of the 525-member Allen High School band. The 2004 Allen High School marching band was selected as the recipient of the Sudler Shield, the highest award given by the John Philip Sousa Foundation. The group traveled to Pasadena, Calif., to participate in the 2006 Tournament of Roses Parade. Lester received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from HardinSimmons University and his master’s of education from the University of North Texas. With her retirement at the end of the school year, Perkins is completing an Abilene ISD career that began 25 years ago. Perkins was choral director at Cooper for 16 years before becoming the fine arts administrator. Perkins was recognized in 2000 as the State Music Educator of the Year by the National Federation of Interscholastic Music Association and also is a former president of the Texas Music Educators Association. Texas Tech University awarded her a Distinguished Music Educator award in 2007. Perkins received her master’s degree from Texas Tech and bachelor’s degree from Hardin-Simmons University. Birdville ISD The Birdville ISD board of trustees approved the appointment of Elizabeth A. Clark as the associate superintendent for curriculum and instruction. Clark will

replace Lane Ledbetter, who was hired as superintendent in Graham ISD. Clark is a retired administrator of 39 years and the former chief academic officer for Katy ISD. She has been Elizabeth A. a teacher, instructional Clark specialist for social studies, dean of students, junior high principal, assistant superintendent, deputy superintendent, chief academic officer, and college adjunct professor and lecturer. Clark is a certified curriculum management auditor for Curriculum Management Systems Inc. and a trainer for the Texas Association of School Administrators and the Texas Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. She also has worked extensively with several districts throughout the state in the areas of curriculum management and leadership development. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern Arkansas and her master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Arkansas. Clark will begin in Birdville ISD in April. Buckholts ISD Dirk Dykstra is the new superintendent of the district. Dykstra was previously a principal in Cotulla ISD. He began his new position in February. Dykstra has been in education for 20 years and has taught many levels — from Dirk Dykstra first graders to college sophomores — in math, business and computers. He has a bachelor’s degree in management and communications and a master’s degree in school administration. He is working toward a doctorate in educational leadership from Walden University. Clear Creek ISD Superintendent Greg Smith received the Texas Music Educators Association Distinguished Administrator award.

Greg Smith See WHO’S NEWS on page 26 June 2012 • Texas School Business

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Who’s News WHO’S NEWS continued from page 25

Coahoma ISD Amy Jacobs is the district’s new superintendent. She has been in education since 1995 and has worked in Marble Falls ISD from 2001 until her appointment with Coahoma in December. Her positions in Marble Falls ISD inAmy Jacobs cluded assistant superintendent of academic programs, executive director of curriculum and instruction, executive director of secondary education, associate high school principal of instruction and high school English teacher. She also has served as a kindergarten teacher in Cayuga ISD and as a middle school English teacher in Palestine ISD. She earned her superintendent certification and her bachelor’s degree from Angelo State. She is working on a doctorate in educational leadership at Texas Tech. Jacobs replaces interim Superintendent Gary Harrell. College Station ISD Gwen Elder is the new principal of A&M Consolidated High School. She has been the interim principal since February. She is a graduate of the school and has spent her entire career there. She was associate principal, assisGwen Elder tant principal, business education teacher, girls’ basketball coach and track coach. She has a bachelor’s degree in business management from the University of North Alabama and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Sam Houston State. Conroe ISD Dereck Rush has been approved as Oak Ridge High School’s new head football coach and assistant athletics director. Rush previously was employed at John Tyler High School in Tyler ISD, where the football team has a 42-23 record for the past five years. It also held a spot in the Class 4A Division I semifinals last season and was in the quarterfinals the year before. Rush attended Mississippi State University, where he played football and earned a degree in fitness management with a minor in business administration. Rush replaces interim head coach Clayton Odom. 26

Texas School Business • June 2012

Corpus Christi ISD Moody High School Principal Conrado Garcia is retiring at the end of the school year. He has been an educator for 40 years and the principal of Moody for the past 15 years. He is a graduate of Moody. Crandall ISD Robert Jolly is Crandall ISD’s new superintendent. He replaces Larry Watson, who retired at the end of March. Jolly has more than 23 years of experience in public education, including six years as a teacher and a coach and Robert Jolly 17 years as a school administrator. He comes to Crandall ISD from his role as assistant superintendent for administration and human resources in Kerrville ISD. Previously, he has been principal of Tivy High School in Kerrville ISD; associate principal at W.T. White High School in Dallas ISD; and interim principal, associate principal and dean of students at Highland Park High School in Highland Park ISD. Prior to becoming an administrator, Jolly served as a mathematics instructor and coach at Highland Park High School and at Greenville High School. Jolly earned both his bachelor of science and master’s degree in education from Texas A&M University in Commerce. He also holds a doctorate in education from the University of Phoenix. Todd John has been named the new athletics director and head football coach. He comes to the district with more than 17 years of coaching experience. He has coached a variety of sports, including boys’ basketball, girls’ soccer, Todd John boys’ soccer, baseball, wrestling and track. He has worked at Highland Park ISD, a 4A district, since 2007. In addition to his most recent teaching and coaching experience, John has served in a variety of coaching positions at Colleyville ISD, Dallas ISD, Keller ISD, Flower Mound ISD and Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University). He earned a bachelor’s degree in exercise sport science from Southwest State Texas University and his master’s degree in sport science from Ohio University. In 2002, he earned Marcus High School’s

Coach of the Year award. John boasts 15 out of 17 years of high school playoff appearances, 11 years of consecutive 4A/5A Texas High School Playoff appearances, and state championships in 1997 and 2006. John is a member of the Texas High School Coaches Association and the Texas Federation of Teachers. He is an affiliate with the American Football Coaches Association. Cypress-Fairbanks ISD Mike Cobia is the new athletics coordinator and head coach of Cypress Springs High School. He was most recently athletics director and head coach of Taylor High School in Taylor ISD. Before that, he was athletics director and head football coach at Caldwell High School. He was also an assistant football, basketball, and track and field coach at Langham Creek and Cypress Falls high schools. He coached at Montgomery and Conroe high schools and at Washington Junior High. He has a bachelor’s degree in physical education and political science from Sam Houston State University. Dallas ISD Mike Miles is the new superintendent. He comes to Dallas ISD from Harrison School District Two in Colorado Springs, Colo., where he has been superintendent since 2006. Prior to his career in education, Miles attended West Mike Miles Point and then served in the Army’s Ranger Battalion and commanded an infantry rifle company. Following that, he attended Columbia University to study Soviet affairs and then worked for the U.S. State Department as an overseas diplomat in Moscow and Warsaw. He officially takes over on July 2. Miles replaces Michael Hinojosa, who accepted a position near Atlanta, Ga., last year. DeSoto ISD David Harris started on April 2 as the district’s new superintendent. Harris holds a master’s degree in education from Prairie View A&M and a doctorate in education administration from Texas A&M. Previously, Harris worked for David Harris Beaumont ISD.


Who’s News Elgin ISD Jodi Duron will be the new superintendent starting July 1. She currently is the assistant superintendent for Comal ISD. Duron will replace retiring Superintendent Bill Graves. Jodi Duron

Granbury ISD Carol Walston, special education department coordinator, will soon be departing for Big Spring ISD to become that school district’s special education director. Walston has been in Granbury since 1997, serving as an educational diagnostician for nine years before moving into the coordinator’s position in 2006. Walston’s educational career began in 1986 as a special education paraprofessional for grades K-6 in Woodville. After two years, she became a special education teacher in that school district. Becoming a diagnostician in 1994, she served school cooperatives in Tyler and Polk counties before coming to Granbury. She received a bachelor’s degree in 1990 and a master’s degree in 1994, both from Stephen F. Austin State University. Walston plans to remain in Granbury for the remainder of the school year before leaving for Big Spring. Huffman ISD Benny Soileau is the new superintendent, replacing interim Superintendent Jean Isaly, who is retiring. Soileau is currently assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. Jean Isaly

Irving ISD Crystal Ramirez-Scanio, an experienced bilingual financial manager, has taken over as executive director of the Irving Schools Foundation. RamirezScanio replaces Mandy Hamilton-O’Neill, who Crystal Ramirez- accepted the position of chief executive officer Scanio for Leukemia Texas after three years of service at Irving. Formerly with Merrill Lynch in Irving, RamirezScanio spearheaded recruitment events and

marketing campaigns while managing relationships with current and potential clients. Prior to that, she was a top sales producer for AXA Advisors while serving Mandy Hamilton- a number of community organizations, includO’Neill ing the Junior League of Arlington, the Greater Arlington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Irving-Las Colinas Chamber. With a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Texas Tech and a certificate in financial planning from Southern Methodist University, RamirezScanio brings a business perspective to the foundation. Latino Leaders magazine this year named her one of the “Top 25 Young Latino Leaders DFW.” Keller ISD Superintendent James Veitenheimer has accepted a position to take over the same role at Deer Valley Unified School District in Phoenix, Ariz. Veitenheimer has been Keller ISD’s superintendent since 2004. During that eightJames year period, Keller ISD Veitenheimer has opened 14 campuses and its enrollment has increased by nearly 10,000 students. Veitenheimer plans to continue his duties at Keller ISD until the end of June. Kristen Eriksen has been approved as Keller-Harvel Elementary’s new principal. She was previously interim assistant principal at the same school. Prior to that, she was assistant principal at South Keller Intermediate School. ErKristen Eriksen iksen received her bachelor’s degree from Auburn University and her master’s degree in education from The University of Texas at Arlington. Jackie GreenAugust is now North Riverside Elementary’s principal. Previously, Jackie Greenshe served as a transiAugust tion specialist in Fort Worth ISD, working with college-bound

students. She also served as an elementary school principal for five years in Virginia. Green-August holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from Longwood University and a doctorate in education from Virginia State University. Lamar CISD Mike Semmler, principal of Briscoe Junior High, has been named the district’s 2012 Secondary Principal of the Year. He has been principal since 2006. Prior to that, he was assistant principal of Foster High School and was Mike Semmler a technology trainer for the district and a science teacher at Wessendorf Middle School. His bachelor’s and master’s degrees are from the University of South Dakota. Heather Patterson, principal of Velasquez Elementary, has been named the 2012 Elementary Principal of the Year. She was the school’s assistant principal when it opened in 2006 and has been principal since 2010. She Heather was also a teacher at Pink Patterson and Travis elementary schools. She has a bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University and a master’s degree from the University of Houston at Victoria. Lindale ISD Michele Tate has been hired as the district’s new finance director. She replaces Liz Stewart, who is moving out of the district. Tate, who served as the director of business operations for Sabine ISD, also has served as the executive Michele Tate director of business services for Troup ISD, as a financial accountant for Tyler ISD, and as a supervisor accountant for Squyres Johnson Squyres and Co. Little Elm ISD Kristi Hargrove, coordinator of college and career readiness, will lead the planning See WHO’S NEWS on page 28 June 2012 • Texas School Business

27


Who’s News WHO’S NEWS continued from page 27

and implementation of the district’s new secondary alternative education center, King Learning Academy, which will open in the fall. Hargrove joined the district in 2006 as an assistant Kristi Hargrove principal at Little Elm High School and served for two years as the principal of Brent Intermediate School. Anna King, principal of Lakeside Middle School, will move to the Support Center as the coordinator of college and career readiness. She will assume Hargrove’s duties working with Advancement Via Individual DeterminaAnna King tion (AVID) and career and technology education programs, as well as with other college readiness initiatives. Prior to joining the district, she worked for three years as assistant principal at Fossil Ridge High School in Keller ISD. She also served for one year in central administration as the district’s testing coordinator. Northside ISD Brian T. Woods, a 20-year veteran educator and the district’s deputy superintendent for administration, is stepping up to serve as superintendent. Woods will replace John Folks, who is retiring as superintendent at the end of Brian T. Woods June after a 10-year tenure at Northside ISD. Woods, who will receive his doctoral degree in education leadership and policy studies this summer from The University of Texas at San Antonio, has served as the deputy superintendent for administration since 2009. He started his career as a social studies teacher at Marshall High School in 1992 and taught U.S. government, economics and U.S. history. He then helped open O’Connor High School in 1998 as an assistant principal. He became vice principal at Clark High School in 2000. In 2004, he was named the school’s principal. He remained in that post until he became the assistant superintendent 28

Texas School Business • June 2012

for secondary administration in 2006. Lori Jones, who has more than 18 years of technology leadership experience, was selected to serve as assistant superintendent for technology services. Jones joined the Northside’s Technology Services Department in 2002 as Lori Jones the assistant director of technology support. She became director of integrated infrastructure services in 2004. Prior to coming to the district, Jones served with the U.S. Air Force as a cyberspace officer from 1993 to 2002 and continues to serve part-time in the U.S. Air Force Reserve. Originally from Arlington, Jones received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Southwestern University in Georgetown in 1991, her master’s in kinesiology from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley in 1993 and her master’s in Information Technology Management from the Colorado Technical University in Colorado Springs in 2007. Ada Bohlken, formerly vice principal at Taft High School, was appointed the principal at Holmes High School to replace Dennis Ann Strong, who is now the executive director for secondary instruction at Central AdministraAda Bohlken tion. Bohlken began her teaching career in Northside ISD in 1993 as a P.E. teacher and coach at Pat Neff Middle School. She moved to Ross Middle School in 1995 as the women’s athletics director, coach and PE teacher. She moved into campus administration in 2000 as an assistant principal at Zachry Middle School, moving to vice principal in 2002. She served as an assistant principal at Holmes High School, beginning in June 2007, before moving to Taft High School in 2010 as vice principal. Bohlken received her bachelor’s degree in political science from The University of Texas at San Antonio and her master’s degree from Texas A&M University in Kingsville. Ron Tatsch has come full circle in his Northside ISD career, having been appointed the principal of Scobee Elementary School. The former principal at Mary Hull Elementary first came to the district as a P.E. teacher at Scobee Elementary in 1996. He

left the district for one year to serve as a teacher with the Children’s Comprehensive Services Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Program and then returned as a P.E. teacher at Mary Hull EleRon Tatsch mentary School in 1998. Tatsch moved into campus administration in 2002, serving first as vice principal and then as principal of Mary Hull Elementary. He received his bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and his master’s degree in educational leadership from The University of Texas at San Antonio. Mahntie Reeves, formerly a secondary English as a Second Language (ESL) support teacher at Central Administration, is now the academic dean at Ross Middle School. Reeves began his teaching career in North Hills, CaMahntie Reeves lif., at Sepulveda Middle School. He served as an interim dean of students, a coordinator of the Special Education Tutorial Program, an ESL department chair, a social science teacher and an ESL teacher. He moved to San Antonio in 2007 and joined the staff at North East ISD, serving as grant manager of a LEP SSI grant, coordinator of the seventh grade LEP Summer Science Academy, director of a bilingual summer program and a high school ESL summer school and an ESL instructional interventionist. He joined Northside in 2009 as a social studies department coordinator and then as a secondary ESL instructional support teacher. He received his bachelor’s degree in government from Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, Calif.; his teaching credential from Occidental College in Los Angeles, Calif.; and his master’s degree in education administration from Pepperdine University in Los Angeles. Jill Hackney, formerly academic dean at Rawlinson Middle School, is now the academic dean at Clark High School. Hackney started her career as a teacher and coach at Center Point Middle School in Center Point in Jill Hackney 1998. Serving as a math teacher, she moved to Tivy High School in Kerrville in 2000 and to


Who’s News Ingram Tom Moore High School in Ingram before beginning her campus administrative career in 2003 as math curriculum specialist for Ingram ISD. She was the assistant principal at Ingram Tom Moore High School in Ingram ISD; assistant principal at Boerne High School in Boerne ISD; vice principal for student activities at Samuel V. Champion High School in Boerne ISD; and then academic dean at Rawlinson Middle School in Northside ISD. A graduate of Westlake High School in Austin, she received her bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies and master’s degree in educational leadership from The University of Texas at San Antonio. In other Northside news, Patricia Noriega, formerly vice principal at Mary Hull Elementary, has been appointed principal at the school. Katherine Bazzani, formerly support specialPatricia Noriega ist in the Organizational and Staff Development Department, has been appointed academic dean at Rawlinson Middle School. Martha CortinasFernandez, formerly assistant principal at Taft Katherine Bazzani High School, has been appointed vice principal at Taft High School. Julie Montamat, formerly assistant principal at Taft High School, has been appointed vice principal at Rayburn Middle School. Martha CortinasFernandez

Overton ISD Cedrid Standard has been hired as the new special education teacher and coach. He grew up in Mount Pleasant and graduated from Texas A&M Commerce. Seth Drennan is the new football offensive coordinator and high school teacher. Drennan grew up in Longview and earned his degree at Texas A&M. Prior to coming to Overton ISD, he worked in Pittsburg ISD. Overton Middle School Assistant Principal David Barbieri is retiring.

Plainview ISD Superintendent Ron Miller has announced his retirement at the end of January 2013. Before becoming superintendent in 2002, he was assistant superintendent. Prior to that, Miller spent almost 30 years as a teacher. One month following his retirement, Miller plans to serve part-time in the district helping with the new superintendent’s transition and working as a personnel consultant. Slaton ISD Julee Becker, currently assistant superintendent for the district, is the new superintendent, starting July 1. Becker has been with Slaton ISD since 2010. Prior to that, she served as principal in Lubbock ISD at three schools. Becker will replace retiring Superintendent James Taliaferro. Snyder ISD The district has named Cassidy McBrayer as the new chief academic officer. McBrayer has been serving in public education for more than 14 years, teaching all levels of math and science and working in administration at the campus and district levels. McBrayer has been with Cisco ISD for the past six years as a junior high principal and assistant superintendent. She also has taught graduate courses for Abilene Christian University and Grand Canyon University and has presented for several regional and state conferences, including the Texas Association of School Administrators and the Texas Rural Education Association. In 2010, McBrayer was named a Woman of Outstanding Achievement by the Abilene branch of the American Association of University Women. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Angelo State University. In 2008, she completed a doctorate of education at Tarleton State University. Jeff Northern is the assistant superintendent of human resources and student services. Previously, Northern coached and taught in Levelland for 10 years and served three years as Levelland High School’s assistant princiJeff Northern pal. In 2004, he became a principal in Follett ISD. He became the district’s superintendent in 2008. He received his

bachelor of science degree from Texas Tech University in 1991 and his master’s degree in educational leadership from Lubbock Christian University in 2005. Socorro ISD Ronald Durkes is the new athletics director. He was assistant principal of Montwood High School since 2007. He was an assistant football coach and AVID coordinator at Eastwood High in Ysleta ISD from 2004 to 2007. He also Ronald Durkes was head football coach at Hanks High School in Ysleta ISD from 1997 to 2003 and at Clint High School in Clint ISD during 1996-1997. He holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in administration from the University of Texas at El Paso. Waller ISD Brad Wright was named athletics director and head football coach for the district. Wright has a successful coaching career in both college and high school football. He came to Waller ISD from Wharton High School Brad Wright in Wharton ISD, where he served as athletics director and head football coach. He formerly served as head football coach at Texas State University in San Marcos. Wright also brings numerous years of experience as director of athletics and head football coach at Canyon High School in Comal ISD, East Bernard High School in East Bernard ISD and Karnes City High School in Karnes City ISD. He also has served as assistant coach at the University of Southwestern Louisiana, El Campo High School in El Campo ISD, Klein Oak High School in Klein ISD and Pearland High School in Pearland ISD. TSB

June 2012 • Texas School Business

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THE BACK PAGE Advertiser Index

by Riney Jordan

Armko Industries Inc. ......................18 www.armko.com

Disruptive child? Who ya gonna call?

ESC Region 16..................................22 www.esc16.net

read with interest about an Indiana elementary school calling the local police and having a 6-year-old child arrested for “assaulting” the principal. What? I couldn’t believe what I was reading. According to the police report, school officials reported that the child had kicked the principal and told him and the assistant principal that he was “going to kill them.” The news article stated that, “the student was yelling and screaming and lying on the floor when police arrived.” As I continued to read, I became even more surprised at the staggering statistics on students who have been arrested. Between 2009 and 2010, more than 900 students were arrested in Albuquerque, N.M., alone. But wait. It gets even more alarming. In our beloved state of Texas, there were more than 300,000 students who were given misdemeanors in 2010 as a result of their inappropriate behavior while in school. That number included children as young as 6 years old. What are some of the behaviors that are giving our kids a police record before they even graduate? Charges include an amazing range of crimes for those youngsters under the age of 13. For example, offenses include spraying cologne on another student, giving “wedgies” and having a food fight. School officials accused one 6-year-old of sexual assault during a recess game of tag. To get the sexual assault charge removed from his school records, the parents hired a lawyer to “prove that the charge had no legal basis.” Wow! Now that’s troubling! Oh, I don’t want to start playing the blame game. There’s enough of that for all of us — schools, parents and society in general. None of us want confrontation. Too many parents choose to ignore the problem to avoid confrontation. Schools have been handed the problems. And yes, at some point, when we’re beaten down, we reach out to a more powerful authority. Of course, there are no easy answers. But one that is showing a great deal of prom-

ESC Region 20 TCC.........................21 www.esc20.net/TCC

I

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Texas School Business • June 2012

ise is that of giving children responsibility at an early age. One study followed the lives of 456 boys from inner-city Boston, Mass., over a 40-year period. Many of them came from poor and impoverished homes. “Regardless of intelligence, family income, ethnic background or amount of education,” if the boys were given responsibilities, such as jobs or chores around the house, they were happier, more successful and more productive as adults. I’m old enough now to remember that parents of yesteryear were extremely permissive. They permitted their children to work, to have responsibilities and to follow the examples set by the parents. Simply put, I believe that we could all do more for our children by not doing so much for them. We’ve all seen kids being given too much. Too much idle time, too many toys, too many inappropriate games, too much television, too much access to violence. The list is practically endless. I once saw a quote that simply said: “Some parents begin by giving in and end with giving up.” Let’s all vow to work at being more sensitive to their needs and frustrations. Let’s commit to listening with interest and understanding. Let us remember our fears when we were children and how a sympathetic adult helped us through a difficult time. Strive to be more patient and helpful as they are growing and developing. Let us allow them to make mistakes without belittling. Commit to a life of encouragement for them. And by all means, be a positive role model for the students you serve. And when all else fails, a loving, gentle approach will often work wonders. As someone once wisely wrote: “The trouble with the problem child is not always apparent — sometimes it’s two parents.” RINEY JORDAN, whose best-selling book “All the Difference” is now in its sixth printing, is an international speaker and humorist. He can be reached at riney@yahoo.com or by visiting www.rineyjordan.com.

ESC Region 20....................................4 www.esc20.net

H-E-B................................................32 www.heb.com/education Houston ISD.......................................9 www.eshars.com McGriff Seibels & Williams of Texas........................................24 www.mcgriff.com Panel Specialists................................23 www.panelspec.com Riney Jordan Co. ..............................11 www.rineyjordan.com Shweiki Media..................................11 www.shweiki.com Spectrum Corp. ............................5, 24 www.spectrumscoreboards.com Sungard Public Sector.......................13 www.sungardps.com TASA...................................................6 www.tasanet.org TASB...................................................4 www.tasb.org Texas School Administrators’ Legal Digest...................7, 8, 19, 31 www.legaldigest.com Texas School Business.........................2 www.texasschoolbusiness.com Turffalo...............................................6 www.turffalo.com WRA Architects..................................5 www.wraarchitects.com


Back to School Special:

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2012 Workshop Dates and Locations August 28, 2012 ESC 10 - Richardson

September 14, 2012 ESC 7 - Kilgore

August 30, 2012 ESC 17 - Lubbock

September 18, 2012 ESC 1 - Edinburg

September 5, 2012 ESC 18 - Midland

September 20, 2012 HCDE Houston

September 10, 2012 ESC 11 - Fort Worth

September 25, 2012 ESC 20 - San Antonio

September 12, 2012 ESC 8 - Mt. Pleasant

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CONGRATULATIONS

2012 WINNERS! Local educators and schools awarded

over $600,000 Awarded $5,000 | Rising Star Winners

Awarded $10,000 | Leadership Winners

A matching grant went to their schools.

A matching grant went to their schools.

LESLEY-ANN BALIDO-DEAN

MICHAEL HARDY

FRANCES GONZALEZ-GARCIA

EMILY SWOBODA

Woodridge Elementary San Antonio, Texas

IDEA Frontier College Prep Brownsville, Texas

Sam Houston Elementary Corpus Christi, Texas

Communications Arts High School San Antonio, Texas

Awarded $25,000 | Lifetime Achievement Winners

Awarded $10,000 | Principal Winners

A matching grant went to their schools.

A $25,000 grant went to their schools.

ELAINE LEIBICK

BEVERLY SMITH

DR. CATHERINE BARTLETT

RAMIRO GUERRA

Highland Park Elementary Austin, Texas

Lovejoy High School Lucas, Texas

Hamilton Elementary Cypress, Texas

Edinburg North High School Edinburg, Texas

Awarded $100,000

Awarded $50,000

Awarded $25,000

Large District Winner

Small District Winner

Early Childhood Winner

Over 230 finalists and semi-finalists were also recognized with awards ranging from $250 to $5,000.

Early childhood education is an important part of the learning process for a child. That’s why this year we added an Early Childhood award to recognize those facilities that are preparing children to enter kindergarten physically and emotionally ready to learn.

Visit heb.com/education to learn more about the Excellence in Education Awards program. ©2012 HEB, 12-3238

Profile for Texas Association of School Administrators

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