TSB—March/April 2016

Page 1



The News Magazine for Public Education in Texas

Texas School Business



Also in this issue: Commissioner Mike Morath TASB President Bret Begert TASSP President Charles Jehlen

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Texas School Business MARCH/APRIL 2016


TASB President Profile In boardrooms and on horseback, Fort Elliot CISD’s Bret Begert cuts trails for success


by Bobby Hawthorne

Cover Story


Raising the creative class Why the arts are crucial to a 21st century education

In the Spotlight Commissioner Morath’s preparation for top job has been years in the making

by Shelley Seale

By Raven L. Hill

27 TASSP President Profile Principal Charlie Jehlen brings flexibility, humor to his job by Ford Gunter

Departments 6 Who’s News 17 Letters to the Editor 29 Regional View 33 The Arts 35 Calendar 38 Ad Index


5 From the Editor by Katie Ford 9 The Law Dawg— Unleashed by Jim Walsh 11 Digital Frontier by Karen Fuller 13 Game On! by Bobby Hawthorne

Photo Feature

31 Student Voices by Ashley Flores, Travis Raymond and Christine Young

18 TASA Midwinter attracts 5,000 attendees to Austin

38 The Back Page by Riney Jordan

10 TCWSE members gather during TASA Midwinter Conference 37 TASPA/TAEE Winter Conference held in Austin

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.

Designing collaborative learning environments that inspire curiousity, encourage free play, and foster imagination.



From the editor

n some ways, it feels like only yesterday we created a special issue called Bragging Rights, which celebrates 12 school programs exemplifying excellence in Texas public education. However, here we are, soliciting nominations for our 10th annual issue! You can fill out an online nomination by clicking on “Bragging Rights” on our home page menu at www.texasschoolbusiness.com. Why nominate a program? Turn to page 17 and read the letters from people whose districts were featured in the Ninth Annual Bragging Rights special issue. Their words espouse the reasons better than I ever could. If you haven’t already, I also encourage you to read their stories. The ninth annual issue is accessible to everyone — not just subscribers — on our home page. Now, about this issue in your hands (or on your screen). While the entire magazine is worth reading (not biased at all), I’d like to direct your attention to two articles. First, on page 14, you’ll find our cover story on the role of the arts in a 21st century education. The latest research shows that art education supports healthy brain development and increases overall academic achievement. The arts encourages innovation, critical thinking, problem solving and a passion for learning. Creative expression offers children opportunities to build confidence and gain a stronger sense of self. As I see it, this growing national focus on the arts in K-12 education goes hand-in-hand with the conversation around the need to support and foster a child’s emotional intelligence at school. (See our September/October 2015 cover story.) Both of these movements are signaling a sea change in K-12 education — how we define it, deliver it and measure it. We are on a precipice in public education, and it feels promising to me. Educators are realizing that sometimes the best lessons learned in school have nothing to do with reading, writing and arithmetic. And that brings me to the second article I’d like to point out. Turn to page 33. I’ll let it speak for itself.

Join us! Summer Conference: July 13-16, 2016 Fall Conference: September 25-26, 2016 Winter Conference: Nov 30-Dec 2, 2016 The conferences are all at the Westin-Domain in Austin.

Texas School Business (ISSN 0563-2978 USPS 541-620) MARCH/APRIL 2016 Volume LXIII, Issue 4 406 East 11th Street Austin, Texas 78701 Phone: 512-477-6361 • Fax: 512-482-8658 www.texasschoolbusiness.com EDITORIAL DIRECTOR

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Texas School Business (ISSN 0563-2978) is published bimonthly with a special edition, Bragging Rights, in December, by the Texas Association of School Administrators, at 406 E. 11th St., Austin, TX 78701. Periodicals postage paid at Austin, Texas, and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Texas Association of School Administrators, 406 East 11th Street, Austin, TX 78701. © Copyright 2016 Texas Association of School Administrators

Texas School Business MARCH/APRIL 2016


Who’s News Abilene ISD Gail Gregg is the district’s

new superintendent. He has been with Abilene ISD for 24 years, most recently as executive director for secondary education and principal of Holland Medical Early College High School. After earning both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Harding University in Arkansas, Gregg received a second master’s degree, in education, from Stephen F. Austin State University. The new principal of Holland Medical Early College High School is Lyndsey Williamson, who had been director of health sciences. She joined the district as a math teacher in 2007. Both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees were awarded from Angelo State University.

Allen ISD Jason Johnston, who led North Forney High School in Forney ISD since 2014, has been named principal of Allen High School. He holds a doctorate in educational administration from Texas A&M University at Commerce.

A new assistant superintendent for learner services has been appointed. Jennifer Wilhelm most recently worked as director of learner support in McKinney ISD. The Allen High alumna completed graduate work in gifted education at the University of Arkansas and received a master’s degree in educational administration from Lamar University.

Amarillo ISD The Texas Music Educators Association has named Amarillo ISD fine arts director Cody Myers its 2015 Outstanding Music Administrator. Myers has served in his current position since 1997, after earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from West Texas State University. He is active across Texas and the southern United States as a clinician, judge and consultant.

Aspermont ISD Tim Bartram, the new district superintendent, most recently served as a principal in Iowa City (Texas) ISD.

Bangs ISD Tony Truelove, the new Bangs ISD superintendent, has been promoted to his new position from serving as principal of Bangs High School.


Texas School Business MARCH/APRIL 2016

Barbers Hill ISD Tom Westerberg has left his position as head football coach and assistant athletic director at Allen High School in Allen ISD to lead the football program at Barbers Hill ISD. He was with Allen ISD since 2001.

Beaumont ISD Shannon Allen has been promoted from her position of Ozen High School principal to assistant superintendent for secondary administration. She holds a doctorate in education from Lamar University. April Johnston is the new principal of

Blanchette Elementary School. She began her career in Beaumont ISD in 2000 and was most recently assistant principal of Homer Drive Elementary. She received her master’s degree in educational leadership from Lamar University.

Donna Prudhomme has been appointed

interim principal of Ozen High School, moving to her new job from serving as the school’s assistant principal and magnet coordinator. She earned her doctoral degree from Nova Southeastern University.

Vonda Washington has been selected to fill

the position of assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. She has previously served as principal in Dickinson, Fort Bend and Alief ISDs. Her bachelor’s degree was awarded from Texas Southern University, her master’s degree from Prairie View A&M University, and her doctorate from Lamar University.

Brownsville ISD Danny Espinosa, a ten-

nis coach at Rivera Early College High School for 22 years, has been named 2015 High School Coach of the Year by Tennis Industry magazine. In addition to coaching numerous district champion players, Espinosa coached his team to a second place finish in 2011-2012. He has served on the Brownsville Tennis Association’s board of directors for 20 years and was instrumental in the creation of the Brownsville Tennis Center.

Brownwood ISD Joe Young has been named superintendent of Brownwood ISD. Since 2008, he has been deputy superintendent of Corsicana ISD. He holds a bachelor’s degree in wildlife and fisheries science from Texas A&M University, a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Texas Wesleyan University, and a doctorate in educational leadership from Sam Houston State University.

Burkburnett ISD Tylor Chaplin, the district’s newly hired

superintendent, most recently held the same position in Falls City ISD.

Canyon ISD Canyon Intermediate School now has Tricia Cook as principal. An educator for 11 years, she was the school’s assistant principal for the past four years. Paul Kimbrough now serves as executive director of human resources. A 22-year veteran of Texas public education, he has been principal of Canyon Intermediate School for the past 12 years.

Now serving as principal of Sundown Lane Elementary School is Noe Renteria. He has spent his eight-year career with the district, most recently as an assistant principal of Lakeview Elementary. The new chief financial officer, Heather Wilson, brings 13 years of school finance experience to her job. She has been promoted from serving as director of finance, a position she held for the past eight years.

Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD Mark Hyatt, associate superintendent

for business services, has retired after 35 years as an educator, 31 of those with the district.

The Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD Board of Trustees has approved the appointment of Tonya Tillman as associate superintendent for business services. She came to the district in 2012 as chief financial officer. She is a CPA and has served in Texas public schools since 1999.

Clear Creek ISD The new head football coach at Clear Falls High School, Zach Head, has served as assistant football coach there for nine years. His 13 years of experience also include stints at Red Oak ISD and Northeastern State University in Oklahoma.

College Station ISD An interim principal has been named for College Station High School. She is Tiffany Parkerson, who has been with the district since 2003, most recently as an

assistant principal at the school. Parkerson earned her bachelor’s degree in English and her master’s degree in education from Texas A&M University.

Comal ISD Gov. Greg Abbott has named Comal ISD Superintendent Andrew Kim as presiding officer of the new Texas Commission on Next Generation Assessments and Accountability, a committee charged with recommending a new system for student assessment and public schools accountability. Kim previously served as Manor ISD superintendent and Austin ISD assistant superintendent.

Conroe ISD Now serving as assistant superintendent for secondary education is Jim Kacur. He comes to his new position from Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia, where he was a principal and assistant superintendent. Jill Malpass, who for the past five years was

an assistant principal at The Woodlands High School, is now principal of The Woodlands High School Ninth Grade Campus.

The new assistant superintendent for elementary education is Debbie Phillips, a 31-year veteran educator who most recently was executive director of curriculum and instruction in Clear Creek ISD. Chris Povich, who had been serving as prin-

cipal of The Woodlands High School Ninth Grade Campus, now leads York Junior High as principal.

Cuero ISD Ben Colwell has returned to the district in which he previously worked to serve as interim superintendent. The 31-year veteran educator began his career with Cuero ISD as a coach, serving next as business manager and assistant superintendent before taking the superintendent position at Luling ISD. He has spent the past 21 years as superintendent of various districts in the state.

Cypress-Fairbanks ISD Cypress Ridge High School’s assistant football coach, Matt Beeler, has been named the Houston Texans’ High School Coach of the Year. The award was presented in January at Reliant Park in Houston before the Texans’ game that day. Beeler’s honor also comes with a $5,000 check to benefit his school’s football program. The new principal of Millsap Elementary School is Joy Daupin, who has spent her 11-year career in Cypress Fairbanks ISD, most recently as an assistant principal at

Yeager Elementary. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biomedical science from Texas A&M University and a master’s degree in public school administration from the University of Houston.

goal is to strengthen school leadership development, create focused learning environments and improve student performance.

Wilson Elementary School now has Tamera Felder as principal. She has 14 years of experience in public education, all with Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, and is a former assistant principal at Emmott Elementary. She is a graduate of Prairie View A&M University, where she earned her master’s degree in human science.

Gary Patterson, who spent the past 14

Cypress Ranch High School head boys’ swimming and diving coach Bryan Hutchinson has been named 2015 Boys Swimming and Diving Coach of the Year by the National Federation of State High School Associations. He led the Mustangs team to a district 17-6A championship last year.

Dallas ISD Dallas ISD trustees have approved Stephanie Elizalde as the district’s chief of school leadership, promoting her from her most recent position as deputy chief of school leadership. An educator for 28 years, she joined Dallas ISD in 2011.

Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD Meghan Cryer, now assistant principal

of Creekview Middle School, has been with the district since 2007, most recently serving as a teacher leader at Watson High School and developer for a district-wide English II curriculum. An educator for 10 years, she holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Southeastern Oklahoma State University and a master’s degree in public administration from The University of Texas at Arlington.

Heather Hughes has been appointed direc-

tor of special programs. She comes to the district from the University of North Texas’ Kristin Farmer Autism Center, where she was associate executive director. Hughes received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in special education and psychology from Texas A&M University. Her doctorate was awarded from the University of North Texas.

East Bernard ISD Courtney Hudgins, who had been serving in

the lead position in an interim capacity, is now district superintendent.

El Paso ISD Superintendent Juan Cabrera has been named chair of the Texas Urban Council of Superintendents, a network of Texas’ largest urban school districts, representing 750,000 students and 50,000 teachers. The council’s

Falls City ISD years as superintendent of East Central ISD before retiring in 2014, has agreed to serve as interim superintendent. He has been an educator since 1976.

Flour Bluff ISD Flour Bluff ISD’s public information coordinator, Lynn Kaylor, retired at the end of January after 24 years with the district, 22 of those in her most recent position. She spent two years as vice president at large for the Texas School Public Relations Association and, prior to joining Flour Bluff ISD, worked in the private sector in hospital administration and with a CPA firm. Kim Sneed is Flour Bluff ISD’s new public information coordinator. She has 15 years of experience in communications and public relations, the past 10 in Corpus Christi ISD as a communications specialist. She earned her bachelor’s degree in marketing from Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi.

Friona ISD Superintendent Kenny Austin has submitted his intention to retire by the end of the school year, bringing to a close a 34-year career in the district. After working as a coach and science teacher, he led Friona High School. He took on the job of interim superintendent in 2006 and was subsequently named superintendent.

Garrison ISD The district’s new superintendent, Richard Cooper, was most recently superintendent of Kennard ISD.

Goliad ISD New Superintendent David Plymale comes to Goliad ISD from Trinity ISD, where he also held the top position.

Hallsville ISD Superintendent Jim Dunlap has announced his intention to retire at the end of this academic year after 48 years as an educator. He began as a teacher’s aide in Lufkin ISD and led Hallsville ISD from 1994 to 2003. He then returned to serve as interim superintendent in 2011. He was named superintendent a second time in 2012.

> See Who’s News, page 8 Texas School Business MARCH/APRIL 2016


Who’s News > Continued from page 7

Hearne ISD The Hearne ISD Board of Trustees has elected Raul Nuques to serve as superintendent. He comes to his new job from Zapata County ISD, where he also held the lead position.

Houston ISD The new chief of major projects is Rick Cruz. A former fifth grade teacher, five

years ago he launched the district’s EMERGE program, which identifies low-income, high-potential students and assists them with gaining admission to Tier One and Ivy League universities. Cruz is a graduate of Yale University. Don Hare, former chief of major projects,

has retired. He joined Houston ISD in 2014 after working as a teacher, principal, consultant and superintendent in North Carolina and Ohio.

Humble ISD Superintendent Guy Sconzo, who has led the district for 15 years, will retire at the end of the school year. He has been an educator for more than 40 years, beginning as a teacher and working as an administrator in New Jersey, Ohio and Oklahoma. Immediately prior to joining Humble ISD, he was interim superintendent of Oklahoma City Public Schools. Sconzo earned his bachelor’s degree from Wagner College, his master’s degree from New York University and his doctorate from Ohio State University.

Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD Robby Ball, who was most recently an as-

sistant principal at Crowley High School in Crowley ISD, is now Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD’s coordinator of educational support services. A graduate of the University of Oklahoma, he holds a master’s degree in administration. Tanya Hassell is the district’s

new quality officer. She joined the district in 2014 after 20 years with Bank of America as a project manager, auditor, and risk and compliance officer. She has a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of North Texas. Now serving as the district’s public relations and marketing officer is Deanne Hullender, who has more than 25 years of experience in communications. She comes to her new job from Dallas County Schools, where she was


Texas School Business MARCH/APRIL 2016

director of communications. Hullender is a graduate of Baylor University with a bachelor’s degree in communications.

Irving ISD Jason Barnett has been

named principal of Brown Elementary School. Formerly an attorney in private practice, he has been an employee of the district for 15 years, serving as assistant principal of Brandenburg Elementary since 2012. He is a graduate of Baylor University with a master’s degree in educational administration from the University of North Texas. His juris doctor degree was awarded by the University of New Mexico School of Law. Raymie Ramsey, who served

as principal of Brown Elementary since 2012, has been named principal of Johnson Middle School, where she was a vice principal during the school’s inaugural year. A member of the Irving ISD team for 12 years, she holds a bachelor’s degree in communication and business from The University of Texas at Arlington and a master’s degree in educational administration from Lamar University. Irma Vega-Sadeh has agreed

to come out of retirement to serve as interim principal of Keyes Elementary School, which she led from 2006 to 2012. She was an educator for 35 years, 13 of those with Irving ISD. She holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Texas Woman’s University and a master’s degree in early childhood education from Texas State University.

Jacksboro ISD Superintendent Dennis Bennett, who has led the district for 13 years, will retire at the end of this school year.

Jacksonville ISD Facilities Director Olen Morton has announced his retirement. He joined the district as part of the Maintenance Department, advancing to work as a supervisor before being named director. Associate Superintendent Judy Terry is retiring from Jacksonville ISD. She began her education career in 1979 as a teacher and worked for the district as a principal, curriculum director and assistant superintendent before taking on her most recent job.

Jourdanton ISD Theresa McAllister now serves as district

superintendent. After attending Schreiner

College on a basketball scholarship, she was hired as Jourdanton ISD’s head girls’ basketball coach in 1995. She most recently was the district’s assistant superintendent. McAllister also earned her master’s degree in education from Schreiner.

Karnack ISD A new superintendent has been named for Karnack ISD. Amy Dickson, an educator for 22 years, was director of elementary education for Marshall ISD. Former Superintendent Cozetta Robinson, who had served for 38 years with the district, retired in January.

Katy ISD Longtime educator Alton Frailey, superintendent of Katy ISD for the past nine years, has announced his intent to retire at the end of the school year. This will bring to a close a 33-year public education career, which began in Goose Creek ISD.

La Vernia ISD The district’s new chief financial officer, Rigoberto Abrego, previously served in the same capacity for Ignite Public Schools in Edinburg and as an assistant superintendent for Edinburg ISD.

Lake Travis ISD Holly Morris-Kuentz, former assistant superintendent for human resource services, is now assistant superintendent for human capital and community services. She has been with Lake Travis ISD since 2009, when she was hired as the district’s instructional technology coordinator. Morris-Kuentz received her bachelor’s degree in English from The University of Texas at San Antonio and her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Houston Baptist University. Tamey Williams-Hill has

been named director of human resources. She comes to Lake Travis ISD from Austin ISD, where she began her career as a teacher in 2001 and was most recently the administrative staffing coordinator. She earned her bachelor’s degree in social work and English, her master’s degrees in social work and education, and her doctorate in school improvement from Texas State University.

Lamar CISD Oschlor Flemming has been approved as the first athletic coordinator and football coach at Fulshear High School, which will open in August. He comes to his new job from > See Who’s News, page 20


No more carrots and sticks by Jim Walsh


aniel Pink has some really good ideas about education. Pink, a popular author and consultant, is highly regarded by über-successful business types. He is much in demand as a speaker, largely due to such works as “Drive,” a best seller that encourages business leaders to re-examine conventional assumptions about motivation. Pink tells us that the old concept of “carrots and sticks” has its place. It works well to motivate people to perform simple, routine tasks. But Pink explains that this old system of reward and punish has little value when dealing with work that requires judgment, creativity and discernment. Work like teaching children. Or serving as an instructional leader for a school. Or being the superintendent of the district. Carrots and sticks have little effectiveness in those realms, and the research bears this out. In an interview with ASCD, Pink made these observations:

leaders who are now determined to “reform” education would listen to Pink. Here in Texas, we have established the Texas Commission on Next Generation Assessments and Accountability. No doubt, business leaders who have pushed for an accountability system based on standardized tests and a onesize-fits-all “carrots and sticks” approach will be influential in the process as we work out the details. If they pay attention to Pink and to the research cited in his work, they will see that it is high time that we moved away from simplistic solutions to complex challenges.

‘The research tells us that people who do work that requires judgment and creativity are motivated by Do not cut off intrinsic factors.​​’ black outline

“Many trends in federal policy, especially over the last decade, have focused on constraining teacher autonomy.”

The research tells us that people who do work that requires judgment and creativ“At some level, compliance is a lot easier for ity are motivated by intrinsic factors. In the people at the very top of an education particular, Pink cites autonomy, mastery and system.” the critical factors. Educators, for Advertiser: WRA purpose Architects,asInc. “And this leads to an uncomfortable quesexample, will likely produce their best work Art Deadline:and presiThursday, February 04, 2016 tion for legislators, governors if they are given autonomy, see the prospect dents: Are our education policies Submitted Date: designed Friday,ofJanuary 29, 2016 achieving greater mastery of their craft for the convenience of adults or for the and are instilled with a firm belief that their Publication: Texas School Business Magazine education of our children? Take high-stakesAnn Halstead, 512-963-6584 work serves a higher cause. testing — it’s easy, it’s cheap, and you get a a h a l ste a d @ ta s a n et .o rg Measuring educators by student perfornumber, which makes it really convenient for adults, whether they’re taxpayers or poli- mance on a single, standardized test is quite Pub Date(s): 2016 of that. So, as the next-generathe opposite cymakers. But is heavy reliance on punitive,March-April tion commission begins its important work, standardized tests the best way to educate here’s hoping they our children? Probably not. Doing what 1/3-page vertical, full color pay attention to the data, Ad Size/Color: the research and business experts like Daniel we truly need to do for our kids is going to 2.5” wide x 9.75” tall Pink, who encourage us to incentivize our end up being pretty inconvenient for a lot Art Contact: Gradyeducators L. Frank, AIA with autonomy, the prospect of of adults. But to my mind, it’s the only way WRA Architects, Inc. achieving mastery and the opportunity to to go.” work toward 214-750-0077 main a higher purpose. It would be a good idea if the corporate

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f r a n Gallegos k @ w r a Treviño a r c h i t Russo e c t s . c&oKyle m PC. JIM WALSH is an attorney with gWalsh He can be reached at jwalsh@wabsa.com. You can also follow him on Twitter: @jwalshtxlawdawg. Texas School Business MARCH/APRIL 2016


Photo Feature

TCWSE MEMBERS GATHER DURING TASA MIDWINTER CONFERENCE In January, the Texas Council of Women School Executives hosted its annual conference, which included an awards luncheon where members were recognized for their outstanding contributions to public education.

Kimberly McLeod of Harris County Department of Education, Kelly Brown of Prairie View A&M University, Vicki Miller (retired) and Kathryn Washington of Goodrich ISD.

Lindsey Pollock of Houston ISD, Lupita Hinojosa of Spring ISD, Martha Salazar-Zamora of Tomball ISD and Katrise Perera of McGraw-Hill Education.

Vita Canales of Ricardo ISD and Mary Springs of Santa Gertrudis ISD.

Anita Kliewer of Mexia ISD and Michelle Barrow of Newton ISD.


Stacey McGraw of Allen ISD and Leigh Ann Lewis of Lewisville ISD.

Shari Hedstrom of Snook ISD and Sara Goolsby of Anderson-Shiro CISD.

Texas School Business MARCH/APRIL 2016

Jeanie Johnson of Midway ISD, Susan Elza of University Interscholastic League, Mandy Vasek of Midway ISD and Celia Drews of Lorena ISD.

Val Sunday and Sharon Young of Mexia ISD.

Kathryn Washington of Goodrich ISD and Helena Mosely of Lancaster ISD.


What makes an effective CTO? by Karen Fuller


hildren from one year of age and up are using devices that are more powerful than the computer that landed Apollo 11 on the moon. These students are entering school with an expectation to use devices that allow them to touch, swipe, talk, and make their own decisions. They use digital devices to learn words, sing the alphabet, add and subtract, take pictures, make movies, store documents, and work and collaborate online. These students are digital natives. Education, we have a challenge! How we are going to support these resources across the whole learning environment when students have varying levels of technical experience and learning styles? Educators are realizing that one type of digital device will not suit every student. Who is going to be the champion to work with district and campus leaders to help guide the demand for digital learning? As technology leaders in public education, we are no longer only responsible to know the technical aspect — or the “nuts and bolts” — of what makes the digital device work, connect, send, and receive information and provide immediate gratification to the end user. We are expected to be a communicator and an innovator who exhibits courage and flexibility and gets results. An effective technology leader must understand there are state and national standards that are instructionally focused. An effective technology leader must work closely with all areas of the district leadership to build relationships and become familiar with terms and processes in their curricular areas that impact the technology environment. An effective technology leader must work with teams to understand how technology plays a part in enhancing curricular areas — not just for the devices, but how those resources can be delivered to the end users to improve instruction and learning.

Professional development in technology is no longer as simply as teaching someone how to click on the mouse and drag an icon across the screen. Effective technology leaders must work with their professional development teams to ensure they have the resources to help teachers fully utilize the digital instructional tools available to them. Moreover, one size does not fit all when it comes to training. The support must be flexible enough to allow the learner (both teacher and student) to find the right tool for the right job. An effective technology leader can communicate the district’s goals and plans to the public and vendors and build relationships with community members and district employees. Communicating goals, objectives and expected outcomes is very important to a successful district technology plan. An effective technology leader knows the whole picture of the district and is part of the superintendent’s team when building the budget. Internet service is as important these days as electricity. It is the technology leader’s responsibility to ensure that these types of resources are regarded as integral to operations. As technology leaders, we must evaluate the whole budget, not just the IT budget. An effective technology leader has to be in the mix of everything. All institutions are now a part of the social, mobile and cloud implementation of technology. Technology is not isolated to one area of an institution. How are you supporting your resources, and are all the right players where they need to be? An effective technology leader should be a part of the district’s vision and goal-setting process. Technology is, and will always be, the heartbeat of a district’s operations.

Texas School Business THE News Magazine for Public Education in Texas!

Since 1954, Texas School Business has published positive school news about and for Texas educators and the districts they serve. Considered an institution among public school administrators for its insightful writing and positive message, the magazine is a must-read for K-12 leadership teams in Texas.

Annual subscription rate: $24/year Subscription includes 6 bimonthly issues, plus our annual Bragging Rights special issue

Subscribe online today at www.texasschoolbusiness.com Reminder: Active, Associate and Student members of the Texas Association of School Administrators receive a copy of Texas School Business magazine as a membership benefit. Subscribe now for board members and other members of your leadership team.

KAREN FULLER is the chief technology officer of Klein ISD and chair of the Texas K-12 CTO Council. Texas School Business MARCH/APRIL 2016


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A different kind of history lesson by Bobby Hawthorne


hey seemed like nothing special. A couple of boxes of old plaques and trophies commemorating championships won years ago, shoved in a corner of a closet in a building being razed. But, before tossing them into a dumpster, someone called McKinney High yearbook adviser Lori Oglesbee and said, “Come get this or it’s all going to get thrown away.” So, she came and got it, even though she had no idea what to do with it. Very soon, she realized what she had: the pieces of a story of a little Texas town done gulped down whole by urban sprawl. She decided to collect as many pieces of that history as possible. Oglesbee called and visited longtime residents and former students, asking for their memories, the flotsam of their high school years. The artifacts came pouring in: scrapbooks and yearbooks, tickets and trinkets, basketball jerseys and football programs, cheerleader skirts and senior rings. Today, all those artifacts are on display in the front foyer of McKinney High in seven cases — each one measuring six feet high by 12 feet wide and three feet deep. The artifacts tell more than McKinney’s story. They tell our story. They tell the story of Col. Thomas Dooley, the aide-de-camp for Gen. Jonathan Wainwright on Corregidor, which fell to the Japanese on May 6, 1942. Held prisoner of war for three and a half years in Manchuria, Dooley was aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay to witness Japan’s surrender. “MacArthur mentioned him by name,” Oglesbee says. Dooley is a McKinney High grad, class of 1931. They tell the story of Leo the Lion, who once crouched in the foyer of a McKinney junior high for years. Thought to be made of concrete, he was about to be demolished when Oglesbee learned that Leo is, in fact, hand-carved marble, commissioned from an Italian quarry and worth between

$8,000-$10,000. He now resides in a special trophy case in McKinney High’s front foyer. In 2014, students advancing to the playoffs revived the tradition of patting Leo for good luck. They tell the story of how McKinney High in 1929 scrimmaged the Chicago White Sox, which were holding their spring training nearby, and of Bessie Largent, McKinney High grad, class of 1903. She was pro baseball’s first full-time female scout. They tell stories about what it was like to be the first African-American school board member and the first black teacher at a newly integrated all-white school. So, here’s the takeaway: Like so many other districts across the state, McKinney ISD is growing faster than anyone knows what to do with, and the parents sending their children to McKinney schools aren’t from McKinney, nor even Colin County — and probably not Texas. They’re from Sacramento and Singapore and Guatemala City, and they don’t know the story. “Before the cases,” Oglesbee says, “if you had asked anybody, ‘What year was McKinney High built?’ they probably would have replied, ‘1985,’ because that was the year this building opened.” That’s off by only 100 years. McKinney High opened in 1886 and graduated its first class in 1889. “Part of where you are today is where you came from, and schools can’t forget where they came from,” says Oglesbee, who arrived in McKinney 19 years ago by way of Camden, Ark., and West Monroe, La. “This is especially true in these fast-growth Texas suburbs and towns,” she adds. “Kids need to understand that they have a history. They need an anchor point. Our school pride is so much better now that kids can see how we got here from there. Now, I’m never at the school when there isn’t someone looking at the display cases.”

BOBBY HAWTHORNE is the author of “Longhorn Football” and “Home Field,” published by UT Press. In 2005, he retired as director of academics for the University Interscholastic League.

Texas School Business

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Texas School Business MARCH/APRIL 2016



Students at Lamkin Elementary in Cypress-Fairbanks ISD participate in the national Everyartist program, which espouses that creativity is critical to developing minds and promotes success in other subjects at school.


creative class by Shelley Seale


he mid-to late-20th century was an incredible time for intellectual and artistic development in the United States. The period saw astonishing growth in both IQ scores and creativity quotients — until the 1990s. Suddenly that upward trend halted for the creative side of the equation. In the last quarter-century, creativity scores, especially among the very young, have been slipping, while a body of research has been


Texas School Business MARCH/APRIL 2016

steadily confirming that America’s public schools may be experiencing a creativity crisis. Some people point to our current accountability systems, which, by and large, leave little room for creative thinking. Artistic expression, however, is essential for what we as a nation deem important in our children’s education: academic achievement, social engagement and innovative thinking. A number of nationally recog-

Why the arts are crucial to a 21st century education nized studies have shown that participation in the arts improves problem-solving abilities, correlates to higher grades and test scores, and improves attendance. Research exploring the impact of arts activities on intelligence — such as that done by Kyung Hee Kim at The College of William and Mary and studies done at UCLA — have found that children who participate in arts programs develop improved attention and focus, which then

leads to expanded cognitive ability. Studies also have shown that arts-engaged children benefit from increased motivation and cooperation. Educators who have seen this in action can attest to this. Patricia Barry, a veteran art teacher at Lamkin Elementary in Houston’s Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, has seen students’ Pat Barry self-esteem, school pride and enthusiasm blossom when arts are part of their education. She says they also feel part of something bigger than themselves, which often translates to students being more involved with their community. Lamkin Elementary offers a prime example of how to nurture creativity — especially in a time when arts education budgets at many schools have been drastically cut or eliminated. “For nearly the past 10 years, I have actively researched creativity, brain-based learning and the connections between achievement and the arts,” Barry says. “I am always looking for ways to spotlight my amazing young artists, their talents, and to give them novel formats to display their artwork.” Enter professional artist Brendan O’Connell. Nationally recognized for his work, O’Connell espouses that creativity is critical to developing minds and drives other subjects in education. Brendan He started an initiative O’Connell in 2012 called Everyartist.me. At its core is the mission to support art as a core subject in school and celebrate the importance of creativity. According to O’Connell’s website, “Children initiate their creative thinking abilities before they develop reading, writing or arithmetic skills. It is this creativity, comfort and connection with the visual world that drives innovation in everything they do. It is too critical to leave a child’s creative sense to atrophy when they start on the path of their academic life. It drives the other subjects. It is what moves them to new ideas and advancements.” O’Connell wanted to democratize the creative experience through a national, collaborative art event to engage elementary-age children across the United States. The Everyartist Live event premiered Oct. 29, 2013, when 230,000 children in 46


“Texas is really at the highest crux of art education and art leadership — the idea of reinforcing that art is a component of everything. You can approach art through math, science and language arts,” says Brendan O’Connell, who has worked with Texas school districts as part of his Everyartist program.

states shared a day of painting, drawing, imagination and creativity. The event broke a world record, becoming the largest art event in history. Lamkin Elementary students were among those 230,000. A thousand Lamkin students made artwork around the theme of gratitude, creating postcard-sized pieces of iconic images that represented what they were grateful for. O’Connell attended the Lamkin event, bringing a camera crew from “The Today Show” and filming students as they placed their creations on banners that hung from floor to ceiling in the school’s main hallway. The event was such a success that Everyartist Live not only returned in 2014, but O’Connell asked Barry to write the national lesson plan for the yearly event. “Lamkin has such a great energy,” O’Connell says. “We enlisted Pat to give a holistic approach to the lesson by interpreting ‘My Favorite Story,’ and she did a great job. Pat goes all in, and that was part of the appeal of coming back here.” O’Connell even tweeted his affinity for Houston schools, saying that Texas schools

are ahead of the curve in providing quality art education to students. “Texas is really at the highest crux of art education and art leadership—the idea of reinforcing that art is a component of everything. You can approach art through math, science and language arts.” My Favorite Story pulled images of hilarious, poignant, scary, sad, entertaining and uplifting memories from the students’ lives, making a direct connection between their art and their lives. Lamkin also hosted a school-wide “Evening of the Arts,” attended by more than 600 family and community members. Barry calls it one of her finest moments of teaching in her 40-year career. “I’ve dreamed for years to have this amazing opportunity for my students to shine, and Brendan has really given the nation a cause that is very necessary to promote creativity,” she says. “Small children cannot write, but to be able to create a life story in one piece of artwork — and then stand there and narrate it to you — cements all levels of learning. It’s what whole-brain creativity is all about.” Texas School Business MARCH/APRIL 2016



Lamkin Elementary students make “finger portraits” of each other. At left is artist Brendan O’Connell’s portrait of Brittany and Brittany’s portrait of O’Connell. > Continued from page 15

Barry also credits Principal Gale Parker for supporting the initiative and engaging the students. Parker says, “The neat thing about it is that every child has a story to tell, and they are all creative in their own way. It doesn’t matter where they come from, the diversity is there, and Pat draws it out of them.” Barry went on to write the curriculum for 2015 Everyartist Live with a theme of “What Fuels Creativity?” It entailed the students’ artwork being arranged in a digital slideshow that was displayed at the Museum of Fine Art Houston. Barry also will write the curriculum for this year’s event, which is slated for Oct. 27. Another Houston elementary school, Martin, in Alief ISD, also participated in Everyartist Live in 2015. The two-day program began with an Art Day Celebration on October 29, when students were taught how to draw Texas-themed artworks. The next day, they (and their teachers) completed their drawings on ceramic tiles, which were placed permanently at the school. The goal was to celebrate that the district offers art classes and to leave their mark on the school through their artwork. For teachers, it was a way to enjoy being an art teacher and spend the day creating with their students. Over 900 students participated, and O’Connell was in attendance. Art teacher Kim


Texas School Business MARCH/APRIL 2016

Rogers was nervous, but excited, to have O’Connell there because of his fame as an artist and his pioneering movement for art in schools. “As an art educator you strive to give your students opportunities to explore, investigate, grow and experience art,” she says. “This day meant so much to me. To have everyone’s support and buy-in played a huge role in its success.” Every classroom participated, from technology to gym, embracing the mission of incorporating creativity into all core education. Some teachers were even taught how to draw by their students. “This event created an opportunity for teachers to experience what it is like to be an art educator, which is crucial for them to see the benefits of the arts in school,” Rogers says. “Students saw their teachers embracing art education and that has transferred into my class.” Rogers gave the example of a 4th-grade student who struggled at school, but really loved art. “I told him if he worked hard and applied himself he could progress in art and I could enter his work into shows. Just this week, I entered a drawing of his into the rodeo art show. This is a very big deal for him because it is his first time to be recognized for his hard work.” This type of integration is so important, there

is a new movement to incorporate arts into traditional STEM subjects. STEAM, which adds Art and Design to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, aims to use creative innovation to ensure a prosperous future, and transform the 21st century just as science and technology did the previous century. The STEAM movement was championed by the Rhode Island School of Design and has been widely adopted by schools, corporations and institutions. Rogers stressed the importance that school principals and people in leadership roles play in the success of implementing STEAM in schools. “If it wasn’t for my principal, Dr. Sha, I would never have had the opportunity to have the [Everyartist] event. I went to a two-day convention at the fine arts museum and their driving theme was STEAM.” After the conference she and Sha met to discuss ways to celebrate art at Martin Elementary, as well as integrate it into other curriculum. “I hope that our story can inspire other people to integrate art,” Rogers says. “I want people to know that those in leadership roles in education are the ones who have the capability of getting STEAM in our schools. As leaders they can inspire and motivate others to embrace STEAM.” SHELLEY SEALE is a freelance writer in Austin.

Letters to the Editor

Bragging Rights December 2015

Student Voices January/February 2016

As the parent of a student in College Station ISD, my son and I were thrilled to see his photo in the article about Project SEARCH in the Ninth Annual Bragging Rights special issue. He is the young man shown restocking the medical scrubs dispensing unit at Baylor Scott & White Hospital in College Station. This is not a periodical I would typically have access to, but Allison Hollis, his Project SEARCH teacher and College Station ISD special education teacher, knew we’d want to read about the statewide special recognition the program has received. The Project SEARCH program has been nothing but a positive, beneficial experience for my son. We are so grateful for the dedication and interaction of Allison Hollis in conjunction with the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services and the Brazos Valley Center for Independent Living. With their leadership and that of Baylor Scott & White Hospital, my son is receiving an individualized education that will benefit him for his lifetime. We are looking forward to the near future when my son will accept an offer of employment here in the College Station area as a result of the skills he acquired as an intern sponsored by this fine program.

Thank you for sending the extra magazines that feature Julianna Teoh in the “Student Voices” column. She is super excited to see her work in print, and we are proud of her achievements. Thanks again for allowing her this opportunity. We featured her poem in our holiday card this year — she’s so talented!

Laura W. Colson Parent College Station ISD

Carol Vaughn Communications manager Harris County Department of Education

Bragging Rights December 2015 I am writing today on behalf of Denton ISD and the Guys/Girls Operating As Leaders program, which was recently featured in the Ninth Annual Bragging Rights special issue. The response to our inclusion in this publication has been phenomenal. Shelley Seale’s article, “Guys and Girls Operating As Leaders (GOAL) imparts lessons that last a lifetime,” was a spot-on account of the program that has renewed our pride in service and success of our students. The article generated tremendous buzz from classroom to campus to community, from student to superintendent. The GOAL program operates under guiding principles, two of which are “network” and “brand it.” We apply network as a noun and a verb. Our call to action is this: Get off the bench and get into the game! Every opening to join professional networks has value. For instance, submit presentation abstracts to professional conferences. You won’t get picked up by all of them, but when you do, it is rewarding and enriching. Have your elevator speech ready. Use all media formats. Being a part

of the Texas School Business and TASA network is a gamechanger for GOAL and a badge of honor for Denton ISD. Branding is equally important. Stamp your program, school or district name on all good works. A solid brand transforms the educator into a messenger of trust. GOAL is designed with these marketing ideas: be customer-centric (student-centric), show social responsibility, form partnerships and alliances with businesses and institutions, and, above all, endorse common values and products thereof. We are immensely proud to share the values of excellence, service and maverick thinking with all of the programs described in the Bragging Rights issue. All featured nominees are engaging the student, empowering the family and endorsing the school. A student who is engaged in school will develop a healthy skill set. A student with a healthy skill set will have the ability to empower the family. A family that feels empowered will endorse the school. A school with an endorsement will inspire the community. An inspired community is capable of anything. Texas School Business has certainly inspired us! Thank you. Chris Ice Co-founder Guys/Girls Operating As Leaders

Bragging Rights December 2015 We are still so thrilled to be recognized in the Ninth Annual Bragging Rights special issue. The Victoria Advocate published a story about our Writing Buddy program and how we were featured in Texas School Business’ special Bragging Rights issue. I am looking forward to sharing

this program with anyone who expresses an interest. Again, what an honor! Tiffany O’Donnell Principal Port O’Connor Elementary Calhoun County ISD

Bragging Rights December 2015 We are so very proud to have been included in the Ninth Annual Bragging Rights special issue. In fact, all of us Uvalde Coyotes are still howling! The day I received the news, it had been a day full of meetings, discussions about student achievement and, of course, thinking about state testing. But then, the Earth stood still as I read the press release over and over. This recognition means so much to all of us at UCISD that everywhere I go — schools, the grocery store, the bank, and at church — I am greeted with such excitement and positive remarks. They say that music is the universal language, and I believe that it is also the language of success. Our children who have been in the Shades of Blue jazz band have experienced pride in accomplishing goals. They have seen what their hard work and devotion can accomplish, and this transfers to shaping their self-confidence and their ability to stick with tasks that are difficult because they have seen the results! Initiatives such as the Shades of Blue jazz band continue to impact students at every level. It has been a work of “heart” for more than 11 years, as students have gone on, forever changed by this experience. For many, it is a passion that will be their life’s work. For others, they will move > See Letters, page 21 Texas School Business MARCH/APRIL 2016


Photo Feature

TASA MIDWINTER ATTRACTS 5,000 ATTENDEES TO AUSTIN In late January, school district leaders, educators and service providers gathered in the capital city for three days of professional development and networking at the TASA Midwinter Conference. General session speakers included internationally lauded author Sir Ken Robinson, former LEGO Education President Stephan Turnipseed and University of Texas Chancellor Bill McRaven.

▲ Elizabeth Abernethy of ESC

▲ Nicole Dray and Tammy

▲ Stephanie Howard of Plains

▲ Kathy Hickok and Colby Self of

▲ Bethany Medford and Tasha

▲ Glen Teal of Abernathy ISD and

Region 7 and Mary Ann Whitaker of Hudson ISD.

Maiorano of San Marcos CISD.

▲ Steve Brown of New Braunfels, Scott Davis of Rusk ISD and Kevin Vaughan of Andrews ISD.

ISD and Dalia Benavides of Culberson County-Allamoore ISD.

Pflugerville ISD.

▲ Orin Moore and Diana Freeman of TASB.

Steven Ebell and Robert Bayard of Clear Creek ISD.


Texas School Business MARCH/APRIL 2016

Smith of Conroe ISD.

Eric Cederstrom of Palo Pinto ISD.

▲ Gena Billeaud and Tamara Ramsey of ESC Region 13.

▲ Emily Conklin and Jerhea Nail of Northwest ISD.

▲ Kellie Wilks, Lisa Wills and Carolyn Gonzalez of Ector County ISD.

▲ Mike Waldrip of Coppell ISD and Wes Cunningham of Marble Falls ISD.

▲ Shanna Brown and Don Jacobs of Royse City ISD.

▲ Steven Wurtz of Arlington ISD

and Jeanie Johnson of Midway ISD.

▲ Sherry Marsh and Jeff

Goldhorn of ESC Region 20.

Marc Smith of Marshall ISD and Steven Snell of Spring Hill ISD.

▲ Bonnie Brinkmeyer, Christie Olivarez and Kimberly Strauss of Brenham ISD.

Texas School Business MARCH/APRIL 2016


Who’s News > Continued from page 8

working in the same capacity at Dulles High School in Fort Bend ISD. Flemming earned his bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University, where he played football for the Aggies, and his master’s degree from Grand Canyon University. Mike Jones has been hired as the district’s

director of transportation. He is a graduate of Stephen F. Austin State University and comes to his new job from Friendswood ISD, where he also was director of transportation.

Mike Semmler will be the first principal of

Leaman Junior High, scheduled to open its doors for the 2016-2017 academic year. Until that time, he will continue to lead Briscoe Junior High, where he has been principal since 2005. Semmler received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of South Dakota.

Lampasas ISD Randall Hoyer will complete his 35th year

as an educator and seventh year as district superintendent when he retires at the end of the school year.

Lockhart ISD A new principal has been named for Strawn Elementary School, which is set to open in the fall. She is Patricia Rocha, who has 20 years of experience in public education, most recently working in Austin ISD as a Child Study System facilitator. She has a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and bilingual education from St. Edward’s University and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from The University of Texas at San Antonio. She will complete her doctorate in Texas State University’s school improvement program in May.

McAllen ISD Superintendent James Ponce is the recipient of the 2016 Distinguished Bilingual Educator Award from the Rio Grande Valley-Texas Association for Bilingual Education. He was recognized at the organization’s annual awards luncheon in January.

McKinney ISD McKinney ISD has hired Marlene Harbeson as senior director of finance. She comes to her new position from Highland Park ISD in Dallas, where she spent the past year as director of business services. Prior to taking her first job in Texas public schools, she


Texas School Business MARCH/APRIL 2016

worked for 15 years in the private sector. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business management from LeTourneau University and a master’s degree in business administration from Phoenix University.

Marathon ISD New Superintendent Guadalupe Singh comes to the district from serving as a district administrator in Presidio ISD.

Medina Valley ISD Kenneth Rohrbach, former superintendent

of Three Rivers ISD, now leads Medina Valley ISD as its superintendent.

first Pasadena ISD alum and first female to lead the district. She earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology and history from Sam Houston State University and her master’s in educational management and doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Houston Clear Lake.

Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD Superintendent Jim Haley joins the district from Cuero ISD, where he also held the top job.

Queen City ISD Charlotte Williams, who had been serving

Mesquite ISD

as interim superintendent, is now district superintendent.

Treva Franklin, who for the past five years

Round Rock ISD

has been the district’s administrative officer in charge of curriculum, now fills the newly created position of assistant superintendent of instructional services. She has spent 28 of her 32 years as an educator with Mesquite ISD, working as a teacher, counselor and administrator.

Mesquite ISD Board of Trustees approved Beth Nicholas as the district’s new deputy superintendent. The former Allen ISD assistant superintendent of learner services will oversee curriculum, innovation, technology and leadership development. Nicholas, who is a graduate of Texas A&I University (now Texas A&M University at Kingsville), received her master’s degree from The University of Texas of the Permian Basin.

Nederland ISD After four decades of service as an educator — the past six as Nederland ISD’s superintendent — Rob Madding has announced his upcoming retirement. After graduating from Lamar University with a bachelor’s degree in biology, he took his first teaching job in Hamshire-Fannett ISD, continuing to serve in districts in East Texas and ultimately working as superintendent of Vidor ISD and then Nederland ISD. Madding has a master’s degree in education from Stephen F. Austin State University.

Pasadena ISD Kirk Lewis, Pasadena ISD superintendent since 2006, was lauded by well-wishers at a retirement celebration held for him in January. Lewis, who joined the district in 1986 as an administrative assistant to the superintendent, went on to serve as executive director of communications and community relations and deputy superintendent before taking on the top job.

The Pasadena ISD Board of Trustees has promoted DeeAnn Powell to superintendent. She has been the district’s deputy superintendent for two years and is both the

Mark Gesch has retired from his position

as executive director of human resources services. He previously worked for the district in a number of roles, including principal of Round Rock High and Success High School.

Pat Reddin, executive director of assessment and internal audit, is now the interim executive director of human resources services.

San Benito ISD San Benito ISD’s new superintendent, Adrian Vega, comes to the district from Tucson, Ariz., where he was deputy superintendent for teaching and learning since 2013. He began his career in Texas, initially as a bilingual teacher in Dallas ISD in 1998. Vega, who graduated from The University of Texas at San Antonio with a bachelor’s degree in English, went on to earn a master’s degree in educational leadership from Texas Woman’s University and a doctorate from Texas A&M University.

San Marcos CISD Cynthia Pavia, an educator

with 34 years of experience, 29 of those with San Marcos CISD, is now principal of De Zavala Elementary School. She has been the district’s bilingual coordinator since 2010. Pavia earned her master’s degree from Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University). The district’s new community liaison is Monica Valadez. She served as assistant principal of De Zavala Elementary since 2013 after earning her doctorate from Texas State University.

Sherman ISD A new superintendent is in place for Sherman ISD. David Hicks was most recently the

area superintendent of secondary academic programs in Denton ISD. He has been an educator for 27 years.

Letters to the Editor

Socorro ISD Monica Castro, who served as an assistant principal at Americas High School since 2013, is now principal of Puentes Middle School. She is a 22-year employee of the district.

Now leading Vista Del Sol Elementary School as principal is Cynthia Velasquez. A graduate of Socorro High, she was an assistant principal of the Bill Sybert School since 2012. She earned her bachelor’s degree from The University of Texas at El Paso and her master’s degree in education from the same institution.

Spurger ISD Kendall Smith, former high school principal

in Overton ISD, is now superintendent of Spurger ISD.

Tyler ISD A new head football coach has been named for Lee High School. Clayton George comes to Tyler from Carroll ISD, where he was assistant head coach and offensive coordinator at Southlake Carroll High School.

Wills Point ISD Scott Caloss, new district superintendent,

most recently held the same position in Poth ISD. He joined the district with 23 years of experience as an educator, having received his bachelor’s degree from St. Mary’s University and his master’s degree in educational administration from Texas Woman’s University. He is at work on a doctorate in educational leadership from The University of Texas. ◄

CORRECTION The new superintendent of Midlothian ISD was incorrectly identified in the January/ February 2016 issue. Midlothian ISD’s superintendent is Lane Ledbetter. Texas School Business regrets the error.

> Continued from page 17

into other career fields, but all will retain that feeling of accomplishment, teamwork and how their skills were shaped by talented people who care deeply about the potential of our youth. It is the power to transform that each educator holds within his or her heart that makes for positive, lasting change in students. On behalf of the Uvalde Consolidated School District Board of Trustees, administration, teachers, staff, students and parents, we stand united as we say thank you for this recognition. Jeanette Ball Superintendent Uvalde CISD

Bragging Rights December 2015 It has been so exciting to be spotlighted in the Ninth Annual Bragging Rights issue. Not only did it create much excitement and pride among our staff and community, the spotlight has served to increase community awareness of these special programs in our district and has increased membership in our Watch D.OG.S. program. The recognition was the subject of a front-page story in our local newspaper, which, in turn, piqued the interest of more dads in our community to become members of the Watch D.OG.S. program. Our Facebook posting of the Bragging Rights recognition resulted in one of the highest number of likes and views of any Facebook posting this school year. More than anything else, though, being selected as a Bragging Rights school district has reiterated the importance of parent involvement in our schools. It validates our decisions to bring these particular programs to our students. It was great to celebrate this recognition at faculty meetings and at our December school board meeting, where each board member was presented with a copy of the issue.

Bragging Rights December 2015 Receiving the Ninth Annual Bragging Rights issue (December 2015), seeing our school’s name featured on the cover and then reading the wonderfully written article is a memory I will treasure always. Although I am proud of our Phenomenal Phridays program and I see the students shine through their participation, never did I dream our small, rural school would actually be honored in this prestigious publication. Our administration has received so many congratulatory emails, texts and phone calls from colleagues and friends. Our staff and school board are thrilled with the recognition, and, honestly, I am too! At our next showcase, our students will learn of this honor, and I am sure they will join us in our excitement. Please know this award is a highlight for our relatively “young” high school, as our first senior class graduated in 1998. Please accept our appreciation and gratitude with the realization that with this recognition comes the opportunity for other districts to tailor a similar yet unique program. We cannot contain our excitement that students across Texas may receive this same opportunity. Many school districts have visited our campus, and I feel certain many will continue to contact us. We thank you for choosing our program because it really is PHENOMENAL! On behalf of the students, staff, administration and school board members of CHHS and CHISD, thank you! Kathi Burney Secondary assistant principal Chapel Hill High School Chapel Hill ISD

It’s so great to see your school district’s name on the front of a professional magazine! You can’t help but smile with pride. Shirley Dupree HR and communications director Huffman ISD

Texas School Business MARCH/APRIL 2016


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Texas Association of School Boards

In boardrooms and on horseback, Fort Elliott CISD’s Bret Begert cuts trails for success by Bobby Hawthorne

‘A horse can be a pretty good friend. My spiritual life probably is as good on a horse as it is anywhere.’


he interview was scheduled for 1:30 p.m. He called at 1:23.

“Hey, Bobby. This is Bret Begert. How are you today?” he asked in his brisk West Texas drawl. “I know I’m early. Is that OK? I can call back.” That pretty much tells you what you need to know about TASB President Bret Begert: He did what he promised to do. He did it early. He was happy to do it. People who’ve known him since he was a kid, who work with him, who serve with him would not be the least bit surprised. Begert subscribes to a strict credo: Under promise and over deliver. As much as anything, it’s why he has spent 18 of his 44 years as a member of the Fort Elliott CISD Board of Trustees, and why he’ll continue to serve as long as the voters in Allison, Mobeetie and Briscoe see fit. “I was on board before I was married, before I had children,” says Begert, who has a 14-year-old son and a 10-year-old daughter. “To be honest, I’m not on there just for my two children. And I’m not on the school board for any agenda or ego or power trip.” He’s there because he cares. He always has. Begert attended Allison High School, one of three boys and two girls in his senior class. Asked if he can recall a defining moment in high school, an instance when his life jumped from this track going that

way to that track going this way, he replies: “Not really. I was just brought up to have a direction. Agriculture and ranching. Service to and support of your school. Church. Those were the central parts of our lives, and I’ve always had that passion.” In high school, he was particularly passionate about basketball and showing cattle. A three-year starter, he played post on a bi-district championship team his senior year, and he won enough ag ribbons and medals to fill an ice chest. “We bled blue and white,” he says. “We were very, very, very school-spirited. Proud of where we came from. Tried to represent Allison ISD, whether it was on the ball court or in the show arena.” He bundled and brought all that energy and passion with him to West Texas A&M University in Canyon in 1990, where he majored in kinesiology and thought he might teach and coach, at least for a while. He was elected to the Student Senate, served on 47 different committees and was hand-picked as a student organization consultant. After graduation, he returned to the family’s ranch — 10,000 acres of gentle, rolling hills, perfectly suited to raising their 500 head of black, purebred Limousin cattle. The ranch has been in the family since his grandfather arrived in Wheeler County in 1911 by way of Bern, Switzerland. > See TASB, page 24 Texas School Business MARCH/APRIL 2016


> TASB continued from page 23

Begert soon realized he would never teach or coach. He would replace the longtime foreman, who was retiring, and work sideby-side with his dad, who, by the way, “still works night and day, full throttle,” Begert says. Much of their time together is spent on horseback. Begert has three horses, but his favorite is a no-nonsense, 12-year-old brown sorrel, Buttermilk. “A horse can be a pretty good friend,” he says. “My spiritual life probably is as good on a horse as it is anywhere.” As for his romantic life, Begert met his wife, Hayley, on a double-blind date. “We weren’t on the same date when we started, but we were when we ended, and we’ve been together since,” he says. It helps that his wife is from a small town too — Clinton, Okla., population 9,033 — and she “gets it,” as he says. That is, she accepts the sacrifices — the late-night phone calls from concerned parents, the board meetings and TASB responsibilities, the interruptions during dinner and church. “People often visit with us about one thing or another,” he says. “You get it at church. You get it at ball games. You get it at home.” He listens to every complaint, every concern.

Those who come to him aren’t just constituents. They’re friends and neighbors, people he knows by first and last name. No one needs a name badge at a church or school event. “The board president can’t solve every problem on his or her own, but I can get it to the right people,” he says. “I’m a sounding board for a lot of parents. I try to listen, but I know the board’s role and what’s not our role.” If he thinks it is necessary, he’ll talk to the superintendent. Begert knows it’s not his job to approach a teacher or even the principal. His job, he says, is to help how he can and should. “I write a lot of references for kids, helping them to get scholarships and jobs,” he says. For example, Begert recently wrote a letter to help a former student get admitted into the Colorado Bar Association. “My number-one concern is people,” he says. “I have a sincere passion for students and student success, and that’s the only reason I’ve served on the board for so long and hope to continue to serve.” It’s also the reason an outfit as sprawling and diverse as the Texas Association of School Boards would elect as its president a 44-yearold rancher who represents a school district

YOU DESERVE MORE THAN JUST SOFTWARE When considering new technology, it’s all too common for school districts to focus exclusively on the software. With Skyward, we’ll match you with a complete solution of thought leadership, best practices, and technology tailored to your specific needs. As a result, you’ll have a solid foundation that starts with implementation and founda evolves with your district.




Texas School Business MARCH/APRIL 2016


Fun Facts About Bret Begert –

If I could have a different occupation for a day, it would be: a personal trainer.

I made my first dollar by:

selling a grand champion steer.

Something I never thought I’d do, but did was: yoga.

On the weekend, you’ll find me:

working on Saturday and church on Sunday mornings, doing only required chores.

that consists of 168 children, pre-K through 12. “I’m not doing it for political gain,” Begert says. “I’m doing it because I care. If you have energy, if you’re honest with people and if you stay true to your word, everything will take care of itself.” BOBBY HAWTHORNE is the author of “Longhorn Football” and “Home Field,” published by UT Press. In 2005, he retired as director of academics for the University Interscholastic League.


Thought leaders and innovators in education

Commissioner Morath’s preparation for top job has been years in the making By Raven L. Hill

‘There’s a whole host of differences that people experience, given their backgrounds. It’s hard to separate yourself as an objective observer because we all live in this world.’


ecoming Texas Education Agency (TEA) commissioner was never in Mike Morath’s career plans.

True, there is no blueprint for assuming the state’s top education job, overseeing the largest number of school districts in the nation. However, Morath’s path has been more varied than most: part-time high school computer science teacher, failed dot-com entrepreneur, successful software mogul, reform-minded school board member — and all before age 40. In announcing the commissioner’s appointment late last year, Gov. Greg Abbott noted that Morath is not one to “accept the status quo.” “He is committed to innovative solutions that will empower Texas principals, teachers and students to strive for the highest in education excellence,” Abbott said. A desire for excellence in education seems to run in Morath’s family. A 2014 D Magazine article recounted his mother’s efforts to secure the best possible education for her son: “Before they moved, though, his mother called the Texas Education Agency to ask which was the best public school system in the state. The first 10 times, she was told that they were all great, and she didn’t believe it. Finally, she pestered TEA employees until someone in the agency was honest with her.”

Apparently, his mother was on to something: After high school, Morath went on to finish college at George Washington University in two and a half years — a feat he attributes to his solid education in Garland ISD schools. Prior to his appointment as TEA commissioner, Morath, 38, served more than four years on the Dallas ISD Board of Trustees. He was also chairman of Morath Investments and the former president and chief operating officer of Minute Menu Systems, which provided information systems to help manage a $2.5 billion federal child-nutrition program. In his new role, Morath says he plans to focus on three areas: supporting and empowering educators, refining the state accountability system to an A-F grading system and changing TEA’s compliance-driven culture. “I’m learning a great deal about how the agency operates, the agency staff, the nature of our focus and certain business processes. That’s an ongoing process and a huge learning curve,” he says. “As I interact with superintendents, teachers and principals from around the state, I am learning more about how districts that are different from a big, urban district like Dallas operate. I’m learning a great deal about our rural districts and our fast-growing districts.”

> See SPOTLIGHT, page 26

Texas School Business MARCH/APRIL 2016


> SPOTLIGHT continued from page 25

Ultimately, Morath says he is focused on students. “I want to try to do the most good for the most kids I can,” he says. “It’s a tremendous opportunity.” Morath’s fraternity days in college provided his first glimpse into the challenges facing public schools. One of the few Caucasian members of Alpha Phi Alpha, an historically African-American organization, Morath volunteered in Dallas schools through a fraternity mentoring project. He then joined Big Brothers Big Sisters and Leadership Dallas at a fraternity brother’s urging. “I can say with great confidence that if I were not an Alpha, (we) would not be having this conversation,” he says. “There was a whole lot of interaction that I had with schools along the way that came as a result of both my passion for kids, but also the mentors in my life who encouraged me to serve where I could.” Tutoring students and assisting teachers taught him empathy, he says. “(Volunteer work) gives you a deeper level of insight into all the dynamics of daily life that people face,” he says. “There’s a whole host of differences that people experience, given their backgrounds. It’s hard to separate yourself as an objective observer because we all live in this world.” Through Leadership Dallas, a leadership development program hosted by the Dallas Regional Chamber, Morath in 2009 was assigned to shadow a high school principal as his “executive partner.” The experience gave him greater insight into the public education landscape. Two years later, Morath put his hat in the ring for a position on the Dallas ISD Board of Trustees and won it. “You see very hardworking teachers and other professionals in the school building working with our kids. It’s certainly heartwarming,” he says. “You also see a lot of struggles and areas of weakness that we need to fix. “It’s been a continuous learning process from my first step volunteering in a DISD school 15 years ago to my service on the school board to today,” he says.

Assuming the role There’s been a lot to juggle in the Morath household since his commissioner appointment. The entire family — his pregnant wife, Laura, their daughter and the family dog — relocated to Austin. Being commissioner is a nonstop job, he admits. “I’m pretty much working all the time.” His days are filled with meetings, briefings,


Texas School Business MARCH/APRIL 2016

phone calls and the occasional media interview. He tries to take a break by 6 p.m. most days to have dinner with his family. Once his daughter goes to bed, Morath is back on the computer, preparing for the next day. Looking at his résumé, it doesn’t appear that he ever stands still for long. While trying to start a company, Morath worked every other day at Garland High School, teaching advanced computer science in place of a teacher who had left mid-year. “It was very challenging,” he recalls. “Going through the process of planning lessons, walking students through practical problems that they would develop skills around — I had no background in that, no preparation for that. It gives you a huge appreciation for the complexity of the challenges teachers face.” Serving on the Dallas school board was another eye-opening experience. Morath sought to learn as much as he could about education policy matters. He eagerly engaged teachers, administrators, parents and researchers in discussions. His tenacity resulted in his gaining the reputation as the “policy wonk” on the board, according to trustee Miguel Solis, who served with Morath for two years. During Morath’s board tenure, Dallas received two bond rating upgrades, improved its auditing systems and increased its fund balance by $200 million. Morath takes particular pride in the district’s academic achievements, which include a double-digit increase in kindergarten readiness, as well as improvements in the graduation rate and in minority student performance on advanced placement exams. “Mike is a visionary,” Solis says. “He’s 20 to 30 years ahead of the current conversation on education in the state. He has a vehement belief that every child in our state should get a high-quality education, regardless of their circumstances. He’s a relentless worker to make sure that becomes a reality.” That will be a tough job, says Solis, but he admits that Morath also has an incredible opportunity with the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which essentially heightens the powers of state education commissioners. “Operating as an education commissioner in this new reality means there’s much more pressure to get the job done for millions of kids in our schools,” Solis says. “I hope that he’s able to wade through the politics in the state of Texas and implement systemic reforms on behalf of children. I don’t want him to lose focus.”

Fun Facts About Mike Morath –

Last book I read that I really liked: “The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way” by Amanda Ripley (and with my little girl: “The Berenstain Bears Go to School,” by Stan Berenstain and Jan Berenstain).

My favorite subject in school: history. Something most people don’t know about me: I’ve performed in step shows. Three guests (living or deceased) at my fantasy dinner party: Teddy Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and William Wilberforce.

So far, Morath gets high marks from Grand Prairie ISD Superintendent Susan Hull, who organized a meeting with the new commissioner during his first few weeks on the job. She invited neighboring superintendents and central office staff to the gathering. “I was very pleased with hearing how receptive Mr. Morath plans to be,” Hull says. “I believe he has already demonstrated he wants to listen to superintendents, educators and service center directors.” A superintendent with 25 years of experience, Hull says she hopes that he is able to change TEA’s culture. “I believe that he will work toward causing the agency to again become an organization that serves school districts and truly helps us impact achievement for children — because that’s really our only job,” she says. To maintain that focus, the new commissioner will need to balance an array of competing interests. He appears ready for the task. “We have to be driven by what all evidence tells us is in the best interests of our kids. That has to be our north star,” Morath says. “At the same time, we have to recognize we live in a system where certain kinds of changes might be a bridge too far, at least today. “You have to be realistic and thoughtful about where you are and where you want to go — and push to get there,” he continues. “You don’t want to push by yourself, but you want to lead people, so we all get there together.” RAVEN L. HILL is a former education reporter for the Austin American-Statesman.


Texas Association of Secondary School Principals

Principal Charlie Jehlen brings flexibility, humor to his job by Ford Gunter

h Central Middle School Principal Charlie Jehlen checks out the engineering skills of the students in the campus’ robotics program. Jehlen aims to instill a passion for learning and vision for the future in his students.


hree minutes into a conversation with Nederland ISD Principal Charlie Jehlen and two things are apparent: He loves what he does, and he doesn’t take it lightly.

When asked about a vision for his upcoming term as president of the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals, Jehlen goes straight to military history. “I’ve been studying military history my whole life, and one thing that’s clear is that successful leaders are those who have flex in their plans, more than one solution,” he says. “This battle against ignorance has been going on for centuries and will continue. I want my kids to know how to learn. The jobs they’re going to be approaching may not yet exist in today’s world. If you have that flexibility, you can succeed over any obstacle that life throws your way.” It’s more of a core value — or worldview, or hope for the future — than an agenda item, but that fits with Jehlen too. They’re all the same to him. “I believe that my efforts are helping make the world a better place,” says the principal of Central Middle School. “I want teachers and students to believe that too. Whatever they do is going to have an impact, hopefully good.” Jehlen’s motto for his term is “Remember the kids,” something he says is the end-all, be-all in public education. “Our job is to know that background and develop that relationship, so that the student will trust us to teach them and give them the best chance for success in the future,” he says. “If the students don’t trust us, they won’t let us teach them. I want the students to have faith in me as an administrator, in their teachers, in the school board and in the community — that we have their best interests at heart, that everything we do is to enhance their chances for success.” If that sounds like treating students as some version of family, it’s not by accident.

“My grandmother and mother were teachers; my sister is an elementary school principal,” Jehlen says. “Public education has been in my blood since the beginning. My senior year, I was president of a Future Teachers of America group.” True to form, he graduated from Lamar University early and was under contract in Port Arthur ISD by the age of 20. “I’ve always been interested in the need to educate people to make the right choices in life,” he says. “I have a little bit of a knack for it. I have had a little bit of success.” One route to that success was being an early adopter of emerging technologies. He recalls his time as a seventh and eighth grade social studies teacher at Edison Junior High. “Back in the early ’80s when VCRs were coming out, I hooked one up and we watched short videos or parts of movies,” Jehlen says. “They learned to look at history critically and take information from different sources. It makes it real to them.” Jehlen’s move to Woodrow Wilson Junior High coincided with that campus becoming one of the first in the district to use computers in learning. “I remember how fired up we were when we went from the Apple II to the Apple II Plus,” he says. “Computers help kids look at things critically. They learn so much more when they’re playing.” In 1994, Jehlen moved from the classroom to the office, taking an assistant principal role at Stephen F. Austin Junior and Senior High in Port Arthur ISD, a campus he attended until the 11th grade. “I knew where all the hiding places where,” he muses. His teaching background greatly informs his decisions as a principal. > See TASSP, page 28 Texas School Business MARCH/APRIL 2016


> TASSP continued from page 27

“I look at everything through the eyes of the teacher,” he says. “Every decision, it’s, ‘What is the effect on the kids and how much stress is it going to put on the teacher?’ And, ‘What can I do to make it easier on both?’ That’s a big tug and pull. We cannot be everything for everybody, so we have to prioritize.” In 2002, after Port Arthur consolidated from three high schools into one, Jehlen went to Central Middle School in nearby Nederland ISD and became principal two years later. He remains there today. “To me, the most valuable thing is time, so I minimize the amount of ‘administrivia’ teachers have to put up with,” he says, using his own term for paperwork, meetings and other office mundanity. Sometimes, Jehlen does paperwork for his staff. “The Title 1 stuff,” he says. He also goes to great lengths to build relationships with his students, often evoking moments of connection at his own expense. “I can be self-deprecating,” Jehlen explains. “I don’t laugh at the kids; I make them laugh at me.” To that end, you can sometimes find him roaming the halls in a T-shirt that says, “Another day I didn’t use algebra.”

To be clear, it’s not that Jehlen shuns algebra. It’s just that he prizes practicality in a rapidly changing world. “I’m a firm believer in the basics of middle school education,” he says. “We are a very unique group. These students are extremely fragile — emotionally, in their knowledge base, in their self-confidence. It is so easy to destroy a middle school kid. We have to be extremely careful in how we handle them. But we have to show them a vision for the future. We have to show them that they are going to be better than they are now.” Jehlen is realistic in his goals. He’s not trying to funnel every student into college, or the army or a trade school. He’s trying to open students up to the possibility of making those decisions, when the time comes, with the best understanding of the situation they can muster. “Not every student learns at the same rate, so we have to determine an appropriate challenge for each student — and also each teacher,” he says. “The basic idea is that all the kids are going to learn something.” A natural enthusiast, Jehlen is at his most animated when talking about kids and classrooms. “Middle school is a special place,” he says. “I love it. My favorite time of day is lunch duty, because I get to walk around and talk to all

Fun Facts About Charlie Jehlen –

Three words that describe me when I was in middle school: “I’ll go with the

three Ss: shy, scared and smart. Between sixth and seventh grade, I read the entire World Book Encyclopedia, A to Z.”

Best advice I’ve received about being a principal: “Man, I’ve had so much given to me. ‘Listen to everybody, then decide.’ That was the guy who was principal before me, Randy Lupton. He’s an administrator in Port Arthur now.”

If you had a superpower for one day, what would it be and why? “I used to

play a lot of basketball. Even now, when I dream, I dream I have the ability to fly. I would want the ability to fly, so I can finally dunk a basketball.”

Mountains or beach? “Mountains. I’ve lived on the coast my whole life. I’ve only seen a few mountains. I’d much rather explore that, because I know this.”

the kids. When I dream, I dream about an eighth grade social studies class.” FORD GUNTER is a writer and filmmaker in Houston.

“TEPSA provides a variety of formats for quality professional development that easily fit my schedule. Because of TEPSA, I have a network of professionals to call for support and new ideas. I am continually learning and growing with TEPSA.” -Diane Gough, 2015 Texas National Distinguished Principal (Pictured with students)

When your principals are learning and growing, so are your students and teachers! Equip school leaders in your district with the tools and resources they need to ensure student achievement. Learn how TEPSA supports Texas school leaders at www.tepsa.org.

A School’s Success Begins with the Principal Texas Elementary Principals & Supervisors Association


Texas School Business MARCH/APRIL 2016

Serving Texas School Leaders Since 1917


Education service center programs & practices

Authentic learning: What problems do you want to solve in the future? by Ravae Villafranca Shaeffer


ow do teachers bring authentic learning experiences to the classroom every day? Educators across the nation grapple with new ways to bring real-world learning experiences (relevant tasks) to the classroom in new and innovative ways. In Texas, the challenge of designing instruction that incorporates the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS), and College and Career Readiness Standards (CCRS) requires time for teachers to think critically and creatively in collaboration with colleagues. With time and effective communication, educators can unwrap the state standards to develop learning targets that challenge students to master the content and skills at every grade level.

center that supports T-STEM academies in Central Texas, is a partnership between ESC Region 20 and ESC Region 13. Transformation Central Texas provides support and professional development to STEM academies that wish to implement the T-STEM blueprint and to any school that wishes to bring design and innovation to students to strengthen learning in STEM subjects. The seven benchmarks for T-STEM designation establish structures that support student engagement in STEM learning through innovation and design. The benchmarks are:

In Region 20, educators are finding solutions to designing 21st century learning, while using the 4 Cs — communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity/innovation. Educators use the 4 Cs in professional learning communities to enhance their 21st century learning tasks by developing their skill sets through project-based learning and externships.

Since 2006, the state of Texas has encouraged 21st century learning through the T-STEM initiative — Texas Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Until 2015, Texas STEM centers were recognized and funded to support Texas STEM academies across the state. Transformation Central Texas, the T-STEM

• • •

• • •

mission-driven leadership; school culture and design; student outreach, recruitment and retention; teacher selection, development and retention; curriculum, instruction and assessment; strategic alliances; and academy advancement and sustainability.

While Transformation Central Texas is no longer funded by the state initiative that created it, ESC Region 20 and ESC Region 13 continue to partner to support T-STEM and non-T-STEM academies in Central Texas. Student engagement through design and innovation remains a top priority to many schools across the nation, and Texas schools are not any different. One of the most requested professional development services from

STEM schools in Region 20 is facilitation and support for project-based learning implementation, which falls under benchmark 5 — curriculum, instruction and assessment. The foundations of project-based learning incorporate the following elements, based on Buck Institute (www.bie.org) research: • • • • • • •

choosing key content and skills, formulating a driving problem or question to pursue throughout the lesson, ongoing inquiry, authentic and relevant tasks, opportunities for students to choose how to demonstrate their learning, opportunities for students to serve as a sounding board to enrich one another’s learning, and presentations of student work to the public for real-world feedback.

When professional learning communities collaborate to design instruction, student engagement is the top priority. Project-based learning requires a paradigm shift for the teacher to assume a facilitative role in the classroom, where students take the lead in the learning. Teachers focus on how to provide rigorous questioning, relevant tasks and a variety of instructional resources to encourage students to reach multiple answers to the driving question or problem. Taking formative assessments > See REGIONAL, page 30 Texas School Business MARCH/APRIL 2016


> Continued from page 29

throughout instruction is crucial, because it allows teachers to find multiple avenues to reach all students. STEM coaches at ESC Region 20 focus on supporting teachers to reach maximum student engagement to encourage long-term learning, while supporting instructional design to reach mastery of the TEKS. Throughout the region, teachers, administrators, students and parents share story after story about meaningful learning experiences. On some campuses, students have been invited to stand before the school board, mayor or city council to present viable resolutions to community issues that were discovered through project-based learning activities. These experiences help students develop critical thinking, powerful communication and creative problem-solving through collaboration to find solutions to 21st century real-world problems. San Antonio area employers have shared that these skills are critical to the future workforce. Indeed, students are the future citizenry and workforce. When students have opportunities to learn through real-world problem solving, the nation is strengthened with citizens who make informed college and career choices. In San Antonio,

the Alamo STEM Workforce Coalition (ASWC) is leading the way to connect industry and education in meaningful ways.

Industry externships The ASWC is a collaborative of industry professionals, higher education and K-12 education partners who work together to provide industry experiences — or “externships” — for teachers in the Workforce Solutions Alamo service area, which includes Region 20. The intent of this collaboration is to provide externships at industry sites for teachers, so they can incorporate their experiences into classroom lessons for students. ASWC partners coordinate and plan all year to support industry participants with developing their externship experiences for teachers. In addition, the ASWC actively recruits school district leadership to support and encourage teacher participation in the externship experience for one week. During the week, the ASWC team escorts STEM educators on industry externships, while facilitating conversations about where the science, technology, engineering, and math concepts emerge at a company. The STEM team at ESC Region 20 provides professional development to assist teachers with integrating their externship experiences into project-based learning

activities in the classroom. More than 100 teachers participated in 2015 Externship Week. ASWC’s goal this year is to serve 150 teachers, while continuing to strengthen the coaching skills of last year’s teacher leaders. The project-based learning activities can be found at www.ateamsa.org/educators.html. While teachers experience the workforce through externships and bring those experiences back to their classrooms, students across the region are becoming more informed decision makers. At many STEM academies, students are expected to complete an internship as a capstone to their STEM education. With each teacher externship and student problem-solving team, students become critical consumers of their options regarding college and career. The combination of teacher externships, authentic learning experiences in the classroom and industry-education partnerships is sure to create the highly skilled workforce of the future. How do teachers bring authentic learning experiences to the classroom every day? They start by asking: “What problem do you want to solve in the future?” RAVAE VILLAFRANCA SHAEFFER is co-director of the Transformation Central Texas STEM

Save the Date for Texas ASCD’s 2016 Annual Conference

October 30 - November 1, 2016 Hyatt Regency ◆ Dallas Texas For more information, please visit www.txascd.org 30

Texas School Business MARCH/APRIL 2016


It’s more than rocket science to these Alamo Heights ISD teens by Ashley Flores, Travis Raymond and Christine Young

Travis Raymond, Christine Young and Ashley Flores of the Alamo Heights High rocketry program


hree students in Alamo Heights High School’s rocketry program voice their opinions about what it’s like to participate in this award-winning program.

Ashley Flores, senior As a student of the rocketry program for two years, I believe that more schools should create the same program. They should work with SystemsGo to give more students the chance to do wonderful things like we do. I found that all of the students

in this program are being rewarded. Simply by being in the classroom with such a wonderful teacher, you learn many things. Every concept we learn can be applied to our everyday life. This means a lot to me, because we often go to our other classes not being able to take much from them. In English, we are learning how to understand the meaning behind poems. Let’s be honest: When am I ever going to be asked what a poem means? One day, in my chemistry class, a man wearing a blue polo shirt with an almost perfectly bald head walked in. Following

this man was a student of his who was very slim and tall. With them, they rolled in a test stand they had made for their fuel tests. The man, who turned out to be Colin Lang from our school’s rocketry program, talked about what they did in his class. His seniors were going to make a supersonic rocket and test it at White Sands Missile Testing Range that summer. Mr. Lang spoke with so much passion. I could almost feel his passion reaching out to me. You could tell he was proud of > See VOICES, page 32

“Student Voices” is a regularly featured column in Texas School Business. It’s an opportunity for students of all ages from across Texas to share their experiences in K-12 public schools. Contact Editorial Director Katie Ford at katie@texasschoolbusiness.com for publishing guidelines. Texas School Business MARCH/APRIL 2016


> Continued from page 31

his students. This moment changed my life. This was the moment that I decided I wanted to join his class. I wanted to be one of these students he was proud of. I aspired to do something that mattered. I joined his class the next year. We learned about Isaac Newton’s three laws, series circuits, parallel circuits, Archimedes’ Principle, Bernoulli’s Principle and much more. Throughout the year, I faced many difficulties learning the material. When I needed help, I would ask Mr. Lang for help. He didn’t answer your question; he made you answer the question. He would ask you several questions that led you to your answer. Eventually, you would find the answer, and you would be able to remember it the next time around. I believe that Mr. Lang is the definition of a good teacher. I am not saying he is a perfect teacher; no one can be perfect. I simply think he knows a good technique to teaching. What I know for sure is that he tries to teach in ways that is in the best interest of his students. My class worked on a transonic rocket that had criteria of reaching 13,000 feet. I worked on the avionics component of this rocket. We built an altimeter bay that would hold the altimeter. An altimeter keeps track of how high the rocket reaches. All three of his Rocketry I classes had successful launches. This year, we are striving to beat the world record for the highest altitude reached by a student-made rocket. I want other students to strive for incredible things like this. Everything that I have achieved in this class has tremendously prepared me for college. I plan on majoring in aerospace engineering next year. You could say that this program has given me a huge leap in the right direction for my future.

Travis Raymond, senior I’m proud to say that I have been a student rocket scientist for almost two years. At the beginning of my junior year, I was a bit skeptical about joining the Alamo Heights rocketry program. Moving my way through high school, my academic interests have always been centered around history, government and economics. I reluctantly entered a classroom scattered with rockets of all shapes and sizes and was immediately impressed with the accomplishments of the students who had come before me. As the weeks passed by, I quickly began to realize that this program was unique.


Texas School Business MARCH/APRIL 2016

In the rest of my classes, I am treated like a student. When I enter the rocketry room, I am treated like a professional. The professionalism that is practiced in our program enables us to be creative and apply our learning in ways that mirror the engineering industry. While many of us will not grow up to be engineers, the problem-solving, communication skills and teamwork that is practiced every day in class will benefit us in whatever we aspire to do in the future. I believe that I learned more about physics and chemistry in one semester of rocketry than in a full year of those AP classes. Why? It is the ability to learn about a variety of science fields in one semester and then apply that learning in a hands-on project. It is truly unique in today’s public schooling system. For the average student, high school ends in the first few days of June. For the rocketry program, our high school career ends the moment our rocket descends from its supersonic flight. My four years at Alamo Heights High School have gone by like our rocket will this summer — in the blink of an eye. Many students are unsure about what the future may hold for them, but I know with the numerous skills I have obtained from this program, I can blast through any obstacles that will face me in life.

Christine Young, senior I have been involved with the rocketry program at Alamo Heights High School for two years. During my first year in the program, I worked on a transonic flight profile to present at NASA and on the design and fabrication of the rocket, where I specialized in the recovery system. This year, I am working as a class manager. I’m also designing and fabricating an injection system with a small team, which will convert nitrous oxide from its liquid state into its gaseous state. My plans for next year include going to Northern Arizona University in the fall to study and eventually acquire a double major in physics and business, with a specialty in marketing. I have never been in a class that has intrigued me as much as this rocketry program does. This program has given me more real-world experience than any other class, by teaching me how to positively communicate with my peers, give presentations, problem solve, manage my time and be confident in whatever I’m

trying to produce. All of these factors have led me, and everyone else who has taken this course, to be more independent and motivated. After being a part of this program, I know that no matter what career path I pursue, I will have the discipline and perseverance to accomplish any task successfully. “It is difficult to say what is impossible, for the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow,” said Robert H. Goddard. When Goddard was trashed by The New York Times for explaining the possibility of flight in space, most people thought he was crazy and he inevitably became a recluse. The format of rocketry is designed for students to succeed by creating an environment where we aren’t afraid to learn from our mistakes, because we know that what we will learn from them will be valuable. Programs like these are important because, as students, we actually want to remember the information that we are learning. We know it will be valuable later. As growing students, we are constantly mesmerized by new ideas and what will happen if we make these ideas into something useful. Programs like these, where we can expand our imaginations and test out our ideas, are the perfect outlet for our curiosity. The best part of rocketry is having a teacher who is just as enthusiastic about learning new material as his students. A great teacher is someone who will take the time to observe his/her students to see which way the students learn best. Additionally, they will ensure that the students truly grasp the material by finding a way for them to apply their new skills. Overall, a good teacher includes someone who will push their students beyond their typical capacity for learning and will help them grow as a person by not holding their hand every step of the way, but just slightly leading them in the correct path. I believe that if every student was involved in an education system where they were tested based on whether or not they could actually apply their skills through presentations or designs, the students’ education would be a lot more beneficial. ◄


News in fine arts education

Dance teacher celebrates lessons that teach more than technique by Tiffany Burrell


oint your toes. Spot your pirouettes. Extend your legs in your jetès. These are words that I have heard every day since I began my dance education 22 years ago. They have resonated with me. They are some of the fundamentals of all dance technique, and, as a dance educator, I can guarantee I am going to sing these words at least 10 times a day. My students hear it in different tones — out of frustration, out of excitement, out of exhaustion — but they have all been reminded of these three things. No matter what we teach, as educators, we use “magical words” that reinforce the fundamentals in our classes. It is almost like a rite of passage. If you can accomplish the technique, you are on your way to becoming a master within your field.

I became a high school dance educator in 2011 after years of dance training, performing and teaching. I was eager to create

masterpieces for my students and determined to push them beyond their limits. I was going to be that teacher who would make a difference in my students’ lives, a teacher who would be remembered forever. Little did I know, two years later, the tables would turn as I became the student again.

I jumped at the idea to work with these young adults, as it was something new and an exciting experience. This was the first time these ladies would perform at our district recital; it felt like all eyes were on me. The pressure was on, and I eagerly accepted the challenge.

In 2013, I was presented with an opportunity to create a choreography piece for Northside ISD’s district-wide dance recital, Winter Spectacular. The piece was for a select group from our Nellie M. Reddix Center, which serves students throughout Bexar County whose medical needs and disabilities are better met at the center than at their home campuses. Attending Reddix is a choice for these students after they have completed all of their high school requirements. The students, who range in age from 18 to 22, concentrate on employability and independence skills acquisition.

As I walked into our first rehearsal, I had no idea what to expect and what challenges we were to overcome. The students who were chosen had various physical and mental disabilities. Some had dance experience, while others wanted to try it for the first time. I was excited, but I was also scared of the unknown. The young ladies began to walk in, one by one. It seemed with each smile they gave me as they entered the room, I could take a bigger breath. I felt a sense of relief. > See ARTS, page 34 Texas School Business MARCH/APRIL 2016


> Continued from page 33

They were eager to learn everything I could teach them. They provided me with comfort, and I felt as if each moment was better than the last. We did our introductions, stretched and learned the routine. This group loved to dance, and I could not help but genuinely smile every time the music came on. I was teaching them the order of the moves, but they were teaching me so much more. They reminded me of why I started dancing. That joy you get when you move to the beat of the music with no worry in the world. I loved it. We celebrated after every count that was learned and every time we practiced the routine. It was far from perfect, but at that time, in that moment, it was perfect for us. We gave high-fives and hugs before each water break, all because we had the opportunity to share our love for dance with one another. As I walked out of rehearsal that day, I noticed a couple of things. One, my cheeks hurt. For the two hours of rehearsal, I could not stop smiling. Secondly, not once did I say, “Point your toes. Spot your pirouettes. Extend your legs in your jetès.” Those things did not matter. Not for one second of that rehearsal. Great things were happening without the fundamentals.

favorite time of year is watching my students perform on stage. I get to reflect on how far they have come. They are not perfect, but they are better than they were yesterday.

In my eyes, the final performance went without a hitch. Yes, there were flexed feet, timing issues and problems with formations, but the dancers enjoyed every second on stage. My heart swelled with pride as they hit their ending pose. The audience cheered, and there was not a dry eye in the auditorium. They did it. They touched each of us that night and taught us the true meaning behind dance. Dance should be celebrated. This group changed me. When I accepted the opportunity, I was focused on teaching them all I knew about dance and creating great dancers. I thought all eyes were on me, but, in reality, all eyes were always on them. I was the student, and they taught me more than I could ever imagine. In the dance studio, I still repeat those magical words with hopes that some day they are not needed. The rigor is still evident in my teaching, but it’s blended so much more with my recognizing the need for daily celebration. I celebrate the little things that are happening each day in the studio — the things that are sometimes overshadowed by correct technique. I get excited after the students try a routine with music, because, in return, they get excited too.

With the support of my wonderful administration, assistant fine arts director and fine arts director, I have also had the opportunity to start a jazz company on campus. Again, we celebrate. Each year, more students are interested in the company, which is reason to share dance and improve each day. We celebrate dance — the need for it and the relationships we build from it. I smile more because of it, and my students do too. We celebrate the challenges we overcome through it and the impact we have on each other because of it. The Nellie M. Reddix Center still performs at our district recital, and it never fails: They always have the largest applause and the loudest cheer of the night. They remind us that it is not only about the technique, the fundamentals, but rather the opportunity to just celebrate dance. TIFFANY BURRELL is a teacher at John Paul Stevens High School in Northside ISD.

I celebrate my students’ growth. My


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Texas School Business MARCH/APRIL 2016

Calendar Professional development & events

S TA N D O U T F R O M T H E C R OW D ! Get premium placement and get noticed! For a nominal fee, you can showcase your conference, workshop or seminar on the opening page as a Featured Event. Contact Ann Halstead at ahalstead@tasanet.org for more details. APRIL April 3-6 Texas High School Athletic Directors Association Annual Conference Embassy Suites, San Marcos For more info, (832) 328-6123. www.thsada.com Cost: Members, $100; nonmembers, $150; on-site registration, $150; administrative assistants, $75. April 4-5 Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented Leadership Conference Hilton Hotel, Fort Worth For more info, (512) 499-8248. www.txgifted.org TASA’s Academy for Transformational Leadership (session 4 of 4) Offices of ESC Region 10, Richardson For more info, (512) 47-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: $1,995 for all four sessions for individuals from districts that subscribe to TASA’s School Transformation Network; $2,195 for all four sessions for all others. April 5 Texas Association of Community Schools East Texas Spring Conference University of Texas, Tyler For more info, (512) 440-8227. www.tacsnet.org April 6 TASB Spring Workshop Texas A&M University, Kingsville For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org April 6-7 TASA’s Academy for Transformational Leadership (session 4 of 4) Klein ISD, Klein For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org

Cost: $1,995 for all four sessions for individuals from districts that subscribe to TASA’s School Transformation Network; $2,195 for all four sessions for all others. April 7 TEPSA Region 10 Meeting Hackberry Creek Country Club, Irving For more info, (512) 478-5268 or (800) 252-3621. www.tepsa.org April 8 TEPSA Region 20 Meeting Alamo Cafe, San Antonio For more info, (512) 478-5268 or (800) 252-3621. www.tepsa.org TSPRA North Central Regional Meeting City and location TBA For more info, (512) 474-9107. www.tspra.org April 10-12 Texas Retired Teachers Association Annual Conference Westin Hotel at the Galleria, Houston For more info, (800) 880-1650. www.trta.org April 12 TEPSA Region 2 Meeting Harrison’s Landing, Corpus Christi For more info, (512) 478-5268 or (800) 252-3621. www.tepsa.org April 13 Texas Association of Community Schools Hardin-Simmons Conference Hardin-Simmons University, Abilene For more info, (512) 440-8227. www.tacsnet.org TASA’s Digital Learning Design Workshop (session 3 of 3) Marriott North, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: $75 per session for

individuals from districts that subscribe to TASA’s School Transformation Network; $200 per session for all others. April 13-14 Texas ASCD’s Curriculum Leadership Academy XVII (session 1 of 3) Georgetown ISD, Georgetown For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org April 14 TASBO’s Small Schools Symposium Courtyard Marriott, Wichita Falls For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $290; nonmembers, $340. April 15 TEPSA’s Courageous Principals Institute Eanes ISD, Austin For more info, (512) 478-5268 or (800) 252-3621. www.tepsa.org Cost: $550. April 18 TASB Spring Workshop Offices of ESC Region 9, Wichita Falls For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org April 18-19 TASA’s Academy for Transformational Leadership (session 4 of 4) Doubletree North, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361. Cost: $2,395 for all four sessions for individuals from districts that subscribe to TASA’s School Transformation Network; $2,595 for all others. April 19 TASB Spring Workshop Offices of ESC Region 17, Lubbock For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org TASBO Workers’ Compensation Specialist Update for CSRM Pasadena ISD, Pasadena For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org

April 20 TASA’s Digital Learning Forum and Site Visit Coppell ISD, Coppell For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org TEPSA Region 6 Meeting City and location TBA For more info, (512) 478-5268 or (800) 252-3621. www.tepsa.org April 20-21 Texas ASCD’s Two-Day Academy with Eric Sheninger Offices of Ysleta ISD, El Paso For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org April 21 TASBO’s Small Schools Symposium Embassy Suites, San Antonio For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $290; nonmembers, $340. April 24-26 TASB Risk Management Fund Members Conference Hyatt Regency, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org April 25 TASB Workshop Cattleman’s Steakhouse, Fabens For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org April 27 TASB Workshop Offices of ESC Region 4, Houston For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org TEPSA Region 4 Meeting Location TBA, Houston For more info, (512) 478-5268 or (800) 252-3621. www.tepsa.org TEPSA Region 8 Meeting Herschel’s, Mt. Pleasant For more info, (512) 478-5268 or (800) 252-3621. www.tepsa.org TEPSA Region 11 Meeting City and location TBA For more info, (512) 478-5268 or (800) 252-3621. www.tepsa.org

> See CALENDAR, page 36 Texas School Business MARCH/APRIL 2016


> Continued from page 35 TEPSA Region 18 Meeting Green Tree Country Club, Midland For more info, (512) 478-5268 or (800) 252-3621. www.tepsa.org April 27-28 Texas ASCD’s Two-Day Academy with Eric Sheninger Northside ISD, San Antonio For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org April 27-29 TASA’s Curriculum Management Audit Training, Level 1 TASA offices, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: TASA members, $650; nonmembers, $750. April 28 TASB Workshop Tarleton State University, Stephenville For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org TEPSA Region 3 Meeting Colony Creek Country Club, Victoria For more info, (512) 478-5268 or (800) 252-3621. www.tepsa.org M AY May 11 Curriculum Leadership Academy XVI (session 3 of 3) Offices of Garland ISD, Garland For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org TASB Spring Workshop Sul Ross State University, Alpine For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org May 11-12 Texas ASCD’s Curriculum Leadership Academy (session 3 of 3) Garland ISD, Garland For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org Texas ASCD Workshop: Building Student Engagement with Tony Frontier Katy ISD, Katy For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org May 12 TASB Spring Workshop


Texas School Business MARCH/APRIL 2016

Offices of ESC Region 14, Abilene For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org TASB Spring Workshop Sul Ross State University, Uvalde For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org May 17 TASB Spring Workshop Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org TASB Spring Workshop Texas A&M University, Commerce For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org May 18 TASB Spring Workshop Texas A&M University, Canyon For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org TASB Spring Workshop Parkway Baptist Church, Victoria For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org May 20 TSPRA Central Regional Meeting City and location TBA For more info, (512) 474-9107. www.tspra.org Texas Middle Schools Association Workshop: Teaching Like Champions O. Henry Middle School, Austin For more info, (512) 462-1105. www.tmsanet.org Cost: $130. May 24 TASB Spring Workshop Offices of ESC Region 12, Waco For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org May 25 TASB Spring Workshop Offices of ESC Region 6, Huntsville For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org J UNE June 7 TASB Workshop: Managing State and Federal Leave TASB offices, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org Cost: Members, $200; nonmembers, $250.

June 8 TASB Workshop: Get a Grip on the Family and Medical Leave Act TASB offices, Austin For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org Cost: Members, $200; nonmembers, $250. TSPRA Central Regional Meeting Round Rock, location TBA For more info, (512) 474-9107. June 15 TASBO Workshop: Bullying Prevention Update for CSRM Convention Center, Irving For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org June 15-16 Learning Forward Texas Annual Conference Conference Center, Hurst For more info, (512) 266-3086. www.learningforwardtexas.org Cost: Early Bird registration, $299; after April 15, $349. June 15-17 TASSP Summer Workshop Convention Center, Austin For more info, (512) 443-2100. www.tassp.org June 16 TASPA Workshop: Personnel Skills for Administrators Harris County Department of Education, Houston For more info, (512) 494-9353. www.taspa.org Cost: Members, $95; nonmembers, $115. June 16-17 Texas ASCD’s Curriculum Leadership Academy XVII (session 2 of 3) Georgetown ISD, Georgetown For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org June 16-18 TASB Summer Leadership Institute Marriott River Center, San Antonio For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org June 22-23 Texas K-12 CTO Council Doubletree Hotel, Austin For more info, 972-672-3254 www.texask12ctocouncil.org June 27-29 TEPSA Leadership Conference Horseshoe Bay Resort,

Horseshoe Bay For more info, (512) 478-5268 or (800) 252-3621. www.tepsa.org June 28-30 TASA/UT Summer Conference on Education Renaissance Hotel, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361. www.tasanet.org Cost: $225; students, $50. June 30-July 2 TASB Summer Leadership Institute Omni Hotel, Fort Worth For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org J U LY July 10-12 Texas Association of Health, PE, Recreation and Dance Summer Conference Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center, Frisco For more info, (512) 459-1299. www.tahperd.org Cost: Early Bird registration (by May 15), $85; preregistration (by June 15), $95; late registration, $105. July 13 TASPA Summer Law Conference Westin Hotel at the Domain, Austin For more info, (512) 494-9353. www.taspa.org July 13-15 TASPA Summer Conference Westin Hotel at the Domain, Austin For more info, (512) 494-9353. www.taspa.org July 14 TASBO Workshop: Certified School Risk Managers Measuring School Risks TASBO offices, Austin For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org July 14-17 TASSP New Principal Academy Trinity University, San Antonio For more info, (52) 443-2100. www.tassp.org July 17-20 Texas High School Coaches Association Convention and Coaching School Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio For more info, (512) 392-3741. www.thsca.com ◄

Photo Feature

TASPA/TAEE WINTER CONFERENCE HELD IN AUSTIN The Texas Association of School Personnel Administrators and Texas Association for Employment in Education hosted a three-day conference in December. Award-winning authors Andy Masters and Tara Brown were the keynote speakers.

La Tonya Henry of Texas Lutheran University and Norma Guerra Gaier of Texas State University.

Gwendolyn Perkins and Tracy Johnson of Denton ISD.

Nancy Bridges of Grand Prairie ISD, Cicely Tuttle of Hurst-EulessBedford ISD and Loraine Morazzano of Grand Prairie ISD.

Kellie Haddock, Larry Sanford and Lanny Frasier of Mesquite ISD.

Becky Holloman, Jaclyn Searles and Carolyn Muska of Baylor University.

Charles Pulliam and Mathew Slaw of Life Schools of Dallas.

Shelia Straughan and Elizabeth McDaniel of Red Oak ISD.

Michelle Aube-Barton of Socorro ISD and Nancy Cowley of San Marcos CISD.

Mark Speck and Alexis McClendon of Rockwall ISD. Texas School Business MARCH/APRIL 2016



Remembering ‘back in the day’ by Riney Jordan


e had gone to school in our small Central Texas high school since day one. And now, as he was about to start his senior year, his parents decided to make a move. He had to make a decision: follow his parents and finish the last year of high school in a new place, or move in with his grandparents and finish school with the friends he had known for at least a dozen years. Well, that’s how we got a teenage grandson moving in with us for one school year. And, oh, has it been an adjustment — for all of us! First of all, we haven’t worried about an alarm clock for years. But when you have a kid who needs to get dressed, eat breakfast and make it to school on time, suddenly having a relaxing morning in bed is over. I’m happy to report that he has only been tardy five times so far. The Texas Legislature will probably be calling an emergency meeting if it continues. In the evenings, we study vocabulary words with flash cards I made earlier in the day. With his smartphone, he takes pictures of the words and definitions he needs to learn and sends them to me. I then go to work, preparing for our time of study. I figure if flash cards worked for me and for our children, they’ll work for him. So far, so good. We talk about graduation and fill out college applications and consider options for him. He goes to church with us and is forced to watch “Jeopardy” each evening. Also, as long as he is here, I don’t carry out the trash. I believe kids need some responsibilities around the house, and that job is now his. I’d never realized how often a teenager might ask, “Back in the day, did you… ?” He seems to think that we milked our cows every day, rode in wagons and did our homework by candlelight.

“Back in the day, did y’all have television?” “Back in the day, did y’all have to go hunt and kill your own meat?” You do not realize, though, how quickly things change and become a thing of the past. A while back, I mentioned that the new envelopes the wife had purchased were self-adhesive. I then recalled how terrible the glue on envelopes and postage stamps used to taste. “Can you believe that we used to lick our stamps and our envelopes?” I asked him. “It’s a miracle we didn’t all die from the spread of disease with all that saliva being spread on everything!” His mouth dropped opened. “You used to lick stamps? Man, that was ‘back in the day!’” His surprise made me curious, so I “googled” it. Did you know that we haven’t had to lick postage stamps since the late nineties? It’s been at least 25 years! Yep, the conversations around our supper table are a bit different than they used to be before we had a teenager under our roof. No phones are allowed at the table. We eat promptly at 6:30 p.m., and we talk about events that happened “back in the day.” I encourage you to treasure each moment of each day. Be thankful for friends, for work, for freedom. Make the most of each day. Embrace a changing world. Because we are all learning to adjust to new surroundings. Much sooner than any of us can imagine, our children and grandchildren will be grown and eventually the question will come: “Granddad, back in the day, did you… ?”

“Back in the day, did y’all have telephones?”

RINEY JORDAN’S “The Second Book” is now available at www.rineyjordan.com, along with his other publications. You can contact him at (254) 386-4769, find him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter: @RineyRiney.


Texas School Business MARCH/APRIL 2016

Texas School Business Advertiser Index

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Advertise with us! Texas has more than 4.6 million public school students and more than 1,000 school districts that need your company’s products and services. Let us help you reach this vast market – advertise in Texas School Business magazine. For specs and rates, contact ahalstead@tasanet.org or by calling (800) 725-8272 TexasSchoolBusiness.com

Texas Reads One Book Once again, we are proud to offer this unique opportunity in Texas...

Jason Garrett

Head Coach of the Dallas Cowboys

wants to lead the charge with a huge Texas style kick-off this coming spring as

Texas Reads One Book! Coach Garrett will read the first chapter by exclusive videocast and your district is invited to read along together.

Jason Garrett

Head Coach of the Dallas Cowboys


KICKOFF : April 11, 2016 Sign up today!


Deadline for signup is March 15, 2016

Coach Garrett will kick things off and each of the families in your schools will read a chapter from the book each night. Tens of thousands of families across the state will be reading together in this celebration of literacy! This year’s book is

Charlotte’s Web (available in English and Spanish)

The registration fee is $5.95 per student so that every child will have their own copy of Charlotte’s Web to follow along with Coach Garrett. Along with the books, you will receive in-school activities, assembly ideas, teacher resources, and family and community engagement tools.

Send an email to texasreads@readtothem.org and sign up your district.

It’s all done. All you have to do is lead the way. TASA Don’t forget to invite all the dads! TASA Texas Association of School Administrators Texas Association of School Administrators


® Creating a Culture of Literacy in Every Home




Texas Association of School Administrators 406 East 11th Street Austin, TX 78701-2617

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