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THE INDEPENDENT VOICE FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION IN TEXAS FOR 55 YEARS

October 2009

Closing the Achievement Gap

TASA President John Folks Northside ISD

In the Spotlight Ken Davis Lamar CISD


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Texas School Business • October 2009


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CONTENTS In the Spotlight: Ken Davis, Lamar CISD

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Melissa Gaskill

TASA President Profile: John Folks, Northside ISD

13

Jennifer LeClaire

Needville ISD principal recounts Harvard experience

15

Jenna Sniffin

Planning is integral to bond election success

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Scott Milder

COVER STORY: Administrators discuss closing the achievement gap

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Raven L. Hill

DEPartments

COLUMNS

From Our Readers

6

TSB Professional Development & Events Calendar

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Who’s News

29

Advertisers Index

38

From the Editor

5

Young’s Inbox

9

The Law Dawg  —  unleashed

7

The Back Page

38

Katie Ford Jim Walsh

John Young

Riney Jordan

Mims Elementary Principal Yvonne Zamora with some of her students. (Photo by Craig Verley, Mission CISD.) 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. October 2009 • Texas School Business

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From the Editor I’m truly inspired by the administrators in this issue. In our Spotlight, we feature Ken D. Davis, a Lamar CISD elementary school principal who has led one exemplary school after another and recently earned statewide recognition for his outstanding track record. In our President Profile, we spoke with John Folks, Northside ISD superintendent and the new president of the Texas Association of School Administrators. His prolific career in public education and efforts to affect state policies on public education are commendable. For our cover story, we interviewed a group of administrators who have adopted strategies and philosophies that measurably are closing the achievement gap in their districts and on their campuses. If there’s a common thread to be found among all these outstanding educators, it is this: They truly believe in the potential of all their students, and they are committed to providing meaningful support and resources to ensure their success. I hope their stories and words will reinforce your commitment to educating Texas schoolchildren. It’s hard to imagine that it’s already time to hold bond elections again. In the spirit of the November election, we recruited a very knowledgeable expert to share some yearround strategies to ensuring a successful bond election. We look forward to bringing you tons of celebratory news in the November/December issue, which will feature the Superintendent of the Year, Outstanding School Board of the Year, TSPRA’s Key Communicator and much more. I hope you’re having a wonderful fall so far. Your comments are always welcome at katie@texasschoolbusiness.com.

Katie Ford, editor

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(ISSN 0563-2978 USPS 541-620) October 2009 Volume LVI, Issue 1 1601 Rio Grande Street, #441 Austin, Texas 78701 Phone: 512-478-2113 • Fax: 512-495-9955 www.texasschoolbusiness.com Publisher Ted Siff Editor in Chief Jim Walsh Editor Katie Ford Design Phaedra Strecher Columnists Riney Jordan, Jim Walsh, John Young Advertising Sales Manager Jim Johnson Business Manager Debbie Stover Director of Marketing and Customer Relations Stephen Markel Webmaster Andrew Page ISSN 0563-2978 USPS 541-620 Published monthly, except for July/August and November/ December, and for the Bragging Rights issue published in December (11 times a year) by Texas School Business Magazine, LLC, 1601 Rio Grande Street, #441, Austin, TX 78701. Periodical Postage Paid at Austin, Texas and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Texas School Business,1601 Rio Grande Street, #441, Austin, TX 78701. SUBSCRIPTION RATES: $28 per year; $52 for two yrs; $72 for three yrs. Group rate: 10 or more, $18; single issues, $4.50.

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Texas School Business • October 2009


THE LAW DAWG – unleashed by Jim Walsh

Was that a whistle I heard?

D

ocument, document, document.” How often have you heard the lawyers issue that refrain? Well, you’re about to read of one more example making the case for good documentation to support your personnel decisions. In the 2004-2005 school year, Dale Dardeau was the principal of West Orange Stark Middle School. In August of 2005, the superintendent reassigned Dardeau to an assistant principal’s position at an elementary school. Dardeau filed a lawsuit over this, claiming that he had been demoted in retaliation for “blowing the whistle” on some illegal activities in the district. He sued the district, the superintendent and four board members. The trial court granted a summary judgment in favor of all of the defendants, thus tossing out Dardeau’s whistle-blower lawsuit. This past July 30, the Court of Appeals in Beaumont affirmed that decision. Those are the bare facts, but let’s talk of what we can learn from this case. Keep in mind that lawsuits over personnel decisions in school districts almost always hinge on the motivation behind the decision. The decision here was made by the superintendent. The crucial issue was: why? Dardeau claimed that he was reassigned because he had called the Texas Education Agency and reported his suspicion that the district was socially promoting kids who had failed the TAKS test. There was conflicting evidence as to whether the superintendent even knew about that phone call to the TEA. But the court concluded that it didn’t matter. Whether he heard the whistle blow or not, the superintendent had good reasons to reassign Dardeau. Documentation? Let’s start with a source outside of the district: a TEA report that the middle school was the only school in the district rated “academically unacceptable.” TEA issued its preliminary ratings in May 2005 and made it official on Aug. 1. The next day the superintendent met with his executive director of human resources and made the decision to reassign Dardeau. Dardeau placed his phone call to the agency on Aug. 3. The superintendent informed Dardeau of the reassignment on Aug. 4, cit-

ing the campus’ rating as the primary reason for the move. Handwritten notes made by the district’s human resources director at her meeting with the superintendent on Aug. 2 confirmed this. Her notes read: “Move Dale to APAnderson, demotion – unacceptable rating.” That evidence was further bolstered by the superintendent’s affidavit to the effect that he had been contemplating Dardeau’s move since May. He had discussed the possibility with the board president over the summer. Moreover, there was the memorandum the superintendent sent to the local newspaper in May 2005. It cited math and science scores as “dismal and unacceptable,” with the middle school’s math scores being “emblematic of the problem.” The superintendent specifically cited the “moral tragedy” indicated by the low passage rate of African-American students at the middle school and promised “swift, protracted and research-based actions … to right this great wrong.” Timing is always important in these cases. When the adverse personnel action comes shortly after the whistle is blown, the law presumes that the employee is the victim of retaliation. However, this presumption is “rebuttable” if the employer can muster the evidence to do so. Here, the employee was informed of the reassignment exactly one day after his report to TEA. Thus, the presumption favored Dardeau. However, the district’s evidence of independent reasons for the superintendent’s decision was sufficient to prove the “affirmative defense” that the law allows — proof that the employer would have made the decision based “solely on information, observation or evidence” that is unrelated to the blowing of the whistle. So, add the case of Dardeau v. West Orange-Cove CISD to your list of examples that contemporaneous documentation puts you in the best possible legal position if you have to defend your personnel decisions. JIM WALSH is editor in chief of Texas School Business. Also a school attorney, he co-founded the firm of Walsh Anderson Brown Aldridge & Gallegos PC. He can be reached at jwalsh@wabsa.com.

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Texas School Business • October 2009


YOUNG’S INBOX by John Young

A principal’s many hats

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lmost anyone can remember a principal who was the epitome in grooming and couture. Waco ISD’s Bill Shepard is not one of them. You might say that any pair of jeans or slacks he wears on his torso is in protest. He may don a suit and tie for a formal event and look just fine, but be assured that it is he who is protesting. The fact is, what he wears below the shoulders is not what the principal of Waco’s Mountainview Elementary School considers of import. What’s keen to him is what’s happening from the eyebrows up — particularly his hats. No student who knows him will disagree. Flip through the Mountainview Elementary School yearbook. Notice that every time someone brought out a camera, he hauled out another hat. In one picture, he’s in a plumed pirate’s hat. Then he’s in a purple-and-green Mardi Gras number. In yet another photo, he’s exceedingly hairy, wearing something reminiscent of Chewbacca from “Star Wars” in desperate need of a clip. Then there’s his jester’s hat, his Santa cap and possibly creation’s ugliest straw hat. You’d think a former Aggie would look good in that. Shepard simply looks — memorable. And that’s the point: to be colorful and memorable. Shepard, who has been a smallschool superintendent and a high school principal, often will remark that years from now his students won’t remember their school’s TEA rating. What they’ll remember is: • Getting to fling toilet paper rolls at a designated school tree when TAKS was completed for the year. • Upon completion of TAKS, hearing their principal via public address system order all students to stand in unison and scream with all their might. • Having as many animals as paraprofessionals on campus. (That’s not to say paraprofessionals are grossly under-represented at Mountainview.

No, it’s to say that at this elementary school, one will find a rooster, guinea pigs, rats, a cat, parakeets and wildly varying numbers of rabbits.) • Hooting as their teachers saddled up on a campus-visiting camel. It’s not that Shepard dismisses any demands the state makes. He simply likes to push the envelope and add some joy and color to what could be a bone-dry learning experience if left up to policymakers’ dictates. He went strong to the hoop when Waco ISD opted for a pilot elementary component (Primary Years Programme) of the International Baccalaureate program. Hence, for two years, Mountainview has modeled the integrated curriculum that emphasizes foreign cultures and Spanish language. This is how Shepard wants to characterize his school — a place with broader horizons than the constricting requirements of long-distance control freaks. He wants a large sampling of fun to be a trademark as well. This can be problematic in the age of accountability. Should the principal file a written report on Doodles the Rooster if it crows during TAKS in April? (This is the state, after all, where the silent fidgeting and head-scratching of primary election voters was considered to be too disruptive on a school’s campus during state testing.) All of which raises the question: What’s more of a problem — a loquacious rooster and a lighthearted school, or a campus environment so heavy with anxiety that students hug the turf like quivering ground squirrels? Shepard will do everything in his power not to have the latter happen. I like that. We all want children to acquire basic skills. More importantly, we want them to enjoy coming to school, to think of it in terms of possibilities, rather than stifling limitations. To every principal who sees school in said terms, I offer a tip of many hats. JOHN YOUNG is a columnist for Cox Newspapers. You can see more of his work at www.johnyoungcolumn.com. He can be reached at jyoungcolumn@ gmail.com.

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In the

Spotlight

Lamar CISD principal Ken Davis guides schools to paths of exemplary success by Melissa Gaskill

K

en D. Davis clearly loves a challenge. He took his first teaching job in 1991 at a brand-new Alief ISD elementary school with a predominantly minority and at-risk population. “I fell in love with the kids who struggled,” says Davis. “I felt that was where I was needed most.” He served in Alief ISD for five years as a teacher, an elementary mathematics specialist and an assistant principal. Then Lamar CISD hired him to lead Pink Elementary, where 97 percent of the mostly minority students qualified for the free lunch program. In 10 years at Pink, Davis built strong relationships with staff and promoted his philosophy that kids can learn no matter their backgrounds. “Where you come from doesn’t matter; it’s where you’re going,” he says. “Expectations for the school were low when I went there, but I worked with staff and got the support they needed to not only educate the kids, but involve their families. We were ‘recognized’ for three years and then became an ‘exemplary’ campus. It is wonderful for a community to see that their kids are smart and can be successful.” Davis came on board as principal of Hillman Forest McNeill Elementary School in 2008 when it first opened. The expected enrollment was 518 students, but Davis ended up with 704 kids. McNeill students represent 15 countries and 22 languages, and the school achieved an “exemplary” rating in its first year. In June, the Texas Elementary Principal and Supervisors Association named Davis the 2009 Elementary Level National Distinguished Principal. This month he will represent Texas at a national conference in Washington D.C. He is quick to share credit for the honor with his staff. “I wouldn’t have this award if not for them,” Davis says. “For me, it exemplifies that I try really hard to help people — kids or adults — to be successful.” When it comes to helping kids who are struggling academically, Davis says “we don’t wait until they fail before we

In June, the Texas Elementary Principal and Supervisors Association named Davis the 2009 Elementary Level National Distinguished Principal. This month he will represent Texas at a national conference in Washington D.C.

provide intervention. Teachers notify me right away.” He strives to make teachers comfortable with small group instruction. “It’s OK to do whole group instruction once in a while, but it has never been a practice of mine as teacher or principal. You can’t reach all the children that way,” he says. Davis also says he believes in allowing teachers to be risk takers, to teach to their strengths, and to focus on each student’s strengths and weaknesses. At McNeill, teachers regularly step outside their comfort zones in deciding who will work with each child who struggles. “Anyone can grab that kid and help them,” Davis says. “Everybody works with every child. Everybody is responsible for every child.” The youngest of seven children and now a single father to two boys, Davis knows what a difference it makes for a child to come to school and see that someone cares. Building community is paramount at McNeill. “We try to do that for them, so they have a sense of being and belonging to the community in which they’ll serve someday,” he says. School-sponsored activities for parents

reinforce and extend that sense of community; events include career days, parents nights, math and science nights, TAKS nights, and grandparents week, when grandparents have lunch with and read to the students. Davis views discipline as another teaching tool, but it’s not just any type of discipline. “We need to focus on teaching and not on the ‘gotcha’ kind of discipline, where we wait for a child to do something and then pounce on them,” he says. “Everything is a teaching opportunity, a moment when we can regroup and refocus kids on what they need to be functional in our society, and on what is acceptable. Sometimes we give consequences first then try to teach, but we need to teach first.” For example, children may think cursing is common practice because they hear it at home. Rather than sending a child who curses out of the classroom, Davis encourages teachers to embrace the opportunity to teach the errant child more appropriate words. “Kids look for options to what they did wrong, and we don’t always give them options,” he says. “As adults we can teach ‘better,’ and kids respect those who will teach them better.” Davis has inherent leadership qualities, says Eva Reed, Ph.D., executive director of elementary education for Lamar CISD. “He seems to be able to put a collaborative team together so everyone is focused and moving in the same direction — and that focus, of course, is on the students,” Reed says. “He’s very nurturing with students and likes to work with diverse populations. Those who strive to be successful should emulate his practices.” As for Davis, he doesn’t think life can get any better. “I’m the richest man in the world, not in money, but with family and friends and people I work with,” he says. “I love getting up in the morning and coming to work. Not everyone can say that.” MELISSA GASKILL is an Austin-based freelance writer. October 2009 • Texas School Business

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TASA PRESIDENT profile Northside ISD’s John Folks steps up to lead TASA by Jennifer LeClaire

J

ohn Folks heads one of the largest and fastest-growing school districts in Texas. Now, he’s heading one of the largest trade associations in Texas education: the Texas Association of School Administrators. Folks brings 40 years of experience – and a big vision – to the TASA presidency. As the organization’s new leader, Folks is responsible for driving TASA’s mission to promote, provide and develop leadership that champions educational excellence. “I want to keep the association at the forefront of helping superintendents do a better job. Right now, that means school funding, and testing and accountability issues,” says Folks, who has served as superintendent of San Antonio’s Northside ISD since July 2002. Prior to his role at Northside ISD, Folks served as superintendent of Midwest City-Del City Public Schools in suburban Oklahoma City and as the Oklahoma State superintendent of public instruction. He also presided as the dean over the School of Education at Southwestern Oklahoma State University. He was superintendent of Spring ISD before coming to Northside. Folks says his overarching goals and objectives for TASA mirror the group’s mission: to ensure quality student learning, positive school climates, systemic school improvement, ongoing professional development for staff, proactive government relations, advanced educational technology, synergistic organizational relationships and effective member assistance for all TASA constituents. Yet, within that framework, Folks has a specific agenda. “We’re going to be doing a lot of talking about how we should implement what our state Legislature is requiring of us and how we’re going to address the Legislature when it comes back into session with regard to school funding,” Folks says. “The other major issue we need to tackle is state testing and accountability. The Legislature made some major changes to the system.” Under Folks’ leadership, TASA will focus on what school districts need to do

to prepare for the new accountability system. Earlier this summer, Gov. Rick Perry signed legislation that mandated tougher high school graduation standards and eliminated a requirement that school districts spend 65 percent of their operating budgets on classroom instruction. “The school accountability issue is very complicated; college readiness is going to be embedded within all state testing, and graduation requirements have changed,” Folks explains. “We need to talk through these issues with the Texas Education Agency and others to see how we can best implement the changes to our accountability system.” A future-minded leader Folks not only plans to tackle the tough challenges of today; he wants to help TASA prepare for In August, Northside ISD Superintendent John Folks did the tough challenges of three convocations a day for four days, totaling about 12,000 tomorrow. The big ques- employees. (Photo by David Sanchez.) tion on his mind is: What do we need to do to enhance public education and improve stuInstitute as a guiding light. The institute, dent achievement in Texas? of which he is a participant, involves 30 “We need to see a transformation of superintendents from across Texas who our schools so they become skills-cenregularly gather to challenge conventional tered learning environments rather than thinking about public education and to teacher-centered learning environments,” improve their leadership capacities and Folks says. “The school is not a platform their school systems. The institute explores for teaching. The school is a platform for ways of using resources such as people, learning — and that involves using all the time, space, technology and funding to new tools and technologies we have availrealize a new vision for public education able to us to transform our schools.” in the year 2020. What Folks is proposing is a paradigm “The biggest challenge superintenshift in the Texas school system. He points See President Profile on page 14 to TASA’s Public Education Visioning October 2009 • Texas School Business

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President Profile continued from page 13

dents have is addressing the needs of the learner today and preparing for the transformation of tomorrow,” Folks says. “Texas has a great system of education. Right now, we’re tasked with making decisions about the future and where education really needs to go. We need more student engagement in the classrooms.” As Folks sees it, considering the pervasiveness of video games, computers, iPods and all types of virtual communication, engaging today’s generation of students means incorporating these familiar and popular technological tools into instructional programs. “I am at the point in my career – I’ve been a superintendent for 23 years – where I feel confident I can provide some leadership to the Texas Association of School Administrators,” Folk says. “I hope to make the state just a little bit stronger as far as education is concerned. My life is my work, and it was the same for my parents. My parents were both teachers.” The man behind the title Folks has followed in the footsteps of his father, who was a math teacher, then a principal and later a superintendent. Like his father, Folks believes in working hard

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Texas School Business • October 2009

and strong family values. When he isn’t on a mission to improve Texas public education, the Northside ISD superintendent enjoys golf, bicycling, reading and spending time with his two sons and five grandchildren. He’s also active in his church and teaches a Sunday school class.

“I want to keep the association at the forefront of helping superintendents do a better job. Right now, that means school funding, and testing and accountability issues.” Looking back over his career, Folks remembers a time when he thought leaving his role as a math teacher to be an administrator was the biggest mistake he ever made. But when an opportunity came knocking to advance the cause of education through administrative service, he answered the call. Today, Folks says he has no regrets.

He has gone on to serve in many capacities outside the school district. He has been a member of the legislative council of the University Interscholastic League, the steering committee of the Fast Growth School Coalition, and the board of directors for the Texas Academic Decathlon. He’s also past president of both the Texas School Alliance and the Texas Association of Suburban/Mid-Urban Schools. Folks is active in the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, and he serves on two of its Public Affairs Council committees — the state and federal legislative committee and the education committee. He also is a member of the P16Plus Council of Greater Bexar County and serves on the board for the Alamo Public Telecommunications Council. The 61-year-old Folks says he plans to retire in the next few years, passing the mantle on to others who can take up the cause he has served so passionately. “I’ve watched everybody else’s kids play ball,” Folks says. “I want to go watch my grandkids play ball. I don’t plan on just walking away though. I love teaching; I’ll continue to teach and write even after I retire. I love it.” JENNIFER LECLAIRE is a freelance writer.


Point of View

Needville principal recounts her time at Harvard summer institute by Jenna Sniffin

I

n late June, I stepped off the Boston subway in Harvard Square into a world full of education’s top researchers, reformers and developers. Thanks to Raise Your Hand Texas (RYHT), I was attending the “Improving Schools: The Art of Leadership” summer institute at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. It was a long way from Needville Elementary School, where I have been the principal for three years. Needville is a small community southwest of Houston, and I have spent eight years as an administrator in the school district, including three years as an assistant principal at the elementary school and one year as principal at the middle school. It was a privilege to be one of 100 school leaders selected from more than 350 applicants to represent the great state of Texas at Harvard. Raise Your Hand Texas, a nonprofit, bipartisan public education advocacy organization, initiated the program in 2008 by sending more than 100 school leaders to one of five summer institutes at The Principals’ Center at Harvard University. Armed with two suitcases, a campus map and 12 years of public education experience, I was ready to start my learning adventure.

‘It was a privilege to be one of 100 school leaders selected from more than 350 applicants to represent the great state of Texas at Harvard.’

My time at the institute began in Harvard’s historic Longfellow Hall, where 181 school leaders representing 23 states and 11 countries met for the first time. Not knowing a single person was daunting; however, it was awesome to see so many people from so many backgrounds with the common goal of developing skills and beliefs to improve education.

The first words spoken to us were: “Give yourself the gift of reflection and rejuvenation.” This was followed by a question: “How will you treat your time at Harvard when you get back?” I could not think of a Jenna Sniffin better way to begin the most significant professional learning experience of my life. During the morning and afternoon sessions, lectures focused on education reform, accountability and closing the achievement gaps. I was in heaven; ideas filled my head as notes filled my pages. The lectures were structured to introduce new ideas and encourage thinking. I was asked to use my recently acquired knowledge to develop a personal challenge statement on ways in which I could improve public education. The statement had to include action steps and evidence supported by research. After the first few days of lectures, I decided to focus my challenge statement on effective instruction (based on Jeff Howard’s Efficacy Theory) that eliminates all achievement gaps. I chose the Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey “Immunity to Change” model to facilitate the adaptive change at Needville Elementary. Upon my return to Texas, I presented and shared my plan with my superintendent. A group effort At Harvard, program participants met daily in small groups of 12 to discuss what we had learned, as well as our challenge assignments. Group time allowed me to network with principals from all over the country and world to discuss major issues at the heart of learning and education reform. We spent a day participating in Project Adventure, an outdoor team-building, “challenge by choice” experience that enabled me to build friendships and

professional connections with people I would never have gotten to know on my own. Walking across logs 30 feet high in the trees while you and your new friends hold on to a rope for support definitely teaches you how to work as a team, communicate effectively and trust others! The magic that occurred on this day was immeasurable. For me, it solidified the lecture on “Everyday Mind Reading in Educational Contexts: Reducing Biased Thinking to Improve the Social Climate of Schools,” which was presented by Hunter Gehlbach. It did not take long to meet new friends. I met five principals from Texas whom I now call my HBFFs (Harvard Best Friends Forever). Each evening while attending the institute, my fellow HBFFs and I traveled by subway into Boston for historical tours and dinner. During these times, we talked about how each day’s learning fit into our respective schools of thought, experiences and current positions. We explored Boston and fell in love with the historical elegance, authentic food and academia. In the words of the HBFFs: It was “ wicked pissah.” (Editor’s note: This is Eastern Massachusetts slang for “really great.”) The leadership skills I gained at Harvard’s summer institute support my everyday work in Needville. It is not surprising — although very reassuring — that Texas is leading the way in many areas concerning education. My Harvard training fits perfectly with Texas’ expectations, from state standards to assessment and teacher accountability. My time at Harvard has sparked a desire in me to learn more and study further. I liken the experience to getting eyeglasses; for the first time I have a clear vision of the positive changes I can make to affect school improvement.

JENNA SNIFFIN is the principal at Needville Elementary in Needville ISD. October 2009 • Texas School Business

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16

Texas School Business • October 2009


Recipe for raising dough A successful bond election requires very specific ingredients by Scott Milder

A

ny school district can win a bond election. The timing of your election does not matter. The tax impact does not matter. Potential opposition does not matter. Local politics do not matter. A stadium project does not matter. Proper planning matters. Why? Let me explain. If you act strategically, begin early, engage community and staff, involve your board, do your homework, develop an appropriate bond package, research voter history, develop a clear and concise message and communicate that message consistently, then you have a recipe that virtually neutralizes the most-common barriers to election success. But be warned! Like a recipe for baking bread, you need to use all of the ingredients to raise the dough. Begin early. If you have the luxury of time, two years prior to your anticipated election date is not too soon. Collect vital signs, such as enrollment projections, facility needs, financials, projected tax impacts and a report on what would happen without proactive intervention. Revisit your district’s strategic plan. If you don’t have one, get one. Nothing has meaning except in context, and a strategic plan provides the context. It is paramount that a bond election serves as a strategy that will move you closer to achieving the aspirations of your district. Organize a community advisory committee a year prior to the election date to review vital signs, condition of existing facilities and possible solutions. Meeting early and often will build community-driven momentum toward your bond initiative, as well as prepare an appropriate recommendation that the committee can present to the school board. Conduct a thorough, objective, scientific assessment of the public’s opinions and attitudes about the election and the district overall. Make sure this effort measures levels of public confidence in campuses and in district leadership. Conduct this assessment at the beginning of your planning process. Six months prior to the election date, conduct another assessment focused exclusively on voter attitudes, which will help you

develop key messages and communications strategies. Engage your board in the planning process and in the election campaign. Contrary to popular belief, it is OK for your board to participate. In fact, they should participate. It is permissible for them to talk about the election. It is permisScott Milder sible for them to make presentations. Though the Texas Ethics Commission does not regulate speech, we recommend the “better safe than sorry” approach for board members, which is to abide by the guidelines set by the Texas Ethics Commission. For more, visit www. ethics.state.tx.us. Involve staff and community in every stage of the planning process and throughout the election campaign. Involve as many people as possible. Consider yourself extremely fortunate if members of your community decide to form a citizens group, or political action committee, to advocate for passage of the bond election. (Important note: A school district cannot organize a political action committee, nor should it participate in its activities.) Retain a third-party planning firm to facilitate your strategic planning and bond planning. An external facilitator is an unbiased, objective judge of ideas and information and brings a collection of experiences from other districts. They can also broach critical or sensitive issues in a manner that strengthens relationships and builds mutual self-confidence. Design an appropriate, communitydriven plan that fits the educational needs and financial capacity of your district. Make sure the bond package is one that will move your district forward within the context of your district’s strategic plan. Research voter history. You need to know who your most likely voters are so you can engage and communicate with them. Identify those who consistently vote in general elections, primary elections, municipal elections and school district elections. You have an incredible advantage when you identify who votes. For example, with that

information in hand, you can identify registered parent-voters by campus. Then, you can develop a specific message for those parents at that campus and create a strategy to make personal contact with each of them. This is called voter targeting. Create a clear, concise and consistent message. Limit yourself to three to five key messages and stick to those messages. Repeat them over and over in publications, presentations and in casual conversations. If you’re not sick and tired of hearing the messages yourself, then you are not communicating enough! Diversify your communication strategies. While a newsletter and mass mailer may be appropriate, the most effective strategies focus on one-to-one or targeted group communications. Use your survey to find out how your community prefers to receive communications and incorporate these forms of communications into your plan. For example, it may be wise to incorporate Facebook, Twitter and blogging as forms of communications if you have a fairly young community that is actively using social media as a way to communicate and get information. Celebrate victory. Plan a communitywide celebration where you and your supporters can bask in the sweetness of victory. Order the largest sheet cake your community has ever seen, invest in party hats and noise makers and take the opportunity to harness the enthusiasm generated by your win. Remember to keep your community informed about the progress of your bond plan and continue to build your communications campaign as if you have another election on the horizon. Ultimately, this recipe for raising dough (pun intended) is about much more than winning your election. It can be the first step in an enduring journey toward strengthening public confidence and trust in your school district and its leadership. SCOTT MILDER is a principal and partner with Cambridge Strategics, a firm that provides strategic planning and organizational development services for school districts. He is also founder, president and CEO of Friends of Texas Public Schools. He can be reached at smilder@cambridgestrategics.com. October 2009 • Texas School Business

17


Closing the achievement gap Administrators share what works by Raven L. Hill

T

est scores don’t tell the whole story of how Mims Elementary School in Mission CISD narrowed its achievement gap, but they’re certainly worth noting. In 2003, 75 percent of the school’s students from low-income families passed every section of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills. By 2008, that figure jumped to 89 percent. It was a monumental improvement, considering that students from low-income families represent more than half of the South Texas school’s enrollment.

Four years in a row now, the state has rated the campus “exemplary,” and Mims has made the Texas Business and Education Coalition’s Honor Roll for a record-breaking 10th straight year. What’s behind this school’s success? The K-6 school focuses on giving each of its 800-plus students a sense of community, confidence and competence, says Principal Yvonne Zamora. Erasing the achievement gap – that persistent, lagging performance gap between poor, minority students and their white, more affluent peers – is considered

Mims Elementary Principal Yvonne Zamora works on some math problems with second grade student Kuri Ibarra. (Photo by Craig Verley, Mission CISD.)


to be one of the most important missions in education today by policymakers, educators and the general public. The No Child Left Behind Act is often credited with exposing the performance gap due to its focus on reporting student achievement rates by racial/ethnic and socioeconomic subgroups in addition to overall students. “Even as recently as 10 years ago, districts were many times rated highly based on how they did with all students,” says David Anthony, superintendent of Cypress-Fairbanks ISD in Houston. “(NCLB) helped everyDavid Anthony one to understand that you’re only as good as you are with each individual student.” There are some signs that Texas, one of the first states to tie academic standards to student assessments, is on the right track: • Texas was one of a small group of states to narrow the mathematics achievement gap in the fourth and eighth grades between the 1990s and 2007, according to a national study released in July. Math scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) improved for white and African American eighth graders during this same time period. • In reading, Texas was among the 13 states whose fourth-grade NAEP scores increased for white and AfricanAmerican students. The achievement gap did not significantly change for eighth graders of either race. • In its 2008 survey of state content standards, the American Federation of Teachers gave Texas high marks in mathematics at the elementary and secondary level. There are divergent schools of thought regarding the achievement gap’s origins and solutions. Some argue that schools cannot shoulder the burden or the blame for societal problems such as poverty. Others claim there’s a lot that schools can do, but don’t do – in terms of effort and resources – for their Alton Frailey neediest students.

Katy ISD Superintendent Alton Frailey says there’s an element of truth to both points of view. “There’s plenty of blame to go around,” he says. No Child Left Behind has set the goal of all students reaching proficiency in reading and math by 2014. Combined with the increasing requirements of the state’s accountability system, schools face a tough challenge, district officials say. Statewide, there’s a 26-point percentage difference in TAKS passing rates between white and black students, and a 19-point percentage difference between Hispanic and white students based on 2008 results. Many superintendents say success starts with the right mindset: high expectations for all students. “You have to start with the belief that all children can learn,” says Birdville ISD Superintendent Stephen Waddell. “If you don’t believe that, then no matter what you do, it’s not going to work. You Stephen Waddell will have a self-fulfilling prophecy of failure.” The high expectations must come from not only the classroom teacher, but from the principal and the board of trustees as well, says Weatherford ISD Superintendent Deborah Cron. “There are no Deborah Cron excuses at the board level (here), so there are no excuses at the administrative level,” Cron says. “It’s critically important to have a principal who will not settle for mediocrity in the classroom. That [mindset] has driven improvement as much as anything else.” One school’s story Mission CISD is located in the Rio Grande Valley near McAllen, about 50 miles away from the Mexico border. A suburban district with urban influences, more than 70 percent of its students come from economically disadvantaged families. Mims Elementary was honored this year by the National Association of State

Title I Directors for its success in closing the achievement gap over two or more consecutive years. Mims and Beaver Technology Center in Garland ISD were the only two Texas schools to be honored by the group. Mims’ motto and guiding principle is “learning without limits.” One ingredient in the school’s recipe for success is that teachers take a special interest in the lowincome students, forging relationships with them and monitoring their progress on benchmark tests, says Principal Zamora, who attended Mission CISD schools as a child. “We’re data-driven, and we make changes as needed,” she says. “It’s a work in progress.” Zamora also says she strives to have an open-door policy with teachers so they feel comfortable suggesting new programs and ideas. “Teachers know they have a voice. They take ownership as well,” she says. “I think that’s important.” Although many of their days run long, her teachers rarely complain, Zamora says. “Commitment from staff is essential,” she says. “We want to make sure we’re doing what’s best for students; it’s not about what’s easiest for us.” Tackling the gap The policies and practices at Mims – high standards, open communication between staff and administration, regular data analysis – mirror the strategies that experts recommend to narrow the achievement gap. Fenwick English, a researcher and professor of educational leadership at the University of North Carolina, says many districts fall short in two areas: they lack a rigorous, coherent curriculum and they too often stifle diverse teaching styles. “It’s the job of a school to deliver curriculum that is defined well, but also to allow the flexibility of teachers to deliver [the curriculum] to meet the variances

See ACHIEVEMENT continued on page 26

October 2009 • Texas School Business

19


TSB Calendar

Professional Development & EVENTS WEEK OF NOVEMBER 2 November 2-3 Five-Day Math Intensive Academy: Using Graphic Organizers and Assessment Tools to Make Mathematics Content More Accessible to Struggling Students

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Texas School Business • October 2009

November 2-3 Texas School HR Administrators Academy Austin Marriott North, Round Rock For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org Cost: By Oct. 12, $385. November 4-5 First-Time Superintendents Academy (session 2 of 4) Austin Marriott North, Round Rock For more info, (512) 477-6361 or (800) 725-8272. www.tasaonline.org Cost: Four sessions, $595; one session, $175. November 5 Purchasing Academy Embassy Suites, San Marcos For more info, (512) 462-1711. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $180; nonmembers, $220.

WEEK OF NOVEMBER 9 November 10 Education Partnership Planning Forum Location TBA, Lubbock For more info, (512) 473-8377. www.tape.org November 10 TASB Fall Legal Seminar Texas A&M University, Commerce For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org Cost: $150. November 11 TASB Fall Legal Seminar Stephen F. Austin University, Nacogdoches For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org Cost: $150.


TSB Calendar

Professional Development & EVENTS

November 11-12 Maximizing Student Success Professional Development Center, El Paso ISD For more info, (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org Cost: $349. November 12 Get a Grip on the Family Medical Leave Act ESC Region 9, Wichita Falls For more info, (800) 580-7782.

WEEK OF NOVEMBER 16 November 17 Staffing Controls for Public Schools TASB offices, Austin For more info, (800) 580-7782. www.tasb.org Cost: By Nov. 3, $180; after Nov. 3, $230.

November 17 TASB Fall Legal Seminar ESC Region 14, Abilene For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org Cost: $150.

See calendar on page 22

November 12-15 TESA Fall Work Conference Embassy Suites, San Marcos For more info, (512) 477-0724. www.tesatexas.org November 13 Jumping Hurdles and Raising the Bar Toward Achieving Excellence in Science Professional Development Center, El Paso ISD For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org Cost: $100. November 13-14 TASB Fall Legal Seminar and School Law Basics Sheraton South Padre Beach Hotel, South Padre Island For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org November 14 Federal and State Compliance Issues Workshop Central School District Office, Rockwall For more info, (512) 462-1711 or (800) 338-6531. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $180; nonmembers, $220.

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October 2009 • Texas School Business

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TSB Calendar

Professional Development & EVENTS

calendar continued from page 21

November 18-19 TASA/Texas A&M University Administrative Leadership Institute Hilton Hotel and Conference Center, College Station For more info, (512) 477-6361 or (800) 725-8272. www.tasaonline.org November 18-19 New Essential Curriculum for 21st Century Learners Transportation West Training Room, Frisco For more info, (512) 477-8200 or (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org Cost: Texas ASCD members, $299; nonmembers, $349. November 19 TASB Fall Legal Seminar ESC Region 16, Amarillo For more info, (512) 467-0222.

www.tasb.org Cost: $150. November 21 TASB Fall Legal Seminar Embassy Suites and Conference Center, San Marcos For more info, (512) 467-0222. www.tasb.org Cost: $150.

WEEK OF NOVEMBER 23 No events listed.

WEEK OF NOVEMBER 30 December 2 Get a Grip on the Family Medical Leave Act ESC Region 4, Houston For more info, (800) 580-7782. www.tasb.org Cost: $165.

December 2 Federal and State Compliance Issues Workshop Garland ISD Special Events Center, Garland For more info, (512) 462-1711 or (800) 338-6531. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $180; nonmembers, $220. December 2-4 TAGT Professional Development Conference: Growing Their Gifts George R. Brown Convention Center, Houston For more info, (512) 499-8248. www.txgifted.org December 2-5 TAHPERD Annual Convention Arlington Convention Center, Arlington For more info, (512) 459-1299. www.tahperd.org

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Professional Development & EVENTS

Cost: Early bird registration: Professional and associate members, $85; retired and student members, $35. Preregistration: Professional and associate members, $105; retired and student members, $35. On-site registration: Professional and associate members, $125; retired and student members, $45. December 6-9 Texas Assessment Conference Hilton Hotel, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361 or (800) 725-8272. www.tasaonline.org

WEEK OF DECEMBER 7 December 8-9 Boot Camp for Curriculum Administrators Bolin Elementary, Allen ISD For more info, (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org Cost: Texas ASCD members, $249; others, $295.

December 9 Annual TASPA-Legal Digest Conference Doubletree Hotel, Austin For more info, (512) 478-2113. www.legaldigest.com Cost: Legal Digest subscribers and TASPA members’ early registration (by Nov. 27): $135 online credit card; $145 purchase order. Legal Digest subscribers and TASPA members’ regular registration (after Nov. 27): $170 online credit card; $180 purchase order. Nonsubscribers and nonmembers’ early registration (by Nov. 27): $185 online credit card; $195 purchase order. Nonsubscribers and nonmembers’ regular registration (after Nov. 27): $210 online credit card; $220 purchase order. December 9-11 Annual TASPA Winter Conference Doubletree Hotel, Austin For more info, (512) 494-9353 or (800) 346-4111. www.taspa.org

Cost: Conference only: Members, $150; retired members, $75. Conference fee and renewal dues: Active members, $235; professional associate, $215; support staff associate, $195; retired, $90. December 11-12 TAMS/TARS Joint Annual Legislative Conference Hyatt Regency Hill Country, San Antonio For more info, (512) 346-2177. www.midsizeschools.org

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WEEK OF DECEMBER 21 No events listed.

See calendar on page 24

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TSB Calendar

Texas School Business • October 2009

January 13 Federal and State Compliance Issues Workshop ESC Region 16, Amarillo For more info, (512) 462-1711 or (800) 338-6531. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $180; nonmembers, $220. January 14 Other Duties As Assigned: Job Descriptions ESC Region 4, Houston For more info, (800) 580-7782. www.tasb.org Cost: $165.

WEEK OF JANUARY 18 January 22-24 TAHPERD Annual Leadership Conference Inn of the Hills, Kerrville For more info, (512) 459-1299. www.tahperd.org

January 24-26 Texas Education Partnership Conference Convention Center, Austin For more info, (512) 473-8377. www.tape.org Cost: Full conference, members, $175; full conference, nonmembers, $210; oneday conference, members, $100; one-day conference, nonmembers, $120. January 24-27 TASA Midwinter Conference Convention Center, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361 or (800) 725-8272. www.tasaonline.org


TSB Calendar

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Professional Development & EVENTS

WEEK OF JANUARY 25 January 26-27 TASA Facilities Institute Convention Center, Austin For more info, (512) 477-6361 or (800) 725-8272. www.tasaonline.org January 28 Federal and State Compliance Issues ESC Region 18, Midland For more info, (512) 462-1711 or (800) 338-6531. www.tasbo.org Cost: Members, $180; nonmembers, $220. January 28 Staffing Controls for Public Schools TASB offices, Austin For more info, (800) 480-7782. www.tasb.org Cost: By Jan. 14, $180; after Jan. 14, $230. January 28-29 Five-Day Math Intensive Academy: Using Graphic Organizers and Assessment Tools to Make Mathematics More Accessible to Struggling Students (session 2 of 3) Galena Park ISD For more info, (800) 717-2723. www.txascd.org Cost: Texas ASCD members and Galena Park ISD staff, $750; nonmembers, $850. January 29-30 TSHA Annual Conference: Piecing Together Healthy Lives Hilton Airport Hotel, Austin For more info, (800) 410-8742. www.txschoolhealth.org

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ACHIEVEMENT continued from page 19

in that school,” English says, explaining that the more diverse the student body, the greater the need for diverse teaching strategies. Teacher quality plays a tremendous role in narrowing the gap, Cron of Weatherford ISD says. “You’ve got to have a teacher who believes all kids can learn,” she says, “who will put into place instructional strategies that work, and who has a repertoire so that when one [strategy] doesn’t work, they can use another one.”

Erasing the achievement gap – that persistent, lagging performance gap between poor, minority students and their white, more affluent peers – is considered to be one of the most important missions in education today by policymakers, educators and the general public. Outfitting teachers with the right tools and support is essential, says Anthony, adding that Cypress-Fairbanks ISD has enhanced its professional development offerings in recent years. “The better your professional development systems, the better prepared teachers are to deal with their jobs,” Anthony says. “If you don’t have a staff with the capacity for achieving these goals, it’s not going to happen. Data analysis, staff development and support for teachers – those three things are nonnegotiable if you’re going to close the achievement gap.” To use data effectively, educators must drill down to the individual student level. In Birdville ISD, administrators use data to determine learning gaps and then they work to broaden students’ experience, such as creating lists of common vocabulary across content areas.


Frailey says he established a committee to review curriculum and teaching strategies along with data analysis to see how his district compares with others. He says he appreciates the focus on individual student performance because it’s more telling of what or who needs attention. In the past, in the face of low test scores, educators would go back and re-teach the entire curriculum when, in actuality, it might have been only one or two concepts that the students did not understand. As a matter of best practices, CypressFairbanks ISD also has added more math labs and has stepped up its credit recovery program to “get kids to the point where they feel successful” without lowering academic standards, Anthony says. Even districts with high ratings from the state have work to do, Cron says. “Our goal is to be exemplary. We celebrate, but we continue to see where we can close the gap,” she says. Cron started the school year by doing a five-year gap analysis with principals and staff. The two subject areas that pose the most problems for her Fort Worth-area district are math and science. Each month during the school year, district officials will look at a scorecard with year-end TAKS passing rates and the difference between the highest- and lowest-performing students. Clear Creek ISD Superintendent Greg Smith says his staff has come to understand the importance of relationship building among students and staff in the learning process. With that mindset, the district has made double-digit gains across most student groups and subjects for the past six years, Smith says. “Kids don’t care what you know until they know that you care,” he says. RAVEN L. HILL is a freelance writer and former education reporter for the Austin American-Statesman.

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Who’s News Aransas County ISD The new assistant principal of Rockport-Fulton High School is Michael Hannum. He arrived in Aransas County ISD in 1997 and most recently was an English language arts teacher at the school. Taking the role of assistant principal of Fulton 4-5 Learning Center is Kimberly Keister. She has been with the district since 1995, most recently serving as the subject area coordinator for English language arts and as assistant principal of Rockport Fulton Middle School. Sherry Myers is the assistant principal of Little Bay Primary School. From 2005 to 2007, she was the district’s director of instruction. During the previous school year, she worked as an independent contractor, providing teacher training on a consulting basis. Leading the Fulton 4-5 Learning Center is principal Jeremy Saegert. He has served as the school’s assistant principal since 2005. John Speck steps into the role of assistant principal of Rockport-Fulton Middle School. He most recently held the same position at Neldig Elementary in Elgin ISD. Prior to that, he was assistant principal at Navasota ISD’s intermediate school. Before taking on administrative duties, he was an art teacher and soccer coach; he also has been an instructor at Blinn College. Speck has a double-major bachelor’s degree in art and philosophy from Texas State University, a master of arts degree in education from Stephen F. Austin State University and a master of science degree in educational administration from Texas A&M University. Cameron ISD George Willey is the district’s new assistant superintendent. He most recently was with Copperas Cove ISD, where he spent two years as director of student programs and five years as high school principal. George Willey Other districts in which he has held administrative posts include Round Rock and Lake Travis. Willey earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas State University and his doctorate from Texas A&M University.

Charlotte ISD New Superintendent Brett Starkweather comes to Charlotte from Paint Rock ISD, where he held the same position. Claude ISD Toby Tucker is the district’s new superintendent. He comes to Claude ISD from Childress ISD, where he was first the district’s principal and then served as assistant superintendent. Prior to his time in ChilToby Tucker dress, he was with Wheeler ISD, where he was the high school and junior high principal, athletic director and special education teacher. Tucker’s bachelor of arts degree in mass communications is from the University of Central Arkansas and his master of education degree is from West Texas A&M University. In addition to his Texas superintendent, K-12 and PK-12 special education certifications, he is certified as a principal and superintendent in New Mexico. Cleburne ISD The new assistant superintendent for education programs is Tom Miller, who was most recently with North East ISD. An educator for 16 years, he holds a doctorate from The University of Texas. Lyla King is the district’s executive director of curriculum and instruction. Coppell ISD The new principal of Coppell Middle School North is Lynn Ojeda. A 19-year education veteran, she began her career with Plano ISD, spending 13 years teaching middle school Spanish before becoming an administrative intern in Lynn Ojeda 2003 at Bowman Middle School. She then served as an assistant principal at that campus and was the district’s eighth grade summer school coordinator in 2008 and 2009. Ojeda has a bachelor of arts degree in Spanish and English from Sam Houston State University and two master’s degrees, one in secondary education and one in educational administration, from the University of North Texas.

Crawford ISD Kenneth Hall, most recently superintendent of Roxton ISD, is Crawford ISD’s new superintendent. Crockett ISD Crockett ISD has Douglas E. Moore as its new superintendent. He was formerly superintendent of Oakwood ISD. Crockett County CCSD Crockett County CCSD has a new superintendent and three new administrators. Chris duBois has accepted the top position. Before coming to his new post, he served four years as high school principal in Grape Creek ISD and two years as that district’s assistant superintendent. He earned a master’s degree Chris duBois and administrator certification from Sul Ross State University. He is completing work toward his doctorate in educational leadership at Tarleton State University. The new principal of Ozona High School is Benny Granger, who comes to his new job from his prior position of principal of Ozona Middle School. His master’s degree and administrator certification Benny Granger are from Sul Ross State University. Houston Hendryx steps into the role of Ozona Middle School principal. He comes to the district from Schleicher County ISD, where he was an elementary school principal. His master’s degree and administrator Houston Hendryx certification are from Sul Ross State University. Ozona Elementary has a new principal, Amanda Jackson, previously a school counselor. She will oversee the consolidation of two campuses in one building during the 2010-2011 Amanda Jackson school year. See WHO’S NEWS on page 30 October 2009 • Texas School Business

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Who’s News WHO’S NEWS continued from page 29

Cumby ISD Lance Campbell begins his 19th year as an educator as he takes on the job of Cumby ISD superintendent. He has spent the past five years as principal of the high schools in Whitewright and Sam Rayburn ISDs, Lance Campbell where his tenure saw the designation of those districts as “exemplary.” In addition, a number of athletic honors in girls’ basketball, boys cross country and girls track events were achieved under his leadership. He is a graduate of East Texas State University, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in history and physical education; his master’s degree is from Tarleton State University. Dallas ISD Claudia Rodriguez will serve as executive director of human resources, returning to the district where she previously was a teacher and administrator. She began her career in 1980 as a teacher in El Paso ISD. She joined Dallas ISD as an ESL teacher at Greiner Middle School and was a bilingual education and ESL specialist. She then was principal of Spence Middle School and Skyline High School, later transferring to Mirando City ISD to serve as superinten-

30

Texas School Business • October 2009

dent. Most recently, she was with ESC Region 1 in Edinburg. She was also an adjunct professor in the Department of Educational Leadership at The University of Texas-Pan American. Duncanville ISD Keith Agnes has been promoted to assistant principal of Daniel Intermediate School, having been a classroom teacher at the school for the past three years. His career included stints in Lubbock and Dallas ISDs before joining Duncanville ISD. He earned a bachelor of arts degree from Texas Tech University. Arriving from Azle ISD, where she was an assistant elementary school principal, is Kathy Culbertson. She is the new principal of Reed Middle School. Her career began in 1977 in Del Valle ISD. For 17 years, she was a teacher and coach in all grade levels. During the past 15 years, she has been a high school counselor, elementary and secondary assistant principal and principal of a 4A high school. Culbertson’s bachelor of science degree in health/ physical education and in English is from Wayland Baptist University. Her master’s degree in educational psychology is from Texas Tech University, and her doctorate in education and public administration, with a specialization in school finance, is from the University of North Texas.

Brandenburg Intermediate School has Thomas Cyprian as its principal. His career began in Duncanville in 1998 as a social studies teacher. He was appointed assistant principal of Duncanville High School in 2005. He was away from Duncanville ISD for a year when he spent that time as an assistant principal in Arlington ISD. Cyprian’s bachelor of arts degree in political science and history and his master of education degree are from The University of Texas at Arlington. Jeff Dozier is the interim deputy superintendent for administrative services. He comes to Duncanville from Longview ISD, where he was deputy superintendent for campus accountability. A 15-year veteran of public education, he has been a teacher, principal and superintendent. Before becoming an educator, Dozier worked in the private sector in administration, marketing, public relations and promotions. He holds a bachelor of arts degree from Louisiana Tech University and a master’s degree from Stephen F. Austin State University. Leading Daniel Intermediate School is Principal Dawn Smith. With 23 years in education, she began her career as a special education teacher in Pasco, Wash. In Duncanville ISD, she spent nine years as principal of Brandenburg Intermediate. She earned a bachelor of arts degree in K-12 special education/regular education from Central Washington University; her master’s degree in administration and professional development are from Heritage College in Toppenish, Wash. Other appointments include: • Max Ahmadian, assistant superintendent for accountability and campus effectiveness • Liz Birdwell, executive director for curriculum and instruction • Tammy Kuykendall, chief communications officer • Larry McHaney, deputy superintendent for learning services • Ray Seago, interim assistant athletic director • Cathy Self-Morgan, interim athletic director El Paso ISD Four new administrators have been named for the district, and 18 principals have been appointed. Debra Carden steps into her new position as assistant superintendent of


Who’s News middle schools from her most recent role as director of secondary schools. Before coming to El Paso in 2008, she was a middle school assistant principal and principal with the Debra Carden Santa Fe (N.M.) Public Schools and Socorro ISD, and a middle school principal in Ysleta ISD. She was also a director of teacher education at Santa Fe Community College and Socorro ISD’s director of secondary instruction. Her bachelor of science degree in elementary education is from Eastern New Mexico University and her master of arts degree in educational administration is from the University of New Mexico. The new associate superintendent of the elementary schools division is Maria Flores, who has been with El Paso ISD since 1985. She began as a teacher at White Elementary School and also has taught at Guillen Middle School. She Maria Flores was assistant principal of Alamo and Alta Vista elementary schools and principal of Hart Elementary. She was an ESL instructor at the community college level for five years. Flores holds a bachelor of science degree in elementary education from The University of Texas at El Paso and a master of arts degree in education from New Mexico State University. Terri Jordan moves into the role of chief of staff from her previous position as associate superintendent of secondary schools. She began her career in El Paso ISD in 1986 as a classroom teacher. She has served as assistant Terri Jordan principal and principal of Franklin High School. Additionally, she was executive director of technology and information systems and assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. Her bachelor’s degree in secondary education is from Texas Tech University, and both her master’s degree in educational administration and doctorate in educational leadership and administration are from The University of Texas at El Paso. Joseph Lopez will serve as the as-

sociate superintendent of curriculum and instruction. His career began in 1971 in Dallas ISD; he also has served in Corpus Christi ISD and, most recently, Garland ISD. He has held various Joseph Lopez administrative positions, including program developer, instructional facilitator, dean of instruction, assistant principal, elementary and secondary principal and superintendent. He has also been with the Rockford (Ill.) Public Schools. Additionally, he has taught at New Mexico Highlands University and Texas A&M University at Commerce. Lopez has a doctoral degree from the University of North Texas. The new principals and their schools are: • Cynthia Donnelly, Roberts Elementary School • Blanca Garcia, Tom Lea Elementary School • Samuel F. Hogue, Andress High School • Ina Lachmann, Lundy Elementary School • Luis Liano, El Paso High School • Jesus Medina, General Colin Powell Elementary School • Deanna Moseley, Bliss Elementary School • Rosa Parga, Houston Elementary School

• Elco Ramos, Crockett Elementary School • Alberto Reyes, Herrera Elementary School • Gina Rodriguez-Nunez, Tippin Elementary School • Cynthia Sanchez, Beall Elementary School • Sandra Sanchez, Crosby Elementary School • Rosa Tarin, Hawkins Elementary School • Anthony Tomasheki, Schuster Elementary School • Diane Valverde, Alta Vista Elementary School • Micaela Varela, Polk Elementary School • James P. Vasquez, Moreno Elementary School Fort Worth ISD Sherry Breed, assistant superintendent for elementary school leadership, has spent her education career in the Fort Worth Public Schools. Beginning as a kindergarten and first grade teacher at Dillow Elementary, she Sherry Breed then taught at Stevens Elementary before being named principal of Sagamore Hill Elementary, where she See WHO’S NEWS on page 32

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Who’s News sioner for governmental relations with the Texas served for nine years. In 1999, she took Education Agency. Linon the role of executive director of the disares arrived in Fort Worth trict’s area 1 instructional support team, ISD in 1996, where she which served 59 schools. In 2003, she has served in a number of was promoted to associate superintendent roles: executive director of curriculum; in 2005, Breed was given Patricia Linares of the central instructionresponsibility for additional departments al support team; assistant and her title was changed to associate susuperintendent of school management; asperintendent of curriculum and instruction. sociate superintendent for school operaThree years later, she acquired responsibiltions; deputy superintendent of school manity for the PEAK program, which supports agement, curriculum and instruction; and campuses with historically low scores on deputy superintendent of school leadership the state’s accountability assessment. Breed and student support service. Her most reearned her bachelor’s degree from Texas cent position was that of deputy superintenA&M University and her master’s degree dent. Linares’ bachelor of science degree in from Texas Christian University. elementary education, with a specialization Patricia Linares, deputy superinin bilingual education, is from Southwest tendent, began her career with Dallas ISD, Texas State University (now Texas State where she taught first through fifth graders University). Her master’s degree in bilinin dual language and transitional programs. gual education is from Southern Methodist She then was a teacher advisor and later University, and her doctorate in education served as an assistant principal and princiadministration is from The University of pal in Dallas ISD. From 1991 to 1996, she Texas. was an educational specialist, state director, Robert Ray, chief of schools, most senior director and assistant to the commisrecently assistant superintendent for elementary school leadership, taught in Oklahoma City before Is your budget tight? transferring to Dallas Here’s a solution…… ISD, where he was a teacher at the Carver Learning Center. He came to Fort Worth ISD as assistant principal of Handley Middle School, proBuy a MAR refurbished system. gressing to the role New system w/17” LCD…$700 of principal at Logan MAR system w/17” LCD…$375 Elementary School. In 2000, he was appointed director of elementary school management. From 2004 to 2005, Ray served as interim asSave half on your budget. Buy MAR computers from Norris sistant superintendent Systems. We also sell hardware components and can buy your of elementary school surplus PC’s, servers, laptops and other IT equipment. management until moving to his most NORRIS SYSTEMS recent post. Ray has 2659 Nova Drive Contact: Eddie Clinton Dallas, Texas 75229 Director of School Programs a bachelor’s degree in (214) 622-6612 eclinton@norris1.com elementary education from Southwestern www.norris1.com WHO’S NEWS continued from page 31

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• • • • •

Oklahoma State University and a master of education degree in school administration from the University of Central Oklahoma. In addition, five new assistant principals have Robert Ray been assigned. They are: Toni Block, Trimble Tech High School John Daniel Goodner, Diamond HillJarvis High School Belinda Jill Lively, Western Hills High School Jimmy Thomas, Southwest High School Deonda Wilson, Eastern Hills High School

Goose Creek ISD Rachel De Leon is the principal of Carver Elementary School, after spending the past four years as principal of Pumphrey Elementary. She joined Goose Creek ISD as a first grade teacher at Crockett Elementary in 1985. She spent 1986 to 1992 as a bilingual education teacher for first and third graders at Travis Elementary, and she was parent involvement coordinator at Carver in 1993. She also was assistant principal and then principal of San Jacinto Elementary. De Leon’s bachelor of science degree, master of education degree and administrative certification are all from the University of Houston. Kevin Foxworth began the school year as principal of Highlands Junior High School, coming to his new position from Sterling High School, where he also held the top job. He came to Goose Creek Kevin Foxworth ISD in 1997 as a teacher and coach at Mann Junior High, and then he taught at Sterling High for a year before being named the school’s assistant principal. He served in that capacity until becoming assistant principal of Goose Creek Memorial High in 2008. Foxworth holds a bachelor of science degree from Union University in Jackson, Tenn., and a master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Houston-Clear Lake. The new principal of Crockett Elementary School is Jaime Lannou. She be-


Who’s News gan her career at Spring ISD, transferring to Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD to teach for six years, as well as serve as an instructional facilitator for two years. She arrived in Jaime Lannou Goose Creek to serve as the assistant principal of Crockett Elementary. Both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees are from Baylor University. The new assistant superintendent for administrative services is Byron Terrier. He comes from Buna ISD, where he spent the past three years as superintendent. He spent a year serving in several roles simultaneously in Byron Terrier Evadale ISD – assistant superintendent and elementary, junior high and high school principal. He also was that district’s athletic director for two years and taught high school biology, anatomy, physiology, integrated physics, chemistry, health and physical education. Terrier has been named Texas District Coach of the Year six times; he was Texas State Coach of the Year in 2000-2001. Terrier earned a bachelor of science degree, a master of education degree and his superintendent certification from Lamar University, where he will complete his doctorate in May. Granbury ISD Carol Howard will serve as assistant superintendent. She was director of career technology for the district. She began her career in 1979 as a language arts teacher at Keller Middle School in Keller ISD. She subCarol Howard sequently was a teacher, librarian and counselor in Leander, Channelview, Fort Davis, Balmorhea, Troy and Edgewood ISDs. She was a counselor and licensed specialist in school psychology for special education cooperatives in Edgewood, Nocona and Henrietta. She then spent three years as a specialist at ESC Region 9 in Wichita Falls, providing consultation and training on education topics. Howard was with Fort Stockton ISD,

overseeing programs for bilingual/ESL and technology at Plainview’s at-risk students, from 2005 until her arrival Covenant Hospital. Wood in Granbury. She has 30 years of experiearned both her bachence as an educator and holds certification elor’s and master of eduand licenses as a teacher, counselor, special cation degrees from West education counselor and school psycholoTexas A&M University. gist. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the She is the co-author of University of North Texas and a master’s Amy Wood “Writing in Math Really degree from Sul Ross State University. Counts” and is also a contributing editor for The new director of human resourcthe Agile Mind math program for middle es is Tom Howard. Prior school students. to coming to Granbury, he was athletic direcGreenville ISD tor and head football James Daugherty is assistant princoach at high schools in cipal of the Houston Fort Stockton, Henrietta, Education Center. He Edgewood, Brucevillewas most recently asEddy and Fort Davis sistant principal of Ford Tom Howard ISDs, leading teams to High School in Quinlan; playoffs 13 times. His career includes he has taught in Allen, nine district championships, four bi-district Caddo Mills, Rivercrest championships, one regional championship, James Daugherty and Honey Grove ISDs. and one appearance in the state semi-finals. Both his bachelor’s and Prior to those assignments, he was an assistant coach in Leander and Channelview. See WHO’S NEWS on page 34 Howard is a graduate of North Texas State University with a bachelor of science degree in secondary education. Amy Wood has been appointed technology director. Since 2004, she has been Granbury ISD’s instructional technology coordinator, serving teachers, librarians, staff and administrators at the district’s 12 campuses. She began her career in 1994 as Interactive CDs ● Online Applications a high school math teacher in Borger ISD, also teaching night classes at Frank CRITICAL MATH THINKING Phillips College. She then served as a fifth grade math teacher and campus technolLANGUAGE HEALTH Software available through ARTS ogy coordinator at Lakeside Learning ART & Center in Plainview. CREATIVITY Her last position before coming to Granbury was manager of www.core-learning.com ● www.corelearningonline.com

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Who’s News WHO’S NEWS continued from page 33

master’s degrees are from Texas A&M University at Commerce. David Gish is the new principal of Greenville Middle School. He was a teacher and coach from 1982 to 1991, and then he served as assistant principal at Greenville High School until 1996, moving David Gish into the position of the school’s associate principal until 2007. For the past two years, he has been principal of the district’s Sixth Grade Center. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from East Texas State University. Heath Jarvis leads Greenville High School as its principal. He has been with Greenville ISD for 16 years, teaching at Greenville High for 10 years before serving as principal from 2005 to 2008. He then Heath Jarvis transferred to his most recent position as principal of Greenville Middle School. As a district faculty member, he taught world history and geography, U.S. history and health. He also coached varsity football and Greenville High’s girls track team to seven consecutive district championships. He attended Kilgore College before earning a bachelor’s degree from East Texas State University and master’s degree in education administration from Texas A&M University at Commerce. Karalu Pope steps into the lead position at the Sixth Grade Center, replacing David Gish as principal. She has been assistant principal of the school since 2007. With the district since 1994, she taught at Karalu Pope Travis Elementary, Greenville Intermediate and Greenville Middle School before being named the middle school’s assistant principal in 2004. Pope has a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from Texas A&M University at Commerce. 34

Texas School Business • October 2009

Randy Stuart will serve as the district’s director of technology. He was previously technology director for Ore City ISD and assistant director of technology for Muleshoe ISD. He has a bachelor’s Randy Stuart degree from the Master’s College in Santa Clarita, Calif., and a master’s degree in computer information systems from Boston University in Massachusetts. Hubbard ISD New Superintendent Randy O’Brien arrives from Blooming Grove ISD, where he was the high school principal. He began his career in 1991 as Shepherd ISD’s high school coach and physical education teachRandy O’Brien er, and then he taught for a year at Heritage Christian Academy before moving to Rio Vista ISD, where he was the high school’s coach and mathematics instructor. He filled the same role at New Caney ISD, going on to spend two years as Conroe High School’s vocational marketing coordinator. O’Brien accepted his first administration position with a move to Montgomery ISD, where he was the high school’s assistant principal. He next held the same position at Willis ISD’s Hardy Intermediate School, and subsequently served as the middle school principal in Tarkington ISD before serving in his most recent position in Blooming Grove. O’Brien earned his bachelor of science degree in business management from East Texas Baptist University, his master’s degree and administration certification from Sam Houston State University and his superintendent certification from The University of Texas at Tyler. He is pursuing his doctorate. Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD The new principal of South Euless Elementary School is Randy Belcher. An educator for 11 years, he has been with the district for eight. Most recently, he was assistant principal of Bell High School; prior to that, he was assistant principal of Hurst Junior High, where he also served

as a teacher and coach. He began his career as a teacher in Odessa ISD in Odessa High School and Johnson Elementary. Belcher’s bachelor of science degree in educaRandy Belcher tion is from West Texas A&M University and his master’s degree in school administration is from Sul Ross State University. Irving ISD Desiree Marks-Arias has been named principal of Austin Middle School, coming to her new role from Cotulla ISD, where she was assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. She began her eduDesiree cation career in 1994 as a Marks-Arias math and science teacher at Cowart Elementary and Stockard Middle School in Dallas ISD. She was appointed dean of instruction at Stockard in 1999 and principal of Rusk Middle School in 2002. A year later, she became a consultant for a private educational company, returning to public education in 2004 when she became associate principal of Del Valle ISD’s high school. In 2005, Marks-Arias returned to Irving ISD as principal of Long Middle School before moving to Cotulla ISD in 2007. She earned her bachelor of arts degree and master of education degree from The University of Texas at Arlington; she will complete her doctorate in education in December. Laredo ISD Laredo ISD welcomes A. Marcus Nelson as its new superintendent. During his career he has been a fifth grade teacher, high school algebra teacher, middle school vice principal, high school assistant A. Marcus Nelson principal and principal, and director of secondary schools. He was most recently associate superintendent of Judson ISD in San Antonio; during his tenure, he was recognized as a turn-around specialist of low-performing schools. Nelson is a graduate of Abilene


Who’s News Christian University and holds two master’s degrees and a doctoral degree from Texas A&M University at Commerce. He received ACU’s Change the World Award, given to 100 alumni who “quietly make a difference in small and large ways in their communities and throughout the world.”

was director of school nutrition for Brownwood ISD. Helms has a bachelor of science degree from Texas Tech University; she completed her graduate work at the University of Houston at Clear Lake and Texas Woman’s University. Peaster ISD Matt Adams is the new superintendent, coming to his new position from Millsap ISD, where he was assistant superintendent. Plano ISD Danny Modisette has been appointed deputy superintendent, returning to the district where he spent 28 of his 37 years in Texas education. He has served as a teacher, coach and assistant principal at Clark Danny Modisette High School, principal of Haggard Middle School, executive director of human resources and

Marathon ISD The new superintendent is Neil Harrison, who began his career in 1963 as an educator in parochial schools. He was a teacher and coach at St. Edward’s High School in Austin; athletic director, teacher and coach at St. Paul’s Academy in Shiner; assistant principal, teacher and coach at Jesuit College Preparatory in Dallas; and director of development at Ursuline Academy, also in Dallas. He then joined Collinsville ISD, serving 10 years as the district’s elementary Includes school principal and Bonus RtI two years as its high Forms CD! school principal. His Response to Intervention most recent assignSecondary School Adminis ment was superintentrators dent of Tioga ISD. Ogonosky

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Midland ISD The new director of child nutrition services is Michelle Helms. In addition to working in the private sector for the Texas Cooperative Extension, she has been assistant director for school contract feeding in Friendswood ISD, food service coordinator for Dickinson ISD and director of school nutrition for Galena Park ISD. Her most recent position

See WHO’S NEWS on page 36

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Lubbock ISD Berhl Robertson Jr. is now the chief administrative officer for the district, overseeing business, facilities, technology and human resources. He comes to his new position from serving as president of the Equity Center, a research Berhl Robertson Jr. and advocacy think tank for low- to mid-wealth school districts. Additionally, he has had top roles with the Texas Association of School Administrators and the Texas Association of Community Schools. He also served as superintendent of Roosevelt ISD, during which time Roosevelt High School was named one of the best high schools in the country by U.S. News and World Report. Robertson is a graduate of Texas Tech University, earning his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from that institution. Kelly Trlica is Lubbock ISD’s chief academic officer. She comes from Houston ISD, where she has been assistant superintendent of secondary curriculum, instruction and assessment. Prior to her time with Houston ISD, she Kelly Trlica was executive director of secondary education for La Porte ISD. She began her career as a classroom teacher, teaching social studies, and progressed to serving as social studies coordinator for kindergarten through 12th grades. She also was a middle school and high school principal and was an adjunct professor at the University of Houston at Clear Lake. Trlica holds a bachelor of arts degree in political science and business administration and a master’s degree in secondary education and political science from Sam Houston State University. Her doctorate in educational administration is from Baylor University. The district’s new assistant superintendent for teaching and learning is

Doyle Vogler, most recently principal of Lubbock High School, a position he held for nine years. He joined the faculty of Lubbock High in 1991 as a math teacher Doyle Vogler and tennis coach, advancing to serve as associate principal of instruction and dean of instruction before taking the top role at the campus. Vogler has two bachelor’s degrees from West Texas State University (now West Texas A&M University), and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Texas Tech University.

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Who’s News WHO’S NEWS continued from page 35

deputy superintendent. He retired in 2007 and joined Cambridge Strategic Services as an education design strategist. Before coming to Plano in 1979, Modisette taught social studies in Goose Creek and Silsbee ISDs. He earned his bachelor of science degree from East Texas State University and his master of education degree in public school administration from the University of North Texas.

RTI Laminated Reference Guides by Andrea Ogonosky The RtI Process Guide This guide is designed as a resource for district and campus teams to provide a framework for implementing RtI in their schools.

What Is RtI? Response to Intervention is a 3–tier approach to providing high-quality instructional practices to meet the needs of all students, including struggling learners. Student needs are determined through multiple sources of data, and researchbased interventions are delivered within the tiers. The primary

The RTI Process Guide

focus of the RtI process is to intervene early when students begin to show signs of struggling to meet grade-level state standards. The development of strategies to help an individual struggling learner is based on how the student responds to interventions—hence the name “Response to Intervention.”

Core Characteristics of RtI • • •

Responsibility within the general education instructional framework Use of scientifically validated curriculum and instructional practices Decisions based upon a careful and thorough analysis of multiple data sources

• • •

A clear definition of a tiered model of decision making and delivery of instruction Monitoring of student progress over time to determine the effectiveness of both instruction and intervention Classroom observation to ensure that instruction and intervention are delivered as they were designed to be (fidelity)

Example of a 3-Tier Process Tier 1 (100% of students)

Tier 2 (about 20% of students)

Tier 3 (about 5% of students)

Tier 3

Tier 2 Tier 1

The RtI Behavior Strategies Guide This guide is designed as a resource for district and campus teams to provide a framework for implementing RtI in their schools.

What Is RtI? Response to Intervention is a 3–tier approach to providing high-quality instructional practices to meet the needs of all students, including struggling learners. Student needs are determined through multiple sources of data, and researchbased interventions are delivered within the tiers. The primary

focus of the RtI process is to intervene early when students begin to show signs of struggling to meet grade-level state standards. The development of strategies to help an individual struggling learner is based on how the student responds to interventions—hence the name “Response to Intervention.”

Core Characteristics of RtI • • •

Responsibility within the general education instructional framework Use of scientifically validated curriculum and instructional practices Decisions based upon a careful and thorough analysis of multiple data sources

• • •

A clear definition of a tiered model of decision making and delivery of instruction Monitoring of student progress over time to determine the effectiveness of both instruction and intervention Classroom observation to ensure that instruction and intervention are delivered as they were designed to be (fidelity)

Example of a 3-Tier Process Tier 1 (100% of students)

Tier 2 (about 20% of students)

Tier 3 (about 5% of students)

Tier 3

Tier 2

These handy laminated reference guides are designed to increase educators’ understanding of Response to Intervention (RTI). Written by national presenter, Andrea Ogonosky, these first three reference guides provide valuable information on 1) the whole RTI process and its campus based implementation; 2) applying RTI in campus team problem solving; and, 3) using RTI in developing strategies to handle special behavior of students.

The RTI Make sure to purchase copies for all school employees Behavior who are involved with RTI, these guides are valuable for Strategies training and desk reference. Guide Pricing: 1-10: $12.95 ea. • 11-24: $10.95 ea. • 25+: $9.95 ea. Each Chart: 6 page laminated reference guide; 8.5 x 11

Tier 1

The RtI Team Problem Solving Guide This guide is designed as a resource for district and campus teams to provide a framework for implementing RtI in their schools.

What Is RtI? Response to Intervention is a 3–tier approach to providing high-quality instructional practices to meet the needs of all students, including struggling learners. Student needs are determined through multiple sources of data, and researchbased interventions are delivered within the tiers. The primary

focus of the RtI process is to intervene early when students begin to show signs of struggling to meet grade-level state standards. The development of strategies to help an individual struggling learner is based on how the student responds to interventions—hence the name “Response to Intervention.”

Core Characteristics of RtI • • •

Responsibility within the general education instructional framework Use of scientifically validated curriculum and instructional practices Decisions based upon a careful and thorough analysis of multiple data sources

• • •

A clear definition of a tiered model of decision making and delivery of instruction Monitoring of student progress over time to determine the effectiveness of both instruction and intervention Classroom observation to ensure that instruction and intervention are delivered as they were designed to be (fidelity)

Example of a 3-Tier Process Tier 1 (100% of students)

Tier 3

Tier 2 Tier 1

36

Tier 2 (about 20% of students)

Tier 3 (about 5% of students)

The RTI Team Problem Solving Guide

My RTI Reference Chart Binder: $10.00 Keep your valuable resource materials easily accesible!

order online: www.legaldigest.com

Texas School Business • October 2009

Richardson ISD Carolyn G. Bukhair has come out of retirement to serve as Richardson ISD’s interim superintendent. She was superintendent of the district for eight years before retiring in 2004, having spent 29 years in Richardson ISD Carolyn G. Bukhair and more than 37 years as an educator. In addition to her service as superintendent, Bukhair was a classroom teacher, principal, assistant superintendent and deputy superintendent; she also served another stint as interim superintendent. During her retirement, Bukhair coordinated ESC Region 10’s superintendent academy. San Marcos CISD The new principal of Miller Middle School is Doug Wozniak. He comes to San Marcos from Stockdale ISD, where he was principal of Stockdale Junior High. Prior to that position, he was assistant Doug Wozniak principal and then principal of Sides Elementary in Karnes City ISD. He taught social studies, physical education and science in Sweet Home ISD, where he was also the district’s gifted and talented coordinator. He taught math and pre-algebra and was a UIL math coach at Pearsall ISD’s junior high. Wozniak has a bachelor of science degree in elementary education from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. He attended Texas A&M University before receiving a master of education degree in administration and supervision from the University of Houston at Victoria.


Who’s News Sheldon ISD Shereen James is leading the new Sheldon Early Childhood Academy, the second campus of its type she has opened. She has been with Sheldon ISD for 25 years, spending 14 of those before becoming Shereen James an assistant principal. In 2002, she opened Cravens Early Childhood Academy, where she has remained until taking on her new assignment. Monahan Elementary School’s new principal is Denise Mustin, a 15-year veteran of Sheldon ISD. She began her career as a classroom teacher and then served as a librarian before taking the position of assisDenise Mustin tant principal of Sheldon Elementary in 2004. Kathy Spell has moved into the role of principal at Cravens Early Childhood Academy. She has been with the district for 11 years. She began her career with Houston ISD, coming to Cravens Academy in 2003 as the school’s Kathy Spell assistant principal. A 19-year employee of the district, Becky Zalesnik is the principal of the new Michael R. Null Middle School. She has been with Sheldon ISD for 19 years, 16 of which were spent as a classroom teacher at Becky Zalesnik King High School before accepting the position of assistant principal at King Middle School in 2007. Additionally, nine assistant principals have been appointed. They and their schools are: • Alfredo Alvarez, Royalwood Elementary • Blake Carroll, King Middle School • Chris Dickson, Cravens Early Childhood Academy • Angelica Cruz, Monahan Elementary • Carmen Maglievaz, Sheldon Early

Childhood Academy • Sheila Mixon, Sheldon Elementary • Brandon Perry, King High School • Kim Smith, Null Middle School • Tim Williams, Null Middle School Socorro ISD Rosemary Menchaca is the newly appointed principal of Socorro Middle School. Her career began in 1988 when she joined Ysleta ISD as a teacher at Riverside Middle School. She has been dean of instruction for math and science Rosemary Menchaca at El Dorado High School since 2007. Prior to that assignment, she was the school’s assistant principal for three years, earning the title of Principal of the Year in 2007 from the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals. She was a classroom teacher at Socorro and Americas high schools from 1997 through 2004, and she served as a department chair at Socorro. Menchaca received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from The University of Texas at El Paso. Socorro ISD’s board of trustees has named David Pena principal of Americas High School. He has been principal of Socorro Middle School since 2002, serving as assistant principal of Slider Middle School prior to that. He came David Pena to Socorro ISD in 1989, where he was a classroom teacher until he took on his first administrative duties in 1996 as assistant principal of Socorro Middle School, a position he held until 1998. Both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education are from The University of Texas at El Paso. Timpson ISD Mid Johnson is the superintendent. He was most recently Joaquin ISD’s high school principal. Tioga ISD The district’s new superintendent is Andy Baker, who was Prosper ISD’s middle school principal.

Statement of Ownership, Management and Circulation 1. Publication Title: Texas School Business 2. Publication Number: USPS 541-620 3. Filing Date: 9/13/09 4. Issue Frequency; Monthly except in July/August & November/December, and for the Bragging Rights issue published in December 5. Number of Issues Published Annually: 11 per year 6. Annual Subscription Price: $28 7. Complete Mailing Address of Known Publication: 1601 Rio Grande Street, #441, Austin, Travis County, TX 78701-1149 (Contact Person: Ted Siff) (Telephone: 512-657-5414) 8. Complete Mailing Address of Headquarters or General Business Office of Publisher: 1601 Rio Grande Street, #441, Austin, Travis County, TX 78701-1149 9. Full Names and Complete Mailing Addresses of Publisher, Editor and Managing Editor: (Publisher) Ted Siff, 1601 Rio Grande Street, #441, Austin, TX 78701-1149 (Editor-in-Chief) Jim Walsh, 1601 Rio Grande Street, #441, Austin, TX 78701-1149 (Editor) Katie Ford, 1601 Rio Grande Street, #441, Austin, TX 78701-1149 10. Owner: Texas School Business Magazine, LLC 1601 Rio Grande Street, #441, Austin, TX 78701-1149 11. Known Bondholders, Mortgagees, Security Holders: Wachovia Bank P.O. Box 740502, Atlanta, GA 30374-0502 12. NA 13. Publication Title: Texas School Business 14. Issue Date for Circulation Data Below: September 2009 15. Extent and Nature of Circulation Average No. No. Copies of Copies Single Issue Each Issue Publisher During Nearest to General Preceding 12 Filing Date Months a. Total number of Copies (Net press run) 3,509 3,100 b. Paid and/or Requested Circulation 2,876 2,373 1. Paid/Requested Outside-County Mail Subscriptions 2. Paid In-County Subscriptions 3. Counter Sales and Other Non-USPS Paid Distribution 4. Other Classes Mailed Through the USPS c. Total Paid and/or Requested Circulation d. Free Distribution by Mail (Samples, complementary, and other free) 1. Outside-County as Stated on Form 3541 2. In-County as Stated on Form3541 3. Other Classes Mailed Through the USPS e. Free Distribution Outside the Mail f. Total Free Distribution g. Total Distribution h. Copies not Distributed i. Total j. Percent Paid and/or Requested Circulation

104 0 0

136 0 0

2,980 173

2,509 137

15 0

10 0

321 509 3,489 20 3,509 84.92%

425 572 3,081 19 3,100 80.94%

16. Publication of Statement of Ownership: Publication required. Will be printed in the October 2009 issue. 17. Signature: Ted Siff, Publisher Date: 9/13/09

TSB October 2009 • Texas School Business

37


THE BACK PAGE Advertisers Index

by Riney Jordan

The best evaluation ever

O

nce upon a time there was a teacher who was assigned to a new elementary school because of increased enrollment. She was the new kid on the block. She had to beg for enough desks to provide one for each of her students. She had to find extra teachers’ editions of the textbooks. The other teachers on her team seemed nice enough, although they were busy preparing their rooms and didn’t have time to help the new teacher. It didn’t matter. Her excitement to teach these young students was overwhelming. She spent weeks preparing her room prior to the first day of classes. She used what little money she had to buy new books and materials to outfit the learning centers and displays around her room. “It needs to be bright and inviting,” she told herself. On the first day of school she was there early. She wanted everything to be perfect for these youngsters who had been entrusted to her for an entire year of their lives. The first one or two students to walk into the classroom were a bit over-active, but she anticipated that most of them would be wellbehaved and ready to learn. Yet, one by one they continued to arrive, each seemingly more active than the previous one. By 8:01 a.m., all her students were in the room, but few of them were in their seats. It didn’t take long for her to realize that this was either an exceptionally rowdy group, or she had been given a selected list of students that the other teachers didn’t particularly want in their rooms. As the students took their seats, she noticed the desks were still set for a lower grade level and had not been raised to accommodate her students. So, during her lunch time, she raised 22 desks one notch higher to make them more comfortable for her students. Using only a screwdriver, she adjusted 88 legs. The rest of the afternoon posed even more challenges. “This has been a disaster,” she thought. However, as the students left the

38

Texas School Business • October 2009

classroom at the end of the day, one young boy stayed behind. In her mind, he had received the distinction of being the most active child in the room. He had talked incessantly. He had rarely sat in his seat. He had not been able to stay focused. With a grin from ear to ear and eyes sparkling, he walked up to her and said, “I don’t want to go home. This has been the best day ever!” She wanted to hug him, to laugh, to cry. A flood of emotions ran through her. Finally, she swallowed and managed to say, “Why, thank you, Charlie. You just made my day!” And, indeed he had. For those in education, the rewards may come slowly, but they will come. And when they do, it makes us realize the real reason we became educators. So, now that school has been under way for a few weeks, take a moment to re-evaluate your reasons for working with children. The checklist might look something like this:  Has establishing a relationship with the students been my main objective?  Do my students know that I’m always ready to listen?  Have I been a good role model for them in the way I have responded to problems?  Have I encouraged them on a regular basis?  Have I been patient with those who need it the most?  Do I reflect that I’m glad to see them each day?  Have I discovered anything about their lives at home?  Do they know I truly care about them by my actions? Your evaluation doesn’t always come from a school administrator. The most accurate one comes from the child who says, “I don’t want to go home. This has been the best day ever!” RINEY JORDAN, whose best-selling book, “All the Difference,” is now in its sixth printing, is an international speaker and humorist. He can be reached at riney@htcomp.net or by visiting www.rineyjordan.com.

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