The Voice | Winter 2016

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Texas Parent Teacher Association Winter 2016

President Leslie Boggs A look back at the beginning of the future

Introduction Practice your ABC’s Happy New Year! I want to share with you what has made me a better leader. It’s all about the ABCs. Surprised? I am a huge believer in continuing your education no matter your age, especially in order to be an effective leader. Remember these foundational components and you will be in a position to greatly succeed in life! The letter “A” stands for Attitude. Your attitude about life and the relationships you have is totally under your own control. No one makes you have the attitude you possess each day. It is totally your decision and your choice. It has been said a thousand times, but it is worth repeating because it is so true! “It is your attitude, not your aptitude, that determines your altitude in life.” Be a positive, encouraging, and intentional leader so great things will happen within your PTA. The letter “B” stands for Behavior. How you choose to behave – your hands, feet, eyes, mouth, expressions and words directly affect everyone on your board, your volunteers and your own family. Your behavior demonstrates to others who you really are. Begin your day in a positive manner. Make the commitment to seek out other individuals on your campus who would help your PTA and board become better in the future, or even today! Make the commitment to be a positive leader!

PAGE 8 The CommYOUnity has the power to affect the next generation of assessments in the state of Texas

The letter “C” stands for Communication. The words that come out of your mouth will be the ultimate key to what every person you meet thinks about you. Life and death are in the power of your words. The way you speak to people will either cause them to be attracted to you or repelled by you. I can promise you this one fact: if you speak words of kindness, life, enthusiasm, happiness, encouragement and joy to people every day, you will always have a crowd around you! If there is one key I have learned in the success story of life it is simply this: don’t let anything come out of my mouth unless it is something good that can be of benefit to the person to whom I am speaking. It really is that simple! There you have it – your ABC’s. If you want to have the absolute best year that you have had in your life, just apply this one, simple truth each and every day this year, and everything will turn in the right direction for you. You get to choose your own Attitude, you get to choose your own Behavior, and you get to choose your way of Communicating each day. As you take these tools in your walk of life as a leader, you will begin to see more individuals wanting to be a part of your PTA. Be positive about your PTA and the difference you are making in the lives of the students, families, staff and community you serve. It may start out slowly, but by the end of the year, you will see how much a difference you have made on your campus, within your PTA and even in your own life! Leslie Boggs Texas PTA President 2

Texas Parent Teacher Association The Voice

PAGE 14 The new SAT debuts this March and we have tips to ensure that your student is prepared to ace it!

PAGE 18 A tribute to Leslie Boggs, 2014-2016 Texas PTA President

Don’t Believe Them Texas PTA recently had the privilege of honoring former Texas House Public Education Chairman Jimmie Don Aycock by adding his name to the 2015 Texas PTA Legislative Honor Roll. I was honored to attend this event which was held at the Killeen ISD Career Center. As we toured this new center, I was both stunned and speechless. My first thought was, “Wow, to attend school here!” So often we hear others speak about the demise of public education and how Texas is not preparing students for the future. Descriptions like “no rigor, not being challenged or underperforming” are how some wish to describe public education in Texas. I wish those who utter these words would tour this campus. The Killeen ISD Career Center’s motto is, “Learning for Life.” How true! During the tour I got to see students learning about architecture, broadcasting, veterinary medicine, auto mechanics, and floral design – just to name a few. This campus is stateof-the-art, well-prepared and teaching students to be both college and career ready. So when you hear others speak or write about how poorly Texas schools are doing, don’t believe them. Please speak up in your PTA voice and provide examples of the many great things that are happening in Texas! Kyle Ward, CAE Executive Director


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Advocacy and Legislative Updates The Next Generation of Assesments How to Ace the New SAT Tribute to Texas PTA President Leslie Boggs Q&A with a Texas PTA Scholarship Recipient Recipes for the Winter Season Healthy Lifestyles Quiz New PTAs in our CommYOUnity 3

School Safety Certificate Announced Winter 2016 • Vol. 106, No. 4 408 West 11th Austin, TX 78701 • EDITORIAL TEAM Executive Director Kyle Ward, CAE Associate Executive Director Darren Grissom Creative Design Specialist Rolando Sepulveda Digital Media Specialist Brianna Vela TEXAS PTA BOARD OF DIRECTORS President Leslie Boggs President-Elect Lisa Holbrook

The Texas School Safety Center (TxSSC), in consultation with the School Safety Taskforce, has developed a school safety certification program that awards a school safety certificate to school districts that have met criteria specified by the TxSSC. These criteria are based on the Texas Unified School Safety Standards developed by the TxSSC in collaboration with stakeholders. The school safety certification program is administered through an online reporting system. School districts are asked several questions regarding their safety and security practices. In addition, each school district will be required to provide a copy of the report signed by the district school board president and superintendent verifying the information submitted. In order for a district to receive a school safety certificate, ALL criteria must be met. School districts can access the School Safety Certification Program by visiting the link below:

Secretary Sheri Doss Treasurer Beth Crymes Vice President Programs & Resources Heather Ashwell-Hair Vice President Membership Elizabeth Campbell, J.D. Vice President Leadership Chris Zimmer

Encourage your district to apply. Less than 300 districts have completed the program as of December 31, 2015.

Vice President Field Service Catherine Carlin Directors-at-Large Pierr Castillo Frances Fass Lee Guerra Fred Henley, J.D. Sylvia R. Reyna, Ph.D. Neil Shelby Greg Smith, Ph.D.

The Voice, the official publication of the Texas Congress of Parents and Teachers, is published four times a year in fall, winter, spring and summer. Call 1-800-TALK-PTA or visit us on the web for more information. Disclaimer: Articles and advertisements in The Voice do not necessarily represent the viewpoints or policies of Texas PTA. Texas PTA does not endorse non-PTA products or services mentioned in this publication. Reprint permission: Unless otherwise noted, PTAs may reproduce and distribute the materials from The Voice without express written permission. Texas PTA materials may not be duplicated by any other organization or person without written permission from the editor. COVER PHOTO BY KRISTEN WATSON

It’s time to Vote, Texas! Find your community polling place for early voting or the Texas primary.

Early Voting February 16-26 Texas Primary March 1 Spread the word back the future


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Founder’s Day Dinner Guest Speaker: Kai Kight, Violinist and Innovator Workshops, Training, and Annual Meeting

Registration extended to February 10!



photo by Evan Vucci/AP

Morath Takes Office as Texas President Obama Signs Commissioner of Education Every Student Succeeds Morath was appointed Commissioner of Education Act to Replace No Child Left Mike by Gov. Greg Abbott on Dec. 14, 2015. As Commissioner, he heads the Texas Education Agency (TEA), which oversees preBehind kindergarten through high school education for approximately For more than a decade, state legislators say they’ve stood on the sidelines while their education departments followed the federal government’s blueprint, No Child Left Behind, in rolling out demanding accountability systems. So legislators were pleased when President Barack Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act last month. The first new version of the nation’s main K-12 law since 2002 rolls back the direct federal role in improving student outcomes and hands much of that power to governors and legislatures. Hopefully school districts will see a return of local control to school boards and administrations.

five million students enrolled in both traditional public schools and charter schools.

Commissioner Morath previously served on the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) board of trustees for more than four years. A strong advocate of public education, Commissioner Morath graduated from Garland High School in the Garland Independent School District. Thanks to that great public school education, he earned his Bachelor of Business Administration degree, summa cum laude, from George Washington University in two-and one-half years. Among his priorities, Commissioner Morath will focus on supporting educators throughout the state, transitioning the state’s accountability system to an A-F framework, and improving the overall efficiency of TEA. Commissioner Morath succeeds outgoing Commissioner of Education Michael Williams. Williams served in the position for more than three years. The Commissioner of Education is a gubernatorial appointment and serves at the pleasure of the Governor. Commissioner Morath’s appointment is subject to Senate confirmation during the next legislative session in 2017.


Texas Parent Teacher Association The Voice

Legislative Leaders Appoint Accountability Commission Governor Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and Speaker Joe Straus have named their respective appointees to the newly created Texas Commission on Next Generation Assessments and Accountability. House Bill 2804 (84th Session) authorized the creation of the commission with the purpose of developing and making recommendations for new systems of student assessment and public school accountability no later than September 1, 2016. Gov. Abbott has appointed and named Dallas ISD Trustee Mike Morath as presiding officer. Additionally, he appointed Andrew Kim, Theresa Trevino and Quinton Vance. Lt. Gov. Patrick appointed Kim Alexander, Paul Castro and Michael K. McLendon. Speaker Straus appointed Pauline Dow, Maria Hernandez Ferrier and Catherine Susser.

School Funding Lawsuit Update The Texas Supreme Court is expected to rule on the school finance lawsuit this spring, likely after the March Primary. There is talk that the Supremes may remand the suit back to district court or to a newly authorized three judge panel. Governor Abbott urged the court to remand the lawsuit back to district court, suggesting the financial picture for Texas schools would be significantly different for school districts in 2016-2017 than was funding in 2012-2013 when the school finance lawsuit was filed.

Have You Met Your State Legislator? Now is the perfect time to meet with your state legislators or to invite them to speak at upcoming PTA meetings. The legislature does not meet again until January of 2017 so legislators are back home and available to meet with YOU, their constituents. To find your legislator copy this link into your web browser: It will identify your state representative and state senator and provide contact information. Meetings generally last under 30 minutes during which you will have an opportunity to talk about your Local PTA and share information about Texas PTA’s achievements this session, found on the Texas PTA website, Legislators are interested in your concerns and welcome a visit from you. Get going!

Texas PTA Seeks Input from Members for Public Policy Direction Texas PTA is seeking your input into the direction of our advocacy efforts that help ensure that all Texas children have the opportunity to succeed. Please watch for this survey via email and social media. We need know what is important to your school CommYOUnities!


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For Next G Assessm Work, Tex Yo


Texas Parent Teacher Association The Voice

t GEN ts 2 tx nee U

Generation ments to xas Needs ou. “Community Conversations” Brings Statewide Listening Tour to Tackle Issues of Student Assessment By Donna Bahorich Chairwoman, Texas State Board of Education


the children across the lone star state are worth it. If you’re like many parents of children in Texas schools, you are frustrated by the annual ritual of standardized testing. Unfortunately, our tests have failed to accomplish what was intended, including actionable intelligence to inform school leadership, teachers and parents about student progress and to identify gaps in knowledge. What we have received instead is a report card that falls far short on both illumination and guidance. The fallout experienced due to the state’s inattention to the important details has been enormous: stressed out teachers and children, distorted classroom priorities and lost time and resources gobbled up by seeking to understand what our state assessment reports have failed to plainly tell us.

But after years of complaining about it, now you can actually be a part of the solution. The State Board of Education is hosting a series of Community Conversations to come up with recommendations for the Texas Commission on Next Generation Assessments and Accountability. The SBOE was in San Antonio January 13th, in Austin January 21st, in El Paso February 4th, and will be in Brownsville February 11th and Dallas/Ft Worth February 16th and 17th, Kilgore March 1st, and Amarillo March 24th. We want you to join us. It’s your turn to weigh in on what works, what doesn’t, and what can be improved. Our discussion will focus on fresh ideas and broad perspectives to give us insight into how Texas can make our assessments work better for educators, parents and, most importantly, our students.


Texas Parent Teacher Association The Voice

At the State Board of Education, we believe it’s important to gather feedback, to help generate a bottom-up solution rather than a top-down, bureaucratic one. The goal is to have an informative conversation before the new system of testing is implemented to avoid a second-guessing conversation after it is. A lot of people don’t like testing, but we know what the alternative is: Schools that can fail for years without correction, sub-populations of students neglected, students falling behind even as they advance through schools, and parents and taxpayers in the dark about their return on investment.

Common testing, providing consistency in expectations for all Texas students, in some way has to happen for accountability. But beyond that, the rules should be wide open and the freedom to create innovative solutions embraced. The more voices involved in this discussion the better.

We have a lot going on in our busy lives, but I want to encourage you to take time out and be a part of this discussion. And if you can’t make it to a face-to-face, there’s an online component to be up on the SBOE website in February. To develop a system of testing for our education system that seeks more to illuminate than to penalize, we have to start with the People of Texas. The children across the Lone Star State are worth it. Donna Bahorich is the Chairwoman of the elected Texas State Board of Education

To develop a system of testing that seeks more to illuminate than to penalize, we have to start with the People of Texas.

Donna Bahorich, Chairwoman, Texas State Board of Education


How Your Students Can Ace The New SAT by Jean Burk, College Prep Genius


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4 sections debuts in March

highest score: 1600

Parents and students should not fear the new SAT! This dreaded test that college-bound students take to not only get into college but also receive scholarship money can be beat. It is one of the most important components in the admission’s process because a 4.0 at one school is not the same at another. Every school weighs and calculates their scores differently but the SAT levels the playing field because it is common to all applicants. Students can become confident test-takers and open up amazing doors with a great SAT because colleges go up on their rankings nationally based on test scores, so the higher the score-the more money a student receives! The latest version of the SAT features four sections: one reading; one writing; and two math. These equate to three hours of testing, with an additional fifty minutes allotted for the optional essay. The highest possible score (without the essay) is 1600, with each section having sub-scores to help pinpoint weaknesses. The new and redesigned SAT debuts in March but with the proper knowledge and preparation, students can become well-equipped to conquer this new version.

3 hours of testing

Despite the changes, fear can be alleviated for three reasons. First, it’s a standardized test that follows the same patterns and concepts every time and thus can be figured out. Second, it’s objective, which means there can only be one right answer allowing students to easily eliminate the three incorrect responses. Finally, it’s logic-based, which focuses less about IQ or curriculum and more centered on testing the student’s critical thinking skills. Since this is not a test based on specific content, it can’t be studied for via traditional methods. Instead students can learn to prepare for the exam itself by understanding how the questions and answers are formulated. While the test allows about a minute for solving each question, students who employ critical thinking methods should be able to answer them in about half that time. Here we explore changes in the new test by analyzing the math, reading, writing and essay sections to give you a better overall understanding of the exam.


There is no need for anxiety about the new SAT

The reading section is comprised of three differing passages: long; long with a chart; and dual passages. About seventy percent of each passage can be skipped by identifying the five question types and putting them in the correct order. Students tend to overthink the question and second-guess themselves. Test makers utilize four hidden patterns to cause them to do this, and the acronym C.O.A.T. works well to describe them: C-Completely irrelevant information; O-Obscure confusing information; A-Additional or extra information; and T-Totally contradictory information. Once identified, students can eliminate these choices first.

While the SAT essay has been made optional, students should always make the attempt to write it. Even though the grade received is not factored into their final score, it can exempt a student from taking a writing class in college. In addition, it can serve as a determining factor on a student’s college application, providing a boost for those who might be on the fence. Students have fifty minutes to read a published work and write an essay explaining how the author built an argument and what evidence was used to support it. By using logical reasoning, students should demonstrate comprehension by echoing the information given.

The math section is broken into two parts, one which permits a calculator and one that doesn’t. Students needn’t be math geniuses to ace this section. Knowing basic math is important, but every question can be answered in thirty seconds or less. The most difficult part of the math section is knowing how to set up the problem. Crucial information found in the question allows the student to use the answer choices themselves as a part of the solution. By ruling out the obviously wrong answers immediately and making the correct response easier to discern, this set of rules works much more quickly than working out the entire problem. The SAT math section is more concerned with assessing the student’s logic skill than it is with the numbers themselves.

There is no need for anxiety about the new SAT. Conquering the test is simply a matter of understanding how the test questions and answers are designed. This knowledge can be crucial, both for college admission and scholarship money. Mastering these test-taking skills can be easily incorporated into your school and once students learn the shortcuts and strategies to finding the hidden patterns, they can ace this test!

The writing portion combines three sections from the previous version of the SAT: sentence error; improving sentences; and improving paragraphs. The errors are now underlined and embedded in four passages. Prepared students will not need to read the entire passage if they can find and identify which kind of these two answers are being sought: Problems without a prompt question will test grammar, with the answer found by understanding the recurring concepts. Those that do contain a prompt question will test style, with the solution usually found in the sentences right around the underlined portion. 14

Texas Parent Teacher Association The Voice

Jean Burk is the creator of the revolutionary and award-winning College Prep Genius curriculum which has helped thousands of high school students prepare for the SAT & PSAT/NMSQT and raise their scores as much as 600 points! As a Fox News contributor, her expertise has been featured on FOX, CBS, NBC, ABC, WE, Forbes Living, UshopTV and The Homeschool Channel. Her program is in numerous schools in the US and abroad. She is a much sought after speaker and teacher and she currently travels across the globe speaking about how to get college for FREE! Contact her at info@collegeprepgenius. com or 817.282.7737

Students can learn to prepare for the exam itself by understanding how the questions and answers are formulated.

Jean Burk, College Prep Genius



Texas Parent Teacher Association The Voice

Leslie’s Legacy by Brianna Vela, Digital Media Specialist “She is a visionary,” Texas PTA Past President Sylvia Ostos said as she began describing her dear friend. She stands up for her principles, even when it has not always been easy to do so, and knows how to work with the smallest PTA unit as well as with the highest offices of the state government.”

“Leslie was treasurer at that time,” Sylvia said. “More than being my treasurer, she was a strong support for me as I tried to lead the Board. Her steady encouragement gave me the courage to follow my instincts. I always knew she would give me good advice and take care of the little things that needed attention.”

Applauding the work of 2014-2016 Texas PTA President Leslie Boggs, Sylvia and many others reflect on Leslie’s successes.

That attention to detail is what has led Leslie through the path of success in PTA. Being involved for the past thirty years, she has served in various PTA leadership roles, working her way up to serve as State President in both New Mexico and Texas.

Sylvia has known Leslie for 22 years. Her strongest memories of Leslie date back to their time on the Texas PTA Board of Directors when Sylvia was president from 1998 to 2000.

In 1986, Leslie was treasurer of Dennis Chavez PTA in Albuquerque, New Mexico and volunteered in various leadership positions in her children’s elementary and middle schools. Once her family moved to Texas in the early 1990’s, Leslie took her role in PTA to the next level by becoming the Ector County ISD Council President.


“ Her steady encouragement gave me the courage to follow my instincts”

“She is a Visionary”

Leslie has used this experience as a Council PTA leader to help other up and coming presidents like Harlingen City Council President, Beatrice Cruz. Serving in her first term, Beatrice says she has learned many things from Leslie in the way she speaks and carries her passion for humanity. “Leslie truly embodies one of my favorite quotes expressed by Mahatma Gahndi,” Beatrice explained. “’Be the change you wish to see in the world.’ Her valor is a great example I have personally adopted.” Harlingen City Council PTA has continued to grow over the past few years, thanks to the PTA’s dedicated volunteers. 18

Texas Parent Teacher Association The Voice

“Being a PTA leader has brought an immense awareness of how interconnected families, school and communities are,” Beatrice said. “PTA allows for people from all walks of life to come together for one purpose, the future of our children. It is such a beautiful sight when parents, grandparents, community leaders, teachers, principals and business owners deposit all of their creativity and energy into ensuring that each child receives the best that they can be given.” As Leslie became more involved in PTA at the Council and school district level, she made sure to become an active contributor to the Junior League of Odessa. While participating in various activities that included raising $125,000 for community and education projects, Leslie decided to take her service to Texas PTA in 1998. Leslie was elected State Treasurer and served on seven committees.

“She was always open to new ideas and never utters the words, ‘That’s the way we’ve always done it.”

“She is a wonderful human being who welcomes all perspectives and encourages you to be a leader.”

When her family moved back to New Mexico, Leslie continued to leave her mark on students’ lives through PTA. She served on the New Mexico PTA Board of Directors as treasurer and worked her way up to president to serve a term from 2003-2005. Her time and experience as president in New Mexico was rewarding as she made a successful impact on the board of directors. Moving back to Texas PTA, Leslie did not think twice about jumping back into Texas PTA leadership. She served as a Parent Education Programs Chair, Second Vice President, First Vice President and ultimately Texas PTA President.

Texas PTA Executive Director Kyle Ward has worked with Leslie throughout many of her years on the board of directors. He says she has always exemplified herself as a leader and does not fear change. “She was always open to new ideas and never utters the words, ‘That’s the way we’ve always done it,’” Kyle said. “She quickly offers her enthusiastic support. Leslie always encourages feedback from others, and while she ultimately had to make decisions, she sought advice and input from others which makes people feel valued.” Texas PTA encountered tremendous milestones during Leslie’s presidency. The creation of a new governance model, a new State Office and the implementation of a successful membership campaign were all captured in just a two-year timespan. 19

“I think the journey began with the conversation of our local and state leaders to come up with a new governance model. That was really a great experience. I think we’ve also embraced the grassroots leaders and stake holders through the back the future campaign. I remember the first committee where we had to plan the new branding of back the future; the concept of backing the future of our students to make each of their potentials a reality. I think the campaign has helped us in so many different areas as an association. It gets the message out that anyone can be a part of the movement; anyone who believes in backing the future of our children’s education. From local members who have children in schools to business leaders and community members, it’s been embraced at every level. This is where we need to be going. We want to continue seeing not just parent membership but CommYOUnity involvement. We need to not just push aside these (non-parent) members every year, but need to embrace them and make them feel a part of our association and make them feel that their voice is needed and heard.” -Leslie Boggs 20

Texas Parent Teacher Association The Voice

Another stride made throughout Leslie’s presidency was Texas PTA’s presence in the Capitol, especially during the 84th Legislative Session. Incoming 2016-2018 President Lisa Holbrook was not only president-elect, but chair of the Advocacy Committee. She says she enjoyed working with Leslie and testifying numerous times during the interim and session. She believes these efforts have given Texas PTA a prime seat at the advocacy table. “We have never been in a better place as it relates to our Advocacy efforts,” Lisa said. “Not only are we engaged with key legislators in the House, Senate, and Lt. Governor’s office, but our opinions are actively sought as it relates to key issues that involve the health, safety, and welfare of our children and youth.” Kyle went with Leslie to the Capitol for many of the visits with state legislators. He says when giving testimonies, she displayed genuine concern for all students. “Through her care and love for her own children and grandchildren, she has repeatedly demonstrated that same care and love for all Texas children,” Kyle said. “No doubt her two years in office were about the mission and devotion to Texas students.” Incoming 2016-2018 President-Elect Sheri Doss was delighted to work under Leslie’s leadership as the 20142016 Texas PTA Secretary. Over the past years, Sheri has looked to Leslie as both a role model and mentor. “She is learning new leadership development tools and graciously shares them with other PTA leaders,” Sheri said. “She is a wonderful human being who welcomes all perspectives and encourages you to be a leader.” Sheri has taken notice on trips Leslie has taken to support the PTAs of San Antonio ISD. Despite a full schedule, Leslie has made efforts to travel to events showcasing the great things PTAs were accomplishing. “Her attendance meant the world to the PTA leaders, superintendent and school board president that were there,” Sheri said. Leslie has truly left an imprint on the history of Texas PTA and will do so as she continues onto the national level. During the 2015 National PTA Convention, Leslie was elected to serve on the National PTA Board of Directors, and received the highest number of votes of any candidate. No doubt, PTA leaders from across the country have confidence in Leslie and know that she will do great things for PTA and students in every corner of our country.


“When you walk into a school, you can tell the difference between the ones that have a great PTA and those that are barely getting along; it is evident within the atmosphere. Schools that have PTAs show students valuing their education, teachers embracing their role and parents getting involved. My whole journey through PTA started in Texas, moved to New Mexico and then back to Texas. These leadership roles have given me a lot of information and knowledge that I can take to National PTA and share how to better embrace our members and show what a consistent, positive message can do. As we move forward, I hope that our great association continues to embrace the future for change. PTA is looking for good leadership and we are here to help parents help their children succeed.�


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Thank you Leslie Texas PTA President 2014-2016


To Vet School and Beyond Q & A with a Texas PTA Scholar



Texas Parent Teacher Association The Voice

Alexandra Pruett is a go-getter. At 24, her successes are paying off as she makes her way through her third year in the College of Veterinary Medicine program at Texas A&M University. “It’s getting even more exciting,” Alex said. “We are still in class learning about anatomy, diseases, etc. However we’ve been able to do more hands-on training. I’ve completed my first live surgery and that was a huge accomplishment for me!” The enthusiasm and passion of not just veterinarian school, but of educational success, can be traced back to her experiences as a student through the Northside Independent School District.

Alex graduated in 2010 from Thomas C. Clark High School with a Texas PTA High School Senior Scholarship. Five years after receiving her scholarship, Alex made the effort of reaching back out to thank Texas PTA for the contribution that backed her future. She also was happy to share her story in the hopes other students would be inspired to apply for the scholarship. Thank you so much for reaching out to us Alex! Please tell us, how is school going? I graduated with honors from Texas A&M University and finished my undergraduate degree in three years, receiving my Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Science. Following my acceptance into the Veterinary Medicine program, I have worked as a student ambassador for the school and last year, I received some great hands-on training at the Aggieland Animal Health Center as a student Intern. Do you remember why you applied for the Texas PTA scholarship? Why was it important to you? I applied for the Texas PTA Scholarship because I knew that my parents didn’t have a huge amount saved to pay for all of my education. I’m fortunate that I was able to finish my undergraduate education without any debt thanks to scholarships and my parents. I have had to take out school loans in order to attend veterinary school, but know that my debt could’ve been a lot more and am very appreciative of the support I’ve received. How did you feel having a PTA or PTSA at your high school benefitted the school, students, and teachers? Was there anything they did for you that stands out? Having PTA on my high school campus was a very good thing. You have parents and students who aren’t involved in extracurricular groups like sports or band and this organization gives them an opportunity to get connected. My mother had been involved with PTA since I was in middle school. She helped my high school create an electronic newsletter that parents could receive via email and would even help parents sign up for the newsletter during registration days. During high school there were some major cutbacks in our district and supplies were being limited. I remember the PTA stepping in and helping to purchase copy paper. This may not sound like a big thing, but it was at the time. The students needed handouts from their teachers and the PTA made sure that there was paper to do that. In my opinion, the PTA’s flexibility allows them to meet the most pressing demands of the school during the year and helps in making the school year successful.

Why would you encourage other PTA high school seniors to apply for the scholarship? What benefits would you tell them receiving the scholarship have? If any high school senior meets the criteria for the PTA scholarship they should absolutely apply! Any and all financial support received that you don’t have to repay makes a huge impact on your finances once you graduate. At the end of your letter to Texas PTA you wrote, “I want to let you know that I continue to honor my promise to you of working hard and truly appreciate the financial support you provided me.” Can you elaborate more on that promise? What does working hard mean to you and why have you followed through with that since graduating high school? As I near the end of my journey in becoming a veterinarian, I know that I did not get to this point alone. My family, teachers, professors and mentors have invested their time guiding me along the way. I received some scholarships for my undergraduate education and it is because of them and my parents that I have no debt for my undergraduate degree. Those organizations, like the Texas PTA, believed in me enough to invest in me financially. I owe it to all of them to finish strong in becoming a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. It has not been an easy road to travel - finishing undergrad in three years, getting accepted into vet school and maintaining grades. There were times when it was overwhelming and just too much. But, then I remembered all of those in my corner rooting me on. I just had to dig deeper and keep pushing. This third year has been great and I’m really looking forward to starting my fourth year as it’s our actual clinical rotations. Once I graduate and find an office to practice in, I plan on pursuing my goal of becoming Board Certified in Animal Behavior. With the finish line not too far away, I’m excited about what my future looks like. It’s my hope that by being a dedicated veterinarian and helping people understand their animals that I honor those who have believed in me and perhaps along the way I can help others interested in entering this profession.




NOMINATIONS ARE OPEN FROM FEBRUARY 11 to MARCH 7 Take the time to nominate an Educator that has made an impact on your school or district! VISIT TXPTA.ORG FOR MORE INFO


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Healthy Lifestyles

Simple Chili

Healthy Hot Cocoa Ingredients 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar substitute Pinch of salt 1 cup of low-fat milk OR any combination of milk, half and half or cream ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract Preparation 1. Whisk together the cocoa, sugar, salt and about 2 tablesppons of milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until cocoa and sugar are dissolved. 2. Whisk in the rest of the milk and heat it over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until it is hot. 3. Stir in the vanilla and serve. 4. For desired frothiness, blend in blender Serves 1

Ingredients 1 lb extra lean ground beef 1⁄2 cup chopped onion 1 garlic clove, finely chopped 1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce 1 tablespoon chili powder 3⁄4 teaspoon ground cumin 1⁄4 teaspoon salt 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper 1 (15 -16 ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained or 1 (15 -16 ounce) can pinto beans, if desired Preparation 1. Cook beef, onion and garlic in 3 quart saucepan until beef is brown. 2. Stir in remaining ingredients except beans. 3. Heat to boiling, reduce heat to low. 4. Cover and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally. 5. Stir in beans. 6. Heat to boiling, reduce heat to low. 7. Simmer uncovered about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until desired thickness. 8. To freeze for OAMC: Let chili cool to room temperature and then place into quart-size freezer bag. Remove air and freeze flat on a cookie sheet. Once frozen, can be stored in freezer standing up or stacked horizontally. 9. To serve, thaw in fridge overnight and then transfer to a pot and reheat over medium low heat until heated through. Serves 4-6


Texas Parent Teacher Association The Voice

Healthy Lifestyles Quiz


1. Does your child have the four food groups — produce, whole grain, dairy, and protein — on his plate at each meal? Yes No 2. Do they eat green veggies at least three times a week? Yes No 3. Do they eat red or orange fruits or veggies at least twice a week? Yes No 4. Do they eat blue or purple fruits and veggies at least once a week? Yes No 5. Do they eat five servings of any produce a day? Yes No 6. Does your child eat fish or other omega-3–rich foods like walnuts or flaxseed at least twice a week? Yes No 7. Does your child have at least three servings of low-fat dairy a day? Yes No 8. Does your child eat at least three servings of whole grains (for example, a cup of whole-grain cereal, a slice of whole-wheat bread, and a half cup of whole-grain pasta) daily? Yes No


9. Does your child get at least five ounces of protein each day (a small chicken breast or can of tuna is three; 1 Tbsp of peanut butter or an egg is one)? Yes No Score your quiz: How many times did you answer Yes? 8 or more You’re doing great! Stay the course. 5 to 7 You’re doing better in some areas than others. Review your No’s—with a little more focus on those weak spots, your child will be right on track. Fewer than 5 Sounds like you’ve got a pretty picky eater on your hands. Follow our advice here, but also talk to your doctor about which supplements might be right for your child.


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Texas PTA welcomes the latest additions to our Park Lakes Elementary Camacho Elementary NW Harllee W.A. Meacham Middle School Kleberg Elementary Colorado River Collegiate Academy PTSA Jones Academy Elementary Park Lakes Elementary Live Oak Ridge Middle School Justin Kimball High School Reagan County Elementary School Sabinal Elementary Terrace Hills Middle School

Dorie Miller Elementary R C Burleson Elementary Hogg Elementary South Davis Elementary Young Men’s Leadership Academy PTSA Artemisia Bowden Elementary CCISD Special Education PTA Reno Elementary PTA Gilmer Elementary PTA Cambridge PTSA Spring Shadows Wildcats PTA L.B. Johnson Elementary PTA Beall Elementary PTA Joan Link Elementary

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Texas Parent Teacher Association The Voice