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Michelle McCray named Jupiter Chevrolet Teacher of the Month

 

Posted October 17, 2014

 

Making its second stop of 2014-15, Jupiter Chevrolet’s Teacher of the Month SUV returned to Shorehaven Elementary School. Second grade teacher Michelle McCray received the title Oct. 2.

 

“This is awesome,” she said fighting back tears. “I am honored and humbled to be in a district where teachers are recognized and appreciated. It is an amazing feeling.”

 

Principal Patty Tremmel helped surprise McCray by luring her outside, where students and staff waited to celebrate.

 

“We just want to thank Jupiter Chevrolet for supporting the district and our fantastic teacher,” commented Tremmel. “This is so exciting.”

 

Jupiter Chevrolet’s Teacher of the Month contest recognizes the important work of GISD educators and rewards them for their dedication. Winners are chosen through a Facebook vote and get to drive the car through the end of the month. McCray received numerous votes, some from as far away as Louisiana.

 

“I did not know about the contest at first,” explained McCray. “My coworkers nominated me and told me to spread the word. Family, friends and even parents of former students in Louisiana voted. I started crying looking at all the Facebook posts.”

 

Would you like to see your campus represented and your favorite educator named Teacher of the Month? Vote for the November winner on Jupiter Chevrolet’s Facebook page.


RHS band brings home honors

 

Posted October 17, 2014 -- Photos by Brad McClendon, www.bhmimages.com

 

Rowlett High School’s Mighty Eagle Band from Rowlett High School brought home honors Oct. 11 from the Tournament of Champions March Band Contest in Carrollton. The band placed second overall and won caption awards for Best Music & Best Drum Majors.

 

 

 

 


Tafadzwa Charuma receives leadership award 

 

Posted October 17, 2014

 

The Bob and Gayle Riley Servant Leadership Award was presented to two students at East Texas Baptist University.  Tafadzwa Charuma was presented his awards from Dr. Riley, president emeritus, and his wife Gayle during Chapel Monday, Oct. 13.

 

Tafadzwa is a psychology major from Garland and is scheduled to graduate this December. He is the son of PeeCee Charuma and Lydia Munesti-Charuma. He is an active member at Friendship Baptist Church of Marshall. During his time at ETBU, he has participated in the Baptist Student Ministry especially through the Charge ministry and currently is the president of .com (cultural outreach ministry). During his early years at ETBU, he was a member of the Tiger football team.

 

The Bob and Gayle Riley Servant Leadership Award is given annually to students who exhibit exceptional servant leadership. Students are nominated by their peers, faculty and staff during the spring semester and then invited to apply for the award.

 

“Here at ETBU I have experienced community in a way most people only read about,” wrote Charuma in his application. “As I make plans to leave here and serve elsewhere, wherever it is God calls me next, I will work to become community for the people I meet there by serving and leading them in ways that I have been served and led while at ETBU.”

 

The Riley’s presented each winner with a miniature replica of Max Greiner’s sculpture of Jesus washing the feet of Simon Peter named the “Divine Servant” and a scholarship award.


GISD announces parents of GISD students on same plane as Ebola patient

 

Garland ISD | October 17, 2014

 

To Garland ISD Parents and Guardians: It has been well publicized that a second health care worker was diagnosed with the Ebola virus and traveled on a flight from Cleveland to Dallas earlier this week. She was not showing any symptoms of the disease during her travel.

 

Today we learned the parents of four GISD students at two schools were aboard this plane with the health care worker. The campuses are North Garland High School and Schrade Middle School.

All parents have been in contact with the Center for Disease Control. Officials from the CDC have assured family members their seating location aboard the flight was in a no-risk area, no quarantine is necessary, and all students are not being withheld from school.

 

Both families are cooperating entirely with the organization. Administration at North Garland and Schrade are also communicating with the parents. Additionally, the district is working with CDC, Dallas County Health & Human Services and city officials from Garland and Rowlett.

There are no other family members at any other GISD campus.

 

It is important to know individuals are not contagious until symptoms appear. GISD is taking proactive measures at both campuses - increased cleaning throughout the day, an intensive deep-clean this evening and an expert cleaning this weekend. Additional disinfectant measures are being performed at all GISD campuses.

 

The following information is available online:

 

 

These include frequently asked questions, how to talk to your child regarding Ebola, and timely updates. GISD is in ongoing communication with the Center for Disease Control and DCHHS. A hotline is also available for reporting concerns, 800-527-7140.

 

If another situation arises of a student who may have been exposed to an individual diagnosed with Ebola, the district will continue providing as much information as possible.


GISD celebrates anti-bullying and cyber-safety

 

Garland ISD | Posted October 16, 2014

 

Students, teachers and parents throughout Garland ISD commemorated Help Everyone Respect Others (HERO) and Cyber-safety Week with enlightening activities, informational forums and superhero-themed days Sept. 22-26.

 

“This year’s celebration was better and more focused than last year’s. We involved parents in the discussion of what the 'Golden Rule' is and had a follow-up conversation in the classroom,” said Cisneros Prekindergarten School counselor Margarita Gonzalez. “We also created a flier in English and Spanish that included information and tips to help parents set limits regarding cyber-safety.”

 

In addition to organizing campus activities, Gonzalez physically showed support for the week’s message by dressing up as Batman on “Superhero Day”—a gesture students and fellow district staff thoroughly enjoy annually.

 

“One of the week’s highlights is always ‘Dress as a Superhero Friday.' This year, some of our schools were even featured on the local news,” said Director of Guidance and Counseling Ruby Armstrong.

 

“Other high points included the various anti-bullying assemblies held throughout the week, one of which featured distinguished speakers.”

 

Parents and students learned about bullying, online safety and suicide prevention at the Power of Parents Forum Sept. 23. The hourlong presentation featured four renowned speakers and GISD’s Technology Integration Team discussing how parents can strengthen their family, build resiliency skills in their children and combat cyber bullying.

 

“We hope continued education will help identify cyber-safety issues, such as cyber bullying, safe social networking, cyber security and online identity protection,” Armstrong said.

Overall, administrators and educators expect the week’s activities will have a long-term impact on students.

 

“Education is power, anytime we educate students and parents about topics, we tend to have fewer incidents concerning those behaviors,” Gonzalez explained. “We are hoping HERO and Cyber-safety Week 2014 laid a foundation for lifelong anti-bullying behavior and cyber-safety awareness.”


Students prepare for future with PSAT/NMSQT, Readistep tests

 

Garland ISD | Posted October 15, 2014

 

To help prepare students for college entrance exams, Garland ISD administered the PSAT/National Merit Scholar Qualifying Test to all sophomores and juniors Wednesday, Oct. 15. The ReadiStep testing window for all eighth-graders will began as well. Although these tests may seem intimidating, many students are ready to tackle them, thanks to targeted classroom events.

 

“We have been working on integrating PSAT/NMSQT practice into core-area classes through warm-up activities and practice tests,” said Sachse High School Assistant Principal Brandy Schneider. “We have also held tutorials specifically geared toward PSAT, SAT and ACT for math and English.”

 

Schneider, other district administrators and teachers are putting a strong emphasis on these exams because of their value. The PSAT/NMSQT provides students with excellent SAT practice and opportunities for college scholarships, as well as recognition programs. Eighth-graders will also be able to identify skills, select accommodating high school classes and pinpoint pre-Advanced Placement, AP, magnet and Gifted and Talented program eligibility through Readistep results.

 

“We hope students gain the experience of taking this type of test and become more comfortable with what these tests are like,” Schneider said. “We also hope that our students will take ownership of their results and see what their areas of strengths are and what areas need improvement.”

 

Given the benefits to students, GISD paid all fees related to both the PSAT/NMSQT and ReadiStep. After all, these tests have the power to change a student’s life.

 

“The best-case scenario is that a student who had not planned to attend college scores well on this test,” Schneider explained. “That can help them see their own potential, and look at college in the future.”

 

For more information on the PSAT/NMSQT and ReadiStep, visit the Guidance and Counseling Department's website.


GISD students learn to

support, report, defend

 

Posted October 14, 2014 

 

The Allstar Nation Tour, an anti-bullying campaign and concert assembly tour, will visit about 15,000 students and faculty at 12 Dallas area schools this month and Garland ISD’s Lyles Middle School is on the schedule. The tour is a growing national effort to prevent in-school bullying and encourages students to report, support and defend against bullying.

 

The Houston-based, peer-to-peer anti-bullying music tour features recording artists ages 12-25 who perform and speak out against bullying in middle and high schools. Artists are well-known among their peers and perform Top 40 and original songs. Between performances, the artists speak out against bullying, share personal experiences and prevention methods. There is no charge to schools for the 90-minute assembly performance.

 

Various recording artists will be featured throughout the tour. Scheduled to perform in Dallas are New Caney native Branden Mendoza, 21, who competed on NBC’s “The Voice” Season 6 held earlier this year; Frisco native and pop singer Tristan Blaine, 15, a tour veteran with fans whom refer to themselves as “Blaniacs”; Micaiah Walker, 24, of Houston who is the lead singer of rock band VerseCity; and Boston native and Nashville recording artist Jessie Chris, 17, who has opened for several country stars such as Chris Young and Ayla Brown.

 

The Allstar Nation Tour will perform at Lyles Middle School Oct. 24 at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.

 

“This tour is so important because what used to be a harmless rite of passage among school-aged children decades ago has quickly grown into an epidemic resulting in lives lost,” said tour founder Dillon Smith.

 

Facts about bullying:

·         Bullying affects nearly one in three American schoolchildren in grades six through 10. It’s a major factor in teen suicide and school shootings.

 

·         Eighty-three percent of girls and 79 percent of boys report experiencing harassment at school.

 

·         Nearly nine out of 10 LGBT youth reported being verbally harassed at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation

 

·         Bullies often go on to perpetrate violence later in life: 40 percent of boys identified as bullies in grades 6 through 9 had three or more arrests by age 30.

 

·         Six out of 10 teenagers say they witness bullying in school once a day.

 

·         Nearly 70 percent of students think schools respond poorly to bullying.

 

·         It is estimated that 160,000 children miss school every day due to fear of attack or intimidation by other students.

 

·         Thirty-five percent of kids have been threatened online.

 

·         Sixty-four percent of children who were bullied did not report it.

 

·         Nearly 70 percent of students think schools respond poorly to bullying.

 

·         Cell phones continue to be the most popular technology utilized by adolescents with almost 83 percent of youth in a sample report having used one at least weekly.

 

·         Statistics on bullying and suicide are alarming. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, resulting in about 4,400 deaths per year, according to the CDC. For every suicide among young people, there are at least 100 suicide attempts. More than 14 percent of high school students have considered suicide, and almost 7 percent have attempted it.

Sources: Cyber bullying Research Center, National Education AssociationPACER Center, and Make Beats Not Beatdowns.

 

 

About: The Allstar Nation Tour is a Houston-based anti-bullying music tour featuring recording artists ages 12 to 25 who hold free, 90-minute performance assemblies at middle and high schools. Artists perform Top 40 and original songs to connect with their peers. Between performances, the artists speak about bullying, share personal experiences and prevention methods. The tour is expected to reach more than 100,000 students in more than 30 school districts in Texas, Florida, and other locations to be announced. For more information including how to schedule a school performance or audition to be on the tour, visit www.allstarnationtour.com or call 713-562-1708.


Fire Reel Film Festival now accepting submissions

 

Garland ISD | October 11, 2014

 

Calling all budding cinematographers, directors and creative types, Garland ISD's 2014 Fire Reel Film Festival is now underway, accepting videos until midnight Dec. 31.

 

The festival challenges classes, students and staff to create an original, inspired film that follows six simple guidelines. Participants can submit as many movies as they want. And with nine movie genres, the possibilities are endless.

 

Returning film categories include animation or stop-action, infomercial, instructional, music video, story, video announcement showcase and weekend challenge. New this year are the campus challenge and innovative picture fields.

 

An official committee will grade each film by evaluating five criteria: acting, cinematography and editing, direction, music and storyline. Entries will be judged only against submissions in the same age group.

 

Each age group has a chance to win an award in seven categories, while all groups will compete for five additional titles.  

 

For more information about the 2014 Fire Reel Film Festival, visit the competition’s website


Raytheon partners with GISD to introduce elementary engineering

 

Garland ISD | October 10, 2014

 

Thanks to a $37,000 Raytheon grant, students at Northlake Elementary School are tackling a rigorous subject most do not encounter until college. Their campus is Garland ISD's first to adopt the award-winning, project-based engineering program Elementary is Engineering (EiE).

 

“We are thrilled to begin implementing the EiE curriculum,” said Elementary Science, Curriculum and Instruction Coordinator Tina Garrett. “Northlake was selected to pilot the program for a multitude of reasons, but primarily because of their enthusiasm to implement engineering challenges throughout the 2013-14 school year.”

 

GISD was one of just eight school districts nationwide to receive funding from Raytheon. The aerospace and defense company gifted $2 million to promote and strengthen science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) curriculum.

 

“With the release of the Next Generation Science Standards in 2013, there is a new expectation that engineering will be integrated with existing elementary science curricula—and schools and districts need an effective way to do that,” said Christine Cunningham, vice president at Boston’s Museum of Science and EiE founder and director. “We are really pleased to be able to offer support through the Raytheon scholarship program.”

 

GISD's grant not only funded program curriculum and materials, but an EiE Teacher Workshop as well. During the summer, Northlake educators attended a six-hour, hands-on training with a Museum of Science expert. They discussed technology, engineering and EiE program details. They even conducted experiments.  

 

“The workshop experience was both engaging and motivating,” Garrett said. “This learner-driven opportunity supported deep understanding of the pedagogy and structure of the enrichment curriculum.”

Though Northlake students have had just six weeks to try out the program, Garrett believes its benefits are already apparent.

 

“I foresee endless student benefits. EiE is not only fun. It also increases problem-solving and critical-thinking skills,” she explained. “College and career readiness starts in prekindergarten, and EiE will allow Northlake to enrich an already strong instructional focus.”

 

Because Northlake’s teachers have had in-depth EiE training, they will help the district’s implementation process by guiding their peers at the next designated school. This practice will continue until all of the district’s 47 elementary campuses have EiE programs.

 


Eagle band excels at competition

 

Posted October 7, 2014 -- Photos by Brad McClendon, www.bhmimages.com

 

The Rowlett High School Eagle band competed at the 2014 Centennial Marching Festival in Frisco Oct. 4 and brought home the following awards:

  • Grand Champion

  • Outstanding Marching Performance

  • Outstanding Musical Performance

 

Students in the photo are:  (l-r) Rayleigh Palmer; Scott David, head drum major; Jerel Labra; and Peyton Edwards, color guard captain.


GISD campuses named national Blue Ribbon Schools

 

Garland ISD | October 3, 2014

 

Earlier this year, the Texas Education Agency nominated 25 Texas public schools for national 2014 Blue Ribbon Schools recognition. Two of those 25 were Routh Roach Elementary School and Walnut Glen Academy for Excellence.

 

The U.S. Department of Education announced the nation’s 337 schools selected to receive the honor Sept. 30. All 25 Texas public schools made the cut, granting Routh Roach its second title and Walnut Glen its third.

 

Founded in 1982, Blue Ribbon Schools is a U.S. Department of Education program that recognizes public and private elementary, middle and high schools with high-performing students.

 

Watch U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan address all 2014 National Blue Ribbon Schools online.

For more information on the Blue Ribbon Schools program, visit the U.S. Department of Education’s website.


GISD Facilities and Maintenance keeps busy

 

Garland ISD | October 3, 2014

 

Now six weeks into the 2014-15 school year, Garland ISD students and staff may have noticed building upgrades at several campuses. The district's Facilities and Maintenance Department dedicated its summer to completing 34 school projects.

 

“We typically see about 20 big school-related projects every summer,” said assistant director of Maintenance Bill Wiley. “But this summer that number was a bit on the tall end. And these jobs are on top of our everyday duties.”

 

In June 2013, the district hired independent architecture and engineering firm Huckabee to complete a comprehensive facilities assessment of all district buildings. The report identified more than $1.7 billion in maintenance and construction needs throughout the district.

 

"We felt there were some critical items they identified that needed to be addressed immediately,” said Director of Maintenance Paul Gonzales. “We submitted a document to the board of trustees in May to secure funding for some of these projects."

 

With more than 70 percent of GISD buildings built between 1937 and 1990, the facilities and maintenance crew had to identify which schools received priority. And, they were not able to work at every campus needing a repair or improvement because of limited resources. Summer tasks included mechanical, electrical and plumbing work, as well as making and installing new cabinets, completing a bathroom stall overhaul and revamping tiled kitchen walls.

 

“If you do not maintain something and you wait until it breaks, it will cost more for you to fix it. Some of the jobs we completed this summer were essential because the material was original,” Wiley explained.” Everything has a life cycle, so we were trying to get ahead on what we could.”

 

GISD's 2014 bond referendum currently proposes funding for additional items identified in the district's facilities assessment, such as replacement of air conditioning and heating systems, fire alarms, windows and electric panels.

 

Although the summer has ended, the Facilities and Maintenance Department continues its work to help students succeed in the classroom.

 

“It is our goal to make sure that our students continue to be in a safe and clean environment,” Gonzales said.


Garland resident asks for change in GISD board composition

 

Posted October 3, 2014

 

Garland resident Eric Stuyvesant appeared before the Garland Independent School District board of trustees at the Sept. 23 meeting to read a document asking that the trustees consider abolishing the at-large school board seats and creating seven single-member districts. The Irving ISD board of trustees recently voted to reorganize in this manner.

 

Stuyvesant said that a petition drive is underway to try to get the item on the May 2015 ballot if necessary.

 

The document follows:

 

“I had a question (or concern) regarding the schools, but I didn’t know who to talk to.” This sentiment, or frustration, is entirely too common among the citizenry served by the Garland ISD school board. That shouldn’t be the case.

 

With the exception of the Garland ISD Board of Trustees we live in a community served by single district representation at the city, county and state levels. If there is an issue in our neighborhood which needs attention we know with which city council member to meet. If we want to champion positive change in our community we know to call our Mayor. If we see something out of order in our county we have a specific commissioner whom we can contact. If we have a concern that requires action by the State of Texas we know which State Representative or State Senator to contact. If we take issue with Federal policy we know which congressman we can write to voice our displeasure. Even at the highest office in the land the boundaries are clearly defined.

 

Presently the Garland ISD Board of Trustees is a somewhat unique body that is comprised of 7 members who are all elected at large. This equates to a single, multimember district. At the time the seven member school board was formed in 1901 the entire population of Garland was under a thousand people. Today our high schools teem with over a thousand students each. Garland has evolved into a thriving, dynamic community while the structure of the school board has remained static. This antiquated multimember district fosters systemic confusion and inefficiency. In a multimember district each trustee represents the entirety of the district. This complicates the ability of the voter to have a dialogue with a trustee because they don’t know which trustee represents them, or has their best interest at heart. In addition, it complicates the ability of the trustee to understand the needs of the constituents who are comprised of wonderfully diverse economic and cultural backgrounds. By comparison, single district representation focuses the attention of the trustee on a much smaller segment of the electorate. 

 

With single district representation it is much easier for a trustee to know the will of the constituents and much easier for the constituents to be heard.  Implementing single district representation would mean that each trustee would represent a much more manageable segment of the population, that being just under 15% of the total district. Likewise, each citizen would know exactly who to call when they had a question or concern.  Also it is possible in a multimember district for all of the board members to come from one city, or worse yet, one city block within the GISD.  This is certainly something that impedes diversity instead of promoting broad-based inclusion and representation of the electorate.

 

A government which governs closest to the people is always the most responsive government which is why all of our other political representation is done through single member districts.  Let’s all come together and get this out of date system reformed to single member districts for all of the reasons above and to also be in line with all of our other representative bodies.  This reform is in the best interest of the children, the taxpayers, and our great representatives on the school board who give their time graciously. 

 

We request that the Garland Independent School District be divided into 7 districts with a single representative elected from each, and that no representatives be elected at large. We request that the term of office shall remain three years, and that there be no restrictions or term limits preventing a Board Member from continual service, if their district so chooses.  We further request that the current school board votes to enact this redistricting policy themselves, and that the enactment of the redistricting policy begin concurrently with the next election as the current board members’ terms begin to expire.”


Students show college pride, learn about higher education

 

Garland ISD | October 3, 2014

 

Future Aggies, Bears, Bucks, Longhorns, Raiders and more showed pride for their respective educational institutions during Garland ISD's College Day Sept. 16. 

 

“This is a way for students, staff and administration to support higher education and show college school spirit,” said Director of Guidance and Counseling Ruby Armstrong.  “Many posted pictures wearing their favorite college T-shirts on school websites and Twitter accounts.”

 

But the college-motivated fun did not stop when the last bell rang. More than 2,700 students, parents and staff attended an after-school education fair at the Curtis Culwell Center.

 

“College Night 2014 was one of the best we have had,” Armstrong said. “We had more than 140 colleges, trade schools and universities attend, as well as various military branches. In addition, we featured breakout sessions that covered everything from National Collegiate Athletic Association requirements to financial aid.”

 

Students and parents received advice, goody bags and vital information at the event. And college-focused high schoolers were not the only students present. Plenty of their elementary school counterparts also navigated the sea of attendees.

 

Although College Day and Night is an annual one-day extravaganza, higher education is a year-round topic. For more information about college readiness, visit the district website.


SGHS to host anniversary bash

Garland ISD | September 30, 2014

Since 1964, South Garland High School has prepared students for success, fostering lifelong relationships between classmates and coworkers. The campus now invites current and former students and staff to commemorate Colonel history Oct. 2-4.

A three-day anniversary celebration will kick off with alumni and students decorating SGHS halls from 3 p.m. - 10 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 2. To commemorate South Garland’s 50-year existence, halls will display décor from the ’60s through the ’90s.

On Friday, Oct. 3, alumni are invited to a pep rally, reception and pregame tailgate. The spirit rally will begin at 1:40 p.m., and guests can begin checking in at 12:30 p.m. While a live stream will be set up for alumni in the auditorium, former band members are encouraged to revel in the pep rally as they did years ago. Interested attendees must bring their own instruments and notify the campus upon arrival. Past mascots are also asked to participate. Post-rally, a reception will be held in the library and school tours will be offered. Before the Colonels face Forney High School at 7:30 p.m., alumni will be treated to grilled hot dogs, chips and water from 4:30-6 p.m. at Homer B. Johnson Stadium.

To wrap up the celebration, current cheerleaders will host a meet and greet in the west gym from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 4. Former students and staff will also be given the opportunity to take home school trophies. 

For more information on South Garland High School’s 50th anniversary celebration, visit the campus’ website.


Special needs students raise money for amusement park trip

Posted September 29, 2014

Many people might call Disney World the happiest place on earth. But for some students at Garland ISD’s Luna Elementary School that title belongs to an amusement park in San Antonio called Morgan’s Wonderland. The amusement park is the country’s first attraction of its kind, built specifically for children with special needs.

These children have been diagnosed with Downs syndrome, intellectual disabilities, autism, speech impairments and also have a variety of health issues. By going to Morgan' Wonderland these children will have access to things that they could not participate in before or just could not benefit from because of situations that were simply too overwhelming for them.

The high cost of medical treatments, therapies and assistive devices makes this trip extremely difficult to afford for the families of these children. Consequently, they depend on donations from the public and the community’s help would be appreciated.

One chance to help the special needs children classes (A.L.E) raise the money to attend the amusement park is to shop at their garage sale being held Oct. 18, 7 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Luna Elementary, 1050 Lochness Lane in Garland.

Morgan's Wonderland unlocks a whole new world for these children through sensory stimulation with lights and music, accessible play and social development. The students would appreciate your help to be able to attend.

For information on the park, visit www.morganswonderland.com. 


Semifinalists named in National Achievement® Scholarship Program

 

Posted September 26, 2014

 

More than 1,600 Black American high school seniors who have been designated semifinalists in the 51st annual National Achievement Scholarship Program were announced recently by National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) officials.

 

Janet A. Aiyedun and Naomi Samuel from Garland High School were designated semifinalists.

 

These scholastically talented young men and women now have an opportunity to continue in the competition for approximately 800 Achievement Scholarship® awards worth about $2.5 million that will be offered next spring. To be considered for a National Achievement Scholarship, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition. About 80 percent of semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and more than half of the finalists will win an Achievement Scholarship award.

 

The National Achievement Scholarship Program, conducted by NMSC, is a privately financed academic competition that operates without government assistance. It was initiated in 1964 to recognize academically promising black students throughout the nation and to provide scholarships to a substantial number of the most outstanding program participants. To date, approximately 33,500 young men and women have received Achievement Scholarship awards worth about $105 million.

 

About the 2015 Competition

More than 160,000 high school juniors from all parts of the United States requested consideration in the 2015 National Achievement Scholarship Program when they took the 2013 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®). Semifinalists are designated within geographic regions and are the highest-scoring program entrants in the states that make up each region.

 

To advance to the finalist level in the competition, the semifinalist and his or her high school must submit a detailed scholarship application in which they provide information about the student’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. Semifinalists must present a record of high academic performance throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay and earn SAT® scores that confirm their PSAT/NMSQT performance.

 

From the approximately 1,600 semifinalists, about 1,300 are expected to advance to the finalist level, and in January they will be notified of this designation. All Achievement Scholar® awardees will be selected from the finalist group on the basis of their abilities, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies.

 

National Achievement Scholarships

National Achievement Scholarships provided in 2015 will be supported by corporations, professional organizations, foundations and by NMSC’s own funds. Two types of scholarships will be offered. Every finalist will compete for one of the 700 one-time National Achievement® $2500 Scholarships, which will be awarded on a regional representation basis. In addition, corporate and business sponsors will underwrite about 100 Achievement Scholarship awards for finalists who meet criteria set by the grantor. Although some corporate-sponsored awards provide a single payment, most are renewable for up to four years of undergraduate study. NMSC will release the names of scholarship winners to news media in early April.


Students get creative during National Arts in Education Week

Garland ISD | September 24, 2014

Numerous studies have shown that art education provides critical thinking, communication and creativity skills essential to academic success. To celebrate this vital scholastic field, schools across Garland ISD commemorated National Arts in Education Week with fun, imaginative assignments Sept. 8-12.

Students fashioned mixed-media art pieces, paintings and illustrations. Some even shared their original works with others.

“For National Arts in Education Week, our third-grade students discussed the many uses of art. We also created a Banyan tree painting and made decorative coasters to give to administrators,” said Kimberlin Academy for Excellence art teacher Krystal Custard.

In addition to receiving embellished coasters, district administrators were also surprised with one-of-a-kind pieces featuring clothespins from Walnut Glen Academy for Excellence students.

“This was our way of sharing our creativity with those who may not be thinking about the arts, so they could witness the ingenuity displayed by our kids,” said Walnut Glen art teacher Kathleen Hodges. “We wanted to show that when the visual arts are a part of a child’s life, amazing things happen.”

Students at Daugherty Elementary School celebrated by crafting colorful illustrations featuring complementary colors. Art teacher Eira Rodriguez Cordero made sure to incorporate 21st-century learning tools in the week’s lessons, taking advantage of the upgrades her campus received during its 2012-13 renovation.

“On a day-to-day basis, I use the Smart Board, web camera and iPad to expose students to new art concepts or techniques, encouraging them to be active participants in the classroom,” Rodriguez Cordero explained. “Integrating technology in the art room may seem strange or even impossible when resources might not be readily available. But having it helps students expand ideas, think critically and explore new options."

GISD’s 2014 bond election currently proposes funding for one-to-one devices, such as an iPad or laptop, at the secondary level. Upgrades to aging equipment are also included.

“Art is an avenue for developing imagination and vision about the future and life as we know it today,” Custard said. “I believe National Arts Education Week promotes these learning experiences. By connecting art and technology, we further promote the ability to strengthen student’s minds creatively.” 


Weeklong celebration to teach respect, responsible technology use

Garland ISD | September 23, 2014

Garland ISD is dedicated to providing students with a safe, productive learning environment. To help maintain this standard in the classroom, schools across the district will celebrate Help Everyone Respect Others and Cyber safety Week Sept. 22-26.

“The Guidance and Counseling Department is teaming up with the Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Department to have a big celebration in one week,” said Director of Guidance and Counseling Ruby Armstrong. “We are doing this for the safety of kids and because bullying—whether in person or online—contributes to a lot of other issues.”

Students will receive stickers and recommended daily activities during the weeklong celebration. Some will even attend a student rally at the Curtis Culwell Center.

“The first 500 secondary students who sign up to attend the student rally will get to hear renowned speakers talk about bullying and depression, as well as drug and suicide prevention,” Armstrong said. “It will be very informative and helpful. Interested students should see their LIGHT counselor.”

In addition to receiving information about bullying, students will also learn cyber safety tips throughout the week.

“Our goal is to educate students, teachers, parents and the community about a safe and effective way of using technology for educational purposes,” said Technology Applications Coordinator Jasna Aliefendic. “Every day will cover a topic, such as cyberbullying, copyright, digital footprint and internet safety and privacy.”

Aliefendic and three of her colleagues will travel across the district to help answer questions and promote the importance of cyber safety.

Parents and community members are also invited to learn about promoting cyber safety and preventing bullying. An extended version of the student rally called the Power of Parents Forum will take place from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Sept. 23 at the Curtis Culwell Center.


Ecolab awards $50,000 in grants to district teachers

Garland ISD | September 23, 2014

Ecolab, the global leader in water, hygiene and energy technology and services, continued a 27-year partnership with Garland ISD Sept. 4, gifting $50,000 to district teachers in the Harris Hill Administration Building.

“A company maintaining a partnership with a school district for nearly 30 years is a rare, but very special, effort,” said Garland ISD Education Foundation President Lisa Cox. “We are lucky and so thankful to Ecolab for supporting our teachers throughout the years.”

Cox kicked off the award ceremony with a welcome before Ecolab representatives Donna Webb and Nita Tyson presented honorees with checks. Forty-nine GISD educators received grants, including network engineer Rusty Truelock who oversees the district’s after-school Martial Arts Knights Order (MAKO) program. When accepting their $3,000 grant, Truelock and MAKO Grand Master Hernando Pinilla Perez thanked Tyson, Webb and GISD administration for supporting the program. Pinilla Perez then presented Superintendent Bob Morrison with an honorary black belt and certificate, which Deputy Superintendent of Business Operations Rene Barajas accepted on his behalf.

“I could not have thought of a better way to end the ceremony,” Cox said. “It was a neat gesture that summed up how we all feel about Ecolab’s sponsorship.”

Since 1987, Ecolab has enriched GISD classrooms and programs with more than $800,000.


Misty Parmer named Jupiter Chevrolet’s Teacher of the Month

 

Garland ISD | Posted September 21, 2014

 

Garland ISD’s Teacher of the Month car is starting the year at Shugart Elementary School. Misty Parmer was surprised by Jupiter Chevrolet Sept. 4.

 

“I am not going to cry,” she said as Principal Kelly Williams led her outside.

 

In addition to the brand new, specially wrapped SUV, Parmer’s special education class was also

waiting to celebrate her honor.

 

“I am so happy,” Parmer said. “I love my job. I want to help children—to move them forward toward success in any endeavor they choose.”

 

Jupiter Chevrolet’s Teacher of the Month contest recognizes the important work of GISD educators and rewards them for their dedication. Winners are chosen through a Facebook vote and get to drive the car through the end of the month. Parmer received numerous entries from May to September.

 

Would you like to see your campus represented and your favorite educator named Teacher of the Month? Vote for the October winner on Jupiter Chevrolet’s Facebook page.


GISD-issued iPads enhance classroom

 

Garland ISD | Posted September 21, 2014

 

In 1997, when many Garland ISD seniors were born, the Internet was still in its infancy. Research shows approximately 20 million Americans spent an average of 30 minutes a month online. Today, as the class of 2015 prepares to graduate, more than 245 million Americans spend an average of 30 hours a month on the Worldwide Web. Given today’s tech-savvy, fast-paced world, it is not surprising that teaching has also evolved to better serve students.

 

This spring, GISD armed every teacher with an iPad.

 

“The iPad has allowed me to reach students with a tool that they are very comfortable using,” said Lakeview Centennial High School English teacher Terrenee Knight. “Teachers are able to interface in a new way, with a multitude of apps that allow for differentiated instruction to occur. This gives a greater amount of students the opportunity to have their learning style met.”

 

GISD’s iPad initiative is part of the district’s Strategic Plan, a document developed during 2013-14 to guide decision-making through 2018. More than 2,000 students, staff, parents, business leaders, clergy members, city officials and more helped identify seven goals and the actions necessary to achieve them. Goal 2 calls for integrating more technology into the classroom to ensure students are future-ready. It also addresses access to digital tools for all students and staff.

 

In addition to last May's iPad deployment to teachers, GISD implemented Bring Your Own Device this school year. And, the Strategic Plan recommends one-to-one devices, such as tablets or laptops, for middle and high school students by 2017.

 

“It would be a tremendous advancement if all students could have a device because there are some who do not have cell phones or computers of their own,” Knight explained. “If we had this in our district, or at a non-magnet campus like mine, it would allow for everyone to receive the same experience in class and diversify their experience in the classroom.”

 

GISD’s 2014 bond election currently proposes funding for one-to-one devices at the secondary level.

 

Committed to engaging instruction, the district held its first iConference in July for teachers to brainstorm about effectively incorporating the devices into everyday lessons. Knight, who was among more than 150 attendees, said she is excited to be able to foster a dynamic 21st-century learning environment.

 

“Technology allows for the stigma of things being ‘too difficult’ to be taken away. It promotes student engagement and the teacher’s ability to make the classroom experience seamless and more productive.”

 


Garland, Sachse mayors encourage PTA participation


Garland ISD | Posted September 19, 2014

 

Garland ISD’s Council of PTAs kicked off the 2014-15 school year with its first meeting Sept. 3. Attracting special guests, Garland Mayor Douglas Athas and Sachse Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Bickerstaff both read proclamations declaring Sept. 1-5 as “Join Your Local PTA Week.” Click here to read the city of Garland’s proclamation and here to read the city of Sachse’s.

 

GISD’s Council PTA is made up of 71 individual units, one at each campus. With a combined PTA membership of more than 20,000 parents, teachers and community members, the council convenes on a monthly basis to conduct business.

 

Interested in joining? Contact campus administrators about joining individual PTAs, or visit the GISD Council of PTAs website.


Daugherty ES recognized for architectural design

Garland ISD | September 19, 2014

Garland ISD is being honored for excellence in the planning and design of Daugherty Elementary School’s new campus, which made its debut last year. The district received the Caudill Award’s Citation of Special Honor and will be recognized in the Exhibit of School Architecture at the Texas Association of School Administrators/Texas Association of School Boards (TASA/TASB) Convention Sept. 26-27 in Dallas.

“This architectural competition is a celebration of outstanding 21st-century learning environments,” said Jim Brady, program facilitator and associate principal with Page Southerland Page Inc. “There is much we can learn from these projects that started with a vision, and having now been realized, truly merit recognition.”

While a six-member jury determines annual Caudill honorees, a 13-member committee that included teachers and construction experts created Daugherty’s soon-to-be showcased winning vision and design.

“My staff and I, as well as Corgan Associates Inc., put a great deal of thought into the design of the building. We wanted it to be aesthetically pleasing, but more importantly, we wanted to meet the needs of our students,” said Principal Deborah Henson. “I never really thought about the possibility of earning recognition, as my focus was to design a school that would serve my students and their families. When I received the announcement, I was truly surprised and thrilled.”

The 800-capacity facility is a modern marvel, with geothermal heating and cooling, a rainwater collection system, solar panels and school-wide Wi-Fi. The campus also features an outdoor courtyard with multisensory areas and amphitheater-style seating.

“I believe our building received this honor for the way we maximized the space with very little land area, made provisions for special needs students, incorporated natural light in every classroom and took steps toward green energy,” Henson explained. “I am hopeful that as future schools are designed, Daugherty may be studied for what it has to offer. I love that our building has received so much attention, and everyone is still excited by the new facility.”

For more information on the Caudill Awards, visit the TASA/TASB website.


District launches college readiness program

 

Garland ISD | September 12, 2014

 

Nearly 100 people celebrated the launch of Garland ISD’s new National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) College Readiness Program Sept. 2 at the Curtis Culwell Center. Thanks to a $1.5 million grant from the Texas Instruments Foundation (TIF), it is offered at Lakeview Centennial, Naaman Forest, North Garland and South Garland high schools this year.

 

Administrators, teachers, supporters and program experts were all in attendance at the kick-off event. Superintendent Bob Morrison opened the ceremony by welcoming guests. TIF Executive Director Andy Smith then provided remarks and NMSI program manager Toni Schneider delivered a program overview.  

 

“The NMSI College Readiness Program is currently in more than 550 schools in 23 states and continues to grow,” Schneider said. “NMSI prepares students for success by building strong foundations in science, technology, engineering and math. The goal is to increase the number of students enrolled in and taking Pre-Advanced Placement and Advanced Placement (AP) math, science and English courses and exams.”

 

Schneider also detailed the expectations of a NMSI AP School, student and teacher support offerings, NMSI’s “Elements of Success” and the program’s incentive feature. Each student who scores a three or higher on an AP exam will be rewarded with $100. Teachers will also receive the same amount for each successful test-taker.

 

After Schneider’s presentation, participating teachers and administrators attended breakout sessions conducted by GISD’s lead NMSI teachers— Garland High School math teacher Lee Henry; Naaman Forest High School English teacher Tammi Stewart; Sachse High School science teacher Denise Shupe; and Director of Research, Assessment and Accountability Kim Klakamp.

 

Although NMSI’s inaugural year just includes four campuses, the remaining three high schools are scheduled to implement the program in 2015-16.

 


National Merit Scholarship Program announces semifinalists

 

Posted September 10, 2014

 

Officials of National Merit Scholarship Corporation recently announced the names of approximately 16,000 semifinalists in the annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

.

Local students named as semifinalists include Bilal A. Mukadam and Ayesha S. Rahman from Brighter Horizons Academy and Lexie M. Ford, Mahimajanani Senthilkumar and Horus M. Vidal from Garland High School.

 

These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth about $33million that will be offered next spring.

 

To be considered for a Merit Scholarship® award, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition. About 90 percent of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and more than half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar® title.

 

Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring of 2015. Every finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit® $2500 Scholarships that will be awarded on a state-representational basis. About 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will be provided by approximately 240 corporations and business organizations for finalists who meet their specified criteria, such as children of the grantor’s employees or residents of communities where sponsor plants or offices are located.

 

In addition, about 200 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 4,100 Merit Scholarship awards for finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.

 

National Merit Scholarship winners of 2015 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July. These scholarship recipients will join more than 308,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.

 


National PTA recognizes GISD schools for family involvement

Garland ISD | September 10, 2014

Garland ISD schools are receiving national recognition for fostering strong family-school partnerships. Thirty-four were named 2014-16 National PTA Schools of Excellence Aug. 28, an honor just 170 campuses nationwide received this year.

“The efforts of these schools to engage and involve families are making a substantial, positive impact on student success and well-being, and we are pleased to recognize their hard work and achievements with the National PTA School of Excellence designation,” said President of National PTA Otha Thornton.

With 30 elementaries, one middle and three high schools receiving recognition, GISD represented 80 percent of the state’s honorees and 20 percent of the nation’s.

“The faculty and staff of Sam Houston Middle School were honored to be selected as a National PTA School of Excellence,” said Principal Don Hernandez. “We work extremely hard to cultivate an environment conducive of communication between parents and educators. Our PTA works solely for the betterment of our students and this selection was a validation of all of our efforts.”

Proving that hard work does pay off, Naaman Forest High School, revitalized its PTSA presence last year and earned the admirable designation.

“Last year was our first to have an active PTSA chapter on campus in over five years,” said Principal Erika Crump. “We started a ‘We Care’ Membership campaign and enrolled more members than any other school is GISD. The NFHS PTSA Board also brought in some great programs to inform parents, staff, students and our community about a variety of topics. We are so honored to have a caring, supportive community.”

National PTA began its School of Excellence program to encourage family-school partnerships across the country and progress in the arts, cultural exploration, education and health and safety. Schools receive the Excellence title once they exhibit campus-family engagement or positive improvement.

GISD campuses named 2014-16 National PTA Schools of Excellence can be found below. For more information on the program, visit the National PTA website.

Elementary Schools

  • Abbett Elementary School
  • Back Elementary School
  • Beaver Technology Center for Math & Science
  • Bradfield Elementary School
  • Centerville Elementary School
  • Classical Center at Vial Elementary School
  • Club Hill Elementary School
  • Couch Elementary School
  • Davis Elementary School
  • Dorsey Elementary School
  • Golden Meadows Elementary School
  • Heather Glen Elementary School
  • Hickman Elementary School
  • Hillside Academy for Excellence
  • Kimberlin Academy for Excellence
  • Lister Elementary School
  • Luna Elementary School
  • Park Crest Elementary School
  • Pearson Elementary School
  • Roach Elementary School
  • Sewell Elementary School
  • Shorehaven Elementary School
  • Spring Creek Elementary School
  • Steadham Elementary School
  • Stephens Elementary School
  • Toler Elementary School
  • Walnut Glen Academy for Excellence
  • Watson Technology Center for Math & Science
  • Weaver Elementary School
  • Williams Elementary School

Middle Schools

  • Sam Houston Middle School

High Schools

  • Garland High School
  • Naaman Forest High School
  • North Garland High School

NFHS Global Business, Language and Leadership program begins

 

Garland ISD | September 5, 2014

 

Striving to prepare all students with a well-rounded education that helps them succeed in the real world, Garland ISD invited community members to celebrate its newest magnet program Thursday, Sept. 4. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held for the Global Business, Language and Leadership program at Naaman Forest High School.

 

GBL provides students with courses that expand their understanding of business, marketing and finance within an international context, granting students an array of skills that are essential in the globalized, professional world. While it is currently just offered to secondary students, an elementary magnet will be introduced in 2015-16.

 

This year, GBL participants can look forward to challenge-based learning and developing leadership skills through community service activities, portfolios, student organizations and academic competitions. Mandarin Chinese courses and the opportunity to study abroad will also expose students to other cultures and prepare them for business careers in a global economy. Dual credit business courses, a student project management capstone class and the magnet’s collaboration with the local business industry will help students when applying to colleges and universities, as well.

 

Next year’s elementary-level program will feature a rigorous scholastic and dual language immersion program designed to develop linguistic and academic proficiency in English and Mandarin Chinese. Management skills will also be fostered through service learning and leadership development projects.

 

The launch of GBL will be celebrated in Naaman Forest’s commons area, with Superintendent Bob Morrison welcoming guests, a program overview, a student testimonial and a ribbon cutting.

 

For more information on GBL, visit Naaman Forest High School's website.