Claycomb Associates, Architects

The woman tapped to lead a seven-campus charter network within Longview ISD in 2019-20 is eager to see how innovative educators can get if funding is approved for the new state education model. “We’ll have funds to be more innovative,” said Cynthia Wise, who is principal at Forest Park Middle School and will be chief operating officer of the nonprofit charter East Texas Advanced Academies. “It costs money to be innovative.” view article arw

TOP LYS TWEETS – JANUARY 14, 2019

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If you are not following @LYSNation on Twitter, then you missed the Top 10 LYS tweets from the past week when they were first posted.  And if you are on Twitter, you might want to check out the Tweeters who made this week’s list. view article arw

As educational leaders (at all levels), we all make the same mistake. We present some THING to our staff and let the staff know that we want the THING implemented. Then we go back to doing our vital and important leadership tasks. A little later, we circle back to see how the THING is going. What we find is one (or a very few) of the staff is doing the THING.  We immediately give ourselves credit for the person or people doing the THING. Look! Objective proof that I’m a good leader! view article arw

The Fort Bend ISD school board will consider Monday evening whether to vote on a rezoning proposal scheduled for Jan. 22. That's about a month earlier than parents expected the board to take up the rezoning issue that is predicted to redirect students from Ridgepoint High School to Hightower High School. view article arw

Repost!  If Gov. Greg Abbott believes Houston ISD’s students and parents deserve a new school board, as he suggested in a blistering tweet last week, his administration could make it happen immediately.  In fact, under a little-known state law, Texas Education  commissioner Mike Morath has had the authority to take over Houston’s school board since September 2017. view article arw

While schools in some parts of the country are cutting agriculture science programs, one of North Texas’ largest and most suburban districts says its program is flourishing. Frisco ISD offers agriculture science programs in all ten high schools and at its Career and Technical Education Center. “I advocate for ag because I know that it’s so important, even in that urban setting,” said Agriculture Science Teacher Megan Pruett. view article arw

Although New Mexico’s new governor last week suspended standardized testing in her state’s public schools, the head of a local teachers union says don’t look for Gov. Greg Abbott to follow suit, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.“Unfortunately, the governor and the lieutenant governor are firmly attached to that system,” Bexar County Federation of Teachers President Tom Cummins says of standardized testing in Texas. During her third day in office, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Jan. 3 made good on a campaign promise to parents and ordered New Mexico education officials to halt the use of standardized testing to gauge student success, or use student scores to evaluate teachers.  view article arw

A second community meeting about the El Paso Independent School District school closures was held Thursday at Burleson Elementary School and Schuster Elementary School. The focus of the meeting is to discuss what could happen to Burleson and Schuster Elementary schools. EPISD board members are set to talk about closing Burleson and moving students to Zavala Elementary School and combine Schuster Elementary School with Dowell Elementary School. view article arw

Repost!  For more than a year, Houston ISD leaders have fretted over the possibility of a state takeover mandated under a recently passed law, known as HB 1842. The statute directs the Texas Education Agency to close schools or replace a district’s locally-elected board of trustees if any campus receives five straight “improvement required” ratings for poor academic achievement. Houston narrowly avoided that punishment in 2018, when six long-struggling schools met state standard. Four campuses still could still trigger sanctions this year. view article arw

Houston ISD trustees have called a Saturday meeting to discuss some of the biggest challenges facing the district: declining enrollment at small schools, options for closing a projected budget deficit, the growing need for pre-kindergarten seats and preliminary academic performance data. Board President Rhonda Skillern-Jones said trustees are expected to conduct open-ended conversations with the district's administration during the 8 a.m. meeting. No votes will be taken. view article arw

You're starting to see drones more and more up in the sky. To get in on the trend, Mansfield ISD has started to offer a class to students aimed at preparing them for the booming drone industry. The class is called Edu-Drone, and it's the first of its kind in North Texas. There are currently around 50 high school students enrolled in the semester-long course at Ben Barber Innovation Academy. view article arw

The Austin ISD Board of Trustees met for the first time in 2019 on Monday night, and the sometimes tense discussion gave a glimpse of the immense challenges district leaders face over the next six months as they sketch out and adopt next year's budget. The meeting was bookended by two comparatively celebratory moments: Arati Singh's swearing-in as At-Large Place 9 trustee, and the election of new board officers (District 6 Trustee Geronimo Rodriguez will remain board president, while At-Large Place 8 Trustee Cindy Anderson will become vice president, and D5 Trustee Amber Elenz will be secretary). But two agenda items sandwiched between those moments highlighted the less pleasant work that lies ahead.  view article arw

In a series of meetings this month, the public is invited to respond to proposed Clear Creek ISD school boundary changes that would affect more than 1,600 students through a plan that aims to address campus crowding and accommodate the planned August opening of a new elementary. The meetings’ host, the district’s Boundary Advisory Committee, will use residents’ feedback in considering any adjustments to its recommendations, which would affect various attendance zones at the elementary, intermediate and high school levels. The committee’s final recommendations will be presented to the Clear Creek school board on Feb. 25 for consideration to adopt for the 2019-20 school year, according to a district press release. view article arw

Children at Risk, a nonprofit organization that studies Texas' public education system, recently released its annual rankings for the Lone Star State's best elementary schools. view article arw

There are those that don’t understand the power of reflective observation.  They mistakenly believe that there is nothing to learn after a few cursory visits to a classroom.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  In fact, the most important key to building insight and deeper understanding about teaching and learning is to engage in a steady volume of daily classroom observation. view article arw

Tuscany Heights Elementary School had a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday for a new lab. The Social Emotional Learning Lab will be utilized by kindergarten students at the school in order to learn and work on gross motor and fine motor skills as well as the social and emotional skills needed to be successful in school and life. Students will learn how to interact with other students and teachers in a productive and constructive manner. view article arw

Dr. Elaine Heffner: Reading behavior

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Fans of Gilbert and Sullivan may recall a lyric that says, “Things are seldom what they seem. Skim milk masquerades as cream.” The message here appears to be that the meaning of things may not always be on the surface. We may have to look at, or hear things in a different or deeper way, to understand what is meant by what is said or done. This may be a useful way to think about children’s behavior. As parents, we look for meaning in our children’s behavior before they communicate verbally. We read the cries of babies, interpreting them to mean the baby is hungry, tired, or needs a diaper change. As they grow, their behavioral communications may become more complicated conveying a wider range of feelings and wishes. view article arw

Denison ISD named to AP honor roll

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The Denison Independent School District has been named to the ninth annual AP District Honor Roll by the AP College Board. Denison ISD is the only district in Grayson County to receive the honor and joins 29 other Texas schools and 373 total schools in the U.S. and Canada to receive the honor. view article arw

Governor Greg Abbott, not known for his educational credentials, tweeted insults at the school board of the Houston Independent School District. The privatization buzzards are circling. The governor wants to take over the entire district, even though no one at the state government or the Texas Education Agency knows how to turn around a district or even a school. As a graduate of the HISD, I take these insults personally view article arw

In furtherance of a LYS Nation tradition, we will take this time to tip our caps to the campuses that have embraced the most important step in creating and maintaining an action oriented professional learning community.  These are the campuses that have conducted an extraordinary number of formative classroom observations in a given month.  The targets for PowerWalks Hero Schools in December were as follows: view article arw

The Lufkin High School accounting team of 2017-18 was honored Monday morning with its state banner. “This is an example of how good our school is,” Principal Brandon Boyd said. “Our kids strive for excellence.” view article arw

The Edinburg Rotary Club recently recognized the Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District’s Athletics Department during its luncheon meeting at the Echo Hotel in Edinburg. read more arw

TMSG: Next Generation of Coders

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A 10-week program could have big payoffs for students in Collin County. Capital One recently hosted 79 students for the Coders App Challenge. They came from Armstrong Middle School at Plano ISD and the Boys and Girls Club of Collin County in McKinney.  view article arw

TOP LYS TWEETS – JANUARY 7, 2019

January 0708:30 AM
 

If you are not following @LYSNation on Twitter, then you missed the Top 10 LYS tweets from the past week when they were first posted. And if you are on Twitter, you might want to check out the Tweeters who made this week’s list. view article arw

A new state education model could bring $6.5 million annually to Longview ISD under a 2017 law that creates partnerships between public and charter schools, trustees of the endeavor said Friday. “Gov. (Greg) Abbott, the lieutenant governor, they all are watching this real hard,” said Alan Amos, one of three trustees for the nonprofit East Texas Advanced Academies. “So, the eyes of Texas are upon us. Everybody’s excited about this, this great opportunity.” Longview ISD applied for the additional state funding for its charter partnership Dec. 13. view article arw

Aledo ISD is four months into the process of becoming a District of Innovation and will hold a public hearing at 4:15 p.m. Jan. 9 at the administration building. The DOI Committee — made up of teachers, administrators and parents/community members — finalized a draft plan with four proposed exemptions, which was posted on the AISD website on Nov. 16 and sent out in an email to parents and staff to request feedback. “We had one comment we received and we reviewed that comment and decided in our DOI meeting that we didn’t need to make any changes based on the feedback we received to our plan,” AISD Deputy Superintendent Lynn McKinney said. “But based on that comment we had a long discussion about how we want to be sure we communicate with parents and with all of our stakeholders as we move forward about what those [proposed] exemptions are.” view article arw

The Frisco ISD Career and Technical Education Center will host an interactive open house from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 5 for current and prospective students and families. Visitors will have the opportunity to experience hands-on activities and view sample projects as they explore the building and classrooms. Instructors and students will be available to answer any questions. view article arw

The season of giving may be coming to an end, but one Central Texas teacher shared it is never too late to give back. Marilinda Walters, the founder of Learning Steady Academy, opened up her private school today to provide free educational materials for local teachers. She offered up reading, writing, math materials and more.  view article arw

The Hart ISD School Board of Trustees approved the District Innovation Plan already approved by the Texas Education Agency. The plan is posted to the school website at hartisd.net. The basis of the plan came about when a House bill was passed during the 2015 84th session of the Texas legislature. This bill, in part, amended Chapter 12 of the Texas Education Code (TEC). Districts are eligible for designation if certain performance requirements are met and the district follows certain procedures for adoption as outlined in statute. The designation provides the district will be exempt from certain sections of the TEC that inhibit the goals of the district as outlined in the locally adopted Innovation Plan. view article arw

The Harlandale Independent School District’s board of trustees should be removed and replaced by a state-appointed board of managers, according to a preliminary report of a lengthy Texas Education Agency investigation.  At a meeting Monday, the board discussed the report’s findings, which harshly criticized the district’s financial practices, called its governance “dysfunctional” and recommended lowering its accreditation. The document has not been publicly released but has circulated on the cellphones of district insiders. view article arw

ATHENS, Texas - Students in the Athens Independent School District will soon have a four-day school week.  The school board  approved the district’s proposal and will begin a four-day instructional week next school year.  ATHENS, Texas - Students in the Athens Independent School District will soon have a four-day school week.  The school board  approved the district’s proposal and will begin a four-day instructional week next school year. view article arw

HALLSVILLE — Hallsville ISD Superintendent Jeff Collum gave trustees a glowing report of the district’s enrollment, graduation rates, finances and ratings when he delivered his annual “State of the District” address at Monday night’s board meeting.  “This year was a great year for Hallsville ISD,” Collum said. “We received a superior financial rating. This year was also a great year for our 4,500 students in our Virtual Academy, and we continue to see that grow and thrive.” view article arw

Michigan’s Republican-led Senate on Tuesday night approved controversial legislation that would require the state to rate K-12 schools on various metrics and hand out A-F letter grades for parents to review, a plan opposed by the State Superintendent. The upper chamber signed off on the measure in a 21-17 vote at 8:22 p.m. after suspending rules to vote on the long-discussed measure without holding a public committee hearing on the final draft. The House had amended and narrowly approvedthe bill Thursday in a 3 a.m. vote. view article arw

Twenty-eight Austin ISD schools will not accept student transfers for the upcoming 2019-20 school year. Superintendent Paul Cruz announced the schools—which include five high schools, four middle schools and 19 elementary schools—during a report to the board of trustees Dec. 17. AISD families with students interested in transferring to an eligible AISD school can submit transfer forms from Jan. 2-31, according to a Dec. 17 news release from the district. Students who do not live within AISD boundaries can submit transfer forms beginning Feb. 1. Additional information can be found on the district’s website. view article arw

Houston ISD’s Kashmere High School has failed to meet state academic standards for nine consecutive years, hindered in part by administrative turnover and a dearth of high-quality teachers.  State Rep. Harold Dutton Jr.is sick of it.  “There’s nothing wrong with the students there,” said Dutton, a Houston Democrat whose district includes Kashmere. “The problem here is the school board stepping up to its responsibility for improving these schools.” view article arw