Claycomb Associates, Architects

In a letter to all members of the Legislature that was made public Thursday, Texas Secretary of State David Whitley admitted that more care should have been given to producing an accurate list before revealing last month that his office had flagged 95,000 registered voters as possible non-U.S. citizens. Whitley also apologized for confusion created by his Jan. 25 announcement and promised to take steps to ensure “a more accurate and efficient” process for identifying potential noncitizen voters in the future. Appointed secretary of state by Gov. Greg Abbott in mid-December, Whitley was named in three federal lawsuits after his office directed county elections officials to investigate the citizenship status of the suspect voters and Whitley forwarded the list to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to investigate and prosecute illegally registered voters. view article arw

February 14 will mark a grim day in American history. It's the one year anniversary of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that left 17 people dead.  One day before that anniversary, about 600 people from across Texas with the group "Moms Demand Action" gathered at the Capitol to talk with lawmakers about passing a red flag law.  view article arw

East Texas Christian Academy has hired a new head of school. In a news release on Wednesday, the school’s Board of Trustees announced the appointment of Myron Bruce effective in June. Bruce has spent the past four years as regional development director for Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, Tennessee, and has served in the ministry for 16 years. His early career was spent in both public and private education for 15 years as a teacher, coach and principal. view article arw

My first introduction to Southlake was as a Florida resident preparing to move to Texas. My wife, who was commuting to Dallas from Florida four days a week, said, via phone, "I visited this city, Southlake; we'd better not move there — the shopping is great and the people are very friendly." She was right. Southlake is a special place. After moving to Texas and living in a neighboring city, we experienced the amenities and the people firsthand. Every aspect of the town appeared well-thought-out, but it was the sense of community that bowled us over and made us first consider moving here. view article arw

It’s no secret, Mrs. Leah Voth's classroom is the place to be at Royse City High. "I teach three levels of graphic design, journalism, yearbook, student leadership; I’m the student council advisor and the senior class advisor," Voth explained. She wears a lot of hats, and for the past 20 years she has made it her mission to take learning well beyond her classroom. "She has taught me that being yourself isn’t just okay, but that it is everything," Evan Gonzales, one of Voth's students, said. view article arw

For the roughly 400,000 eighth graders in Texas, it's decision time. They're required to choose between one of five endorsements — also known as academies or tracks — to pursue in high school.  Those tracks include arts and humanities, business and industry, multidisciplinary studies, public service and STEM.  "I was excited and nervous at the same time because it kind of really sets what you're going to do for the rest of your life," said Hibah Alam, an eighth grader at Round Rock ISD's Walsh Middle School. view article arw

When Ben Dieter was approached by a teacher from Brownsboro ISD about finding a student to help build a device, he knew exactly who he could count on. “He’s very good at 3D modeling, which is exactly what this project was,” said Dieter, the engineering and architecture teacher at Chapel Hill High School. “So, when my boss asked me to find a person, I picked him right away.” view article arw

For many Wichitans, a bite of a western burger brings back the good ol’ days in the school cafeteria line. Therefore, the Wichita Falls ISD food truck is now rolling up to local businesses to satisfy the craving. The Executive Chef for WFISD, Chartwells, Carrie Richardson said the community asked for western burgers, so now they are selling them to the public out of the WFISD food truck. Each stop brings a new location, so on Wednesday, they were at Abner’s Nutrition Center. view article arw

Former Texas Commissioner of Education Robert Scott appropriately acknowledged and warned in 2012 that the “focus on high-stakes testing is a perversion.” However, Scott was chastised and ignored at the time by Texas lawmakers determined to push more and more testing on our students and teachers. Since then, a growing number of leaders in Austin — typically policy makers with very limited teaching experience — have become obsessed with misusing student test data, often as a political tool to demonize our underfunded public schools and to promote their privatization. This has reached a critical turning point since legislation now has been introduced tying teacher pay to their students› test scores. Gov. Greg Abbott now is calling for “incentive pay” or “performance pay,” but any form of teacher compensation based on test results must be stopped.  view article arw

Moody ISD parents packed a school board meeting Wednesday night, saying they were outraged by the way the district handled an alleged firearm threat. Superintendent Gary Martel said this is all coming from false information circulating on social media. Martel said an investigation was done by the principal of the school and determined there was no threat to students. He said he wished he would have handled things differently. view article arw

A group of special education students at Midway Middle School is getting ready to open a campus coffee shop. The Red White and Brew coffee shop aims to help students sharpen their skills and get ready for high school and the work force. Jason Blanek, the owner of Shipley Donuts in Woodway, is mentoring the group. view article arw

One kindergarten teacher at Willis ISD went above and beyond for her student who was bullied. Shannon Grimm noticed her student Priscilla Perez was bullied for her short hair. Grimm decided to take matters into her own hands and got a haircut. view article arw

First responders can enjoy a free lunch at any Amarillo Independent School District school, all school year long through the Amarillo Independent School District's new Meals for Shields program. view article arw

The Killeen Independent School District School Board has approved $71,000 in scholarships. 20 Killeen ISD graduating seniors will share $71,000 in scholarships this fall after the school board approved the plan on Tuesday night. view article arw

By the year 2030, lawmakers want to see 60 percent of all Texas third-graders reading at grade level. view article arw

It’s time to start the engines and drive toward the future for many area high school students. Thanks to a partnership between their schools and Texas State Technical College, students can earn early college credit. TSTC established a dual enrollment Automotive Technology program for Brownwood and Snyder high school sophomores, juniors and seniors in the fall of 2018, at no cost to the students themselves. view article arw

The students in the Sulphur Springs High School auto tech classes have fun, learn practical repair skills, help staff and are rebuilding a race truck — and it’s all part of the curriculum for the career and technology education class. “Sulphur Springs High School offers 15 different career cluster programs. Within those career clusters, 24 focus areas are offered with certifications being offered in many areas,” said Jenny Arledge, SSHS career and technical education director. view article arw

Local Control Essential For Schools

February 1407:45 AM
 

For more than two decades, state officials have prided themselves on Texas being a low-tax, limited-government state. As a result, our state relies heavily on its sales and property taxes to fund key functions of state and local government. Combined with legislative changes that have tied the hands of local leaders, this fuels tensions and animosities that I believe are undermining Texas’ future, most critically its ability to educate its young people.  view article arw

Few moments are as valuable as the time we spend with our families. Unfortunately, such memorable moments during summer vacation may become a thing of the past as school districts push for earlier school start dates. Until 2015, families didn’t have to worry about the school year invading our summers. Texas law was clear. All public schools started on the fourth Monday in August. Families had expectations about how long their summers would last and planned accordingly. We sent our children to camps, enrolled them in vacation Bible school and took family trips to extraordinary places. view article arw

A newly implemented program in Texas elementary schools is helping kids learn how to handle their money. $martpath is a cartoon-based program designed to help kids learn financial literacy through completing tasks and simulations of situations they would experience in their everyday lives. Susan Doty, the director of the center for economic education and financial literacy at UT Tyler, says the program works so well in the classrooms because the teachers truly understand what they are teaching. view article arw

Last summer, 10 McKinney ISD students participated in a paid internship program with the city of McKinney. Now, four months before summer, city and MISD staff are discussing offering the program for a second year. While an official recommendation has not been made to McKinney City Council about the program, city staff plans to bring the program before council during a March 5 work session, Assistant to the City Manager Trevor Minyard said during a Feb. 11 meeting. view article arw

In Lancaster, piggy banks are helping plant the seeds of college dreams, especially when the school district chips in $50 just to get families started. view article arw

One of the most decorated and storied high school sports programs in North Texas is under investigation over concerns of possible recruiting violations. The investigation is centered around the Duncanville Pantherettes basketball team, winners of four Texas state championships since 2012. The University Interscholastic League told NBC 5 its executive committee met last week to rule on the eligibility of a student-athlete. During the course of that investigation, the committee received text messages that raised recruitment concerns about star player and transfer guard Deja Kelly, who moved to the district from San Antonio. view article arw

Starting in the fall College Station ISD will introduce a new curriculum that will address mental health and wellness. District officials say it’s their way of making sure students know how to cope with things like depression. “We’re excited to offer something in this area to our kids that we feel is high quality,” said Penny Tramel, the district’s Chief Academic Officer. “There are so many more demands put on them that they really don’t have time to just be and think.” view article arw

There appears to be a twin-takeover at Orangefield Independent School District. Orangefield Elementary Principal Amanda Jenkins said they have a record number of twins this year. There are currently 30 sets of twins in the small district including 19 at the elementary school, five at the junior high school and seven at the high school. view article arw

The Board of Trustees for Brownfield ISD has unanimously approved calling for a bond election. view article arw

Later Monday night, Austin ISD will be looking to find some answers to a problem that keeps growing: How to cut $60 million from the district's budget. view article arw

Tour a school and they’ll usually let one of their star students lead the way -- and at Singley Academy that’s Steve Lomeli. What he's accomplished through Irving ISD programs has led to a scholarship at his dream school. view article arw

Soft piano music and dim lights set the mood in the kindergarten classroom. The Dallas Morning News reports Kristina Cappe, a health and wellness coach at Frisco Independent School District's Pink Elementary School, stands in front of 22 children, each sitting on their own pink mat. "Is everyone ready for yoga?" she asks. "We're going to take our fingers and put them on our belly and we're going to imagine our belly is a balloon." view article arw

The Royse City Independent School District will be having a parent education seminar on suicide prevention next week. A special seminar will be given by Vanita Halliburton, founder of the Grant Halliburton Foundation, at the Royse City High School Performance Arts Center, located 700 FM 2642. The event will be held 6:30 p.m., Feb. 11. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in a June 2018 study, reported that suicide rates had gone up in nearly every state from 1996 through 2016. The center also reported that many people who have lost their lives to suicide were not diagnosed with a mental health condition. view article arw

Thirty members of the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets paid a visit to the kids over Fannin Elementary in Bryan ISD last week. view article arw

Facing a major budget shortfall and declining enrollment, the Austin Independent School District says it's working on a plan to close or consolidate schools that could be finalized as soon as this summer. AISD Superintendent Paul Cruz says the school board will lay out the plan during its work session Monday night. He says no specific schools – or any specific number of schools – have been considered under the plan, though historically under-enrolled schools are first up for district review. view article arw

A long night turned into an early morning for leaders with Austin Independent School District. AISD board members gathered Monday night to take a close look at their budget and figure out a plans of action for certain schools regarding closures, consolidation and new programming options. The meeting adjourned at 12:52 a.m. Tuesday morning. view article arw

Austin school district trustees pushed back Monday night against a plan to close schools and consolidate campuses as early as August 2020, saying that a fast timeline would limit community input. School board members also told administrators the plan lacked transparency and lacked their vision to carry out such decisions in an equitable way. view article arw