HALLSVILLE — Student enrollment numbers for Hallsville ISD’s online school clock in at nearly 4,600 students, an administrator has reported.  Catherine Groven, head of the Texas Virtual Academy at Hallsville, told trustees at Monday’s board meeting that the online school has 4,567 enrolled, and staff anticipates more growth. Enrollment numbers fluctuate because officials must ensure students aren’t dually enrolled, Groven said. view article arw

When seniors at the Dr. Kirk Lewis Career and Technical High School in Pasadena ISD receive diplomas in the spring, something will be different. This time, instead of listing the name of one of the district’s five traditional high schools, the diplomas will bear the name of the Lewis campus, Principal Steven Fleming said. Trustees unanimously voted Sept. 25 to recognize that campus as a “school of accountability,” which will help students gain easier acceptance to college and universities and qualify for scholarships, Fleming said. The status will remove a confusing paper trail that might hamper job searches, Fleming said. The achievement was something administrators had intended for the school since it opened in 2014. The school, 1348 Genoa Red Bluff Road, is an application-based school of choice for students in grades 9-12 that focuses on career readiness. Enrollment is 1,400. view article arw

Nearly 30 organizations have applied to run some of Beaumont ISD’s struggling campuses, a final effort to save three schools at risk of closing next year for repeatedly failing to meet state standards.  Fehl-Price Elementary, Jones-Clark Elementary and Smith Middle School have been “chronically” flagged as improvement required by the Texas Education Agency for at least four years, Superintendent John Frossard said at Thursday’s school board meeting.  If the schools don’t come out of improvement-required status by the end of the 2018-2019 school year, they will be closed by the state for one year, he said. view article arw

Beaumont Independent School District?s Associate Superintendent Shannon Allen says three schools, Fehl-Price Elementary, Jones-Clark Elementary, and Smith Middle School could all be shutdown due to poor test scores. view article arw

On Nov. 9 Hays CISD released the draft of its innovation plan, which must be approved by the board of trustees in order to receive a district of innovation designation. If approved, the district would be able to make changes to the academic calendar and to exempt some Career and Technical Education instructors from teacher certification requirements. The district of innovation designation was created by the Texas Legislature in 2015 as a way to give independent school districts some of the flexibility that charters schools have under state law. While becoming a district of innovation can allow for numerous exemptions to curriculum or logistics requirements, the most-used exemption is the one that allows schools to start earlier in August. view article arw

Tom Ultican posted this research about the damage wrought by the Destroy Public Education movement on Michigan and Detroit last March. I missed it. It is still painfully current. What is the DeVos agenda? It is an aggressive version of Christian evangelism that opposes public schools. He writes: The destroy public education (DPE) movement’s most egregious outcome may be in Detroit and it is being driven by a virulent Christian ideology. view article arw

AUSTIN – The Texas Education Agency (TEA) today released final financial accountability ratings for more than 1,200 school districts and charters across the state, with 99 percent of all Texas school districts and charters earning a successful final rating for 2017-2018.Created by the 77th Texas Legislature in 2001, the School Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST) is designed to encourage public schools to better manage their financial resources to provide the maximum allocation possible for direct instructional purposes. view article arw

Advocates are pushing lawmakers to change how Texas funds special education resources, and a recent court ruling may help their cause. The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals sharply criticized the way Texas calculates how much to spend on special education, saying in an opinion that there is potential for “future abuse,” and the state’s method for allocating funds creates a “perverse incentive” to minimize a student’s needs. view article arw

Pep rallies at schools are usually for the athletes. But Katy High School is getting ready to celebrate a very different group of national champions. It's hard to eat chicken around Conley Grimet, twins Sara and Alyssa Aycock or Victoria Sokso. Even with eggs, they're so picky, someone gave them a plaque. They are national champions, and Katy High School's first. view article arw

The Tomball ISD board of trustees approved the creation of an early childhood center for children between the ages of three and four. The center will be open to the children of full-time Tomball ISD staff members, said Superintendent Martha Salazar-Zamora. view article arw

West Virginia’s public school enrollment is down by 4,858 students this school year, a decline that Dr. Steven Paine, state superintendent of schools, is partly attributing to changes in the enrollment cutoff date for pre-kindergarten. Without those delayed from entering pre-kindergarten, “We’re probably more like 2,800 kids down,” Paine said. He called that number similar or a “tad higher” than enrollment declines in previous years. view article arw

The saga continues in Krum ISD as parents posed more questions about grading during a Wednesday night board meeting. The Krum school board held a special meeting two weeks ago to discuss the results of an audit performed by the Region 11 Education Services Center. Auditors looked at grading systems from several years and found no glaring inconsistencies in class rankings. They did, however, note that board policy about grading scales, which determine how many points a student earns on their GPA for taking a certain class, had changed several times in the last six years. view article arw

Recently, I was in a district that asked me to evaluate their locally developed classroom observation protocol. This is never a good idea.  But they were earnest and insistent, so we sat down and had a real discussion about the tool that they built and were using.  The biggest (and all too common) mistake they were making is that a number of elements they were trying to observe, were not observable in a 3 to 5-minute walk-thru. In a short walk thru, you either see it, or you don’t. There is no middle ground. view article arw

Spring ISD announced two new specialty middle school programs on Thursday as part of a plan to give district families and students more choices as well as more academic rigor at the secondary level. An International Baccalaureate program will be offered at Middle School #8 now under construction in the northernmost part of the district as part of the 2016 Bond program. In addition, a new specialty school, currently known as Middle School #9, will offer community-based leadership opportunities, as well as a blended learning approach, to 400 students. This new specialty middle school will be housed in the district facility on T.C. Jester, which currently is the home of the district’s Spring Early College Academy. Plans for moving Spring Early College Academy next August to the Lone Star College-North Harris campus — where their students can be fully immersed in the college experience — are underway. view article arw

 If a black student has just one or two black teachers in elementary school, that student is significantly more likely to enroll in college, a new Johns Hopkins University study has found.  Black students who had just one black teacher by 3rd grade were 13 percent more likely to enroll in college, while those who had two black teachers were 32 percent more likely, the study found.   view article arw

Take away a teenager's allowance, and you can bet they're not going to be happy. Offer them cash and you usually get their attention. That's what is happening in some North Texas classrooms and the results are pretty impressive. Recently, Rowlett High School held a pep rally where the students showed a ton of school spirit. view article arw

Tyler ISD took a look at its programming redesigns as the schools approach the end of the first semester under the Pathfinder Program. The largest changes came to the middle schools participating in the program’s new choice offerings. Caldwell Arts Academy, which will become a full K-8 school over the next two years, Hogg Middle School and Moore Middle School are the schools seeing shifts in focus. Hogg has taken on a new leadership focus, while Moore serves as the district’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) magnet. view article arw

We need your input regarding the use of PowerWalks with inclusion teachers. The majority of our inclusion teachers serve multiple courses and are unable to plan with a team of teachers.  We are struggling with giving them credit for the Lesson Frame because Principals know they are not actually developing those frames. Furthermore, more than likely, they are not creating the lessons that are being taught during the observation. view article arw

Austin ISD staff are recommending middle and high schools increase their target class sizes by two students, a proposed raise from 29 students to 31 students for the 2019-2020 school year view article arw

The Waco Independent School District has implemented new classrooms at Alta Vista Elementary and Brook Avenue Elementary called the PreK 3 Classroom. What separates these classes from others is that these students, mostly 3-year-olds, are getting the chance to learn a different language. Brook Avenue highlights a dual-language program where the class is filled with half native English speaking students and half native Spanish speaking students. By putting the two together, the kids have a chance to learn a different language and become a dual-language speaking student.  view article arw

The Grapevine-Colleyville ISD board of trustees tabled discussion of the LEAD 2.0 goals until the Dec. 17 meeting after a motion to table the item was approved 4-3. LEAD stands for Leading Excellence — Action Driven. The district describes LEAD as a plan that impacts every aspect of GCISD through core objectives and specific strategies. After holding district surveys and in-person community input sessions, Deputy Superintendent Brad Schnautz informed the board four new goals have been developed by the staff, students and community. view article arw

Frisco ISD is on its way on becoming the first public school district in the nation to be an independent, accredited dyslexia therapist training center.  During the FISD school board meeting Katie Kordel, chief academic officer of curriculum and instruction, said the district is quickly approaching 1,000 students being served by its dyslexia program. There are currently 977 students in the program. view article arw


November 1208:30 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. Don’t be upset by the results you didn’t get from the work you didn’t do. (By @SportsMotto) view article arw

To ensure that funds from the tax ratification election are appropriated correctly, Interim Superintendent Jim Nelson said Thursday he has picked eight members for the Superintendent’s Budget Advisory Council. view article arw

Votes are still being counted in many states, but the final tally is not going to change the bottom line: Big change is on its way to Washington D.C. and state capitals across the nation.  Come January 2019, newly-minted lawmakers will have to get down to the job of governing and delivering on the promises they ran on.  This includes the many candidates, particularly at the state level, who made public education a centerpiece of their campaign. In 2019, education was a top tier issue, second perhaps only to health care. Did it really drive voters to the polls last Tuesday? What role did the  #RedforEd movementplay? How will education policy in individual states actually change? view article arw

McDade ISD students collected funds at last month’s Elgin Sip, Shop, and Stroll event for their satellite launch at Cape Canaveral launch site in Florida December 5. view article arw

The day after the federal 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Texas for spending tens of millions of dollars less than it was supposed to on kids with disabilities in 2012, advocates have dug up documents appearing to show Texas did the same thing in 2017 — raising the prospect it could get hit with even more penalties.  For months, Texas has battled with the U.S. Department of Education over how to interpret a 1997 federal statute prohibiting states from reducing their funding for kids with disabilities from year to year. Appeals court judges on Wednesday effectively upheld the federal government's interpretation — and its decision to penalize Texas for the $33.3 million it underspent six years ago. view article arw

Katy ISD reaches 80,000 students

November 0908:33 AM

Katy ISD has officially enrolled 80,000 students across its many campuses. The 80,000th student enrolled at Davidson Elementary School, and the district will celebrate Nov. 9 with a welcome party attended by board of trustee members, superintendents and school administrators, according to a press release. view article arw

A LYS Campus Leader asked the following question:  SC,Yesterday, I was working with some of the math teachers on my campus when I realized that they had completely dug in their heels on Frequent Small Group Purposeful Talk. It was the typical broken record of: “I don’t have time to stop and talk.” view article arw

For months a group of concerned parents of special-needs students have been fighting for positive changes to Clear Creek ISD’s special education programs. With an audit in the works, that change may be just around the corner. Members of the group, known on Facebook as Parents for CCISD Special Education Reform, have claimed in press releases and interviews that the district’s special education students are abused, pushed out of special education programs and not adequately taken care of, among other problems. view article arw

During a visit to Waco on Wednesday, Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Morath held up Waco ISD’s in-district charter Transformation Waco as a solution to some of the many troubles facing public school districts in the state. The state is focused on turning around underperforming campuses through in-district charter school districts, like Transformation Waco, Morath said during a State of Public Education lunch sponsored by the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce and nonprofit Prosper Waco. view article arw

In late September, administrators rolled out a proposal listing 22 schools as targets for closure.  After community outrage over a proposal for mass school closures, Dallas administrators went into reverse and on Thursday proposed to trustees a considerably scaled back plan that reduces the closings to two schools.  But board members would still need to decide the fate of six other schools in the next few years, according to the updated facilities plan.  Dallas ISD is working out how to address the needs of many aging school buildings while struggling with declining enrollment. The district also has to work out future plans that wouldn't be covered by renovation work financed by the current bond program. view article arw

Sue Legg was assessment director for the Florida State Department of Education. She recently stepped down as Education Director of the Florida League of Women Voters. This is the first of a series on the effects of school choice, which she wrote at my request. Florida Twenty Years Later: Undermining Public Schools. Florida has a long track record in school privatization. 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. What we have learned over the past ten years is that after about every 300 classroom observations, the observer will notice, discern, and/or learn something new… something that was previously hidden. It is the “Eureka” moment, and there is nothing else like it in instructional leadership. view article arw

Lufkin ISD debuted its 4th annual Learning and Innovation Showcase Tuesday evening in the high school cafeteria. Parents and students looked on as different schools showcased their respective programs. Digital Learning Specialist Amanda Smith said the kids love it. They get to interact and touch and play, and you can see the joy on their faces, she said. view article arw