Latest Pflugerville ISD News
By Katrina Bara (PHS student)
Reaching for the microphone, choir director Susan Neff knew what she was about to say would make a big difference in her students’ lives. She knew that it would take hard work and dedication on their part to be successful in this new journey they were about to take. She was also experiencing her own excitement.
Last spring at the end-of-year show, Neff announced that the varsity women’s choir had been invited to perform at TMEA, Texas Music Educators Association. The choir has been preparing for it ever since.
In San Antonio every February, TMEA hosts a convention where musical groups from all over Texas are invited to attend. Pflugerville is the only high school choir in Central Texas to be invited to perform at TMEA since 1985.
“It’s such an honor,” Neff said. “It really is the highest honor as a music teacher in the state [of Texas] to be able to bring an honor group to TMEA.”
In choir, being invited to perform at TMEA is like going to state in football. TMEA is what most choirs in the state dream of, and Pflugerville’s varsity women’s choir got invited on their first time applying.
“Some of the judges commented on our girls and said that we should submit,” Neff said. “We didn’t expect we would get chosen on our first submission. We knew our kids were talented and that’s why we submitted, but we really honestly didn’t expect to be chosen.”
The choir going to TMEA includes about 66 sophomore, junior and senior girls from the varsity women’s choir and the varsity mixed choir. Going to TMEA requires a certain level of commitment from each girl. They have a rehearsal from 7-9 p.m. every week to work on music that will challenge their musical ability.
“It is [more challenging], but it helps improve our skills as a musician,” sophomore Jiwon Park said.
The choir is having some clinicians come and work with the girls, including the composer of one of the big songs, Z. Randall Stroope.
“It’s very expensive, and we’re very lucky that the district is supporting us,” choir director Davina Hendrix said. “They’re taking care of us as they would any other sports or UIL academic [teams] going to state.”
Traditionally, Neff said, schools invited to sing at TMEA are more affluent than PHS and have larger feeder programs.
“We feel that when we go there to sing, people are going to say, ‘You know what, this is like my program. This is really like what most schools have,” Neff said. “What they’re going to see is we work really hard to really teach [our students] to love music, to be good musicians and good people.”
The week of December 5-9 will be a good week of learning for the students and staff at Wieland Elementary as they lead their “Wildcats against Bullying” campaign.
A group of fifth-grade students will lead the project called, “Bullying is Whack, Get on the Right Track!”
“We plan to create a video in which the fifth graders will engage in teaching others about this serious act [bullying] and effective ways to deal with it,” said Shenique Spears, assistant principal at WES.
The week will be filled with educational activities that teach students how to be kind to others, including the signing of an anti-bullying pledge and a project called 180 Ways to be Kind.
The anti-bullying activities will commence with the taking of an aerial photo of students, staff and community members in the shape of a peace sign to symbolize the creation of a peaceful community.
High School Students from Pflugerville Independent School District and Midian Films are collaborating once again to produce short films for submission to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. Cinema Du Cannes Project is a non-profit organization created to educate, empower, develop and celebrate the next generation of emerging artists to be productive citizens, creative individuals and active participants in shaping our communities in the 21st Century. The program is dedicated to teaching the art of cinematic digital storytelling and digital media production to young people.
The Cinema Du Cannes Project, designed as an after-school activity, involves students from all three PISD high schools - Connally, Hendrickson and Pflugerville. The students work as directors, writers, producers, actors, cinematographers, composers and publicists on the project. The Cinema Du Cannes Project consists of three core teams: Film Production, Documentary and Web/Publicity. Each team is led by former Connally students who have been hired on as directors.
Last year, Connally students produced a short film that premiered at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. The program raised enough money to send six student filmmakers to France for the May premiere. Midian Films, a Round Rock production company, co- produced the project with Connally’s video technology department. This was done without formal structure or a budget. This year, with non-profit status, the program is hoping to attract more sponsors and financial support. The goal is to send even more students to France in May 2012 for the film’s premiere.
Pflugerville ISD has put a strong emphasis on diversity education, and on November 16 Timmerman Elementary School went the extra mile by holding their first Cultural Diversity Fair.
A strong collaboration between teachers, parents and outside groups brought together 11 different presentations about foreign cultures. Students were engaged in presentations from Asia, Egypt, Turkey, China, Poland, Italy, Germany and Mexico.
The Cultural Diversity Fair was intended to help students understand that an individual’s point of view is influenced by literature, dance, music, foods, architecture, and art from different countries.
“I was truly touched to see how the presentations impacted some of our students,” said Principal Christy Chandler. “One student in particular, typically very shy about her culture, was simply radiating after one of the programs; so eager to share about her experiences. It was very exciting to see.”
The Timmerman community is already looking forward to continuing the event next year.
Forensics students from Pflugerville ISD schools have had a busy start to the school year. Students from all three schools have participated in numerous speech and debate tournaments, both locally and across the state. As a result of their active competition during the first nine weeks, students from both Hendrickson and Pflugerville high schools have already qualified to attend the Texas Forensic Association state tournament in March.
Hendrickson High School students who have already qualified for state are Javid Aboii, Lindsey Butler, Nia Bradley, Lawrence West, Mackenzie Dobbs, Ben Singer, Samantha Hentosh, Travis Tiffany, Avery Logan, Justin Mendoza, Pedro Segura, Peter Wood and Janie Townsend. Qualified Pflugerville High School students are Justin Cias, Derek Dillard, Jace Klepper, Ellen Hense and Tillman Huett.
Additionally, individuals from both schools have also earned bids to compete in the National Tournament of Champions in debate, individual events and extemporaneous speaking. Lindsey Butler, Mackenzie Dobbs, Ben Singer, Nia Bradley and Lawrence West, all from Hendrickson, and Tillman Huett of PHS have all earned this prestigious honor.
Coaches from each school are very proud of the students’ accomplishments so early in the season and look forward to the remainder of the semester.
Pflugerville ISD completed a very successful bond refunding on Wednesday, November 16 and refunded $28.17 million of principal with a True Interest Cost (TIC) of 3.17 percent. These bonds will be used to pay off existing bonds issued in 2001, 2003 and 2004.
“Over the last two years the district has completed three bond refundings that refinanced approximately $73 million of bonds and saved over $7.8 million in interest,” said Pflugerville ISD CFO Dr. Kenneth Adix. “The district benefitted from the fact that interest rates are at historically low levels. Standard & Poor’s Rating Services (S&P) maintained the district’s bond rating at “AA-“ with a stable outlook. S&P believes management will likely remain committed to maintaining its consistently strong finances, including very strong general fund reserves.”
This refinancing cut the district’s interest rate and saved $3.15 million. The refunding’s Net Present Value (NPV) of 8.36% is well above the minimum threshold of 5.0% that the Board established in October.
The Pflugerville Board of Trustees at its Thursday meeting named Park Crest Middle School Principal Denise Monzingo executive director of organizational and professional development. The District will soon appoint an acting principal at Park Crest and complete the principal selection process in the spring.
“Denise is a proven builder of outstanding instructional systems and collaborative teaching cultures, which makes her the ideal person for this position,” Superintendent of Schools Charles Dupre said. “As executive director of organizational and professional development, she will be responsible for deploying systems that support continuous improvement in instruction and teacher effectiveness. We know the single most important factor in a student’s success is exceptional instruction, which is something we must continue working to ensure every student receives.”
Monzingo was named Park Crest Middle School Principal in May 2008. No stranger to the Pflugerville community, Monzingo is a Pflugerville High School graduate and long-time PISD staff member. She was named principal at Dessau Elementary in 2004, and by the following year, the Title I campus was rated Recognized by the Texas Education Agency. Under Monzingo’s leadership, Park Crest has been rated Recognized the last two years.
“I have been given an amazing opportunity to be the executive director of organizational and professional development for the school district. While this is a position that advances my professional career, leaving Park Crest brings sadness as well,” Monzingo shared with the Park Crest community. “I’ve been on a campus with students for 26 years, and I know that I will miss them tremendously. Over the last three years, Park Crest has been recognized nationally for professional learning communities, academically by the State of Texas, and by the University of Texas for math results. Systems are in place to continue the work that has started, the staff is top notch, and I know great things will continue on this campus.”
Monzingo holds a Master of Education from Texas State University, and a bachelor’s degree in education from The University of Texas at Austin. She is currently pursuing her doctorate at Texas A&M.
Please take a moment to provide your input about the proposed 2012-13 school calendar by completing this brief survey. The survey will remain open through December 9. The Pflugerville Board of Trustees is scheduled to approve the final calendar in January.
The holiday season can be demanding in many ways, and many families find themselves in need of a little extra help. In Austin and Travis County there are programs and assistance groups in place to help families find the resources they need to make the holidays special. Here is a list of holiday resources in English and Spanish for local families.
For the second year in a row, students from the District’s PISD Leadership Experience group spent a few hours at the Texas State Capitol, meeting with lawmakers and touring the historic building.
PISD Leadership Experience is a group made up of high school juniors from all three high schools and PACE who have been nominated by their teachers as students who show great potential as leaders.
The group started their day with State Representative Mark Strama, followed by a talk from State Senator Kirk Watson that covered his 10 rules of leadership. Austin-based lawyer Ben De Leon, the 2009 National Big Brother of the Year from the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program, also addressed the students and encouraged them to give back to their community.
Spending time with well-respected public servants like Rep. Strama, Sen. Watson and Ben De Leon shows the students what leadership looks like in action, not just in theory.
The Pflugerville Education Foundation is accepting nominations for its annual Star Honoree Awards. The foundation is committed to honoring and recognizing alumni of Pflugerville ISD for their professional achievements and service to the community. Each year awards are given in the categories of innovation, leadership, community service, rising star and achievement.
PEF is adding an additional award to the ceremony this year called the Pioneer Spirit Award to recognize an individual who has demonstrated outstanding civic and charitable responsibility, and whose generosity encourages others to assume philanthropic leadership roles.
If you know an outstanding PISD graduate, this is your chance to cast a light on their achievements. Award recipients will be recognized at the annual Evening of Stars Gala which will be held March 31, 2012 in Austin at the Westin in the Domain.
“As a Foundation and as a community, we have been thoroughly impressed with the caliber of candidates that have been nominated and selected for these prestigious awards the past two years,” stated Gala Chair, Kerri Ranney. “We look forward to honoring five more distinguished alumni in March and showcasing the strong foundation PISD has built for its alumni and continues to build today.”
Nomination forms are available on the Pflugerville Education Foundation website and completed nominations are due no later than Friday, January 6. For more information email foundation Director Allison Murray or call at 512.594.0375.
The gymnasium at Pflugerville Middle School was packed recently for a highly anticipated event. Rohan Murphy, a young man who lost his legs at birth and went on to wrestle for Penn State University was there to speak to the students.
Murphy shared his message of beating the odds with hard work and never giving up, a message that he feels is especially important to share with school-age children.
“I speak for large companies, and just spoke to my first Fortune 500 Company,” Murphy said, “but I think talking to kids is my favorite. It’s important for them to hear this kind of message when they are young.”
Murphy has been featured in publications such as ABC news, Sports Illustrated and many others in print and on television. He was even featured in his very own Nike commercial to motivate and inspire people to exercise and live a healthy lifestyle.
Pflugerville High School and Hendrickson High School advanced to the second round of the playoffs with wins over Del Valle 28-7 and West Mesquite 34-20, respectively.
Hendrickson vs. Tyler John Tyler High School
This game will be played at Hewitt Midway High School at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, November 18.Tickets are $7 for adults and $4 for students. Tickets will be $8 at the gate.District 16-4A passes will be accepted.
Pflugerville vs. Spring Dekaney High School
This game will be played at Waller High School Stadium at 2 p.m. on Saturday, November 19.Tickets are $7 for adults and $3 for students. Tickets will be $8 at the gate. District 16-5A passes will be accepted.
Two Pflugerville ISD employees will represent the district at the South by Southwest Education Conference in March thanks to their proposal “Pflugerville's Award Winning Game Design Program" being chosen to be part of the conference.
Connally High School teacher David Conover and District Director of Career and Technical Education Ryan Merritt will sit on a panel with Dr. Priya Nihalani and Dr. Michael Mayrath, the founders of GYLO, an Austin-based e-learning company.
The panel will be focused on PISD’s video game design program that started in 2011. Students worked with a video game design firm to design and build a web-based educational video game.
On November 4, ARAMARK, the district’s food service provider, celebrated a major milestone by completing its 18th and final Cool Caf in PISD. Pflugerville Elementary School was the final elementary to get a colorful facelift in the cafeteria and kitchen and the addition of a fruit and vegetable bar, all thanks to the investment of ARAMARK.
“The Cool Caf makeover and fresh fruit and vegetable bars support healthy eating and help promote the school lunch program at schools,” said Jessica Scanlon, the ARAMARK communications marketing manager for PISD. “The investment in Cool Caf is an important part of ARAMARK's partnership with the district since we're committed to increasing participation in the school lunch program. Increased participation in school breakfast and lunch equates to more money for PISD.”
The fresh fruit and vegetable bars are used in conjunction with PISD's Go For More program. Go For More allows elementary students who purchase a reimbursable lunch to return to the cart for FREE fruits and vegetables. This is another ARAMARK investment in nutrition and meal promotions.
The first Cool Caf in PISD was at Caldwell Elementary School, which was installed before the Spring Semester of 2009. Caldwell's Cool Caf was an ARAMARK pilot site. After seeing the positive reaction at schools like Caldwell to the colors and characters of Cool Caf, ARAMARK moved forward with installing the dining brand at many of its elementary schools across the country.
Timmerman music teacher Terri Castro realized that the school’s music books were teaching her students Mexican Folk Dances, so she took advantage of the education opportunity to give her fifth-grade students a special day as part of the school's Hispanic Heritage Day.
“La Raspa” was a song and dance in the third-grade music book. In past years Castro had the third-grade students learn and perform the dance, but the fifth graders have much more advanced motor skills and coordination.
“This year it has become a tradition to let only the fifth graders perform,” Castro said. “Now the other children in all the other grades can look forward to performing in these beautiful costumes when they get to be in fifth grade.”
Castro was excited to share the cultural enrichment with her students, and her dancers have been invited to perform at Riojas Elementary School’s Diversity Day in January.
Hendrickson High School recently held their Hawk Pride breakfast, a time designed to honor students who have demonstrated exemplary character throughout the semester.
Each nine weeks, teachers nominate a student who exemplifies the "Hawk Pride" character traits of honesty, integrity, compassion, respect, responsibility, leadership, cooperation, dedication and loyalty. Student nominees can either be ones who exemplify the traits every day, or, more frequently, they are individuals who may have started the semester out poorly, perhaps making bad decisions at first, but they have started to make more positive choices and are now on the path towards improvement.
The PTO at Rowe Lane held their fourth annual “Pfall Pfreak Out” fundraiser recently. The Halloween-themed carnival offers concessions, games, small rides, a dunking booth, a cakewalk, a haunted house and a silent auction to raise money to give to the school and bridge the financial gap.
“This year, the bulk of the proceeds went toward purchasing 22 document cameras for the school, in order to advance the learning environment for the students,” said RLES parent and PTO member Tomi Thompson.
In addition to the fundraising, a major highlight of the event was the turnout of student volunteers from across the district. Fifty students from the Hendrickson High School ROTC program helped out, as did Hendrickson students from the National Honor Society and AVID Program. Members of the PISD Leadership Experience group from all three high schools also attended and helped with the set up and tear down of the carnival.
“This was a wonderful display of the district community coming together to support a district school. These volunteers were an integral part of making our event successful,” Thompson said.
The Pflugerville Board of Trustees took no action on Superintendent Charles Dupre's contract at its November 3 meeting. Since appointing Dupre superintendent in December 2006, the PISD Board has extended him two three-year contracts, and typically considers a contract extension for the superintendent as the contract enters its final year. Dupre's current agreement runs through June 2013.
Dupre believes this approach, while different from other school districts, reflects PISD's practical approach to fiscal responsibility and maintaining its reputation as a good steward of taxpayer dollars.
"When I was named Pflugerville superintendent, the Board and I agreed they would not routinely extend my contract as is common practice in many other districts. Instead, we have chosen to consider any contract extension as the termination date for my current contract nears," Dupre said. "I believe this represents a more sound business practice, and protects the best interest of the district."
Dupre expressed support for the Board's decision and a continued dedication to the students, staff and community of Pflugerville ISD.
"After five and a half years on the job, I am still thrilled and honored to be the superintendent of Pflugerville ISD, and proud to work along side an outstanding Board of Trustees, dedicated principals and staff, and in a caring, education-centered community," Dupre said. "I look forward to serving in PISD for many years to come."
Board of Trustees President Elva Gladney said the Board remains in full support of PISD's administration, but felt any revision to the superintendent's contract while the district is still working to overcome a $9 million reduction in state funding, including a significant reduction in staff and no employee pay increases, wouldn't send the right message to PISD stakeholders.
"The PISD Board of Trustees looks forward to working with Superintendent Dupre and our outstanding staff to meet the operational and academic challenges we face this year and beyond," Gladney said. "In recognition of the shared sacrifice all PISD staff members have made to deliver the best possible education to our students under difficult economic conditions, the Board and Superintendent have chosen not to make any modifications to the Superintendent's current contract. As we have done for the past five and a half years since Mr. Dupre became superintendent, the Board is committed to preparing Each Child for Their Future in Our World while providing the greatest return on investment for PISD taxpayers."
Under Dupre's leadership, PISD in 2010 achieved a Texas Education Agency rating of Recognized for the first time, and has seen a dramatic increase in student achievement across all student groups.
Longtime Pflugerville ISD administrator Cindy Gee is retiring from the district in November.
During Gee's more than thirty years in education, she served Pflugerville ISD as a principal at Windermere Primary, Windermere Elementary and Caldwell Elementary. Gee also served as Executive Director of Elementary Education and as an Assistant Superintendent. In recent months, Gee coordinated the districts inaugural Extended Day Program.
Gee will be honored with a reception on Tuesday, November 29 from 4 6 p.m., come and go, at the Pflugerville ISD administration building.
POPS Rallies have been taking place across the district for many years. POPS stands for Power of Positive Students, and the assembly takes place at the end of the nine-week grading period three times per year. Students receive ribbons for their achievements, such as perfect attendance and honor roll. They wear their ribbons throughout the day and stand to applause when they are recognized.In late October Brookhollow Elementary held a POPS rally, an event that has become part of the school’s fabric, and the students look forward to each of the three yearly celebrations. Principal Philip Riley isn’t quite sure just how long they have been taking place at the school, but they were already a cornerstone when he took over 11 years ago. In addition to the celebration of achievement, the Brookhollow staff includes some sort of entertainment, and this year it was a flash mob choreographed by Resource Teacher Steven Brock and performed by Mr. Brock and the BES staff. In an effort to support the Brookhollow PTO, before the POPS rally students were able to purchase strips of tape that were used to tape Principal Riley to the gym wall. Other students contributed to a fund to see P.E. Teacher Max Cox wear a dress to the rally and lead custodian Carlos Munoz kiss a turtle.
Both the Connally and Hendrickson volleyball teams have advanced to the regional quarterfinal round of the playoffs, and all three Pflugerville football teams are preparing for week one of their playoff runs. Make sure to support your school and the district by attending these high-level competitions.
Regional Quarterfinal Volleyball
Connally vs. Waxahachie High School
The match will take place at Midway High School at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, November 8.Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students. District 16-4A passes will be accepted.
Hendrickson vs. Red Oak High School
The match will take place at Midway High School at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 8. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students. District 16-4A passes will be accepted.
Connally vs. Waxahachie High School
This game will take place at Waco ISD Stadium at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 10.Advance tickets are $6 for adults and $3 for students. All tickets will be $7 at the gate. District 16-4A passes will be accepted.
Hendrickson vs. West Mesquite High School
The Hawks will play West Mesquite at Midway High School at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, November 11.Advance tickets are $6 for adults and $3 for students. All tickets will be $8 at the gate. District 16-4A passes will be accepted.
Pflugerville vs. Del Valle High School
The Panthers will take on Del Valle at Del Valle High School at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, November 11. Advance tickets are $6 for adults and $3 for students. All tickets will be $8 at the gate. District 16-5A passes will be accepted.
On Saturday, January 21 PISD will host its annual Community Connections Conference at Pflugerville High School from 8 a.m. to noon for parents of students and members of the community who are interested in learning about a vast array of subjects. The conference will offer classes that focus on self-improvement, technology skills, parenting skills, college and career readiness, academics and special needs.
Proposition 6, one of the constitutional amendments that will be on the November ballot, deals largely with increasing the amount of principal that is available for withdrawal from the Permanent School Fund each year, providing authority to distribute up to $300 million each year to the Available School Fund.
Pflugerville ISD encourages voters to learn more about what Proposition 6 could mean for Texas public schools.House Research Organization’s Overview of Prop 6 (PDF)
Seventeen out of twenty-six campuses received Gold Performance Acknowledgements (GPA) from the Texas Education Agency for 2011. PISD was evaluated in thirteen out of 15 possible indicators and received acknowledgement in two indicators: College-Ready and Commended Performance in Social Studies. Eleven schools received recognition in more than one indicator while one campus received recognition in six indicators. Descriptions of the indicators in which recognition was given are as follows:
- Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate is measured by the percent (15% or more) of 11th and 12th graders taking at least one AP or IB examination AND percent (50% or more) of 11th and 12th grade examinees scoring at or above the criterion on at least one examination (3 and above for AP; 4 and above for IB).
- College-Ready is the number of graduates who scored at or above the college-ready criteria on both ELA and mathematics, divided by the number of graduates with results in both subjects to evaluate. The rate must be above 40% for the Class of 2010 to receive a GPA.
- Comparable Improvement (CI) is a statistically measured amount of growth from one year to the next as compared to forty schools with like demographics. For a school to qualify for CI recognition, its students’ average demonstrated growth on Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) must fall in the top quartile of the comparison group.
- Commended Performance (CP) is the highest performance level set by the State Board of Education on TAKS. Students who achieve CP have performed at a level that is considerably above the state passing standard and have shown a thorough understanding of the knowledge and skills at the grade level tested. For acknowledgement in this indicator, the campus must have 30% or more of its examinees scoring at or above the CP standard.
The seventeen PISD Campuses that received Gold Performance Acknowledgement are listed below.
- Pflugerville High School: AP/IB, College-Ready, CP Social Studies.
- Connally High School: CP Social Studies.
- Hendrickson High School: College-Ready and CP Social Studies.
- Park Crest Middle School: CP Writing, and CP Social Studies.
- Dessau Middle School: CP Social Studies.
- Kelly Lane Middle School: CI Reading, CP Reading/ELA, CP Writing, and CP Social Studies.
- Pflugerville Middle School: CP Social Studies
- Copperfield Elementary School: CI Math.
- Murchison Elementary School: CP Writing and CP Science.
- Northwest Elementary School: CI Reading, CI Math, and CP Reading/ELA.
- Parmer Lane Elementary School: CP Math and CP Science.
- Pflugerville Elementary School: CP Reading/ELA
- Riojas Elementary School: CI Reading, CI Math, CP Reading/ELA, CP Math, CP Writing, and CP Science.
- Rowe Lane Elementary School: CP Reading/ELA, CP Math and CP Science
- Spring Hill Elementary School: CI Math and CP Science.
- Timmerman Elementary School: CP Reading/ELA, CP Math, CP Writing, and CP Science.
- Windermere Elementary School: CP Science.
The teachers and staff at River Oaks Elementary are providing new opportunities for their students to succeed every day, and recently they held two major events with their students’ success in mind.
They held a Family Reading Night recently and more than 400 people attended. For the second year in a row, the teachers went above and beyond in demonstrating the importance of reading to students by filming a full-length movie that was shown to parents and students.Last year the teachers performed a play entitled, “Reading Saves The Day.” It was a huge success, and this year the teachers challenged themselves to come up with a bigger and more creative production.
The movie, written, directed and edited by first-grade teacher Becca Wang, went along with this year’s book fair theme, “Reading is Out of This World.” Teachers willingly gave up their free time after school for a month to film the scenes.A lot of thought and time was put into designing the costumes and writing the script. Austin Public Library was signing families up for library cards and the PTO provided popcorn to enhance the movie going experience and gift certificates for the book fair, and the CATCH program provided healthy snacks. The success of this film and Family Reading Night was attributed to the hard work all the teachers put in.
On Monday, October 31 the students of River Oaks participated in the school’s third annual Career Day.Professionals from all areas came to visit with the students about their careers,and students asked questions and took notes trying to learn as much as they could about each career. The students paraded their job-related costumes through the halls, some of the professionals read books to the students, and in the afternoon more than 20 professionals set up stations to present their careers to the students.
Seventeen seniors from Pflugerville high schools have been named commended students in the 57th Annual National Merit Scholarship competition.
About 1.5 million juniors in over 22,000 high schools entered the 2012 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2010 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Out of the 1.5 million students, the top 5 percent of scorers were recognized as commended students.
NMSC, a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program.
Achieving Commended status from Connally High School are Marguerite Green, Jeremy Janisch, Mashfee Khan, Elizabeth Raymond, Chi Vu and Benjamin Whalen.
Commended students from Hendrickson High School are Katherine Herrick, Garrett Hoover, Madisen Leon and Sarah Torok.
Pflugerville High School Commended students are Zachary Brown, George Kurochkin, Benjamin Laird, Darcie Marquardt, Whitney Orji, Alexander Peeples and Diem-Nhi Tran.
In addition, Emily Crespo and Shane Johnson from Pflugerville High School were named Outstanding Participants.
Events honoring our nation’s veterans are scheduled on many campuses across PISD. Staff, students, parents and veterans will gather to pay tribute to current and former members of the armed services.
In recognition of Veterans Day, Rowe Lane Elementary fourth grade students will perform This Is America on November 1 at 9:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. “Although we weren’t able to schedule our performance on Veterans Day, we wanted to acknowledge our nation’s veterans,” says Rowe Lane music teacher Bradley Bennett. “We want our students to understand the importance of honoring our military.”
Windermere Elementary will honor all active and veteran service men and women at 1 p.m. on November 11. A variety of activities are planned, including presentation of the colors by the Hendrickson High School Junior ROTC and a performance of patriotic songs by the WES choir. Retired Colonel Rodney McNelley will be the guest speaker.
At River Oaks Elementary, a special assembly is planned at 1:45 p.m. on November 11. Principal Jasmin Khan says, “This assembly is a spectacular event through which we honor the family members of our staff and students who are serving our country.”
Fourth-graders at Highland Park Elementary will present their music program A Salute to Veterans on November 11 at 8:45 a.m. in the cafeteria. “All veterans are cordially invited to attend our program,” says Highland Park music teacher Sally Stone.
Parmer Lane Elementary has many Veterans Day activities planned for November 11, including a ribbon routine by fifth grade girls, a performance by the PLES choir, and The Allegiance Rap performed by fifth grade boys, among other things.
Caldwell Elementary will hold their Veterans Day ceremony on November 11 at 8 a.m. “We invite veterans to our ceremony so that we may honor the time, service and sacrifice they’ve given our country,” says Principal Sonya Collins. “We will conclude our program with a “Thank You” reception for veterans so that they can sit and share their stories with their fellow veterans.”
A Veterans Day ceremony is planned at Kelly Lane Middle School on November 11 at 8:35 a.m. and 9:20 a.m. Veterans, parents and community members are invited to attend the special ceremony which will be held in the KLMS gym.
Pflugerville Elementary School will hold a celebration on November 11 at 8:15 a.m. to "honor the men and women who have served our country."Please contact your campus for information about their Veterans Day activities
On November 12 the fifth annual Destinations Life Transition Fair will be held at Round Rock High School. Postsecondary Educational, Career, and Lifelong Living information will be available to aid students with special needs in planning their future. Families with students of all ages are invited to attend and find important information.
Representatives from Adult Service Agencies in Williamson, Travis, and Bastrop counties will attend this event that was planned by nine school districts, including Pflugerville ISD. The event will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The totals are in, and the Pflugerville Education Foundation Employee Giving Campaign had its best year ever, raising over $23,000 thanks to the big-hearted contributions of PISD staff members.
"Enriching young minds is the goal of the Pflugerville Education Foundation," says PEF President Victor Gonzales. "Many great things happen in our community, but I believe the PEF is the best kept secret in Pflugerville."
Now in its third year, contributions to the PEF Employee Giving Campaign have increased each successive year. Every dollar raised goes directly back to PISD to support students and staff.
A large portion of the funds raised from the Employee Giving Campaign will be used for Innovative Teaching Grants. This year the PEF gave out more than $16,000 in grants to teachers in the District.
PEF is a non-profit organization created by local businesses and community leaders to have a positive impact on public education. The mission of PEF is to provide resources to assist PISD students in reaching their full potential.
"To date, the Foundation has awarded over a quarter of a million dollars to teachers and students of the district in innovative teaching projects and programs impacting hundreds of children on many school campuses," PEF Vice President of Development Alicia Felan said.
In addition to funding the Innovative Teaching Grants, PEF provides funds for an academic event in the spring, honoring graduating seniors who have overcome adversity, as well as sponsoring the annual Employee Recognition Banquet. In partnership with Debby and Dan Utley, PEF also awards the Utley Scholarship for Professional Development to provide financial support for current PISD educators pursuing additional certification or related degrees.
Receiving PEF Innovative Teaching Grants were:
Pflugerville High School
- Mary Capps
- Kendra Doyle
Pflugerville Middle School
- Alpha Richardson
- Christopher Stelly
Westview Middle School
- Cheryl Adediji
- Laura Siller-Luis
- Aaron Cruz
- Mary Petronis
Highland Park Elementary
- Leslie Barrett
- Jennifer Swanzy
Rowe Lane Elementary
- Melissa Dekeratry
- Laura Diaz
- April Nilson
- Deborah Aleman
- Julie Bates
- Jennifer Wood
Save the date for Parmer Lane Elementary's 30 year reunion event!
On Saturday, January 28, 2012, Parmer Lane Elementary will celebrate 30 years of educating PISD students. The event will take place from 10:30 a.m. to noon in the Parmer Lane gym.
All former students and staff are encouraged to attend. More details will be available as the event draws closer.
- 10:30 mixer, building tour
- 11:00 PLE Choir sings; open 25 year capsule
- 11:30 Former principals' remarks
- 12:00 Goodbye until 2032
Students who were enrolled in grades eight through eleven in PISD last school year accessed Bridges (www. Bridges.com) and developed an initial graduation plan with their counselor. The District will continue using Bridges this school year and we encourage you to get involved! Join us for Pflugerville Pfamily Roadmap to Success Night and log-in to Bridges to track your student’s course selections. This school year the following events will occur to support the scheduling and four year planning process:
- November 2 PHS - Pflugerville Pfamily Roadmap to Success Night*
- November 3 CHS/HHS - Pflugerville Pfamily Roadmap to Success Night*
- November 4-December 12 - Current 8th through 11th grade students will access the computer labs on their campuses with the guidance of the counselors to choose or refine course selections for the 2012-2013 school year.
- November 4-December 16 - Bridges access available online to all parents and students
- Early February - Courses chosen for the upcoming academic year will be projected on course verification forms. Students and their parents may make adjustments to 2012-2013 course selections on this verification form (not in Bridges), which is to be returned to the counselor.
*All three Pflugerville ISD high schools will host Pflugerville Pfamily Road Map to Success nights in early November. The events will showcase course fairs highlighting all courses offered on that specific campus. Information regarding four-year planning and course selection on Bridges.com will be provided and students and parents will learn about ways to earn college credit while still enrolled in high school. In addition, a session regarding transitioning from eighth to ninth grade will be offered. Parents of all Pflugerville ISD students, including currently enrolled ninth- through eleventh-graders, as well as the Class of 2016 parents and students are invited to the event.
Pflugerville High School, Wednesday, November 2, 6 - 8 p.m.
Connally High School, Thursday, November 3, 5:30 - 8 p.m.
Hendrickson High School, Thursday, November 3, 6 - 8 p.m.
The following BREAK-OUT sessions will be offered at each high school:
6:15-7 p.m. or 7:15-8 p.m. Transitioning from 8th to 9th grade
6:30-7 p.m. or 7:30-8 p.m. How to Earn College Credit while in High School
6:30-7 p.m. or 7:30-8 p.m. 4-yearPlanning/Course Selection for Current 9-11th Grade Students
Log-in to Bridges anytime!
Portfolio Name: pisdxxxxxx (6 digit student id)
Password: MMDDYEAR (Student date of birth)
Connally and Hendrickson high schools are both still alive and fighting in the Area playoffs after the two teams tied for the District 16-4A championship with 14-2 district records. Both teams are in the second round of the playoffs and will vie for Area championships.
Hendrickson High School vs. Royse City
Match will be held at West High School at 7 p.m. on Friday, November 4. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students. District 16-4A passes will be accepted.
Connally high School vs. Whitehouse
Match will be held at Madisonville High School at 2 p.m. on Saturday, November 5. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students. District 16-4A passes will be accepted.
Pflugerville High School student-led organizations, including the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA), Standing Together Against Genocide Everywhere (STAGE) and the Key Club, hosted Ally Night on October 19 from 6-8:30 p.m. in the PHS cafeteria.
Keynote speaker Taylor McCaslin from the Texas Civil Rights Project shared his experiences growing up in east Texas, and students from various organizations performed and shared messages of acceptance and support.
"Ally Night is important because we need to make sure everyone in the school and in the Pflugerville community is aware there is an open, supportive environment," Pflugerville High School senior and GSA president Diem-Nhi Tran said. "No one should feel alone here."
The event will help the school reach its goal of being designated No Place for Hate, an Anti-Defamation League program that aims to create and sustain an inclusive school environment where all students feel valued and have the opportunity to succeed by promoting respect for individual difference while challenging bigotry and prejudice.
"We became the first No Place for Hate high school in Pflugerville ISD last year, but we want to keep this up because our goal of making the school a better, anti-bias place for all doesn't just stop after receiving recognition for one year," Tran said.
"There is nothing done in the Pflugerville Independent School District quite like Ally Night," PHS unior and GSA treasurer Jade Bosier said. "Ally Night celebrates those who stand up against bullying and educates those who may not know what an ally is. We invite all members of the community to show their support of this anti-bullying movement. It is an important topic because bullying affects approximately one-third of all teenagers. We encourage all members of the community to show their support," Bosier said. "We are forced to battle such issues as a community, so we must face them as a community."
For the third time in five years Wieland Elementary School held a literacy night as a way to include families in the learning process of their children, and they had a record turnout with more than 320 people signing in.“One of the goals of Family Literacy Night is to introduce families to new ways of incorporating literacy into their everyday lives,” said Anna Runyen, librarian at Wieland. “Parents are key players in their children's success at school. Parents strengthen their children's learning by practicing skills at home and encourage them to do their best. Parents also serve as the most important role models in a child's life. It's crucial that parents value and support literacy in their homes.”
Teachers dressed up in costumes of different popular children’s books for the event. This was another effort to show parents and kids how fun learning can be.
A coalition representing public school districts, taxpayers and parents formally filed a lawsuit against the state in Travis County district court last night. In its suit, the Texas Taxpayer and Student Fairness Coalition claims the state’s public school finance system is unconstitutional because it doesn’t treat Texas taxpayers and school children fairly.
Lead counsel Rick Gray of Gray and Becker, P.C. emphasized, “This lawsuit comes at a crucial time in the history of public education in Texas. School districts, taxpayers and students are being treated unfairly by our current system, and it’s time to stand up and fight. Our case is strong and comprehensive, and we’ll attack the system from all angles. I’m confident that we will succeed and that Texas taxpayers and students will benefit from our efforts.”
The group of more than 150 school districts represented by the coalition continues to grow daily, and many more districts, taxpayers, parents and even business owners are expected to formally join in the coming months.
The following districts were named as plaintiffs to represent the Texas Taxpayer and Student Fairness Coalition in the filed petition: Hillsboro ISD, Hutto ISD, Nacogdoches ISD, Pflugerville ISD, San Antonio ISD, Taylor ISD, and Van ISD. Although the districts vary greatly in size and location, they share a similar story. All are treated unfairly by the current funding system, and their taxpayers and school children are suffering the consequences.
“We want the state to address the inequities that exist in the current funding system,” Pflugerville Superintendent of Schools Charles Dupre said. “We believe that every student, regardless of where they live or what occupations their parents may have, deserves the opportunity to receive an outstanding education. We must prepare each child for the future, and an equitable school funding system opens the door to countless opportunities for every Texas public school student.”
“We applaud all the districts, taxpayers and parents who have decided to stand up for Texas children and the future of our state,” said Dr. Wayne Pierce, Executive Director of the Equity Center, the organization that is facilitating the development and operation of the coalition. “It is never easy to take on the system, but the Texas Taxpayer & Student Fairness Coalition recognizes that we simply can’t wait.”
As soon as the news of the Bastrop fire first spread through Pflugerville ISD campuses, students and teachers alike began organizing ways to be helpful. Students of all ages in classrooms, clubs and teams pitched in to do what they could to help.
As volunteer and service opportunities began to emerge from each campus, PISD lead social worker Vicky Esparza-Gregory started making calls and connections to make sure all of the donated goods would get into the correct hands.
“The outpouring of support and help from our District was really impressive,” Esparza-Gregory said. “The true character of our students and staff shined through at just the right time to help out other students and educators in need.”
While some assistance given by our schools went unseen, here is a list of the projects that we know about:
Students and teachers from PACE made the trip to Smithville to help sort and distribute donated items to the fire victims.
Hendrickson High School
A school-wide collection of personal care products, clothing and gift cards made for a great delivery to Bastrop fire victims by the HHS FFA/Agriculture program and the girls volleyball team.
Park Crest Middle School
A general goods drive at Park Crest collected more than 2,000 items, including clothes, blankets, non-perishable food items, school supplies, toiletries and money.
Westview Middle School
Students and staff members got involved at Westview to collect essential school supplies and toiletries that were sent to the victims of the fire.
Kelly Lane Middle School
The students in Kelly Lane’s student council and AVID programs put together their school’s drive to collect backpacks, school supplies, art materials and canned food. They sent 18 large boxes of donated goods.
Pflugerville Middle School
The PMS student council spearheaded a donation drive that collected non-perishable food items to replenish food banks in the Bastrop area.
Parmer Lane Elementary
Students all around PLES, including the student council members, collected items to support the affected residents of Bastrop County and delivered them to Bastrop ISD to help the students who were most affected.
River Oaks Elementary School
Shortly after the fire the students and parents of River Oaks collected school supplies from their own suggested supply list to help Bastrop students get back on track.
Spring Hill Elementary School
Spring Hill students and their families conducted a coin drive and collected more than $735 to send to the Capital Area Food Bank.
Windermere Elementary/Primary Schools
With a personal connection to Emile Elementary School in Bastrop, the students of WES and WPS collected more than 1,000 food items and 830 books in their food and books drive. All food was delivered to the Capital Area Food Bank. The PTO also collected 10 large boxes of items such as food, diapers, formula, toiletries and batteries.
Riojas Elementary School
RES families donated suggested items such as water, non-perishable food, diapers, personal hygiene items and paper goods in lieu of an admission fee to the Back to School Dance.
Wieland Elementary School
Students at WES filled two large vehicles with diapers, formula, food, cleaning items, games, books, backpacks, lunch boxes, school supplies and plenty of personal hygiene items for the victims. All donations were given directly to Bastrop ISD.
Timmerman Elementary School
The TES student council asked each grade level to bring in specific toiletry items to help out. A large number of books and art supplies were also donated.
Brookhollow Elementary School
BES put together 75 bags filled with personal care items for children who were affected by the fires. Extra supplies went to adults in need.
Pflugerville Independent School District is now the 150th school district to join the Equity Center's comprehensive litigation effort. By passing a formal resolution, PISD joins a strong coalition of districts who share the common goal of fixing a broken school finance system they feel is inadequate, unfair and lacking in local control.
Charles Dupre, Superintendent of Schools at PISD, had this to say about the district's choice to join: "In Pflugerville ISD, we promise our students and taxpayers we will prepare each child for their future in our world. Unfortunately the state does not share PISD's commitment to each child, as evidenced by its inability, or worse, unwillingness, to establish a school finance system that is fair to ALL school children and taxpayers across Texas."
"When our Central Texas neighbors receive thousands more in per-student funding than we do each year, the state is effectively saying Pflugerville children do not deserve the same opportunities provided other children in the area. The unfair way schools are funded impacts home values and economic development opportunities in our community. We've spent the last several years trying to work with state leaders to find an equitable solution to the school finance mess. It is unfortunate the legislature chose not to fix school funding - instead they cut billions of dollars from an already unfair system. We are hopeful this lawsuit will help shape a new era for Texas public schools - one in which every child is valued and their opportunities for the future aren't constrained by where they live."
Dr. Wayne Pierce, Executive Director of the Equity Center, said, "We are thrilled to have PISD on board. PISD is the perfect example of a district that is not being treated fairly by our current school finance system. We applaud Mr. Dupre's leadership and appreciate the board's decision to stand up for PISD's students and taxpayers."
The coalition of districts plans to file the lawsuit later this month.
Students across the globe teamed up with parents and teachers on October 5 for International Walk to School Day, and a handful of Pflugerville ISD schools joined in.
Several elementary and primary schools from around the District set up locations on normal walking routes where staff members met parents and students for a walk to school.
The idea of Walk to School Day is to enhance the health of kids, improve the air quality and environment by keeping more cars off the roads, and to establish safer routes for walking and biking to school.
“We partnered with NFL Play 60 and the Travis County Constables office,” said Suzanne Isenhower, a physical education teacher at Highland Park Elementary. “This is the third year for our event and our grand marshal was Dr. Cynthia Graves of our PISD School Board.”
At Wieland Elementary School four staff members took up posts on local walking routes and led large groups of walking students to the school. At River Oaks Elementary School and Murchison Elementary School bus riders were dropped off away from the school and led on a walk to the school. Rowe Lane Elementary even got the Hendrickson High School boys basketball team involved to walk with their students.
After five solid weeks of school since Labor Day, Pflugerville ISD students will have one more break before the long stretch to Thanksgiving Break. There will be no school October 10-11 and all campuses will resume regular operation on Wednesday, October 12.
Eleven seniors from Pflugerville High School were recently recognized for their academic achievements through the National Merit Scholarship Competition.
Last October, more than 1.5 million high school juniors across the nation entered the National Merit competition by taking the PSAT standardized test. Out of the entire 1.5 million students, the top 5 percent of scorers were recognized as commended students. PHS students included were Zachary Brown, George Kurochkin, Benjamin Laird, Darcie Marquardt, Whitney Orji, Alexander Peeples, and Diem-Nhi Tran.
“We hope that by recognizing these students' accomplishments, it will raise awareness in our community of the importance of the PSAT which will be given to all sophomores and juniors in the District on October 12,” said PHS AP teacher Dixie Ross.
Out of the entire testing group, 160,000 African American students were eligible to compete in the National Achievement Competition, and of those, the top 2 percent of that group were identified and their names sent on to colleges and universities for special consideration. PHS students Whitney Orji, Emily Crespo and Shane Johnson were in the top group.
Orji was also named a semi-finalist in the National Achievement Scholarship competition and will go on to compete for further awards.
Another 200,000 students competed in the National Hispanic Recognition Program. The top 2.5 percent of those kids were recognized and included PHS students Jesse Barajas and Zachery Ortega-Robar.
“It’s very important that we show students, parents and community members that we value our academic accomplishments,” said PHS principal Kirk Wrinkle. “That’s why we are recognizing these students at Friday night’s football game.”
This year the Pflugerville ISD Food Service department, which is operated by ARAMARK Education, has made it easy to find
out more information about your school’s nutrition and food service program and they are offering five suggestions on how to stay informed.
- You can join the Food Service listserv. Check the box next to the Food Services option and subscribe. You’ll get email updates monthly.
- We are also on Facebook. Click the ‘Like’ button to get exclusive updates on contests, nutrition news and to see the food for yourself.
- You can email our general information address for nutrition advice from our dietitian, cooking support from our department chef or for more information about any of our programs.
- Call us at 594.0430 for questions about your child’s lunch account or information about free and reduced meal applications.
- Eat lunch with your kids! The best way to get to know your school’s lunch and breakfast program is by participating. Every meal supports the district.
For the second time this school year Pflugerville ISD was recognized for its excellence in governmental accounting and financial reporting. Earlier in the year the District earned the Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting (COE) from the Association of Business Officials. This time the District was honored with the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association.
“I’m very proud of everyone on our finance team and honored to work with them,” said PISD Chief Financial Officer Kenneth Adix. “They are very dedicated to producing high quality work and are willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. I view this award as just further affirmation of the fact that Pflugerville ISD is a great school district.”
The GFOA established the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Program (CAFR Program) in 1945 to encourage and assist state and local governments to go beyond the minimum requirements of generally accepted accounting principles to prepare comprehensive annual financial reports that evidence the spirit of transparency and full disclosure and then to recognize individual governments that succeed in achieving that goal. The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management.
To mark the start of another school year, the President of the United States will address students across America in a televised speech on September 28. In speaking directly to students in past years, President Obama has encouraged them to study hard and take responsibility for their education, urged them to set goals, to believe in themselves, and to be the authors of their own destinies.
Because Pflugerville ISD believes a speech by a sitting president addressing students can be a useful instructional resource, PISD schools will show the speech in conjunction with the district-developed social studies curriculum at all grade levels.
Parents who do not want their student to view the speech should submit a note to the school's front office. During the airing of the speech, students who have opted out will be provided an appropriate alternative learning activity and will not be penalized in any way.
Please contact your campus with questions.
Four educational trips around the world are open to all high schoolers, starting with a spring break trip to Europe to study the Holocaust.Parent and student informational meetings will be held on the following dates:
|Oct. 20||Hendrickson High School||7 p.m.||Lecture Hall|
|Oct. 27||Connally High School||7 p.m.||C301|
|Oct. 27||Pflugerville High School||7 p.m.||Lecture Hall|
Mr. Scott Galler, teacher and sponsor of the History Club at Pflugerville High School is again leading international educational student tours, this time with the assistance of Ms. Patricia Smith, a teacher at Connally High School. Mr. Phillip King from Hendrickson High School will also be leading a trip to Costa Rica in June of 2012.
“I have been taking students on tours since I began teaching, starting with Washington DC and expanding outside the country. I believe that in order to understand history, one must be able see and touch the areas where history took place.”
Trips are available to all students who are at least high school age at the time of the trip.Parents are also welcome to enroll.The spring break trip of 2012 will tour through Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic to study the Holocaust. During the summer of 2012 there will be a 10 day adventure tour to study the tropics in Costa Rica, and enrollment has already begun for the 2013 tours of Italy and China.
Information on the specific trips can be found at the following links:
Molly Kamper wears many hats at Dessau Middle School as an instructor, web master and the competitive robotics guru. Just recently she took on another big job that should benefit her own students and other students across the country when she was named to the LEGO Education Advisory Panel.
After a very competitive application process, 27 educators from across the United States were named to the panel and PISD’s Kamper was one of the 27 chosen.
“Getting involved in LEAP is an opportunity to share many of the ideas I have to create products and curriculum to improve student learning experiences,” Kamper said. “My priorities as a classroom teacher don't allow me to pursue every idea I may have. This way I can share my ideas with an organization that has a mission to create educational tools that promote critical thinking and problem solving.”
According to the LEGO Education website, “These educators represent grades K-12 and will collaborate with LEGO Education to develop classroom solutions and curriculum that elevate science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts and 21st Century learning skills.”
More than 850 students at Murchison Elementary will benefit immediately from a grant that was recently awarded to the school by the Fuel Up to Play 60 initiative.
Murchison was selected from hundreds of schools from across the country who applied for funding to help them jumpstart and sustain healthy nutrition and physical activity improvements. Funding for the very competitive FUTP60 program is provided by DAIRY MAX and America’s dairy farmers.
“Healthy students are better learners,” said Docia Craft, the physical education teacher at Murchison.“As part of our goal to provide a nurturing learning environment here at Murchison, the Fuel Up To Play 60 award will help coordinate wellness messages by teaching healthy habits all across the curriculum.Those practiced healthy habits will go into the lunchroom, onto the playing fields, and hopefully into the community.”
The funds will be used to reinforce student awareness of the importance of healthy eating and increased physical activity. The funding will help encourage an increase in student participation in physical activity before school through the ‘Walking School Bus’ program, morning intramurals, and the Hot Shots jump rope demo team.
Other plans for the funding also include giveaways to encourage participation,food service material and equipment, physical activity materials and equipment for before school and recess areas and nutrition education materials.
Pflugerville ISD, in cooperation with Austin-Travis County Emergency Management, is announcing temporary changes to game-day traditions in an effort to prevent potentially hazardous conditions at extracurricular events.
“Until further notice, no outdoor cooking, including barbeque pits or smokers, will be allowed in the parking lots at football games,” Athletic Director Dwayne Weirich said. “We want to take every precaution possible to ensure the safety of fans and participants at our football games.”
PISD also reminds fans that smoking is banned on all school property.
“Smoking has been prohibited on school grounds for some time, and we ask all fans to be conscious of that,” Weirich said.
In one Texas school district, school cafeterias now offer hummus and vegetable platters, whole wheat pasta, and zucchini wraps. In another, lunch menus categorize dishes as "Go," "Slow," and "Whoa!" and use pictures to help non-English speaking students make healthy choices. Across the country, schools are exchanging prepared foods for freshly-grown produce, incorporating healthy eating lessons across the curriculum, and looking for ways to encourage kids to exercise more.
For the 14th year in a row, the teaching staff at Copperfield Elementary School gathered in the library to get their lists and goodie bags for the Community Walk.
Dr. Sandra Bell, the principal of CES for the last 11 years, and her teachers and some of their spouses headed out into the surrounding neighborhood to meet their new students and families.
“It’s the building of the relationships with families from the very beginning of school before the kids even come back,” Bell explained. “We pride ourselves in going out and meeting the families and inviting them to be part of the school.”
Parents were informed of the Community Walk when they registered their child, but parents of returning students have learned to expect and cherish the opportunity they have each year to interact with the teachers.“It’s wonderful,” Bell said of the advantages the walk provides. “Good communication and building those connections is so important. I’d like to think, though we haven’t done any hard research, that the close relationships we build help there be fewer problems for the students.”
Thanks to growing interest from across the district, Dessau Middle School teacher Audrey Welborn has decided to open her annual spring break trip to New York City to all Pflugerville ISD 6-8 grade students.
“To see my DMS kids appreciate history and culture and experience places many never get to see was incredible,” Welborn said. “But at the same time, I kept telling myself more kids needed the opportunity that my DMS kids have been given. I knew I could do more.”
Over the 2012 spring break Welborn will be taking a group of students to the Big Apple with an additional chaperone. Slots for the trip are already filling up, so make sure to attend upcoming meetings at 6 p.m. in room 209 of Kelly Lane Middle School on Sept. 6 and Sept. 20. In addition to the meetings, you can visit Smithsonian Student Travel and enter in the tour number 1090879.
“We really hope to have a large group this year,” Welborn said. “I’m always encouraging my students to travel whenever they get the opportunity whether it is now or years from now.”
Fund raising will be conducted throughout the fall semester to help with cost. The price of the trip will increase after Sept. 30, so parents are urged to sign up early in the fall semester. Parents with questions about the trip should contact group leaders Audrey Welborn or Tiffany Burleson.
A new policy has been put in place for all home high school football games in PISD. Only students from the host high school and students of the host school’s feeder middle schools will be admitted into the home stands with a student ID or a class schedule. Students from all other PISD schools will be required to purchase a ticket for the visitor’s side of the field and remain there for the entirety of the contest.
Pflugerville ISD will again conduct its high school commencement exercises at the Frank Erwin Center in 2012. All three high schools will hold their ceremonies on Saturday, June 2. Connally High School will cross the stage first with a 9 a.m. program, Hendrickson High School’s graduation will begin at 11 a.m., and Pflugerville High School will finish the day with a 1 p.m. program.
The Pflugerville Board of Trustees on Thursday approved the proposed $154 million budget for the 2011-12 school year and set the overall tax rate at $1.48, up two cents from last year.
Superintendent of Schools Charles Dupre credits the work of staff and stakeholders across the district with providing input and guidance as PISD navigated the unprecedented reduction in state funding.
"I think the budget approved tonight by the Board of Trustees addresses what our staff, parents, students and community members told us they believe to be the key components of a successful school district," Dupre said.
Despite a nearly $9 million cut in state funding, PISD managed to keep class sizes at their previous levels and limit cuts to the classes and programs offered to students.
"It wasn't an easy process, that is certain," Dupre said. "But we worked with staff members, parents and community members to make sure we could maintain the high standards the PISD community expects for its schools."
Although Dupre says PISD will do its best to ensure students and parents don't feel a drastic change in services, he cautioned the District would be forced to change the way it does business in some areas.
"It is impossible for an efficiently run school district like ours to cut nearly $9 million from its budget and not notice a difference in services offered," Dupre said. "We will strive to maintain high levels of customer service both internally and externally, but the reality is we eliminated many jobs that provided support to staff members and parents. We hope parents and PISD employees will work with us to identify any gaps in service this year, while understanding we are trying to maintain our high standards with significantly fewer staff members."
Tax Rate Set at $1.48
The Board of Trustees approved a tax rate of $1.48, an increase of two cents over last year's rate. For the average Pflugerville ISD homeowner, the result is a yearly increase of $28 in school taxes.
"No Board member ever wants to vote to raise taxes, and we haven't had a tax increase since 2007," Board of Trustees President Elva Gladney said. "But sometimes we have to make difficult decisions that we believe are in the best interest of our District. By approving this tax rate, PISD we will be able to meet our debt obligations for bond elections passed by the voters."
About School Taxes
The District's tax rate is made up of two parts: the maintenance and operations tax rate (M&O) and the interest and sinking (I&S) or debt service tax rate.
The M&O rate was set at $1.04 and is a local school district property tax rate that raises revenue to operate the District's schools. School districts are allowed to set M&O rates up to $1.17. The District would be required to hold a Tax Ratification Election (TRE) in order to set its M&O rate at a higher level and increase funds for its operating budget. PISD currently has no plans to hold such an election.
The I&S (debt service) tax rate was set at 44 cents and can only support the District's bonded indebtedness, facilities and other capital needs. This tax rate is capped at 50 cents. When voters approve bond elections, they give the District the ability to set the I&S rate in order to meet its debt obligations.
Because of continued growth in the area and through wise construction decisions and money management, the District hasn't raised the I&S tax rate since 2007, despite the community giving approval for more than $330 million in bonds for construction and facility improvements in the last 10 years.
The 2011-12 average taxable home value in Pflugerville ISD is $142,206, for which homeowners will see a yearly tax increase of $28. Even with the proposed increase, taxes for the average PISD home are $90 lower than they were just two years ago because of declining property values over the last two years.
People 65 years of age or older are eligible to have their school property taxes frozen and will not see a change in their taxes as a result of the District's tax increase.
The Pflugerville ISD Board of Trustees at its August 11 meeting named Henry Hobbs Provan Opportunity Center principal.
Hobbs was previously the assistant principal at Provan, a position he's held for the last year. Prior to joining PISD, Hobbs was principal at the Frederick A. Douglass Learning Academy in Cleveland ISD. He served as an assistant principal in both the Cleveland and Dayton school districts, and had leadership roles in the Orleans Parish School Board in New Orleans.
He holds a bachelor's degree from University of Louisiana, Lafayette and a master's degree from Xavier University.
ARAMARK's Gold Standard Menus will continue this year at all Pflugerville ISD schools. This means that each meal will have a variety of whole grains and colorful fruits and vegetables available. All elementary schools will continue the "Go For More" program where students who purchase a lunch meal may visit our fresh fruit and vegetable carts for free second helpings of our seasonally fresh produce.
Elementary menus will be delivered monthly to elementary campuses. ARAMARK will no longer distribute menus in a semester calendar. Spanish versions and electronic copies will be available online, as always, on the District website, and middle school and high school menus will continue to be posted online monthly.
Pflugerville ISD Food Services is now on Facebook. Find the department page by searching "Pflugerville ISD Child Nutrition and Food Services." "Like" the Food Service Department on Facebook today and get up-to-the-minute information regarding your school's nutrition program.You can also receive monthly updates by signing up for the Food Service's listserv email list.
The school board approved meal prices for the 2011-2012 school year in a meeting in late July. You can find the complete listing of prices here.
Over 50 percent of Pflugerville ISD students qualify for free and reduced school meals, meaning children may eat breakfast and lunch for free or for the reduced price. Applying online is the fastest and most discreet way to apply for free and reduced status. Apply online here. Spanish paper applications are available at your child's school or can be downloaded here. Learn more about free and reduced meals here.
Recent legislation passed by the 82nd Texas Legislature resulted in changes and delays to the Texas Education Agency's (TEA) online textbook ordering system, which will mean many new textbooks won't arrive to districts by the start of the school year.
“TEA doesn't expect textbooks to arrive in districts by the first week of school, which begins August 23,” Pflugerville Deputy Superintendent Keith McBurnett said. “The likely arrival date according to the Agency is sometime in September.”
Because textbooks are used as just one of many teaching resources and not as the curriculum in PISD, teachers will be able to plan their lessons utilizing the PISD curriculum framework.
“Teachers are aware of the delay and will provide students with the resources they need until all textbooks arrive from the state,” McBurnett said. “Pflugerville ISD will distribute textbooks to campuses as soon as they are delivered to the District.”
Because of the delay in ordering at the state level and the District’s continued enrollment growth, there will be many students who will not have all of their textbooks at the beginning of the school year. Some of the subjects affected are as follows:
- Kinder - 2nd Math
- 1st - 3rd Handwriting
- 1st - 5th Spelling and Vocabulary
- Kinder - 8th ESL
- All 5th Grade Materials
- 3rd Grade Bilingual Materials
- AP Economics
- AP English
- AP US History
Kelly Ducat, Shinjini Ray and David Schreck, PISD students from Kelly Lane Middle School and Pflugerville Middle School, were recently selected as members of the 2011 Middle School and Junior High Honor Choir under the direction of Sandra Snow of Michigan State University.
“This is another example of the quality of our students and our arts education in Pflugerville,” said Chico Portillo, the District’s fine arts coordinator. “We are proud of these talented students and the teachers and instructors who are training them.”
More than 700 singers from around the state auditioned for the elite chorus, and only 200 students were chosen. The choir rehearsed for two days before performing for more than 1,000 choral directors at the Texas Choral Directors Convention in San Antonio.
Pflugerville ISD is home to outstanding sports teams. Some of the most sought-after football tickets are at the District's three high schools, and all three schools are making a habit of selling out home games. With this in mind, the PISD athletic department wants to reminds fans that the only way to ensure tickets to local games is to buy in advance and plan to arrive early for the game. Advance tickets will only be sold the week of each game.
The District will only sell the number of tickets that the stadium stands will hold. When capacity is reached on the home side (total advance and gate sales), fans wishing to enter the stadium will be directed to the visitor side to buy tickets there and must remain on their assigned side of the stadium throughout the game. Once the home side is full, only fans that purchased advance tickets will still be allowed in on the home side. There are different tickets for the home and visitor sides of the stadium. When possible, the District will designate a "home" section on the visitor side for overflow. Anyone who leaves the stadium for any reason must pay to re-enter; this includes season ticket holders, students, and volunteers.
The District asks fans to help keep the games safe and enjoyable for everyone by parking only in designated areas, keeping the aisles and walkways clear, leaving umbrellas, skateboards, footballs, and backpacks at home and following the directions of faculty, staff and law enforcement on site. No outside food or drink may be brought into the stadium.
As a reminder, PISD students must show their Student Identification or a copy of their class schedule, along with their ticket, to enter the home side of the stadium. District staff must show their identification at the Home Ticket booth to get a ticket to enter the game at no charge. Loitering will not be permitted before, during, or after the game in the parking lot or on any District property.
By working together, District staff and fans can keep Pflugerville ISD football the best game in town.
Advance tickets are available for purchase at the following locations:
Pflugerville High School
Pre-game ticket prices: $7 Adult, $3 Students, General Admission at game $8, Reserved $9. Tickets are available in the field house Monday through Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to noon, and Thursdays from 8 - 10:30 a.m. General admission tickets will also be sold in the cafeteria on Thursdays during lunch periods. For more information call 594-0550.
Connally High School
Pre-game ticket prices: $6 Adult, $3 Students, General Admission at game $7. Tickets are available in the field house Monday through Wednesday from 1 - 4:30 p.m. and Thursdays in the cafeteria during the lunch periods from 10:35 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Call 594-0850 for more information.
Hendrickson High School
Pre-game ticket prices: $6 Adults, $3 Students, General Admission at game $7 and $8 for reserved seats. Tickets are available in the field house Monday through Wednesday from 1 - 4:30 p.m. and general admission tickets are sold on Thursdays during the lunch periods in the cafeteria. Call 594-1150 for more information.
Game day ticket sales are available on a first come basis at the main gate beginning at 6 p.m. and could sell out early.
The Pflugerville school district today announced 19 of 25 campuses that were eligible to be rated met Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) on all indicators of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. As a district, PISD missed AYP targets in the following student groups and subjects: Math Special Education, Reading Special Education and Reading English Language Learners. Riojas Elementary was not evaluated for Federal Accountability due to being a new campus.
Dessau Middle, Pflugerville Middle, and Westview Middle missed AYP requirements in reading and mathematics while Connally High and Pflugerville High missed in mathematics. Windermere Elementary School missed AYP in reading, but is Recognized under the state accountability system. The District is reviewing student data to determine if an appeal is possible for Windermere.Twenty-four of the District’s 26 campuses met or exceeded state accountability standards, with 14 campuses earning ratings of Exemplary or Recognized, when the Texas Education Agency (TEA) announced accountability ratings on July 29.
To earn the label "Meets AYP" a district and its individual schools had to test a minimum of 95 percent of their students, with at least 80 percent of the students passing the Reading/English Language Arts test and at least 75 percent passing the Mathematics exam on the annual Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS). This represented a seven-percentage point increase in the Reading performance target and an eight-percentage point increase in the Math target for 2011.
Under the Federal annual accountability provisions, all public school campuses and school districts are required to meet AYP criteria on up to 30 indicators that measure performance and participation in reading/language arts and mathematics and graduation rate or attendance rate among identified student groups. The identified student groups meeting the required size requirement include: All Students, White, African-American, Hispanic, Economically Disadvantaged, Special Education, and English Language Learners. State assessments in grades 3-8 and 10 are utilized to determine a school’s AYP status. PISD was evaluated in 29 measures under Federal Accountability, PISD maintained or increased in 19 out of 29 measures.
AYP performance targets have steadily increased for reading and mathematics. In 2008, the target for reading performance was 60 percent while in 2011 it is 80 percent. In 2008, the target for mathematics performance was 50 percent while in 2011 the standard increased to 75 percent. The AYP performance targets will increase again in 2012. Both the reading and mathematics performance standards for AYP are above the state Academically Acceptable standards of 70 percent for reading/language arts and 65 percent for mathematics.
Because Westview Middle School (WMS) missed AYP for two consecutive years in the same indicator, it is subject to the Stage One Title I School Improvement requirements starting in August 2011. PISD will provide additional information to parents about what this rating means for Westview students.
Twenty-four of 26 campuses met or exceeded state accountability standards
Pflugerville ISD today announced district and campus ratings based on student performance on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS). The Texas Education Agency (TEA) rated PISD Academically Acceptable as a district.
Twenty-four of the District’s 26 campuses met or exceeded accountability standards, with 14 campuses earning ratings of Exemplary or Recognized, the two highest ratings awarded by TEA.
“The TAKS results are evidence of the hard work put forth by PISD students and staff,” Superintendent of Schools Charles Dupre said. “But we still have many challenges ahead of us as accountability standards continue to rise. Our teachers, campus leaders and district leaders understand the need for continuous improvement in our instructional programs to ensure we are meeting the needs of each child.”
Westview Middle School and Wieland Elementary School were both rated Academically Unacceptable.
“We know standardized testing is one way to measure student achievement. As we do each year, we will use the data collected from each campus to inform instruction and identify opportunities for improvement,” Dupre said.
Riojas Elementary School
Rowe Lane Elementary School
Hendrickson High School
Kelly Lane Middle School
Park Crest Middle School
Caldwell Elementary School
Highland Park Elementary School
Murchison Elementary School
Pflugerville Elementary School
River Oaks Elementary School
Spring Hill Elementary School
Timmerman Elementary School
Windermere Elementary School
Windermere Primary School
Connally High School
Pflugerville High School
Dessau Middle School
Pflugerville Middle School
Brookhollow Elementary School
Copperfield Elementary School
Delco Primary School
Dessau Elementary School
Northwest Elementary School
Parmer Lane Elementary School
Westview Middle School
Wieland Elementary School
Texas Education Agency Rating System
At least 90 percent of the campus student groups and the total student population must pass Reading/English Language Arts, Writing, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies along with the appropriate dropout or graduation rate. Twenty-five percent of the total student population and the Economically Disadvantaged student group must meet the highest level of performance on TAKS Reading and Mathematics called Commended Performance while 60 percent of the campus English Language Learners (ELL) must show progress from one year to the next.
At least 80 percent of the student groups and the total student population must pass the appropriate TAKS assessments while 15 percent of the total population and the Economically Disadvantaged student group must be Commended along with a 60 percent ELL Progress Measure.
Standard accountability procedures for Academically Acceptable call for student groups and the total student population to achieve 70 percent for reading/English language arts, writing and social studies and 65 percent in mathematics and 60 percent for science along with appropriate dropout or graduation rates.
The 2010-11 school year marked the final year of TAKS as the state prepares to roll out the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) in 2011-12. The STAAR will be a more rigorous testing program, according to TEA.
TEA implemented more rigorous standards to determine 2011 district and campus ratings in preparation for the new state accountability system under STAAR. Two additional indicators, Commended Performance and the English Language Learner (ELL) Progress Measure were introduced to achieve an Exemplary or Recognized. Passing standards for Academically Acceptable also increased. All modified versions of the TAKS were included.
On Thursday, Sept. 22 the Pflugerville Education Foundation will hold it’s 6th annual Schoolhouse Scramble, a golf tournament to benefit Pflugerville Independent School District.
Pre-round breakfast will start the day at the golf club at Star Ranch, followed by 18 holes of scramble-format golf and a catered lunch. Trophies will be awarded to the top three teams and prizes will be given for longest drive and closest to the pin winners. A raffle will also be held.
Registration for the scramble begins at 7 a.m. on Sept. 22 with an 8 a.m. shotgun start. Sponsorship opportunities are still available. For more information on sponsorship or to register for the event contact Allison Murray at 512.594.0375 or by email.
Pflugerville ISD recently set meal prices for the 2011-12 school year.
Elementary breakfast - $1.75
Elementary lunch - $2.50
Middle school and high school breakfast - $1.75
Middle school and high school lunch - $2.75.
For those who qualify, reduced price breakfast is $0.30 and reduced price lunch is $0.40. Breakfast is free for all students at River Oaks ES, Parmer Lane ES, Northwest ES, Wieland ES, Dessau ES, Copperfield ES, Delco Primary, Highland Park ES, Dessau Middle, and Westview Middle.
Campuses that qualify for free breakfast are based on the percentage of students that qualified for free and reduced meals, and may change based on this year's percentages.
McFarland, Hobbs Appointed to New Positions
Freddie McFarland named director of student affairs; Henry Hobbs designated Provan Opportunity Center acting principal
Pflugerville ISD announced two personnel appointments Thursday, naming Freddie McFarland director of student affairs and Henry Hobbs Provan Opportunity Center acting principal.
McFarland served as Hendrickson High School principal from 2009-11, and has significant experience in school leadership roles, including stints as superintendent in the Kerens and Stockdale ISDs, principal in Jarrell ISD and assistant principal in Leander ISD. He earned a bachelor's degree from Angelo State University, a master's degree from Texas State.
Hobbs is currently the assistant principal at Provan, a position he has held for the last year. Prior to joining PISD, Hobbs was principal at the Frederick A. Douglass Learning Academy in Cleveland ISD. He served as an assistant principal in both the Cleveland and Dayton school districts, and had leadership roles in the Orleans Parish School Board in New Orleans. He holds a bachelor's degree from University of Louisiana, Lafayette and a master's degree from Xavier University.
PISD will consider the appointment of the Provan Opportunity Center principal at its August 11 workshop meeting.
Pflugerville Board of Trustees To Propose Eight-Cent Tax Increase
Move will allow District to pay off existing debt early, saving taxpayers more than $3.6 million in future interest expense
The Pflugerville Board of Trustees plans to propose an eight-cent tax increase to the District's interest and sinking (I&S) tax rate at its July 28 meeting and will consider approving the 2011-12 tax rate at its August 18 meeting. The increase will allow the District to pay off debt early from voter-approved bond elections in 2001 and 2003, saving taxpayers more than $3.6 million in the process.
"Although no Board member ever wants to increase taxes and certainly no taxpayer wants to pay more taxes, at the end of the day this move saves taxpayers millions of dollars and puts PISD in a position to respond to the growth we expect in the next few years," Board of Trustees President Elva Gladney said.
Because of continued growth in the area and through wise construction decisions and money management, the District hasn't raised the I&S tax rate since 2007, despite the community giving approval for more than $330,000,000 in bonds for construction and facility improvements in the last 10 years.
The 2011-12 average taxable home value in Pflugerville ISD is $142,206, for which homeowners will see a yearly tax increase of $60. Even with the proposed increase, taxes for the average PISD home are $14 lower than they were just two years ago because of declining property values over the last two years.
Average Homeowner's Taxes
|Year||Average Homeowner Taxes||Average Home Value|
Homeowner Tax for $175,000 Home*
Homeowner Tax for $200,000 Home*
* Assumes a 3 percent decrease in taxable value of home from 2010-11 to 2011-12, per the Travis Central Appraisal District.
In 2009-10 the District's tax base was $7.22 billion. For 2011-12, it shrank to $6.76 billion, with the average home value declining about 3 percent. This decrease in the District's tax base makes two cents of the proposed eight-cent tax increase necessary for the District to meet its current debt obligations from voter-approved bond elections. The additional six-cent increase allows PISD to pay off debt early and prepare for future bond elections.
"By increasing our I&S tax rate, we are taking care of the present by paying off debt early and saving taxpayers millions of dollars in the process," Superintendent Charles Dupre said. "But we are also planning for the future and ensuring we will be able to build schools and facilities to accommodate future growth."
The Board invites public comment at its July 28 meeting, which begins at 7 p.m., or at the public budget meeting on August 18, beginning at 6 p.m. A workshop meeting is scheduled for August 11 beginning at 6:30 p.m., which will focus on the 2011-12 budget.
About School Tax Rates
The District's tax rate is made up of two parts: the maintenance and operations tax rate (M&O) and the interest and sinking (I&S) or debt service tax rate. PISD is proposing raising the I&S rate from 42 cents to 50 cents.
The M&O tax rate is a local school district property tax rate that raises revenue to operate the District's schools. School districts are allowed to set M&O rates up to $1.17. The District would be required to hold a Tax Ratification Election (TRE) in order to set its M&O rate at a higher level and increase funds for its operating budget. PISD currently has no plans to hold such an election.
The I&S (debt service) tax rate is currently set at 42 cents and can only support the District's bonded indebtedness, facilities, and other capital needs. This tax rate is capped at 50 cents. When voters approve bond elections, they give the District the ability to set the I&S rate in order to meet its debt obligations.
The District's current total tax rate is $1.46 per $100 valuation. If the Board of Trustees approves the increase to the I&S rate, the total tax rate will move to $1.54 per $100 valuation.
People 65 years of age or older are eligible to have their school property taxes frozen and will not see a change in their taxes as a result of the District's tax increase.
Open registration for PISD prekindergarten students begins Monday, Aug. 1, followed by elementary, middle and high school registrations over the following two weeks. Once registration is complete, it’s only a matter of a few days until the first day of school on Aug. 23.
New students registration, orientation and returning student schedule pick up varies from school to school. A listing of all times and dates by grade level and school is listed on the PISD website under Registration Information, and all dates and times are also available on the District’s Activity Calendar.
With the beginning of football season coming up quickly, both Pflugerville High School and Hendrickson High School are offering reserved season football tickets to fans.
Hendrickson Hawk tickets will be available for purchase in the HHS athletic secretary’s office in the field house July 25-27 from 8 - 11:30 a.m. A five-game home ticket package costs $40 and payments will only be received with exact cash amounts or with a check made payable to HHS Athletics.
Pflugerville Panther tickets will be available for purchase in the PHS athletic secretary’s office in the field house Aug. 8-10 from 8 a.m. to noon for repurchase of currently held tickets, and Aug. 11 from 8 a.m. to noon and 1-4 p.m. for the exchange or purchase of additional tickets for current ticket holders. On Aug. 15 from 8 a.m. to noon, season ticket sales will open to first time season ticket purchasers. Ticket prices are $45 for the five-game home schedule.
Please note: Football tickets are not available for purchase at the central administration building.
For the fifth consecutive season, we'll celebrate the beginning of another school year with a gathering at a Round Rock Express baseball game. Bring your family and friends and join us as the Express takes on the Tacoma Rainiers on Aug. 8 at 7:05 p.m.Please use the order form to secure your tickets. The deadline to order is August 1 - orders received after the deadline are subject to availability.
The Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH) Program recently announced that Kelly Lane Middle School was one of 11 schools to receive money to support a healthy environment on campus. KLMS received $500.
“I am very proud of the hard work that Candace McKinley and the KLMS staff do to promote and encourage healthy habits for our students through the teachings of CATCH in the areas of physical education, food services, and classroom activities,” said District Athletic Director and Coordinator of Wellness Dwayne Weirich.
CATCH received 11 applications for the award money and all 11 were looked over carefully by a panel of eight experts in coordinated school health. The funds were distributed in increments of $2,000, $1,000 and $500. The award money was spread out over seven states.
The Pflugerville Education Foundation elected new officers for the 2011-2012 school year at its most recent Board of Directors meeting. Victor Gonzales will serve as PEF President. Other officers include Vice President of Development Alicia Felan, Vice President of Finance Mathew Thompson, Vice President of Marketing Michael Warren, Vice President of Programs Cheryl Sawyer, Secretary Audrey Dearing, Member at Large Kerri Ranney and Superintendent of Schools Charles E. Dupre.
Comprised of businesses, community members and educational leaders who have volunteered their time and energy to strengthen local educational opportunities, the Pflugerville Education Foundation is a non-profit philanthropic organization. The Foundation’s principal focus is to recognize student achievement and provide grants for innovative teaching methods and creative approaches that lead to improved student success. Its activities are supported entirely by donations from members of the community who have a strong desire to enhance local education.
Director Allison Murray joined the PEF and Pflugerville ISD this spring after serving Bastrop ISD as an administrator responsible for overseeing partnership programs and supporting the Education Foundation. Murray has passionately served Texas public schools as a teacher, counselor, and administrator throughout her career since graduating from Stephen F. Austin State University in 1999.For more information about PEF and its activities contact Allison Murray.
In an effort to better the practices and teaching abilities of music educators across the state, a Texas Honor Band is named every other year at the Texas Bandmasters Association Convention. For the fourth year in a row the Hendrickson High School Hawk Band has been selected as one of the 14 bands in the competition.
Bands who have received a first-division rating at district competition are eligible to submit live recordings of three performances. Fourteen bands were selected from the group of applicants, and a panel of five judges will whittle the group down to seven before naming the winner. This year the competition will take place on July 24.
The concept of the Honor Band originated during the term of Joe Frank, Sr., who served as Band Division Chair from 1958-1960, and the purpose was two-fold. Many educators believed that through the process of hearing and observing the results of quality teaching, directors could develop their own instructional skills to a higher level. In addition, selection of an honor band in each classification recognized communities and school systems that successfully supported music in education through their instrumental music programs.
Recognition of exemplary programs through the Honor Band selection process has become a most sought after goal by many directors. This has led to high quality competition and better music education throughout the state.
To advance to the state level, the HHS wind ensemble performed Easter Monday on the Whitehouse Lawn, La Forza del Destino and Aurora Awakes. The recordings were made at Texas A & M Corpus Christi on April 23 where the Hawk Band also won the Best in Festival Trophy at the Buccaneer Classic Music Festival.
Six teachers from the state of Texas have been named finalists for the prestigious Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) program, and Pflugerville High School’s Dixie Ross is one of them.
This isn’t the first award Ross has been nominated for. In the last year she has been highly decorated, including being the state’s runner-up in the O’Donnell Texas AP Teacher of the Year Award. It was the second year in a row she finished in the top ten for the award. Ross currently teaches AP Calculus at PHS and has been teaching for 27 years.
“It's an honor to represent Pflugerville High School and all of the students and teachers in the district who work really hard to build an advanced math program that serves as an example for Texas and the rest of the nation,” Ross said. "I have always enjoyed the classroom and hope that younger teachers can see that there is recognition and appreciation for what we do.”
After the initial selection process at the state level, a panel of distinguished scientists, mathematicians, and educators may select one mathematics and one science teacher from each state and U.S. jurisdiction for the national award. National winners receive $10,000, an all expense paid trip for two to Washington, D.C. to attend recognition events and professional development opportunities, and a citation signed by the President of the United States.
The 2011 PAEMST program recognizes seventh through twelfth-grade mathematics and science teachers whose innovative methods bring teaching to life in the classroom.
In the District’s inaugural competition at the State Special Olympics a handful of students made their mark with award-winning accomplishments. While state competitions take place in many events throughout the year, the Falcons competed in just golf and bowling and were quite successful in both.
The Pflugerville Falcons made a trip to College Station in October for the state golf competition and Kyle Kruckenberg, accompanied by his dad Bill, placed second overall. Kim Van Loo and her dad Roxy Van Loo placed third.
The most recent event the Pfalcons competed in was the state bowling tournament. Kruckenberg, Brandon Cole and Sean Gallagher all earned top billing with gold medal showings, and Kamarri Somerville and Michael Wheeler both earned silver medals. Van Loo and Richmond Freeman earned bronze medals, Dillan Hackney, Dylan Teague and Mario Ibanez placed fourth and Matthew Stantop was seventh.
Thanks to her success in golf and bowling Van Loo was named the Female Athlete of the Year for Area 13 females ages 16-21.
Amy Wiesenhutter - the District’s lead adaptive physical education teacher who is in her 11th year with the District - was awarded “Trainer of the Year” for Area 13. Wiesenhutter trains student athletes in Pflugerville, but the award she received was in reference to her constant work in training people who want to become Special Olympic coaches.
“What we do is train individuals who want to be coaches in Special Olympics,” Wiesenhutter said. “It was an honor to receive the award. Coaching Special Olympics athletes is a true passion of mine.”
Wiesenhutter is hopeful that next year the program will be able to expand so students can compete in more competitions at the state level.
While some students sit home throughout the month of June, others are participating in summer enrichment programs that are provided through the District. One group is spending a portion of their time making receiving blankets for local hospitals.
Wieland Elementary is the home base for third-grade students in the 21st Century program from Copperfield, Delco, Dessau and Wieland elementary schools. They spend their mornings in “Explore Camp” where they work through science and social studies curriculum and in the afternoon they participate in “Enrichment Camps.”
“This is the first year with full days,” said Alice Hastings, an Educational Assistant from Delco Primary who is working for the program over the summer. “The additional time allows us to do the enrichment activities in the afternoon.”
One of the enrichment activities the students participate in is a sewing class where boys and girls learn sewing vocabulary, hand stitching and how to use a sewing machine. The program purchased a few new machines and was able to borrow some from a District high school to allow the students the opportunity to learn how to sew.
In addition to two other projects, the students are each making a receiving blanket to be donated to a local hospital.
“It gives them an understanding of community and giving back,” said Claudia Gonzales, a local teacher who is heading up the sewing class. “It takes about one yard of fabric for each blanket and we plan to give 50 blankets away when the project is complete.”
In addition to sewing, the students also participate in classes that cover cooking, theater, computer graphics and dance.
The 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant which is funded by the U.S. Department of Education is a five-year grant and PISD in now in the third year. Ten of the PISD campuses are part of the program that runs from June 8-29. As part of the grant each campus that participates is required to serve a minimum of 127 students and 60 parents per year.
Ms. Amescua’s fifth-grade bilingual class at Dessau Elementary School finished up the school year with a project that was fun for them to do, but that was also helpful to others.
Over the course of three weeks Ms. Amescua’s class of 17 students very patiently learned how to knit and produced 17 hats of varying sizes and bright colors. The idea was to make something helpful and special for kids with cancer.
“I liked making the hats for the kids because I think that having a hat will make them happy,” said Alejandro Vences, one of the fifth-grade students.
The hats were recently delivered to St. David’s North Austin Medical Center where they will be distributed to children who need them.
“I felt good making the hats because by helping the kids it was like helping myself, because I learned the value of giving,” fifth-grade student Fernando Marquez said.
The Pflugerville Board of Trustees at its June 16 meeting appointed Reese Weirich Murchison Elementary principal. Weirich is currently the school's assistant principal, a position she has held since 2007.
"In her role as assistant principal, Reese has displayed all the qualities we know are necessary to be a successful campus principal," Superintendent of Schools Charles Dupre said. "She is a strong instructional leader and has a tremendous rapport with the Murchison community. I am confident Murchison will continue to thrive under Reese's direction."
Weirich began her career in education in 1998 as a teacher and coach at Park Crest Middle School. She was named assistant principal at Leander Middle School in Leander ISD in 2004, then came back to Pflugerville as assistant principal at Murchison in 2007.
"I know firsthand the outstanding students, parents, staff and community that make up this campus, and I am excited to have the opportunity to lead Murchison as its principal," Weirich said.
Weirich earned both her bachelor's and master's degrees at Texas State University.
For the second year in a row, PISD was awarded the Association of School Business Officials International's (ASBO) Certificate of Excellence (COE) in Financial Reporting award. The COE award is conferred to school systems that have met or exceeded the stringent standards of the COE criteria.
The District was recognized for its high-quality Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, a set of standard government financial statements for any governmental entity. This year's award was for the 2010 fiscal year that ended Aug. 31.
"I am very proud that the business office and the District as a whole are again receiving such high recognition for our financial operations and reporting. We have a strong financial team in place that is committed to continuous improvement and good stewardship," said Kenneth Adix, chief financial officer for the District.
By preparing and presenting a CAFR, Pflugerville ISD validated the credibility of their school system's operations, measured the integrity and technical competence of the business staff and provided professional recognition.
Dear State Leaders,
I recently reviewed the changes to school district funding that were proposed in Senate Bill 1811. If Senate Bill 1 of the new special session has a similar approach, I have many concerns. It will take a bit to digest, but on first glance I am curious how Pflugerville ISD, a majority minority district with 51 percent economically disadvantaged students that ALREADY gets below average funding from the state, is getting cut 3.4 percent when the average district funding cut in 2012 across the board is 3.3 percent.
Once again, it looks like our students are being systematically disadvantaged for a sixth year so that other districtsdon't have to make the very same cuts we have been living with for the last five years. I am happy to see that our cut in 2013 is 5.3 percent, a bit lower than the average of 5.6 percent. I am of course also happy to see that the cuts are not as great as we first prepared for, so I appreciate your advocacy in that regard.
I am also disappointed these runs don't actually show what the adjusted target revenue would be after these changes in 2012 and 2013. My guess is that is because it would make it obvious that there will still be major inequities in the system because our state leaders chose not to eliminate target revenue. We have reduced the disparities, but the very existence of target revenue perpetuates the problem for another two years.
I realize you represent several districts. However, I have an obligation to advocate for one, Pflugerville ISD. My youngest son was in first grade when this school finance system was put in place. He'll be entering seventh grade next year and based on what is proposed in SB 1 of the special session, he will graduate high school in 2017 having spent his entire school experience being systematically devalued by the state of Texas.
The same applies to tens of thousands of students across the state who have disproportionally carried the burden for the last five years of the Legislature's failure to design an adequate and equitable school finance system. These inequities have a very real effect on PISD's ability to compete both in personnel and programs with more affluent districts surrounding us, and every year we are losing ground because the problem is compounded. Every year, parents of means choose to move out of our district so that their children can have the opportunities offered by surrounding districts that currently receive more funding per student and will continue to receive more funding per student for many years to come if target revenue is not eliminated.
Our school district is the lifeblood of a very diverse, family oriented community here in Pflugerville, but we are struggling mightily to maintain high standards for children within a system that has pre-selected the winners and losers. Once the reputation of the district goes, it won't be long before our community begins a slide that will be very difficult to reverse. Every year that the state of Texas disadvantages Pflugerville students, parents, and taxpayers is a year closer to that tipping point.
I encourage you to continue to advocate on behalf of the children, homeowners, and business owners of Pflugerville ISD. You are their voice.
Carol L. Fletcher, Ph.D.
Pflugerville ISD Board of Trustees
Inclusion exercises and events are important for all Essential Academic students. At Hendrickson High School the Peer Assistance and Leadership students understand this need and they have been spending time with the EA students all year long. But once a year the PALS hold a special event for their friends.
“Every year the HHS PALS host a prom-like party for the students in our Essential Academic classes,” said Carol Peterson, an EA teacher at HHS.
Several years ago the District held a combined EA prom for all three high schools, but two years ago HHS began to hold their own. Now numbers are growing and the event has become a great success for everyone involved.
“This is the most important event we participate in all year,” said Vincent Henderson, a senior who has been in the PALS program for two years. “It is very inspirational to see those kids having so much fun.”
This year the PALS turned the stage in the Performing Arts Center into a dance floor with flashing lights, decorations and all of the latest music for the students to enjoy.
“Watching my PALS interact with the EA students for the two hours of Prom is the most amazing thing I get to see all year,” Peterson said. “The excitement in the EA kids’ faces as they get to experience something all other high school students take for granted, it’s just great. For two hours these students are the most important people in the world and they get to experience life as any other student.”
In 2010 the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) class at Dessau Middle School paired up with the Essential Academics (EA) class to start a program called Wednesday Buddies.
The Essential Academics classroom is in the eighth-grade hallway, but two years ago there was rarely any interaction between the EA students and typically developing students. The Wednesday Buddies group was designed to integrate the EA students into the general student population, but it didn’t take long for the teachers involved to see that the success of the group went both ways.
“We realized that the relationship between the two student groups was definitely not one sided as you may assume; both groups benefited immensely from the relationships,” said EA teacher Christina Anderson-Witt. “The AVID students gained an amazing amount of empathy for their fellow peers, learned that all people have immense value regardless of their limitations, and that my students are fun, silly, and loving people that you can't wait to see every week.”
The Wednesday Buddies meet every week to do activities, crafts and play games together, but most importantly they just get to spend time with each other. Anderson-Witt was amazed at the way her EA students were affected.
“My students were suddenly greeted with smiles and affection in the hallway, invited to lunch with their buddy, and even initialized contact with these peers. The joy and improved feeling of self worth brought to the Essentials students was immeasurable.”
Anderson-Witt and Ashley Stanky - the founders of the Wednesday Buddies â€“ were worried that the second year of the program wouldn’t live up to the wild success of the inaugural year, but the continual growth of their students has proven the success is continuing.
“We love it because it’s beneficial to both of us,” eight-grade AVID student Tiffany Nguyen about the Wednesday Buddies program. “We get to learn more about them and we also get to learn more about ourselves at the same time.”
Prior to its performance at the 36th Annual Deutschen Pfest, the Park Crest Middle School Drumline was visited by KEYE, CBS 42.
Hendrickson High School hosted the KICKSTART KIDS 2011 State Championship Tournament on May 14, and PISD was well represented. About 100 PISD middle school students competed in the state’s highest level of competition, and 25 of them came away with gold medals.
Kelly Lane Middle School had 53 students qualify for the tourney, more than any other program in Texas, and they brought home 14 state championships, 11 second-place trophies and 36 total medals.
“I am proud of how hard these students worked and their success, but I am most proud of how they represented Kelly Lane KICKSTARTwith great integrity and respect,” said Jason Chartouni, KICKSTART instructor at KLMS.
All qualifiers for the state tournament earned their position by placing in the top three at a qualifying tournament in their home city, and again placing top three at the city championships.
Pflugerville’s KICKSTART City Team Leader Louis McKay was very impressed with the way the students responded to the pressures that come with high-level competition.
“It’s very difficult to control your nerves and perform with such pressure on you,” McKay said. “Even if in practice you have your material perfected, getting up in front of veteran black belts alone and showing them what you’ve got is nerve racking. Our kids handle pressure very well and demonstrate black belt excellence each time they perform.”
KICKSTART State Champions from PISD include: Kelly Lane Middle School- Carlos Gregory, Sidney Banuelos, Tyler Eshenbaugh, Michael Evasco, Amy Coronado, Yvonne Lising (2 gold medals), Simone Washington, Jon Rucker (2 gold medals), August Zippe, Logan Lopez (2 gold medals), Nicole Onyango, Juwan Acosta and Stefan Robertson; Dessau Middle School- Cyria Anderson, Henry Nguyen and Albani Laporte; Westview Middle School- Alexandria Martin, Damand Martin, Lona Robert, Austin Seabrooks (2 gold medals), William Taylor and Israel Rodriguez (2 gold medals); Pflugerville Middle School- Angela Halstrom.
On May 19 the Pflugerville Board of Trustees held a special meeting before its regularly-scheduled meeting to swear in new board member Rob Reyes and incumbent Jimmy Don Havins. Both Reyes and Havins ran unopposed.
New officers were also elected at Thursday's meeting. Dr. Cynthia Graves retained her office as Board of Trustees Secretary, Vernegene Mott was elected Vice President, and Elva Gladney moved from Vice President to President.
Thanks to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Summer Nutrition Program Pflugerville ISD will be providing free meals at various summer school sites for any child under the age of 18.
The program will last through the month of June, and it will provide free breakfast and lunch as an effort to prevent childhood hunger.
"In Pflugerville ISD we feed nearly 12,000 students with free or reduced price meals through the National School Lunch Program," Food Service Director Kelly Grones said. "The families who depend on free meals nine months out of the year are at risk over the summer, and we want them to know that PISD is there for them with this free summer feeding program."
On days when a PISD school does not have a summer feeding site open to the public, interested families can find alternate sites on the Summerfood website or dial 2-1-1 and ask for additional locations of summer feeding sites.
Click here for a complete schedule of where free meals will be available through June.
Chef Mike Erickson and his Connally High School Culinary Arts program continue to pile up accolades and resume-building opportunities that would make most professionals in the food world envious.
Most recently the CHS Culinary Arts students were invited to participate in two events at the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) annual conference held in Austin this year for the first time ever.
The IACP is an organization of nearly 3,000 creative and talented professionals from more than 32 countries who are engaged in and committed to excellence in the food industry. Their roll includes some of the most successful and decorated food artists in the world.
The conference, which will be held June 1-4, will use the CHS students as volunteers and they will also get to participate in a group photo on the lawn of the State Capital with Chef Sam Kass, head chef at the White House.
"Being one of two high school culinary arts programs invited to an event of this prestige is an incredible honor for our school and students," Chef Erickson said.
The CHS program will also participate in a pair of programs that originated from First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move!" initiative. The first is called Chefs Move to Schools. It helps chefs partner with interested schools in their communities to create healthy meals that meet dietary and budgetary guidelines while teaching young people about nutrition and making balanced and healthy choices.
"Chefs can have a tremendous impact on the health and well-being of children," Erickson said. "By creating healthy dishes that taste good, chefs have a unique ability to deliver these messages in a fun and appealing way to the larger audience, particularly children."
The second program is called Peace Through Pie. The fundraising event will be held at the Limerick-Frazier House in downtown Austin. The program is an expression of Dr. Martin Luther King Junior's dream of a "Beloved Community" where everyone shares a piece of the pie.
A record 83 PISD elementary students earned medals at Math Pentathlon competitions recently. A total of 223 PISD students from 17 District campuses competed in three different tournaments against other students from around the state.
Students prepared for months to play five games during the tournament, testing their problem solving skills, creative thinking, and spatial, computational and logical reasoning.
The following eight students earned the Hall of Fame Gold Medal this year for winning all five of their games at the tournament.
Colton Sims (2nd grade) Brookhollow ES
Randy Hodges (4th grade) Brookhollow ES
Camryn Maginel (4th grade) Caldwell ES
Doru Gucer (5th grade) Northwest ES
Alison Link (4th grade) Pflugerville ES
Dominic Sanchez (4th grade) Pflugerville ES
Nikolas Hamilton (2nd grade) Timmerman ES
Elijah Kuehl (3rd grade) Wieland ES
For more information on Math Pentathlon visit its website.
As a way to offer advanced academic opportunities to students enrolled in PISD Spanish bilingual programs, Highland Park Elementary School hosted the District’s first Spanish Academic Tournament on Saturday, May 14. According to HPES principal Jose Medina, it was the first competition of its kind in the Central Texas area.
The competition was made up of five events, including spelling, creative writing, oral reading, story telling and ready writing. Not only did HPES host the event, but they won the District Championship over second place Spring Hill Elementary. Parmer Lane Elementary finished third.
The bilingual teaching team at HPES met this year and decided it was imperative to offer this type of event for the bilingual students of PISD. After presenting the idea to the principals at each bilingual campus, as well as members of the PISD Bilingual and Advanced Academics Departments, there was a warm welcome to the District’s newest competition that provided Spanish-speaking students a way to participate in academic enriching activities.
“Preparing for this academic tournament has made our students proud to be a part of the Spanish bilingual program, and it has also given them an opportunity to shine,” said HPES fifth-grade bilingual teacher Amanda Noriega.
The leadership at HPES plans to continue this event next year, but they have also set a goal to host the District’s first PISD UIL Elementary Academic Tournament, which would serve all of the students enrolled in PISD elementary schools.
Overall School Sweepstakes
1st- Highland Park ES
2nd- Spring Hill ES
3rd- Parmer Lane ES
Story Telling (Grades 1 - 2)
1st- Roberto Salinas- Spring Hill ES
2nd- Jheset Garcia- Parmer Lane ES
3rd- Naomi Bolanos- Highland Park ES
4th- Mario Sanchez- Delco Primary
5th- Anneth Mora- Spring Hill ES
Oral Reading (Grades 3 - 5)
1st- Dian Vera- Highland Park ES
2nd- Melanie Cruces- Highland Park ES
3rd- Diego Gomez- Caldwell ES
4th- Jimena Gonzales- Spring Hill ES
5th- Rey Sanchez- Highland Park ES
Ready Writing (Grades 3 - 5)
1st- Jeffrey Acosta- Highland Park ES
2nd- Ania Ugarte- Spring Hill ES
3rd- Laura Giron- Highland Park ES
4th- Anakaren Salinas- Spring Hill ES
5th- Alejandro Lopez- Parmer Lane ES
6th- Jose Sanchez- Highland Park ES
1st- Diego Becerra- Spring Hill ES
2nd- Cassandra Gonzalez- Caldwell ES
3rd- Carlos Celio- Highland Park ES
4th- Emily Gutierrez- Copperfield ES
5th- Bryan Garduno- Highland Park ES
6th- Monserrath Jimenez- Delco Primary
1st- Analucia Campos- Parmer Lane ES
2nd- Alejandra Vences- Dessau ES
3rd- Marcos Vasquez- River Oaks ES
4th- Xochilt Gonzalez- Spring Hill ES
5th- Laura Giron- Highland Park ES
6th- Fatima Jaimes- Spring Hill ES
Three soon-to-be PISD graduates were recently accepted to a summer apprenticeship program at the University of Texas. Two of the students will be working in the Applied Research Laboratories (ARL) and one will work at the Institute of Advanced Technology (IAT). All three students will earn valuable experience and a little extra spending money.
Carl Trovall and Andrew Kogler were accepted to the ARL program and Steven Strybos was added to the ranks of the IAT program. All three students are the product of Pflugerville High School, and Advanced Placement teacher Dixie Ross was a guiding force in getting the students to submit their applications.
“This program is great because it gets students involved in actual research projects being conducted through the University of Texas. It often inspires the students to pursue a particular career path or graduate studies in an area they had not previously considered,” Ross said.
The Science & Engineering Apprenticeship Program is a competitive program for graduating high school seniors who plan to attend college. The program provides the selected students with exposure to laboratory research and development, and also provides the young students with an idea of what scientists and engineers do in their chosen area of work.
“The students who were chosen all have very strong backgrounds in mathematics and science from their coursework at PHS,” Ross said. “They have worked hard and done well in challenging classes and this apprenticeship is just the first of many opportunities they will have to make us proud.”
In all, 44 students from the Austin area submitted applications for the two programs. Only 15 were chosen for the ARL program and four were accepted to the IAT program.
On May 9 Pflugerville ISD learned it will receive a one-time $3.6 million grant from the Federal Education Jobs Fund. Although the grant will provide a much-needed infusion of money into PISD’s budget, district leaders are proceeding with caution as they wait for state legislators to finalize funding for public schools.
“As our community knows, PISD is preparing to reduce its budget by as much as $20 million in response to the legislature's drastic under funding for Texas public schools,” Superintendent of School Charles Dupre said. “In order to ensure this one-time infusion of money is utilized in the best possible way for our district, we will wait to determine its use until we have a full understanding of our state funding for the next two years. Until then, we will continue our efforts to persuade lawmakers to do what's right for our students, and with our planning for next year.”
Dupre believes making a decision before the legislature finalizes funding could do more harm than good.
“It is crucial for us to have a complete funding picture before we can move forward,” Dupre said. “Because this is a one-time source of money, careful planning must take place as we determine how the district can best benefit from its use.”
Texas received $830 million in funding in late April, after a deal was struck on Capitol Hill to do away with a provision that had held the money in legal limbo. A Texas-specific amendment to the 2010 $10 billion education jobs bill was repealed, and once the state submitted the needed application for the money, it was cleared and released. The Texas Education Agency distributed the money to districts utilizing weighted average daily attendance.
School districts have the discretion to decide how to use the money within the parameters of federal law, and all of the funds must be expended by September 30, 2012. Federal law permits the Education Job Funds to be used for compensation and benefits and other expenses, such as support services, necessary to retain existing school-level employees, to recall or rehire former school-level employees, and to hire new school-level employees, in order to provide early childhood, elementary, or secondary educational and related services. Allowable expenditures include, among other things, salaries, performance bonuses, health insurance, retirement benefits, incentives for early retirement, pension fund contributions, tuition reimbursement, student loan repayment assistance, transportation subsidies, and reimbursement for child-care expenses. All expenditures must support school-level employees. No funds may be expended for central office employees or for district-wide employees.
In addition to teachers, school-level employees supported with program funds may include, but are not limited to, principals, assistant principals, academic coaches, in-service teacher trainers, classroom aides, counselors, librarians, secretaries, social workers, psychologists, interpreters, physical therapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, information technology personnel, nurses, athletic coaches, security officers, custodians, maintenance workers, bus drivers, and cafeteria workers.
Seven high school students from across the District recently competed at the Academic UIL State Meet, and Hendrickson High School's An Phung was the District's top finisher, placing fourth in the state in the journalism category.
"Hendrickson High School's first state championship was in UIL Academics, and these students are continuing that great tradition," HHS Academic UIL Coordinator Leanne Solice said about her students who competed. In addition to Phung, Maggie Solice competed in persuasive speaking and the team of Andrew Barron, Peter Wood, Draken Dubose and Pedro Segura competed in CX debate.
Sylvia Omozee was Pflugerville High School's lone competitor. Last year she placed sixth in the Poetry category, and this year she competed in poetry interpretation.
"I am so proud of Sylvia for her tremendous work ethic, fantastic leadership skills and stellar attitude," Omozee's coach Elizabeth Waldrop said.
Connally High School was not represented by any students at the state competition, but AVID Coordinator Trish Smith was honored to be a judge at the competition in four different categories.
Emily Sim, a junior at Pflugerville High School, took third place in the Austin American Statesman's "Speak Out" Scholarship Program. This year more than 200 students entered essays on the topic of "Texting While Driving," and Sims was awarded $1,500 for her third-place finish.
"This is a class assignment that students submit every year," said English and Language Arts teacher Kara Miller. "I am proud of Emily. She is an amazing writer, and she worked very hard on this essay.
This year's scholarships were co-sponsored by The Statesman, 3M and AMD and the winners were announced at an awards ceremony on May 7. Entries were judged by three preliminary judges and a panel of eight final judges decided the final three winners. Click here to read Sim's winning essay.
PHS Baseball defeated Westlake in 2 straight games and will advance to the Area Round vs. Lufkin on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at Mumford, and resume the series on Friday night starting at 6 p.m. in Mumford. If a third game is necessary, it will immediately follow on Friday night. Ticket prices will be $5 for adults and $3 for students. District 16-5A passes will be accepted.
Often described as an art and a science, nursing is a profession that embraces dedicated people with varied interests, strengths and passions because of the many opportunities the profession offers. Nurses have many roles - from staff nurse to educator to nurse practitioner and nurse researcher - and serve all of them with passion for the profession and with a strong commitment to patient safety.
National Nurses Week is celebrated annually from May 6, also known as National Nurses Day, through May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.
PISD says thank you to all its outstanding school nurses!
The Pflugerville school district announced start and end times for elementary, middle and high schools across the district for the 2011-12 school year.
Elementary school classes will run from 7:40 a.m. to 2:40 p.m. Parents can drop students off beginning at 7:10 a.m. and students will be tardy if they are not in class by 7:40 a.m. Middle school hours are 8:25 a.m. to 3:25 p.m. Parents can drop students off beginning at 7:55 a.m., and students should be in class by 8:25 a.m. High schools will operate from 9 a.m. to 4:10 p.m., with classes starting at 9 a.m.
Please contact your campus with questions.
The PISD Board of Trustees recently passed a motion to allow enforcement of traffic laws pertaining to signs on district property. PISDPD will begin issuing warnings for on-campus sign violations, and in the near future, citations will be issued for violations. Please closely observe posted speed limit signs, stop signs, and other traffic signs on all PISD campuses.
The Pflugerville school district on May 24 is holding a retirement reception for administrator Larry Bradley in the Pflugerville High School cafeteria from 4:30-6 p.m.
Please help PISD celebrate his countless contributions to the Pflugerville school district and the community it serves. Bradley was principal at Pflugerville High School for 28 years, from 1981 to 2009, before being named Director of Student Affairs for the district. He is retiring after 39 years in education, 30 of those in Pflugerville.
Brian Ernest has been named principal at Kelly Lane Middle School. Ernest is currently principal at Murchison Elementary.
"Brian is a skilled leader and is well-respected for his ability to ensure students reach their potential," Superintendent of Schools Charles Dupre said. "We know the students at Kelly Lane will continue to flourish under his direction, and we are confident the District will find a strong principal to lead Murchison Elementary."
Ernest will begin as KLMS principal this summer. The search for a new Murchison Elementary Principal will begin immediately.
"I feel incredibly fortunate to have been afforded the opportunity to be a Mustang and I am blessed to have been offered this opportunity at Kelly Lane. As we finish the school year, my focus will be on the students and staff of Murchison Elementary," Ernest said. "At the same time, I am looking forward to a new challenge, and eager to begin building relationships with the Kelly Lane community."
Murchison Elementary received an accountability rating of exemplary or recognized from the Texas Education Agency in each year Ernest has been principal, as did Timmerman Elementary, where Ernest was principal for five years.
Ernest came to Pflugerville as a teacher at Pflugerville Middle School in 1994. In 2002 he accepted an assistant principal position in Hutto, but rejoined PISD the next year as an assistant principal at Dessau Middle School. He was named Timmerman principal in 2004 after one year at DMS, and was appointed Murchison principal in May 2009.
Ernest earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Texas and a master's degree from Southwest Texas State University.
A familiar face will return to Hendrickson High School in a new role when the 2011-12 school year begins.
Kelly Lane Middle School Principal and former HHS associate principal Devin Padavil will be the head Hawk when students start school in August.
"I believe Devin has proven himself to be an outstanding instructional leader, and I know HHS will soar under his direction," Superintendent of Schools Charles Dupre said.
Padavil shared the news with Kelly Lane staff members, students and parents Monday.
"The Pflugerville district leadership has asked me to lead Hendrickson High School as its principal, and after thoughtful consideration, I have accepted this new challenge," Padavil said.
Under Padavil's leadership, Kelly Lane showed strong gains in student achievement and success, and earned an Exemplary or Recognized accountability rating each year during his tenure.
Before being named Kelly Lane Principal in May 2008, Padavil was an assistant principal at HHS for three years. He came to Hendrickson in 2005 as an assistant principal for the class of 2007. He was instrumental in creating a freshman mentoring and transition program, and served on the district advisory committee, where he led a sub-committee on a ninth-grade transition program. He was later named associate principal, and was responsible for curriculum and instruction and leading the campus's professional development efforts. He served as summer school principal at Connally High School in 2007.
Prior to his stint at Hendrickson, Padavil served for two years as an assistant principal at Covington Middle School in Austin. He was also an assistant principal at Cactus Ranch Elementary in Round Rock.
Padavil is currently pursuing a doctorate at Texas A&M University, and earned a master's degree in educational administration from The University of Texas at Austin and a Bachelor of Science in education from Illinois State.
Cougar Productions & Midian Films Proudly Presents a Private Screening of Cannes Film Festival Entry
Cougar Productions & Midian Films proudly presents A Private Screening of FALLEN, THIRD COAST WONDER, LIFE SENTENCE, & FACING. Connally High School students involved in the Cannes Film Project will screen three short narrative films, FALLEN, LIFE SENTENCE, & FACING, that were selected for the 2011 Cannes Film Festival Short Film Corner. In addition, we will screen THIRD COAST WONDER, a short documentary about the Cannes Film Project.
WHEN: Saturday, May 07, 2011 at 8:30 AM
WHERE: Cinemark Tinseltown 20 (Pflugerville)
I-35 N. @ FM 1825
15436 FM 1825, Pflugerville
Ticket Price: $6.00
Tickets can be purchased through eventbrite at: www.cougarproductions.eventbrite.com or at Connally High School. Some tickets may be available at theatre at 8 a.m. Saturday morning. For more information please visit our website at www.chscougar.tv
For more information contact Dana Glover via email at email@example.com or by phone at 512-585-0775.
Two students from Pflugerville schools took advantage of a local essay contest and brought home the top prizes for both middle school and high school.
Financial Fitness of Greater Austin, an initiative of United Way Capital Area, is a program designed to educate students and their families about budgeting, financial planning and personal finance. They offered scholarships for the best essays in their Smart Kid Essay Contest.
Marissa Torres, an eighth-grade student from Pflugerville Middle School, took home first place in the sixth to eighth-grade competition. She received a scholarship of $1,500. In the high school category Anthony Guzman, an 11th-grade student at Hendrickson High School, took home the biggest prize offered, a $4,500 scholarship.
This year's question was, "Your dream is to attend college; however, your family does not have enough money to pay for college along with all the other bills. Together you and your family need to find ways to afford college. What are potential solutions to this problem?"
Winners and their parents also received a free financial consultation with the prize money being deposited in an appropriate savings product in the student's name.
FALLEN, the short narrative feature-film students at Connally High School have been working on for more than six months, has been accepted to the Short Film Corner at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival in France.
In addition to the feature film, two other students had their own short films accepted into the Short Film Corner, a field of about 1,500 total projects. CHS video technology teacher Humberto Perez also had a short film he directed, Faithful Departed, accepted to the festival.
For a complete story and video about the project Click Here.
The first grade teachers at Caldwell Elementary School waste no time when it comes to getting their students on a career path, and the entire first grade put their professional aspirations on show recently with Career Day.
The students didn't go out and talk to employers or go to work with their parents, but they did dress up in the clothing of the profession they would like.
The medical career field was well represented with doctors, surgeons, nurses and veterinarians galore. There was also a fair number of teachers in the mix which was encouraging for the educators on staff. The wide variety of careers represented even included a snake wrangler and a secret agent.
While many schools across the state and across the nation continue to cut Advanced Placement (AP) courses from their schedules, Pflugerville ISD is working hard to maintain and even improve their upper-level offerings. The Wall Street Journal recently ran a story about the present and future of AP classes, and they included PISD in the story.
Dozens of children at Copperfield Elementary School can see clearly now after picking out a new pair of glasses. The Essilor Vision Foundation runs a project called Kids Vision to help children gain 20/20 eyesight, which they hope will also lead to better learning and life goals.
About 80 percent of what children learn is acquired through their eyes. And when they can’t see properly, they’re more likely to drop out of school and face lifelong struggles with reading and low self-esteem, according to the Essilor Vision Foundation.
Click here to see the KXAN television broadcast about the stop in Pflugerville.
Pflugerville High School vs. Westlake High School - Best two out of three games. The first game will be played at Westlake on Friday, April 29 at 7 p.m. and game two will be held at PHS on Saturday, April 30 at 1 p.m. A third game, if necessary, will follow at 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 30 at PHS.
Connally High School vs. Corsicana High School - Best two out of three games. The first game will be played at Corsicana on Friday, April 29 at 7 p.m. and game two will be held at CHS on Saturday at 4 p.m. A third game will be played at 6 p.m. on Saturday at CHS if necessary. Ticket prices are $4 for adults and $2 for students.
One of the most important decisions facing our students is selecting courses within the high school curriculum to provide a foundation for college and career pathways that will shape their futures. To this end, course verification sheets for the 2011-2012 school year were mailed to Class of 2015 students and parents for a final review on Wednesday, April 20.
Please review the choices to determine if you desire to make any final adjustments. All change requests must be submitted on the schedule verification form and returned to the eighth-grade counselor by April 29. Once this deadline passes, only schedules that require correction due to inaccurate information, including completion of summer school classes or a schedule conflict (such as band and athletics) will be changed.
Remember that there are numerous resources available to help you before you make final scheduling decisions; ask your studentâ€™s teachers for recommendations, consult with a school counselor, and/or review the PISD High School Course Description Guide. Please contact Stefanie Mueller if you have any questions or concerns.
Trustee James Hamann will be honored for his service at a reception at 6 p.m. April 28 at the district's administration building, 1401 W. Pecan St.
Hamann, who decided not to seek re-election, is completing a 12-year run on the school board. When Hamann joined the board in 1999, about 13,500 students were enrolled in Pflugerville's District. Now, nearly 23,000 students are part of PISD.
Last year, the Pflugerville school board was named by the Texas Association of School Administrators as Region 13 board of the year and one of the top five boards in the state.
The regularly school board meeting will follow the reception at 7 p.m.
High Schools students from the Liberal Arts and Science Academy, a magnate school in Austin, came to Northwest Elementary School on April 2 to facilitate three robotics camps for 60 NES students.
No prior experience was needed for the camp, and all three sessions were filled with 20 students, from third to fifth grades. The project at hand was to design, build and test your own LEGO Mindstorm robot. In addition to learning real-world engineering skills, the focus of the SMART (Science Mathematics and Research for Transformation) program is for students to learn the application of math and science in real world situations.
“It was very cool and students were on fire with excitement,” said NES principal Dave Bauman.
Delco Primary hosted a Community Science Night that was held at Harris Branch Apartments on April 5 as part of their dedication to reaching out to the community. Through this event, the school made connections with its families and community members, and also showed support to Dessau Elementary for its upcoming Science TAKS test.
Delco collaborated with the Harris Branch Apartments and Striving Stars After School Program to provide an evening of fun Science learning. “Mad Science” provided an action packed program that kept the students engaged and excited about learning. Carlos Castro, a second-grade bilingual teacher at DPS, demonstrated how to make Oobleck, a fun science project that can switch from liquid to solid form. At the end of the evening each student took home their very own bag of Oobleck.
School officials said many successes were realized as a result of this event. Community connections were created with local businesses while providing families with the understanding that the school wants to be an integral part of their community, not just a separate entity.
New, more interesting ways of teaching important information are constantly showing up in PISD schools. On April 11, the fifth-grade classes at Copperfield Elementary School participated in just such a program to enhance their knowledge of science vocabulary in preparation for the upcoming TAKS test.
CES fifth-graders were given a science vocabulary word that they researched online and in books in the library. They used their information to design and build a hat that shared information about their word, and then presented it to the other students. The focus on vocabulary was a precursor to the school’s fifth-grade science camp that lasts two weeks just before the TAKS test.
Fifth grade is the first time Texas students are tested over science, and it’s much more than just fifth-grade material. Material on the test covers second through fifth-grade science, and the passing standard for the test is historically higher than any other test the students will take.
In addition to presenting their hats to each other, the students paraded their hats through the halls for all of the school’s classes to see and appreciate.
On Sunday, April 3, Pflugerville High School graduate Bryan Beasley served as a special guest and speaker at the "The Houston Rockets Present Rice University AP Review Session," an event that was held in conjunction with the Houston Rockets game against the Atlanta Hawks.
The event allowed 750 high school students from Houston-area high schools to attend a special review session at the Toyota Center in order to prepare for their upcoming Advanced Placement (AP) exams in May. AP exams give students the opportunity to earn college credit for coursework completed in high school. Students who attended the event were able to choose three different sessions covering 11 subject areas and were treated to pizza, a t-shirt and tickets to the evening game.
Beasley had the opportunity to attend similar review sessions when he was a student in Pflugerville, so he was eager to participate in the event when asked to do so. Beasley will be graduating from Rice University on May 14 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics with a concentration in math and a minor in sociology. He credits Pflugerville High school with providing him with a solid preparation for college in terms of both academics and athletics.
"The combination of challenging classes I took at Pflugerville (High School) and my athletic commitments helped me develop time management skills which I later found out would be extremely important in college, especially as an athlete," Beasley said.
Parents, help your student get off on the right foot on test days by ensuring they get a good night's rest and eat a nutritious breakfast the morning of testing.
Please be aware cell phones are not allowed to be on or visible while students are testing. This is a state requirement, and non-compliance can lead to an investigation by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and a failing score on the exam. The device will be confiscated and will not be returned until cleared by TEA.
Students will be told before the test begins that cell phones are not allowed during testing, and to turn off cell phones and put them out of sight. Some campuses may require the test administrator to take up all cell phones prior to testing and maintain possession of phones until all testing is complete. Cell phones will be returned to students after testing is completed at the end of the day.
Your campus may have specific requests such as asking parents to remain outside the building on test days, or requesting that parents do not plan on having lunch with their children during TAKS week. Please contact your campus if you have questions about any special requirements that may be in place at your school.
Tuesday, April 26 - TAKS - Math - 3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th, 10th Grades
Tuesday, April 26 - TAKS - ELA - Exit Level Retest
Wednesday, April 27 - TAKS - Reading - 3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th Grades
Wednesday, April 27 - TAKS - Math - Exit Level & Exit Level Retest
Thursday, April 28 - TAKS - Math - 9th; Science - 5th, 8th, 10th, Exit Level and Exit Level Retest
Friday, April 29 - TAKS - Social Studies - 8th, 10th, Exit Level and Exit Level Retest
Spring Break 2011 was an educational experience eight Dessau Middle School students will not soon forget. For the second consecutive year U.S. History teacher Audrey Welborn sponsored a trip for her DMS students through the educational touring company Smithsonian Student Travel, but this year Welborn extended the trip to include both Washington D.C. and New York City.
The trip was filled with historical and entertaining events in both cities. The students experienced the National Archives, Arlington National Cemetery, The Statue of Liberty, Times Square, and a Tony Award winning show on Broadway.
“The students were really in awe of the sights in New York City,” said eighth-grade student Kenah Benefield. “My favorite thing to do in New York City was the Empire State Building. It was almost mesmerizing.”
“My favorite place in New York was Times Square lit up at night and Ground Zero was very emotional and breathtaking,” said Allahnna Diaz, another eighth grader from DMS. “Our tour guide always had us learning and asking questions. I learned something new every day.”
Welborn is excited to head back to the Big Apple in 2012 with another group. But this time she is opening the offer to all middle school students and their parents.
“New York City is filled with so much history and culture and I want more students in PISD to experience what my students at DMS have. That is why I want to extend the invitation to all fifth, sixth and seventh-graders in the district,” Welborn said.
Two introductory meetings are set to inform parents on the itinerary, cost, dates and other information on April 26 and May 17 at 6 p.m. in the Dessau Middle School library. The trip will be limited to the first 45 students.
“Many parents think eleven months in advance is too early to plan, but it is the right time. The earlier you register the more money you save and it gives students the opportunity to raise money during the summer months towards the trip, which is a huge advantage,” Welborn said.
Thanks in great part to hard working teachers and an increased interest in the video game industry, Connally High School has paired up with a yet-to-be-named video game design company and the Digital Media Council at Skillpoint Alliance to create an online video game for a major technology company.
The Digital Media Council at Skillpoint Alliance is an Austin-based nonprofit organization that builds partnerships among industry, education and the community that leads to college and career success for Central Texans, while meeting employers’ needs for a qualified workforce.
The program is called Velocity Prep. About 20 high school students will be hired at an hourly wage to work 160 hours over a four-week span at Connally High School as part of a consulting company. The students will lay the groundwork for designing and producing an online video game for their end client. The game is said to be a socially conscious game about saving electricity and should be completed by students during the school year.
“The purpose of Velocity Prep is to encourage postsecondary education among students who might not otherwise consider it. We bring 20 students into the program each time, and find that most of them discover a new career passion. We have had great success at other schools,” said the director of the Digital Media Council at Skillpoint Alliance Jessica Maguire.
CHS students were the original invitees for the month-long summertime program, but a number of spots remain open for any interested students from Hendrickson High School and Pflugerville High School. Pflugerville High School students who are interested should contact David Conover at CHS.
Windermere Primary Assistant Principal Alan Gagne put his head on the line for charity, literally, and now he is sporting
a new hair-do for the summer.
Gagne challenged his school to raising $500 for Relay for Life and gave them a deadline. If they raised the money within the allotted time period, two weeks, he agreed to shave his head on the school’s morning video announcements. The students stepped up to the challenge.
Instead of stopping at $500 the student body raced past the set goal and raised $1,000 for the Relay for Life Foundation, which benefits the American Cancer Society. Gagne took his seat in front of the camera recently and the school watched him lose his hair at the hands of WPS parent Laura Kemeny.
It’s often difficult for the families of children with disabilities to enjoy a night out in a safe and non-judgmental environment. For that reason the PISD Pre-School program held “Night of the Child” recently and families came out in mass.
The annual program is designed to serve the families of children with disabilities who are in the PISD Pre-Kindergarten program. Many of the families of children with disabilities have a difficult time maneuvering through the traffic, crowds and other issues associated with many of the family oriented activities that abound in the Austin area.
Night of the Child provides an evening for families to enjoy music, activities and dinner while also collecting important information from over 30 local agencies and businesses that serve young children. Special to the event this year was the roll out of the new Early Childhood Curriculum, Scholastic’s Big Day, which the District has adopted for the
2011-2012 school year pending legislative approval.
The concert was the final musical performance of Pflugerville’s own Joe Scruggs. Scruggs and his team of merry music makers took the crowd of more than 800 people on a musical jungle adventure, while they danced and sang for nearly one hour. Classrooms throughout PISD presented Mr. Scruggs with a retirement basket and heartfelt thank you for the generations of children he has touched through his music.
This event is a collaborative event through PISD’s Special Education Department, The Department of Student Services as well as our community partners such as Child Inc. Sue Schnars, Coordinator of Early Childhood Programs stated “The evening is PISD’s labor of love for the children we serve and their families!”
Murchison Elementary fifth-graders raised the bar for PFLEX students in Pflugerville recently when they placed 11th in their division at the state Destination ImagiNation competition in Lubbock. They were the first team in PISD history to make it to the state level of competition.
Students who participate in Destination Imagination are tasked with solving a variety of mentally challenging, critical thinking problems. The challenges this year included: Unidentified Moving Object, a technical and mathematics challenge; Spinning a Tale, with a focus on science and performing arts; Triple Take Road Show, a fine arts challenge; Mythology Mission, where students created an improvisational skit; and Verses! Foiled Again!, a structural and architectural challenge.
Before competing at the state competition, Murchison's team, "The Fifth Element", competed at the Capitol Region competition that featured 136 PISD Gifted and Talented students from 12 elementary campuses.
Davonte Lyons, a senior at Connally High School, won the gold medal in the drawing category of the Regional NAACP ACT-SO Competition at the Carver Museum in Austin. His winning piece, a drawing/relief print was titled "Cultural Identity." The winning piece is currently on display in the CHS front office.
As the regional gold medal winner, Lyons will now proceed on an all-expense paidtrip in July to the national competition in Los Angeles where he will compete for prize money.
Lyons has been the secretary of the CHS chapter of the National Art Honor Societyfor the pastthree years, and he plans to attend the University of Houston where he will pursue his interest in art.
On Friday, April 15 teachers and students across the country will participate in a Day of Silence to bring attention to the silence faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) people. Pflugerville High School and Connally High School will show their support with many students taking vows of silence and other activities being provided.
Students will be offered the opportunity to take a vow of silence in an effort to encourage schools and classmates to address the problem of anti-LGBT behavior.The silence students choose to partake in illustrates the silencing effect bullying and harassment on LGBT students can cause. PHS has chosen to take part in this event as part of their dedication to No Place For Hate.
Students may choose to participate in the Day of Silence during non-instructional time, but they do not have the right to remain silent during class time if a teacher asks them a question.
In 2007 a National School Climate Survey found that nearly nine out of 10 LGBT students report verbal, sexual or physical harassment at school, and more than 30 percent report missing school out of fear for their personal safety.
As part of the Day of Silence the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) will be holding a ‘Break the Silence’ get together in the PHS cafeteria after school on Friday where they will be showing “The Times of Harvey Milk,” an Oscar Award winning documentary.
In November, Connally High School senior Aquiel Warner was named a semi-finalist in the National Achievement Scholarship Program. After presenting a record of high academic performance throughout high school and being endorsed and recommended by her high school principal, Warner’s SAT scores and her written essay earned her a finalist status.
It was announced this week that Warner passed muster in the final cut and was awarded a National Achievement NMSC Scholarship. Sixty-nine Black American students from Texas were awarded scholarships, but only three earned the highest monetary scholarship and Warner was one of them.
Achievement Scholar awardees are the Finalist candidates judged to have the strongest record of accomplishment and greatest potential for academic success in college.
The National Achievement Scholarship Program is a privately financed academic competition established in 1964 specifically to honor scholastically talented Black American youth, and to provide scholarships to a substantial number of the most outstanding participants. Since their inception more than $98 million has been distributed to more than 31,000 students.
Sixteen gifted and talented students from PISD middle schools were recognized recently for their success in the ACT and SAT placement tests.
As part of Duke University’s Talent Identification Program (TIP), 63,000 seventh-grade students across the country took the ACT or SAT placement exam along side college-bound high school students. Out of the 63,000 middle school test takers, 24,847 of them scored equal to or better than half of the college-bound seniors who took the test.
Due to their advanced placement, all 24,847 students were invited to one of 34 state-level ceremonies across 16 states during May and June. The ceremonies will feature university administrators and professors, state and government officials and accomplished former Duke TIP students.
The PISD students who reached this achievement are:
Pflugerville Middle School- Adam Moss
Park Crest Middle School- Zane Festi, Danna Leal, Evan Taylor and Lindsy Thomas.
Westview Middle School- Jeremy Cook and McKenzie Green.
Dessau Middle School- Jason Link
Kelly Lane Middle School- Amy Coronado, Allison Crow, Elizabeth Fierro, Mary Yvonne Lising, Travis London, ThuThao Phan, Brooke Seeker and Alex Spieler.
After hearing about the Memory Project on CBS’s 60 Minutes, Connally High School teacher Maureen Holloway decided it was a good way for her young painters in the National Art Honor Society to connect with people around the world.
The Memory Project is a unique initiative in which art students create portraits (drawings, paintings, graphic design, etc) for children and teens around the world who have been orphaned, neglected, or disadvantaged.
To do this, the artists receive photos of kids waiting for portraits and then work from those photos to create the portraits. The portraits are delivered to the kids as special gifts, and photos are taken of them holding the portraits.
“I proposed it as a community service project at a club meeting and several students signed on enthusiastically,” Holloway said, noting that members of the NAHS are required to complete 30 hours of community service each year.
This year the CHS artists created portraits of kids near their age from Indonesia.
“Last year our orphans were very young children from Peru and we had thirty painters and thirty portraits,” Holloway said. “This year our orphans were adolescent girls in Indonesia and we had ten portraits.”
The CHS students sent out their portraits this year and recently received the photos of their subjects holding the portraits.
“The most exciting part for my students, besides getting the photographs they’re going to paint, is getting the photographs of the orphans after they’ve received their painting,” Holloway said.
While some of the art students are hesitant to take on such a high-stress project, the group learns some of the most difficult processes of realistic art once they accept the challenge.
“I chose the Memory Project over other community service projects because it was a chance to produce an individual piece of artwork beginning to end, and to be a part of a bigger project,” CHS student Kieu Tang said. “Portraits are challenging and they are something that particularly interest me as an artist.”
To learn more about the Memory Project visit their website.
The Hendrickson High School boys soccer team defeated LBJ High School on Thursday, March 31 in a shootout after playing to a scoreless tie in regulation and overtime. The Hawks will play Boerne Champion in the Regional Quarterfinals at Marble Falls High School on April, 4 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5 for adults and $2 for students.
Friday night the Hendrickson High School girls soccer team was defeated by Lake Travis by the score of 2-1. The Lady Hawks finished the season as Sectional Finalists.
As the process of applying to and selecting a college becomes more and more competitive and complex, students and parents need all the help and information they can get. Attending a college fair is the best way to gather information about colleges and universities. The national college fair program provides valuable resources for students and parents attempting to navigate the college-admission process.
The Austin National College Fair will be held on Thursday, April 21 at the Austin Convention Center from 9:30 a.m. to Noon and 6- 8 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.
The fair allows students and parents to meet one-on-one with admission representatives from a wide range of national and international, public and private, two-year and four-year colleges and universities. Participants will learn about admission requirements, financial aid, course offerings and campus environment, as well as other information pertinent to the college-selection process. At the fair’s counseling center, students and parents can discuss their individual needs with college experts.
Complete information about this National College Fair can be found on their website.
Parmer Lane Elementary recently held its Family Fitness Fair for the PLE school community. The event was an evening filled with physical activities and sports for everyone to experience. The evening also included education and introduction to healthy food and snack choices for students to try.
Events took place inside and outside of the school, as well as on the football field of the nearby Westview Middle School. Activities included soccer, basketball, volleyball, kickball, golf, food tasting, giant inflatables, obstacle courses, zumba, yoga, bowling, salsa dancing and more.
As one of the outdoor activities, the Austin Crows, an Australian-rules football club, came in to teach those present how to play their unique game. As the grand finale for the night the Connally High School Step Dance Team performed for everyone in the gym.
After spending the first 28 years of her teaching career in the classroom, Liz Lupo took over a new post as the Pre-kindergarten lead teacher in 2009 with a plan in place to get all of the PISD Pre-K classes Texas School Ready! certification. After two years away from her direct teaching post, Lupo was recently notified that she had received the certification for her time teaching at Copperfield Elementary. She is the first, and currently the only teacher in the district to have earned the certification.
The project awards certification to early childhood programs that demonstrate effective preparation of their students for kindergarten. Quality instructional practices that must be in place in a preschool program to get children ready for kindergarten are linked with the children achieving scores showing they were on track in the areas of reading, math and social skills when they enter kindergarten.
Since the data from the School Readiness Certification System is used to determine children’s school readiness skills when they enter kindergarten and certify classrooms as Texas School Ready!, it can help inform parents’ decisions about where to place their children for preschool.
As part of professional learning for pre-kindergarten teachers, Dr. Juanita Copley came to Pflugerville recently to present a one-day training on Early Childhood Math. Funding for the event came from the Pre-Kindergarten Early Start Grant, and all attendees were teachers from the District.
“Dr. Copley is the guru of early childhood mathematics," said Pre-K lead teacher Liz Lupo. “Her hands-on approach to teaching teachers directly impacts student learning. She models teaching strategies so the teachers feel successful. The teachers are able to take what they have learned and apply it in their classrooms the next day.”
Dr. Copley is at the forefront of early childhood mathematics and presents to teachers and educators around the world. She has written and edited several books about early childhood mathematics and has contributed to the Growing with Mathematics program, which is currently being taught in PISD Pre-K and PPCD classrooms.
According to Dr. Copley, young children possess extensive intuitive and informal mathematics skills. As part of the training Dr. Copley taught teachers to assess this knowledge, build upon the children's strengths, and facilitate the student's learning.
According to one of his teachers at Pflugerville Middle School, sixth grader David Calabuig “likes to get things right.” Maybe that’s why he’s been so successful in the Geography Bee - a competition based on facts.
After winning his school’s competition in January, Calabuig competed in a district showcase where he won an award for answering the most questions correctly out of the top five middle school finishers.
After the district showcase the next step was to complete a written test that his teachers mailed to the National Geographic Society in Washington D.C. Calabuig’s performance on his written test qualified him for the Texas Geographic Bee in Dallas on April 1. The initial rounds are closed to the public but the final round is open for spectators. The state competition is made up of the top 100 scorers on the qualifying test.
“I think he is doing well in the National Geographic Bee because he is very curious and loves to excel,” his pre-AP World History teacher, Jennifer Phillips said. “David has a high interest in geography and learning more about places in the world. He keeps up with current events and likes to discuss and ask questions in class. I credit his parents, David Sr. and Rebekah, greatly for this, because I know they talk about the world at home and encourage David to learn more and participate actively in school and the community.”
One important question we've been asked is how the District will determine which budget reduction items to bring back if PISD receives more funding than anticipated. We surveyed the community and staff members to help answer that question.
Based on those surveys, which are linked below, and on discussions with the Budget and Compensation Committee, we've identified the top five items to bring back should our budget picture improve:
- Elementary class size
- Middle school class size
- High school class size
- Local leave days for staff
- Middle school schedule
Elementary school librarians and school nurses were high on the list as well, but they have been removed from our budget reduction list, so we didn't believe it was necessary to include them in the "bring back" discussion. Please also keep in mind that local leave days are currently on the worst-case scenario list, and we are certainly hoping we will not be forced to strongly consider any of the items on that section of our list.
It is possible we won't receive final budget projections from the state until late this summer. We believe adjusting class sizes could be done until very close to the start of school, and would move toward hiring teachers late in the summer if money becomes available. Of the top five items on the list, only the middle school schedule change is unlikely to change for next year, even if more money becomes available. Due to the planning involved for that change, we would consider changing the middle school schedule back to seven periods for 2012-13 if possible.
Connally High School teacher Ladyanne Horne was recently selected as a Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction by The National Society of High School Scholars. A role model to pupils, Horne was nominated by Prajna Saha, a CHS student, for outstanding dedication and commitment to excellence in the classroom.
Student members of NSHSS have the opportunity to nominate the educator who made the most significant contribution to their academic career. The Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction award recognizes teacher role models who have made a lasting difference in their classroom by encouraging students to strive for excellence.
“Dedicated educators who exhibit a commitment to excellence deserve our highest praise and appreciation,” said NSHSS President James Lewis. “We’re excited to provide an ongoing means to do so, and we encourage our members to nominate teachers who have contributed to their academic success.”
To celebrate March Madness, ARAMARK Chef Patrick Sandoval threw a Texas-sized celebration last week at various PISD elementary schools. Students at River Oaks, Brookhollow, Murchison, Timmerman, Northwest, and Pflugerville Elementaries were greeted in the early morning hours by a Pflugerville High School pep rally squad made-up of various high school athletes including marching band members with their instruments. The group visited the schools to award a lucky student with a basketball and spread a healthy message.
"We asked the athletes about what they do on a regular basis to keep themselves successful," Sandoval said. "The message to the elementary students is clear: Eat healthy, exercise and practice, and make good grades, and they can grow up to play sports in high school."
The ARAMARK March Madness promotion started the week before Spring Break. Students who ate lunch in the school cafeteria were entered into a drawing for a sports ball. All elementary schools participated in the promotion. Chef Patrick worked with principals to schedule pep rallies at locations that could accommodate the celebration.
"It's grown a lot in just one year," Chef Patrick said. "Last year, it started as just an idea that we carried out at a few locations. This year, we had schools inviting the pep squad to come. We hope it continues to grow as we make this an annual tradition."
HHS Boys vs. LBJ High School- Thursday, March 31 at Pflugerville High School at 6 p.m. Tickets are $4 for adults and $2 for students. District and faculty passes will be accepted.
HHS Girls vs. Lake Travis High School- Friday, April 1 at House Park in Austin, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students. District 16-4A passes will be accepted.
The first 100 students to show up at Dessau Middle School with a legal guardian and their immunizations records between 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on April 21 will receive free immunizations. Required immunizations for incoming seventh-grade, kindergarten and college students will be provided. Care will be provided by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas.
In an effort to improve the lives of both students and the residents of a local retirement home, teachers from PACE brought a group of their students to the Heatherwilde Park Retirement Apartments recently for the second year in a row.
The school’s oral history project, which is funded by grant money, began as a good way to develop inter-generational relationships for the students. It also provided a way to integrate a number of core learning experiences.
“We’ve turned it into a living history project where the students come in and interview the residents,” said Nicole Urbach, an English and Language Arts teacher at PACE. “We talk about interview techniques and they work on their social skills, then for the following week they research the lifetime of that resident. In a sense they get an idea of history through the decades, and then they draw comparisons to their own lives and to the world today. Then they compile a scrapbook for their resident with historical information and annotation from their past.”
Because PACE is a school for at-risk students, Sara Stein is one of many social workers who work constantly to find new ways to improve the life skills and development of the students.
“We also add the social emotional element where the students have the opportunity to experience empathy which builds resiliency,” Stein said. “We are working with our students to give them this rich opportunity to think about another person’s experience and how that relates to their own life experience.”
Margaret Elizabeth Solice from Hendrickson High School has earned the National Forensic League’s degree of Premier Distinction, the highest student degree in the honor society. A degree of Premier Distinction reflects sustained excellence in classroom activities, competition rounds and service projects. Students may earn points in six separate categories: speech, debate, congress, service, district, and national. Only about four hundred students out of NFL’s 112,000 student members receive the degree of Premier Distinction each year, about 1/3 of 1 percent.
The National Forensic League is an honorary society whose mission is to promote high school and middle school speech and debate activities as a means to develop a student’s essential life skills and values. More than 112,000 high school and middle school students, representing more than 2,800 high schools and nearly 100 middle schools, are currently building their communication, leadership, cognitive, and presentational skills as members. Since 1925, more than 1.3 million students have found their voice in the NFL. For more information, visit The National Forensic League.
Students from all three PISD high schools competed at the district Academic UIL competition recently and awards were brought home in nearly all events. The following students who placed in the top three in their event will move on to the regional competition.
Congratulations to the following students and the coaches who prepared them:
- Accounting- 1st Hunter Wynn (HHS), 2nd Uyen Huynh (CHS), 3rd John Runyon (HHS)
- Calculator- 2nd Helen Kruse (HHS), 3rd Carlos Castillo (HHS)
- Computer Applications- 1st Edgar Saucedo (CHS), 3rd Berenice Portillo
- Computer Science- 1st John Runyon (HHS)
- Current Events- 2nd Jelena Knezevic (PHS)
- Editorial Writing- 3rd An Phung (HHS)
- Feature Writing- 2nd Jennifer Kaminski (HHS)
- Headline Writing- 2nd Jennifer Kaminski (HHS)
- Informative Speaking- 1st Lindsay Butler (HHS), 2nd Avery Logan (HHS), 3rd Julie Mullican (HHS)
- LD Debate- 1st Aaron Overheim (HHS), 2nd Regina Palencia (HHS), 2nd Tillman Huett (PHS), 3rd Cameron Bunch (HHS)
- Literary Criticism- 1st Aquiel Warner (CHS),
- Mathematics- 1st Chris Obermier (HHS), 2nd Soa-Jin Sher (CHS), 3rd Emmanuel Woldegebriel (CHS)
- Number Sense- 1st Eric Po (HHS), 2nd Chris Obermier (HHS)
- News Writing- 2nd Victoria Stowe (HHS)
- Persuasive Speaking- 1st Margaret Solice (HHS), 2nd Tyler Eldredge (HHS) 2nd Ellen Hense (PHS), 3rd Tillman Huett (PHS), 3rd Zoi Thompson (HHS)
- Poetry Interpretation- 1st Sylvia Omozee (PHS), 3rd Janie Townsend (HHS)
- Prose Interpretation- 1st Mackenzie Dobbs (HHS), 2nd Jennifer Kaminski (HHS), 3rd Taylor Gamble (HHS)
- Biology- 1st Soa-Jin Sher (CHS)
- Chemistry- 1st Soa-Jin Sher (CHS)
- Ready Writing- 2nd Hayley Munguia (PHS)
- Physics- 1st Soa-Jin Sher (CHS)
- Science- 1st Soa-Jin Sher (CHS), 3rd Vu Nguyen (CHS)
- Social Studies- 1st Adam Burns (CHS), 2nd Mason Stockton (CHS), 2nd Chris Thomsen (PHS), 3rd Peter Wood (HHS)
HHS Boys vs. Lanier High School- Monday, March 28 at 7 p.m. at Nelson Field in Austin. Tickets are $3 for adults and $2 for students. District 16-4A passes are accepted.
HHS Girls vs. Cedar Park High School- Tuesday, March 29 at 6 p.m. at Vista Ridge High School. Tickets are $4 for adults and $2 for students. District 16-4A passes are accepted.
CHS Boys vs. Cedar Park High School- Tuesday, March 29 at 7 p.m. at Cedar Park High School. Tickets are $4 for adults and $2 for students. District 16-4A passes are accepted.
If two film veterans hadn’t tripped over the idea while riding around in the car one night, there’s a good chance the Connally High School video technology kids wouldn’t be making plans to go to France this summer.
Michelle Carter and Dana Glover of Midian Films have been to the Cannes Film Festival seven years in a row. A recent collaboration with CHS video tech teacher Humberto Perez gave them an idea.
“We came up with the idea riding around in the car, and we called him up right then,” Glover said. “We told him we wanted to have his students produce a film to send to the Cannes Film Festival. He liked the idea.”
With a plan in place to create a film for the most notable of all film festivals, the students began writing scripts in late October. Glover and Carter - two of the executive producers - specialize in theatrical thrillers, so the script Damian Flores wrote fit the bill for the kind of piece they were most comfortable with.
His screenplay is called “Fallen.” The 15-minute fictional movie tells a story about a student who falls into a bad way with drugs due to tragedy in his family.
“I thought about a lot of my friends and what their problems are. I wanted people to notice us, and to know that we also have big problems. We are going through crisis,” Flores said. “Students have divorced parents or live by themselves, they go through drugs or gangs, or they lose a sibling. Our problems are real. I put that into the script.”
“People think kids who do drugs or have problems are bad kids, but they have a story to tell. They do what they do for a reason. Most kids do these things to try to deal with their problems,” Flores explained.
With a well-written script in hand the tech program went full-speed ahead.
“We told them it was a huge commitment and a lot of work,” Glover said. “Doing a film for this festival is different than anything else. You have to step it up and it takes sacrifice. Filmmaking is more than just picking up a camera. It’s about learning life lessons.”
The team’s aim is to get their film into the main film competition at Cannes, but if it isn’t accepted their plan is to enter it into the Short Film Corner. While making the film, a group of students also put together a documentary about the film-making process called “Third Coast Wonder.”
“It’s been a pretty great experience. When you have to work with so many people and deal with so many problems, it’s very intense and you learn from it,” said the film’s director, senior Sofia Castellanos. “I’d like to be accepted in the festival, but this is something I will never forget. It’s important to be happy with the work that you do.”
For Sal Gutierrez, a junior in charge of media relations and advertising for the film, the project has really narrowed down the scope of his career path. Although this is a film project, a field he doesn’t plan to end up in, it has allowed him to see where he wants to be; in the advertising and business world.
“I like the publicity side of things, but I’m really good with numbers too,” Gutierrez said. “So I know now that I want to do the business side of publicity in advertising. It’s really letting me see what I want to do.”
Senior Jonathan Vanshellendeck learned a similar lesson.
“I’m trying to go into the business world after graduation, and I need to know how to manage people and get projects done. Being production manager on this project is giving me great real-life experience. This is the most valuable thing I’ve learned so far from school.”
The team of 24 students is hoping to bring the entire crew to France for the festival, but money will be an issue. They are looking to raise about $25,000. Because of the tremendous amount of work that must go into the project the team is taking a different route than most in their fundraising efforts. They are searching out corporate and individual sponsors, as well as individual donors. The group appears to be the first in district history to attempt fundraising online using social media, and they have had success doing it.
“Instead of going out and doing car washes and selling cookies I feel they should be investing more time in developing their skills,” said executive producer and video tech teacher Perez. “Those skills work in anything, whether the student wants to go into business or be a scientist or an engineer. All of those skills transfer.”
Their most recent fundraising effort is a private screening of the short film and documentary at the George Washington Carver Museum & Cultural Center in Austin. Tickets for the screening are $25 and refreshments will be served. Students who have been involved in the project will also give personal accounts of their experience and will participate in a question and answer session after the showing.
For more information about the film or to buy tickets for the screening, or if you would like to make a donation, visit their website.
Seven elementary schools from around Pflugerville Independent School District sent their top Spanish spellers to Highland Park Elementary School recently for the District’s first Spanish Spelling Bee.
Spring Hill Elementary’s Xochitl Gonzalez was the champion of the event, followed by Montserrat Juncal De La O of Dessau Elementary School in second and Fatima Jaimes of Spring Hill Elementary in third.
“We really felt that an event like this would be great for our bilingual students, so we decided we would make it happen,” said Highland Park Elementary School principal and spelling bee organizer Jose Medina. “Students in bilingual programs throughout the state sometimes don't have many opportunities to participate in academic enrichment activities.”
According to District statistics more than 43 percent of the District’s students register as Hispanic, and bilingual teachers and classrooms are in high demand. On Saturday, May 14 the District will hold its first Spanish Academic Meet to give students another way to compete academically.
“Having been an English Language Learner myself, I can attest to the benefits of this type of activity for all students,” Medina said. “But, for students in our bilingual programs, this type of event also validates their native language, and in many cases, boosts their self esteem.”
Thursday night's board meeting was circled on the calendars of many staff and community members, because Pflugerville ISD was expected to make some significant budget-related decisions. District leaders anticipated the need to declare financial exigency and enact a reduction in force to eliminate positions in response to a drastic cut in state funding.
"I shared with you earlier we were considering declaring financial exigency and a reduction in force (RIF). Even on Thursday morning, we believed we would need to recommend that action to the Board. By early Thursday afternoon, however, we changed course," Superintendent of Schools Charles Dupre told staff members Friday in an email.
Dupre attributed the change to the hard work of principals, the Budget and Compensation Committee and the District's HR staff, saying, "I did not recommend the Board declare financial exigency and enact a RIF as we had planned. During our final review for Thursday's Board meeting it was evident the number of affected employment areas had decreased to the point that a RIF was no longer necessary."
Two areas that would have been targeted by the RIF were librarians and nurses. Because of the creative thinking of librarians and principals, no cuts will be made to the librarian group. They will take on additional responsibilities at the elementary schools and help provide outstanding gifted and talented services to enhance the District's current GT program.
PISD also removed nurses from the budget reduction list. No current nurse position will be eliminated, but the District does plan to consider LVNs for future vacant school nurse positions. Principals will evaluate the needs of their school whenever vacancies occur.
Dupre clarified one statement he made at Thursday's meeting.
"While explaining why we believe a RIF is no longer necessary, I said no jobs would be lost as a result of budget reductions. In the context of the RIF, this is true. However, we are all keenly aware that many of our colleagues have already been notified their job is being eliminated. And even though the Board enacted no formal reduction in force, we are still facing staff reductions that are budget and/or performance related. As I previously shared with you, those campus conversations will happen March 28 and 29. Please know that my remarks may have been somewhat unclear, but it was not my intention to misrepresent the truth or minimize the fact that we are still eliminating a significant number of jobs."
Potential Budget Reduction list
Kaymon Thomas started playing video games many years ago. The Sonic the Hedgehog games were responsible for his love of gaming, and after a while he started to have his own ideas about improving games.
“I started thinking about the ways games could be better, how you could do things differently,” Thomas said. “So I started building my own games.”
Now just three years later, Thomas, a senior at Connally High School, found out he was a winner of the silver medal from The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards sponsored by the AMD Foundation. The silver medal demonstrates high honors on the national level. It is the second highest award given by the competition, and in total only 1,300 gold and silver medals are distributed across the country. Many different forms of art and writing were entered into the competition, with video game design being the newest.
After learning how to build video games on his own time Thomas was encouraged to hone his craft by David Conover, the business multi-media teacher at CHS. Conover introduced Thomas to newer, more difficult game designing engines and his knowledge and talents continued to grow.
“They added video game design to the competition this year, and I thought we should give it a shot,” Conover said in reference to the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.
He set Thomas to work on the project, they submitted it a week before the deadline, and while Thomas was on spring break a package arrived on his doorstep that gave him the good news. Now he is trying to figure out how he can get to New York City at the end of May to accept his award at Carnegie Hall.
Thomas’ interests currently lie in the story lines of games and the concepts that make up a game. He hopes to eventually be able to program games, a skill he is already working on in his own time.
“The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers celebrates the creative achievement of America’s teens,” their website states. The awards were founded in 1923 to offer recognition and scholarships for students for their artistic talents.
HHS Girls vs. Lehman High School- Thursday, March 24 at Bastrop Memorial Stadium at 7 p.m. District 16-4A passes will be accepted.
HHS Boys vs. Lockhart High School- Friday, March 25 at Hendrickson High School at 7 p.m. District 16-4A passes will be accepted.
CHS Boys vs. Bastrop High School- Friday, March 25 at Bastrop High School at 7 p.m. District 16-4A passes will be accepted.
The students of Murchison Elementary participated in the school’s first ever Mini Relay for Life recently to incorporate fundraising and cancer education.
The event took place throughout the school day instead of through the night, like most traditional Relay for Life events. Students gave up their normal recess time to walk, run and dance their way around the homemade track set up in the school’s backyard.
Students were encouraged to walk in honor and in memory of those who have been touched by cancer. The day included an opening ceremony and a closing ceremony, and plenty of educational information about cancer and the ways to prevent it.
All proceeds from the sale of ribbons went to benefit the American Cancer Society.
Connally High School student Aquiel Warner has been honored for her exemplary volunteer service with a President’s Volunteer Service Award.
Sponsored by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program recognizes young people across America for outstanding community service activities.
Program applicants were distributed last September throughout all public and private middle and high schools, Girl Scout councils, county 4-H organizations, American Red Cross chapters, YMCAs and affiliates of HandsOn Network.
After Local Honorees were named, state-level judges selected State Honorees, Distinguished Finalist and Certificate of Excellence recipients. Volunteer activities were judged on criteria such as personal initiative, creativity, effort, impact and personal growth.
Twenty-four students from the Connally High School culinary arts program were invited to serve and learn at the 7th annual Capital Confectioners Sugar Art Show and Cake Competition at the Crockett Center in late February.
More than 3,000 people attended the two-day event that featured classes and demonstrations about how to build specialty cakes, candies and other desserts. The weekend also included a sneak peak of the new documentary “Kings of Pastry.” The CHS students helped serve a three-course meal with dessert at intermission of the movie.
President of the Capital Area Confectioners Club Kyla Meyers invited the students to be part of the event.
"Events like these are one of a kind opportunities for our students to see a World of Culinary Arts and Pastry that they never knew existed, and to learn from the master about cutting-edge techniques that others are paying $800 per class to be part of," said CHS instructor Mike Erickson. “I received many compliments from the chefs and cake artists on how professional our students were and the level of excitement and enthusiasm they brought to the weekend. We have already been invited back for next year.”
For more information about the event visit their website.
Pflugerville ISD will destroy outdated records of Special Education students who have not received services from the program since December 31, 2002. The records are scheduled to be destroyed April 11, 2011. Parents or former students who wish to keep their records should contact the Special Education Department at 594-0160 before April 8, 2011.
PISD is preparing to reduce its budget by $20 million because of a shortfall in state funding. The District must make difficult decisions about how to reduce its budget. We know many of the options are not ideal - these are not reductions the District wishes to make. The state's under funding of Texas public schools is the reason the District must consider these reductions.
Because it is crucial to hear from PISD parents and community members as the District finalizes plans to deal with the massive budget cuts, the District has developed a survey that will assist the District in deciding which programs and/or positions to bring back first should the District receive more funding than anticipated.
The survey will be available until March 25 at 5 p.m. Thank you for your continued support of Pflugerville ISD.
PISD se estáÂ preparando para reducir su presupuesto cerca de $20 millones debido a un déficit en la financiación pública. El Distrito debe tomar decisiones difÃciles sobre cómo reducir el presupuesto. Sabemos que muchas de las opciones no son ideales,Â éstas no son reducciones que el Distrito desea hacer. El financiamiento insuficiente de las escuelas públicas del estado de Texas es la razón por la que el Distrito debe considerar estas reducciones.
Porque es de extrema importancia escuchar de padres de PISD e integrantes de la comunidad en este momento en que el Distrito finaliza planes para ocuparse de los recortes masivos de presupuesto, el Distrito ha desarrollado una encuesta que le ayudaráÂ a tomar la decisión de cuáles programas o puestos de trabajo traer de vuelta en primer orden, si el Distrito recibiera más financiación de la anticipada.
Students representing Hendrickson, Connally and Pflugerville High Schools represented the District well and placed at the Business Professionals of America State Leadership Conference in Fort Worth recently.
CHS student Angelica Meza was the District’s top finisher. She placed fourth in the state in Fundamental Word Processing Skills and qualified for the National Competition in Washington D.C. that will be held May 4-8.
HHS students Brandon Hoang, Jodie Wong and Thien-Ky Dang teamed up to place eighth in the Small Business Management competition, PHS student Francine Tappa was sixth in Entrepreneurship, and CHS student Uyen Huynh placed seventh in Banking and Finance. All five students are alternates for the national competition.
BPA is a program designed for college-bound students who are looking to develop their leadership skills and skills specific to business industries. Across the District, 44 students and six sponsors are actively involved in the program.
"We advisors are extremely proud of each student's hard work and preparation. While they enjoy the competition with other students, they are also learning valuable workplace skills to help them succeed in their chosen career fields."