Within 48 hours many of us will be celebrating Thanksgiving with family and friends; yet, since Monday (11/20/17) students have been home for the holidays. This is a time to talk to your children about school, the meaning of the holidays, how was their day (especially if you are still working). If they have primarily watched TV all day, SnapChat with friends or played video games, then ask them about that. Of course the conversation may be minimal depending on the age of your student with answers like "Yeah, it was OK", "Nothing much" or "Uh-uh", but the fact that you are speaking to them provides an acknowledgement that will be appreciated years later. On the other hand, you may have the students who provides every detail of the day with slight repeats, as parents though, each word they say will be new (smile). In October 2016, the American Academy of Pediatrics announced recommendations for media time and provided a tool specific to children based on their sleep, daily activities, school, meals etc. It is known as the Family Media Plan. The benefit of this plan is that it accounts for family time and for most this is the time when we talk to each other without the smart phones in our hands. Have a blessed Thanksgiving holiday.
As I was running for the NCISD Board of Trustees, I made it a point to go into the communities and speak to the people. My family, friends and I would be at the East Montgomery Courthouse for early voting and at the polling locations speaking to people. The conversations varied from the weather to why people home school rather than send their children to public schools. The conversations focused on individuals who are on the board for the sake of the children and those on the board for the sake of their business. It was quite interesting. The adventure continued as I would speak with parents who highly praised NCISD and others who felt as if NCISD was failing their children. The best part about this adventure is the realization of community efforts to improve one's school district still begins at home: when parents are involved with the education of their children. Thanks to the 1,358 residents who did vote in the election and the 1/3 of those who voted for me.
INFINITY EARLY COLLEGE HIGH SCHOOL For those parents with current 8th grade students, if you are interested in the Infinity ECHS, then the application process has begun. In summary, there are 125 spots available and there will be an open lottery to fill those spots. Deadline for submission is November 20, 2017 (viewform). Please note that at Infinity Early College HS, students can earn their high school diploma and an Associate's degree or up to 60 college credit hours from Lone Star College in the time it takes to graduate from high school. Infinity Early College HS is an innovative program designed so that low income youth, first generation college students, English language learners, and others who are typically underrepresented in college can advance their education tuition free. The program is based on the principle that academic rigor, combined with the opportunity to save time and money, is a powerful motivator for students to work hard.
INDIVIDUALIZED EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM AND 504 PLAN The Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) is a plan or program developed to ensure that a child who has a disability identified under the law and is attending an elementary or secondary educational institution receives specialized instruction and related services. The 504 Plan is a plan developed to ensure that a child who has a disability identified under the law and is attending an elementary or secondary educational institution receives accommodations that will ensure their academic success and access to the learning environment. Not all students who have disabilities require specialized instruction. For students with disabilities who do require specialized instruction, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) controls the procedural requirements, and an IEP is developed. The IDEA process is more involved than that of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and requires documentation of measurable growth. For students with disabilities who do not require specialized instruction but need the assurance that they will receive equal access to public education and services, a document is created to outline their specific accessibility requirements. Students with 504 Plans do not require specialized instruction, but, like the IEP, a 504 Plan should be updated annually to ensure that the student is receiving the most effective accommodations for his/her specific circumstances.---What's the Difference Between and IEP and a 504 Plan. Accessed on 10/30/17.http://www.washington.edu/doit/what-difference-between-iep-and-504-plan
Although, this video is geared toward Montessori Schools, the overall meaning of the video is important for those parents whose child completes the work early and then waits. Often time that waiting results in possibly discipline problems if extra, productive (not busy) work is not made available. Or the waiting time may result in boredom and withdrawal. To prevent either from occurring parent-teacher discussions are pertinent for the betterment of the child. Montessori Madness
In 2013, the Texas Legislature established the new Foundation High School Program and this year 2017-2018, the students who graduate from high school will do so with an endorsement. The endorsements that maybe selected are: STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), business and industry, public services, arts & humanities or multidisciplinary studies. However, did you know that when Porter High School opened in 2010, they had already begun gearing students towards endorsements?
Porter HS students were offered degree plans to be in the House of Engineering and Agriculture, House of Business and Criminal Justice, and House of the Arts and Humanities. This was a high school that was preparing their students/our children to obtain a higher education while preparing for the workforce. It is a high school that helps them to take advanced placement courses for higher education in schools and colleges of engineering or prepare them to become a firefighter.
So the plan was there already. Now, as the school district continues to grow and more families move into the area, all of our schools should get a ranking from the US News and World Report Best Schools (as of 2017, Porter and New Caney High School are unranked, Infinity Early College High School is recognized in the Texas and National rankings with a bronze medal whereas our neighbors Kingwood High School Ranks 118 out of the Texas Schools and 1003 in the National rankings with a silver medal and Kingwood Park High School is unranked).
As I campaign for the New Caney ISD Board of Trustees and I meet new people along the way, I realize the task of being a board member will not be easy. Being a board member will require work and continuously educating one's self about what is important for the students, the teachers, the community, the administrators and the overall district. Thus, one of the sections from IF by Rudyard Kipling (1895) keeps me focused:
"If you can make one heap of all your winnings and risk it on one turn of pitch and toss, and lose, and start again at your beginnings and never breath a word about your loss; If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew to serve your turn long after they are gone, and so hold on when there is nothing in you except the Will which say to them: "Hold on"....."--If by Rudyard Kipling (a portion)
In today's college football, there is no tie. Either a team wins or loses and this is determined by overtimes (OTs). Thus far the University of Texas at Austin football team has had 2 OT games. They lost one and won the other. Then today, University of Buffalo versus Western Michigan was the 4th college football game to go to 7 OTs with the University of Buffalo having the most points ever scored by a losing team (68 points). So what does this have to do with a candidate running for the School Board of Trustees one may ask? Not much. What it does deal with is knowing that sometimes in the real world, we still have winners and losers and everything does not end in a tie. As we think about the New Caney Independent School District, we should begin thinking that when we do review standardized test scores, review the accountability scores from Texas and emphasize the direct link with attendance and grades, we want all of our students to come out as winners. We want them to be able to move to the next grade level being confident and the teachers knowing that their peers have prepared the child for the next step. When this is done, the students, staff and parents realize that realistically there is no tie. However, unlike football, their are no losers. There are children who may require a different way of learning or being taught. There are children who may not be able to focus at school because of other concerns at home. There are children who just may not quite understand what the teacher is expecting. These children require guidance so that they will WIN on their level. So yes, there are winners and losers; however, our school should be comprised of all winners.
Today, I got into the truck, took my postcards and a couple of yard signs and 'hit' the road to introduce myself to people in other communities zoned to NCISD. It was a handful of people that I interacted with today and the conversations were enlightening. Some conversations were quick and to the point because people were doing their yard work or playing with their children. Other conversations were a little longer because of the questions that people had of me and comments that I had regarding why I am running for NCISD Board of Trustees. It was a good day.
As a former resident of Kings Manor and current resident of Woodridge Forest, having a school in the community for the children to be able to walk to has been great. Great because the children are walking with other kids, the neighbors are keeping a close watch on the kids and it makes for a close-knit community. When our children were in the Kings Manor Dual Language program, we interacted with students and parents who praised the program because the students were prepared for the work in Spanish, the work in English and had high state scores. Now at Woodridge Forest Middle School, our teenager and pre-teen are being taught by teachers who challenge them on a daily basis and Kings Manor Elementary prepared them for those challenges. I can only speak of those schools that I have had immediate contact, but NCISD as a whole strives for all of their schools to succeed.
It was an honor to meet with future volunteers for my NCISD Board of Trustees bid. This roomful of people brought so much excitement and ideas for me to use in the next couple of months. While speaking to them, I enjoyed looking into their faces and feeling that we all share the same thoughts when we consider children and the opportunities that schools have to offer them.
Once that meeting was complete, I then went to our children's former elementary school and spoke. Although there were no questions after my introduction of who I am and why I was running, it was great to see some familiar faces in the audience.
Looking forward to the next coming days.
Preparing for an election requires commitment, time and determination. It is not a simple task; however, it is important for me. When talking to the community, expressions become important, listening is paramount and presentations should be spotless. Tomorrow, I will present myself to future volunteers and then 1 hour later to a local PTO at their first meeting of the year. Let the introductions begin!