Happy Thanksgiving

by Coy Holcombe.  

Please forgive the formatting issues. I wrote this blog in Word and Moodle seems to have a very difficult time with the bullets.

EISD will be dismissing classes two hours early today. There will be no school Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday. Classes will resume Monday, December 1, at regular times.

Thanksgiving is meant to be a time of reflection and a time for expressing our gratitude. There are certainly many things for which I am thankful. With that, here is my list:

·          I am thankful for a maintenance and custodial staff that takes great pride in how our buildings look and takes great pride in providing the best learning environment possible for our students.

·         I am thankful for a transportation department that everyday gets about 1000 of our students safely to school and safely home in the afternoon.

·         I am thankful for our security and safety personnel.

·         I am thankful for a cafeteria staff that can serve about 1300 meals a day to our students and staff in about a 3 hour period.

·         I am thankful for a technology department that spends countless hours maintaining and improving our network and equipment.

·         I am thankful that we have instructional aides that will do whatever it takes to help our teachers and to help our students.

·         I am thankful for great central administration employees. Laurie Boerner, Debbie Myers, Joyce Hodge, Debra Meyners, Kara Weaver, and Carol Warren are all true professionals.

·         I am thankful for our administration: Janice Beasley, Stan Sowers, Karyn Mullen, Robert Reeve, Dianne Shaffer, Marcy Warren, Dale Burke, and Shelby Adams.

·         I am thankful for great cheerleader sponsors and for having the best cheerleaders in this area.

·         I am thankful for a great band and great band directors.

·         I am thankful for our new Technology Integration Specialists.

·         I am thankful for the parents, grandparents, and other friends and relatives that devote so much time and energy to our children’s lives.

·         I am thankful for coaches that believe our athletes can be successful, have high expectations for our athletes, and provide our athletes with the teaching, training, and motivation to be successful.

·         I am thankful to the teachers for believing in our students and for their tireless efforts in providing our students with a world-class education.

·         I am thankful to our school board for their time and commitment in providing leadership and direction for our district: Diane Russ, Thomas Frazier, Sara McAtee, Mike Smith, Cotton Walker, James Cox, and Gary Walsh.

·         I am thankful for being associated with the greatest students in the state of Texas.

·         I am thankful for being blessed with a great family.

·         I am thankful that my daughters have the opportunity to attend school in EISD.

 I hope everyone has a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

Next Month's Board Meeting and Revised GPA Rules

by Coy Holcombe.  

There was a called board meeting this morning. The only agenda item was changing the date of the December regular board meeting. The Board voted to change the date of the regular board meeting from December 16 to December 18.

Also, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has released revised rules on the calculation of uniform grade point averages. The Coordinating Board was charged by the legislature with developing a uniform GPA formula for all schools in Texas. The goal of the uniform GPA formula is to have the GPA of all high school student calculate in same manner. This is supposed to ensure that colleges and universities all know that students across the state have their GPA calculated in exactly the same manner.

Below is an explanation of the new rules written by the Texas Association of School Boards:

On November 17, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) released revised rules establishing a uniform methodology for calculating the grade point average (GPA) of all students in Texas public high schools. The rules will apply beginning with the freshmen high school class of 2009-10. 

According to the latest version of the proposed rules:

  • The GPA will be calculated on a 4-point scale, with certain courses getting additional weight on a 4.5- or 5-point scale;
  • Courses for which a student earns a final grade lower than 70 (and thus will not earn course credit) and courses for local credit will not be factored into the GPA calculation;
  • The following courses will count towards the uniform GPA:
    • Course, including electives, listed in 19 TAC 74.63 (b) (1)-(6) and (8)-(11), 
    • all Advanced Placement (AP)  and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses, 
    • career and technology (CTE) courses aligned with a university course of study (as determined by the CTE Advisory Committee), and 
    • dual credit courses, including career oriented courses listed in the community college course manual.
  • Out-of-state academic courses in the categories above will be included in the GPA calculation if credit is awarded that counts towards the Recommended or Distinguished High School Program;
  • The following courses will receive additional weight (above a 4.0) in the GPA calculation:
    • AP, IB and dual credit courses will all receive an additional weight of 1.0;
    • Pre-A, Honors and Pre-IB courses will receive an additional weight of 0.5 if begun prior to May 1, 2013.If begun on or after that date, Pre-AP and Honors courses will be expected to meet Laying the Foundation, or comparable standards, and Pre-IB courses will be expected to be part of an approved IB program. Continued weighting for Pre-AP, Honors and Pre-IB courses will be reviewed by the GPA Advisory Committee. 
  • The chart for converting numerical grades to grade points on the three scales also includes provisions for converting letter grades to grade points;
  • THECB will establish a 15-member GPA Advisory Committee comprised of representatives from public and higher education and the workforce to oversee implementation of the GPA standards, monitor courses counted in the GPA calculation, and ensure institutional compliance with THECB rules for dual credit courses; and
  • Colleges and universities offering dual credit courses will be required to monitor the rigor of those courses.

Public comments will be accepted for 30 days after the rules are published in the Texas Register. Comments may be submitted to Natalie Coffey, Senior Program Director, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, P.O. Box 12788, Austin, Texas 78711.

Comments may be submitted via email at natalie.coffey@thecb.state.tx.us. The following link will take you to the complete text of the proposed rules: http://www.tasb.org/issues/legislative/reports/documents/gparules_1108.pdf

I encourage everyone to read the complete text of these rules and to offer your comments to THECB. If you have questions, please feel free to email me at cholcombe@eustaceisd.net.

 

AEIS Updated

by Coy Holcombe.  

On our homepage, www.eustaceisd.net, the latest Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS) report has been added. The AEIS report contains a vast amount of information about our district. Some of the information in our AEIS report includes: TAKS passing rates, drop-out rates, staffing information, enrollment information, attendance rates, college readiness information, tax rate information, and budget information. The results from EISD are compared with the state and with other schools in Region 7.

There are three different reports published on our website: the district report, the campus reports, and the comparable improvement report. The comparable improvement reports compare our campuses to other similar campuses. These comparisons are not necessarily based on size but on percentages (for example, percentage of economically disadvantaged students).

In January, the EISD Board of Trustees will hold a public hearing to discuss the 07-08 AEIS report. This public hearing will occur immediately before the regular board meeting in January. All interested parties are invited to attend this public hearing.

To access the AEIS reports, go to our homepage, scroll down until you come to the area labeled "District Information". The latest AEIS report is at the top, left side of this area. If you have any questions concerning our AEIS reports, please contact me at cholcombe@eustaceisd.net.   

Update on Pre-K Grant

by Coy Holcombe.  

We have received some good news regarding our Pre-K grant. The Tier 2 funding criteria has changed and now EISD will remain eligible to receive funding under Tier 2. When the proposed rules were first released, Tier 2 funding was to be reserved for those districts that had previously received a Pre-K grant and were able to show growth as measured by the TAKS scores of 3rd graders. According to the first rules released, schools funded under Tier 2 had to "demonstrate improved student performance results for the last three consecutive years on the Grade 3 assessment instruments" and have "demonstrated successful implementation of a prekindergarten program that includes proven readiness components". While EISD certainly met the second part of this criteria, I was concerned about the part that stated "demonstrate improved student performance results". It would be difficult for our 3rd grade TAKS scores to show improvement because we have had 90% or more of our students pass the 3rd grade TAKS for a number of years.

Recently, an updated definition of Tier 2 funding was released. The new, revised definition is as follows:

Tier 2: A district or charter school whose average Grade 3 TAKS performance for the last three consecutive years is above state average in reading and math; and has previously received Prekindergarten Expansion Grant funding and participated in Cycle 14 (school year 2008-2009). The district or charter school qualifies to apply for $900 per student, maximum $1 million and minimum $15,000. If the district has over 90 percent educationally disadvantaged enrollment, the district may apply for last year’s allocation or $900 per student, whichever is greater, with no maximum.

Note that in the new definition, the word "improvement" has been replaced with the phrase "whose average Grade 3 TAKS performance…is above state average in reading and math". Under the new definition, EISD will continue to qualify for pre-k grant funding.

I know that local teachers, administrators, and community members took the time to write to TEA regarding this program. I definitely believe that the emails that TEA received from our district, and other districts in similar situations, contributed to the changing of the definition regarding Tier 2 funding. I want to thank all the people that took the time to express their concerns and to share their success stories. It definitely made a difference for our district and for our children!

FFA Not Just Doing, but Doing Well

by Stan Sowers.  

Eustace FFA  Earns Third Place Sweepstakes At LDE Contest

Click Here to view full size picture

The Eustace FFA Chapter took 26 students to the Sandyland District Leadership Development Events hosted by Trinity Valley Community College.  This area of the FFA involves an array of speaking events.  The district is composed of 16 area schools that compete in these competitions.  Eustace tied with Brownsboro for the Third Place Sweepstakes Award which recognizes the overall school standings in points per event.  There were two categories that will advance to the Area LDE in Hillsboro, Texas on November 22nd.  They were First Place Radio – Chelsea Truitt, Tori Jones and Austin Byrne.  Second in Sr. Creed Speaking- Lacy Hilliard.

             There were several teams that placed as well. Third in Sr. Farm Skills- Canon Thomsen, Casey Green and Mallory Mobly.  Third in Ag Issues- Brandi Baldwin, Clayton Charlton, Allie Kirkwood, Jordan Boyd and David Easley.  Third in Public Relations- Jordan Smith, Brandi Baldwin, Mitchell Cook and Alex Wadsworth.  Third in Sr. Quiz- Canon Thomsen, Danielle Anderson, William Pharmakis, and Mallory Mobly.  Fifth in Jr. Creed Speaking- Summer Hinkle.  Fifth in Jr. Farm Skills- Brady Tindel, Scott Hukill, Jaqueline Dalton and Haley Northcutt.

            The Eustace FFA Chapter was busy in October as well.  They hosted their Annual Blood Drive at the school which produced 56 units of blood for Carter Blood Care.  This was one of their community service events held along with a Toy Drive for needed toys at East Texas Medical Center.  The FFA Chapter is scheduled for another blood drive this spring.

            The Show Team has been busy as well.  They have made various Jackpot Shows and have brought home top honors.  Ethan Grimes, Billy Crocker, and Ty Browning attended the Wills Point Show with Ethan Grimes earning Grand Champion with his Brangus heifer.  Ty Browning placed second and Billy Crocker placed 4th with their Brahman Heifers.

Jeff Melton took Reserve Grand Champion with his Simbrah heifer at Van Livestock Show.  Chad Tindel, Brady Tindel and Mallory Mobly represented the Show Team with their market goats at Van.  Chad Tindel received Grand Champion Market Goat along with Jr. Champion Showman.  Brady Tindel earned Reserve Grand Champion Market Goat and Mallory Mobly received Sr. Champion Showman.  The Show Teams will be participating at various shows throughout the remainder of the year.

Bulldog Proud

 

Upcoming Events and Activities

by Coy Holcombe.  

It’s hard to believe that we have completed 12 weeks of this school year. The third six weeks has started and will be full of events and activities.

Basketball is well underway. The Middle School and the High School have already played games. The Eustace JV girls tournament is scheduled for this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

Report cards will go home on Thursday. The Primary will have their awards assembly on Friday. In addition, the Primary will also have their perfect attendance reward on Monday.

Next Tuesday is an early release day. School will be dismissed two hours early. The Thanksgiving holidays will be Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of next week. Classes will resume their normal schedule on Monday, December 1.

Board Meeting Tonight

by Coy Holcombe.  

The EISD Board of Trustees will meet for their regular monthly meeting tonight at 7:00 PM. The meeting will take place in the High School Library. I encourage anyone interested to attend tonight’s meeting. The December meeting will take place on the 16th.

The EISD board meets the third Tuesday of every month (on rare occasions the date may be changed due to holidays). A link to the minutes of the meetings is posted on the EISD homepage.  On the homepage, look in the top right hand column for the link. The same link will also take you to a copy of the official agenda for each meeting. If you have any questions about board meetings, please contact me at cholcombe@eustaceisd.net.

Thanks for a Great Season

by Coy Holcombe.  

Thanks to Coach Doug Wendel, the entire football coaching staff, and each and every player for a great football season. The varsity team finished second in district and qualified for the playoffs for the first time in 11 years. The JV football team also had a great year.

Special thanks goes out to all the parents and fans that supported the Bulldogs this football season. Also, special thanks to Sandy Sowers and the varsity cheerleading squad for their support and for being the best cheerleading squad in this area. A special thank you also goes out to Todd Felty, Chad Bentley, Patricia Fields, and the Mighty Bulldog Marching Band for their support and for providing first-class marching and music at each game. 

Also, I want to thank all the people behind the scenes that made this football season enjoyable: our announcer, Cotton Walker, the chain crew, Haskell Cook, our security officer, and Jack Wallace and his maintenance people for taking care of our facilities and field.

Finally, I want to thank Shelley Compton and the officers and members of the Booster Club for all the hard work put in during these past few months. They put in many long hours in providing support for the volleyball, cross country, and football teams.

Great Thursday Night

by Coy Holcombe.  

Thanks to everyone for making last night a huge success! There was plenty of food and entertainment for everyone. I really appreciate all the community members coming out and showing their support and appreciation for our young men and young ladies. Special thanks goes out to the officers and members of the Athletic Booster Club for the planning and preparation that went into both the parking lot party and the pep rally.

This truly was a community event: EASA brought their playoff teams and their cheerleading squads, the Middle School and High School cheerleading squads both performed. the cross country teams, volleyball team, and football team were there, the band performed, and former players from previous playoff teams were honored.

Tonight, our Bulldogs face Nevada-Community for the bi-district football championship. The game will take place in Richardson at Eagle-Mustang Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30. A link to a map of the location of the stadium is below. I encourage everyone to come out to see football, cheerleading, and music done the Bulldog way!

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=1250+W.+Belt+Line+Rd+-+Richardson,+Texas+75080&ie=UTF8&om=1

Parking Lot Party/Pep Rally

by Coy Holcombe.  

Starting at 5:30 this evening, the Athletic Booster Club will be sponsoring a parking lot party and community pep rally at the football field parking lot. The Booster Club will be serving free hot dogs and hamburgers. Everyone is invited to come out and help celebrate the accomplishments of the cross country teams, the volleyball team, and the football team. Also, Mr. Felty has informed me that the band will be doing their annual glow-stick performance tonight. Please, don’t miss out on a great night of fun and entertainment.