The Judges Concur

by Coy Holcombe.  

Yesterday, after I got back from watching the 6th grade band perform in Canton, I sent a message on Twitter that the 6th grade band did an awesome job. Well, the judges thought so also. The 6th grade band received ones from all three judges. Congratulations to the students and directors Todd Felty, Chad Bentley, and 6th grade director, Patricia Fields for this accomplishment.

The Intermediate is having their AR trip today. Students that got 100 or more AR points are going to Chucky Cheese.

At the Primary, kindergarten and first grade are having their field trip today.

Tonight, the National Honor Society will be hosting its annual banquet at the Country Club in Athens. The banquet starts at 7:00 PM.

Tomorrow and Saturday, the athletes that qualified for the regional track meet will be traveling to Commerce to compete.

Top Ten Banquet

by Coy Holcombe.  

Congratulations to the students and teachers that were recognized last night at the Top Ten Banquet. Parents, guests, staff members, and school board members turned out to honor these students for their accomplishments and the staff members they chose to recognize. I am sure that Mr. Sowers will be doing a full recap of the event in his blog.

Today, the 6th grade band will be going to Canton to compete in a music contest. They will be performing at 8:50 AM. After performing, the band members will be spending the day at Splash Kingdom.

At the Intermediate, the 4th graders will be taking a field trip today. The 3rd graders will be participating in their field day events. The 5th grade students will be taking a tour of the Middle School today.

At the High School, the AP English III students will be taking their AP exam. Good luck to everyone!

Below is a picture of the new gym’s floor in the process of being lined for basketball and volleyball:

Great Band Concert

by Coy Holcombe.  

Last night, the 6th grade band, 7th & 8th grade band, and the High School band each provided a great concert to the parents, grandparents, and other friends and relatives in attendance. Each of the bands performed four selections. In addition, following the High School band, the state qualifying percussion ensemble performed their competition music for the audience. It was a night of great music and fun for everyone. Below are some pictures of the bands:


Patricia Fields announce the selections that the 6th grade band will play.


Chad Bentley introduces the 7th and 8th grade band.

Todd Felty welcomes the audience to the High School portion of the concert.


Chad Bentley directs the state qualifying percussion ensemble.

This Week

by Coy Holcombe.  

  • Spring Band Concert, 7:00 PM, High School Auditorium
  • IS Student of the Month Trip


  • Top Ten Banquet, 7:00 PM, Vetoni’s
  • 4th Grade Field Trip
  • 2nd Grade Spring Music Program


  • AP English III Exam
  • 4th Grade Field Trip
  • 3rd Grade Field Day
  • 5th Grade Middle School Tour


  •  Progress Reports
  • NHS Banquet, 7:00 PM,Athens Country Club
  • IS AR Trip
  • K & 1 Field Trip


  • UIL Regional Track Meet, Commerce
  • MS AR Field Trip
  • 3rd Grade AR Pizza Party
  • 5th Grade Field Day


  • UIL Regional Track Meet, Commerce
  • MS Academic Competition

Monday, May 18,  Athletic Banquet, 5:00 PM Cain Center, Athens

Below is a picture of the new gym floor getting the first coat of sealant. The markings for the volleyball courts and basketball court will be done next.


Employee Banquet Highlights

by Coy Holcombe.  

Last night was a great night! Over 200 employees and guests were at the Annual Employee Appreciation Banquet which was held at the First Baptist Church in Eustace. All current Board Members were also present. Danny’s Barbecue from Athens catered the event. Following the dinner, service pins and plaques were presented to several employees for their years of service to the students of EISD. The following employees received 5 year service pins:

Beth Williamson, Charlene Harris, Chris Powers, Donald Slay, Heather Caronna, Jackie Caldwell, Jerri Davis, Judy Wakefield, Kortni Harris, Mary Mitchell, Pam Woods, Phillip Smith, and Ruth Adame

Employees receiving 10 year service pins included:

April Morris, Carol Warren, Debbie Risner, Nina K. Shelton, Susanne Pharmakis, Taressa Charlton, Tish Bennett, Tonnie Faust, and Wendy Jones

The following employees received service pins for 15 years of service to EISD:

Gwen Orr, Judy Wimberley, Martha Ray, and Stephanie Kirkhart

Receiving service pins for 20 years of service were:

Becki Smith, Debbie Myers, Holly Bailey, Judy O’Casey, Mary Bell, Pam Dowell, Sherri Purselley, and Cherry Gage

Two employees received service pins for 25 years of service:

Sandy Sowers and Judy Vestal

Three employees received service pins for 30 years of service to EISD:

Geraldine Carson, Janice Beasley, and Rob Tyner

Chuck Powers received a plaque for 40 years of service  to the district.

Yvonne Holmes, Debbie Risner, and Dorothy Paris received retirement plaques for their dedication to the students of EISD.

Following the presentation of the service pins and plaques, numerous door prizes were awarded to those in attendance. I want to thank all of the local businesses that contributed. A special thank you goes out to Mary Bell and Faye Barnett for their tireless work rounding up the door prizes and decorating for the banquet. Also, a special thank you goes to Karen Thompson for her work in organizing the service pins and plaques.

 Thanks to everyone that attended and supported the banquet. I hope everyone has a great weekend!


Netbooks Update

by Rusty Meyners.  

Deployed a set of Acer Aspire Ones to a High School English classroom yesterday with desired results and then some. Students were walked through initializing the machines which currently have XP Home on them. Another set is being prepped with XP Pro to be swapped in but we felt it important to quick-start pilot testing an all digital classroom in a non-technology subject. Both student and teacher initial reactions were universally positive and all started seeing potential they had not yet considered for the ways curriculum management might be enhanced by personal laptops and Moodle. The teacher was already promising to keep the laptops busy every period remaining in the semester but now is actually seeing the possibilities of a near "paperless" classroom.

Got wind on Twitter last night of yet another contender for the netbook dollar – a Dell which already has a couple of entries but this one is really serious. The Dell Latitude 2100 reportedly aims for the enterprise market that only HP has so far has made a real run at, including the price structure that goes with that. Currently the HP 2140 might be considered the "Cadillac" of netbooks when money is not an issue but the new Dell which is not to be officially unveiled until around mid-May, might just be the "Lincoln Continental". Besides the upscaled design, quality and feature-set, enterprise-grade support is a critical factor of this approach, with both Dell and HP being a natural fit for it.

Meanwhile, however; price is a factor, so with that in mind we have quite positive expectations for the Acer Aspire One 10" model – the "Chevrolet" of netbooks! Incidentally, Acer is reportedly outselling all netbook brands including Asus, the pioneering "Ford" of netbooks, with their eeePC.

UPDATE 05/07/09:

Acer Aspire Ones working out quite well with nagging exception of 4 machines (out of 50) needing to be returned and one of the pilot teachers experiencing "digital fatigue". Out of the box or shortly after, two of the A1s suffered from dead trackpads and another from a bad display, while just today another trackpad bit the dust. The teacher of one of the netbook pilot test classes has discovered a need to periodically decompress with an occasional resort to pen, paper and grease pencil, at least during a transitional period. The kids on the other hand have found very little to complain about and indeed it can be difficult to convince them that some work should be done other than on the computer.

We are actually pilot testing the netbooks in two classes now (the other being Social Studies) with both using Google Apps in Moodle heavily. The sharing features in GAPPS are invaluable for hand-outs, student collaboration and teacher grading, as well as a nifty ability to embed presentations directly in a Moodle topic section. The GAPPS folder navigation can be a little confusing at first, seeing that it looks like an email client; but when you consider the actual purposes and function, it starts to make more sense.

We are in the process of installing iTalc on the netbooks to provide more manageability with the digital classroom. It is imperative that the teacher be given effective tools for keeping the kids on task, because lacking them, the clamor to block valuable but often distracting Web 2.0 resources will be an overwhelming force.

Full Summary of our Netbook Evaluations Here


Gym Floor Installed

by Coy Holcombe.  

The gym floor installation was completed yesterday. The crews are now sanding the floor. At the bottom of this blog is a picture of the completed floor. Ceramic tile is being installed in the foyer restrooms, the foyer is being painted, crews are finishing up the installation of the metal at the top of the stands, cabinets are on-site and being installed, and site work around the gym is being done.

Parents/Guardians: Please remember to complete the online survey for your child’s campus. If you have children at more than one campus, we encourage you to complete surveys for each campus (some surveys ask different questions). The link for the surveys may be found on the homepage for each campus. Go to EISD’s homepage and click on the campus pages at the top of the district’s homepage.

Student-Teacher-Class Dialogs & Collaborations in Moodle Google Apps

by Rusty Meyners.  

The question was asked to the Strategic Open Sources SIG of TCEA mailing list:


"How can I set up a discussion between a teacher and her students, but limit the students to only see their own comments? The teacher doesn’t want the students copying responses from each other."


This was my response:



We had not quite addressed this when you first asked it but it happens that I have a Social Studies and an English teacher pilot testing netbooks this week. Both are using Moodle-Google Apps integration with heavy reliance on the GAPPS side. The Social Studies teacher is doing something close to what you are asking in Google Docs.


After some collaborative work in both classrooms using that aspect of Google Docs Sharing, the Social Studies teacher asked how a student could "submit" work they completed independently. This was worked out by the following steps (the first two might be optional):


1. The teacher shared a "View Only" "template" with each student in the class.

2. Each student then opened the template and performed a "Save as Copy" to work with. The students could delete the original if desired.

3. Each student then shared their working copy "View Only" with the teacher who was able to review them in progress and grade them when the time came. If the teacher wants to make annotations (maybe in a different font color) it would need to be shared "For Collaboration" (Google Docs provides a Revision History – kind of like a wiki – to keep track of who contributed what in a collaboration).


With this approach, the student did not need to "submit" the work, because the teacher had continuous access to it from the time the student shared it with him. Though it would not be necessary to share it back until completed, I suggested that be the first thing they did, so as to avoid claims that "the cloud ate it".


The teacher had thought to next use a Moodle Forum for the students to work in pairs on a project that would involve a running dialog but has now decided that the share/collaborate/revision history features in Google Docs will suit him better. They plan to create documents that are shared three ways between the teacher and each pair of students.


Possibly you will see an application to your needs in this info; though it does assume access to Google Docs, with Moodle integration being almost a requisite but not absolutely so. Frankly, Ken’s [Moodle] Blog suggestion may be the most beautifully simple approach if you don’t need a revision history.

Flu Update and School Nurse Day

by Coy Holcombe.  

The Centers for Disease Control is now recommending that schools not close because of isolated flu cases. In fact, the CDC is recommending that schools that have closed re-open. The CDC’s change in recommendation comes because the closing of schools was not proving effective in slowing the spread of the disease and, in the opinion of the CDC, the swine flu was not proving any more severe than a normal flu outbreak. According to the CDC, only schools with an absentee rate so high that it would affect their ability to function should consider closing. 

Today is National School Nurse Day. On behalf of EISD I would like to thank our nurse and nurse aides for their hard work and dedication to the students of EISD. Pam Martin is our nurse and is located on the Primary Campus; however, whenever a situation requires her at another campus, she is always there. Our nurse aides include: Bobbie Howard, High School; Markie Saye, Middle School; Lisa Sawyer, Intermediate School; and, Dena Bonner, Primary.

Congratulations to Cheri Spivey and the Middle School art students on a successful art show. There were many great student works for sale and the attendance was good. Personally, I was able to purchase a work done by Nathan Cason, the winner of this years MathCounts T-Shirt Competition.  

Thank you to Diane Chambers and the National Honor Society for the breakfast yesterday.

Date Changes and Parent Surveys

by Coy Holcombe.  

First, we now know that the UIL State Academic Meet will be held on May 25 and 26. Joshua and Jacob Felty will be attending the state meet. Second, the date of the FFA Awards Ceremony has been changed from May 8 to May 19. The ceremony will take place in the High School auditorium starting at 6:30 PM.

Parent surveys are online this year. To participate in the survey, please visit your child’s campus homepage. The campus homepage can be found at the top of the district’s homepage,

The district is experimenting with Twitter accounts to provide updated information to our parents/guardians and other interested parties. More information will be coming about how to become part of our Twitter community.