FIRST Hearing and Board Meeting

by Coy Holcombe.  

Last night, the EISD Board of Trustees met to hold a public hearing on the FIRST report and to hold its regular monthly meeting. The public hearing on the FIRST report (see yesterday’s entry for a discussion on what FIRST is) started at 6:30 and was adjourned at about 6:45.

The regular board meeting started at 7:00 PM. Below are the items and/or actions taken during the meeting:

  • Approved minutes of previous meetings
  • Heard and approved the financial reports from August
  • Reviewed reports on: Evaluation of the district improvement plan for 08-09; PBMAS Report; Cash Flow for 08-09; PaySchools for August; TEA letter on AP Program
  • Approved the district improvement plan for 09-10
  • Approved a fuel bid submitted by Borders and Long
  • Approved a class size waiver request to be submitted to TEA
  • Approved agreement with Certified Payments for credit card tax payments for the 09-10 school year
  • Approved a bid for property
  • Received an update on enrollment
  • Approved the hiring of Michelle Vance as a Headstart Aide at the Primary
  • Approved the substitute list as presented.
  • Adjourned at 9:19 PM

FIRST Hearing and Board Meeting

by Coy Holcombe.  

Tonight the EISD Board of Trustees will hold a public hearing to discuss the annual Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST) rating for the 2007-2008 school year.  The public hearing will start at 6:30 and be held in the High School library. FIRST is designed to give the public an idea of how school districts are doing financially. There are 24 indicators in the FIRST report. The first six indicators are rated on a yes or no scale: either the district met the indicator or it did not. Indicators 7-24 are scored with a numerical score. A perfect score on questions 7 – 24 would be 85. EISD received a score of 81 on these questions. With this score, EISD earned a rating of "Superior Achievement" for the 2007-2008 school year. FIRST ratings are a year removed from the school year just completed because much of the information required to complete the ratings is dependent on the independent audit report and information submitted through the state’s PEIMS system.

Many people have a role in the district attaining a "Superior Achievement" rating. First, there are the members of the EISD School Board. Without their leadership and guidance, such achievements would not be possible. Second, there are the people that work in the business office: Carol Warren, business manager; Debra Meyners, payroll; and, Kara Weaver, accounts payable. Finally, the campus secretaries (Renae Snow, Kim McKlaskey, Cherry Gage, and Robyn Culp) and our PEIMS coordinator, Karen Thompson, make sure that the information submitted to the state is accurate. Thanks to everyone involved for helping EISD achieve another "Superior Achievement" rating.

If you are curious as to what a FIRST report looks like, I have attached a copy of the 07-08 report at the top of this entry. 

At 7:00 PM, the EISD Board of Trustees will enter into their regular monthly meeting. Among the topics for discussion include:

  • August financial reports
  • Report on the Evaluation of 08-09 District Improvement Plan
  • Performance Based Monitoring Analysis System Report
  •  08-09 Cash Flow Report
  • PaySchools Report for August
  • Report on letter received from TEA regarding AP testing
  • Consider approval of the District Improvement Plan for 09-10
  • Consider Fuel Bids for 09-10
  • Consider approval of class size waiver for fall semester
  • Consider bid for property
  • Report on enrollment
  • The Board will go into closed session to consider: Resignations, employment of personnel, and updates to the substitute list.
  • The Board will reconvene in open session to take action on any item discussed in closed session.

I encourage everyone to attend tonight’s public hearing and board meeting if possible.

Also, tonight the volleyball teams are in action at the E. L. Kirk Gymnasium against Rains. The starting time for the first game is 5:00. 

 

This Week

by Coy Holcombe.  

Events this week include:

Second grade will be doing TPRI testing all week.

Monday – MS Volleyball 4:30; HS Band Practice 7 -9 PM

Tuesday – District FFA Plant ID Contest; HS Volleyball vs Rains; FIRST Public Hearing 6:30; Regular Board Meeting 7:00

Thursday – Progress Reports; G/T Meeting – HS; MS & JV Football vs Quitman

Friday – HS Volleyball and Football at Quitman

The varsity volleyball team lost to Edgewood in five games on Friday. The football game was postponed due to lightening on Friday. The game resumed at noon Saturday. The Bulldogs lost 37-9. The Middle School cross country teams competed in Malakoff Saturday morning. I do not know the overall results, but several of our runners did very well.

Tomorrow we will talk about the FIRST public hearing and the items on the monthly board agenda.  

Meeting with Public Health Coordinator

by Coy Holcombe.  

Yesterday afternoon, Janice Beasley, Pam Martin and I attended a meeting with other Henderson County school districts concerning flu preparedness. Vick McAlister with the Northeast Public Health District was the presenter. Mrs. McAlister works with Henderson and Van Zandt counties. During the meeting, we received information about the seasonal flu and the H1N1 flu. According to Mrs. McAlister, both strains of flu are already present in Henderson County. A representative of Murchison ISD stated that last week 25% of their student body were absent with flu-like symptoms.

Mrs. McAlister reported that the H1N1 vaccine will begin arriving in Texas by the end of this month. Texas is expected to receive 1.1 million doses of vaccine by September 30, another 1.1 million by October 15, and another 1.1 million by October 30. After that, the H1N1 vaccine should be arriving on a weekly basis in Texas. It was reported that the H1N1 vaccine will consist of two shots administered approximately 28 days apart. According to Mrs. McAlister, the second dose is the most important.

Other information regarding H1N1:

  • Incubation period is from 1 – 4 days.
  • In younger children, H1N1 may take from 7-10 days to run its course.
  • In older people, the virus will take 5-7 days to run its course.

The Health Department is strongly suggesting that people consider getting the pneumonia vaccine along with the seasonal flu and H1N1 flu vaccine this year. According to the information presented, people that contract the H1N1 flu are more susceptible to pneumonia.  Mrs. McAlister stated that people should consult their family doctor about for advice about receiving the pneumonia vaccination.

 For more information regarding the seasonal flu and the H1N1 strain, visit www.texasflu.org.

A reminder that our volleyball teams and varsity football teams will be traveling to Edgewood tonight. The volleyball games will start at 4:30 and the football game will kickoff at 7:30.

Parent Connect, Part II

by Coy Holcombe.  

I received my account information yesterday and was able to set up my Parent Connect account. Once you set up your account, you must add your children to your account. That is where the Portal ID is used. A word of advice: make sure that you type in the Portal ID exactly as it appears. Lower case letters and upper case letters are different in the Portal ID. Also make sure that the birthday you enter is in the form mm/dd/yyyy.

Once you have your children set up to your account, navigating through the program is easy and straightforward. I encourage everyone to take a look at the "Alerts" tab and to set up alerts for both attendance and grades. This gradebook actually gives you more options for setting up the alerts than GradeSpeed did. Not only can you monitor the overall average of your children, you can also set up an alert for individual grades.

Tonight, we have MS volleyball at 4:30 and  7th, 8th, and JV football starting at 5:00. Tomorrow, both our volleyball teams and varsity football team travel to Edgewood. The volleyball games start at 4:30 and the football game starts at 7:30.

Parent Connect

by Coy Holcombe.  

First, congratulations to the varsity volleyball team in posting wins over Palestine Westwood and Mabank last night.

Second, I want to talk about our new Parent Connect for the 09-10 school year. EISD switched electronic gradebooks for the 09-10 school year. The change will enable our gradebook and our student information systems to work seamlessly with each other. In the past, we used GradeSpeed as our electronic gradebook. This program did not interface directly with our student information system (RSCCC). Now, our gradebook and student software are both designed by RSCCC. When something changes in one part, it is automatically reflected in the other part. In prior years, we would have to export our grades from GradeSpeed to RSCCC. Now, this step will no longer be necessary. Before, when we added a new student, we also had to go into GradeSpeed and make sure that student was added there as well. Now, when a new student is entered into the student information side of RSCCC, that same student is added automatically to the gradebook side of RSCCC.

Parents and guardians will be receiving letters detailing how to sign up for new accounts. Your user name and password from last year will not work. However, when you sign up for the new account you may choose your own user name and password. The letter that you receive will give you detailed instructions for setting up your new account. Should you have any problems with the new Parent Connect, please contact the campus your child attends. They will be glad to help you.

This Week

by Coy Holcombe.  

Congratulations to the varsity volleyball team on their victory over Edgewood on Friday. The Lady Bulldogs won the match 3-0. The varsity football team lost a hard fought game in overtime against Dallas Life Oak 41-35. The cross country teams had a good showing at Kaufman on Saturday. The weather was hot and steamy, but the Bulldogs competed very well.

This weeks activities:

First grade will be giving TPRI tests all week.

Tuesday – Volleyball here against Mabank and Westwood – 4:30

Wednesday – Primary Parent Camp

Thursday – MS volleyball vs. Canton & 7th, 8th & JV football vs. Edgewood – volleyball and football will both be here

Friday – VB at Edgewood & varsity football at Edgewood. VB starts at 4:30 and football starts at 7:30.

Saturday – 9th and JV volleyball tournament at Grand Saline & FFA Area Greenhand conference

 

Friday

by Coy Holcombe.  

The Friday of the first home football game is always exciting and special. Our Bulldogs will be taking the field tonight against Dallas Life Oak. Kickoff is set for 7:30. This Friday is even more special because we have home volleyball games tonight also. The Lady Bulldogs will be taking on Edgewood this evening starting at 4:30 in the E. L. Kirk Gymnasium.

Of course, if there is a football game, then you know the Mighty Bulldog Marching Band will be performing as will the best cheerleading squad in the area! I encourage everyone to come out and see football, volleyball, music and cheers done the Bulldog way!!

Tomorrow, the cross country teams travel to Kaufman to compete. I believe the gun sounds at 8:30 for the first race.

A reminder that there will be no school on Monday in observance of the Labor Day Holiday. I hope everyone has a great Labor Day weekend.

Netbooks

by Coy Holcombe.  

By now, most of the netbooks at the High School have been assigned to students. Each student at the High School will receive a netbook. In today’s education terms, this is called a "one to one" program. In addition to the netbooks at the High School, each grade level from 3rd to 8th will receive at least one classroom set of netbooks. The older netbooks that we have purchased over the last year and a half will be distributed to the Primary for grades PK-2.

First of all, why did the district choose netbooks over full-sized laptops? Well, the question sort of answers itself. We believed that the "full-sized" part of equation was not a positive. The size and increased computing power of the latest netbooks made them extremely attractive both literally and figuratively. Of course, cost was also a consideration; as was the durability of any type of computer that was going to be issued to students (or moved from class to class on a daily basis).

Second, the district does not believe that computers will ever take the place of good teachers and good teaching. Computers are tools that allow teachers and students the opportunity to explore topics in new and exciting ways. As with all teaching tools, they have the potential to take lessons to the next level, or they can be used as paper weights. 

Third, the district believes that technology should be a seamless part of the learning environment. Back when the average cost for a desktop machine and monitor was over $2,000, most districts had little choice but to place a few of these expensive machines in a "computer lab". If a student was really lucky, they might get to use one of these machines once or twice a year (assuming that they did not have a class in the computer lab). One of our objectives at EISD is to eliminate the very concept of a computer lab. We want the technology with the students in the classrooms. We do not want it to be a special occasion for a student to get to use a computer. We want it to become an everyday expectation that technology will be a part of every student’s day from beginning to end. Yes, we are probably still going to have to offer some classes in a lab setting (such as our yearbook class, or our technology media class) simply because of the computing power needed for these programs. However, what we want to move completely away from is the necessity of requiring our English teachers to sign up for a computer lab weeks in advance so that their students have a precious one hour to research a specific topic. 

Finally, EISD realizes that we cannot simply stand back and pretend that the technological and digital environment that our children are growing up in is not affecting how they learn. I can state from personal experience that my two daughters do not learn in the same way that I did. How could they? They are truly digital natives. They have grown up in a world that always had Internet, always had cell phones, always had affordable home computers, and the list could go on. The most technology that my generation employed on a regular basis was maybe a TI-30 calculator in math and science classes.

I want to thank our technology department for all their help with the deployment of the netbooks at the campuses. The beginning of the year is always a challenge for the technology people. This year, they not only had to contend with the usual first of the year problems, they were also in the process of receiving, imaging, and distributing 600 netbook computers.

A Bulldog Making a Difference

by Stan Sowers.  

 

Over the summer, Tammy Beaty our Theatre Arts teaher, took the time to apply for a grant at the Dallas Theater Center called "Project Discovery". We are pleased to announce that our school was one of the schools selected!!! This is a great opportunity for our students (36 students & 4 Chaperone’s to attend 5 professional performances). There are 101 students enrolled in theater this year so each student will have at least one opportunity to see a live professional performance at the Dallas Theater Center for FREE, as well as, 20 teachers/parents/chaperones! Ms. Beaty is required to attend 5 workshops aside from the performance dates and the group attending is required to meet one hour prior to each performance for a workshop before the show. All performances are after school and all transportation is reimbursed or provided for our district! If you’d like to read more you can visit their site at http://www.dallastheatercenter.org .  Thank you Ms. Beaty.  "This Bulldog does Make a Difference."

Bulldog Proud