Commissioner Scott Announces New Assessments

by Coy Holcombe.  

Below is a press release from TEA regarding the new accountability tests that will replace the current TAKS tests:

AUSTIN – Commissioner of Education Robert Scott announced today that the next generation of student tests will be called the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness or STAAR.

STAAR will replace the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS), which is the criterion-reference assessment program that has been in place since 2003.

The STAAR name, pronounced the same as star, will be used for the 12 end-of-course assessments mandated by SB 1031 in 2007 and the new grade 3-8 assessments mandated by HB 3 in the 2009 legislative session.

The new tests will be used beginning in the 2011-2012 school year. Students in the graduating Class of 2015, who are currently in seventh grade, will be the first students who must meet the end-of-course testing requirements, as well as pass their classes, in order to earn a diploma.

The new tests will be significantly more rigorous than previous tests and will measure a child’s performance, as well as academic growth.

The grade 3-8 STAAR tests in reading and mathematics, by law, must be linked from grade to grade to performance expectations for the English III and Algebra II end-of-course assessments.

During a speech at the Texas Association of School Administrators’ Midwinter Conference in Austin, Scott also said the last TAKS-based school accountability ratings will be issued in 2011. Ratings will be suspended in 2012 while a new accountability system is developed.

The new state rating system will debut in 2013.

UIL Update

by Coy Holcombe.  

While I briefly mentioned some of the things discussed in the UIL meeting I attended, I wanted to devote a little more time to this topic to relay as much information as possible:

  • UIL is already discussing the 2012 realignment – they are looking at possibilities of a 6A conference, consolidation of conferences, and spliting conferences.
  • All state championship games in football (with the possible exception of 6 man) will be played at the same site.
  • The summer conditioning program will be expanded to include middle school students. Students in grades 7 & 8 will be allowed to officially take part of in the summer conditioning program. This includes incoming 7th graders.
  • There will be revisions to the officials pay scales for the 2010-2011 school year. The gate has been taken out for all sports except football.
  • A change in the rules will allow middle school students to participate in three games during a tournament on Saturday.
  • The realignment for the next two years will be released February 1 at 9:00 AM. The deadline to request an appeal is February 11. The appeal hearing is scheduled for February 18. The first day to sign contracts for games is February 19.
  • In the realignment process, the UIL starts with 5A and works down. There can be no more than 245 schools in 5A.
  • The UIL focuses on trying to keep the largest school in a conference from having no more than 2 times the enrollment of the smallest school.
  • In class 3A, the 2 to 1 ratio was not met this last realignment. In fact 3A had the highest ratio of large school to small school than any other conference.
  • Even with the advent of computers, the UIL still uses maps and pins to plot the realignment.
  • The UIL is celebrating its 100th year in existing in 2010.

Great Performances

by Coy Holcombe.  

Congratulations to the Eustace FFA for their impressive showing at the Ft. Worth Livestock Show. Below is a summary of their accomplishments written by Zach Tappan:


This year’s Ft. Worth Livestock Heifer Show was explosive. It is not too often that at a show of this size and magnitude that an FFA chapter has every heifer that they exhibit place in the top 10 of their respective classes. It was truly a pleasure and honor to be associated with these fine young men and women as they exhibited their cattle at such a high level. They are the epitome of PRIDE! Please take time to congratulate the following FFA members.

Mallory Mobly – 7th place Simbrah out of 18
Ethan Grimes – 4th place Brahman out of 33
Samantha Crocker – 1st place Beefmaster out of 8
Billy Crocker – 1st place Brahman out of 33 and was also honored by competing for and winning the Calf Division Reserve Grand Champion

Also, I had the opportunity to attend a performance of a play at the First Baptist Church last night. Many of the cast and crew are or were students at EISD. The only thing I can say is WOW! What a performance!!

I will be updating this blog thorughout today and tomorrow with other entries on specific things that I learned at Mid-Winter.

Bulldogs Representing at the Big Show

by Stan Sowers.  

As Mr. Tappan said, " It is not too often that at a show of this size and magnitude that an FFA chapter has every heifer that they exhibit place in the top 10 of their respective classes. It was truly a pleasure and honor to be associated with these fine young men and women as they exhibited their cattle at such a high level."

We are so proud of the following students, Mr. Tappan, Ms. Tindel, and the entire FFA program:
Mallory Mobly – 7th place Simbrah out of 18
Ethan Grimes – 4th place Brahman out of 33
Samantha Crocker – 1st place Beefmaster out of 8
Billy Crocker – 1st place Brahman out of 33 and was also honored by competing for and winning the Calf Division Reserve Grand Champion
Congratulations and thanks guys and girls for bringing such great recognition to Eustace ISD and the community!

Bulldog Proud

Mid-Winter Update

by Coy Holcombe.  

The Mid-Winter Conference has not been a disappointment. On Monday, I attended a session called UIL Update. We got to hear from the executive director of the UIL, the athletic director of the UIL, and the director on policy. While they offered no hint at what is coming on the new re-alignment, they did talk about the process of re-alignment. They stated that they are already looking at the 2012 re-alignment and talked about the possibility of adding a 6A conference among other things. The re-alignment information will be made available at 9:00 AM, February 1.

The first general session was keynoted by author Dan Tapscott. He is the author of the books Growing Up Digital and Grown Up Digital. He offered insights into how this generation of students learn differently than previous generations of students.

Following the general session, I attended a breakout session on a new math course that has been put together by the Dana Center. The course is designed for the fourth year of math and requires Algebra II as a prerequisite. The course focuses on mathematics applications and has a strong segment of statistics. We will be examining this course to see if it would meet the needs of some of the students at EISD.

Another informative breakout session was presented by Discovery Learning. The focus in this presentation was on professional development with respect to technology integration in the classroom.

I attended another session in which the president of the Texas Higher Education Commission discussed the necessity of greater collaboration between institutes of higher ed and public education. Texas has made some great strides in post-secondary readiness, but will require even more collaboration with the PK-12 sector to meet the goal of both college ready and workplace ready graduates.

The second general session featured Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott. He discussed many aspects of education in Texas. He discussed at length the decision not to apply for Race to the Top funds. He also discussed the new accountability system that will be in place in the 2012 school year. Among the other topics he discussed were dropouts, graduation rate, and college readiness. Mr. Scott also stated that he was going to informally sunset many of the rules governing schools and hold discussions on their usefulness and necessity. He made several references to keeping local decisions at the local level without excessive state rules.

Personnel from TASA presented an overview of the most important points coming up for the next legislative session. There was volumes of information presented in this hour session. Among the most pressing issues that lawmakers will face in the coming legislative session are decreased sales tax revenues and a deficit at the state level.

There will be a few sessions tomorrow. I will have a full update on those sessions on Thursday.

Mid-Winter Conference

by Coy Holcombe.  

I will be in Austin through Wednesday attending the Mid-Winter Conference. This is one of the largest and best conferences for people in education. The conference brings in keynote speakers from across the country. It also provides educators an opportunity to hear what other districts are doing.

One of the keynote speakers will be Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott. I am anticipating learning some key factors in the future of education in Texas during his speech.

I will be updating my blog with information gained during this conference. It should prove to be an interesting and informative conference. 


by Coy Holcombe.  

Congratulations to the girls soccer team on their victory yesterday in the Eustace Tournament. The tournament continues today and tomorrow.

The HS basketball teams are in action tonight in Eustace. There will be 5 games against Van starting at 4:30.

There will be an MDA spaghetti supper fundraiser tonight from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM in the High School cafeteria. All proceeds will go to MDA on behalf of Roland Bailey.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!


Intermediate School Receives Honor

by Coy Holcombe.  

We received notification yesterday that Eustace Intermediate School is being recognized by the Division of NCLB Program Coordination at the Texas Education Agency for "outstanding academic performance." According to the letter received from TEA, "To achieve and maintain such high standards is an accomplishment that serves as a model for other schools in the state to emulate."

This is the second consecutive year that the Intermediate has been recognized for distinguished performance. Congratulations to Robert Reeve, principal at the Intermediate, the staff, students, and parents for earning this honor from the state!


Board Meeting Last Night

by Coy Holcombe.  

Last night, the EISD Board of Trustees met in regular session. The meeting started at 7:00 PM. Since January is School Board Recognition Month, each of the campuses did something to show their appreciation for the work that is done by our school board. The High School provided a catered dinner for the board and produced a video thanking the school board for their work. The Primary campus provided desserts and also produced a short video thanking the board. The Intermediate provided additional snacks and small flower pots for each of the board members. Seven Middle School students prepared handmade plaques honoring each of the board members individually. The plaques contained the last name of each of the board members and words that described the board member based on each letter of their last name. Each board member also received a certificate acknowledging their leadership and dedication to the students of EISD.

The Board of Trustees for EISD include:

Diane Russ – President
Thomas Frazier – Vice President
Sara McAtee – Secretary
Cotton Walker – Member
Mike Smith – Member
Gary Walsh – Member
Sonny Hodge – Member
Other items of business included:
Recognizing the art students that competed in the Cedar Creek Art Show:
9th Grade – Trey Russell – 1st Place, Seth Purselley – 3rd Place
10th Grade – Raymond Shutak – 1st Place
11th Grade – Demontrai Jones – 2nd Place, Carolin Grumm – 4th Place
12th Grade – Harold Burroughs – Best of Show, Overall winner in all grade levels
The EHS students won the Top Art Program trophy and finished first place in the number of ribbons won.
The Board also recognized HS art teacher Ron Brewer for having the best art program in the Cedar Creek area.
Heard and approved the financial reports for December.
Heard several general reports (see yesterday’s post for a listing).
Approved a resolution calling for a school board election on May 8, 2010.
Approved a contract with the City of Payne Springs for the May 8, 2010, school board election.
Approved a waiver request for the summer nutrition program.
Approved the 2010-2011 school calendar.
Approved the sale of two school buses.
Approved an agreement with Life Touch Photography for 2010-2011 school year.
Approved an application for waiver for early release days and for a modified schedule on TAKS testing days.
Heard on update on attendance and enrollment.
Approved the substitute list as presented.
Approved student transfers as presented.
Approved an extension of the superintendent’s contract by one year.


Board Meeting Tonight

by Coy Holcombe.  

The EISD Board of Trustees will meet in regular session tonight. The meeting will start at 7:00 PM and be held in the High School Library. The agenda items include:

  • School Board Appreciation Recognition
  • Student Recognition – HS Art Program
  • Approve Minutes
  • Reports
    • Financial Reports
    • DEIC Report
    • PaySchools Report
    • Board Members Continuing Education
    • 2009 PBM Data Validation
    • School Meals Initiative Evaluation
    • 2009 Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives
    • Tech Prep Award
    • Texas Fitness Now Grant
    • Target Revenue
    • Henderson County Appraisal District Re-Appraisal Plan
  • Consider Resolution for School Board Election for May 8, 2010
  • Consider Contract with City of Payne Springs for School Trustee Election
  • Consider Summer Nutrition Program
  • Consider 2010-2011 School Calendar
  • Consider Sale of Buses
  • Consider Agreement with Life Touch Photography
  • Consider Application for Waivers for Early Release and Modified TAKS Schedule
  • Update on Enrollment
  • Closed Session
    • Personnel and Staffing
    • Substitute List
    • Evaluation and Contract for Superintendent
    • Student Transfer Requests
  • Action on Closed Session Items
  • Adjourn