Google Apps for Education & Moodle Integration Update

by Rusty Meyners.  

Recieved email request today for links to info about new Google Apps for Education account features & changes as well as Moodle-Google SSO integration. This is the reply:

 

First link is a Moodle course I slapped together for a Moodle Mini-Moot at TCEA2010. A little dated but still relevant.
 
Second is a link found on page above to a wiki covering Moodle-Google SSO integration specifically.
 
Third & maybe most important are instructions I assembled for setting up Moodle-Google SSO. Though dated,  recent feedback validates their continuing relevance.
 
The links above are to guides I've written but following is a Google link to info about impending changes in the Apps for Ed accounts. Mainly it's a matter of adding more of the consumer account features to the Apps for Ed Edition as well as transitioning personal accounts that use an email from an Apps for Education domain – they'll need to associate it with a different email address, whether Gmail or 3rd party. This change includes a new feature that diverts a login attempt to an SSO domain's Moodle login page if pertinent.

Progress Reports and EISD Students in Comedy Production

by Coy Holcombe.  

Progress reports go home today.

Last night, I had the opportunity to attend the annual dinner theater at the First Baptist Church in Eustace. After a good meal, the audience was treated to the play, "The Choir" as performed by the youth group of FBC. All the members of the cast and production team are students at EISD. The play was great and offered a light-hearted look at the thoughts of the choir during the sermon. While not a school sponsored activity, the play highlights the many talents of students at EISD. There will be nightly performances of the play through Sunday evening. Tickets are $10 and may be purchased by calling the church office or at the door.   

Why an "Optimized" version of Khan Academy OFFLINE?

by Rusty Meyners.  

Why an "optimized" version of Khan Academy OFFLINE?

 
One might well ask this question since it is based on fine work found at http://code.google.com/p/khanacademy/ and I'm glad you asked.
 
In early December of 2010, I was approached with the question of having iTunes installed on our student netbooks and the complications we might experience with that. I suggested possibilities involving other avenues of content download and the considerable hard drive space available on the netbooks for offline storage. Khan Academy came up briefly during this discussion, so I subsequently spent some time familiarizing myself with that, ever eager to be knowledgeable on alternatives to iTunes.
 
The next day I was called in again to discuss offline content on netbooks with emphasis on Khan Academy. By this time I was a little more acquainted with Khan and aware that there were projects already in place regarding offline use of that subject matter.
 
… to be continued smile

Ft. Worth Stockshow Update

by Coy Holcombe.  

Thanks to Zach Tappan for this information:

 The Eustace FFA chapter works their way to the top at the Ft. Worth Livestock Show this past week. The Ft. Worth Livestock Show is the 2nd largest livestock show in the Nation with well over 10,000 Junior Show entries. Not only did the members of the Eustace FFA compete in the Jr. Beef Heifer show we also had a member compete in the Livestock Show’s Superintendent Beef Heifer Challenge. The challenge is composed of a test which consists of 50 questions based on twelve Extension Publications relative to General Management, Genetics and Selection, Health, Nutrition, Pasture–Range–Forage and Reproduction and Calving. Upon scoring of the tests. The top scoring contestants in The Educational Information Challenge will then present a two minute Sales Talk to three industry judges to explain "WHY and HOW the breed of heifer they are exhibiting should be used by a commercial beef producer". Sales Talk presentations were scored  with a maximum of 50 points, 10 points based on presentation and 40 points based on content. The scores of the three judges was averaged to establish the final Sales Talk score for each contestant. There is a maximum of 75 contestants in the contest with 65 competing. Our very own Mallory Mobly placed 1st out of these competitors winning a $12,000 scholarship. Also, awarded to Mallory was a $1,000 scholarship through the Commercial Heifer committee of the Ft. Worth Livestock Show. As a total of educational winnings Mallory has attained a total of $18,500 from the Ft. Worth Livestock Show directly associated to exhibiting heifers at the Ft. Worth Livestock Show.

 

In addition to this large feat. Chad Tindel entered a competition to receive a donated Charolais Heifer from the Charolais Cattle Association. Chad had to submit an essay and application to the association for consideration. After their consideration, Chad was chosen as a recipient of a “FREE” heifer donated by a premiere breeder of Charolais cattle.

 

Exhibiting cattle in class were Mallory Mobly, Ethan Grimes, Brady Tindel, Cory Whatley, Lane Smith, Billy Crocker, Samantha Crocker, and Chad Tindel. Their placings are as follows.

Mallory Mobly –          3rd place over all showman in the Simmental Cattle Breed

                                    8th out of 14 in class

Ethan Grimes –           4th out of 14 in class

Brady Tindel –             3rd out of 26 in class

Cory Whatley –           11th out of 37 in class

Lane Smith –               19th out of 37 in class

Billy Crocker –            22nd out of 37 in class

Samantha Crocker – 9th out of 20 in class

Chad Tindel –             6th out of 13 in class

Future Farmer Earns Future Money

by Stan Sowers.  

The Eustace FFA chapter works their way to the top at the Ft. Worth Livestock Show this past week. The Ft. Worth Livestock Show is the 2ndlargest livestock show in the Nation with well over 10,000 Junior Show entries. Not only did the members of the Eustace FFA compete in the Jr. Beef Heifer show we also had a member compete in the Livestock Show’s Superintendent Beef Heifer Challenge. The challenge is composed of a test which consists of 50 questions based on twelve Extension Publications relative to General Management, Genetics and Selection, Health, Nutrition, Pasture–Range–Forage and Reproduction and Calving.  After scoring the tests the top scoring contestants in The Educational Information Challenge then presented a two minute Sales Talk to three industry judges to explain, "WHY and HOW the breed of heifer they are exhibiting should be used by a commercial beef producer". Sales Talk presentations were scored  with a maximum of 50 points, 10 points based on presentation and 40 points based on content. The scores of the three judges was averaged to establish the final Sales Talk score for each contestant. There were a maximum of 75 contestants that could participate in the contest with 65 actually competing. Our very own Mallory Mobly placed 1st ; therefore, winning a $12,000 scholarship. Also, awarded to Mallory was a $1,000 scholarship through the Commercial Heifer committee of the Ft. Worth Livestock Show. Throughout her high school career Mallory has been awarded a total of $18,500 from the Ft. Worth Livestock Show by exhibiting heifers. 

 

Bulldog Proud

Congratulations Stormy Murray!!

by Coy Holcombe.  

Eustace Middle School has been informed that Stormy Murray, an 8th grader at EMS has won the MathCounts design contest for this year. Her design will be featured on all official MathCounts t-shirts in the state. Her design is attached at the top of this entry.

Congratulations to Stormy and her art teacher, Cheri Spivey, on this great honor.

This Week

by Coy Holcombe.  

We will be keeping a close watch on the absences today. We are hoping that the worst part of the outbreak is behind us and that we show a decrease in the total number absent today.

This Week:

Tuesday – Tutoring begins at the Intermediate; HS basketball v. Malakoff – 5:00; Soccer v. Ferris – games have been moved to Eustace – 5:30:

Thursday – Progress Reports go home; Staff and Class Pictures – Intermediate; MS basketball – boys at Mildred; girls v. Mildred – 5:00; Eustace Girls Soccer Tournament

Friday – HS basketball at Teague; Eustace Girls Soccer Tournament

Saturday – Eustace Girls Soccer Tournament; Power Lifting Meet at Malakoff – 8:30

I hope everyone has a great week!

State Budget

by Coy Holcombe.  

Over the last week, we have read and heard many things about the state budget for the upcoming biennium. Most of the news that we have seen does not paint a very rosy picture for education and other state programs. However, I think that a few things need to be kept in mind in all of this:

 – The budget that was introduced in the Texas House is only a preliminary budget. It is a starting place. We go through the same process in this district. The first budget that we develop usually does not depict a very good financial picture for EISD. However, by the time the final budget comes around, it is not quite as bad as what we thought in the beginning.

– The Texas Senate will be releasing a budget of their own. According to Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, he does not expect quite the drastic cuts in the senate version.

– There are too many variables still to be determined at this point. For example, while the comptroller has certified a preliminary estimate of revenue for the next biennium, that does not mean it will be the final value. It is quite possible for a revised figure to be released that would show the state taking in more revenue than the preliminary estimate.

The bottom line is that it is too early in the process to know exactly what is happening. That does not mean that we should not be communicating with our elected officials and letting them know our thoughts. It is going to take all of us working together to get the best budget possible for our children and the state of Texas.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Misinformation

by Coy Holcombe.  

In writing this blog, my main goal is to provide information to all the constituents of EISD. Very seldom do I allow myself to venture into the political world in this blog. Yet, this morning I feel the absolute need to address a statement that  came from a state legislator. Over the next few months, the Texas Legislature will be making some very tough decisions regarding the state budget for the upcoming biennium. There is no doubt that education will have some reductions in state funding. While I understand the need for a certain level of reduction (EISD went through the same process last year because of reduced enrollment), I do not understand the spreading of misinformation in an attempt to justify the reductions.

In an article that can be found at this link: http://www.myfoxlubbock.com/news/local/story/Texas-consolidation-school-districts/OZJh_telY0OF4COJt-BFpQ.cspx , Representative Fred Brown makes the following statement:  "The total amount that is spent out of the education dollar, 46 cents of every dollar goes to pay for administration." I am not sure where Representative Brown is getting his information. Perhaps there are districts in the state that actually do spend 46% of their funds on administration. However, at EISD, the figure is more like $.04 out of every dollar. Attached to this blog is a breakdown of how EISD spends its money. This chart has been available since August on our website. Even if you took all the money EISD spends for administration (Function 41) and added all the money that EISD spends on principals, assistant principals, and their secretaries (Function 23) that would only add up to 10% of the total M & O budget, or $0.10 out of every dollar.

Everyone understands that funding is tight in Texas right now. We understand that we are going to have to find creative means of doing more for less. We can deal with that; however, we should not have to deal with inaccurate information coming from our elected officials in an attempt to justify their positions.

As always, you can contact me at cholcombe@eustaceisd.net.

Board Meeting Last Night

by Coy Holcombe.  

Last night, the EISD Board of Trustees met in regular session. The following items were discussed and/or considered:

– A proclamation from Governor Rick Perry was read that designated January as School Board Recognition Month. Board members received certificates honoring them for their service. In addition, the Intermediate School provided a meal for the board, the Primary School provided desserts, the Middle School and High School both had student presentations for the board members. The High School also produced a video highlighting events of this school year.

– Approved minutes of previous board meetings.

– Approved financial reports as presented.

– Approved May 5, 2011 for the Employee Appreciation Banquet

– Approved a resolution calling for a school board election for May 14, 2011.

– Approved a contract with the City of Eustace for the May election and approved a secondary polling place in Payne Springs.

– Reviewed Policy Update 89 – first reading

– Approved an agreement with Life Touch Photography for school pictures for the 2011-2012 school year.

– Approved the substitute list as presented.

– Approved the student transfers as presented.

– Evaluated and approved a one-year extension for the superintendent

– Adjourned