School Districts Map, Update on Basketball, Update on K Game Night

TEA recently released an updated school district map that shows every school district in the state. It also shows all of the Education Service Center regions. A link to this map is near the top of our homepage. There is also a link to the map at the bottom of this post. The copy on this post and the copy on our homepage are both resized to allow for quicker viewing. The original map from TEA was quite large and would have taken a substantial amount of time to download. Through the resizing, the map is not quite as sharp, but you can still see the districts and read the names.

The HS basketball teams are traveling to Malakoff tonight. The order of play will be a little different than usual. The JV boys will start at 4:30, followed by the JV girls. The varsity boys will then play and the final game will be the varsity girls. All the games will be played at the HS gym in Malakoff.

Also, the Kindergarten Game Night has been moved to Thursday, January 26 from  5:00 PM – 6:00 PM. In my post yesterday, I had reported the the Game Night would be today.

11DistRegmap Reduced Size

This Week

I hope everyone had a great weekend. Below are the activities and events scheduled for this week:

Progress reports will go out this week.

1st Grade will be doing TPRI testing this week.

Tuesday – Benchmark testing – Intermediate; Kindergarten game night; HS basketball at Malakoff – 5:00; Soccer v. Kemp – 6:00

Wednesday – Benchmark testing – Intermediate; 1st semester Bulldog Pride trip;

Thursday – Benchmark testing – Intermediate; MS basketball – girls at Mildred, boys v. Mildred – 5:00

Friday – HS basketball v. Teague – 5:00

I hope everyone has a great week!

via Engaging the Digital Natives by Jerri Davis

A few days ago I posted about Bloom’s and iPad apps found on the Langwitches Blog. Today I came across a similar blog posting by Kelly Tenkely on her blog iLearn Technology. This is a catalog of apps, Bloom’s Taxonomy of Apps, which is a handy little resource for any teacher with iDevices. Bloom’s Taxonomy of Apps does a fabulous job of organizing the apps so that user has an easier time of find the desired app. It is definitely worth checking out. I think you find it as a must have resource.

And if you have not ever visited iLearn Technology, I think you will find it a valuable resource for the classroom as well.

Virtual Base 10 Blocks

via Engaging the Digital Natives by Jerri Davis

The Learning Box Base 10 offers a virtual version of base 10 blocks. The Learning Box Base 10 is a fun practice game that gives students the opportunity to add blocks to represent a given target number. The Learning Box Base 10 gives a counter at the bottom of the page to keep track of blocks that are currently on the paper. The Learning Box Base 10 offers a great way for students to practice counting by ones, tens, and hundreds as well as practice place value. When the games starts, students are given a number and once they successfully create that number with blocks, The Learning Box Base 10 offers a new target number. With the new number is given, the students then have to determine whether or not to remove or add blocks. The Learning Box Base 10 allows you to adjust the level of difficulty.

The Learning Box Base 10 is worth checking out. A great virtual manipulative.

Funding Lawsuit – How did we get here?

Yesterday, I posted that the school lawsuit cases had been assigned to a judge. This will be the first step in a long process of proceedings. Today, I want to review how we got to this place. First, the state of Texas is still funding schools under a system that was designed to be a short term solution to the last school lawsuits. The target revenue system was never designed to be a long term solution to the funding situation in Texas. However, it is still in place. Second, while the state made provisions to lower property taxes, the offsets from the business taxes have not produced the revenue expected. Couple this with an economic downturn, and you have a statewide budget shortfall in the billions of dollars.

In order to offset the budget shortfall, in this past legislative session, lawmakers decided that funding for public education would be decreased. For EISD, this translated to a loss of about $560,000 this year and a projected loss of about $760,000 for the 2012-2013 school year. For our current year, budget reductions and the federal Jobs Funds Grant help to offset the reduction in state aid. The 2011-2012 school year is going to be the “easy” year. In 2012-2013, there will be no additional federal aid. EISD will lose an additional $200,000 in state funding. These reductions along with a slight decrease in enrollment will make the 2012-2013 school year one of the most challenging years ever from a budget point of view.

Some people may ask if there is any way for EISD to increase the local revenue (tax revenue). There is. It is called a Tax Ratification Election (TRE). If a TRE was held, the voters in EISD would decide if a tax increase was necessary or if the tax rate should remain as it is now. In a TRE voters can approve up to $.13 of additional M & O tax. Another way to generate local revenue is to eliminate the optional 20% homestead exemption. Both of these measures would certainly increase the amount of local revenue provided to EISD. Both of these measures would also increase the amount of taxes that most residents would be paying.

Even if a TRE was passed and EISD eliminated the optional 20% homestead exemption, EISD would still not generate as much revenue per student as some districts receive from the state. There is the inequity. It is not fair to our taxpayers to ask them to provide funding that is being provided by the state to other districts. It is also not fair to our students that programs, supplies, and materials will have to be cut from the 2012-2013 budget because students at EISD are funded at a lower level than other students in the state. Hence, EISD joined The Texas Taxpayer and Student Fairness Coalition.

Through the lawsuit, it is hoped that an awareness of the inequities in the school funding system will come to light. Students in EISD should receive an equitable amount of funding compared with other districts. The amount of funding provided to education should not depend on the zip code of the student. Taxpayers of EISD should know that their tax dollars are providing an equitable amount of funding for our children and not being used to make up for a lack of state funding.

Throughout the whole process, I will be providing updates and information as it becomes available. If you ever have questions or comments on the lawsuit or other topics, please do not hesitate to contact me at cholcombe@eustaceisd.net.

 

Bloom's Taxonomy and iPad Apps

via Engaging the Digital Natives by Jerri Davis

If you are planning to use iPads with kids then Bloom’s Taxonomy and iPad Apps is a resource you need to look into. Bloom’s Taxonomy and iPad Apps was created by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano and posted on her blog, Langwitches Blog. Each app represented, is one she has personally tested and is recommending. Bloom’s Taxonomy and iPad Apps is a chart listing the levels of Bloom’s with apps representing each level. Tolisano makes a point of letting readers know that apps that are listed can be applied to multiple levels of Bloom’s. The blog posting also takes the opportunity to remind us of the levels of Bloom’s and the components of each level.

Update on Funding Lawsuit

We received word yesterday that the funding lawsuits have been assigned to a judge. According to an email received from the Equity Center:

The Texas Taxpayer & Student Fairness Coalition lawsuit (filed October 11,
2011) has been assigned to The Honorable John K. Dietz. Judge Dietz presides
over the 250th Judicial District Civil Court in Travis County. Judge Dietz was
also assigned to the other three plaintiff groups that have filed suit on
behalf of Texas school districts.

 As the presiding judge for the lawsuit, Judge Dietz will handle all pre-trial,
trial, and post-judgment proceedings. Having presided over the last school
finance lawsuit (West Orange-Cove, II), Judge Dietz has a comprehensive
understanding of the Texas school finance system.

 Lead counsel for the Coalition, Rick Gray, said, “We’re pleased that the legal
process is well underway and we look forward to working with Judge Dietz on
this case.” Gray also said he expects the attorneys for the four plaintiff
groups to meet with Judge Dietz in the coming weeks to discuss the timeline and
procedural schedule for the case.

There is still a long way to go in the process; however, at least the process has started. Further information concerning the funding lawsuits will be passed on as soon as it becomes available.

Put Your Students in a Pickle…A Math Pickle!

via Engaging the Digital Natives by Jerri Davis

Math Pickle was created by Dr. Gordon Hamilton who has a passion for problem solving and believes this to be the very heart of mathematics. Math Pickle offers videos for all grade levels K-12. In the videos students are engaged in solving math problems and puzzles. Math Pickle also offers videos that feature unsolved math problems throughout history that students work to solve. The videos from Math Pickle actually put your students in “math pickle”.

I learned of Math Pickle from Kelly Tenkely’s blog iLearn Technology

A Unique Way to Follow World Events…10X10

via Engaging the Digital Natives by Jerri Davis

10×10 is a site that allows you to explore world events with words and pictures that represent defining events in the world. Every hour, 10×10 collects the 100 words and pictures that matter most on a global scale, and presents them as a single image. The result is a fitting snapshot of our world sometimes shocking and many times moving, but always relevant. By clicking on a single frame with the the 10×10 snaphot you can dig a little deeper in the story.

10×10 scans RSS feeds of several leading international news sources and conclusions are drawn on the hours most important words. The top 100 words are chosen as well 100 corresponding images from the same sources and then 10×10 creates a new frame every hour.

Board Meeting Last Night

The EISD Board of Trustees held their regular monthly meeting last night. The meeting started at 7:00 PM and was held in the HS library. Before the meeting, in honor of School Board Recognition Month, the  board was treated to a meal supplied by the Intermediate School. The Primary School supplied desserts and the Middle School provided hand drawn placemats for the board members. In addition, the High School provided each board member with thank you bag of various items. Each board member was presented a certificate acknowledging their contributions to the district and community. Our board members include:

Diane Russ, President
Thomas Frazier, Vice-President
Gary Walsh, Secretary
Cotton Walker, Board Member
Sonny Hodge, Board Member
Bobby Ashton, Board Member

Board Meeting Business

The board took the following actions during the meeting:

  • Approved minutes of previous meetings.
  • Approved financial reports from December.
  • Approved April 30 for the Employee Appreciation Banquet.
  • Accepted the resignation of board member Mike Smith.
  • Approved the changes in the Starting Points for EIA(Local), EIC(Local) and the Resolution to Suspend Portions of EIF(Local).
  • Approved Policy Update 92 (second reading).
  • Approved the employment of Cody Lowe (aide) and Ingrid Casillas (aide).
  • Approved the sub list as presented.
  • Approved the student transfer list as presented.
  • Approved the extension of the superintedent’s contract by one year.
  • Adjourned.

Basketball Update:
Both the JV girls and JV boys teams won at Buffalo last night. The varsity girls lost a hard fought game and the varsity boys played great defense in posting their second district win in a row.