4th 6 Weeks – By the Numbers

We recently ended the 4th six weeks of the 2011-2012 school year. At the end of each six weeks, we look at the attendance numbers and how they impact our state funding. Below are the numbers through the end of the 4th six weeks.

Budget vs. Payment vs. Actual 2011-2012      
  Earned (Est.) Budget Earned v. Budget
ADA 1346.5031 1378.276 -31.7729
High School ADA 363.09 399.689 -36.599
SE FTE 47.2326 47.339 -0.1064
Mainstream ADA 33.832 41.949 -8.117
CATE 54.2375 55.941 -1.7035
GT Students 51 56.167 -5.167
Comp 1081 1072.8 8.2
Bilingual 11.18 8.893 2.287
Reg Block $5,960,783 $6,099,522 -$138,739
SE $941,477 $989,835 -$48,358
CATE $379,429 $391,044 -$11,615
GT $31,426 $34,612 -$3,186
Comp $1,120,348 $1,110,992 $9,356
High School Allotment $99,851 $109,914 -$10,063
Bilingual $5,795 $4,605 $1,190
Trans $147,504 $147,504 $0
Total Tier I $8,686,613 $8,888,028 -$201,415
Less Local $4,897,262 $5,100,455 -$203,193
Tier I $3,789,351 $3,787,573 $1,778
Tier II $337,950 $325,466 $12,484
Additional State Aid For Tax Reduction $188,802 $384,938 -$196,136
Staff Allotment $49,500 $49,500 $0
  $4,365,603 $4,547,477 -$181,874
Less Available $339,056 $339,056 $0
Total Foundation School Fund $4,026,547 $4,208,421 -$181,874
Available School Fund $339,056 $339,056 $0
Tech $0 $0 $0
EDA $0 $0 $0
Total State Aid $4,365,603 $4,547,477 -$181,874

As you can see, we are currently earning less than the numbers used for our 2011-2012 budget; however, we have made adjustments to the budget to offset these losses. The main impact area still remains overall enrollment. We just do not have as many students enrolled as we did last year. Our enrollment numbers have improved over the last month, but still lag behind last year’s. One of the areas that shows a significant difference is the “Additional State Aide for Tax Reduction.” (ASATR) This line item can be misleading. If we were earning less in Tier I, this line item would probably be more. This line item is in an indirect relationship with our amount of Tier I funding. As Tier I goes up, ASATR goes down: as Tier I goes down, ASATR goes up. As always, if you have any questions about any aspect of our state funding, please do not hesitate to contact me at cholcombe@eustaceisd.net.

Board Meeting Last Night

Last night, the Eustace ISD Board of Trustees met in regular session. The meeting started at 7:00 PM and was held on the HS library. The Board took the following actions on agenda items:

  • Approved the minutes from the previous board meeting as presented.
  • Approved the financial report as presented.
  • Approved the following State Waivers for the 2012-2013 school year: Staff Development Waiver, Early Release Waiver, Modified Schedule for State Assessment Testing Days Waiver, Timeline for Accelerated Instruction Waiver, and Teacher Data Portal of the Texas Assessment Management System Waiver.
  • Approved the 2012-2013 school calendar as presented.
  • Approved moving the March regular board meeting from March 20 to March 8.
  • Employed the following personnel: Patricia Umana-Arevala, Meagan Harrod, and Jody Shue.
  • Approved the substitute list as presented.
  • Approved contract recommendations for the following personnel: Janice Beasley, Assistant Superintendent; Brian Herman, Athletic Director; Mack Saxon, Director of Special Education; Stan Sowers, High school Principal; Truman Oakley, Middle School Principal; Robert Reeve, Intermediate Principal; Dianne Shaffer, Primary Principal.
  • Appoved student transfers as presented.
  • Adjourned.

Board Meeting Tonight

The Eustace ISD Board of Trustees will hold their regular monthly meeting tonight. The meeting will start at 7:00 PM and be held in the HS library. Everyone is invited to attend.

The Board will hear the following reports:

  • PaySchools
  • NCLB Report Cards
  • 2011 Preliminary Property Tax Values
  • Gold Leadership Award
  • Henderson County Appraisal District Methods and Assistance Report
  • Update on UIL Alignment
  • DEIC Report
  • Presentation on Internet Based Resources
  • Update on Enrollment

The Board will consider the following action items:

  • Minutes of previous board meetings.
  • Financial Reports.
  • Waivers for the 2012-2013 School Year.
  • 2012-2013 School Calendar
  • Consideration and Possible Appointment of Trustee
  • Moving the date of March regular board meeting from Tuesday, March 20 to Thursday, March 8, 2012.
  • The Board will consider action on the following closed session items: accept resignations, employ personnel, update to substitute list, contracts for assistant superintendent, athletic director, director of special education, campus principals, and student transfer requests.


Socrative Student Response System

via Technology Tidbits by Twyla Felty

My laptop was totally fried all last week, so I was spending the weekend playing catch-up when, as luck would have it,  Amy Mayer of Fried Technology tweeted the most amazing tool ever: Socrative, a student response system. I quickly set up a “room” and ran through all of the quick response options. Awesome!

Since it was such a great tool,  I wanted to try the quiz option in Socrative at school. The quiz creator was easy to use and all I had to do was share my “”room” with the teachers. Only 50 people can participate in an activity, but I hoped to snag as many interested teachers as possible!

Socrative is ideal for quick student responses from ANY device with a web browser. This means students can use a computer, iPod touch, or cell phone…on wi-fi of course! They can even share devices, passing to another student after responding!

The first three response activities rely on the teacher  asking an oral question and students answering by:
Multiple Choice, True/False, or Short Answer.

The Multiple Choice here has 5 choices, listed A through E, and this can’t can’t be changed. Still, this is a fast and efficient way to collect information from the class, and when one class is over, you “clear the class” with a simple push of a button and start over!

Need more? You can also create simple quizzes ahead of time that include short answer and/or multiple choice. Student results can be downloaded or e-mailed and are in EXCEL format. It will actually score any questions that were given in multiple choice form if a correct answer is pre-selected. On top of that, the quiz can be given in a “space race” game format with students in teams–and results are still available in that nice EXCEL spreadsheet.

There is also an “exit ticket” that asks students to rate how well they understood lesson information, to answer the question on the board and to tell in their own words what was learned.

This is an amazing tool, and I can’t believe it is free for now–while it is in its “alpha mode!! To see a Socrative in action, there is a nice little video available on their site. There is also an Android app available and one on the way for Apple.

Information from Lance Gooden on 15% Rule and This Week

Last week, I mentioned that several members of the Texas House of Representatives sent a letter to Education Commissioner Robert Scott regarding their views on the implementation of the 15% rule. That letter is attached to this post. Below is the text of an email from our Representative, Lance Gooden, regarding his views on the 15% rule:

Dear Friends,

 This March, students from across the state will begin taking the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR test. This test will replace the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, or TAKS test, which has been in place since 2003.

 Many of you have called with questions about the requirement that the STAAR assessments count for 15% of a student’s final course grade. This week I joined many of my colleagues in signing a letter from the House Committee on Public Education to Texas Education Agency (TEA) Commissioner Robert Scott formally requesting the deferment of the 15% provision for the current school year.  The
Texas House of Representatives overwhelming supported the repeal of the 15%
requirement several times last year; the measure died in the Senate. If you
would like a copy of the letter that was sent to the TEA, please let me know.

I believe that parents and teachers in our local community know what is best for our children.  Standardized tests fly in the face of my commitment to locally-controlled schools. Top-down education policy from Austin and Washington has shown to be a hindrance, not a help, so I will do everything in my power to prevent further
encroachment into the classroom.  I will always oppose standardized testing because no two students are alike.  When we rate districts, schools, or teachers based on these tests it invariably creates an environment where teachers tailor their lesson plans to the tests.  The focus needs to be on preparing students to become productive members of society, not just preparing them to take an exam.

There’s also a problem that arises from the content of the tests themselves.  These standardized tests are so heavily weighted toward reading that less class time is allocated to math, science, and social studies. With so much emphasis placed on the language arts, our students are being deprived of a well-rounded education. We must empower our teachers locally to create their own curriculum that meets the needs of their individual students.

As the son of lifelong educators, I know that our teachers didn’t choose their professions in order to spend their careers helping students pass a standardized test.  They became teachers because they wanted to shape the minds of children, educate them on life, and prepare them for the world and the challenges that lie ahead.

On Friday, we received word from Commissioner Scott that the 15% provision would indeed be waived for the 2011-2012 school year.

This Week: February 20 – 25

Monday – Begin 5th 6 weeks; JV baseball at Kemp – 4:30; SB v. Martins Mill – 6:00

Tuesday – EC Reading Night; School Board Meeting – 7:00; Varsity baseball v. Kaufman – 4:30

Thursday – Report cards; Eustace Baseball Tournament;

Friday – 6 Weeks Awards – Primary; Right Choice and 4th 6 Weeks Drawings – Intermediate; Eustace Baseball Tournament; Softball at Malakoff Tournament

Saturday – Eustace Baseball Tournament; Softball at Malakoff Tournament; JV baseball at Kaufman – 11:00

I hope everyone has a great week!

Letter from Texas Representatives

I AM QR Crazy!!

via Technology Tidbits by Twyla Felty

Many thanks to the teachers and students on my campus for putting up with me this week. Fresh from TCEA and full of fun new ideas, I got hooked on QR codes after attended a class by the Digital Goonies and just couldn’t help myself! I put QR activities in the teachers’ lounges,  hung QR codes in the hallways and placed little QR codes on the tables in the cafeteria for students to read. Students were actually asking me for more codes to read! It was really, really fun!

When I first heard about QR codes, I did’t know why substituting one object for another would even matter,  but it is absolutely fun! It brings the “game” concept and the mystery of the “secret code” right into the classroom.

For those that missed the excitement this week at school, a QR code is a quick responds code that can be scanned, like a bar code. To read them, you need a reader on your device–smart phone or iPod Touch (needs a camera!). Digital Goonies recommended i-nigma, which can be downloaded from iTunes and from the Android Market . After trying several other readers, I agree that this is the fastest and easiest to use.

Once you can read QR codes, you are going to want to create them as well. Digital Goonies provided three great sites to get started with: QRstuff.comQRjuice.com, and QRhacker.com

QRstuff has more output options (download, print and e-mail), but you can’t change the background color.

QRhacker allows you to change the color of the background and foreground and add pictures into the code right on the site, though I struggled to find a suitable graphic that would work.The only output option is to download or screenshot. Also, when renaming a saved code, make sure you include the .jpeg extension or it won’t open!

If you want to add text above or below the code, for creating flashcards or other labeled  codes, QRjuice is the fastest option. You can also change both foreground and background colors, but you have to e-mail it to yourself or take a screenshot of the code.

If you want to play with the colors of the QR code, you will need the 6-digit hexadecimal code. I just “Googled” that and quickly found a site by Visibone that has a wonderful cheatsheet listing all the different colors. Once again…fun and easy to use!

Since 30% of the QR code can be “destroyed” and still be legible, QR codes can be manipulate in any photo software—or even in Word–in order to add pictures, shapes, or cool designs. I am still messing with this, so the fun just keeps on coming!

If you still can’t believe that these codes would add new energy and an element of excitement to your classroom, check out these websites for QR code ideas. If you need any help, just let me know!

The Best of QRCode
Free Technology For Teachers: Interesting Ways to Use QR Codes

Flex Days @ EHS

This week we are completing 2 of the last 4 Flex Days to be
held at E.H.S.  The Flex Days have served a great purpose in helping us
prepare students for the TAKS exams. Now that the new STAAR  exam has
arrived that just focuses on one course, it’s time for a different
approach.  Instead we will be spending more time in the classroom and
design our six weeks exams to be mini benchmarks for their STAAR exam.  We
will however, be doing extra remediation for the students that will still be
responsible for passing the TAKS Exam.