15% Rule and Basketball Tournament

Yesterday, Governor Rick Perry released a statement asking Texas Commissioner of Education, Michael Williams, to defer implementation of the rule that provided that the end of course STAAR tests count 15% of a students final grade in a class. The letter asked the commissioner to defer enforcement of the rule until the 2013-2014 school year.The governor also commended Senator Dan Patrick for filing a bill that would give school districts permanent flexibility in how the rule is utilized in individual districts.I applaud the governor’s initiative in this matter and fully support Senator Patrick’s bid to make this a local decision.

The 1st Annual E. L, Kirk Memorial Basketball Tournament got underway yesterday. Both the Eustace varsity boys and varsity girls teams posted wins. The Eustace JV girls team will play Trinidad’s varsity girls at 9:15 this morning. The Eustace varsity girls will play Crossroads at 4:45 this afternoon. The varsity boys will follow at 6:00 PM against Fruitvale.  I encourage everyone to come out and enjoy a full day of Bulldog Basketball!

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

AEIS Reports Available

The Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS) reports are available through the TEA website at http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/perfreport/aeis/2012/index.html. The AEIS reports compare district performance in multiple areas with region averages and state averages. Reports are available for districts, campuses, regions, and the entire state. The reports are based on the data collected for the 2011-2012 school year. One major difference in this year’s report is that STAAR testing data is not included in the report. The STAAR data is not included because last year was the first year of testing with the new STAAR test and passing standards have yet to be determined. Even without the STAAR testing information, this report contains an enormous amount of data about EISD. TAKS testing results, staffing data, drop out and completion data, college readiness data, and budget data are all included in the report.

In addition to the reports, an AEIS Glossary is also available. This glossary provides definitions for all of the components of the AEIS system and is a valuable resource for parents and educators.

Prior to the regular December board meeting, the EISD Board of Trustees will hold a public hearing to discuss the 2011-2012 AEIS report. The public hearing will start at 6:45 PM and be held in the High School library. Everyone is encouraged to attend.



1st Annual E. L. Kirk Memorial Basketball Tournament

EISD will be hosting the 1st Annual E. L. Kirk Memorial Basketball Tournament this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. There will be both a boys and girls bracket. The tournament is set to tip-off at 8:00 AM on Thursday. Games will be played all day Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The championship games are scheduled for 4:45 PM Saturday and 6:00 PM Saturday.

Boys teams that will be playing in the tournament include: Eustace, Trinidad, Crossroads, Fruitvale, Neches, Malakoff, East Texas Christian, Elkhart, and Quinlan Boles.

Girls teams that will be playing in the tournament include: Eustace, Eustace JV, Quinlan Boles, Mildred, Fruitvale, Malakoff, Trinidad, and Crossroads.

The Eustace girls teams will play each other at 4:45 PM on Thursday. The Eustace boys team will play the winner of the Trinidad and Crossroads game at 6:00 PM on Thursday. I encourage everyone to come out and support our teams this Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Updates will be posted to our Twitter accounts.

Also, I wanted to acknowledge the EASA football players that made the All-Star teams:

All Star games are this Saturday in Kemp.  Game times are 11 AM midgets (K-2), 1 PM pee wee (3rd/4th) and 3 PM Little League (5th/6th).  All stars representing Eustace include: Midgets – Conner Johnson, Ryan McKee, Calib Hale, Aiden Wilkinson,
Cason Long, Cole Carpenter, Brady Griffin;  Pee-Wee – Paxton Schwartz, Ismael Maltos, Trent Kirkpatrick, Cooper Walker, Clay Carpenter, Wyatt Farmer, Blaine Williamson;  Little League –  All 6th graders – Lincoln Rogers, Alejandro Sanchez, Liam Nielson, Christian Adams, Noah Herring, Garrett Griffin, Ethan Austin

Thanks to Casey Herring for supplying this information.


2nd Six Weeks, By the Numbers

Using the attendance numbers through the second six weeks, we have been able to update our estimate of state funding. At the end of the 1st six weeks, EISD was earning about $167,000 more in state funding than was budgeted in 2012-2013. Below are the number through the end of the second six weeks:

Earned (Est.) Budget Earned v. Budget
ADA 1361.473 1339.276 22.197
High School ADA 363.448 357.966 5.482
SE FTE 54.955 48.128 6.827
Mainstream ADA 29.745 33.467 -3.722
CATE 55.101 53.838 1.263
GT Students 49 52.167 -3.167
Comp 1069 1081 -12
Bilingual 18.87 11.513 7.357
Reg Block $6,353,918 $6,284,718 $69,200
SE $1,042,819 $952,886 $89,933
CATE $385,393 $376,707 $8,686
GT $30,176 $32,158 -$1,982
Comp $1,107,698 $1,120,565 -$12,867
High School Allotment $99,948 $98,441 $1,507
Bilingual $9,777 $5,967 $3,810
Trans $147,504 $147,504 $0
Total Tier I $9,177,233 $9,018,946 $158,287
Less Local $4,882,270 $4,882,270 $0
Tier I $4,294,963 $4,136,676 $158,287
Tier II $387,897 $374,784 $13,113
Other Programs $49,500 $49,500 $0
$4,732,360 $4,560,960 $171,400
Less Available $500,726 $500,726 $0
Total Foundation School Fund $4,231,634 $4,060,234 $171,400

As you can see, EISD is now earning about $171,000 more than was budgeted for 2012-2013. While this is certainly a much better position than we were in last year at this time, we still have 4 more six weeks to go in this school year. An enrollment drop would certainly lower this amount in a very short time.

A couple of notes: The line that reads “Less Local” is a formula driven figure. It is calculated by multiplying the districts total property value by $0.86 and dividing that figure by 100. This is supposed to represent the minimum amount of local tax effort that EISD should account for in the 2012-2013 school year. The line that reads “Less Available” is state aid that is taken from the Permanent School Fund. The amount of funding available from this fund varies from year to year.

As always, if you have any questions about a specific item in this table, please feel free to contact me at cholcombe@eustaceisd.net.










































This Week

I hope everyone had a safe and happy Thanksgiving! We only have 18 school days until Christmas break is here. That is also the same number of days left in the 3rd six weeks. With all of the activities and events happening during these 18 days, the days will pass quickly.

This Week

Monday – Bulldog Extra – 3:45 – 5:45; MS basketball Boys at Malakoff, Girls v. Malakoff – 5:00

Tuesday – Bulldog Extra – 3:45 – 5:45; HS basketball (boys and girls) v. Fruitvale – 5:00

Wednesday – Bulldog Extra – 3:45 – 5:45

Thursday – Bulldog Extra – 3:45 – 5:45; Eustace Varsity Basketball Tournament

Friday – Eustace Varsity B

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today is an early release day for the district. Buses will run 2 hours early. Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday are school holidays. Classes resume at their regular times on Monday, November 26.

We have basketball games scheduled today in Van and in Eustace. The girls will be hosting Van at 2:30. The boys will be traveling to Van. The first boys game starts at 3:45.

The following information comes from Josh Sypert, cross country coach:

Our own Evan Arambula competed in the Nike South Regional Cross Country Meet on Saturday, November 17, 2012 in the The Woodlands, TX. The  race is made up of ALL classifications 1A-5A and covers 5 states; Texas, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. The best high school runners from these states show to compete against one another. Out of the 222 competitors, Evan placed 48th and ran a time of 16:18, just shy of his best 5k time. He also beat the Region II 3A Champ, the 1A State Champ, and all but 2 of the 5A State runner up (The Woodlands).

Congratulations to Evan on this great accomplishment!

I want to wish everyone a very happy and safe Thanksgiving!

The Method Behind the Music

via Engaging the Digital Natives by Jerri Davis

The Method Behind the Music is a website we have found to be quite useful in our 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade Music classes.

The Method Behind the Music provides a short, although comprehensive, course on Music Theory. The Music Theory section offers lessons covering music notation, intervals, scales and key signatures, and reading tablature. The lessons not only offer written information, but with each topic visual representations are given. The Method Behind the Music also includes a music dictionary helping with vocabulary during the lessons.

The Method Behind the Music has more than just Music Theory. The Method Behind the Music also offers lessons on the mechanics of instruments, giving examples of each type of instrument and how the instrument works; lessons on the styles and history of music; and a short section on conducting.

What the students found most enjoyable is the flash piano.

The Method Behind the Music includes a flash piano allowing students to put into practice what they are learning from the lessons included on the site. This is definitely a resource worth checking into, kudos to our music teacher, Mrs. Clardy on a great find!

This Week

First, I want to congratulate the Bulldog football team on a great season!. They overcame multiple challenges throughout the year to qualify for the 3rd seed in the playoffs. A special thank you goes out to the coaches for their hard work and dedication. Also, a special thank you goes to the parents, grandparents, friends, and other fans that supported the Bulldogs throughout the season. Finally, a special thank you to the seniors for their leadership and devotion to the team.

We have a short week this week. Today is a regular school day. Tomorrow is an early release day.

Monday – Bulldog Extra – 3:35 – 5:45; MS Basketball – Boys at Palmer, Girls v. Palmer – 5:00;  HS Basketball – JVB, VG, & VB v. Cross Roads – 4:30

Tuesday – Early Release; HS Basketball v. Van – 2:30

Wednesday – Friday – Thanksgiving Holidays

Classes resume at regular times Monday, November 26.

I hope everyone has a great week!

Playoff Game and EASA

Tonight, the Bulldogs face Daingerfield for the bi-district championship. The game will be played at Brook Hill in Bullard. Kickoff is set for 7:30. I encourage everyone to come out and support the Bulldogs! You will also get to see and hear the Mighty Bulldog Marching Band and the best cheerleading squad in this area!

I wanted to pass on some information about the EASA game this Saturday. The older team has made it to the Superbowl and plays Kemp for the championship. The game will be played in Mabank and is set to start at 3:00 PM.

Just a reminder that we will have a short week next week. Monday is a regular school day. Tuesday is an early release day. Buses will run two hours early. We will be out of school Wednesday through Friday in observance of the Thanksgiving Holidays.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Research Article – Technology as a Distraction

I very seldom include a copy of a whole article that I have read in this blog; however, after reading this article, I decided that it contained too much valuable information not to share in its entirety. The author of the article and the website where it was published is included for reference. I encourage everyone to take a few minutes and read this article.

Driven to distraction: How to help wired students learn to focus

Posted By Contributor On November 13, 2012 @ 11:49 am In Curriculum,eClassroom News,McClatchy,Research,Top News

Learning to live with both internal and external distractions is all about teaching the concept of focus, Rosen writes.

A recent Pew Internet & American Life Project report surveyed 2,462 middle and high school Advanced Placement and national writing project teachers and concluded that: “Overwhelming majorities agree with the assertions that today’s digital technologies are creating an easily distracted generation with short attention spans, and today’s students are too ‘plugged in’ and need more time away from their digital technologies.”

Two-thirds of the respondents agree with the notion that today’s digital technologies do more to distract students than to help them academically.

Mind you, we are talking about teachers who typically teach the best and brightest students and not those who we would generally think of as highly distractible.

Recently my research team observed 263 middle school, high school, and university students studying for a mere 15 minutes in their homes. We were interested in whether students could maintain focus and, if not, what might be distracting them. Every minute we noted exactly what they were doing, whether they were studying, if they were texting or listening to music or watching television in the background, and if they had a computer screen in front of them and what websites were being visited.

The results were startling, considering that the students knew we were watching them and most likely assumed we were observing how well they were able to study. First, these students were only able to stay on task for an average of three to five minutes before losing their focus. Universally, their distractions came from technology, including: (1) having more devices available in their studying environment such as iPods, laptops, and smart phones; (2) texting; and (3) accessing Facebook.

Other researchers have found similar attention spans among computer programmers and medical students, and in those studies technology provided the major sources of distraction.

We also looked at whether these distractors might predict who was a better student in general. Not surprisingly, those who stayed on task longer and had well-developed study strategies were better students. The worst students were those who consumed more media each day and had a preference for switching back and forth between several tasks at the same time.

One additional result stunned us: If the students checked Facebook just once during the 15-minute study period, they had a lower grade-point average. It didn’t matter how many times they looked at Facebook; once was enough. Not only did social media negatively impact their temporary focus and attention, but it ultimately impacted their entire school performance.

So, what was going on with these students? We have asked thousands of students this exact question, and they tell us that when alerted by a beep, a vibration, or a flashing image, they feel compelled or drawn to attend to that stimulus. However, they also tell us that even without the sensory intrusions they are constantly being distracted internally by thoughts such as, “I wonder if anyone commented on my Facebook post,” or “I wonder if my friend responded to the text message I sent five minutes ago”—or even “I wonder what interesting new YouTube videos my friends have liked.”

Three-fourths of teens and young adults check their devices every 15 minutes or less and if not allowed to do so get highly anxious. And anxiety inhibits learning.

I am convinced that learning to live with both internal and external distractions is all about teaching the concept of focus. In psychology, we refer to the ability to understand when you need to focus and when it is not necessary to do so as “metacognition,” or knowing how your brain functions. In one recent study, we found a perfect demonstration of metacognition, albeit totally by accident. In this study we showed a video in several psychology courses, which was followed by a graded test.

Students were told that we might be texting them during the videotape and to answer our text messages. In fact, one-third did not get a text message, one-third got four texts during the 30-minute video, and the other third got eight texts, enough, we guessed, to distract them and make them unable to concentrate on the video. One other wrinkle was that we timed the text messages to occur when important material was being shown on the videotape that was going to be tested later.

We were right that the students who got eight texts did worse—they averaged a “D” on the test—but the students who received four texts and the students who did not receive a text message during the video got a “C” on our test. However, a mistake in our instructions told us more about what was going on inside the students’ heads when the text arrived. We told students to reply to our text messages, but we did not tell them when to reply. Those students who manifested a knee-jerk reaction to their vibrating phone and answered our texts immediately were the ones who got the lower test grades. Those few students who opted to wait a few minutes to respond got the highest scores in the class.

After the study, when asked why they did not respond immediately, they told us that they were waiting for a time when the videotape material seemed less important and not likely to be on the test. Those students were using their metacognitive skills to decide when was a good time to be distracted and when it was important to focus.

How do we teach focus in a world that is constantly drawing our attention elsewhere? One strategy that we are using in classrooms around the world is called “technology breaks.” Here’s how it works: In many classrooms, students are allowed to use their smart phones, tablets, or laptops as tools to search the web, access social media, or perform other activities that promote learning. In such classrooms, teachers often report that in between times that students are using their devices for schoolwork, they are checking their eMail and text messages, tweeting, or accessing social media.

A tech break starts with the teacher asking all students to check their texts, the web, Facebook, whatever, for a minute and then turn the device on silent and place it upside down on the desk in plain sight and “focus” on classroom work for 15 minutes. The upside-down device prohibits external distractions from vibrations and flashing alerts and provides a signal to the brain that there is no need to be internally distracted, because an opportunity to “check in” will be coming soon.

At the end of the 15-minute focus time, the teacher declares a tech break and the students take another minute to check in with their virtual worlds, followed by more focus times and more tech breaks. The trick is to gradually lengthen the time between tech breaks to teach students how to focus for longer periods of time without being distracted. I have teachers using this in classrooms, parents using it at the dinner table or at a restaurant, and bosses using tech breaks during meetings with great success. So far, though, the best we can get is about 30 minutes of focus thanks to Steve Jobs (and others) for making such alluring, distracting technologies.

Technology is not going to disappear from our world and, in fact, it is only going to get more appealing as screens become sharper, video becomes clearer, and touch screens become the norm, all of which attract our sensory system and beckon us to pay attention to them rather than schoolwork or the people in front of us.

With more electronic social connections in our lives, internal distractors are also increasing—and tech breaks can be used to train the brain to focus without the worry and anxiety about what we might be missing in our virtual social world.

Larry Rosen is a professor of psychology at California State University and author of five books on the “psychology of technology,” including iDisorder: Understanding Our Obsession With Technology and Overcoming Its Hold on Us. Readers may send him eMail at lrosen@csudh.edu. He wrote this for The Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va. (c) 2012, The Free Lance-Star; distributed by MCT Information Services.

Article printed from eSchool News: http://www.eschoolnews.com