End of the First Semester

Today is the last day of classes for the first semester. All schools will be released approximately two hours early today. It is difficult to believe that the first semester of the 2012-2013 school year is already gone. Students and staff have already had numerous accomplishments this year. I want to thank everyone for a great first semester. It takes everyone working together to make the Eustace educational experience the best it can be.

Classes will resume at their regular times on January 8, 2013. I look forward to an even better second semester. I want to wish everyone a safe and enjoyable break. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Congratulations to the Middle School

Eustace Middle School dominated the UIL Academic competition in Malakoff recently. EMS won the competition by over 300 points! Below is a picture of all of the awards won by Eustace Middle School students. Congratulations to all the students, their coaches, and Mr. Oakley for this performance!!

 

 

Tragedy in Connecticut and This Week

Our hearts and our prayers go out to the families affected by the tragedy that occurred last Friday in Connecticut. Even after several days, it is difficult to fully comprehend the loss or to even try to make sense of the situation. As a district, we will continue to do whatever is necessary to make sure that our children are safe. We will continue to practice drills with all campuses and we will continue to review and update our security throughout the district. It takes everyone, staff, parents, community members and students, working together to make this district safe as possible for our children. Please, do not hesitate to contact me, or anyone else in this district, with information that may affect school safety. The more we know and share, the better we can deal with potential problems. As always, thank you for your support of the children of EISD.

This Week – We have a short week this week. We have early out days on Tuesday and Wednesday. Buses will run two hours early on both days.

Monday – Bulldog Extra – 3:45 – 5:45; 2nd Grade Christmas Around the World; MS Basketball – Boys v. Dallas Oak Life – Girls at Dallas Oak Life – 5:00

Tuesday – Early Release; Bulldog Extra – 1:30 – 3:30; HS Basketball v. Malakoff – 4:30; AEIS Public Hearing – 6:45 – HS Library; School Board Meeting – 7:00 – HS Library

Wednesday – Early Release; End 3rd 6 Weeks

Thursday – School Holiday

Friday – School Holiday; HS Basketball at Kemp – 12:00 PM

I hope everyone has a great week!

Eustace Theater Students helping those in need by Donating proceeds

On Friday December 7th, 2012 the cast and crew at Eustace High School performed “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens adapted by Martha B. King. Instead of $2 for a student to attend the morning performance the cast and crew asked that two canned goods be brought instead to be donated to those in need this holiday season. They collected 168 canned goods to be donated to The Heart of Heath Foundation, a local non profit organization located in Eustace that was established in memory of Eustace Middle School Student, Heath Bragg, by his aunt to honor his giving heart. The canned goods will be delivered to those in need this holiday season in the Eustace community.

Christmas Concert 2012

The EISD bands presented their annual Christmas Concert last night. The beginning band led off the performance. They were followed by the 7th and 8th grade band and then the High School Band. Each of the bands turned in great performances. All three performances will be posted to the district’s YouTube page this morning. If you missed the live performance, or if you just want to see them again, you can see them at http://www.youtube.com/eustaceisd.

All of the band members in all three bands spent a great deal of time preparing for last night’s performance. A special thank you to Todd Felty and Jim Taylor, EISD band directors, for their work in preparing each of the bands. Also, a very special thank you to all of the people that came out to support the bands last night.

A reminder that both the High School boys and girls basketball teams will be in action tonight. The boys will be traveling to Blooming Grove. Tip-off will be at 5:00 for the JV game. The girls will be hosting Palmer in the second district game of the season. The JV game is set to start at 5:00.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

New Definition of College Ready?

Below is an article from the Austin-American Statesman. This article deals with the Texas Education Agency’s possible new definition of college ready. While I have encouraged our lawmakers to insist on a common definition of college ready, I did not expect TEA to make the claim that students that score “Satisfactory” on the new end of course tests would now be considered college ready. Previously, TEA had stated that students that scored at the “Advanced” level on the end of course tests were considered college ready.

I am not going to rush to judgement on this change. At the same time, there are many questions that come to my mind: Is the passing standard for scoring “Satisfactory” being raised? If a student scores “Satisfactory” on the end of course tests, is that going to correspond to score on the SAT or ACT that shows a student is college ready? Does that mean that a student that just barely scores in the “Satisfactory” range is college ready, or is there going to be some type of scaling used? As always, when I receive further information on this topic, I will pass that on to you.

By Kate Alexander

                                    American-Statesman Staff

The Texas Education Agency is recommending lowering the threshold for which students it deems “college ready,” a move that somecalled a retreat from the high academic standards laid out in state law.

Gloria Zyskowski, the agency’s director of student assessment, testified at the ongoing school finance trial Monday that the students who meet the “satisfactory” or passing standard on the state’s standardized tests should be considered college ready.

Previously, the agency had said the “advanced” standard on the end-of-course tests amounted to college readiness. Last spring, only 3 percent of the ninth-graders who took the English I exam achieved the advanced standard, though that test is calibrated to demonstrate whether the student is ready for the next course rather than college.

The definition of “college ready” matters because the students who meet that standard do not have to take a placement exam before starting college. That test establishes whether the student needs remediation.

The state’s commissioners overseeing higher education and public schools must agree on the definition. Both agencies said negotiations were ongoing.

David Thompson, a lawyer for one of the four school district groups suing the state, said Zyskowski had dropped a “bombshell” with her disclosure, which had not been told to school districts.

“You can make it look like not as many kids need remediation just by lowering your standards,” Thompson said in an interview. “It doesn’t change what kids really need.”

Drew Scheberle, vice president of education for the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, agreed in an interview.

“The passing standard and the college readiness standard should not be the same thing,” Scheberle said. “College readiness ought to mean college readiness.”

Zyskowski said the definition has been evolving, but she denied that it was set lower based on the performance on the first administration of the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness last spring.

The satisfactory standard means that a student is sufficiently prepared for college but might need some remediation. Thompson noted that the law states explicitly that college readiness means a student is prepared for an entry-level course without remediation.

The school districts are arguing that the Legislature has failed to provide adequate resources for schools to bring students up to the more rigorous college-ready standards. The state maintains it’s the job of the school districts, not the state, to meet those standards.

Assistant Attorney General Nichole Bunker-Henderson walked Zyskowski through the state’s different testing iterations over the years and emphasized that the rigor has been steadily increasing.

Bunker-Henderson showed a sample question from the 1982 exit-level test and asked how it would compare to questions today.

“I don’t know that we would have an item that would be quite this simple even on the third grade test,” Zyskowski said.

Zyskowski testified that student performance on the TAKS, the precursor to STAAR, had improved each year and the achievement gap between student groups had narrowed.

Asked if STAAR performance will follow that trajectory, Zyskowsi said: “The expectation is the same pattern would prevail.”

Zyskowski, who once said at a conference that STAAR would be “really, really hard,” denied that the passing standards were set too high.

 

Texas Schools, Bullying and the Law

A video from the Texas School Safety Center about the bullying laws in the state of Texas. This video is relevant for teachers, adminstrators, and parents.
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from Uploads by EustaceISD http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MoIw9EiVNnY&feature=youtube_gdata