Technology, Volleyball, and Football

by Coy Holcombe.  

If you have visited (or tried to visit) our homepage recently, you probably did not get to see much. We had some major issues with one of our main servers starting on Thursday. Our technology department spent some long hours this weekend reconfiguring a new server for our email, webpage, and Moodle. While things are beginning to return to normal, it will take a couple of additional days to get all components of the new server working just right.

Congratulations to Coach Chuck Powers and the volleyball team for a great victory against New Boston in the area playoff game on Saturday. Our ladies will now take on Princeton in the regional quarterfinals. This game will be played tomorrow (Tuesday) at Quinlan-Ford. The opening serve will take place at 7:00. I encourage everyone to come out and support our volleyball team.

Our Bulldog football team will be playing for the bi-district championship this Friday against Nevada-Community. The game will be played at the Richardson Mustang-Eagle Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30. Make plans now to come out and support the football team in their first playoff appearance in 11 years. Check back later this week for detailed driving instructions to the stadium.

  

Thanks to the Drama Department

by Coy Holcombe.  

Thanks to Tammy Beaty and the High School Drama Department for a great performance of The Princess and The Princess. The play was performed for the general public and for both the Primary and Intermediate schools.

I know that the cast and crew put in many hours of rehearsal time to make this play successful. If you missed the live performance, or if you would like to see the play again, the link below will take you to a video of the play.

http://moodle.eustaceisd.net/blocks/inwicast/view.php?id=104&cmd=show_media&mediaRef=MEDIA081104185301306

Pupil Projections

by Coy Holcombe.  

We have talked before about how the state estimates how much money to send to school districts. So, how does the state get these estimates for future state funding? One avenue that the state uses is pupil projections provided by school districts. About 3 years ago, EISD had to submit projections to the state for the next three years on estimated ADA, special programs ADA, and special program FTEs (full-time equivalent). These estimates then became part of the estimates used by TEA to plan and allocate funds for the next three years.

Currently, TEA is requesting pupil projections for 08-09, 09-10, and 10-11 school years. These estimates have to be submitted by December 12, 2008. TEA has its own set of projections for EISD for these years. If we agree with the TEA projections, then no change is necessary. However, usually the TEA projections are much greater than the actual numbers for EISD. Only in a limited number of categories will the TEA projections actually reflect a reasonable approximation of enrollment for EISD.

So how does EISD project the numbers three years in advance? Since the submission of this data is not due until December 12, we will have over two full six weeks of actual enrollment data to use in our projections. Once we make the projections for the 08-09 school year, we can then estimate the projections for the 09-10 and the 10-11 school years.

If you have any questions regarding pupil projections or how EISD calculates future projections, please contact me at cholcombe@eustaceisd.net.

Pre-K Grant Proposed Rules

by Coy Holcombe.  

Last week, I briefly mentioned that there would be changes in the rules governing the pre-k grant program. This program allows EISD to basically receive funding for a full-day pre-k program. Normally, the state only provides funding for 1/2 day pre-k program. With the pre-k grant, the state still provides funding for 1/2 day attendance and the grant provides the funding for the other 1/2 day. This enables EISD to provide a full-day pre-k program for our 4 year olds.

The new rules were released last Friday. I will attempt to summarize the rules below, and I will provide a link that will take you to the complete text of the proposed rules.

The basic premise behind the new rules is to allow districts that do not have a full-day pre-k program to apply for funding to start a full-day program. The state is targeting the districts that do not have a full-day program and that are performing below the state standard on the state assessments in third grade (the TAKS test). The new rules provide three different tiers of funding: Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3.

Tier 1 funding will have the highest percentage of available funds. This tier will target schools whose performance on the grade 3 assessments is "substantially below the state average, as defined in the grant application, for the last three consecutive years and either has not previously received a pre-k grant or did not participate in the last round of pre-k grant funding.

Tier 2 will receive a percentage of available funding. This tier takes in schools that received grant funds in the latest round of funding. The schools funded under Tier 2 must "demonstrate improved student performance results for the last three consecutive years on the Grade 3 assessment instruments" and have "demonstrated successful implementation of a prekindergarten program that includes proven readiness components".

The final tier, Tier 3 will also receive a percentage of funding. This tier takes into account schools that received funds from the latest round of funding and "has been substantially below the state average, as defined in the grant application, for the last three consecutive years".

So, where does EISD fall in these three tiers? Well, certainly, we would not qualify in either Tier 1 or Tier 3 because we have received grant funds and our performance in grade 3 is not below, but above, the state average. In Tier 2, it states that a district must show "demonstrated improved student performance results for the last three consecutive years on the Grade 3 assessment instruments". Because our scores in the third grade have been substantially above the state average, it may be difficult to show this improved performance. Over the last three years, our passing rate on the TAKS reading test in third grade have been 98%, 99%, and 96%. In the 3rd grade TAKS math, our passing percentages have been 91%, 87%, and 91%. When your scores are this high, it is difficult to show improvement.

Since there is no tier that takes into account high achievement being maintained over a multiple year period, it may be that EISD does not qualify for any pre-k grant funds because our scores on the third grade TAKS tests were too good. It appears that the new rules will not provide funds for a district such as EISD that has done everything that the state has asked and has produced scores above and beyond the state average on a consistent basis. 

It needs to be noted that these are just proposed rules at this time. Right now, TEA is taking public comments on the proposed rules. Anyone may submit comments to TEA regarding these rules. I encourage everyone interested in maintaining our full-day pre-k program to submit your comments to TEA. I believe the bottom line is that you do not build up new pre-k programs by tearing down successful pre-k programs. You may submit comments to TEA by emailing them at rules@tea.state.tx.us.

You may view the proposed rules by going to this website:

http://www.tea.state.tx.us/rules/commissioner/proposed/1008/102-1002-ltrprop.html

Playoffs Abound

by Stan Sowers.  

How about 3 for 3!  1st the volleyball team makes the playoffs by winning district, then both cross country teams make it to Regionals, then the football team beats Wills Point this past Friday to lock in the playoffs as well.  The Bulldogs have a chance to win district themselves when they play Van this Friday in the final district game.  Jump on the band wagon fans!  There is a lot to be proud of at EHS.

Bulldog Proud

Volleyball, Football, and Cross Country

by Coy Holcombe.  

With a 41-30 win against Wills Point on Friday, the Bulldogs set the stage for a showdown with Van this Friday for the district championship. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30. The game will be played at Van.

The win against Wills Point gives Eustace a 3-1 district record and secured a playoff berth for the Bulldogs. The last time that Eustace was in the football playoffs was 1997. Updates will be posted regarding playoff opponents and sites as information becomes available.

The Bulldog volleyball team will have their first playoff game in Gladewater this Saturday starting at 5:00. The Bulldogs will be taking on the team from New Boston. The volleyball team is currently ranked 18th in the state in class 3A.

Also, both our boys and girls cross country teams will be competing in the regional meet this Saturday. The meet will be held at Vandergriff Park in Arlington. More information will be posted later in the week regarding running times and directions.

Start making plans now for a big weekend of Bulldog sports. The support of the fans really does make a difference.

Football and Senior Night

by Coy Holcombe.  

The Bulldogs will be hosting the Wills Point Tigers tonight starting at 7:30. Not only is this an extremely important district game, it is also the last home game of the season. In addition, Senior Night activities will begin at 7:00.

I encourage everyone to come out and fill the stands tonight. Your presence and support does make a difference. Not only will you get to see a great football game, you will also get to see the Bulldog varsity cheerleaders and the Mighty Bulldog Marching Band.

Come out early to show your support and appreciation for our seniors and their families and then sit back and enjoy football, cheerleading, and music done the Bulldog way!

Pre – Kindergarten Grant

by Coy Holcombe.  

EISD offers a full day pre-k program for 4 year olds. We have offered this full day program for several years now. The reason that I emphasize "full-day" is that the state only provides funding for half-day pre-k programs. In other words, let’s say that we had an ADA of 50 in our pre-k program for the year. We would receive state funding on half of this amount, or 25 ADA (there are other considerations given by the state that might impact the overall pre-k ADA, but this is generally how it is calculated). The reason that we are able to offer a full-day pre-k program is that we receive a pre-k grant that funds the other half of the day.

For several years now, EISD has received this pre-k grant. For the 08-09 school year, we will receive about $100,000 from this grant. All of these funds go toward paying the salaries of the pre-k teachers. In the past, once you have qualified for this grant, a district would automatically be renewed to receive this grant in subsequent years (assuming that the district is meeting all the requirements of the grant).

Currently, the state is proposing changing the conditions of this pre-k grant. Tomorrow, new guidelines will be released on the rewarding of this grant. One of the changes might be that schools that are currently receiving this grant no longer automatically qualify for receiving it the next year. If this is the case, and the grant becomes a competitive grant, it will depend on the criteria set forth in the grant on whether EISD can continue to receive this funding.

We are going to closely monitor the release of the information concerning the new pre-k grant program. Further entries will be devoted to this information. While EISD may be impacted by changes in the grant program, it is far too early to tell what this impact will be.   

Play Hard, Play Smart, Play Together

by Stan Sowers.  

Established by Coach Wendel and the football team, our new motto is Play Hard, Play Smart, Play Together.  I think this was very evident in the football game Friday night against Kemp.  The plan is to continue this play into the next two games and into the playoffs.  According to Coach Wendel the guys are having great practices this week.  Big game vs. Wills Point at home this Friday that could be a playoff clincher .  They love playing at home in front of their fans and on their turf. 

In watching the girls play volleyball the last several games it looks as though they have the same approach.  There is no question that they have stepped it up in preparation for the playoffs by playing hard, playing smart, and playing together.  Congratulations ladies on your district championship and good luck in the playoffs.

There is no question how hard the cross country teams play(work).  After talking with a few of the runners following the district meet Monday they agreed they can and will play smarter and together in the regional meet to give them a chance at advancing to State.  Definitely proud of the girls for holding it together and qualifying for Regionals after losing their top runner Tori Bynum to injury.

A life lesson we can all learn if we’re wanting to be successful.  "Play hard, Play Smart, Play Together."  Thanks Coach Wendel for the inspiration.

Bulldog Proud

DISTRICT CHAMPS

by Coy Holcombe.  

Volleyball.jpg

Congratulations to the varsity volleyball team on winning the district championship. The Bulldogs defeated Mineola in three games last night to win the title. Our ladies completed district play with a 9-1 record. Over the next few days, we will be getting information to you about the playoff games. Coaches for the volleyball teams are: Chuck Powers – head coach; Shannon Smith – assistant coach; and, Laura Belt – assistant coach.