Science for Kids

via Engaging the Digital Natives by Jerri Davis

Science for Kids is wonderful site offering fun activities, facts, projects, online games, and experiments all for kids. The goal of Science for Kids is to foster a desire in kids to learn more about science and technology and how it applies to the world around them.

Science for Kids strives to make scientific concepts fun and engaging. Young “scientist” learn to form questions and use reasoning to make decisions.

Science for Kids is a great resource for teachers and parents. The site offers lesson plans, photos, quizzes, and videos. Science for Kids a site definitely worth checking out.

Board Meeting Tonight

First, a reminder that our volleyball teams travel to Dallas Life Oak tonight for an important district game. The 9th grade will start at 5:00.

Board Meeting

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

The Board will hear the following reports:

  • Performance Based Monitoring Analysis System (PBMAS) Report
  • PaySchools Report
  • Near Final Summary of Finance Compared with Local Estimates

The Board will consider these possible action items:

  • Minutes of previous meetings.
  • Financial Reports.
  • Class-Size Waiver Request
  • Nominee to Henderson County Appraisal District Board of Directors
  • Refinancing of Bonds
  • Closed Meeting – Personnel and Student Transfers
  • Possible Action on Closed Meeting Items

 

This Week

Congratulations to the varsity volleyball team on their win against Malakoff on Friday. The Lady Bulldogs are set for a big showdown with district leading Life Oak Cliff on Tuesday.

Although Rusk won the football game on Friday, our young men played hard throughout. The Bulldogs will be getting ready this week to travel to Fort Worth on Friday to play FW Castleberry.

Our Mighty Bulldog Marching Band is getting closer to having their entire halftime show ready. The band did a great job Friday night! Of course, our cheerleaders continue to put on a great show throughout the game.

This Week

This week is Celebrate Freedom Week. Campuses will be involved in numerous activities throughout the week. The culminating event will be the Celebrate Freedom Parade on Friday at the Intermediate bus loop. Everyone is invited to come out and celebrate with us!

The Bulldog Extra after-school program starts today. The program’s goals are to provide students an opportunity to get additional help in a subject, to provide additional access to the district’s technology, and to provide a place for students to work on assignments and projects. Bulldog Extra goes from 4:00 – 6:00, Monday – Thursday. The program meets in the High School library.

Monday – Bulldog Extra – 4:00; Band practice – 6:30; MS volleyball at Malakoff

Tuesday – Bulldog Extra – 4:00; HS volleyball at Dallas Life Oak Cliff – 5:00; School Board meeting – 7:00, HS Library

Wednesday – Bulldog Extra – 4:00

Thursday – Bulldog Extra – 4:00; MS football v. Whitehouse – 5:00; JV football v. FW Castleberry;

Friday – Celebrate Freedom Parade; HS volleyball at Palmer – 4:30; Varsity football at FW Castleberry – 7:30

I hope everyone has a great week! Remember to sign up for the district’s text message account @EustaceISD through Celly. It’s free, it’s easy, and you do not have to give out your cell number!

Today

Today is a busy day in the district. The Primary Book Fair is closing today. If you have not visited the Book Fair, please take a few minutes and browse the great collection of books. The Book Fair is located in the Primary library and will be open today until 3:30.

Our cross country teams are traveling to Van today to participate in the Sky Ranch meet.

The High School volleyball teams will be traveling to Malakoff this afternoon. The varsity will play at 4:30.

The varsity football team will be hosting Rusk tonight at Bulldog Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:30. As always, the cheerleaders and the Mighty Bulldog Marching Band will be providing support and entertainment throughout the game.

A new video of the yesterday’s Middle School pep rallly will be posted to our YouTube page this morning. EISD’s YouTube page can be found at http://www.youtube.com/user/EustaceISD.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Services to Parents

There are several services offered by EISD that are designed to help parents monitor the progress of their children and to offer convenience in handling routine tasks. First, I encourage every parent/guardian to sign up for txConnect. This service allows parents/guardians to monitor the grades and attendance of their children. Alerts can be set that will generate an email message to the parents/guardians if a grade below a set mark is recorded for the student. The parent/guardian gets to set the mark at which an alert is generated. In addition, txConnect will generate an email if a student is absent from a class. For more information, or to sign-up for this service, please contact the campus office of enrollment. To access txConnect, go to the EISD homepage www.eustaceisd.net. On the left side of the page, click on the link that says “Student Grades and Assignments”.

PaySchools is a service that allows parents/guardians to pay for meals and other items online with a credit card or e-check. There is a $1.50 convenience fee added to each payment. This convenience fee is designed to offset the cost that the district is charged by PaySchools for their services. To learn more about PaySchools, go to http://www.payschools.com/.

A new service that EISD is providing for the 2012-2013 school year is text updates with Celly. Celly is a free service that allows groups to receive text messages without giving out their cell phone number. While the campuses have their own cells, the district also has a cell, @EustaceISD. To sign up to receive text updates on major events, visit the district’s homepage, www.eustaceisd.net. Just below the Ford symbol is the link that will take you to Celly. I encourage everyone to signup for the EISD celly group. We do not broadcast a lot of text messages, so you do not have to worry about being bombarded with messages.

As always, if you have questions or comments, please feel free to contact me at cholcombe@eustaceisd.net. If you have ideas for other services that the district might offer, I would love to hear them.

A reminder that our MS football teams will be playing their first games tonight against Rusk. The games are scheduled to start at 5:00. The Middle School games will be played here. The JV football team will be traveling to Rusk. We know that there is a chance of thunderstorms moving through the area. The conditions will be monitored carefully and any adjustments will be made accordingly. If changes are necessary, they will be announced through Celly and on our Twitter accounts.

TEA Waiver Request

There have been many articles in the media about the waiver request that the Texas Education Agency has recently submitted to the Department of Education regarding the No Child Left Behind Act. While there are several different areas of NCLB that TEA is asking for waiver relief, the part that has attracted the most attention is the Adequate Yearly Progress provision.

As we have discussed, this year, around 70% of the districts in the state failed to meet AYP. Since the requirements for AYP increase next year, it is likely that even more districts in the state will fail to meet these standards. Further, in 2014, the standards increase to where anything less than a 100% passing rate on standardized tests will mean that a district does not meet AYP (there are other provisions in NCLB that might allow a district to meet AYP without achieving the 100% passing rate). NCLB imposes certain sanctions on school districts and campuses for not meeting AYP in consecutive years. These sanctions become more and more severe if districts or campuses continue to fall short of meeting AYP requirements.

Last year, EISD did not meet AYP for exceeding the federal 3%. This cap provides that only 3% of students in grades taking a standardized test may take an alternate or modified version of the test. At the same time, the ARD committees must decide on an individual basis what is in the best educational interest of the child. If they decide that an alternate or modified version is best, then that is what we are going to provide. Exceeding the federal cap does not take into consideration how these students performed on their assessments: they are automatically labeled as failing to meet standards.

This year, EISD did not meet AYP for a totally different reason. The 3% cap was corrected; however, that really does not matter. Since we did not meet AYP for two consecutive years, we were moved to Stage 1. Stage 1 is not very punitive in nature and really only requires the district to notify parents and provide additional information and plans in the district improvement plan and the campus improvement plans. The frustrating part is that the reason we missed last year was corrected. It had nothing to do with why we did not meet AYP this year. Yet, the district does not get credit for making these improvements.

Each year, EISD gets a report from TEA called “Performance-Based Monitoring Analysis System”. This report examines several different aspects of the district: career and technology, ESL, special education, and NCLB. On the NCLB report, EISD received a perfect score. Yet, we did not meet AYP standards for NCLB. This serves as a great example of why the waiver is needed for AYP. From one system to another, EISD receives a perfect score and at the same time does not meet AYP.

Adequate Yearly Progress served its purpose in focusing attention on raising achievement for all students. Now, it has outlived its usefulness. What’s the point in a system where you know in advance that more than 70% of the districts in a state will not meet the standards? It’s time to move to the next level and a system that measures true academic progress. While not providing the new system, the waiver does provide a first step. EISD looks forward to the new system.