On May 9, Lewisville ISD (LISD) community members were invited into many classrooms at Lewisville High School (LHS) – which several LISD schools took over – to see first-hand how campuses are implementing LISD’s Strategic Design initiative in classrooms.
“This is something we are going to do every year,” LISD Superintendent of Schools Dr. Stephen F. Waddell said. “We appreciate how our teachers and students have worked hard to implement Strategic Design, and this is our way of giving our community an inside look of it in action.”
More than 100 community members had an opportunity to attend four different breakout sessions to learn how individual campuses are implementing Strategic Design. Some of the evening’s presentation topics included project-based learning (PBL), digital portfolios, student voice, flexible learning spaces, creative lessons, community projects and much more.
LISD Board of Trustees President, Carol Kyer; Highland Village Mayor, Pat Davis; and U.S. Congressman Michael Burgess’ District Director, Erik With; were among the many guests in attendance.
“I cried tears of excitement,” LISD Strategic Design Committee member Kris Vaughn said. “This is the first time I’ve been able to see up close and personal what we were all so passionate about when working together as a committee. It is amazing how kindergartners and first-graders are capable of creating projects and saving them to their digital portfolios. As an adult, technology can be intimidating at times, but they embrace it. Think about what it will be like in 20 years when these children are leading society. It’s exciting.”
What is Strategic Design?
Starting the 2011-12 school year, the district underwent a transformative Strategic Design process to define aspirations for education. This process led to the district’s new core beliefs, vision, mission and goals, which were created in multiple phases through input from thousands of students, parents, community members and employees. The resulting product outlines lofty goals, but LISD is dedicated to ensuring all students enjoy thriving, productive lives in a future they create.
Members of Lewisville High School’s (LHS) Junior World Affairs Council (JWAC) strive to find local solutions to global problems. The group is working to ensure resources exist in the future, allowing them to enjoy thriving, productive lives in a future they create. Recently, their efforts drew the attention of their parent organization, the World Affairs Councils of America (WACA).
The group received high scores earlier this year when they participated in the WorldQuest program sponsored by WACA, an academic competition focused on global affairs. The program allows students to utilize academic knowledge to make a difference in their community, devoting themselves to service projects and global causes.
LHS’ JWAC raised money and awareness for thePangaea Global AIDS Foundation, in an effort to eliminate the spread of AIDS, which affects more than one million people in the United States alone.
In addition, the group also raised money to purchase a goat through Heifer International, which gives the animal to a village in need of a food supply to provide milk and help the residents build a sustainable herd, supplying them with a long-term source of nutrition.
To raise both humanitarian and environmental awareness, LHS’ JWAC also participate in the Tap Project, a project of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), whose mission is to provide clean and safe drinking water to people around the world.
JWAC also recently hosted a screening of the documentary, “Last Call to Oasis,” which documents the world’s water crisis. The group sold tickets for $5, and all proceeds went directly to the Tap Project. “Last Call to Oasis” details water issues plaguing farmers in America’s western states and foretells serious issues for the nation’s food supply without immediate attention to water conservation.
Locally, JWAC members volunteer with Christian Community Action (CCA), working in the CCA food pantry. While stocking pantry shelves last month, students learned the spring and summer months are difficult for CCA because proceeds from the holiday food drives are depleted, but the community’s need is still great. When they returned to LHS, students immediately began a food drive, asking classmates and faculty members to bring boxed meals – such as macaroni and cheese and Hamburger Helper – to stock CCA’s pantry.
“There’s no reason for a child in my neighborhood to go hungry,” a JWAC member said. “Those children will sit in these desks one day; I want them to know when we were here, we had their back. If enough people step up and help, no one will be hungry in the 21st century.”
In addition to JWAC’s recent accomplishments, their advisor, LHS English teacher Jayne Keane was honored at a recent luncheon as a finalist for JWAC Teacher of the Year.
“It’s not really about me. It’s about the students and the work they do. I simply facilitate,” Keane said. “They understand Lewisville is part of a bigger, global pictureand realize a crisis in another hemisphere touches us here whether we want to acknowledge it or not. They are so connected to the world around us. It gives me great hope for the future.”
Parents at Lakeland Elementary (Lakeland) andLewisville Elementary (LES) schools recently went back to school to learn about iPads. Both schools hosted “iPad U,” a program designed to bring parents into classrooms to learn about the technology their students utilize every day, because an educated citizenry is essential for equal opportunity and a prosperous society.
At LES, the program is aimed at familiarizing parents with components necessary for students to experience a seamless beginning to 1:X in the fall.The 1:X blended learning program is a groundbreaking, transformative installation of a flexible learning environment that gives students technological devices to access, create, share and collaborate as digital citizens to enjoy thriving, productive lives in a future they create. Moving beyond the standard 1:1 laptop model and to enhance the district’s Strategic Design, Lewisville ISD’s (LISD) 1:X provides students with the right device at the right time.
Parents were asked to attend a session in LES’s computer lab, where teachers worked with them one-on-one, in Spanish or in English, to set up email, Apple IDs and other necessary accounts.
“When students return in the fall, everything will be in place for parents to assist their children with their school-issued iPad,” LES Principal Yogi Rascon said. “The email and Apple ID accounts will allow students to utilize the applications school personnel deem necessary. Knowing our parents are prepared to assist students with the technology, will provide the strong school-home partnership necessary for the 1:X initiative to be successful.”
At Lakeland, the event was designed to increase technology usage among Chin students and their parents. Students had the opportunity to participate in after-school classes where they learned to use iPads. They were introduced to various applications, whose use is meant to improve literacy and language skills. Following the classes, students invited their parents to attend iPad U, where they took the lead in teaching their parents what they learned.
“The classes are a good way for our Chin parents to see the technology their young children are using,” Lakeland teacher Dana Shackelford said. “iPad U is designed to create familiarity quickly.”
Dog days aren’t so bad for dogs at the City of Lewisville Animal Shelter. Last month, students in Durham Middle School’s (DMS) chapter of Family Community and Career Leaders of America (FCCLA) took part in a volunteer engagement process that easily allows students to engage in their community when they designed and implemented a plan to provide a little something extra for man’s best friend. Their efforts earned a Certificate of Thanks from the City of Lewisville and the shelter.
The club, whose mission is to promote personal growth and leadership development through Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) education, meets monthly. Each meeting challenges students to find new ways to utilize the skills taught in FCS classes to better their community.
In April, students set out to serve their four-legged friends by making dog treats from scratch in the FCS kitchen. They made a variety of flavors: bacon and cheese, snickerdoodle and peanut butter with carob chips, a chocolate substitute not harmful to dogs. Students also organized a t-shirt collection drive at DMS and used the sewing machines available to FCS students to turn t-shirts into blankets for the dogs.
“The staff at the shelter expressed tremendous appreciation for our students’ efforts on behalf of the animals,” FCCLA advisor Keely Nash said. “They were impressed by the initiative the students took in contacting the shelter to establish the partnership and the students’ generosity with their time and resources.”
When students delivered treats and bedding, they played with dogs and cats currently available for adoption.
“I helped sew blankets several days after school,” FCCLA member Vivian said. “As I was petting animals, I realized it felt great to provide them with something that they wouldn’t get otherwise!”
Those interested in adopting an animal or donating to the shelter can find animal shelter adoption procedures on the City of Lewisville website.
Lewisville ISD (LISD) is proud to partner with the Lewisville Chamber of Commerce (Chamber) to recognize its students for their outstanding efforts and achievements. As part of the partnership, Chamber member Northstar Bank sponsors a School of the Month program and this May, the bank recognized Hedrick Elementary School (Hedrick) fifth-grader Thang Bik.
A native of the Chin state of Burma, Bik came to the United States when he was in second-grade speaking very little English. He leaped into life in the United States head first, making good grades at Hedrick, playing on a select soccer team, his favorite past time, and learning how he loves math. As Bik became more confident in speaking English, he emerged as a leader among his peers. During math lessons, Bik tutors his peers and using his own critical-thinking skills, is able to explain difficult concepts to others using English and Chin. At the beginning of the school year, Bik ran for student council to win a leadership role as his classroom’s Room Representative.
Bik’s goal is to enjoy a thriving, productive life in a future he creates by giving back to help others in need. When he grows up, he hopes to build a community center as a place the help people in need.
“Thang is a student who helps teachers remember why they love to teach,” Bik’s teacher Pamela Henderson said. “He has an insatiable thirst to find the answers to questions that spring from class lessons. The only motivation he needs he has, and that is his desire to know more. He helps to make me a better teacher and for that reason, I am so happy he has received this honor.”
Bik was honored during a luncheon at Hedrick on May 14. The luncheon was also attended by Hedrick Principal Patricia Cuckler; Northstar Bank President Chuck Clay; Lewisville Chamber of Commerce’s President Ray Hernandez; Bik’s mentor and friend with Communities in Schools, Shelby Griffith; and his teacher Pamela Henderson. During the luncheon, he received a certificate of achievement and a $25 Barnes and Noble gift card.
Lady Farmer Softball Wins Regional Quarterfinal
The Lewisville High School (LHS) Lady Farmer softball team traveled to Glen Rose, Texas, May 10-11 to defeat Waco Midway High School (5-0, 4-0) in the regional quarterfinal series. The team travels to Abilene Christian University on May 17 to face Lubbock Coronado High School in the regional semi-final series at 8 p.m. Game two will be May 18 at 1 p.m. Game three, if needed, will begin approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of game two. The Farmers are batting .292 in the postseason and outscored the competition 54-15. They have collected 54 hits through seven games, 18 of which have been extra base hits. Stay strong, Farmers!
Orchestra Takes Top Prize at Festival
In its inaugural season, LHS’ Sinfonia Orchestra, a non-varsity group, earned high marks May 3 at the Eisemann Center Music Festival in Richardson, Texas. The group received a Superior rating from each judge, the “Best in Category” award and an “Outstanding in Class” award. The Sinfonia Orchestra will host a concert Thursday, May 30, at LHS Harmon at 7 p.m.
LLC Teacher Wins Frank Kemerer Social Studies Teacher of the Year Award
Lewisville Learning Center (LLC) teacher Caroline Parrish recently received the Frank Kemerer Social Studies Teacher of the Year Award, given by the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals (TASSP). Parrish was nominated by her Principal, Chantell Upshaw. “Parrish’s unwavering belief in each student and her efforts to help them reach their potential made her an obvious choice for this award,” Upshaw said. TASSP representative Jim Walsh presented Parrish with her award May 9 in a surprise ceremony at LLC. “Schools like LLC are an integral part of the future of education,” Walsh said. “Parrish’s passion for her subject matter and commitment to her students’ success made her our choice for this award.”
Farmer Track Posts Strong Marks at State Meet
LHS Track and Field closed out a strong season with top-eight marks in four events. Ahkeel Guy won 7th place in long jump. Malik Summers won 7th place in the 200. The relay team of Guy, Summers, Deaundre Simmons and Jeriah Johnson won 7th place in both the 4×100 and 4×200 relays. Way to go, Farmer Track and Field!
LES Student Honored for Heroic 911 Call
Lewisville Elementary School (LES) third-grader Danielle Soto was honored by the Denton County Area 9-1-1 District for making the call that saved her father’s life. Soto’s heroic story was recently featured on Telemundo. Watch the video.
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First-grade students in Megan Farrell’s class atDegan Elementary (Degan) are collaborating via video chat with kindergarten students inKatie Hruskocy’s class at Parkway Elementary(Parkway) on a lesson about life cycles, allowing them to engage through the use of technological tools to access, create and share content as well as collaborate with other learners.
Both classes are hatching chicks in an incubator as part of the lesson. Farrell’s first-grade students began the project first. Before the incubator was plugged in or the eggs were delivered to school, students used their iPads to research the process of hatching an egg in captivity.
“We learned the eggs have to be in the incubator, and the incubator has to be 99 degrees or the eggs won’t grow right and they won’t hatch,” Degan student Brooklyn Maldonado said.
After much research on hatching chicks in captivity, the eggs arrived at Degan. Recognizing the students are now experts in hatching chicks, Farrell approached her sister and fellow teacher, Hruskocy, about connecting their classes through video chat, allowing Farell’s first-grade students to put their expertise to the test by teaching the students in Hruskocy’s kindergarten class what they needed to know to begin their own hatching project.
“We started our hatching project at Parkway after the students at Degan did, so before our eggs arrived, we had a video chat between the classes,” Hruskocy said. “My students were excited to see the first-graders’ eggs in the incubator and get a lesson from her students. My students were able to ask questions so they would know what to expect when our eggs arrived. It created tremendous excitement about the project.”
Students in both classes utilized a candler, a low energy light wand, to look inside the eggs and observe the chicks’ development prior to hatching. Farrell’s students’ eggs hatched May 7, on the 22nd day of incubation. The students observed their research indicated eggs should hatch on the 21st day. Hruskocy’s students’ eggs are still several days from hatching.
Soon they will begin watching for the first signs of cracks in the eggshells, indicating the chicks are only hours from making their appearance. They were able to watch Farrell’s students’ eggs hatch via video chat, so they know exactly what signs to expect.
“We held several video chats in the early stages of the process,” Farrell said. “Before the Parkway students received their eggs, they were already aware of the guidelines for caring for the chicks. Teaching the younger students really helped my students take ownership of the project and increased their attention to and retention of the information, and comparing notes as to where each class is in the process has increased student engagement. Each class wants to be the first to notice a change.”
Hatching chicks is a hands-on, interactive way for students to learn aspects of biology that are routinely taught in elementary school. It also becomes a cross-curricular project as graphing and writing skills are utilized to record data and observations.
“Adding a collaborative and technological element as one class taught the other via video chat, added a new dimension to something teachers have done for years. I remember hatching chicks as an elementary student,” Farrell said. “When my students are adults and they recall this project, the details they will remember best will be the ones they taught to my sister’s class.”
Cinco de Mayo brings out the festive celebration at Lewisville High School (LHS) and Lewisville High School Harmon (Harmon).
Harmon’s Sí se puede Spanish Club hosted a school-wide assembly May 1 aimed at maintaining the inclusive learning environment Harmon students enjoy.
“We host the important assembly for a variety of reasons, but I like to explain its importance by offering a quote from Maya Angelou,” Harmon Principal Andy Plunkett said. “She said, ‘Perhaps we cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all people cry, laugh, eat, worry and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.’ We have a community here as long as we celebrate together who we are and where we come from.”
The assembly provided a forum for the diverse Harmon community, staff and students to use their strengths, resources and talents to provide engaging, innovative experiences for all learners and featured performances of authentic Latino music and dances by the LHS choir, Harmon All-Star Dancers and LHS Latino Folkloric dancers and local performing company Mariachi Allende. The YMCA provided a Zumba demonstration, in which students were encouraged to leave their seats and participate in a workout based on Latino dance and set to Latino music.
The assembly concluded with a quinceañera fashion show. A quinceañera is a special event for a girl’s 15th birthday, similar to North American “Sweet Sixteen” parties, where the honored young lady dresses in a beautiful ball gown for the occasion. At the assembly, girls who recently celebrated their own quinceañera modeled their gowns and performed traditional quinceañera dances.
“Through this assembly, our students will be better able to collaborate with people from other cultures if they have an understanding of that culture,” Harmon Spanish teacher Penelope Kysiak said. Kysiak worked with other members of the Harmon faculty to guide students in planning the assembly.
Keeping with the Latino cultural theme, LHS hosted a community-wide celebration on May 3. More than 150 people, including parents, students, teachers and community members from across Lewisville ISD (LISD) attended the festivity, which included performances by a local group, Mariachi Cuauhtemoc, and the LHS Latino Folkloric dancers. LHS students Alejandra Castaneda and Donovan Salazar sang an authentic Latino song and performed a Salsa dance. LHS student Mary Beth Rodriguez performed a modern dance. Performers also participated in the Latino tradition of presenting each of their mothers a flower while the Mariachis played “Las Mañanitas.”
“It’s always a great feeling to be able to share my culture with my friends whose heritage is different than mine,” a student said after her performance. “I’m proud to be an American, but I am also proud of the heritage my parents and grandparents created for me. I’m honored when others embrace it.”
When students in Sharlyn Elliott’s sixth-grade Contemporary World Cultures class atDeLay Middle School (DeLay) recently studied the Caribbean, they were moved by the destruction still plaguing Haiti after the island nation was hit by a magnitude 7.0 earthquake in 2010. Videos of orphans in makeshift housing and sub-standard schools created in the students a desire to help the children of Haiti.
“I know meaningful and relevant work engages students in more profound learning,” Elliott said. “I realized if I could find a way for them to help the Haitian children, this lesson on the Caribbean would take on deeper meaning for them and stick with them.”
Elliott partnered with the James Foundation, a local organization which travels to Haiti to aid in rebuilding schools and orphanages. Through them, she contacted the leaders of a recently rebuilt Haitian orphanage. Together they decided Elliott’s students could help by imparting hope and love to Haiti by making and sending more than 100 encouraging cards to the students in the orphanage.
Each day, students wondered if their cards were received on the island, if the leaders of the orphanage shared them with the children and if the children understood that students in a far away place were concerned about them and their future.
Last week, their questions were answered when Elliott received an email from the leaders of the orphanage. The email told of the excitement and joy children expressed upon receiving cards from American students.
“We walked into class one day and suddenly there were pictures on the board of children in Haiti holding our cards. Their smiles were huge,” sixth-grade student Kaylee said. “I was emotional when I realized how happy it made them to receive our cards.”
Elliott’s students have a firm grasp of the facts they learned about Haiti. They can point to Haiti on a map and know it’s a country with little to offer in the way of exports thanks to the 2010 quake. They also learned about the power of compassion and being good neighbors in a global community.
“I’ve learned a lot in this class this year, but the Haiti lesson really sticks with me,” sixth-grade student Victor said. “It makes a difference to see the smiles in the pictures. It makes me want to know all I can about Haiti so maybe I can help them rebuild someday.”