December 2012, Edition

Dear Education Partner:

Dr Wanda Bamberg, Superintendent of SchoolsThe tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut left us all shocked and saddened for the families of the children and staff members who lost their lives.

Please keep those family members in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. While most people will be celebrating the holiday season, those families will be left grieving and coping with the loss of loved ones.

We want to assure our parents and stakeholders that the safety and security of our students and staff are a top priority in Aldine ISD. We will continue to have a focus on our security processes and procedures and will be vigilant and diligent in what we do. We have asked all principals to review safety procedures with staff members and we have increased police patrols at elementary campuses. We are also conducting a facility assessment of each facility to identify possible vulnerabilities.

On Dec. 13, we hosted a Legislative Breakfast at Davis High School for state lawmakers who serve the Aldine community. State Representatives Sylvester Turner and Armando Walle attended the event, along with representatives from State Senator Dan Patrick’s office and State Senator John Whitmire’s office. Sylvia Garcia, a candidate for the Senate 6 seat formerly held by State Senator Mario Gallegos, also attended the breakfast. Aldine ISD Trustees Rick Ogden, Merlin Griggs, Marine Jones, Steve Mead, Dr. Alton Smith, Dr. Viola M. Garcia and Rose Avalos and our administrative team were also present.

We proposed to the lawmakers and their representatives changes in testing and graduation requirements that would reduce the number of End of Course exams required for graduation. We also support a revised graduation plan that would allow students opportunities for courses in high school to prepare them for certification and licensure for jobs that pay beyond minimum wage after high school. We also favor fewer tests at the elementary level. We are hopeful the Texas Legislature will consider our proposals when they reconvene in January of 2013.

Anne-Marie Hazzan, assistant superintendent of finance, provided an overview of the district’s finances. Aldine is in sound financial shape due to budget cuts made over the last five years and an increase in the fund balance.

We will monitor the upcoming legislative session and will provide you updates on pending legislation that will affect education.

I wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a safe holiday season. This is a wonderful time of year when we get the chance to spend time with family and friends, take a look back on 2012 and look forward to 2013. We know we will continue to face challenges in the coming year, but I hope you take the time to enjoy this special season. If you are traveling, please travel safely. Our students and staff are looking forward to the break and, hopefully, will return refreshed and energized on Jan. 7.

Wanda Bamberg Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

District Highlights

• The Aldine ISD Board of Trustees reorganized during its Dec. 18 meeting. The nomination committee, chaired by Marine Jones, named Merlin Griggs president, Marine Jones vice president, Steve Mead secretary, and Dr. Viola M. Garcia assistant secretary. Trustees Dr. Alton Smith, Rose Avalos and Rick Ogden will serve as members. Ms. Avalos and Mr. Mead served as members of the nominating committee.

• The Aldine Education Foundation (AEF) “Surprize Grant Patrol” presented their first-ever teacher grants on Friday, Dec. 7. The grants totaled $6,555 and were awarded to MacArthur Ninth Grade teachers Cathy Roach, Ermid Benitez and Jeremy Broadway, Thompson Elementary School teachers Teana Cardin, Nabil Mahboubi and Kelly Sadler, Wilson Intermediate School teacher Clarissa Taylor, Shotwell Middle School teacher Michelle Womack and Eisenhower High School teacher Michaelann Kelley. AEF board members, led by former Superintendent Nadine Kujawa, and Aldine ISD administrators hand-delivered the grants, much to the surprise of the teachers who received them.

• The Carver High School Theater Troupe earned a number of honors during the Texas State Thespian Festival, held Nov. 29-Dec. 1 in Fort Worth. Seventeen Carver students advanced to nationals, which will be held in Lincoln, NE in June.

• Odom Elementary School received a state-of-the-art playground thanks to volunteers from Quantum Resources Management, KaBoom and Odom Elementary parents. The three groups built the playground in six hours on Dec. 11. Quantum Management Resources, which was the benefactor for the playground, brought 80 volunteers on Build Day, while 80 Odom parents, faculty and staff members also took part in the event, which culminated with a balloon release to mark the occasion.

• Seven Aldine ISD band students advanced to the Texas Music Educators Association’s area competition, slated for Alvin ISD in January. Students who have advanced are: Tina Tran (clarinet) of Aldine High School; Christopher Truong (clarinet) and Danialle Vongsamphanh (oboe) of Davis High School; Timothy Guevara (clarinet) and Simon Morales (tenor saxophone) of MacArthur High School and Bradley Ofoegbu (bass trombone) and Zachary Tamayo (tenor trombone) of Nimitz High School.

The Nation’s Best!

Aldine ISD employees and students showed their generosity and giving spirit during the holiday season by holding toy drives, food drives, and adopting families. The Central Office and Human Resources donated toys to Aldine Y.O.U.T.H.’s toy drive, while staff members at the Resource Center adopted a family and provided groceries, clothes and food to make that family’s Christmas a bit brighter. Schools throughout the district held food drives for the Houston Food Bank and local church’s food pantries. Other schools donated toys for the Be An Angel toy drive, and Toys for Tots, while others provided Christmas trees and decorations for families. I’m proud to be associated with a school district that does so much for others. Our students and staff are definitely the Nation’s Best!

Upcoming Events

Monday, Dec. 24-Friday, Jan. 4
Mid-Winter Break (district schools and offices closed)

Monday, Jan. 7
Classes Resume

Wednesday, Jan. 9
ACC Meeting, MOC Teaching Theater, 9:30 a.m.

Monday, Jan. 14
Board Study Session, Board Room, 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 15
Board Meeting, Board Room, 7 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 17
Leadership Aldine, Board Room, 8 a.m.

Thursday, Jan. 24
Winter Graduation, MOC, 7 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 25
State of the District Breakfast, Sheraton North Hotel, 7:30 a.m.