May 2013, Edition
Dear Education Partner:
Please join me in sending thoughts and prayers to the citizens of Moore, Oklahoma whose city was devastated by an F5 tornado on May 20. It’s heartbreaking to look at the destruction the storm left in its wake, especially the loss of life, which included nine children.
In spite of the tragic news, there are stories surfacing of heroic efforts by teachers to protect their students. Many sustained injuries, but they felt it was their duty to shield their students by putting their bodies in harm’s way.
If you would like to help with the recovery, visit www.redcross.org. There are numerous ways for you to donate money, and much needed supplies. Again, please keep them in your thoughts and prayers as they begin the difficult process of rebuilding their community.
Two weeks remain in the 2012-13 school year and what a busy year, and month, it has been here and in Austin.
The 183rd Legislature has wrapped up its regular session and it appears Texas lawmakers will return much-needed revenue to public education. SB1 calls for an additional $3.9 billion for public education, offsetting the $5.4 billion in budget cuts public schools incurred from the 2011 Legislature. This is good news for Aldine and public schools across Texas. We have monitored this session and spent time dialoguing with our state senators and representatives. I also want to thank our community for calling or writing their state senators and representatives expressing their concerns about public education funding. Gov. Perry called the Legislature back for a special session last night to consider re-districting and other items.
May brings many celebrations at schools throughout the district, as year-end awards ceremonies and banquets are held to recognize students for their academic, athletic and performing arts accomplishments. At the May Board meeting, 47 students were recognized for their accomplishments in academics and visual arts.
On May 9, we honored our VISA (Volunteers in the Schools of Aldine) volunteers with a reception at the M.O. Campbell Educational Center. More than 500 VISA volunteers attended the event as Trustees, our administrative team and school principals said thanks for giving their time, energy, expertise, and in some cases their resources, in an effort to help our students. Approximately 40 VISA volunteers have accumulated more than 1,000 hours last year and they were introduced during the reception. Of these high achievers, six volunteers – Juanita Honeycutt, Gabino Gutierrez, Cheryl Knighton, DeAnn Crumbley, Tommye Newman and Katherine Mason – have accumulated more than 10,000 lifetime hours. Each received a framed certificate presented by Board President Merlin Griggs and me. We can’t thank our VISA volunteers enough. They are a vital part of our Aldine family and do so much for the campuses they serve.
On May 13, we held our Extra Milers reception, where we thanked school personnel who go above and beyond the call of duty. Cabinet members served them ice cream and presented them with certificates thanking them for taking on extra duties at their respective campuses. You can see from these two groups that the volunteer spirit is alive and well in Aldine ISD!
We also held our annual Employee Awards Banquet on May 16 at the Hilton Hotel Greenspoint. We honored nearly 100 employees who are retiring and those who have reached milestones of 20, 25, 30, 35, and 40 years of service. This is one of the highlights of the year where we get the chance to shine the spotlight on some of the finest educators and support employees in the nation.
Also during May, five of our campuses were honored by representatives of the National Center for Urban School Transformation (NCUST) who came all the way from San Diego to present banners signifying Aldine High School, Aldine Ninth Grade School, MacArthur High School, Mendel Elementary School and Stehlik Intermediate School as Excellence in Education Award winners. MacArthur High became the first two-time winner at the high school level. We are proud of this prestigious accomplishment. Aldine secured five of the 16 national awards NCUST presented during the 2012-13 school year.
We’ve also learned that four of our high schools (Carver High, Aldine High, MacArthur High and Victory Early College High School) made U.S. News & World Report’s 2013 rankings of the Best High Schools in the country. To determine the rankings, schools were first analyzed at the state level in terms of how well students at each school performed on state assessments, taking into account the test scores of disadvantaged students. The methodology used was based on key principles that great schools must serve all of their students well, not just those who are college-bound, and that they must be able to produce measurable academic outcomes to show the school is successfully educating their students across a range of performance indicators. Victory Early College High School earned a Gold Award, ranking 38th in Texas and 281st in the nation. Aldine High, Carver High and MacArthur High earned Silver Awards.
On May 23, a scholarship reception was held at Davis High School approximately 140 Aldine ISD seniors received Aldine Scholarship Foundation (ASF) scholarships or Aldine Education Foundation (AEF) scholarships. The two non-profit foundations have joined forces to enable more AISD students to receive financial support for college, to provide additional choices for college and to award grants to teachers for innovative classroom instruction.
While there has been much good news to report to you in just this month, perhaps the biggest highlight of the year comes the first weekend in June when we will hold graduation ceremonies culminating many years of hard work by our students. I want to congratulate all of our graduates, their parents and families for reaching this important milestone. I join our Board of Trustees, along with the entire school district, in wishing them great success as they move on in their academic endeavors, military service or as they enter the work force. A complete list of our graduation ceremonies, along with times and dates, can be found in the Calendar of Events below.
Also in June, the M.B. “Sonny” Donaldson Golf Tournament will be held on Friday, June 14 at Cypresswood Golf Course. The tournament benefits the Aldine Council of PTAs and is a fun event. If you would like to sign up to play, contact Pete Stewart at (281) 985-7190, or you can find entry form information on the district web site at www.aldine.k12.tx.us.
Once again, thank you for your support and input during the 2012-13 school year. We are blessed to have business and community partners who take such a vested interest in our school district.
Wanda Bamberg Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
• Adriana Yanez of Marcella Intermediate School placed first in the district’s bilingual spelling bee, while Alonra Rivera of Black Elementary School finished second and Kitzury Nunez of Goodman Elementary School finished in third place.
• A number of AISD sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders recently participated in the 2013 Do the Write Thing Challenge. The Challenges provided middle school students the opportunity to examine the impact of violence on their lives and communicate in writing what they thought should be done to change the culture of violence in our country. They took part in a ceremony on May 11 at Minute Maid Park where their essays were read.
• Three MacArthur High School students competed at the National Academic Decathlon, held in Minneapolis in April. The three students, Isabel Galvan, Cody Nguyen and Alexander Sandoval competed in 10 events at the national event.
• Carver High School opened a new Performing Arts Building this spring. The state-of-the-art facility features an orchestra room, classroom theater, theater black box, a choir room and a medium ensemble room.
• Grantham Academy eighth-grader Dejon King and science teacher Ryan Sweat were selected by the JASON Project to explore oceanography this fall in the Caribbean. Sweat and King will work side-by-side with scientists in the field for 10 days, will serve as mentor and role models for the JASON Community and will regularly interact with the JASON Community through speaking engagements and online posts.
• Nimitz High sprinter Dre’Vian Young won a gold medal in the 400-meter dash at the Class 5A State Track and Field Meet on May 11 in Austin. It was Young’s third straight appearance at the state meet. He finished second in the 400-meters as a sophomore and junior. Young and teammates Stephen Lackey, Davonte’ Edwards and Lonnie Strambler finished third in the 1600-meter relay. AISD was well represented at the Region III Meet as 14 individuals and five relay teams competed at the regional meet.
• The MacArthur High Lady Generals softball team won the 18-5A district title and qualified for the playoffs. Aldine High and Nimitz High also earned playoff spots.
• The MacArthur High Generals won the 18-5A baseball title and qualified for the playoffs. Nimitz High also secured a playoff spot.
The Nation’s Best!
A group of ingenious International Baccalaureate (IB) students at Eisenhower High School have used their artistic talents to help a very worthwhile cause. The students have donated 50 pieces of art for auction to raise money to donate to LIMBS International, which is committed to transforming the lives of amputees throughout the world by restoring their ability to work. The money raised by the art auction will be used to help the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. Additionally, the students hope to raise funds to provide relief in Bangladesh, where a building collapse left more than 2,400 people injured. It is reassuring to know that our students are using their talents to help those in need. Not only are our employees the Nation’s Best, so are our students.
Thursday, June 6
Last Day of Instruction
Lane School Graduation, Hall Center for Education, 5:30 p.m.
Victory Early College High School, M.O. Campbell Educational Center, 7 p.m.
Friday, June 7
Hall Center for Education Graduation, M.O. Campbell Educational Center, 6 p.m.
Eisenhower High School Graduation, M.O. Campbell Educational Center, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, June 8
MacArthur High School Graduation, M.O. Campbell Educational Center, 8 a.m.
Carver High School Graduation, M.O. Campbell Educational Center, 11 a.m.
Aldine High School Graduation, M.O. Campbell Educational Center, 1:30 p.m.
Nimitz High School Graduation, M.O. Campbell Educational Center, 5 p.m.
Monday, June 10
Board Study Session, Board Room, 6:30 p.m.
Tuesday, June 11
Board Meeting, Board Room, 7 p.m.
Friday, June 14
M. B. “Sonny” Donaldson Golf Tournament, Cypresswood Golf Course, 8 a.m.