April 2017
Right You Are
Desire is creation, the magical element in that process. If there were an instrument by which to measure desire, one could foretell achievement.
         Willa Cather
 
I was asked by an NPR reporter once why don't I talk about race that often. I said, "It's because I'm a neurosurgeon." And she thought that was a strange response....I said, "You see, when I take someone to the operating room, I'm actually operating on the thing that makes them who they are. The skin doesn't make them who they are."
         Ben Carson
 
Be obscure clearly.
         E.B. White
 
I like thinking big. If you're going to be thinking anything, you might as well think big.
         Donald Trump
 
I decided that if I could paint that flower in a huge scale, you could not ignore its beauty.
    Georgia O'Keeffe
 
Every time you find some humor in a difficult situation, you win.

  When your work speaks for itself, don't interrupt.
         Henry J. Kaiser

It is better to be a lion for a day than a sheep all your life.
      Elizabeth Kenny

  Celebrate your child's achievement, then rotate it when the next mini-masterpiece comes along. Then chuck the old picture. Don't worry that you're throwing away a memory. Your children will remember your praise more than they will remember the picture with macaroni and glitter glued on it.
         Niecy Nash
 

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Upcoming Events
April 11
Board of Trustees Work session, Education Center, noon

April 13
Teacher of the Year Banquet, The Kemp at the Forum, 6 p.m

April 14
Good Friday; Student holiday

April 16
Easter

April 17 
Board of Trustees Meeting, Education Center, 6 p.m.

April 22
WFISD Job Fair, Wichita Falls Country Club, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.

April 24
Pre-K Round-Up begins, Carrigan Career Center, 7 a.m. - 5 p.m.

April 25-27, May 1-2
Pre-K and Kindergarten Round-up. Carrigan Career Center, M/W 7 a.m. - 5 p.m; T/Th Noon-7 p.m.

April 27
Middle School Art Show, MSU Museum of Arts, 5 -7 p.m.

April 28
Inclement Weather Day; No school for students or staff

May 1-5
STAAR EOC testing

May 2 
 
PIE Celebration Banquet, MPEC, Room 1-4, 6 p.m.
 
May 8
STAAR math tests, grades 3,4,6, and 7; STAAR Retest Math 5th, 8th

May 9 
STAAR reading tests, grades 3,4,6, and 7; STAAR Retest Reading 5th, 8th 

Board of Trustees Work Session, Education Center, Noon

May 10
STAAR Science tests, grades 5, 8

May 11 
STAAR Social Studies tests, grade 8

May 14
Mother's Day

May 15
Board of Trustees Meeting, Education Center, 6 p.m.

May 16
All City Strings Festival

May 19
Inclement Weather Day, No school for students or staff

May 23
High School Scholars Breakfast, Luby's, 7:30 a.m.

May 26
Last Day of School;
Early release: noon for secondary; 1 p.m. for elementary

May 27 
Graduation, MPEC,
10 a.m. - Rider HS
2 p.m. - WFHS
5 p.m. - Hirschi HS
Teacher Work Day

May 29
Memorial Day; Staff Holiday


Superintendent's Spotlight
By Mike Kuhrt
Mike Kuhrt
Hello parents and WFISD staff,
At this time of year, graduation is on my mind. That's probably because my oldest child, Kaylee, is graduating May 27 from Hirschi High School. Believe me, I am seeing first-hand what it takes to cap off this 13-year education journey.
 
Like many of your children, my daughter is immersed in final testing. How well Kaylee does on her International Baccalaureate tests will determine how many college credits she will receive for her hard work in high school. She is eligible to earn up to 26 college credits, which will help her (and us!) as she progresses on to college.


News Headlines
Change is always on the docket to improve students' lives
 
  • WFISD's new goal is to prioritize fresh hot meals for its students. To do it, the District will move from in-house preparation, which amounts to heating up frozen entrees, to turning the food service over to private contractor Chartwells Food Service Management.  The outsource changeover will include bringing in a chef and dietician who will improve food quality and train cafeteria workers.
  • Lunch prices will rise at elementary and secondary schools by 10 cents in the upcoming school year. The price increase is mandated by the United States Department of Agriculture to keep WFISD in compliance with the National School Lunch Program. With the increase, elementary lunches will cost $2.65; secondary lunches will cost $2.75. Adult meal prices will also rise by 10 cents to $2.60 for an adult breakfast and to $3.70 for an adult lunch.
  • WFISD board members joined other Texas school districts in passing a resolution that criticized the state move to assign A through F grades to schools as a public school rating system. The resolution says no definitive research suggests putting such a label on a school improves the school or its performance. Such A-F ratings will be mostly based on STAAR test results, which many believe don't accurately measure student learning.
  • The Career Education Center will host a ribbon cutting Aug. 8 to celebrate its grand opening.
  • WFISD's digital revolution continues, with the entire fourth grade set to receive Chromebooks in the fall at a cost of $450,000. The revolution began in Spring 2015 when the District's Digital Pilot Program outfitted 42 classrooms with digital devices. In 2016-2017, the District expanded its digital outreach to provide one device for every student in fifth-grade classrooms. The District also checked out a Chromebook to every sixth-grader, allowing him to take it home and use it for the next three years.

Burgess Elementary Teacher Dana Arthur: "I Will Never Leave Burgess"
This kindergarten teacher is dedicated to her school, no matter what comes.


Dana Arthur 
When Burgess kindergarten teacher Dana Arthur began teaching 22 years ago, she bought a house nearby with her husband, Mack, and settled into the neighborhood that would become not only her home but the home of the children and parents who would troop through her classroom. Today she's woven so deeply into the fabric of Burgess and its neighborhood that she can't go to Wal-Mart without meeting parents and talking for hours. ("Go get the groceries," she whispers to her husband as she chats.) This year, five children in her classroom are the offspring of parents she taught when they were in kindergarten there. "Every year that's happening," she said.
 
The academic challenges at Burgess over the years have driven off many teachers, but Mrs. Arthur applauds the tight web of dedicated teachers who remain. They are diligently applying the District's Targeted Improvement Plan for this "Improvement Required" school. "If you can teach, this is the place to be," she said.
 
Communications Specialist Ann Work Goodrich talked to Mrs. Arthur about her strategies with Burgess children, the changes she's anticipating, and what the future holds. Mrs. Arthur earned  her master's in education in December 2006 and was the Burgess Teacher of the Year in 2016.



A Look at WFISD's Quiet Campus 
Most educators know little about Denver Alternative Center 

From left: Bill Lockwood, Karen Kidd, Linda Nichols, Albert Banda 
Even educators who have worked for decades with WFISD will often admit there's one school they've never visited: Denver Alternative Learning Center. Like the rest of WFISD schools, the district's alternative school is benefitting from the District's digital revolution. But it still relies on old-fashioned, one-on-one tutoring to help students in what surely is the quietest campus of all.
 
Students, who are assigned to the campus for disciplinary reasons, work in individual carrels, aren't allowed to socialize, and are ushered out of the classroom by a school official for any backtalk, slacking or sleeping.
 
Communications Specialist Ann Work Goodrich talked with four Denver educators about their mission to help students: teacher Bill Lockwood, content specialist (tutor) Karen Kidd, administrative assistant Albert Banda, and Principal Linda Nichols.



If You Give a Kindergartner a Chromebook....
...he will happily surprise you, says Fowler teacher Jamie Jo Morgan


Jamie Jo Morgan 
Jamie Jo Morgan was among the District's first teachers to take a full classroom set of Chromebooks and give them to the District's littlest - the kindergartners. She incorporated them into daily lessons and was astounded at the results.
 
Now she's teaching second-graders with a set of iPads. The same thing is happening: The children latch on to the new devices so quickly that they can do more than she ever dreamed.
 
Now she's on the speaking circuit, giving instructional and motivational talks. Her popular talks, delivered at a recent conference to standing-room-only crowds, are "Wait, Did You Say Chromebooks in Kindergarten?", "Succeeding with Seesaw," and "If You Give a Kindergartner a Chromebook...."
 
Here, she tells WFISD Communications Specialist Ann Work Goodrich about her sudden, deep dive into technology and her one big regret.

Passionate About Professional Development
This Haynes Northwest Academy teacher amassed 178 professional development credits in 10 months -- and craves more 

Katie Miller counts the PD certificates she has earned in the past 10 months -- 30 in all


Haynes reading teacher Katie Miller is the embodiment of the Wichita Falls ISD's motto, "Be a lifelong learner." In the past 10 months, she has earned 178 credits for professional development classes taken through Region 9 or required of her by WFISD or her school.
 
She recently changed teaching responsibilities, moving out of the pre-K classroom to fifth-grade to teach reading, a subject she had never specialized in before. The challenge propelled her to devour the Region 9 roster of PD classes the same way students pore over toy catalogs.
 
Of all this training, what has been her absolute favorite, the best of the best? The answer might surprise you. Communications Specialist Ann Work Goodrich visited Ms. Miller and asked her what she looks for in a good training, what she dislikes - and the one big thing she learned this year.


The New Rules
Tips for navigating your way around WFISD  

As the years roll on, WFISD programs and procedures change. Sometimes it's tricky to stay on top of it all. Here are a few tips to bring you up to date on the District's most popular programs and services.

"Whatever happened to the Choice Program?"
The Choice Program has ended. The 15-year program that began in the late 1990s will send its last cohort of seniors through WFISD schools in the 2017-2018 school year. Now, in WFISD's new set up, every student belongs to an attendance zone and a "home campus." To move to another campus, he must make a voluntary transfer request and be approved.



Career and Technical Education Teachers Usher Students Into the Real World
Three of WFISD's CTE teachers discuss their coursework, their own experience in the field, and the type of students who succeed in it

                                         ***

1. Students Learn Computer Programming From a Pro
Boroskie Richard brings 30 years of industry experience to his classroom 

Boroskie Richard in his Wichita Falls High School classroom 

Boroskie Richard's love for computers has served him well during his lifetime. It gave him a 30-year career doing something that felt like a hobby but richly supplied his needs and those of his wife, four children and two dogs.
 
During the past 30 years, he has worked with programming, networking and cybersecurity for companies like General Electric, IBM, and Dynegy. He has worked as a software engineer, senior systems analyst, database specialist, system administrator, business analyst, and enterprise infrastructure integration project manager. His work has spanned industries as diverse as oil and gas, accounting, stock markets and medical research.
 
Mr. Richard earned a computer science degree at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, then earned a master's degree in computer cybersecurity at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. His career has stretched from Gopher to Google, and he has consistently followed his own advice about the profession he loves: Always push hard to learn more.
 
Today he teaches Principles of Technology, Computer Programming, and Data Touch (the new term for typing) at Wichita Falls High School. He is just one teacher in WFISD's Career and Technical Education (CTE) program who will help prepare students for successful careers. 
 
Q: What is your goal for students when they leave your class?
A: My passion is teaching the next generation of thinkers. Go ahead and look at what we have but know that it's just the beginning.  The future is waiting for them to add their ideas. Now we have 18-year-old students running companies. They make millions in Silicon Valley. My students are in line to be the next Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Charles Babbage, or John Henry Holland. I tell them, "Every one of you are inventors. Every one of you can contribute to the field." In technology, you must understand that you are part of the continuing revolution. It never stops. It's always incomplete, waiting for the next person to take up the mantle.
 


2. Architecture Lessons Tap 10,000 Years of Construction History 
Amy Hughes exposes students to a world of design and a maze of cultures

Amy Hughes in her Carrigan classroom 
Architecture is a career that combines the creativity of an artist and the precision of an engineer. It taps 10,000 years of construction history from around the world. It borrows from a maze of cultures.
 
Did you know that a career in architecture today requires a five-year degree from one of 100 accredited university programs around the country? A little known fact: College graduates then work as paid interns for about three years until they accumulate enough hours to test for a license. Studying for and passing the series of licensure exams is a process that will take another few years.
 
Students who choose the architecture design pathway join a fast-paced class that will also expose them to construction, interior design, city planning and other offshoots of architecture that can also translate into handsome careers. They'll learn the challenges of how to turn their own creative ideas into useful structures that meet a client's needs. And whether a student progresses on to take architecture in college or not, he will get a well-rounded exposure to the structures around him and what it takes to build them.
 
Instructor Amy Hughes is an architecture graduate from one of the top 20 architecture programs in the nation. She has interned at both large and small firms in Texas and Iowa. She will deliver this program's upper level courses from the Career Education Center. She teaches Architecture Design 1 and 2 and Interior Design.



3. Construction Instruction 
Students learn from a teacher who built his own 2,200-square foot home in three months

Scott Little stands in his shop, located at Carrigan. A new facility is in the works at the Career Education Center and will open its doors for the 2017-2018 school year
How skilled is Scott Little in the construction technology field that he alone teaches for WFISD?
 
Eight years ago, he teamed up with his wife and built his own 2,200-square foot home in three months. He used so many energy efficient building techniques and products that a typical monthly electric bill is $6.
 
He's worked all ends of the construction field, even owning his own construction company for several years. But he finds teaching students the craft he came to love as a child, working alongside his dad, is the most rewarding job with the best work/life balance for his family.
 
But Mr. Little teaches more than just how to use a hammer and wrench. He has big goals for every student that includes communication skills, competition, and, yes, college. He teaches Principles of Industrial Trades, Construction Technology, and Advanced Construction Technology.
 


I Should Know This But.... 
Use these questions to delve a little deeper 

   
Relationship-building Tip
 
When starting up a conversation with someone you don't know well, ask him what he likes to do instead of what he does.
 
 
Parenting Tip
 
Don't ask your kids what they want to be when they grow up. Ask them what problems they want to solve and what they need to learn to be able to do that.


Team-building Tip

When you're trying to get your team to connect in a deeper way, ask members to answer the question, "If you really knew me, you would know this about me: __________." Or, ask them to share a moment in their lives when they changed direction or made a discovery that set them on a new path.