January/February 2017
Right You Are
"Don't play it safe when it comes to innovation in education. You don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great."
--Amy Fast, Ed.D @fastcranny

4 Non-Negotiables for Schools:
1. They are a warm and welcoming environment.
2. They develop students as good people and learners.
3. They model the learning they expect from their students.
4. They stoke curiosity, not extinguish it. 
- @gcouros

"A child seldom needs a good talking to as a good listening to. --Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.
com

"Find me someone who settles for average in teaching, and I'll show you someone who doesn't understand the magnitude of the mission."
--Amy Fast, Ed.D @fastcranny

"Happiness does not come from doing easy work but from the afterglow of satisfaction that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demanded our best."
--Theodore Isaac Rubin

"Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do." 
--Steve Jobs

"Set a goal that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning."
--The Color Run

"I can't imagine a person becoming a success who doesn't give this game of life everything he's got."
-- Walter Cronkite

"When you reach an obstacle, turn it into an opportunity. You have the choice. You can overcome and be a winner, or you can allow it to overcome you and be a loser. The choice is yours and yours alone. Refuse to throw in the towel. Go that extra mile that failures refuse to travel. It is far better to be exhausted from success than to be rested from failure."
-- Mary Kay Ash

"Press on. Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent."
-- Ray Kroc

"If you're interested in 'balancing' work and pleasure, stop trying to balance them. Instead, make your work more pleasurable."
--Donald Trump

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Upcoming Events
January 27
Read 2 Learn Rally, Stone Palace, 9 a.m.

February 14
Board of Trustees Work session, Education Center, noon

February 20
Board of Trustees Meeting, Education Center, 6 p.m.

February 23
National Digital Learning Day

February 24
WFISD celebrates
National Digital Learning Day

March 13-17
Spring Break

March 21
Board of Trustees Work session, Education Center, noon

March 27 
Board of Trustees Meeting, Education Center, 6 p.m. 
 
March 28, 29, 30  
STAAR testing begins
 
March 29
PIE Senior Send Off

Superintendent's Spotlight
By Mike Kuhrt
Mike Kuhrt
Hello parents and WFISD staff,
If your family is like my family, I'm sure you get excited any time you can save big money on something you want or need. You probably also like it when you can get a big project done faster than you expected. 

Let me tell you about a new program called Go! College that has both of those things going for it. 


News Headlines
Keep up with a busy season of achievements

* Four new board trustees were sworn into WFISD service on Dec. 6, 2016. Mike Rucker, Adam Groves, Dale Harvey (returning board president) and Tom Bursey (returning) were newly elected in the Nov. 8, 2016 election. Mr. Harvey will continue as the board's president. Other new officers include Bill Franklin as vice president and Elizabeth Yeager as secretary.


 

* WFISD uses a program called Go Guardian to track technology usage across all campuses. Last month, it recorded 19,973 users in the district. They sent 212,000 e-mails and used 1.6 million files. The No. 1 most used website is Google Classroom, then Google Docs.

     

Southern Hills Outperforms All Texas Elementary Schools
The southside school is first in Texas to earn prestigious Marzano certification

Southern Hills staff members
This news can set a parent's mind at ease: Southern Hills Elementary School can document that its teaching -- in every classroom, on every day -- is top-notch.

The high quality instruction extends to all classrooms, all subjects, and all days. Interviews, observations and documentation convinced Marzano Research that every Southern Hills teacher is delivering reliably effective instruction every day.

As a result, they awarded the school the Marzano Level 2 Certification in the Marzano High Reliability Schools series. It certifies that consistent, effective daily instruction is in progress there. Southern Hills is the first -- and only -- elementary school in the state to obtain Level 2 certification. Southern Hills was the first WFISD school to achieve Level 1 certification, which guarantees a safe and secure environment at the school.

Nine WFISD campuses are at various stages in the certification process, paid for by Region 9 and a grant from the Priddy Foundation.

Home Visits Make Everyone Feel at Home
Booker T. Washington team knocks on doors year-round 

Chris Evans as seen in his recent "Study!" rap video
When Mark Davis became principal at Booker T. Washington Elementary this year, he and his team decided to start out the year with a personal visit to every home.
 
This was familiar territory for Mr. Davis and his At-Risk Coordinator, Chris Evans, who both grew up in the East Side neighborhood. They attended Booker T. Washington as students and were even buddies who visited one another's homes to play video games. They were joined in their home visits by Assistant Principal Angela Rooney and counselor Kristin Schreck.
 
They began in August before school started and visited 100 homes, about half the school's population. They continued visiting homes throughout the year and now have visited about 75 percent of the families who attend Booker T. They have met most of the remaining families at school events, which have drawn record crowds this year.
 
Have home visits made a difference? Communication Specialist Ann Work Goodrich talked with At-Risk Coordinator Chris Evans about their efforts. 




Navigating to Nursing
Carl Bishop, BSN, RN, has been walking students down the path to nursing at Hirschi High School for 20 years

Carl Bishop instructs CNA students at Hirschi High School
Carl Bishop demonstrated his first bit of interest in the medical field when he was 6 years old and took his mom's good sewing scissors to cut open a frog.

What else do you do when you want to see what's inside? He graduated from high school and became a medic in the Air Force for six years. He left to earn his nursing degree, then returned to the Air Force to serve as a nurse for 13 more years. When he retired from the Air Force in 1996, he began teaching at Hirschi High School the same year.
 
That was 20 years ago. He continues to teach at Hirschi and work as a nurse and teacher at Hospice of Wichita Falls on the weekends, a position he believes God has been preparing him for since the beginning of his career. In all his positions, he likes helping people and loves his work.
 
Mr. Bishop is an example of the wealth of knowledge in WFISD's Career and Technology teachers, who are already expanding the horizons of CTE students. He will be featured along with the rest of the CTE team in a special new CTE website designed to introduce the coursework -- and the teachers -- to students.

For a CTE website preview, read this Q&A with Mr. Bishop about choosing the job fields of nursing, certified nursing assistant or physician. 



"She loved us. That's All That Matters"
Blog post by Jefferson teacher Julie Yandell

Jefferson teacher Julie Yandell assists a student in her classroom. 

posted a video on Facebook of my students showing off their #classroomjuju dance moves. Seeing how excited they were to start class, I HAD to share it. A former student shared the post and commented how I was the only teacher who could ever keep her in "check." (True.) Another student replied, "She loved us. That's all that matters."

Wow. 

I have been teaching 16 years. Not a day goes by that I don't question if I am making a difference. All teachers do it. Yes, we want our kiddos to walk away from our classes with new knowledge about the rain cycle or know how to multiply mixed numbers, or why it is so important that Victor Frankenstein sacrificed his family for his love of science. But don't we all want our students to also leave our classroom knowing that we loved them? 



Southern Hills Kindergarten Teacher Reveals Secret Weapon 
This volunteer gives new meaning to "full time" 

Mother Sheila Verret, 74, and daughter Missy Wallace, a Southern Hills kindergarten teacher, work together all day long. 

Keeping up with a class full of kindergarteners is challenging, but Southern Hills kindergarten teacher Missy Wallace has a secret weapon.
 
Her mother.
 
Sheila Verret, 74, is a full-time volunteer to her daughter's classroom. She also helps in all three of the other kindergarten classes at Southern Hills.
 
And when Mrs. Wallace says her mother is a full-time volunteer, she means full-time. Mother meets daughter in the Southern Hills parking lot every morning at 7:30 a.m. to walk in together. They leave together every evening at 6 p.m.
 
Throughout the day, she is available for whatever her daughter needs done. "If I ask it, she does it," said Mrs. Wallace.
 
Unbelievably, Ms. Verret's priority is reading individually every day with every kindergarten student -- in her daughter's classroom and in the three other classrooms, too -- 88 students in all. Both mother and daughter admit she can't get to every student daily, but that's the mission she's on.



Now, That's Why I Teach!
Three success stories from the front lines
Clockwise from left: Lexi Law, Adrian Cargal, Courtney Reames

McNiel's Courtney Reames, Ben Franklin's Lexi Law, and Crockett's Adrian Cargal recount stories about students' changed lives in their classrooms. 



The Life-Changing Value of Career and Technical Education
CTE teachers reveal surprising facts about the career training now underway -- and soon to find a new home at the Career Education Center 

Top to bottom: Cosmetology's Jessica Crosby; Computer Programming's Boroskie Richard; Culinary's Deliese Nusser; Human Services' Gwen Hilliard
"Surprisingly, cosmetology is a doorway into the medical field. You'd be surprised how many people pursue cosmetology through college to become a nurse or nurse practitioner. A lot of cosmetologists go to nursing school."
--Jessica Crosby, Cosmetology instructor at Carrigan
 
"I've already had four students tell me, 'I like doing this.' So I tell them, 'Let's do a project. Look at different computer jobs and research what they do and what they earn.' They come back to me and say, 'You can go to college for two years and make THIS kind of money (business analyst: $65,000)? You can go four years and make THIS kind of money (infrastructure technician, $120,000)? And work in an office? This is for me!'"
--Boroski Richard, Wichita Falls High School computer programming teacher

"Kids don't like it when I tell them, "No phones" in the kitchen. Phones are unsanitary. Think about it: Most kids even take their phones to the restroom. Phones are probably one of the dirtiest things we have. I remind them that you can't have your phone out in the workplace either. It's a hazard."
--Rider culinary instructor Deliese Nusser on one thing her students dislike in her popular culinary program

"Absolutely encourage your children to go into these fields (of Principles of Human Services)! Technology is changing everything, but these fields will never be obsolete. They all will need human bodies. The technology will just be a benefit."
--Gwen Hilliard, Child Development and Principles of Human Services teacher at Wichita Falls High School


Fun Facts to Know and Tell from WFISD Science Teachers
Hey, education is fun, you know

Science teachers learn and teach all sorts of cool facts like these:

Rider High School Forensic teacher Autumn Weber:

* Identical twins can only be differentiated by fingerprints, as they are different, while their DNA is identical.
* The animal with the closest fingerprints to humans is a koala.
* If you die with your eyes closed, it takes two hours for them to cloud over.
* If there is undigested food in a victim's stomach, death occurred 0 to 2 hours after the meal.
* If you die unattended at home, your cat will likely eat your face before your body is discovered. Dogs usually will not eat your dead body (due to loyalty) while cats have no loyalty and will regard you as fresh meat. 

Wichita Falls High School teacher Dorene Baker:
* The universe is so vast that the light from some long-dead stars is just now reaching us. Scientists say when we look at the stars, we are looking at the past.

Secondary Science Curriculum Specialist Steve Henderson:
* "Did you know you can get sheep eyes for only $2.25 each? What a bargain!"