Back to School Edition- August 2019
Welcome Back, from Dr. Caloss
It has been an outstanding start to the school year. There is excitement in the air with the anticipation of the many accomplishments our students will achieve this year. Our leadership team has recruited an awesome group of new employees to add to our outstanding staff. The school district will continue to focus on creating an environment that cultivates character, service, and leadership while maintaining safety and security for all students and staff. The district is looking forward to its continued partnership with parents and the community to create a culture that is most conducive to student success.
Wills Point ISD student enrollment has increased for the third consecutive year, which means we have several new students and families. I would like to welcome all new students and families. Most families that move to Wills Point find out what we have known for quite some time, Wills Point ISD is the best kept secret in the area. Wills Point is proud of the many traditions that have been established throughout the years, while always searching for new and innovative ideas that will have a positive impact on our students.
Have a great school year!
Parents love to show off those first day smiles! We love seeing them!
Last First Day~ Seniors 2020
It won't be long before these seniors are sporting their caps and gowns! Go ahead, mom; it's okay to shed a few tears now.
State Accountability with Dr. McMath
In 2017, Texas legislature passed HB22, which evaluates school districts and campuses with A-F ratings based on the areas of student achievement, school progress, and closing the gaps as determined by STAAR test results. In addition, the high school and district grade incorporates college, career, and military readiness (CCMR). WPISD received an overall grade of an 82 up from 79.2 in 2018.
Campuses received official ratings for the first time under the new accountability system. The high school and junior high received an overall grade of B. Woods Intermediate received an overall grade of a C. The middle school received an overall grade of a D despite receiving a B in the school progress domain. These ratings are based on the limited perspective of one assessment and cannot be used to measure the day to day success of our district, campuses, teachers, or students. Our goal at WPISD is to produce well rounded students who are able to collaborate, problem-solve, think critically, work hard, communicate effectively, adapt, demonstrate character, and serve others. The new accountability system does not evaluate these important characteristics that are essential for success in life.
Facility Updates with Mr. Russell
This Summer was a busy one for facility repairs and safety updates around Wills Point ISD. With that being said, we are excited that all of our projects were completed on time for our students to have a great start to the year. As many of you know, key card access and entrances were a large part of the projects we integrated at all of our facilities. These additions added a strong element of safety to our district and help to provide an environment that enhances a safe learning environment the students of WPISD.
In addition to the safety measures taken, there have been new additions to the WPHS campus with a new track at Ken Autry Davis Field and a new spectator shade awning at that Wills Point High School tennis courts.
We have contracted to add ten new buses to our fleet as well as well as wrapping our activity buses.
Technology Updates with Mrs. Rowland
This summer the WPISD Technology department was busy making changes to improve the functionality of the network and efficiency of processes around the district. One of the most significant changes was made to the way the network traffic was routed and the availability of bandwidth . Last school year, the bandwidth availability topped out at 300MB/second. This year WPISD joined a Region 10 consortium that expanded the bandwidth capabilities to 10GB/second. This increased speed will enable teachers and students to be more effective and also give the district a direct access to Google and Pearson.
With the emphasis of school security in this legislative session, several sweeping changes occurred that directly affect our student and staff data security. The Technology department has worked to initiate those changes by updating the wifi access, and separating personal and instructional device traffic. All district staff attended a professional development session in cybersecurity, focusing on phishing attempts and how to avoid them. A district wide data security audit is now underway and servers have been updated to the newest software. Department staff have created a Windows System Update Server, which will continually update devices to the latest operating system patches and considerably decrease the chances of cyber attacks. Department team members are currently working to develop a Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) server. This enhancement will allow technicians to manage a large number of Windows based computers throughout the district. SCCM features remote control, patch management, operating system deployment, network protection and other various services.
The Technology Department has also gone through restructuring. The team is now housed in one central location and two team members were designated as the district’s network and cybersecurity specialists. Additionally, the network and cybersecurity specialists have attended professional development where they received training on Google Administration and became certified as Google Amplified Admin. The department also contracted with Amplified IT to facilitate an extensive Google for Education Audit. The audit will allow the department to implement best practices for system wide protocols and focus on keeping our students and staff safe from unwanted cyber intrusions.
Additional devices were purchased to include 175 new desktop computers (that includes a 7 year warranty) and 100 additional chromebooks. The desktop computers will replace older models at the Primary campus, computer labs throughout the district and office devices in auxiliary departments. None of the systems in these areas were updated in the last purchase of desktop computer, 3 years ago. WPISD is working toward establishing a consistent capital replacement plan, which includes continuity of device brand and configuration. The department also effectively repurposed older desktops that were no longer functioning properly and converted them into Chrome devices. Neverware Cloud Ready allows the technician to wipe the existing operating system and install a Chrome operating system. The district can now utilize older hardware that would otherwise be recycled.
Good News with Mrs. Mullin
WPISD was proud to reveal one of our new district activity buses to the community in August. The district used two buses from a previous fleet purchase to have graphic wrapped to show support for our Tigers while on the road. The first bus was brought home on Monday, August 19, and was waiting to surprise the Wills Point Tiger Tennis team that afternoon for their trip to Rockwall. A video was posted to the Wills Point ISD Facebook page capturing the excitement of the team as Transportation Director, Brian Stokes; Athletic Director, Greg Cranfill; and School Board President, George Wilcoxson, cheered them on. The second activity bus was delivered to the district this past week.
WPISD is excited to have this opportunity for our students to be able to ride on these buses to special events, trips, and games.
Instructional Technology with Mrs. Whitaker
We are excited to announce the launch of a student tech team, facilitated through a class at Wills Point High School. The team is called the Chrome Crew and 19 students were interviewed and vetted to earn their spots with Coach Charlie McMath facilitating. The students will be learning and conducting basic Chromebook repair as well as learning about many of the digital tools used throughout the district to support students and teachers as they implement innovative practices in the classroom.
Teachers and students are already utilizing the wonderful digital tools that our district provides. Interactive flat panels and Virtual Reality headsets are just a couple of examples that set the stage for higher student engagement and enrichment opportunities, leading to deeper learning and stronger connections.
We are so thankful we have our yearbook staff in Ms. Dedominicis class to take pictures of our accomplishments in the classrooms, courts and fields! We were able to find them during class snapping photos of a volleyball game and working on adjusting their settings on the cameras to find the best shot!
In room 101 at Wills Point High School, students in Mr. McMath’s class have been working hard to develop techie skills to help diagnose and fix issues with Chromebooks. This class is not only focusing on the technological skills, they are also working on customer service skills by greeting customers and being attentive to their specific needs.
It’s so exciting to hear the sawing, hammering and nailing in Mr. Potter’s Construction Technology class so early in the morning! These students were creating coffee tables out of new and repurposed wood. They were extremely excited to share their construction plans with guests.
Creating towers out of spaghetti noodles and marshmallows is not an easy task but it does help to strengthen student’s teamwork and critical thinking skills. In Mr. Sizemore’s class we were able to hear discussions involving communication and collaboration while students worked to produce some amazing towers!
Who says math isn’t fun? In Mrs. Homer’s Algebra class students were able to incorporate a game called Breakout EDU with Algebra. Students could hardly contain their excitement as they looked for clues to help them solve the math problems to help them break the code!
Bingo! It is always exciting to enter Ms. Moore’s Spanish I classroom. Students are immersed in the Spanish language from the moment they enter the room- even as they call out their bingo card colors in Spanish working on their accent, tone and pronunciation of the Spanish words. Muy Bien!
There is always an interesting medical discussion in Ms. Reynold’s classroom and this day was no different. In the Principles of Health Science class, students asked questions and helped contribute to the discussion on genetics.
In Ms. Engledow’s Art I class, she beams with pride because all the students in her class believe they are artists. Students were intently working on their artwork and adding final touches to their first project in the Art I class.
Mrs. Cochran had the chance to pop into Mrs. Zumbro’s 7th grade science class this week to learn how positive and negative atoms attract. The kids loved the hands on experiment, so she had to join in. The balloon experiment was to teach the students that positive and negative atoms attract to each other. That atoms can share electrons on electrons shell, but in order to share that it must be opposite pairs.
8th grade US History students traveled back in time and became a part of life in colonial Jamestown. By utilizing virtual reality viewers the students were able to immerse themselves into a realistic experience to better understand the hardships and challenges colonists faced.
We have had a great start to the new school year! Our first character trait has been focused on respect, and the students have exhibited it well! The staff have been sending Mrs. Pride, our counselor, names of students that are seen and heard exhibiting respectful qualities. Each week, the students are recognized over the announcements and during lunch, get to sign the Respect banner, and then Mrs. Calvery makes positive phone calls with them to their parents!
We have kicked off our second year of our House System, where all students are put into one of four houses that represent qualities to the acronym ROAR. The houses are all named with the Latin word of the trait they represent. Students earn house points for displaying these positive characteristics. The Quantum House, our green house, represents Respect. The Negotium House, our orange house, stands for being On Task. The Habitus House, our red house, represents having an Awesome Attitude. Finally, our Quara House, the purple house, stands for Responsibility. Each house has its own chant and mascot, ad throughout the year we will have fun with house challenges. Our staff and sixth graders cheered and celebrated as the fifth graders were sorted into their houses!
5th grade parents - We are excited that your child will have the opportunity to attend Pine Cove this year, a three day hands-on science camp, in Tyler, Texas. We will offer two parent informational meetings, and we ask that you select ONE to attend. This meeting will discuss the camp experience, cost, criteria, and dates of the trip. The first meeting will be September 17th at 6:00 p.m. in the MIddle School Cafeteria, and the second date will be October 1st at 6:00 p.m. in the Middle School Cafeteria. We ask that you make it a priority to attend ONE of these meetings.
This month our 2nd grade students have been studying government. We were lucky to have Mayor Mark Turner come to our school to visit with them. He spoke to them about his duties and how he is elected. The students were excited to ask Mayor Mark questions. Some of the questions that were asked were "Where does the city get the money from to do things for the city?", "What if there is a Zombie Apocalypse?", "When you were younger, did you play Fortnite?", and "Are you the president of Wills Point?" We are very grateful to Mayor Mark for coming to our school and visiting with our students. He is always a great role model for our students and takes time to thoughtfully answer questions and interact with the kids.
Welcome to OUR HOUSE! This year the Primary campus has implemented a house system. Our students and staff are divided into 4 houses that are based on our core character traits. We are working on our ROAR by being students that are Respectful, On task, have an Awesome Attitude, and are Responsible. House teams have started to earn points for their houses for showing traits represented in ROAR. The house idea is modeled after the Ron Clark Academy and is helping build character with our students and building an amazing campus culture!
Calendar of Events
Sept. 2 School Holiday
Sept 3, 4:30pm Volleyball @ Sulphur Springs
Sept. 5, Cross Country @ Midlothian
JV Tennis @ Tyler Lee
9th/JV Football vs. Carrollton Ranchview
Sept. 6, 5pm Volleyball @ Kaufman
7:30 Football @ Carrollton Ranchview
Sept 7, 8:30 am Varsity Tennis @ Jacksonville/Hallsville
UIL Academic Conference @ TJC
Sept. 9, 4pm Varsity Tennis @ Bullard
Sept. 10, 5pm Volleyball vs. Grapeland
Sept. 12, 4pm JV Tennis vs Bullard
5pm 9th/JV Football @ Mabank
Sept. 13, 5pm Volleyball vs Crandall
7pm Football vs. Mabank
Sept. 14, Cross Country
JV Volleyball @ Brownsboro
Sept. 16, 4pm Varsity Tennis @ Anna
Sept. 17, 5pm Volleyball @ Sunnyvale
Sept. 19, 4pm JV Tennis vs. Spring Hill
6:30pm JV Football vs. Grace Community
Sept. 20, 4:30 Volleyball @ Community
7:30 Football @ Grace Community
Sept. 21, Cross Country @ Canton
Wills Point Band Percussion Contest - All Day
8am, Varsity Tennis @ Palestine/Center
Sept. 23, 4pm Varsity Tennis vs. Athens
Sept. 25 5:30 Homecoming Carnival
Sept. 26, 4pm JV Tennis vs. Sulphur Springs
5pm 9th/JV Football @ Krum
Sept 27, 4:30 pm Volleyball vs. Athens
5:30 pm Homecoming Hamburger Supper
7:30 pm Football vs. Krum (Homecoming)
Sept. 28, Cross Country @ Van
Sept. 30, 4 pm Varsity @ Van
Oct. 1, 5 pm Volleyball vs. Brownsboro
Oct. 3, Cross Country @ Lindale
4pm JV Tennis @ Rockwall
5pm 9th/JV Football vs. Hillsboro
Oct. 4, 4:30 pm Volleyball @ Van
7:30 pm Football @ Hillsboro
Aug. 29, 5:00 Volleyball vs. Athens
Sept. 5, 5:00 Volleyball vs. Brownsboro
Sept. 7 Volleyball Tournament
Sept. 9, Volleyball @ Van
Sept. 12, 4:30 Football vs. Mabank
Sept. 16, 5:00 Volleyball @ Canton
Sept. 19, 4:30 Football @ Grace Community
Sept. 21 Volleyball Tournament
Sept. 23, 5:00 Volleyball vs Mabank
Sept. 24, 4:30 Football @ Chapel Hill
Sept. 25, Homecoming Carnival 5:30-7:30
Sept. 27, Homecoming
Sept. 30, Volleyball @ Athens
Sept. 2nd Labor Day (No School)
Sept. 5th Kona Ice
Sept. 10th PTO Meeting 6 p.m.
Sept. 17th - 5th grade Parent Pine Cove Meeting - 6:00 p.m. Middle School Cafeteria
Sept. 23rd - Backwards Day "Knock the Bobcats backwards"
Sept. 24th - Dynamic Duo "Team up against the Bobcats"
Sept. 25th - Neon "Light up those Bobcats" & Homecoming Carnival 5:30-7:00
Sept. 26th - Camo "Don't let those Bobcats see you coming"
Sept. 27th - Blue Out "Show your Tiger spirit"
Sept. 2nd Labor Day (No School)
Sept. 10th PTO Meeting 6 p.m.
Sept. 19th Title One Meeting 9:00 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Sept. 25th Homecoming Carnival 5:30-7:30
Sept. 27th Homecoming
Aug. 30th PTO Fundraiser Kick-Off
Sept. 2nd Labor Day (School Holiday)
Sept. 6th Grandparents Day Celebration
Sept. 10th PTO Meeting 6 p.m.
Sept. 11th Patriot Day
Sept. 15 Hispanic Heritage Month Begins
Sept. 16th PJammin for Kids with Cancer
Sept. 19th Title I Meeting 9:00a.m. and 5:30 p.m. @ Woods
Head Start Parent Meeting @ 11:30 a.m.
Sept. 17th Constitution Day
Sept. 23-27th Homecoming Week
Sept. 27th Coins for Cancer Walk