The Pirate Treasure

September 28, 2023

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At Birch Elementary, we strive to encourage a love for reading. One morning, our stellar Assistant Principal, Mrs. Amy Clugston, requested that all students who had achieved their Accelerated Reading goal thus far to participate in an impromptu slide party.

Students cheered with joy and leaped with glee at this unexpected offer. Our Birch readers know that we value literacy and recognize their growth!


The grandparents of the Birch Elementary family packed the cafeteria in full force during the week of September 11-15. These grandparents and Birch First Pirates devoured a delicious breakfast that was prepared with love by the amazing Birch Elementary cafeteria staff.

Our beloved grandparents had the opportunity to view firsthand how our little Pirates are welcomed into our campus each and every day.


What is the best way to spend a Friday morning?

Why at the Pine Tree High School pep rally, of course! Several Birch First Pirates were chosen to attend last week’s pep rally due to their continual display of hard work and respect. After attending the pep rally, several Birch First students shared their plans to eventually be a PTHS football player, drill team member, band member, or cheerleader.

Thank you, Pine Tree High School students, for inspiring our little Pirates!


The Birch Elementary library has started a new weekly incentive of honoring students who are showing diligence in their Accelerated Reader pursuits. On Fridays, a child from each grade is given the tremendous opportunity to receive a book from our book vending machine.

This has become a treasured experience among the Birch First Family.


Jolly Roger Jam Band

Our very own Jolly Roger Jam Band is in full swing. They started after school practices a couple of weeks ago. On top of that, the Jam Band has a new look this year. Not only are they made up of 44 members strong, but they also have a junior band that will be joining them in community performance events this year. They have their first gig coming up Tuesday, October 3rd, where they will be performing at Greggton Global Methodist Church for the National Night Out event at 5:30 PM. Come out and join us at this amazing community event.

Art News

Our second graders at the Pack are exploring the works of famous Vincent van Gogh. They are exploring small brushstrokes and color mixing while creating van Gogh inspired masterpieces. Our students just love learning about all the different artists and masterpieces that go with them.

Breakfast with The Pack

Mrs. Campbell’s and Ms. Shackelford's classes enjoyed breakfast with their students. They earned donuts and orange juice for showing hard work and respect. This is based on their behavior with no sign-ins and for having amazing work ethic. What is so cool about being a part of this Pack is that they will be doing this throughout the school year.


Our students celebrated National Hispanic Heritage Month in Mrs. White’s Spanish classes by dressing up and enjoying food from their native countries. Each class brought homemade dishes and all students enjoyed the delicious and unique treats as they celebrated Hispanic heritage. Great job, Mrs. White and students! Even Superintendent Clugston got in on the action!

Congratulations to our September Pirates of the Month!

7th grade

Micah Hamilton and Ms. Fallon Rutkowski

8th grade

Devin Lister and Ms. Elizabeth Harris

Teachers nominated students and the students with the most nominations won the awards.

We’re so proud of their hard work and accomplishments this school year so far! Keep up the great work!

Our PTJH Cross Country team competed in the PT Mike Darby Invitational during the early morning hours of Saturday, September 16th. Our Junior High students ran hard and our 7th and 8th grade boys finished as runner up for the meet!

Great job Pirates!


Life is shifting into high gear at Pine Tree High School as fall has arrived and students are heavily involved in many academic and extracurricular events right now.

Band and choir are involved in competition season right now. Band took fourth in a very difficult competition this past weekend, while choir once again had numerous people qualify for regional choir after a long day of singing. Both Mark Perry and Danielle Warren are happy with their students thus far, saying they have worked very hard and are deserving of all of the accolades they have accumulated thus far. And, with both so early in competition season, Pine Tree is looking like it will garner a host of awards during this school year.

Other programs such as speech and debate are also doing well, and UIL Academics is getting ready to begin its season in the next few weeks. Pine Tree is noted for its strength in UIL Academics, and Lee Branson said the PT coaches have already been working very hard to make sure that reputation is upheld. Math Science, Ready Writing, Spelling, Computer Science, Journalism and Social Studies have strong teams this year, competitors who are returning after having a good year last year. Branson said Pine Tree should continue its upward climb this year.

In sports, football and volleyball and cross country are all in the middle of their schedules. Football dropped the district opener to Marshall but is hoping to rebound in the coming weeks to secure a playoff spot.

Volleyball also has five or six matches remaining to secure a playoff spot. Cross Country won both the boys and girls division of its latest meet, and Malachi Gray and Mackenzie Robinson were both in the top two of their races. Coach Kyle Burns said, with just a few weeks remaining until district, that the teams are looking strong and a return to regionals and state is a good possibility.

Basketball and soccer are on the horizon as is powerlifting. These should all be strong sports for Pine Tree this year, both on the girls side as well as the boys.

CTE programs are very strong at Pine Tree this year, with many of the programs already working on major projects early in the school year. Culinary has been extra busy with preparing meals for Friday Night Lights and special events for the campus.

Audiovisual has been working games on Thursday and Friday nights at the stadium as well as putting together special projects for the daily announcements. Welding and automotive and construction are always busy with different assignments as well as digital media.

Life is very busy at PTHS! Students are extremely engaged in their academic pursuits as well as projects which benefit the campus and community. Look for big things out of the Pine Tree High School student body this year!

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Less than a month into the 2023-2024 school year, ExCEL High School is proud to announce its first graduate. Congratulations, Tesla Thompson!

Tesla was actually connected to the ExCEL program in a sense on three different occasions. She was a "come back" student during the Covid pandemic, she was in the learning lab at ExCEL last and for the 2023-2024 school year, she applied to become an ExCEL student.

When asked what she liked most about ExCEL she said, "I liked working at my own pace, not everyone else's." Tesla was determined to graduate early. ExCEL teacher, Jennifer Wilbur, was not surprised at how quickly Tesla finished her coursework. She describes Tesla as very hard working and dedicated. She also commented that Tesla has a very unique personality.

Tesla describes herself as shy and very self-conscious. Because of those traits, she found it difficult to ask for help when needed at ExCEL but she was still able to successfully get her coursework completed through the Edgenuity program. She enjoys cooking and doing hair and makeup in her spare time.

Tesla's boyfriend and her mom are who inspire her to be her best self. Although she has not decided what career she wants to pursue, she is confident she will have their love and support in her endeavors.

Tesla will be moving away prior to the ExCEL graduation ceremony in the fall and so upon completion of her coursework, we wish her the best in her future.


Please help us welcome the Pine Tree Middle School Student Council for 2023 2024.

Elections were held last week and the winners are:

President Amelia Arnett, Vice President Jaden Betts, Treasurer Tucker Fairman; Secretary Danyella Mar. Our representatives are: Liliana Loya, Elijah Nicoles, Maci Vittitow, MaKalya Gonzalez, Emily Johnson, Braylee Brown, Indie Gray, Madilyn Pippen, Briana Rojas, Samiya Williams, Alexander Vidaurri, Kynzlee Crawley, Zachary Emerson, Amber Jacob, Kaycyn Williamson, Chloe Martel, Hannah Holder, Elizabeth Butler, Corderious Garrett, Zion Johnson and Ava Vaught.

Mrs. Liz Popelar was awarded our campus Challenge Coin for going the extra mile with her Spanish classes this week. She is helping in many areas with translating and has classes that are full of friends learning new things about languages. We are thrilled she is on our campus and works so hard for our Pirates.

On Saturday, September 23rd, Mrs. Streetman and Mrs. Moore took 17 students to the annual Girls in Aviation Day at LeTourneau University Abbott Aviation Center. The students were able to fly a flight simulator, tour the Abbott Aviation Center, explore the Phonetic Alphabet, create nameplates using sheet metal, participate in a weather lab, make paper planes, and practice their map reading skills.

Our Fifth grade Science students are building new ecosystems for their animals after a visit to the Caldwell Zoo.

Watch for some exciting news and photos coming up from our Career Night tonight from 5 p.m. - 7 p.m.


The ABU Elementary enjoys a music and movement session everyday. The students engage in different activities during this time. During their last session, they passed around a beanbag to the beat of the music which encouraged coordination and teamwork from the students. Ms. Taylor and Ms. Jones always do a great job in ensuring the students have fun while learning!

Ms. Taylor’s students also wrote spelling words in shaving cream. This is another example of how the ABU Elementary students are using varied strategies to support student learning.

The R³ sessions are a fundamental part of the PACE S.T.R.O.N.G. Program. Students share their growth processes with the transitional team.

Here is an excerpt from student Sergio Rubio:

“What part of the STRONG Talk is important to you?” A: ON-POINT because it helps me to achieve my goals and to make sure I’m always on-point in everything. I know it can help me go somewhere in life in the future” -Sergio Rubio, 11th

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PTISD has called a bond election for November 7, 2023. To learn more, we encourage you to attend one of the informational Public Town Hall Meetings or visit the website at

Public Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, October 5, 2023 at 6:00 pm at Pine Tree Junior High

Public Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, October 12, 2023 at 6:00 pm at Parkway Elementary

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