LULING ENEWS - FEBRUARY 2020
Hello Luling ISD Community!
January is considered the middle of the school year, and the opportune time to determine student performance and growth to date. We use this data to inform our instruction in the classroom and for intervention and enrichment purposes. Our goal is that every student grows academically, and these periodic check-ins help us to ensure that we are providing content instruction that is appropriate for your student. Our staff continuously monitors progress in order to close gaps and enhance learning. Please contact your child's teacher for information on their performance and growth.
At the January meeting, the Board voted to begin the process to become a District of Innovation. In 2015, the legislature passed a bill that allows public school districts the same flexibility that charter schools have on several educational areas. The Board appointed a committee of staff, parents, and community members to write a comprehensive District of Innovation plan that outlines which Texas Education Codes the district will be exempt from in order to align practices with district goals. The committee is currently working on this plan and will present it to the Board at the March meeting. This is another example of how the district and the community are coming together to make our schools, and our students, successful!
After 8 months of planning and designing, the district put out a request for bids from general contractors for the Shanklin and Gerdes projects. Proposals were submitted on January 30th and are currently being evaluated. The Board will approve one of the submitting companies at the Board meeting on February 17th. We are excited to start the next phase of these projects!
If you've driven by the stadium lately, you've seen there is noticeable changes taking place. The soil on the field had too much clay in it, which resulted in weeks of a water injection process and further testing. Our soil has passed all necessary tests and we are ready to proceed! Crews will be working day and night and are expected to meet their April completion date.
(Thank you, Paul Easterling, for the amazing drone picture)
Denise Adams is our High School Biology teacher, National Honor Society sponsor, class sponsor, the Science Department Head, serves on the Strategic Plan Committee, the District Advisory Committee, and now the District of Innovation Committee. Mrs. Adams has raised the bar, and the rigor, for our students and her impressive Biology EOC scores is evidence of that! She brings innovation and technology to the classroom and consistently uses best practices in content development and instruction. Mrs. Adams supports her students outside of the classroom by attending extra-curricular events. She is truly making a difference for our students! We are so happy she is part of the Luling ISD family!
Athletics is off and rolling this spring semester with basketball, baseball, softball, powerlifting, and track all competing this month. We are competing at a high level and our athletes are getting better and better each day that we train and workout. The dividends of the Strength and Conditioning program that we have been hard at work on the last year and a half are beginning to show. We have started to instill our 5 Core Values into the Program which are; Toughness, Commitment, Discipline, Energy, and Pride. We are truly excited about the future of Luling Athletics.
Our basketball teams are in the thick of the District 27-AAA race with both teams sitting at the top of the district going into Friday’s critical showdown with Poth. These players and coaches have put in a lot of hours in the gym and we expect great things from both teams come playoffs.
Our Powerlifting team is getting stronger every meet. This past weekend they improved with a great showing at the Navarro Meet. Our girls team placed 2 nd and the boys finished in 5 th place against some great competition.
Softball began practice last week and we look to build off of last year’s Bi-District play-off performance. The majority of our team returned and with the new additions, the Lady Eagles are ready to soar into this spring.
Baseball began last week as well, with practice starting on Friday January 31 st . Although we have a few spots to fill due to graduation, we definitely are looking forward to this year and to build off last year’s Area playoff team.
A lot of improvements have been made to athletic facilities over the Fall and Winter, including new infields for both softball and baseball. Also, the new lights at the baseball field are up and running in time for our season to begin. Construction continues on Eagle Stadium, and we know this is a project that will instill pride in both our students and community.
A lot of great things going on in Luling Athletics and we would encourage everyone to come out and support these young men and women as they compete for Luling.
Go Eagles and #TalonsUp
-Coach Martin, Athletic Director
5-YEAR STRATEGIC PLAN
Strategic Planning committees are continuing their work on strategies for the 2019-2020 school
year for the district’s 5-year strategic plan. In January, the High Expectations and Internal and
External Communications committees met to discuss next steps on creation of Luling ISD’s
portrait of a graduate and to being work on the district’s communication plan. This work was
informed by 489 districtwide survey responses from parents, teachers, students, and
community members. The Recruitment and Retention committee worked on improvements to
the district’s mentor plan for new teachers. Committees will meet again in February to continue
their work toward year end goals. The overall goal of the Strategic Plan is to collaboratively
shape the future of Luling ISD to accomplish the district’s vision of educating every child every
For more information about the plan or joining a committee, please contact: Glenda
Thacker, Director of Strategic Initiatives at email@example.com.
In January, student accomplishments were recognized and celebrated during the term awards ceremony. Parents’ attendance and support for students during the ceremony demonstrated the importance of the work that students are doing. Students were recognized for academic achievement, attendance, classroom citizenship, and Accelerated Reading accomplishments. A notable accomplishment for this term was that every 1st-grade student earned and received an award. We look forward to continued support from families in developing literacy in our students.
Breakfast with FUDGE
Primary students were honored to have the important men in their lives join them for breakfast during our breakfast with FUDGE (Fathers, Uncles, Dads, Grandfathers, or an Extra special person ). Over 100 guests joined our students for this event. We value the support from the families of our students.
During the last week of January, students at the Primary school engaged in Holocaust remembrance activities in accordance with Senate Bill 1828. Using material that was compiled by the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission, students learned about empathy and diversity. Using the book, The Sneeches by Dr. Suess, students learned about differences and acceptance in a community. Students also developed an understanding of world geography and where the Holocaust took place. Students learned that it is important to remember what happened during the Holocaust so that it does not happen again.
-Mr. Weikert, Principal
Principal’s Writing Challenge Winners: Each month, all Shanklin students respond to a writing prompt. The students go through the writing process to produce a final draft that is submitted to the principals. After careful review, winners from each grade level are chosen and celebrated. Here are the fabulous winners from December and January:
Shanklin Elementary Spelling Bee: Over 1/4th of the student enrollment signed up in December to participate in the 2019-2020 Scripps National Spelling Bee competition. 94 students participated on January 8 in the preliminary written spelling test. 30 second-fifth grade students earned the opportunity to be in the spotlight for this next level of competition.
The Shanklin Elementary Spelling Bee wrapped up on January 9. Our top two finalists included: First Place - Jacquelyn Guillen (4rd Grade) and Second Place - Seth Cruz (4th Grade). Jacquelyn also won the Shanklin Spelling Bee last year as a third grader!
Congratulations to all 30 of our finalists as they did a fabulous job in representing their grade level with pride!
Shanklin Elementary Geographic Bee: Do you know which city in the world is located in two continents? If you thought of Istanbul, you were right! Fifteen courageous fourth and fifth grade students took the stage on January 29th and competed in the second annual Geographic Bee competition to answer this and many other challenging questions.
After an hour and a half of grueling questioning, a winner finally emerged. Congratulations to Liliana Tula for winning first place and Cayden Schulle for winning second place in the Geo Bee!
-Mrs. Ewald, Principal
Our AVID Program Manager visited our schools in January and loved what she observed. We saw great things on all campuses! Students were using WICOR strategies to mark their text, process their notes, and work in pairs and in groups to dig deeper and understand greater. WICOR is Writing to learn, Inquiry, Collaboration, Organization, and Reading to learn. Shanklin Elementary proudly displayed their future readiness and their passion for learning in Math, Reading, and Science. Students at Gerdes Junior High expertly showed studying skills while working with peers, using their interactive notebooks that were filled with organized and highlighted key facts for all subjects. At the High School, student work lined the halls. Students created one pagers to show what they know and participated in discussion groups to deepen their understanding of Literature, History, and Algebra. When asked, students were excited to share what they knew. All core classes deepened their understanding by discussing their learning with peers. It was a great day for learning!!
-Dr. Weikert, Director of Academic Enhancement
Luling ISD offers all secondary students an opportunity to participate in advanced academic experiences by providing rigorous learning through Pre-Advanced, Advanced Placement, Dual Credit, and Dual Enrollment courses. Students may choose to take Pre-Advanced courses in the core academic areas (English, Math, Science, and Social Studies) to prepare them for the critical thinking and complex skills they will experience in the advanced academic courses. Advanced Placement courses are taught by a high school teacher using curriculum created by the College Board. Students may receive college credit by earning a qualifying score on an assessment at the end of the course. Dual Credit courses are provided through Austin Community College and students may earn both high school and college credit by passing a course. Finally, dual enrollment, through UT OnRamps, provides students an opportunity to earn both UT Austin credit from a UT faculty member and high school credit from a Luling High School teacher. According to Jobs for the Future, “if a student enrolls in dual credit [advanced academics], they are two times as likely to complete a degree within six years.”
In the next few months, students will begin selecting courses for upcoming school year. We encourage all students to take the most rigorous curriculum they can. If you have questions about courses and advanced academic options, please contact your school’s counselor.
-Mrs. Jennings, Director of C&I
Saturday Academic STAAR Camps
On Saturday, January 25th Gerdes Junior High students participated in our first Academic STAAR camp for this year. Students engaged in different game play and engaged in learning math and reading. Students played games, earned prizes and enjoyed breakfast and lunch with their friends. The STAAR camps provide students the opportunity to have more time to learn and engage in concepts. We have three more STAAR camps before the STAAR test in May. Each of the three days that are coming up have a theme. Please have your child join us during our next three camps: February 22 (video gaming theme), March 28 (escape room theme), and May 2 (“STAAR” Wars theme”).
Black History Month Celebration
Please join us as Gerdes Junior collaborates with all other LISD school to celebrate Black History. The performance will be on Thursday, February 20th at 6:00 PM. Our students will be singing, stepping, engaged in a living history museum, perform a play, and a Luling community choir will be singing as well. Community members and our families will have the opportunity to make a piece of our community quilt and add their dreams to our “I Have a Dream” board. We will also have food provided by the High School culinary arts programs.
Academic UIL Competition
On Wednesday, January 29th, twenty seven Gerdes Junior High students from 6th, 7th, and 8th grades participated in UIL academic competition with other districts around us. The UIL Academic events span the curriculum and are designed to support and extend upon what students are learning in their classrooms. Some content is subject specific and some span the curriculum. They engage in competitions about music memory, dictionary skills, writing skills, number sense, public speaking, spelling, and chess, as well as many other topics. Students have the opportunity to self select what they want to participate in and practice after school with their UIL Academic coaches to prepare for the competition. Ten of the 27 participants placed with awards in the competition!!
-Mrs. Meshell, Principal
HIGH SCHOOL NEWS
As part of College, Career, and Military Readiness (CCMR) at Luling High School, students have the opportunity to meet with military recruiters to provide information about possible careers and options in the military.
In addition, Luling High School offers students ASVAB testing opportunities during the school year on campus. The ASVAB test is an aptitude battery used to identify developed abilities and possible occupational areas in which these abilities might be successfully applied within the military.
Students in Mr. Bentiez’s Pre-Calculus Pre-AP class took part in a hands-on activity. Students built unit circles on cookies and labeled them with sticky notes. The unit circle is a fundamental part of trigonometry. The instructional activity allows students to understand what radian measure is and how it relates to degrees.
Texas State Senator Judith Zaffirini from the 21st district in Laredo visited Luling High School recently, presenting information to students enrolled in the Law Enforcement class taught by Mr. Castro and U.S. Government classes.
Senator Zaffirini shared life lessons and advice on future opportunities. Students were able to ask Senator Zaffirini questions on a range of topics from college tuition to health care. In addition to focusing on legislative goals and answering questions, Senator Zaffirini made recommendations to the students to pursue their passion or invest in education after high school to guide their interest.
-Mr. Alvarez, Principal
HS ENGLISH TEXTBOOK ADOPTION
The Luling Independent School District is participating in the instructional materials adoption process this year as part of the TEA’s Proclamation 2020, joining other school districts around the state in selecting materials for classrooms that will be used over the next eight years.
Instructional materials available for review include the following subjects:
English Language Arts and Reading
Materials recommended by the district’s Instructional Materials Allotment Team (IMAT) and adopted by the LISD Board of Trustees this spring will be available for use in classrooms starting in the 2020-2021 school year.
The public is invited to examine materials submitted by publishers for adoption consideration from February 10 - 28, 2020 from 9:00am to 3:00pm at the Luling High School library. The public can also review the materials online at: http://tea4avcastro.tea.state.tx.us/imet/agreement.html. A district survey to collect public feedback is posted at: https://goo.gl/forms/YejTM7QhPtJVmlKB3.
-Mrs. Jennings, Director of C&I