Points of Pride

June 2020

Spring Independent School District

For more than 35 years, the Spring ISD Board of Trustees has upheld a proud tradition of recognizing students and staff for major accomplishments beyond the district with Points of Pride awards. With public award ceremonies currently on hold due to the COVID-19 closures, this special edition Points of Pride newsletter features the board’s most recent award recipients for June 2020.

Twin Creeks Middle School Student Named Finalist in ‘Fighting Words Poetry Contest’

Twin Creeks Middle School eighth-grader Kylie Lynn Khalil was recently named a finalist in the 2020 Fighting Words Poetry Contest, sponsored by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. This year, just 18 finalists were selected out of approximately 1,000 entries coming from students in seven different countries, 29 U.S. states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Washington, D.C.

"More than anything, reading these poems I was left hopeful for our shared future,” said Washington State Poet Laureate Claudia Castro Luna, a judge for this year’s contest, in a statement released by the Pulitzer Center. “These young people show again and again with their compositions their ability to empathize with others, with people living across the globe in vastly different circumstances from their own.”

Khalil completed the poetry assignment as part of Spring ISD’s Project-Based Learning during this spring’s Empowered Learning At-Home sessions, amid the COVID-19 closures. In the poetry project, students were encouraged to explore poetry within the context of current events and local culture.

Khalil’s original poem, “Trafficked,” was based in part on reporting that originally appeared in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Magazine, specifically, an article titled “Health Care Providers Are Missing Chances to Help Victims of Sex Trafficking.”

Through their engagement with the project, students used critical-thinking, reading comprehension skills, and their own creativity to transform current events into poetry that could resonate with others and shed light on important cultural topics.

“The young writers who penned these poems attest to our moral responsibility to each other and to the natural world,” Castro Luna said, “and remind us, that beauty and love will always rise above the devastation.”

More information about the contest, as well as links to all the finalists’ poems, can be found on the Pulitzer Center website.

Northgate Crossing Elementary School Teacher Featured During “Power of Women: Frontline Heroes” Special on Lifetime

Northgate Crossing Elementary School fifth-grade teacher Lori Douglass was recently featured on the nationally televised program “Power of Women: Frontline Heroes,” a special production from Lifetime and Variety, which aired on the Lifetime Network June 25.

Hosted by “Good Morning America” co-anchor Robin Roberts, the special aired on Lifetime while simultaneously being broadcast by Variety on Facebook. The program featured the stories of women across the country – including doctors, nurses, teachers and scientists – whose work is helping bring hope and relief in challenging times. Also highlighted were Variety’s 2020 Power of Women honorees – selected for their professional achievements and humanitarian work – including two-time Oscar winner Cate Blanchett, Tony- and Grammy-winning actor Patti LuPone, and eight-time Grammy-nominated singer and actress Janelle Monáe.

A 2016 Spring ISD Teacher of the Year Finalist, Douglass is a veteran educator with a 12-year history at Northgate Crossing and 23 years working in the classroom. Despite the accolades, she was quick to point out that education is, at its roots, a highly collaborative field.

“All Spring ISD teachers are great,” Douglass said. “I just got caught in the act."

Douglass said she was reluctant to participate at first, but was happy to help shine a spotlight on the important work her school and the district have done to support families during the campus closures.

“I did want to showcase our district,” Douglass said. “Spring ISD did an extraordinary job reaching out to kids in this time.”

Northgate Crossing Elementary School fifth-grade teacher Lori Douglass

Northgate Crossing Elementary School fifth-grade teacher Lori Douglass

Spring ISD Procurement Department Receives TASBO Award of Merit for Purchasing Operations

At its Annual Conference Awards Luncheon earlier this spring, the Texas Association of School Business Officials (TASBO) recognized 41 educational organizations across the state – including Spring ISD – for following best practices in the area of purchasing operations.

“There’s no better way to achieve professional purchasing operations than to share best practices throughout the state and document your district’s policies and procedures,” said TASBO Executive Director Tracy Ginsburg in a statement. “We could not be more pleased with the growing recognition of the important work all of our honorees do to streamline operations, comply with regulations and set the standard for how to utilize taxpayer dollars.”

The district’s Procurement Department, under Executive Director Phillip Ellison, has been hard at work to meet the changing need of the district and its campuses for goods and services throughout the pandemic. In addition, just before the COVID-19 closures, Ellison was also honored by TASBO as one of just three finalists across the state for the organization’s Commitment to Excellence Award, its highest individual honor. For Ellison and his team, it’s all in a day’s work.

“Our team is very proud of the award,” Ellison said, “and I was very humbled to be among the short list of finalists.”

The award was established to recognize Texas school districts, open-enrollment charter schools, and education services centers that demonstrate a strong commitment to the highest professional standards in their acquisition of goods and services on behalf of their districts and local communities. Spring ISD has now received the honor 11 times, and Ellison explained that the annual process helps drive the department to improve.

“This requires we continue to review our processes, to continue striving to be the best department we can be,” he said.

Spring ISD Earns Seventh-Consecutive ‘Best Communities for Music Education’ Recognition

Spring ISD was once again named one of the country’s Best Communities for Music Education by the NAMM Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM). This is Spring ISD’s seventh consecutive year receiving the designation honoring districts for their commitment to quality music education for all.

“We feel extremely fortunate to be counted among these communities – all across the country – committed to providing outstanding fine arts and music education,” said Director of Performing and Visual Arts Dr. Joe Clark. “It’s something that’s important to the families we serve, and we’ve seen the many benefits our students get from having access to strong music programs. It’s something we’re really proud of here in Spring ISD.”

Now in its 21st year, the Best Communities for Music Education award program recognizes districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in their efforts to provide music access and education to all students. To qualify, districts must answer detailed questions about program funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program and community music-making programs.

“This seventh consecutive award from the NAMM Foundation is a reflection of the incredible support and vision of our Board of Trustees and their trust in our fine arts teachers and students,” Clark said. “With their support and vision, we look forward to many more years to come.”