DSHS Spotlight

What's Good in the Hood

Life Changers

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Teacher Shout-Outs

Evelyn Balderrama- Emily Groce writes, "Evelyn is one of the hardest working teachers I've worked with. And the best thing is that she is a complete joy to work with. She continues to grow as an amazing teacher and so does her dedication and want. It is my priviledge to work with her and to call her my friend. "


Jordan Batson- Karen Tiller writes, "Shout out to Jordan Batson for his unrelenting dedication to his profession and DSHS. Jordan is displaced during his conference, so he spends every 2nd period in his "office" in the back of the library grading, planning, and brainstorming new and innovative ways to increase professional productivity and student engagement. He's an excellent edition to our faculty, and as a DSHS graduate, proof positive that we are doing it right in Dripping Springs!"


Katie Henry- Jamie Biel writes, "She maintains rigor and integrity and expects the best from her students. She goes above and beyond to provide her students with opportunities to challenge themselves, learn cutting edge science with hands-on labs, and prepare themselves for a working future in biotech! She is doing amazing things!"

Lauren Milner also expressed her appreciation for Katie Henry as being an outstanding mentor teacher, in that Lauren has felt supported from day 1. Katie has taken her role seriously and has consistently been available to troubleshoot and answer questions for Lauren.


Carlos De La Cerda- Kate Clark writes, "Shout out to Carlos for taking the initiative in creating the Native Speakers Spanish course. This addresses a need we have had for awhile. He saw the need and took it upon himself to create the class in order to accommodate student needs."


Yvonne Kaatz- Emily Groce writes, "Yvonne always puts her students and their success first, no matter how much work that puts on her. She goes beyond academics with senior retreat, guest speakers, etc. She is truly a life changer."


Joe Kirksey- Yvonne Kaatz writes, "A shout out to Joe Kirksey for maintaining a balance between coaching wrestling with teaching English. More importantly, Joe is the easiest person in the world to work with in most any situation. He is always at meetings. He is willing to try new things. He voices his thoughts, and listens to others. He is willing to contribute and to pull his weight; and if you ask him to do anything, he will. A perfect example of this is when I texted him this summer to read a book to consider for summer reading. He texted back in 15 minutes that he purchased it on Amazon....seriously, he is an excellent department member."


Derrick Suarez- Judy Gardner writes, "Derrick Suarez in LOTE is always looking for ways to stretch his kids! He designed a news broadcast project in PAP 2 whose many pieces and tasks had the kids reading, exploring, and speaking in Spanish on an elevated level - while having fun! I like that for his beginning classes, he has them answer a simple question at the door on the way into class, so the kids are shifting into Spanish mindset (while providing a quick assessment of what might need a quick reteach/retouch on at the start of class). "


Ramiro Martinez- Joe Burns writes, "Thank you Ramiro for everything you do for DSHS!!! It is truly a blessing to have you on staff."


Alisia Phillips and Kris Vannoy- Sara Freeman writes, "Kris Vannoy and Alisia Phillips have done a great job this year with Algebra 2. They came to us new this year with virtually nothing to guide them in teaching Algebra 2 since we had a new TEKS adoption and major changes have been made to all of the math courses. They have stepped up and taken on this monumental task with little complaining. I appreciate them so much for that."


English Department, NHS, and Coach Parks- Joe Burns writes, "Big thanks for bringing Gilbert Tuhabonye to the campus. His humble message of joy and forgiveness is one we should all take to heart."


Joe Burns writes, "Thank you to the entire DSHS staff for maintaining a positive attitude and energy throughout this spring. Also, a big thanks to all those that are getting involved in the development of PD for 2016-17 and the block schedule design."

Too Cool for School

Marguerite Erickson- Students conducted a lab over electrostatics (as Marguerite illustrated for my non-science brain: like static electricity when you shock yourself after petting a cat). The kids did multiple experiments with a Van de Graff generator. The Van de Graff has a moving belt inside of it that continuously pulls electrons off of a shiny metal sphere. This means that the sphere is positively charged. Everything in the universe wants to be neutrally charged. Therefore, when you come close to the sphere, the sphere pulls electrons from your hand... trying to neutralize itself. They observed this to be little lightening bolts... so the kids basically saw little lightning bolts shoot from their fingers toward the sphere. They also put many objects on the sphere and saw if they repelled or not. (Like charges repel.) The kids enjoyed holding onto the Van de Graff, becoming positively charged, and watching their hair stand on end because each individual hair repelled the other.


Katy Eyberg- Her Creative Writing class put on an "Open Mic Night" last week in the CL&I, including a stage, snacks, and lounge set-up. Those in attendance included both her students and students not in Creative Writing. Students got up and sang, read original poetry, rapped, and did stand-up comedy. It went past the allotted time, and Katy said that she had no desire to leave and really enjoyed watching her students express themselves in this platform.


Rachel Foreman- Her students recently finished thier lit. circle rotations, where they were able to choose the order of the books and then produce a way to teach others about the major concepts in each book, see picture below. She also had students participate in a Poetry Cafe, where students read their own original poetry in an open mic format. The level of poetry that students produced was awe-inspiring, as they were able to express thier own thoughts, passions, and ideas.


Kim Gravell- participated in the Brain Awareness week challenge for its entirety, and she diligently made comments in the Google Classroom that week. She is definitely a leader on campus as she always makes the effort to refine her craft and better serve her students. It is her reflective practices that make her such a successful teacher.


Mike Lemonds- In order to not waste time during STAAR testing, but also to allow students to blow off steam, Mike had his Principles class play Taboo to get them to start thinking about effective communication skills in business. In the sense of: how do you get someone who has no concept of what you are saying to understand you. Thus, tying nicely to his Shark Tank PBL, where students will have to pitch thier business plan to a panel.


B.J. Mercer- I had brought an idea to him in passing for students to design banners for the 6 Week Teacher Awards, so that they could be hung up in thier classrooms. One day I got an email with mock-ups for the banner designs without ever following-up. B.J. is constantly going above and beyond for his students and his co-workers!


Jennifer Riddlebarger- Her students participated in a social media project where they had to analyze a business' use of social media and how this positively and negatively affects the company. This forced students to see social media in a different light outside of thier own use, and how it can impact the success of a business.


Craig Swannack- They started their unit on electricity with this question: "If we wanted to make the room more self-sufficient, what would you need to know?" Craig gave them two minutes to come up with questions, then they brainstormed on the whiteboard.

Once they had discussed the idea, they split up into groups of 3. Each group was like their own general contractor and had to present a bid to Craig (presentation-style) on their plan to make the room entirely self-sufficient. They had to figure everything out on their own--how they wanted to create the power, how much power the room used, what the overall costs would be, etc. I gave them two days, then they presented on the third. The students were really invested in the outcome because it gave them the chance to put idea concerning electricity in real practice and the competitive element never hurts.


Wade Womack- I got to watch his students present thier stories they wrote depicting an ancient civilization. Students utilized a variety of tools to organize their stories, as they were encouraged to choose a platform that they most liked. Thier stories included pictures to illustrate thier "story". One group even used the NFL as an analogy for thier civilization.

Sphere of Influence

Calen McNett and Brian Ormonde- Took thier students to the ACC Welding Competition and Auto Tech Open House to expose them to opportunities outside of school and show them possibilities of how they can grow thier skills.


HUGE Thanks to the those teachers who got here at 8am for a meeting to discuss the direction of block schedule and share their experiences in order to inform the success of block schedule implementation for last year. Many of these teachers also participated in the Block Schedule Q&A session this week. I am so grateful for the teachers on this campus and thier willingness to step up and help out in this transition! The teachers are: Evelyn Balderrama, Jillian Besemer, Melinda Chavira-Cox, Tracy Cooper, Carlos De La Cerda, Tom Gabrielson, Cary Jackson, Adrienne Jones, Brian Ormonde, James Orozco, Jennifer Riddlebarger, Sara-Jane Shepperd, Angela Tennison, and Allyson Wright.


Another huge thanks to the teachers who stepped up to help out with the PD Committee, we are still in the early stages of formulating ideas for successful PD throughout the year, but they committed about 2 hours after school to brainstorm plans for the future. Having thier perspectives has really brought fresh direction to the table and I am so impressed by their passion and conviction in the process. The teachers involved currently are: Brent Duvall, Sara Freeman, Katie Henry, Debra Hines, and Sara-Jane Shepperd.


Lastly, I want to share my appreciation of Evelyn Balderrama, Jennifer Riddlebarger, Sara-Jane Shepperd, and Allyson Wright for being a huge part in the PD development for block scheduling. They have taken thier own time after school to use the information in the survey in order to inform the needs of the school. They have come up with a variety of means to support staff members in this transition, and want to see this transition be as seamless and intentional as possible.

Have a lovely weekend!

This staff is truly talented in reaching students and finding ways to engage students every day. Thank you for your persistence in seeking innovation in the classroom, your students are lucky to have such an accomplished staff! Lastly, I am going to be asking to film or take pictures of classrooms to build a PD library for the campus, if you have anything going on in your classroom that you wouldn't mind sharing, shoot me an e-mail! Also, feel free to send me shout-outs for your fellow colleagues!