December 2018 - Monthly Recap
Expect the Best, Expect Success!
The Fall Semester has concluded and the Spring semester has begun. We have also entered a new calendar year and our expectations of even greater academic success is building!
December 2018 ended on a high note for Lancaster ISD with staff being recognized nationally for their efforts in the classroom along with the various holiday giving efforts in the district and community.
As we return this semester, we want to let you know that our commitment remains to offer the best educational experience for your child to meet his or her greatest potential.
Please know that we are proud to have your partnership as a Lancaster ISD parent and hope that you enjoy this publication designed for you.
News From the Academic Services Team...
Belt Line Elementary Teacher Receives National Computer Science Award
Lancaster, TX/Lancaster ISD – Less than a year after starting an after school computer science club for students at Lancaster ISD’s Belt Line Elementary Chanel White, the BLE Innovation Lab teacher was recognized by the Computer Science Teachers Association and Code.org as one of eight recipients of the 2018 Champions for Computer Science award at the national kickoff event in Seattle, Washington.
“I am very passionate about teaching computer science,” White said. “I am passionate about helping students to understand that computer science isn’t something inside a box, but is something they use every day, from how they brush their teeth to how they get up in the morning.”
When she started the club last year, White was teaching mathematics on her campus and simply wanted to provide a new experience for the students. She had no idea that the student interest would grow so large that she would be asking her principal to create a computer science class for elementary students.
White said she wanted to start a computer science class to give students who may not otherwise get exposure to this type of experience in elementary.
“I wanted to give students the opportunity to work with real world scenarios in the classroom and to teach students how to think creatively in order to solve problems,” White said. “This is what we do every day in my classroom.”
Lancaster ISD Belt Line Elementary Principal Wendy Hawthorne describes White as a teacher who sets no limits on her students and said that there are many qualities that make her stand out as an educator.
“Not only is Mrs. White eager to learn, but she is eager to share her learning with her students,” Hawthorne said. “She is willing to try anything new in her classroom and expects her students to rise to the occasion.”
It is not unusual for one to see students moving around in Mrs. White’s class working together to communicate their ideas to their peers. She said this will help the students in the future.
“The skills students are learning in my class are based on the real world,” White said. “Their ability to think critically and be natural problem solvers is what companies will be looking for when they leave Lancaster ISD.”
White enjoys the flexibility she has in her classroom. Unlike a traditional classroom, her students move around the room in groups using Google Chromebooks to perform coding activities, building animations as well as solving real life problems in groups.
“I tell them all the furniture in my lab is movable and they can create their own learning space with their peers to solve problems,” White said. “I do not give them any answers, instead I give them tools to research the problems and solve problems together.”
White was nominated by Lancaster ISD’s Director of Blended Learning Kimberly Clark for the computer science award.
“Ms. White has created a culture of innovation at her elementary school,” Clark said. “She is the definition of innovation.”
White is happy to be recognized for this award. However, her motivation is that she enjoys seeing students learn.
“When you see the smiles on the students’ faces when they are able to solve a coding puzzle, it is awesome,” White said. “The best thing about being a teacher is seeing students excited about what they are learning.”
Lancaster High School Teacher, Shunta Spencer is Recognized as the National Math and Science Initiative December Teacher of the Month
Lancaster ISD proud to have instructors like Lancaster High School's Shunta Spencer teaching our students. She was recently honored by the National Math and Science Institute as the December Teacher of the Month.
NMSI shared this sentiment about Ms. Spencer.
"When we think about teachers who are passionate about students success, Ms. Shunta Spencer is one of the first that come to mind. Ms. Spencer, an AP Lang teacher and OnRamps Rhetoric Instructor, is known by her peers for creating an environment that inspires collaboration between teachers and students to make great things happen. We’re proud to recognize Shunta at NMSI’s Teacher of the Month for going the extra mile to ensure her students are prepared for college and beyond."
Spencer is also featured on the NMSI December 11, 2018 blog article Choosing Growth Over Grades.
Her recognition is also featured in the Dallas Morning News Community briefings.
Lancaster ISD Hosts Its Family STEM and Code Night
In observance of National Computer Science Awareness Week, over 200 Lancaster ISD families attended the District-Wide STEM & Code Family Night as it teamed up with the Perot Museum to offer an expansive STEM, technology evening of interactive activities.
The hallways, common areas and even the classrooms were packed with a myriad of fun activities for the family.
Families explored technologies such as 3D printers, robotics and laser cutters from the Perot Museum TECH Truck powered by DELL, experiment as an engineer designing and building the tallest tower, created codes for innovative computer programming. The students and parents were actively engaged in learning that will impact them for a lifetime.
Students and their families participated in mini science lab stations focused on science and STEM concepts, created in maker space stations and STEM Escape Room adventures.
As the first K-12 STEM District in Texas, Lancaster ISD is continuing its quest to raise awareness about computer science, technology and exposing students to new experiences while connecting them to the careers of the future.
It was an evening of discovery, winning challenges, finding clues, and drawing conclusions discovering new ways to create things, understanding the way the body works, and participating in many science labs and experiments, the Lancaster ISD STEM and Coding night was an enjoyable evening for all in attendance.
The activity stations were manned by district educators and students and along with the Tech Education team from the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.
There were ozobots, forensics science fingerprinting activities, CPR lessons, balloon rockets, maker-spaces stations, robots that moved to the sounds of clapping, robot soccer and tallest tower challenges and circuits stations. One of the most popular stations was the glowing foam volcanoes.
It was an experience that will not soon be forgotten. In fact, many parents were excited to participate in activities with their children and to experience the type of learning that occurs in Lancaster ISD. The students and parents also gained resources to continue their learning and some of the creative experiences of the event at home.
Lancaster ISD Participated in the Computer Science Awareness Week HOUR OF CODE
As Lancaster ISD kicked off its annual Computer Science Awareness week with the Hour of Code pep rallies, students of the George Washington Carver 6th Grade STEM Learning Center spent time coding with the community and city of Lancaster staff members.
“Wow, we did not have things like this in school,” said Michael Davis, Distinct Dental Business Manager as he saw his first Lancaster ISD Hour of Code Pep Rally at the George Washington Carver 6th Grade STEM Learning Center. “This was something that I did not really hear about until I was in college.”
During the student’s assembly, the students participated on unplugged group coding activities where they had to “program” students through a maze activity with verbal direction.
“Technology is everywhere and I thought that I should learn how to do it. My spark for computer science started when I was in the sixth grade but I did not learn about it as a career until I was junior in high school when I was applying to college,” said DeNae Kennedy, who is a student at NYU. Kennedy was the speaker for the series of campus rallies held during the kick-off day.
After the campus session, a group of student ambassadors spent time with each community guests and instructed them on how to navigate the Code.org site and the Dance Party application. It was not too long before the city staff and their student ambassadors had the avatars "flossing", a popular dance.
City of Lancaster Information Technology Director, Ron Gleaves who uses computer science in his daily work was glad to experience the hour of code with the Lancaster ISD students.
“It was my first opportunity to code with the student ambassadors. It was a lot of fun getting to know and work with the students,” he began. “The overall enthusiasm of all students was memorable and exciting to see. I was impressed by the attention to detail from the students while coding.”
In Lancaster ISD, students in every grade level on every campus participated in computer science activities throughout the week. Desiree Powell of the City of Lancaster Urban and Planning Development technician was a former computer science major and why she was very familiar with computer programming, she was excited to see that Lancaster ISD students were learning about this at such an early age.
“The games were very interactive. The learning tools make me really excited about the direction that of teaching today,” said Powell. “It seems very advanced. As a former computer science major, the project was an excellent hands-on approach that makes learning both memorable and relatable.”
In Lancaster ISD, we value collaboration and community engagement! We were truly excited to have our City of Lancaster staff and community members to participate in the Lancaster ISD Hour of Code event with our students.
Celebrating Our Lancaster ISD All STAARs
It was a pleasant surprise for the teachers and a wonderful way to commemorate their impact that their daily commitment to excellent instruction! Some were even so excited, they were moved to tears!
During the Fall Convocation, about 40 teachers from a total of 10 campuses were inducted as the inaugural Class of 2018 All-STAARS. These educators were selected due to their outstanding student performance on the most recent State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) with a student pass rate of 80% or above.
Lancaster ISD is extremely grateful to have team members that are dedicated to ensuring that our students are equipped to achieve self-sustaining success! We are also appreciative to Mayor Hairston for his continuous support of Lancaster ISD, its mission and vision! He personally spent the day providing the handwritten letters to each All-STAAR teacher.
Lancaster ISD Athletics Events and Schedules
The Lancaster Tigers defeated a field of five teams in route to the becoming the Dallas ISD Holiday Invitational Tournament champions for the fourth time in 6 years over the holiday break.
“This is a good sign for us because every time we have won this tournament, we have made a trip to the State Tournament in San Antonio,” head coach Ferrin Douglas said. “This was huge for us as a team.”
The team started by defeating 6A Plano 70-48 then Dallas Kimball 69-59, Dallas Conrad 64-46, Skyline 53-38 and finally winning the tournament championship against St. Marks 68-41. Now that the holidays are over the team is focused on getting better as they look to make yet another trip to the State Tournament in March.
“We have to continue every day getting better defensively,” Douglas said. “We need to get better at rebounding the ball.”
As of January 7, the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches ranked our Lancaster High School Tigers Basketball team at # 1 in the state of Texas.
Lancaster High School Football Coach Captured His 100th Career Win
Lancaster ISD Athletic Team Schedules
Lancaster Basketball (Girls) (Freshman/JV/Varsity)
- January 11 - Lancaster* at Kaufman (t) 5:30 p.m./ 5:30 p.m./ 7:00 p.m. (Teacher Appreciation night)
- January 15 Lancaster* at North Forney 5:30 p.m./ 5:30 p.m./ 7:00 p.m.
- January 18 Forney at Lancaster* 5:30 p.m./ 5:30 p.m./ 7:00 p.m.
- January 22 Lancaster* at West Mesquite 5:30 p.m./ 5:30 p.m./ 7:00 p.m.
- January 29 Terrell at Lancaster* 5:30 p.m./ 5:30 p.m. /7:00 p.m.
- February 1 Lancaster* at Mesquite Poteet (s) 5:30 p.m. / 5:30 p.m./ 7:00 p.m.
- February 5 Kaufman at Lancaster* 5:30 p.m./ 5:30 p.m./ 7:00 p.m.
Lancaster Basketball (Boys)
- January 11 *Kaufman at Kaufman 5:30 p.m. / 7:30 p.m.
- January 15 *North Forney at North Forney 5:30 p.m. / 7:00 p.m.
- January 18 *Forney at Lancaster 5:30 p.m. / 7:00 p.m.
- January 22 *West Mesquite at West Mesquite 5:30 p.m. / 7:00 p.m.
- January 25 *BYE
- January 29 *Terrell Lancaster 5:30 p.m./7:00 p.m.
- February 1 *Poteet at Poteet 5:30 p.m./ 7:00 p.m.
- February 5 *Kaufman at Lancaster 5:30 p.m. / 7:00 p.m.
- February 8 *North Forney at Lancaster 5:30 p.m. /7:00 p.m.
- February 12 *Forney at Forney 5:30 p.m. / 7:00 p.m.
- January 11-12 Trojan Classic at Trinity HS 2:00 p.m. V/JV/ G
- January 19 Lancaster Tiger Classic at Lancaster High School 8:00 a.m. V/ G
- January 24 vs RL Turner at Lancaster High School 5:30 p.m. V/G
- January 26 Midlothian at Midlothian High School TBD V/G
- January 30 Plano East at Plano East High School 5:30 p.m. G
News From the College, Career and Military Readiness Department
The AVID Program Enrollment Window Will Open in January... Parent Information Meeting, February 5
The College, Career and Military Readiness Department is asking parents of students in the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grades to make plans to attend the upcoming AVID informational meeting on Tuesday, February 5 at the G. W. Carver 6th Grade STEM Learning Center. Watch your email and check your phone for the meeting information. Also, take time to meet with your child's counselor to learn more about the program.
Be sure to attend the meeting to hear from students who are in the program and also from instructors who can help answer questions about the concept and benefit of the program.
The Lancaster High School Will Sponsor Its 8th Grade Endorsement Exploration Evening on January 15
Each year at the start of the spring semester, Lancaster ISD eighth grade students explore their education and career endorsement options for their upcoming freshmen year. This year, the Career and Technical Education Department and curriculum team members will be on hand to help students determine their learning pathway or focus of learning. Then, the students will select their course of study to pursue during their high school years.
All eighth grade parents and students are invited to this event. So, mark your calendars for Tuesday, January 15 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Lancaster High School, 200 E. Wintergreen Road, Lancaster 75134.
The Lancaster STEM Early College High School Enrollment Deadline is January 11!
Child Nutrition Meal Management Information
The Child Nutrition Department Food Service Provider is Sodexo. The mission of this department is to provide well-balanced meals for the students of Lancaster ISD.
All Lancaster ISD campuses provide students with breakfast and lunch daily. Please contact the campus to confirm the meal times.
Breakfast: K-12 Free for all district students
Lunch Full Paid: K-5 $2.35
Lunch Full Paid: 6-12 $2.60
Lunch Reduced: K-12 $0.40
School Lunch Application
We encourage parents to complete the school lunch application at the start of the school year during enrollment. Do you still need to complete the lunch application? Click Here
School Lunch Menus
You don't have to wonder what your child will eat each day. You can see the monthly take home menus for elementary students from our district web page.
Manage Lunch Accounts Easily Online
Do you need to add money to your child's meal account but cannot do it in person nor do you want to send the money via your child? You can add money to your child's meal account online through the My School Bucks link on the child nutrition home page.
Lancaster ISD Pre-K Angel Tree Toy Giveaway
We are truly grateful for the heart of the Lancaster High School students, parents and staff! This campus doubled their donation amount to make sure that the goal was met! It was so heartwarming to hear how many students were giving just because they wanted to help give a gift to their young peers. Many of these students were not wanting an incentive or anything in return, they simply wanted to help meet a need! How exciting to know that our students have such helpful hearts!
Below are just a few pictures from one of the shopping trips to a local retail store. Your support made this effort to bring smiles to over 700 young scholars possible! Thank you again, parents!
...Scenes from the Angel Tree Delivery Days
It was sometimes overwhelming to see the joy, smiles and appreciation of the children as they unwrapped a gift of their own.
The Pre-K Angel Tree is a long standing Lancaster ISD tradition and one that with the continued support of the our personnel and community can continue.
Please see some of the photos from the campus delivery events.
Lancaster ISD Superintendent Elijah Granger takes time to sit and enjoy the Angel Tree gifts with Pre-K 3 students at Belt Line Elementary.
Student Affairs/Parent Engagement Activities:
Lancaster Middle School AVID Students Bring Warmth and Cheer to the Lancaster Rehabilitation Center
Elsie Robertson Lancaster STEM Middle School students delivered handmade knitted scarves and hats to residents at the Lancaster Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center. The students, both male and female, made these items in the library during their lunch breaks over the last two months!
The students learned a new skill that they can use throughout their life and also had the opportunity to help make someone else's day a little warmer and brighter.
The students also had the chance to visit and interact with the residents and learn a little more about life from their perspective.
We are grateful to have dedicated staff that go beyond the classroom to help our students gain life skills and serve others.
A Message From The Human Resources Department....
We Have Room for You! - Lancaster ISD Transportation Is Looking for Some Excellent Customer Service Professionals...
Community Partnership Events
Focus Daily News Features the City of Lancaster Winter Wonderland Extravaganza for District Kindergartners
LANCASTER—Snow covered the floor while a steady flow of kindergarten students from Lancaster ISD made their way through a wintery maze as part of a joint project between the City of Lancaster Public Safety department and the school district during the holidays.
The event titled “Winter Wonderland” featured an opportunity for every Lancaster ISD kindergarten student from every campus to receive a gift from Santa, popcorn and a special candy bag full of treats before they left the event. Playing Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus were the City of Lancaster Fire Chief Kenneth Johnson(Santa) and City of Lancaster Emergency Communications and Management Superintendent Delajér Walker(Mrs. Claus).
“I was so very happy to see all the smiles on the kids faces as they made their way through the Winter Wonderland Maze and around the corner to see Santa,” Lancaster Police Department Administrative Assistant and Lancaster ISD School Board Vice President LaRhonda Mays said. “I was so excited to see our City Manager, our Superintendent of Schools, our City Police Chief, our City Emergency Communications and Management Superintendent, our City Manager and our Fire Chief all come together to offer these children a time of their life during the Christmas season.”
Johnson said he was excited to play the part of Santa for the event. It especially made his day when he heard the sound of children’s voices leaving from the Winter Wonderland maze headed his way.
“It was so funny when one little girl figured out I was not only Santa Claus but I was also the Fire Chief,” Johnson said. “It was so much fun hearing the children coming around the corner from the Winter Wonderland Maze chanting Santa Claus, Santa Claus.”
Lancaster ISD Superintendent Elijah Granger was so excited about this event he wore a snowman costume and assisted Santa Claus with passing out gifts to every child.
“It is great for our children to know they are loved by the City of Lancaster, the Lancaster Police Department and Lancaster ISD,” Granger said. “This means so much to our students to see the community and school district come together to support them.”
Lancaster City Manager Opal Mauldin-Jones said this event is more than just a holiday event. She said it is about the village atmosphere that is being embraced in Lancaster.
“We want our children to know that it is not just about public safety in Lancaster. It is about community,” Maudlin-Jones said. “Lancaster ISD and the City of Lancaster are one and we care about one another. We are one city with one goal and one vision and that is service.”
Walker said this event is just one of the many events she hopes the City of Lancaster and Lancaster ISD work together on an event like this one.
“The connections and networking between those in the public safety building and Lancaster ISD was truly amazing,” Walker said. “It was a great pleasure doing this event for the children in our schools and we are excited about more to come.”
Lancaster Police Chief Samuel Urbanski dressed as one of Santa’s Elves for the event. He said the event took everyone coming together to make this day special for the children.
“There is nothing like seeing the look on a child’s face when they are surprised to see not only Santa and Mrs. Claus but his elves and other characters,” Urbanski said. “We couldn’t have done this without the combined efforts of everyone involved. The event was amazing not only for the children but the adults involved as well.”
St. Vincent De Paul Provides A Holiday Gift "Shopping" Experience for a Group of Lancaster ISD Families
The City of Lancaster will host the Annual Martin Luther King Jr., Parade on January 19
Upcoming District Events
January is School Board Appreciation Month! - We Are Celebrating Our Champions of Public Schools!
In Lancaster ISD, we appreciate the dedication of our trustees to improve education as they work with parents, education professionals, and community members to create successful learning environments.
School board members tackle various challenges and are consistently seeking opportunities to discuss important issues, develop innovation solutions, and empower educators.
During the month of January, we want to share our appreciation as a school district for a strong Team of Seven who are committed to providing the best learning environment for our students.
Thank you to our Lancaster ISD School Board Trustees!
Parent Connect Technology Academy - Next Session January 17
On Thursday, January 17, 2019, the Parent Connect Parent Technology Academy will
host a session for parents about Educational Resources. Parents will learn how to gain access to web pages, helpful databases, and online textbooks used in the classroom. Please join us at Barack & Michelle Obama 9th Grade Center located at 1109 W. Main Street in Lancaster, TX in the Cafeteria for the morning session at 9 AM or the Library for the evening session at 4:30 PM. This event is open to all students (grades Pre-K through 12th) and their families.
Please contact the Director of Blended Learning, Kimberly Clark at (972) 218-1857 for more information. Hope to see you there!
Mark Your Calendar for the Lancaster ISD Black History Bowl - February 2
In Lancaster ISD, our VISION is 2020!
Lancaster ISD Beliefs:
Equity in education is a human right.
Educators, parents and students share in the responsibility of developing well-rounded individuals.
Engaged, relevant learning experiences provide for a quality education leading to a quality life.
Learning is a life-long process that is enhanced by taking risks.
A person has the capacity to learn from past experiences.
Purposeful planning to meet individual student needs leads to intentional outcomes for student success.