April 2017 Recap
April is the month that we are settling into the joy of spring and planning for the summer!
This is our eighth month bringing you this newsletter designed to provide you with timely, relevant information about recent happenings and upcoming engagement opportunities as we look toward the close of the school year.
In Lancaster ISD, we value you and are truly grateful to prepare our students for sustainable success. It is truly our pleasure to serve you and your child each day. Please enjoy this edition of a newsletter especially designed for you.
Thank you for staying connected!
Lancaster ISD High School Student, Trevor Johnson, Featured In Texas Instruments' Portrait of Success Article
Excerpt from article: Portraits of success: Lancaster school district helps students realize STEM success
When you ask Trevor Johnson what he wants to be when he grows up, the answer is simple:
How will he change the world? Through electrical engineering, he says. The soon-to-graduate senior at Lancaster High School near Dallas fell in love with math in 5th grade – in a crowded elementary cafeteria-turned-auditorium, during a Math Olympiad competition.
“It was really special,” Trevor said. “I was pretty much in love with math and ended up placing. It made me feel like my hard work paid off.”
Seven years after that Math Olympiad, Trevor has participated in engineering club, robotics, field trips to the Perot Museum and a trip to Houston for a National Society of Black Engineers event. He’s taken dual-credit courses through a local community college and has been accepted at nine universities, with three scholarship offers.
To Trevor, the narrative of his middle school and high school experience is business-as-usual. But for Lancaster Independent School District (ISD) – a low socio-economic, high-minority population district – stories like Trevor’s represent a profound transformation.
“We’ve had to shift the mindset of what school is,” said Kyndra Johnson, Lancaster ISD director of STEM and Curriculum Innovation. “We have a new generation of students that requires us to prepare differently and deliver instruction in a different way.”
Starting in 2012, Lancaster ISD has implemented an innovative STEM District model that focuses on developing teachers, raising academic standards, preparing students for success in college and careers, and introducing more black, Hispanic and female students to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, in which they are traditionally underrepresented. The model brought together proven programs from other areas of Texas into one focused effort. It is designed to be replicable throughout the state.
Ninety-five percent of students in Lancaster ISD are black or Hispanic, and 90 percent are on free or reduced lunch programs based on family income. When the “STEM for all” district-wide initiative began, the district’s college and career readiness scores were among the lowest in the state of Texas.
Excellent teachers and higher expectations are two cornerstones of the approach, along with ensuring students have a strong foundation in math and science, and exposing them to engineering careers, Kyndra said. Community support is also critical.
“When (students are) here with us, we have a responsibility…to provide them with the best education and an environment that is safe,” she said. “They feel like they’re cared for, but they’re also going to be pushed and challenged.”
Exposure to engineering careers
For Trevor, learning about the variety of engineering careers began in eighth grade. His eyes light up when he talks about robotics and the engineering club. Activities like the trip to Houston for the National Society of Black Engineers (#NSBE) event made him feel encouraged and uplifted, he said.
Trevor credits his teacher and mentor, Charles Richardson, with challenging him inside the classroom and supporting him outside the classroom, including influencing him to attend STEM summer camps.
Like other Lancaster teachers who set high standards for their students, Charles said he’s proud of Trevor.
“You can be exposed to STEM, but if you don’t apply yourself, it won’t happen,” he said. “As we like to say, STEM also stands for ‘Striving To Empower Minds.’ It has a lot to do with the exposure and experiences our students are afforded at an early age. When something becomes a habit, you’re developing that skill, talent or learning.”
Charles, a former engineer who turned to teaching, was recognized as a recipient of the Texas Instruments Foundation Innovations in STEM Teaching Award in 2016. ...(More)...
College and Career Readiness: Countdown to Graduation - For Parents of High School Seniors
TIPS FOR PARENTS OF GRADUATING SENIORS
Month of May - Graduation is nearly upon us. Please be sure to do the following:
- Once you and your child have pondered your post secondary admissions options (including the financial aid packages) and selected your chosen school, tell your guidance counselor/advisor (and, of course, your family and friends).
- Remember that you’ll also need to reach out to any schools you got into but whose offers you’re declining and share your decision. They also need to know how to plan for their upcoming year. Finally, if you are on a “wait list,” check on your status. Submit additional information on your activities and honors since you applied in the fall. And, as a precaution, be sure to enroll in one of the universities that did accept you. You can always decline if you get off the wait list.
- After you make and celebrate your college admissions decision, start writing a “to do list” of items that require attention to ensure your college journey begins smoothly (i.e. complete housing forms, schedule orientation, prepare to register for classes and/or placement tests, etc.)
- Understand that you’re likely to feel a rush of different emotions regarding graduation and going off to college. Please know that this is normal and completely acceptable (yes, even for parents! :) Don't bottle it up, talk about it. Sometimes its helpful to discuss your feelings with other peers, parents and guidance counselors. Both, high school graduation and starting your college journey are two major milestones and both generate a good deal of change for entire families.
- Parents, If your child does not plan to enroll in a four-year college next school year, please help him or her explore educational opportunities at a community, vocational, or career/technical college. Encourage your child to stop by the Lancaster High School College and Career Center on campus to see Ms. Wagner or Mr. Sheppard and learn more about the wealth of opportunities available for those who want to take a different route to post-secondary study.
- Also, summer doesn’t have to be a time of complete slackdom for a recent high school graduate (though, it does sound lovely)! Consider taking allowing your child to take a course at a local college to get a head start on basic courses and college credit hours. This might save you money in the long run.
- Alternatively, you may consider allowing your child to secure a summer job or an internship to acquire money for the first semester and get in the habit of good time management. This experience can also help your child learn how to navigate an office/work environment and acquire invaluable professional experience.
Class of 2017 Parents: Make Plans to Celebrate Your Child's Academic Selection on May 5
WFAA Feature Story: Lancaster Middle School Students STEM Learning in the Aquaponics Lab
By Demond Fernandez, WFAA
LANCASTER -- A North Texas middle school is helping children learn how to grow their food. The students are making their classroom into a garden.
At Lancaster’s Elsie Robertson Middle School, students are excited about their new Aquaponics Lab.
“This right here is the plant bed where we keep the catfish,” said seventh grader Mark Whitfield as he checked water samples in the system.
In this lab, the students are budding scientists, they spend the period producing and harvesting plant beds which are sprouting a variety of lush vegetables.
“Right here we are growing lettuce,” said Jadan Robinson. “Right here is cabbage. Right here is the cucumbers that we are growing.”
The school’s new Aquaponics lab is only four months old, but already growing great interest from students. The middle schoolers say they never imagined they could use fish to help grow food, without the use of soil and natural sunlight.
Robinson explained, “I didn’t think it was possible to use fish to grow food. Then when I came, and you see the plants grow, I was like whoa, we did this. We did this by ourselves.”
The school’s Aquaponics Lab is designed and maintained by the students as part of Lancaster ISD’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) program.
Science Master Teacher Jennifer Likely says operating the lab teaches the students critical thinking and problem solving skills.
“The excitement in one area, brings an excitement in the rest of them. If they found something, hey, this is cool, maybe even in History or Math, it starts making a little more sense," Likely said.
This type of real life experience is part of Lancaster ISD’s long-range plan. The school district is committed to making sure every student is exposed to STEM programs, from Pre-K to high school.
“This is a huge game changer for us,” said Secondary Science Specialist Kenya Wilson. “Our students have an opportunity to realize that anything that they are interested in has a STEM component.”
The students say learning to grow food is learning new ways to make their community better.
© 2017 WFAA-TV
Click to the newslink below to see the WFAA Feature Story Video!
Lancaster ISD Hosted Its 8th Annual Special Olympics Event at the Beverly D. Humphrey Tiger Stadium
The Lancaster ISD Beverly D. Humphrey Stadium transformed into a place of sheer excitement for as the Lancaster Independent School District hosted its 8th annual Special Olympics Track and Field Meet.
The meet participants consisted of about 350 students in various grades from Uplift Charter and the Cedar Hill, Red Oak, Waxahachie, Grand Prairie, Ferris, Terrell and Lancaster ISD campuses.
This annual event is full of passion and support, high-fives and smiles for athletes with a tenacious commitment to get to the finish line. The creation of a fun and competitive environment is a goal of the local event founder and current coordinator, Lancaster ISD Special Education Adaptive PE Coach and Special Olympics event Coordinator Eddie Bratton.
“I want the students to have lasting memories of competing with one another and celebrate their wins like other students,” Bratton said. “It is my desire to hold fast to the Special Olympics motto, “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”
Let's Congratulate Lancaster ISD 2017 Campus Teachers of the Year
Lancaster, TX/Lancaster ISD – As the 2016-2017 school year comes to a close, many campuses are acknowledging outstanding staff and students. In Lancaster ISD, schools recently selected the Teachers of the Year. Listed below are the outstanding educators who received the honor this year:
Belt Line Elementary: Jacoby Ivery
Houston Elementary: Cara Reed
Lancaster Elementary: Shamaro Roberts
Pleasant Run Elementary: Gloria Fernandez
Rolling Hills Elementary: Shakinya Heads
Rosa Park/Millbrook Elementary: Joshua Hairston
West Main Elementary: Maria Espinoza
George Washington Carver 6th Grade STEM Learning Center: Cherry McCoy
Elsie Robertson Lancaster STEM Middle School: Brandon Sinney
Lancaster High School: Charles Richardson
J.D. Hall STEM Learning Center: Reginald Johnson
The District’s Teacher of the Year Committee will select two final representatives for the elementary and secondary levels to advance and represent Lancaster ISD for the regional Teacher of the Year selection.
The Lancaster ISD Education Foundation also celebrated each honoree during its annual Eye of the Tiger Banquet and on Monday, May 15, the Lancaster ISD Board of Trustees will recognize each Teacher of the Year during its monthly school board meeting.
Parents, help us congratulate these educators! Use Let's Talk to Thank An Educator!
Lancaster ISD Bond Construction Update for April 2017
News From the Lancaster ISD Athletics Department: Track and Field Area Results
The Lancaster High School Tigers Track teams are in competition and have just completed the Region 2 Meet and are on their way to represent the district in the UIL State Competition. Here are the current team standings.
LHS Boys Tigers Track Team - 3rd place - 58 points
LHS Lady Tigers - 2nd place - 97 points
The Boys Tigers State Qualifiers:
4 x 100 – 1st place (LT Jessie, Kevontre Bradford, Jordan Hollis, Tylin Jackson)
400 meters – 2nd place (Gabriel Peterson)
4 x 400 – 1st place (Gabriel Peterson, Kevontre Bradford, Deundre Dawson, Jordan Hollis)
Lady Tigers State Qualifiers:
4 x 100 relay – 3rd place (Tori Hardy, Jayla Hollis, Kyla Glenn, Daria Stewart)
100 meter hurdles 1st place - Kyla Glenn
100 meter hurdles 2nd place - Kiara Smith
4 x 200 relay – 2nd place (Kiara Brown, Jayla Hollis, Kyla Glenn, Tori Hardy)
200 meters - 1st place - Jayla Hollis
4 x 400 relay – 1st place (Aysia Ward, Kiara Brown, Denicia Gillespie, Tylantiss Atlas)
The following Lady Tigers and Tigers also scored points towards the team's success:
Daria Stewart - 4th place - 100 meters
Tori Hardy - 5th place - 100 meters
Kiara Brown - 5th place - 200 meters
Tylantiss Atlas - 3rd place - 800 meters and 400 meters
Nadia Miles - 7th place - 300 meter hurdles
Tylantiss Atlas - 5th place - High Jump in addition to her other events
LT Jessie – 3rd place - 100 meters
Tylin Jackson – 5th place - 200 meters
Tyree Waters - 7th place - 300 hurdles
Martraviaon Price - 5th place - High Jump
Juan Waters - 10th place - Shot Putt
We are proud of our student-athletes and are ready to see their success at the state level. If you would like to see the Tigers in action at the state competition, please see the Meet information below.
UIL State Track and Field Championship
UT Austin Mike Meyers Stadium
Thursday, May 11 – Saturday, May 13, 2017
Friday, May 12, 2017 - 5A Running Events @ 6 PM
Lancaster ISD District Wide Art Show - Elements of Art
Pre-Register Today: Parents, Secure Your Child's Seat for the 2017-2018 School Year.
Upcoming District Events
Lancaster High School National Honor Society Induction Ceremony - May 4
Parents, Get Your tickets to The Ultimate Debutante Experience Today!
The Ultimate Debutante Experience affords students the opportunity to undergo a series of leadership and character development sessions designed to prepare them for this monumental transition to life after high school. The culmination/celebration of their training is May 21, 2017 at 4 PM. This event will be held at Dress Up Event Hall in the Grand Luxe Ballroom, 4343 Gannon Lane Suite #300, Dallas, TX 75237.
Please show your support by purchasing a ticket or advertisement ad to be included in the souvenir program book to support the debutante/scholarship recipients.
More Upcoming Events and Celebrations...
May 1-5: Teacher Appreciation Week
May 4: NHS Induction Ceremony
May 5: National College Academic Signing Day, LHS (1 PM)
May 6: Election Day
May 12-13: Relay For Life
May 14: Mother’s Day
May 15: School Board Meeting (7 PM)
May 18: Fine Arts Majestic Performance
May 19: Sister 2 Sister Summit
May 20: Chamber Gala
Campus Calendars for May 2017
Stay connected to the district academic schedule and be aware of the upcoming district holidays.
News from Our Community
The City of Lancaster Will Observe the National Day of Prayer on May 4
The National Day of Prayer is an annual day of observance held on the first Thursday of May, designated by the United States Congress. Each year since its inception, the president has signed a proclamation, encouraging all Americans to pray on this day.
For questions, please call 972-218-1300.
Participate in the City of Lancaster 2017 Citzens Survey
The City of Lancaster is surveying its citizens and requesting your feedback on the quality of life in Lancaster. Your input will be reviewed by City Council and City staff to help identify areas and opportunities for improvement.
It only takes about to 3-4 minutes to complete the survey, so are asking that you please share your thoughts with us. Please call the city of Lancaster at 972-218-1324 if you are in need of additional information.
Lancaster Invites You to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo
Lancaster Relay for Life Event is May 12 - Walk, Donate and Support
Relay For Life is the signature fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. Relay is staffed and coordinated by volunteers in more than 5,200 communities and 27 countries. Volunteers give of their time and effort because they believe it's time to take action against cancer.
The City of Lancaster is partnering with other cities in the Best Southwest area to bring communities together to remember loved ones lost, honor survivors of all cancers, and raise money to help the American Cancer Society make a global impact on cancer. Relay is a team fundraising event where team members take turns walking around a track or designated path.
Each event is 6-24 hours in length and each team is asked to have a member on the track at all times to signify that cancer never sleeps. Cancer patients don't stop because they're tired, and for one night, neither do we.
Each team sets up a themed campsite at the event and continues their fundraising efforts by collecting donations for food, goods, games, and activities. This money will count towards their overall team fundraising goal.
Lancaster will have a team at this event on May 12 and invite you to support the event by signing up to walk, donate money to the group. Call the City of Lancaster for more information at 972-218-1300.
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.