Luling ISD ENews - December 2020
As we wrap up a calendar year that was both unexpected and abnormal, we have the opportunity to reflect on the past year. We can choose to focus on the upheaval, stress, and adversity that COVID-19 brought to all of our lives. Or, we can choose to focus on our resilience, ability to adapt to sudden change with innovation, and how we have come together as a community to battle a global pandemic. One choice may result in the loss of hope, while the other allows us the necessary optimism to get us through this difficult time.
As a school district, our work became drastically different in March. Staff learned, at an alarming speed, how to provide instruction in a complete virtual environment. The district proactively purchased enough laptops for every student in order to ensure access to instruction. We adjusted processes in almost every aspect of our work. We were able to implement health and safety procedures that allowed staff and students to return to school without the spread of the virus.
In order to continue face to face instruction, we need your help. This is an opportunity for us as a community to increase our vigilance, be mindful that our actions impact not only ourselves and our families but others in the community, and take the necessary precautions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 within Luling. It is imperative that we all work together to help slow the spread. This includes: wearing masks in public, watching your distance, washing your hands, avoiding large gatherings, and staying home when you are sick. Join us in making these sacrifices because we believe these sacrifices are worth it to keep our students in the classroom.
Please have a safe and happy holiday break and we will see our students back on January 6th!
Reading Academies Training and Planning
During the month of November, the instructional staff at Luling Primary focused on becoming the best trained instructional staff for all students. Kindergarten and 1st-grade teachers, the Reading Specialist, the Instructional Coach, and the campus principal participated in Reading Academy training to increase knowledge and implementation of evidence-based practices to increase student literacy achievement. Participants developed an understanding of how literacy skills develop and then practiced strategies to explicitly teach these skills. Kindergarten and 1st-grade teachers also engaged in planning sessions with instructional coaches to align instruction beginning in the primary grades through junior high school. With the guidance of the instructional coaches, teachers were able to develop instructional models that will positively impact our students as they grow throughout their academic career in Luling ISD. We look forward to providing these opportunities to give our students the best learning experiences.
No Place for Hate
During the month of November, Luling Primary kicked off this year’s No Place for Hate activities with the No Place for Hate pledge and by learning about each other's families. Each class read The Family Book together then created an illustration of their family. Students shared their illustrations and talked about their families to learn about each other. These activities are designed to provide students with opportunities to be valued while promoting respect for individual differences. Students loved drawing and sharing about their families. We look forward to providing our students with opportunities to continue showing respect for each other.
-Mr. Weikert, Principal
We have a busy few weeks coming up in December at Shanklin! Students will continue building their literacy and writing skills every day, along with math and science. Students are learning about fractions and fraction concepts, different types of fiction, natural resources, and doing all types of writing daily!
We are working to get ready for our Winter Program with our music teacher, Ms. Dougherty! It will be a little different this year so stay tuned for upcoming details. It will be virtual and we will be putting out more details of how parents may view it as it gets closer. This will be the last week before we leave for our Winter Break.
The week of December 14-18, we will be having benchmark testing in reading, math, science and writing. This will be an important week for students to be at school, well rested, and ready to do their best. Please refrain from scheduling appointments in the morning for students during this time. We use these tests to gather important data about where we need to focus our teaching and intervention with our students.
Our staff and students are invited to join in our 12 Days of Christmas theme days starting this Thursday! We are looking forward to spreading some Holiday Cheer at Shanklin Elementary! The themes will be emailed out to parents along with being posted on Dojo.
-Ms. Schwarzlose, Principal
ACE AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM
The ACE after school program serves Luling ISD students at Luling Primary, Shanklin Elementary, and Gerdes Junior High until 6:00 p.m. daily. The intent of the program is to provide students with the academic support they need along with time to participate in fun and engaging enrichment activities to provide our students with a well - rounded education.
For academic support, students receive specialized tutoring in reading and math as well as homework help in all subject areas. For enrichment, students create various arts and crafts projects, participate in fun learning experiences, and join in different physical activities during the afternoon. Some of the fun things students have done this year and last year include: attending live performances of a ballet folklorico performance and plays put on by Gerdes Junior High students, traveling to the fire station to learn about fire safety, creating an art project to lift the spirits of hospital patients, learning to fish, visiting the library and nearby parks, taking ballet folklorico and dance lessons, participating in robotics and music classes, and creating various arts and crafts such as making soap and slime.
New this year to the program are cooking classes. Students have already had fun participating in these classes by baking pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cookies, and pumpkin seeds, followed by cooking pumpkin pancakes and making pumpkin smoothies. Students did all of this by using fresh ingredients they harvested from real pumpkins!
Although our program at Shanklin Elementary and Luling Primary are at capacity right now, we have plenty of openings in our Gerdes Junior High Program. We’d love to have more junior high students join us in learning and participating in enrichment after school. We have lots of learning and fun in ACE compared to playing games on devices or watching TV! If you are interested in your student joining ACE, now or in the future, please contact Sherri Gibson at Shanklin Elementary, email@example.com, or Satriani Carrillo at Gerdes Junior High, firstname.lastname@example.org.
-Dr. Thacker, Director of Strategic Initiatives
Students are learning to engage in academic dialogue with one another using a socratic seminar structure. A socratic seminar is a student-led discussion that develops students’ skills in questioning, critical thinking, and their use of academic vocabulary. Socratic seminars also develop a learning community among students and a sense of pride in their own learning. Socratic seminars are most often seen in the ELAR and Social Studies classrooms at the junior high level. These seminars are based on a common text the students have read such as a short story in ELAR or comparing and contrasting primary source documents in Social Studies.
Math and Science Collaboration
6th Grade Science and Math classes worked together to learn how proportionality is utilized in both math and science. Students were able to apply the same ratio table strategy in both math and science to solve problems. Students experimented with finding how fast they could run, skip, and jump in meters per second. Students used proportional reasoning to find a variety of distances and times using their own experimental data.
ACE Movie Night
GJH will host their first ever virtual movie night Saturday, December 5th. Our ACE program is pleased to present A Nightmare Before Christmas. The movie will begin at 7:00 PM through the ACE Google Classroom. All students need to do is join the GJH ACE Google Classroom with their Luling ISD email account. We encourage our families to have a family movie night and join together to watch the movie. If you need access to the ACE Google Classroom or have any questions, please contact Ms. Satriani Carrillo, GJH ACE Coordinator, at email@example.com.
-Mrs. Meshell, Principal
HIGH SCHOOL NEWS
Law Enforcement Program
Law Enforcement students partnered with Luling EMS staff to learn about emergency procedures.
In addition to emergency management, students in the law enforcement classes are introduced to professions in law enforcement, security, and corrections. Students will cover the history, organization, and functions of local, state, and federal law enforcement, criminal law, law enforcement terminology, and the classification and elements of crime.
Law enforcement students at Luling High School are hoping to host the regional Texas Public Service Association (TPSA) conference this spring on campus. The classes will host law enforcement and criminal justice students from across central and south Texas, completing and training in real world preparation events.
The law enforcement classes are part of the Public Service endorsement pathway. We would like to thank the City of Luling and the Luling EMS staff for providing the training experience.
Advanced Math Courses
As part of Luling High School’s long-term goal to provide additional opportunities for advanced academics, especially early college, math offerings have been expanded recently.
Students have the opportunity to enroll in math honor courses (formally known as pre-AP), beginning in their 9th grade year. As students advance to the next grade levels, students may enroll in AP statistics, AP calculus, and/or college algebra 1301. Students may earn up to nine (9) college math credits before they graduate from LHS. Currently, the Texas college core curriculum requirements “college basics,” require three (3) credits of math.
Students pictured, are enrolled in the AP statistics class. Students collected data and determined the best regression for their data. Most students enrolled in an AP math class are part of the STEM endorsement pathway; to earn this endorsement, students must complete at least five (5) high school math courses.
-Mr. Alvarez, Principal
“Be Where the Work Is”
My dad had a list of leadership principles that guided his work. Growing up, I remember seeing the framed list in several different offices he had over the years. The same chipped frame, held together with gorilla-glued corners, sits in my office today. While the first principle on his list is “Know your work,” I find his second quote more important than ever -- “Be where the work is.” On Wednesday, October 21, 2020 I was given the opportunity to “be where the work is” and take over four social studies classes and all that goes along with that -- lesson planning for two courses, grading, taking attendance, fire drills, overhead projectors breaking, Google Classroom, Google Meet...
I learned the challenges first hand that classroom teachers experience balancing face-to-face and virtual learning. Have you ever received a message over the intercom saying something like: “Ms. Jennings, I have a remote learner on the phone asking if you are on your Google Meet.”? I had the learning objective posted, I had remembered to take attendance, every student had their chromebook open, I even had students working on their warm-up, but, yes, I forgot to start the Meet. “Administrators who spend time teaching develop a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities of the classroom” (Edutopia, December 23, 2019).
“Administrators who share their teaching expertise while being open about their struggles create powerful opportunities for reflection” (Edutopia, December 23, 2019). The month was not easy, but nothing easy is worth doing. I experienced more joy than I imagined possible and felt deeply connected to my “why” -- to improve learning outcomes for all students. “Be[ing] where the work is” for curriculum and instruction is the classroom with teachers and students at the center of our work.
Other C&I Work in November include:
Ms. Wilson has the majority of the remaining unit assessments for this semester created and is working on building our December benchmark tests.
Mr. Magness is hard at work supporting staff at all four campuses with instructional technology. Based on powerful conversations he is having with staff, he is already identifying needs and researching possible resources.
-Mrs. Jennings, Director of C&I
Winter has arrived and the Eagles and Lady Eagles are working harder than ever for the basketball and powerlifting seasons. We have had a great start to winter sports and believe it or not, district basketball begins in just a few short weeks. Let’s get out and support our Junior High and High School athletes.
As you have noticed, we have many changes going on to accommodate all of the protocols to keep our student-athletes safe. First, all ticket sales for athletic events are online. We will not have any ticket sales at the gate, so get your tickets early to ensure you can support our athletes. Next please visit the school’s website for gameday protocols in the gyms, including social distancing in the stands and masks requirements while attending games. Let’s all do our part so that the kids can continue to play.
Any schedule changes will be communicated as quickly as possible through social media, so please be on the lookout for all this important information.
Let’s finish this semester strong as we move to the Christmas Break, and as always, GO EAGLES!!!
Home Game guidelines: https://www.luling.txed.net/page/athletics
Go Eagles and #TalonsUp!!!
Luling ISD has added a COVID Dashboard to the district website. We understand the need for full transparency during this time and know that by publishing our current COVID numbers, our community will have up-to-date information. The COVID Dashboard can be found here: