December 2017 - Recap
As we look back on the month of December 2017, we have updates on the superintendent search efforts, campus and community engagement, college readiness activities. We also took a little time to celebrate the season through various events and programs.
It is our continued hope that you and your children are enjoying this time of celebration and that you are amid a memorable and safe New Year as well.
Please know that your involvement and decision to allow us to shape your children to successfully thrive in society, achieve self-sustaining success and leave a lasting legacy fills us with appreciation and gratitude.
Enjoy this publication, designed especially for you, to keep you informed and connected to the accomplishments and achievements of the Lancaster ISD community.
Lancaster ISD Board of Trustees Name Elijah Granger as Lone Finalist for Superintendent of Schools
Lancaster, TX/Lancaster ISD – On December 18, the Lancaster ISD Board of Trustees voted to name Elijah Granger, the current interim superintendent, as the Lone Finalist for Lancaster ISD Superintendent of Schools.
“I am honored to be named lone finalist for Superintendent of Lancaster ISD,” Mr. Granger said. “It is a privilege to have the opportunity to continue working with this outstanding school board and exceptional team of administrators, teachers and staff who are focused on student achievement and establishing Lancaster ISD as the premier district in our state.”
Prior to this decision, the Lancaster ISD Board of Trustees launched a formal search for the next Lancaster ISD Superintendent of Schools and retained the services of Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates (HYA), a consulting firm that specializes in assisting School Boards through such matters, to assist in gathering feedback from the community.
Through an online survey and a series of focus group interviews, the firm was able to craft the leadership profile of the ideal leader for Lancaster ISD. This step was important to the trustees as they believe in the importance of collaboration and in the value of listening to the voices of others to make informed, relevant decisions.
“It is important for us to include the parents, stakeholders and the community in this process as we begin to identify and name the next member of the nationally recognized Lancaster ISD Team of Eight,” Board President Ty G. Jones said.
After hearing from the community and learning the results of the profile, the trustees decided to suspend the search and name Mr. Granger—who had been serving as the district’s interim Superintendent of Schools—as the Lone Finalist.
During his work as interim, Mr. Granger has remained focused on ensuring the implementation of the district’s vision with fidelity.
“If we continue the good things we are doing and strive harder every day to attain excellence in every area, we ensure the success of our students, staff and the district as a whole,” he said. “I recognize the importance of people in any organization and Lancaster ISD is no different. I plan to continue with the focus we have had throughout this year while sharing my vision and goals for the future with our community, parents, staff, and students. Together, we will take Lancaster ISD to the next level of academic success and accomplishments.”
He said that he plans to continue to work as a Team of Eight (with the School Board) to provide students and staff with the best environment and tools necessary to identify their goals and aspirations.
“We will develop effective and efficient plans for every child to achieve their goals while also providing opportunities for students to pursue their dreams and display their talents through extracurricular activities— including strong athletic programs, state of the art fine arts, award winning JROTC programs, and many others,” Mr. Granger said. “Simply put, it means each student will have a plan for sustainable success and graduate from Lancaster ISD prepared for their future while leaving a lasting legacy.”
Mr. Granger has been a part of the district in various administrative roles for the past six years. However, during the past 15 years, he has worked as a middle school science teacher, high school agricultural science teacher, assistant principal, intermediate, middle and high school principal, executive principal, executive director and assistant superintendent.
Mr. Granger earned an A.A.S. degree in Computer Information Systems from Angelina College. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and a Master of Education in Educational Administration from Prairie View A&M University, and he is currently completing his Doctoral Degree in Educational Leadership at Stephen F. Austin State University.
As the district heads into Winter Break, Mr. Granger said he will spend time with family and friends and celebrate the reason and spirit of the holiday, but also continue to work to address any district challenges and prepare for an exciting new year in 2018.
“I am proud to have the vote of confidence from the Board of Trustees and our community to continue our important work.”
News From Academics and Innovation
Commit! Data Declares Lancaster ISD the Top in Educating Students in Math and Science
Recently, The New York Times published a story about a new way to measure school effectiveness based on findings from Stanford University’s Center for Education Policy Analysis. The article explains how when examining data from over 300 million elementary school test scores, and looking at student growth between 3rd and 8th grade, “it’s possible to separate some of the advantages of socioeconomics from what’s actually happening in schools.”
One Dallas County district that stood out based on student growth was Lancaster ISD, particularly when compared to Highland Park ISD, widely considered one of the ‘best’ school districts in North Texas.
When you dig into the data in Lancaster, what you find is a district that is significantly outperforming the county and the state when it comes to black student achievement. Black students, who make up 77% of Lancaster ISD’s student body, are now outperforming their peers across the state on both Math and Science STAAR exams, growing their proficiency rate at the state’s post-secondary standard per STAAR assessments by over 15% on each subject over the last five years.
What is behind this impressive transformation?
Since 2012, Lancaster ISD has focused on closing the postsecondary readiness gap by preparing its students for success in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers through a first-of-its-kind, district-wide STEM initiative implemented and funded by a $4.8 million grant from Educate Texas and the Texas Instruments Foundation.
The results have been outstanding.
In the past five years, Lancaster ISD has shown a remarkable 21% growth for black students across all Math STAAR exams in all grades. LISD now exceeds the state in Math STAAR performance for black students statewide, despite reflecting significantly more student economic disadvantage (81% for LISD vs. 59% for the state).
Lancaster ISD has identified effective practices and integrated them into their district learning environment. By using research to understand the inputs that impact important student outcomes, creating new curriculum that develops students’ critical thinking skills for today’s workplace, and enthusiastic support from district leaders, partner organizations and teachers, LISD students have shown their true potential.
A key goal of the Commit Partnership is to use data to help identify outlier success in Dallas County schools. To learn more about best practices across Dallas County as they are published, follow the Commit Partnership on both Twitter and on Facebook.
Lancaster ISD Marked Computer Science Awareness Week With the Hour of Code
The Hour of Code takes place each year during Computer Science Education Week in the month of December.
The annual Hour of Code kickoff rally was held at the G. W. Carver 6th Grade STEM Learning Center on Tuesday, December 5. Local K104 radio personalities Brittany and Chuck -T opened the event along with the middle school cheerleaders and the Lancaster High School drum line. The two radio personalities informed the students on how they entered the field of radio and connected it back to the things that they learned as students. Their goal was to encourage students to be attentive, learn and start preparing for their future.
Lancaster ISD students at virtually every campus had the opportunity to hear from speakers in the field of STEM and Computer Science who informed them of the necessity of learning how to code.
Manasseh Lee, a local coder, webmaster and a former web developer and Computer Science professor for Dallas County Community College, who also actually taught coding classes, shared his entry point into the field of Computer Science.
He began coding and learning about computer science in the third grade at his elementary school and never really stopped. In fact, during the campus rallies he spent time encouraging students in grades third to fifth to start now learning the language, be creative and to have fun with it. He asked students to not only play on their phone but learn how to program it and use it to program other things.
Dr. Kenneth Berry of Southern Methodist University spoke to students about the way that technology is integrated into everything that we do today and how much more important it will be to know how to code in the upcoming year. He said that students today may not really have to learn to drive in the traditional sense. Instead, they may be able to simply program the car to drive itself. Berry also spoke to fact that computer technology is a valuable field that will remain lucrative in the foreseeable future and can provide a good sustainable life for professionals in this industry.
Throughout the day, students at virtually all campuses were able to have a rally on December 5 to get them excited about the Hour of Code prior to participating in various activities in the classes through out the week. Special thanks to Lancaster ISD Blended Learning Specialists, Kimberly Lane Clark and Knikole Taylor for orchestrating this district-wide experience.
Anyone can CODE! Visit code.org and see what an hour of your time can yield!
Lancaster Middle School Aquaponics Lab Students Release Their Full-Grown Catfish
This engaging project gave students the opportunity to learn about aquaculture, hydroponics and the aquaponics system. Since starting the project, students have been highly engaged in this process and were even featured on the WFAA evening news and in local news magazines.
We are happy to report that the catfish raised in the Aquaponics Lab since last school year are now matured and were released into the Lancaster City Community Pond in December!
It was a bittersweet moment for the teachers and students as they said goodbye to their "fin friends" but, they are all excited about their successful project and learning experience the Aquaponics Lab has brought the students of Lancaster ISD.
You can see this event as it occurred along with other learning experiences as they happen by following Lancaster ISD on its Facebook and Twitter accounts.
News From the Early Childhood Department
Lancaster ISD Deputy Superintendent Dr. Lamont Smith celebrates the holiday season with
Pre-K students just ahead of their gift distribution.
Fortunately, our Pre-K programs have continued to blossom and now we have many more little learners to make smile this holiday, so we asked some of our community and district partners to help us continue this tradition this year.
With their help and that of our staff and students, we were able to provide a new wrapped gift to students in every Pre-K 3, Pre-K 4 and HeadStart classes again this year.
Oh what a time of joy, laughter and excitement it was to watch their faces light up when they opened their gift. Their smiles once again melted the hearts of the staff and student volunteers.
News From Lancaster ISD Athletics
Tigers Prepare for District Play After National Spotlight Weekend
Lancaster, TX/Lancaster ISD – If you’re a high school basketball fan in the DFW area, chances are you found yourself inside the Lancaster High School Coliseum on Saturday, December 16, to enjoy the ARS Roter Rooter 2017 National Hoopfest Basketball Tournament. The two-day event, advertised as, “the basketball event unlike any other,” matches top national high school basketball programs against some of the area’s best high school teams in major cities.
Saturday night’s match-up featured the Lancaster Boys Basketball team against USA Today’s No. 3 nationally ranked basketball powerhouse, Oakhill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) Lancaster’s fast-paced style of play and above average 3-point shooting, led by sophomore guards Marco Foster (21 points), Mike Miles (21 points) and freshman guard Wade Taylor (20 points), had the home crowd on its feet and helped Lancaster take the lead during the second quarter.
Ultimately, the Oakhill Academy Warriors took advantage of Lancaster’s lack of size and dominated inside the paint, which resulted in an 87-78 Oakhill Academy win over the Tigers.
“We were the underdogs, we played hard and made them work for their win,” Lancaster Head Coach Ferrin Douglas said. “Learning from this loss and focusing on how we improve is very critical. We don’t like to lose but, you have to play talented teams like Oakhill to become a better team in order to prepare for district play.”
However, despite the loss, Lancaster ISD Interim Superintendent Elijah Granger said that he was impressed with the Tigers’ efforts.
“As I watched our students play one of the top ranking schools in the nation, I felt proud,” he said. “Our students did not have any fear, they did not waiver, they played the game with heart and passion.”
The Tigers are currently ranked No. 17 in the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches Class 5A state ranking with district team members Waxahachie (No. 1) and Mansfield Timberview (No. 2) respectively, making District 10 in the UIL 5A class the toughest in the state of Texas.
“We are a young exciting team and I believe that these high pressure game experiences will only help my boys compete at a high level throughout the rest of our season,” Douglas said. “Our current 7-6 record is a reflection of what I consider a tough pre-district schedule and is preparing us to compete for a district title.”
The Tigers will begin district play on Tuesday December 19, against Mansfield Lake Ridge. Douglas plans to celebrate the many bright spots from this past weekend’s game and use that momentum to motivate his young team throughout the rest of the season.
“No matter what, I’m proud of my boys and their maturity. They are hungry and want to uphold the Lancaster Basketball tradition of winning for the Lancaster community,” he said. “They understand what that means and are working hard to reach our goal.”
You can catch the Tiger Basketball team in action on Tuesday and Friday nights at 8 PM at the Lancaster High School Coliseum for home games. The Tigers will also compete in the upcoming Dallas ISD Coco-Cola tournament December 27-29, 2017. For tournament game times, updates and scores, follow the team’s Twitter page with @TigersLHS and visit www.LancasterISD.org for the team schedule.
Bond Update: Middle School Staff Previews New Campus External Designs
Part of the Bond Project includes building a new middle school campus to replace the existing one. Right before winter break, the Bond Management Team met with middle school staff to gather input regarding external designs of the new campus.
Below are some renderings of potential external designs of the new middle school.
News From the Office of Student Affairs
The Real Tiger Way: Lancaster High School Student Personifies the Christmas Spirit of Giving
By taking the time to brighten the day of two fellow classmates, Roderick Mathis, a senior at Lancaster High School, has gone viral on social media by showcasing the true meaning of Christmas spirit!
He was walking about the campus and two other students really admired his shoes. Mathis, so he purchased two pair of shoes for the students and surprised them just before the winter break.
This story of giving just kept on giving and is at more than 20,000 views on social media. The company, Vans, that makes the shoes also saw the story and it was featured on KSAT12, an ABC affiliate station in San Antonio. The Vans officials also thanked him for his kindness and gave him more shoes to give to others and help spread the joy.
As always, we are proud of the wonderful students in Lancaster ISD and thank LHS student, Roderick Mathis, for showcasing what it truly means to be a Lancaster Tiger.
News from College and Career Readiness Department
Lancaster ISD is committed to ensuring that our students have access to college and the support needed to complete the college application process in addition to providing them with the educational foundation to perform well in an institution of higher learning.
All campuses have a college exposure and engagement focus and the Lancaster High School College Center is the place where many of our high school students apply to college. It is available to all high school students so please be sure your child makes the college connection as early as possible.
This month, the LHS College Center reports the following updates:
• 200+ students have been accepted into Cedar Valley College
• 1 student received a score of 30/36 on the ACT
• 30% of the senior class has submitted a FAFSA Application
• 61% of seniors have completed their Dallas County Pledge
• The top 10% juniors and seniors met with a UT rep
• 39 students went on a campus visit to Texas A&M University Commerce
• We have met with at least 65% of the senior class
• $590, 957 in scholarship money
In the next few weeks, the seniors will need to continue working to complete the Dallas County Promise Pledge as well as the FAFSA and other college applications. Parents, please help connect your student to his or her next steps by ensuring that they are completing the applications, getting the information and attending the college visit opportunities.
Learn more about the Dallas County Promise partnership at http://dallascountypromise.org/
32 LHS Seniors Received Onsite Admission to Bethune-Cookman College
News From the Child Nutrition Department
- You can access your students lunch account from wherever you are
- Keep up with your child's meal balances online or via the app
- Check cafeteria balances & purchases
- Receive low balance alerts
- Set up automatic payments
Download or logon to www.myschoolbucks.com today.
Click to see the menu for the campus breakfast and lunch service.
News from the Health and Safety Departments
Interim Superintendent, Elijah Granger Surprises Lancaster ISD Crossing Guards With an Appreciation Luncheon
Heath Services Reminder: Don't Let the Flu Get You!
We have noticed an increase in student absences due to cold/flu-like illnesses, and the following notification is to inform you of our proactive, precautionary measures and to ask that you help us maintain a safe and healthy learning environment.
As customary this time of the year, we have increased the frequency of our deep disinfection of the building to help keep our environment as clean and germ-free as possible. In fact, proper health and safety protocols have been in progress including ensuring that common areas and water fountains are disinfected throughout the day.
However, since viruses can spread easily from person to person, we need your help to prevent such cases in students and staff. It is important for all staff, students and families to take the following precautions to help maintain the wellness of our learning community:
• If your child is ill with flu or strep-like symptoms, it is extremely necessary for you to keep him/her at home. Remember that students cannot return to school until the fever has been gone for at least 24 hours without the help of anti-fever medicines.
• If your child shows signs of severe illness – such as difficulty breathing – please seek immediate emergency care.
• Please practice and continue to remind your children to wash their hands with soap and water, use hand-sanitizer regularly, cover their cough with their elbow, avoid touching their face and to stay away from other sick people as much as possible.
For more information about flu, its symptoms and treatment, call 1-800-CDC-INFO or visit www.flu.gov. Also, please use the Dallas County Health and Human Services influenza resources and updates available at: http://www.dallascounty.org.
A Gift For You! - Parents, Tell Us Why You Believe and Show Your Lancaster ISD Pride With A Yard Sign!
A HOLIDAY GIFT FOR YOU!
We love spreading holiday cheer, especially to those who love, support and believe in Lancaster ISD!
So, in celebration of this holiday season, we are gifting our parents, community members, alumni and Lancaster ISD supporters with a free “We Believe” yard sign! Receiving your yard sign is as easy as 1-2-3:
1. Post to your social media telling us why or how you BELIEVE in Lancaster ISD. Don’t forget to tag us (include info)
2. Complete the form located at the link below.
3. That’s it!
The signs are first come first serve, so be sure to sign up today! Lancaster ISD will personally drop off your yard sign and place it in a prominent spot.
We encourage you to take pictures with your sign and tag us on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #WeBelieve so we can feel and see the love and support from our community! We thank you all in advance for your continued support of Lancaster ISD and hope you enjoy this holiday season! #WeBelieve #HappyHolidays
Upcoming District Events and Deadlines
Winter Break Literacy Projects Are Due - January 9
During the winter break, we ask that your child complete a project to extend their learning. Prior to the break, students received projects to complete in different subject areas. You can look below to find the project or projects for your children.
Winter Break Literacy and Writing Projects
The 2017 Winter Break literacy and writing packets are listed below. Assignments are due January 9, 2018. Pre-K through Fifth grade will submit their assignment to their homeroom teacher. Sixth through Twelfth grade students will submit their assignment to their English teacher. LHS students who are not enrolled in English will submit their projects to their social studies teacher.
FYI: The Winter Break Continues through January 9 for Lancaster ISD Students...
- All District Offices and Campuses will be closed December 22 to January 5.
- District Staff Professional Development Day is January 8.
- Students return to class on January 9.
News, Info,Highlights and Events From Our Local Partners
The Scenes From the 64th Annual City of Lancaster & Lions Club Hometown Christmas Parade and Festival
The theme this year was a Hometown Holiday Christmas. The students from the Lancaster ISD Fine Arts Department and many other groups and organizations from virtually each campus united for the celebration. The high school choir and the theater arts department also performed during the festival.
Make Plans to Attend the Lancaster MLK Parade and Program on Saturday, January 13
The parade will begin at 11 am at the Lancaster Elsie Robertson Middle School located at 822 Pleasant Run Road and continue on East Pleasant Run toward Dallas Ave and them proceed to the Lancaster High School.
Immediately following the parade, there will be a short program in the Lancaster High School Auditorium. The program will include short excerpts from Dr. King’s speeches, and interesting facts about his life, community, band and student performances, and an awards ceremony. This year, the MLK Foundation will recognize one of own longtime Lancaster ISD staff members, Ms. Nannette Vick and Lancaster Historical Society's Patricia Giles.
So, come out and join the celebration with guests from the City of DeSoto, Cedar Hill ISD, Dallas ISD and much more!!!
For more information, please visit the Lancaster MLKFoundation webpage at www.lancastermlk.org or contact the parade coordinator at 469-358 -8722.
The Lancaster MLK Foundation Donated Framed Art to Rosa Parks Millbrook Elementary
Reminder from Lancaster the ISD Communications Department: Stay Connected!
Get the App: Keep Lancaster ISD at Your Finger Tips!
As we enter the winter season, we know that there is a potential to have inclemate weather and we may have to make some adjustments to our regular schedule. We want to be certain that you have updated your information in our database. Our goal is to keep you connected and engaged to Lancaster ISD news and information, however, the last thing that we want to do is become a nuisance.
This SchoolMessenger parent video clearly communicates how you can set your preferences for school notifications. Click the link to view the short video about setting your preferences: https://vimeo.com/schoolmessenger/parentpreferences
Let's Talk! is an always-on communication channel, allowing you to share your thoughts with us at any time. Click the button above to get started!
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.