DSHS Spotlight

What's Good in the Hood

Life Changers

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Teacher Shout-Outs

Tracy Cooper and Alissa Nevin - Jeff Bixby writes, "for helping promote the Science Fair in the Middle School and having high school science students work with students at the middle school on their science fair projects."


Nicole Watts- Jennifer Foreman wrote "One of Nicole Watt's students shared with me that she had availed herself to him when he was having a rough day on Tuesday. She not only listened but she also provided dinner for him when she found out that he was not eating regularly. When we use the term "life-changer" in the district, this exemplifies the philosophy, as Nicole builds relationships and shows that she cares through taking time out of her day to get to know her students and change the way they may feel about school."

Too Cool for School

Brad Layman and Ashley Laughlin- They are introducing Chemistry in IPC with a PBL, where students have the freedom to choose anything they are interested in and find out how it applies to Chemistry in a written paper. Thus, allowing students to connect with the material before it is ever presented by the teacher.


Kelsey Lee- Has her GT Pre-AP Geometry students engaging in a semester-long PBL where they are charged with the task of creating and pitching an arena for Dripping Springs that will host multiple athletic and musical events. She is having an architect come in and mentor each group, while giving feedback on their design. Eventually, students will present their idea to a panel of experts who will decide which team has the most innovative, but economically sound arena. She also has a killer student contract, just ask her!


Michael Lemonds-Currently has two PBLs going in his class. In "Principles of Business", students have a semester-long driving question, that results in a culminating project where they will present to a panel in Shark Tank style and pitch their consumer good or business service idea and prepared a business plan and marketing strategy for that idea. In his "Entrepreneurship" class, they are currently in the process of proposing their project and working with Michael to help determine how success will be defined for their project. The only parameters are that the project must to pertain or include some aspect of business they have learned over the past 3-4 years, and it must be substantive enough to warrant being a semester-long project.


Ginny Lindzey- Has created her own teaching blog, where she reflects on her teaching practice and discusses the successes and trials she experiences in her classroom. Check it out at: http://ginlindzey.livejournal.com/112157.html


Craig Swannack- Came back after watching "Most Likely to Succeed" and reimagined his Physics classroom. Day 1, he showed two clips to spark conversation in a Socratic Seminar concerning machines. From there, he gave students the daily objectives and allowed students to decide how to learn them. He then transitioned them into building a machine, which was completely student-driven, and they will present their products over the next few class days. See below a video of students reflecting on the learning process.


Kris Vannoy- Had students perform box jumps (with the precursor of showing clips of the Crossfit games), record the jumps using time-lapse on their phones, upload the pictures into Desmos and graph their jumps. They then had to apply the quadratic equation to their box jump parabolas.


Jennifer Riddlebarger- Students are currently competing in the H&R Block challenge, where they must build their own personal budget plan, including 401K contributions, insurance, car payments, etc. and then H&R Block sends them e-mails with real-life surprises that they must react to and budget accordingly. There is potential for winning scholarships through this challenge.

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Sphere of Influence

Math and English Departments- collaborating with UT professors to design lessons that are student-driven and PBL in scope, while aligning with post-secondary education standards and incorporating student choice in the process. Interestingly, UT is also moving toward this instructional model.

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!