District in Pictures
November 1, 2019
‘Principal for a Day’ Event Introduces 23 Community Members to WFISD Schools
Twenty-three community members got an inside look at WFISD schools on Wednesday when they tagged along with WFISD principals as participants in the bi-annual Principal for a Day event. Community members were assigned to one of WFISD’s schools, reported to the school at 8 a.m., and shadowed the principal for the morning, seeing what a day at school is really like. Then the volunteers and their principals met at the Career Education Center for lunch to share their experiences. Olive Garden catered the event. Pictured: Early Learning Principal Letitia Willis (left) hosted Melvin Joyner from the Wichita County Sheriff's Office at Brook Village. The next "Principal for a Day" event will be held in the spring. Click here to see an album of all participants in Principal for a Day.
Two IT Students Take First, Second Places at San Marcos Symposium Contest
Four of David White’s IT students at the Career Education Center competed last week in the Association of Information Technology Professionals Symposium’s PC Troubleshooting competition, and two of his students took the top two awards. WFISD’s Ben Howell took first place; Ian Harwood took second place.The Symposium, held at Texas State University in San Marcos, included 15 schools and 350 students. The PC Competition involved 40 competitors; Along with students Sebastian Chavira and Nigyl Read, Ben and Ian attended workshops on Cyber Warfare and How Hackers Crack Passwords. All four students represented the CEC well, said Mr. White. “The two who placed first and second go beyond what is taught in class. They take advantage of every opportunity provided, from lessons in class to repairing customer devices.” Pictured left to right: Sebastian Chavira, Nigyl Read, Ben Howell, Ian Harwood.
Wichita Falls High School Teacher Becomes ‘Be Bold’ Teacher of the Month
Wichita Falls High School biology teacher Elizabeth Reynolds (center) received the October “Be Bold” Teacher of the Month Award from First Bank and KAUZ. The award recognizes a teacher who goes above and beyond in the classroom. PIE Partners River Bend Nature Center, Star Brite Cleaners and United Market Street provide gifts to the monthly winners.
Wichita Falls High School Teacher Flies with Thunderbirds
Wichita Falls High School ESL teacher Debbie Pepper said she now knows what it feels like to be a celebrity. She was chosen to fly with the United States Air Force Thunderbirds Oct. 25. “My family and I were treated like celebrities from the moment we arrived on base,” she said. She was trained by the Thunderbirds' doctor to cope with the pressures of the G-forces without passing out, then was fit with her G-suit and given a run-down of the day’s maneuvers. When she arrived at the jet, she was flabbergasted to see her name painted on the plane. “I was super nervous about the flight,” she said. She experienced her first G-forces after take-off and “was motion sick almost immediately.” (Thank goodness for barf bags, she said.) The jet flew upside down, then she was given the chance to steer left, right, up and down under the pilot’s direction. She ended the day sick, hoarse, and overcome with the emotions of an exciting day. “THEY are the true celebrities,” she said.
Welding Technology Student Wins 2nd Place in Hereford’s Weld-Off
Rider High School junior Osvaldo Lopez, pictured here, placed 2nd in the Speed Cutting Contest at the 13th Annual West Texas Weld-Off in Hereford, Texas. He competed using the oxy-fuel process against 136 students from various high school welding programs. He was one of six students from the Career Education Center’s Welding Technology program who participated in the Weld-Off. “We are very proud of him!” said B.C. Gilbert, welding instructor.
Chartwells Director Collects ‘Account of the Year’ Prize in Orlando
Chartwells Food Service operates accounts in 550 districts nationwide, and the Wichita Falls team directed by Farai Sithole was selected from five regional winners as National Account of the Year. The team was recognized for its efforts for feeding children, with increased breakfast, lunch and supper participation, along with an increase in the summer feeding program. The team has also been praised for its community engagement. Pictured top, Director Farai Sithole was honored at the annual Compass Night of Stars Awards Ceremony in Orlando, Florida. Bottom: the Account of the Year WFISD Chartwells Food Service team.
Hirschi High School Students Visit National Vietnam War Museum in Mineral Wells
Eighteen Hirschi U.S. History students visited the National Vietnam War Museum in Mineral Wells, Texas, on Saturday, Oct. 26. They toured exhibits, including the Memorial Wall, which is an exact replica of the Vietnam War Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. They touched army tanks and trucks from the Vietnam War era and heard a presentation by a Vietnam veteran who earned the Distinguished Service Cross Award. Their teacher, James (Tony) Mathison, coordinated the field trip to enrich their knowledge of U.S. History. Students are pictured here in front of the Memorial Wall, the center attraction at the museum.
Culinary Teacher Buys $100 Worth of Meat for Unique Purpose
Culinary instructor Greg Bloodworth showed his students what $100 worth of meat looks like when he purchased two 10-pound briskets. “The kids were wowed by how much it cost,” he said. He added in 15 pounds of sausage then smoked it for 14 hours in a smoker inside a trailer parked at the back of the Career Education Center. But why did he buy the meat? He bought it so students could practice cutting it up. It also made a good lesson in BBQ, he said. He showed students how the BBQ technique allowed cooks to take the toughest part of the cow that used to be tossed and turn it into the most popular. Pictured here: Students cut up the smoked brisket. The meat ultimately fed 30, with leftovers.
Fain Elementary Hosts 13.5-foot Tall ‘Optimus Prime’ from Transformers Age of Extinction
“No one else in the world is doing what you’re doing right now,” said Joe Fiduccia as he introduced Fain children to the one-and-only Optimus Prime, a 13.5 foot tall fan-built replica of the transformer Optimus Prime from Transformers AOE. He told students how it had been his dream to build the truck, but many people told him it was impossible. “If no one has done it, where do you go for help?” he asked them and explained that was just one of many problems he surmounted. He tied his lesson to bullying, urging students to do their part to end bullying. Optimus Prime was in town to take part in the Wichita Falls Comic Expo at the MPEC over the weekend.
UPSTART Program Launches Third Cohort
The UPSTART program, an online school readiness program for 4-year-olds, launched its third cohort Tuesday. WFISD is still the only school district in Texas to offer this home-based kindergarten readiness program. To date, 250 4-year-olds have graduated from the Wichita Falls ISD's UPSTART program. Pictured: Parents gathered at a Brook Village orientation Wednesday for introductory advice on how to be successful with the program, which requires parents and their children to use Chromebooks and work together on online reading lessons for 15 to 20 minutes daily. Parents were advised to make the lessons a part of their daily routine, since routines make life easier and are a healthy life skill.
Milam Elementary Students in Green Club Make Bottlecap Murals
Milam Elementary students who belong to the Milam Green Club learn about recycling, reusing and reducing – lessons taught by sponsors Rulinda Eakin and Angela Jackson. In the after- school club, the 3rd, 4th and 5th graders demonstrate the possibilities of reusing trash by creating colored bottlecap murals. The murals are on display in the Milam cafeteria.
WFISD Uses New Video on How to Act During a Traffic Stop
A new state law in Texas requires high school students to learn how to act with police if and when they are pulled over. To comply with Senate Bill 30, WFISD audio visual students worked last spring with WFISD law enforcement instructor Autumn Weber and her students to create an instructive video. WFISD students viewed the video during the second week of school. A traffic stop is “not the time to mimic (the confrontations) you see on YouTube,” said Ms. Weber. The video stressed being pleasant and compliant in all dealings with police officers.
Rider High School Band Represents Rider, WFISD and Region 7 at Area Marching Band Contest
Pride of the Raiders Marching Band made a solid performance Saturday in Odessa at the Area Marching Band Contest, placing 16th out of 24 bands. The band drew an early-morning performance slot, marching fourth in 35 degree temperatures that later warmed up to 72 degrees for bands that performed later in the day. “It was so cold, we had to change the frequency that we tune to because we could not get the instruments to pitch,” said Band Director Loy Studer. “No complaining. That is all part of it. We controlled all of the things that we could control.” Mr. Studer praised his students and parent organization. “We have an incredible group of kids who work so hard,” he said. “Our parent organization has gone above and beyond this year and been super resourceful. We have overachieved on so many levels.” Pictured here: Rider band students ride the bus to the Odessa competition.
Wichita Falls High School Students Make Enthusiastic Showing at ‘Together We Make a Difference' Day
Orchestra students did yard work at the Kell House. National Honor Society students cleaned and organized at United Way. Spanish Club students helped at Patsy’s House. Swimmers built a fence at the shelter. Students from PALS, cross-country, girls soccer, volleyball, cheer, Student Council, theater, ESL, softball, girls basketball and other organizations teamed up to help out around the city. “This was our biggest turnout ever for ‘Together We Make a Difference,’” said WFHS teacher Debbie Pepper.
Brook Village PreK Teacher Connects Math Activity with Halloween Holiday
“This is how you connect a holiday and math objective,” said Letitia Willis, Early Learning principal, when she saw Brook Village teacher Makayla Atchley in action. During a week-long study of pumpkins, Mrs. Atchley used a pumpkin to create a geoboard—a math manipulative usually consisting of a physical board with a certain number of nails half driven in, around which rubber bands are wrapped. Students in a small group with Mrs. Atchley used a mallet to add golf tees to a pumpkin in a shape of their choosing. “Higher-order thinking skills were used to find the appropriate locations for a heart, circle and diamond,” said Ms. Willis. “Once the small groups concluded, the geoboard pumpkin was added to the classroom Science Center for student experimentation.”
Rider High School Receptionist Turns Hectic Schedule into Student Service
Would you take a job that required you to serve hundreds of kids under the age of 18, scores of staff members, and anyone who comes into the building – answering any and all questions and solving their problems – and do it with a smile? Could you do it almost every minute of the day while you sign students in and out and do a variety of computer entry tasks? That’s Jan Albin’s job at Rider High School as she sits at the building’s entry to buzz you in. It’s a job she’s had for 22 years and wouldn’t trade for anything else. She said she craves more time with students and most enjoys time spent with office aides who assist her. “The most rewarding thing about my job is being a part of these kids’ lives, even in a small way,” she said. “I love these students! I believe I am in God’s perfect position to give Him glory and love on these kids.” Ms. Albin is one of 13 family members who have graduated from Rider High School between 1963 and 2014. “We are Rider Raiders!” she said.
Kirby Middle School Band Hall Transformed After Vandalism
When two students from two different schools vandalized the Kirby Middle School band hall with paint, the WFISD Maintenance team decided to do more than just fix the problem. They removed wallpaper, painted the walls and sound panels, and added dry erase boards and cork boards. “It was time to give them something better than just an okay cleaning,” said Principal Shannon Cunningham. She loved the results and showed them off on social media. Pictured: Before (top) and after (bottom).
Fain First Grade Team’s Activity Combines Books with Art and Halloween
Fain Elementary’s 1st grade team – Lea Hampton, Terri Gunkel, Allyson Edge and Makenzie Kelly – unleashed 1st grade creativity with a favorite assignment: Decorate a pumpkin to look like a character in a favorite book.
McNiel Middle School Offers New On-the-Go Food Station
McNiel students who want to skip the regular lunch line can now grab a quick salad, wrap or parfait at the school’s new On-the-Go Food Station, pictured below. The kiosk is located in the dining room and has been a popular addition to lunchtime, said Emily Kincaid, Chartwells marketing director.
Brook Village Students Roll Large Paper Rocks in Relay Race
Lyndi Persinger, a P.E. teacher at Brook Village, combined a lesson on the difference between big and little with a lesson on Nature’s Giants by showing her students rocks of both sizes. They studied little rocks and talked about where they are found – even on their playground. Then she showed them big, giant rocks, which were actually pretend rocks made out of trash bags stuffed with paper. “The kids love pretending,” said Ms. Persinger. “We discussed different ways to move these big, giant rocks.” Then they had a Rolling Rock Relay Race to roll the giant “rocks,” working on gross motor skills of rolling and hand-eye coordination the whole time. “The kids had a blast!” said Ms. Persinger.
Fain First Grade Teacher Uses ‘Skelly’ the Skeleton to Help Her Teach
The first-graders in Allyson Edge’s Fain classroom happily gather around “Skelly” the Skeleton – a find from Walmart – as they learn about making contractions. The activity masterfully combined classroom lessons about their bones – ribs, mandible, femur, etc – and contractions, like we’ll and they’ll. “This was the perfect lesson to tie everything together,” said Ms. Edge. First, students made a flip booklet featuring different contractions. Then, they put on their doctor uniforms with face masks, gloves and hair nets. They divided into groups, with each group getting three pairs of bones. They checked their surgery journals to match up the bone pieces to make a contraction. Then they wrote a sentence using the contraction.
McNiel Middle School Junior Historians Learn About ‘Day of the Dead’
McNiel Junior Historians learned about Dia de los Muertos, or “Day of the Dead,” during their October meeting. Sixth-grade social studies teacher Heather Campa taught students the historical context of this Mexican holiday. Students ate traditional pan dulce (pastry) and created paper flowers to decorate a classroom version of an ofrenda (altar display).
West Foundation Elementary Teacher Creates New ‘Medical Room’ Transformation
West 4th grade reading/writing teacher Kathy Callaway has tried a lot of room transformations over the years. She has created a pizzaria, a baseball spring training, and, around the Super Bowl, a football game. Her new Medical Room transformation was a first. She created five operating tables, complete with supplies, so that students could join two complete sentences with a conjunction (and a band-aid), then move on to the Operation game and remove the appropriate body part. If it buzzed, they had to answer additional questions about verbs and proper nouns. A doctor parent of one of her students donated the hats, masks and gowns for students to wear. Mrs. Callaway purchased her uniform on a sale rack for $10; her daughter, who works in Baylor’s NICU, loaned her a stethoscope and surgery jacket. She purchased the authentic X-rays from Mardel’s for $1.99. “It was such a hit that I plan to do another one after Christmas,” said Mrs. Callaway.
‘Early Learning New Teacher Academy’ Participants Visit Classrooms
Several classrooms at Milam, Booker T. Washington, Lamar, Southern Hills, Brook Village, Haynes, Cunningham and Scotland Park were on display Oct. 24 for participants in WFISD’s New Teacher Academy. The training is coordinated by Stephanie Parsons, Beth Maywald, Amanda Gonzales, and Jane Ann Bruner. The groups of new teachers toured classrooms looking for best practices. They observed classroom management and gleaned class environment ideas. Then they discussed what they saw and participated in classroom management activities. Such tours are important for the new teachers, said Ms. Parsons. "New teachers don't get out to see what other classrooms look like," she said. Here, the new teachers (left) observe a Chromebook project in Lacey Davis' classroom at Booker T. Washington Elementary. Mrs. Davis is seated, top right.
Hirschi High School Students Learn Prep for Easy Meal
Chartwells Chef Carrie Richardson and Dietitian Sarena Glenn visited Hirschi High School students to treat them to a demonstration of how to make Spicy Chicken Stir-fry. “It was a huge hit,” said Chartwells Marketing Director Emily Kincaid. “Students learned about herbs and how easy preparing a delicious, nutritious meal can be.”
Rider High School Athlete Nurtures Business in Between Classes, Practices, Games
Rider sophomore Makenzi Renfro is a busy athlete, playing soccer with Rider, competitive soccer and running cross-country. She also runs a business, Cups & Cakes, with her sister, Kelsi Renfro, 21, a Midwestern State University student. They specialize in custom cakes, cookies, cupcakes, pies, wedding and cheese cakes. The hardest part? “Staying organized!” said Makenzi. She keeps a watchful eye on her calendar to track all her tests, games, and cake orders, she said.
Southern Hills Elementary Creates Stage Seating for Golden Spatula Award Winners
Behaving well in the lunchroom at Southern Hills Elementary has several advantages. First, each week, one class in each grade level wins the Golden Spatula Award and displays it on their class door. Second, those students enjoy special reserved seating on the stage for lunch one day during the week.
Purchasing Department's Newsletter Promotes Proper Procedures
The Purchasing Department, under the direction of Alicia Woodard, is rallying the WFISD troops around the proper procedures for purchasing. For the second year, Ms. Woodard and her team are writing the newsletter to promote prudent purchasing practices. It’s helpful to remind staff members about changes that occur in between their formal trainings, she said. The entire department contributes to the newsletter that Jennifer Govea puts together and Ms. Woodard e-mails out.
Burgess Elementary Hosts 8th Annual Trunk or Treat
On Tuesday, Burgess Elementary staff hosted the school’s 8th Annual Trunk or Treat event for students and parents. Dr. Alan Martin, from Friends of Wichita Falls Public Library, gave away more than 200 books. Other participants included the Wichita Falls Fire Department, Hirschi Head Football Coach Antonio Wiley and the Hirschi High School football team. Many businesses helped make the event a success: Circle M donated donut coupons; China Star gave lunch coupons; Lunar Golf donated free game passes. Kyle Clark donated two $25 gift cards. One family with students in preK, 1st grade and 2nd grade won a flat screen TV contributed by an anonymous donor.
Chartwells Discovery Kitchen Teaches Parfait-Making at Fain Elementary
Chartwells’ Discovery Kitchen visited Fain to teach students how to make a berry parfait using yogurt, cereal and blueberries. Lessons always focus on healthy eating.
Southern Hills Elementary Puts New Read 2 Learn Room to Use
A Southern Hills PIE Partner, 10th and Broad Church of Christ, designed and decorated a special room for Read 2 Learn students and their volunteers to use. They decorated it with furniture purchased specifically for the student space. “It looks amazing,” said Assistant Principal Ashley Lamb.
Culinary Students Whip Up Chocolate-covered Strawberries
Culinary instructor Greg Bloodworth says he has some great dessert-makers in his classes, and he put them to work recently on a special project. Here, students dip and drizzle 100 strawberries with two flavors of chocolate for a special catered event.
Fowler Elementary Collaborates with American National Bank for Pumpkin Decorations
American National Bank donated pumpkins to Fowler Elementary to set up a pumpkin-decorating contest. Students drew names, and the lucky winners took home one pumpkin to decorate and return. Even students whose names weren’t drawn could bring a decorated pumpkin from home to display. Students voted on their three favorite pumpkins. The whole patch of pumpkins, seen here at Fowler, is now on display at American National Bank on Midwestern Parkway.
Wichita Falls High School Soccer Players Assist at Franklin Fall Festival
For the second consecutive year, the Wichita Falls High School soccer players have donated volunteer time to help Ben Franklin Elementary pull off its Fall Festival.
Zundy Elementary Librarian Schedules Book Fair to Coincide with Parent/Teacher Conferences
Zundy librarian Abigail Potts has discovered that she gets a lot more business when she schedules a book fair to coincide with Parent/Teacher Conferences. “They come shop after their conference and, since we had student-led conferences, the students were with their parents,” she said. Thursday was also “Monster Day,” so students and teachers dressed up as monsters or wore a Halloween shirt. “I love having Book Fair because it adds some excitement to the normal library schedule,” said Ms. Potts.
Lamar Elementary Students Perform ‘Bubba The Cowboy Prince’
Fifth-grade students at Lamar Elementary performed, “Bubba, the Cowboy Prince,” from the book of the same name by Helen Ketteman. Teacher Becky Glasgow directed the show that was performed for the entire school.
Scotland Park Elementary Parent Conferences Include Creative Activity
Scotland Park teacher Christina Scruggs came up with a way to meet with her students’ parents and create a mural at the same time. “Parents, students and teachers painted a mural during Parent Conferences on Monday,” she said. “I really enjoyed visiting with parents and their children in a more relaxed environment.” She played soothing music while everyone worked. “It was all finished in one day!” said Ms. Scruggs.
Franklin P.E. Teacher Greets Students as a Giraffe
It’s a Franklin Fall Carnival tradition: Students use tickets to vote for a Franklin staff member to dress up in a costume for the entire day following the carnival. This year, P.E. Coach Cody Kenner wore a giraffe costume as he greeted students on that chilly Friday morning, along with Principal Angie Betts. In past years, Ms. Betts dressed as a donut, a custodian was a banana, and an assistant principal had to wear a baby costume. "It has been a hit, and the kids love it!" said Ms. Betts.
Burgess Elementary Teacher Sets Up Multiplication Fact Fluency Station
Burgess Principal Jeff Hill paid a visit to Burgess 3rd grade teacher Anne Bristow’s math class recently. The learning was so compelling that he got down on the floor to assist with the Multiplication Fact Fluency Station.
Kirby Middle School Teacher Makes Memory Aids
Kirby teacher Zach Davis is a visual learner and believes most of his students are, too. To help all of them, he draws out special visual aids that help them remember their lessons. This visual aid is helping them remember the United States Bill of Rights. “I do this with almost all my lessons,” said Mr. Davis. “I keep them on the board at all times.” Note the creative drawing for the Second Amendment: "bear arms."
Fowler Elementary Student Finds Tiny Flaw in ‘Positive Note Monday’
At the beginning of the school year, Fowler teacher Kristi Moffett and her 4th grade class decided to start the week with “Positive Note Monday.” Ever since, they have written positive notes to someone in their classroom on Monday morning. “The students understand this creates unity and community in our classroom,” said Mrs. Moffett. One student wrote Mrs. Moffett a note every Monday, too. The student finally said, “Mrs. Moffett, you need an envelope for your notes, too.” Mrs. Moffett asked her if she would make her one, and she did. “It was so sweet that a student thought of me,” she said.
District in Pictures is a weekly publication developed by the WFISD Community Relations department. If you have events, recognitions or classroom activities taking place on your campus that you would like us to cover, please let us know by emailing Ashley Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org or Ann Work Goodrich at email@example.com. We would love to include you in our weekly district news. (Please know that we will do our best to cover every story idea submitted but it may not be possible to include everything every week due to time constraints.)