District in Pictures

October 25, 2019

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Thirty Teachers Honored as West Teaching Excellence Award Winners

Thirty of WFISD’s top teachers were honored as West Foundation Teaching Excellence Award winners Tuesday at a reception held at the Career Education Center. For 36 years, the trustees of the West Foundation have expressed their appreciation for outstanding WFISD teachers by honoring them with a special monetary gift.

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Wichita Falls High School Girls Soccer Team Takes 14th Consecutive Award

For the 14th consecutive year, the Wichita Falls High School Girls Soccer Team has received the United Soccer Coaches Award for maintaining a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.25. Last year, the team’s average was 3.71. This was the second highest GPA, falling behind only the Nolan Catholic High School in Fort Worth, Texas. The team is coached by Rob Woodard. The team and Coach Woodard were honored Monday at the October school board meeting.

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Rider, Hirschi, Wichita Falls High School Bands Excel at Marching Festival

The Rider High School Band earned a “1” ranking – the best – at the annual Marching Festival held Saturday. The Hirschi High School band earned a “2” – ranked Excellent; the Wichita Falls High School band also ranked Excellent with a “2.” Pictured here, Rider band members.

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Franklin Elementary Christens its New ‘Little Free Library’ with Special Reading

Superintendent Mike Kuhrt read the book, “Little Libraries, Big Heroes,” by Miranda Paul, to Franklin students Friday at a special outdoor ceremony on the school's front lawn. The event celebrated the installation of Franklin’s new “Little Free Library,” provided by the Early Childhood Coalition. Children were encouraged to make it a game to remember to take a book, read a book, and donate a book to the special little library.

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Milam 5th Graders Celebrate National Dictionary Day with Teacher’s Bold Approach

When the majority of the students in your class don’t know how to use a dictionary, you must take a bold approach – and teacher Siobhan Loyd did. Since Oct. 16 was National Dictionary Day, it seemed the perfect time to teach this STAAR concept and help them understand how to use this tool to find the meaning of unknown words. She transformed her T-shirt and leggings to look like a dictionary and make her lesson more exciting. It worked. “Dictionary Day turned into students wanting to make their own dictionary as homework,” she said. “This is a true love of learning.”

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Crockett Elementary Students Light Up Halloween Decorations with Closed Circuits

The 4th graders in Lyndsey Gordon’s classroom got a lesson in closed circuits, then did a hands-on activity to actually create them. Prior to the activity, students had trouble distinguishing between a closed circuit and an open circuit, said Ms. Gordon. “So when we decided to light up our pumpkins and bats, they could physically see how a closed and open circuit differs and what the effect was on the lights,” she said. They used their new knowledge to light up pumpkin and bat decorations. Making a light that would light up without plugging it in was exciting to them, said Ms. Gordon.

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Crockett, Milam, Burgess, Lamar Elementary Teachers Filmed for Virtual Instruction Rounds

Teachers at Crockett, Milam, Burgess and Lamar Elementary -- all Seidlitz Showcase campuses -- demonstrated how they build language-rich classrooms with purposeful student engagement when they were videotaped using their Seidlitz 7 Steps. The videotapes were then useful to administrators and Seidlitz specialist Nancy Motley as they used them for “virtual instruction rounds.” The videos will continue to be useful for instruction. The Seidlitz 7 Steps include teaching students what to say when they don’t know what to say and how to speak in complete sentences. The purpose of the Seidlitz program is to motivate students to talk about the lesson, share ideas, write and read in structured, appropriate ways.

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Milam, Booker T. Washington Teachers are West Winners and Mother/Daughter

This year, a mother and her daughter -- both WFISD teachers -- were also both West Foundation Teaching Excellence winners. Tiffany Hutchison (pictured left) teaches at Milam; her daughter, Lacey Davis, teaches at Booker T. Washington. The two were among the 30 top teachers who won WFISD's prestigious award.
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Second Media Athletic Luncheon Highlights Athletes

Specially selected high school athletes and their coaches gathered Thursday at the Career Education Center for WFISD's second Media Athletic Luncheon this year. Reporters from the local television stations and newspaper filmed interviews with the athletes as they got to know them better. Pictured: WFISD Swim Coach Oyvind Zahl with swimmers from Rider (in black), Hirschi (in blue) and Wichita Falls High School (in red). These students said being on the swim team is unique because, no matter what school they attend, they all practice together, building camaraderie. "We all come together and swim. We have that one thing in common," said Hirschi swimmer Julia Camacho.
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Kirby Middle School Students Do Friendly Battle with Periodic Table Game

“Friendly competition always has 100 percent engagement,” said Kirby teacher Laura Checki. That’s why she had her students do friendly battle with the Periodic Table Battleship Game – an old favorite but new to her 8th grade classroom. “It was a blast!” she said. “Students identified various elements by using the pattern of the Periodic Table. Students used the vocabulary terms, groups/families, and periods to help each other locate possible battleships.”

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Fain Elementary Art Students Prepare Giant Paper Mache for Dia De Los Muertos Parade

Fain art students worked on a paper mache project that was so big, it had to be left on the stage as they worked on it, said art teacher Audra Miller. Its base was built with a large pool float, beach ball, cardboard and clown balloons. It’s covered in five layers of paper mache. The finished project, pictured here, is an alebrije – a brightly colored Mexican folk art sculpture of a fantasy-type creature. The artwork will celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and be entered in the Los Muertos Cartoneria Animal Parade on Nov. 2.

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Chartwells Food Truck is a Hit at Cross Country Meet, KAUZ Newsroom

The Chartwells Food Truck has been a popular eatery wherever it has parked – most recently at a Rider XC meet and at the District 4-5A Cross Country Meet. Rider’s Dustin Holly raved about how fans, teams and coaches appreciated the great food and good service. “We had so many people compliment them,” he said. “We will use them at all of our events in the future!” The Food Truck also paid a visit to the KAUZ News Station to serve its “classic cafeteria favorites with a twist,” said Chartwells Marketing Director Emily Kincaid. Pictured here, news anchor Chris Horgen gets his Western Burger fix. Follow the WFISD Food Truck schedule on Facebook.

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Lamar Elementary Teachers Visit Homes for Parent/Teacher Conferences

Pictured here, Jennifer Edmondson (left) and Lindsay Miller (right) conduct home visits Monday to make sure their parent/teacher conferences happen. They are not deterred by a parent’s lack of transportation, they said.

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Culinary Students Prepare 100 Cake Balls for Special Function

The school year may be young, but Culinary students worked like old pros as they prepared 100 cake balls as a special request for a catered event. Pictured here: Kyler Weichman and Alexis Byrd. This year, students are working under the direction of new culinary instructor Gregory Bloodworth, who brings 15 years of catering experience to his 30 students in Culinary 1 and 10 seniors in the advanced culinary class.

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Fain Elementary Students Leave Positive Feedback for One Another

At Fain, teacher Morgan Leverenz taught her students how to leave positive feedback on fellow students’ writing. Students posted their work in a Gallery Walk, then fellow students wrote comments on sticky notes and posted them to the papers. “Through this exercise, they were able to read their peers’ writing, evaluate it and also think about their own writing and strategies to use in their next story,” said Ms. Leverenz.

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McNiel Middle School Science Class Tinkers with the Chemistry of Shampoo

On a recent visit to her hair salon, McNiel 6th grade science teacher Jessie Mitchell discovered there is an abundance of chemistry involved in the shampoo and hair coloring process. So she developed an interactive project for her chemistry unit, asking students to design and create a shampoo formula. Students researched the elements in their chosen ingredients and how they would react when combined. They also studied the debate on organic versus inorganic ingredients and the density needed for a good consistency. They also designed a marketing plan for their shampoo. “Students created shampoos with ingredients ranging from coconut oil and aloe vera to seaweed and avocado,” said Logan Carroll.

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Sheppard Students Wowed on iFLY Field Trip

Sheppard AFB Elementary 3rd and 4th graders traveled to the iFLY indoor skydiving facility in Fort Worth for an interactive STEM field trip. They put on jumpsuits and experienced the feeling of floating in the air as if they were skydiving. The field trip included a variety of mini-lessons on various STEM activities.

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Franklin Elementary Students Participate in ‘Word Parade’

On Friday, Franklin Elementary students were dressed to kill – or triumph – or whatever their particular “word” required in their Word Parade. Each student recited and acted out his or her word on Franklin’s front steps. Here, one student pronounced the word, “triumphant” and gave an excited cheer.

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Hirschi High School Color Guard Wears Pink

Hirschi High School's JROTC Color Guard attended a Hirschi football game dressed in pink for Cancer Awareness. “We will be doing it again at the Oct. 31 football game as well,” said SFC Ronald D. Williams, US Army instructor for JROTC.

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Sheppard Elementary Students Visit Kindness Photo Station

Sheppard Elementary students are focusing on spreading kindness this year. The Student Council set up a wall where students can have their pictures taken. The photos are posted to the reminder wall, prompting students to always be kind.

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WFHS Art Teacher Uploads 2,729 Pieces to Artsonia Website

Chris Mayfield, Wichita Falls High School visual arts director, has been uploading student art projects to a website called Artsonia for several years and now has a total of 2,729 pieces posted there. The website is the world’s largest collection of online student art portfolios. This WFHS student piece, by Peter5211, is one of 194 posted by Mr. Mayfield this school year. “This is a great way to keep parents ‘in the loop’ with artwork from their children,” said Mr. Mayfield. “Families can even buy stuff with their kid's art on it – mousepads, Christmas decorations, shirts, coffee cups, phone cases.” Admirers can visit the site and post comments about the artwork posted there. “It’s cool that these kids get some recognition for making good art,” he said. Other WFISD art teachers, like Fain Elementary’s Audra Miller, also give this website heavy use.

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Southern Hills, Lamar Celebrate Boss’s Day 2019

Teachers at Southern Hills Elementary and Lamar Elementary made sure their principals got a heavy dose of appreciation on Oct. 16 – Boss’s Day 2019. Pictured left to right: Lamar Principal Amanda Garcia; Southern Hills Principal Kacy Hunter.

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Southern Hills Third-Grade Math Students Dress for Lesson Called ‘Operation Multiplication’

Third-grade Southern Hills math teacher Madchen Bishop meant business when she launched her “Operation Multiplication” lesson. She transformed her classroom into a hospital room, complete with operating tables. She put her students in appropriate medical gear for their multiplication “operations.”

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Fain Elementary Introduces Elaborate Discovery Zone

One kindergarten mom, Meagan Deason, has been working with Fain ESL Support Specialist Sherri Webb and Kathy Carter since August to create hands-on learning zones for Fain students. Ms. Deason helped create this little grocery store, complete with bananas, milk, sour cream, mac and cheese, pasta and eggs. Students can experience a science lab, a construction zone, a light table, sensory area for tactile exploration, a sand table, a home center, a dress-up area and two large doll houses. “These are changed with the new centers each nine weeks,” said Ms. Webb. “Meagan has a kinder kid and Kathy and I each have grandsons in kinder, so this was a mission from our hearts!” Next up: Science centers with a weather station and camera, rock exploration, an airport terminal and check-in station (with pilot dress-up and security) called Rocket Airways, and a home center. “What fun we have had organizing!” said Ms. Webb.

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Dyslexia Teacher Motivates Students with Brag Tags

Dyslexia therapist Amy Janjgava found a new way to motivate her students this year: Brag tags. “Students have their own necklace hanging on my back wall, and through the year they will collect brag tags,” said Mrs. Janjgava. They may receive a tag for helping a friend, showing respect, or encouraging another student. Within dyslexia therapy, setting goals and working to improve specific reading components is important, so she custom-makes tags for “Ace at Accuracy,” “Risk-Taker,” or “Conqueror of Combinations.” The tags give students a physical reminder of their accomplishments. “I have loved watching the students discuss and share the tags they have now,” she said. When she told them they will take home their year-long timeline of accomplishments at the end of the year, “you would have thought I told them they won a million dollars, they were so excited,” said Mrs. Janjgava, pictured here hugging her mound of brag tags even though she is a self-proclaimed “non-hugger.”

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Franklin Elementary Music Classes Conduct 9-Week Review

Franklin students in Abi Parker’s music classes participated in several station activities where they reviewed the elements of music that they studied during the first nine weeks of school. Activities focused on movement, rhythm, melody, musical storybooks, iPads, vocabulary word search and more.

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Lamar Elementary Students View Live Simulcast on Anti-Bullying

Lamar Elementary students in grades 3 through 5 tuned into a live simulcast on Oct. 17. They learned about an anti-bullying campaign and how to squash bullying in their school.

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CEC Entrepreneurship Students Create, Market Energy Drinks

Students in Tandy Roberts’ new Entrepreneurship class worked on a new product development project. They created their own energy drinks. They designed the logo, label, and created a marketing plan, complete with advertisements, said Ms. Roberts. The Entrepreneurship class is new this year – a merging of business and marketing into one class where students will also learn to draw up business plans.

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Wichita Falls High School, Hirschi Mascots Celebrate with MSU Mascot

When Midwestern State University’s Maverick mascot celebrated his 13th birthday during MSU Homecoming Week, the WFHS and Hirschi mascots were invited to a special 13th birthday party. “Maverick, MSU’s mascot, wanted to have his friends come and help him celebrate his birthday,” said Wendy Presson, social studies, student council and cheer sponsor.

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Rider, WFHS, Hirschi High School Students Continue Work with Young Life – 50 Years in All

Young Life, a program for students from all three WFISD high schools, takes the biblical message of God’s love to students from all backgrounds. The program celebrates 50 years in Wichita Falls this year. Activities include Club meetings on Monday nights at 7:29 p.m. for students from Wichita Falls High School, Rider and Hirschi, and other area schools. Over the years, many WFISD students and educators – like Rider head football coach Marc Bindel, pictured here covered in flour – have participated in its fundraisers and activities.

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Robotics Students Practice Giving Commands to Robots

How do robotics students learn to manipulate their robots after their first robot-build? They practice in a set-up like this one, designed and built in 2016 by Carrigan students for teacher Jeff Davis. “This helps the students understand the different commands to give the left and right side,” said Mr. Davis (pictured in plaid shirt). “When they reach the point of programming, they understand the different levels of commands and the importance of commanding both the right and left sides.”

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Kirby Middle School’s FCA Group Energized by Speaker

Brian Johnson from OneLife Community Church visited the Kirby Fellowship of Christian Athletes group at the invitation of Kirby teacher and coach Zach Davis. Mr. Johnson asked students one question: “If I told you that I had a story that would change the rest of your life, would you want to hear it?” Then he shared the gospel message from the Bible. “Students loved him and his message of hope,” said Mr. Davis.

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Fain Elementary Second-Grade Students Spur Improvements at Edgemere Park

The second-graders at Fain Elementary have succeeded in making their neighborhood park, Edgemere, a better place to play. Several years ago, the second-graders adopted the park as the focus of their Project-Based Learning. They studied the park, made suggestions for improvements, and invited Mayor Stephen Santellana to the school to ask him questions about it. Their hard work has paid off: This fall, the City responded to the students’ suggestions and added a bench and trash can next to the play area. The City also poured concrete and added another picnic table and trash can.

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Hirschi High School Students Enjoy Renovated Room

Students at Hirschi High School have already started using – and appreciating -- a new room set up just for them. This special room is used for group counseling and group projects focused on mental health awareness. Waggoner Carpet donated the rug; Sam’s Club donated $250 for the table and chairs; Walmart donated $150 for the bean bag chairs and other supplies.

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Franklin Elementary Students Play Ball with Midwestern State University Tennis Players

Maybe the only thing better than having recess is having recess with big kids who will play with you. On Oct. 18, MSU tennis players visited Franklin to read with students, then play ball with them outdoors on a beautiful day.

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CEC Culinary Students Welcome Community to Bistro on Thursdays

The CEC’s Bistro is up and running, serving lunch every Thursday to WFISD staff and community members like you. “Our most recent Bistro menu was chicken fried steak sandwiches on garlic Texas toast, fried okra and mashed potatoes,” said culinary instructor Gregory Bloodworth.

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#IAMWFISD

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 athomas@wfisd.net or Ann Work Goodrich at awork@wfisd.net. 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.)