Tuesday, September 2, 2008

J. Kenan Applies New Programs to Raise Test Scores

J. Kenan applies new programs to raise test scores

Tuesday, September 2, 2008 7:47 AM CDT
KENANSVILLE — Low academic performance at the James Kenan High School has brought about changes by administrators in an effort to help students learn and succeed in the classroom.

Two years ago, the high school was listed by the state as a “low performing school.” State officials, according to Tony Faison, assistant principal at James Kenan, said nine of the 10 low end-of-grade test scores came from freshmen. Faison attributes the low freshman scores to immaturity. That’s where the school board has targeted change in a new school reform model, titled the “Talent Development Model.”

The transition from middle school to high school brings about many changes for the incoming students, said Faison, more independence and responsibility. Poor decisions can be made in those early years, resulting in a negative life outcome.

In a new “learning model” called the “freshman academy,” freshman of the high school will be grouped together. Students who share the same homeroom teacher will comprise a group, and will take the same classes together throughout the day. The idea, said Faison, is to instill a sense of camaraderie, unity and brotherhood, “really just to show love,” said Faison.

Freshman will be separated from other classmen throughout their daily schedule, hopefully building strong lasting relationships with their groups and fellow colleagues.

The academy is part of a two pronged effort to raise test scores at the school. Along with the Science Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, STEM, school. Administrators are hoping students will benefit.

“We want both models to work for kids; we feel they will,” said Cary Powers, assistant superintendent of Duplin County schools.

The school system will also implement two other learning strategies this year. The first, Study Island, a web-based computer program will allow students to learn at their own individual pace. The program, according to Powers, is customizable by teachers, and will aid in student learning. Topics, like math and reading could be assigned to students and could be further designated by teachers to include a subcategory. After each web-lesson, students can expect about 20 questions on the learned material. The program can be accessed just about any where, said Powers.

The second strategy calls for better communication between teachers. Teachers at every grade level will now be expected to communicate with teachers of the next grade level. The goal is help teachers keep kids from “slipping through the cracks” said Powers.

By Michael Connolly
Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 2, 2008 7:47 AM CDT

Monday, September 1, 2008

School officials plan to use success to spur other schools

School officials plan to use success to spur other schools

By Josh Humphries
The Daily Reflector

Monday, September 01, 2008

Pitt County school officials say that federal measures and state measures show improvement at several schools in the district, and they plan to use that success to spur similar results at other schools.

“We are getting much better at using student assessment data to diagnose student needs,” Superintendent Beverly Reep said in an e-mail response to questions from The Daily Reflector.

“Our most successful schools are using that data regularly to target classroom instruction, remediation, enrichment and support to address individual student learning needs.”

Reep said she has a 10-page document that outlines strategies being used in some Pitt County schools to improve test scores. The district plans to make a series of videos this year to show the strategies being used across the district.

The schools that were successful with federal measures can share ideas with schools that did not make adequate yearly progress or AYP, a measure that gauges achievement under the federal No Child Left Behind act.

Bethel School met both federal and state measures by making high growth and meeting AYP.

Teachers at the school have used a variety of tests to identify areas of academic strength and areas for improvement in each student, according to local schoolofficials.

This allows the teachers and remediation specialists to target specific instructional practices that meet the individual needs of the students. Principal Betty Tolar believes the results validate the hard work and dedication of the school's students and staff.

“Teachers have stepped out of their comfort zones in order to raise the bar for themselves and their students,” Tolar said.

At C.M. Eppes Middle School, where the school achieved high growth in 2007-08 for the first time in the school's history, administrators developed team and grade level strategies to help maintain discipline in the classroom.

The teachers decided that suspending a student would be the last option, said Heather Mayo, spokeswoman for Pitt County Schools.

As a result, suspensions were down by 47 percent during the year allowing students to spend more time in class.

Principal Charlie Langley said it had a direct impact on student achievement. “The children were better behaved and more focused on learning,” he said.

Students regularly used Study Island, a computer study program based on the state's standard course of study, to reinforce learning goals and administer benchmark testing.

Ayden-Grifton High School was the only high school in Pitt County to achieve growth status under state accountability guidelines.

Principal Bill Frazier said the effort took teamwork.

“The staff and students have worked together in setting high expectations as well as creating and implementing a plan to meet those expectations,” Frazier said.

The school implemented a review session that begins six weeks prior to the end of each semester. Frazier believes the review session has helped improve the school's results.

District officials said that talking to a child's principal is the best way right now to learn about the strategies that are in place at the child's school.

Josh Humphries can be contacted at jhumphries@coxnc.com and 329-9565.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Half of High School Classes Could Be Online by 2019

Report: Half of High School Classes Could Be Online by 2019

by Dave Nagel

Low-cost delivery and tailored learning opportunities could drive up to half of all high school courses online by 2019, according to a report from researchers that's set to appear in the summer issue of Education Next, published out of the Hoover Institution, the public policy research center at Stanford University.

The researchers--Clayton M. Christensen, Robert and Jane Cizik Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, and Michael B. Horn, executive director of education at the Innosight Institute--said that while while only about 1 percent of courses in 2007 were online, this figure represents a 22-fold increase from 2000 and should grow to 10 percent within six years and to about 50 percent by 2019.

Two of the major reasons for this are that online course delivery is cheap compared with the "current public education model"-- $200 to $600 per course--and that online courses can offer things to students that traditional schools clearly can't. Viz:

* A broader curriculum;
* AP classes (note: as of 2003, a third of schools do not offer AP classes, and many that do offer the classes only offer "a fraction of the 34 courses for which AP exams are available");
* More "customized" learning opportunities;
* Remediation where none is available in the traditional school;
* Continuing education for dropouts; and
* Additional support for homeschooled students.

In these ways, the researchers pointed out, online schools are not competing with traditional schools, but complementing them or supplementing them. Christiansen and Horn referred to this approach as "disruptive innovation."

They explained: "A disruptive innovation extends its benefits to people who, for one reason or another, are unable to consume the original product [i.e., a traditional school]. Disruptive innovations tend to be simpler and more affordable than existing products. This allows them to take root in simple, undemanding applications within a new market or arena of competition. Disruptions rely on asymmetric motivation, in this case, taking on courses that the traditional system is relieved not to do and happy to hand off."

The researchers also found that the American public favors online education. According to a survey conducted by Education Next and the Program on Education Policy and Governance at Harvard, a majority favor spending public funds on online education for "advanced coursework or to help students in rural schools get access to a broader range of courses." Another 69 percent said they'd let their children take courses online for credit.

And momentum is building. At present, some 25 states in the United States now offer courses online for high school students. "In 2006-07, one-third of high school seniors in Utah took a class online through the state's Electronic High School last year; 52,000 students were served by the Florida Virtual School, and 4,600 students were enrolled in the Georgia Virtual School," according to the researchers.

About the author: David Nagel is the executive editor for 1105 Media's online education technology publications, including THE Journal and Campus Technology.

Monday, August 4, 2008


If you are a principal or central administration and you are curious about Study Island, send me an email and I will follow-up with you. We have used Study Island on campus since 2003 and our results have been outstanding.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Study Island - Principal's Desk

Well, as you may have extracted from the title......I have taken a different path for the 08-09 school year. After 20 years in public education, I have decided to pursue another avenue of learning for students that I am very passionate about - online and virtual learning environments.

This was the most difficult decision that I have ever had to make, and although I am excited about the opportunity that awaits, I am also very sad to leave the principalship at Hyer. No principal could ask for better parents and students.....I have been truly blessed these last 5 years.

One thing that I have always told my two boys is that I hope that they are never afraid to step out and take a risk. Now obviously that doesn't apply to all things that teenagers encounter, but I think you understand what I am talking about here. This is just one of those times when I am modeling what I hope that I have instilled in each of my boys. To me this is what life is all about.......stepping outside of that comfort zone on occasion and trying something new. This opportunity at Study Island will allow me to continue to explore and develop student learning opportunities, but through a slightly different lens.

I guess the best way to encapsulate my decision is through one of my favorite poems and one that I have shared with my two sons for as long as I can remember.

The Road Not Taken
By Robert Frost

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Thank you again for allowing me to be the principal of the best school in Texas.....I am forever changed and better for it.

Greg Smith

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Summer Projects - Indoor and Outdoor Projects

All projects are on schedule.

Courtyard - Demo being completed this week
Workroom - Cabinets and island to be installed this week
Student Art and Pictures - to be installed later this summer
Classroom organizers - this week

We are looking good! I think everyone will be very happy with the results in August!


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Run For Ryan Tomorrow

HPISD students and community members are banding together to raise money and search for a kidney donor for 11-year-old Ryan Michael.

Ryan’s fellow students at McCulloch Intermediate School are raising money to help offset the considerable expenses associated with Ryan’s kidney transplant with the Run for Ryan. The fund-raiser will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday at the MIS track. If you would like to sponsor a runner or get more information about the Run for Ryan, please contact MIS Assistant Principal Dr. Marcia Pool at poolm@hpisd.org or call 214-780-3500.

HPISD voters approve $75.4 million bond issue

HPISD voters approve $75.4 million bond issue

Voters in Highland Park ISD overwhelmingly approved a $75.4 million school bond issue today with 91.15% backing the proposition. The vote was 1,844 to 179.

“I am deeply grateful to the community for supporting the bond issue and for investing in the maintenance of the historical school houses that have served the students of HPISD for many decades,” HPISD Superintendent Dr. Cathy Bryce said. “We pledge to manage the money with the utmost care and to work closely with a community-based bond oversight committee to ensure that the projects are completed in accordance with community expectations.”

Bryce said she was thrilled by the voting turnout and the margin of victory.

“The voting numbers speak volumes about this incredible community and its support for its public schools. This community never ceases to amaze me.”

HPISD School Board President Jeff Barnes called the results “a tremendous vote of confidence from our community.”

He lauded the Facilities Committee and the Community Bond Committee, both of which were made up of community members.

“We are so grateful to these leaders for their excellent work,” Barnes said. “The Facilities Committee laid the groundwork for a successful bond issue by touring the campuses and studying the details of each building’s maintenance history and projected needs. They also spent considerable time holding public forums and listening to feedback from parents and other taxpayers. In the end, they brought a very solid proposal to the school board, which we, in turn, put to a public vote.

“Then the Community Bond Committee picked up the ball and put together a phenomenal campaign,” he said. “They put up yard signs, distributed letters and reminder cards and ran a very effective e-mail campaign advocating for the bond. There is no doubt that their work led to increased voter awareness and turnout. We thank each and every one of these workers, and each voter who went to the polls and supported our schools.”

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

State Assessments Tomorrow for 3rd and 4th Grades

Just a reminder that our 3rd and 4th graders will be taking state assessment tests tomorrow. Our 3rd graders will be taking their 3rd Grade Reading Assessment and our 4th graders will be taking their 4th Grade Writing Assessment. There are no make-up days for the 4th grade Writing Assessment but we will have two days of make-up tests for the 3rd grade Reading Assessment. Be sure and email or call Greg or Nancy if you have any questions.



Monday, February 18, 2008

Protecting Student Privacy

Dear Parents,

Occasionally, HPISD administrators and staff members receive inquiries from parents and other members of the public seeking information about students who have gotten into trouble at school. Some say they need the information because they want to be sure their children are associating with the right peers. Others say the rumor mill is churning, and they want to be able to help set the record straight. Others offer help and professional services. Still others just want to know what happened.

The bottom line for us as educators is that we must protect each student’s right to privacy. That means that we cannot discuss student discipline matters, period. There are myriad reasons, both ethical and legal, for this restriction. First, it is simply the right thing to do for children. When parents put their child in our care, they trust us not only to provide an excellent education for the child, but also to provide a safe learning environment. Realistically, some of the 6,300 children in HPISD are going to make mistakes from time to time. When they do, it is our responsibility to act decisively and confidentially. Decisions regarding consequences are made in accordance with the student Code of Conduct. When a situation is serious enough to necessitate the involvement of law enforcement officials, we cooperate fully with police to provide the information they need to take appropriate action.

Second, there are strict laws protecting student privacy. Those laws begin at the federal level with FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974) and are reinforced by Texas law (Public Information Act) and local HPISD policy. There are serious consequences for educators who violate these laws and policies.

We in Highland Park ISD are committed to respecting the ethical and legal guidelines and laws that protect our students’ right to privacy. We ask you as parents and community members to join us in this commitment.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Birthdays, 1/2 Birthdays, 1/4 Leap Year 2nd Cousin Celebrations

Ok, I love birthdays as much as the next person. If there is a situation where I might get a present......especially a gadget......I am all for it. I don't even mind making up a holiday in order to celebrate.....I believe National Squirrel Day is just around the corner.......

But as for school, this is a reminder that as far as student birthday parties go, they can only be celebrated in the cafeteria during the student's lunch. This rule is the same for teachers as well. There are two parties allowed per year......and those are usually around the Winter Break, Valentine's Day or Halloween. The rule is in place in order to protect instructional time in the classroom.

So......call me the "birthday grinch" but I need for everyone to stick to this rule in the future. Save the clowns, balloons and life-size T-Rex's and complete Star Wars themed parties including Wookie costumes for all for the home parties......

As for me, I will just browse through Best Buy and hope for the best come birthday time from my wife......hopefully she will know what "Blu Ray" is by that point.



Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Monday, December 10, 2007

Penguins, Penguins Everywhere......(see video below )

Hyer Goes Wild Over Penguin Visit

The attire will be strictly black and white when two African penguins visit 225 Hyer Elementary students next week.

The penguins will be accompanied by animals such as a blue and gold macaw, American alligator, and Burmese python when they arrive at 10 a.m. Monday, Dec. 10 at the school’s auditorium. So that they’ll feel at home, Hyer’s third- and fourth-graders will be wearing black and white.

The special holiday visit is made possible through the Fort Worth Zoo’s Wild Wonders Animal Outreach program, which educates, entertains and inspires audiences by providing an up-close look at exotic wildlife. The program travels year-round throughout North Texas featuring various wild animals from the Zoo’s collection.

In preparation for the wildlife visit, Hyer science lab instructor Gail Miller and her students have been intensely focused on their animal studies.

“We have been learning about the food chain, the B-FARM (vertebrates and their adaptations), as well as bird beak adaptations,” Miller said. “Our librarian, Janet Peters, is also preparing our students for this exciting visit, by reading and talking about penguins all week. She even gave me a class set of books about emperor penguins that we have been using. We will be donned in our finest penguin apparel because we want the penguins to know that they are among friends.”

While the third- and fourth-graders are in the auditorium with the animals, the other students will be tuning in from their classrooms using Promethean boards.

“It’s incredible to watch teachers like Gail Miller create exciting learning for our students. She is literally making science come to life for our students,” said Hyer Elementary Principal Greg Smith. “This program will be a wonderful extension of our life science curriculum, and our students cannot wait for the penguins to arrive!”
African penguins are relatively small, growing to only 26-28 inches in height and weighing up to 11 pounds. Their distinctive markings include black spots and arched stripes on the chest. African penguins are also known for their unique braying call, which is similar to that of a donkey.
“We get the unique opportunity to bring the Zoo’s wildlife to the public, and it’s always a joy to see the looks on children’s faces when the come eye-to-eye with an animal they’ve never seen before,” says Chris Johnson, Fort Worth Zoo Wild Wonders Outreach Manager.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Texas Monthly

This month's issue of Texas Monthly has their annual list of the "Best Public Schools in Texas." Check out the link below and see how we ranked.

P.S. - We did real well..........


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Friday, November 2, 2007

Hyer Book Fair

The Hyer Library Book Fair is coming next week,
November 5-8!! Volunteers are still needed to work
Thursday from 8:00-9:30 and Monday, Tuesday and
Thursday from 3:00-4:30. Please email Renee Morales
(henren@sbcglobal.net) if you can help out. If you
can't help out, then please come and SHOP!! Thanks!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Hyer Clinic Info

The Hyer clinic applauds the positive response of parents to addressing the common elementary school issue of head lice. In our collaborative effort to address this concern we would like to share the following resource with you.


We trust you will find this educational information helpful as we beat this burdensome problem.

Joanne Hardaway RN NCSN

Great News!

Hyer Parents,

I wanted to share some great news with you this morning. This past Monday night, the Texas Business Education Coalition held their annual awards dinner to recognize the best schools in Texas. At the dinner, Hyer Elementary was recognized as one of only 3 schools in the state of Texas to be awarded this honor for the last 7 years. Congratulations are in order to all of our parents, students, and staff! Thanks for everything you do to make this such a great school!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Red Ribbon Week

Red Ribbon Week
October 22-26, 2007
The Red Ribbon is a symbol of awareness, a sign
that we choose to strive for drug-free lives. It is a
powerful educational tool that should be utilized not
only one week in October, but throughout the
year. By wearing a red ribbon and saying no to drugs,
we can make a difference and prevent future
Red Ribbon Week is held nationally in October every
year. C.A.R.E at the Park Cities YMCA has
traditionally assisted schools in our area in
celebrating Red Ribbon Week through the education
of students about the dangers of alcohol and other
drug use, peer pressure and making positive
choices. Our morning announcements and front
bulletin board will communicate and reinforce these
ideas to Hyer students. Also, Students from the
S.T.A.N.D. (Scots Tackle Alcohol, Nicotine, and
Drugs) at HPHS will visit the children to encourage
them to be healthy Huskies.
All students will get a new Red Ribbon sticker each
day to wear throughout the day. In addition, we
encourage students to wear RED on Friday (those
All-American Husky shirts are perfect!).
4th grade – C.A.R.E will present their “Brain Power”
program on Tuesday, October 23rd at 2:20 p.m. in
the auditorium. This program teaches the effects of
alcohol and other drugs on the developing adolescent
brain. Parents of 4th graders are invited to attend.
Parent Education Committee invites you to
“Talking to Children about Difficult Subjects”
Dr. Nell Bush, Child Development Specialist
October 25th, 8:30 a.m. in the Hyer Auditorium

Hyer Carnival

October is always busy at Hyer! Thank you to all Hyer
parents for your countless volunteer hours to make this
year’s Carnival one of the BEST EVER!!! I heard so
many wonderful comments about everything from the
games and prizes to the decorations and our fabulous
weather! It was a perfect day for an All American
Carnival! Our leader, Gretchen Hirschey and her
Carnival team put together a Carnival that will go down
in history. The Cub Scouts were a huge help in clean up as well! What would we do without you and the Dad’s Club who helped set it all
up! It takes many hands to make that even happen
and I am sure that we had 100% participation and that
shows true Hyer SPIRIT!
With Hyer PRIDE,
Jenice Dunayer

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Gifted Program Info

“Should I have my child tested for the gifted program?”
Referral Information Meeting for
Parents of Students in Grades 1-11

TAG Program: The Highland Park Independent School District’s Talented and Gifted Program provides rigorous and challenging opportunities for identified gifted students by offering a variety of learning experiences that differentiate depth and complexity and pacing within the curriculum.

What: Meetings for parents interested in referring their child for possible placement in the TAG program in 2007-2008 (Referrals are due on December 7, 2007.)

Purpose: This is an opportunity for parents to learn the purpose of the TAG program, the delivery of program services, and the specific identification procedures used in HPISD. Presenters will explain the assessments given to referred students and how students qualify for program services. Referral packets will be available.

Date and Place: Monday, November 5, 2007
7:00 p.m., Hyer Elem.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
8:45 a.m., Bradfield Elem.

For additional information, please contact Lynda Walker, TAG Program Coordinator, at walkerl@hpisd.org

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Friday, September 14, 2007

Crosswalk Safety

A gentle reminder to please watch carefully when you are driving into one of our crosswalks. We have 4 crosswalks on the corners of the campus and we need every driver to be mindful and pay close attention when they are crossing. Some of our smaller guys and gals can be easy to miss when you are in a large suburban or distracted, so I ask that everyone be very diligent in regards to our each of our student's well-being when arriving and leaving school.

Thanks and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Excellent Post Below this One......Much better than the one you are reading right now.......go ahead......check it out

Well, we are now 3 weeks into it......schedules are hectic, homework is lurking about, our children are involved in so many things.....and it also the time of the year when I usually discuss parent/teacher conferences, conflict resolution, etc.

There may come a time during your child's educational career that a problem arises in the classroom and you may not be sure how to handle it. Normally, I send out some tips on the best way to handle a sometimes difficult situation, but the article I found in the post below was much better than mine.

Take a few minutes to read it......as both a parent, a teacher and an administrator I felt the author did a great job in showing all points of view. Did she get it mostly right? Comment me and tell me what you think.

Parents and Teachers - Working Together - Great Tips

(One of the best articles I have read on the subject - great tips from a parent who also happens to be a teacher.)

Parents and Teachers - Working Together

When your child comes home to you complaining about his or her difficult teacher, many times ones' first instinct is to get in the car, drive to the school then and there and "school the teacher" on the school's lawn, in front of the principal, the students and all of the other teachers. After all, your precious little dumpling couldn't be at fault for anything, right?

I know I've been in that situation before, and the mother lioness in me some times wants to strike! But, I also want to teach my daughters about respectful conflict resolution, and though I do believe there's a time and a place for the mama lion to ROAR, your child's school is, in most cases, not one of them.

Especially when you find out that dumpling's maybe not as blameless in the situation as you've been led to believe. In other words, get the whole story before you go ballistic! Kids have a magical way of leaving key facts regarding their involvement in any wrongdoing when telling their parents their woes.

I'm not saying kids are always in the wrong and teachers are infallible, I'm just saying that *most* teachers are pretty good folk. Most teachers do not go into education with the goal of creating a "difficult" environment for children. Although I do know teachers who have stayed past their prime, *usually* people in education are there because they genuinely like kids and want to help them learn. Almost everyone your child comes in contact with in an educational setting is going to want to see him or her succeed.

I will also say that many parents have no idea what strains teachers are under today with what the government expects of us, what our districts expect of us, what our administration expects of us, what the parents expect of us and what the kids expect of us. (Not to mention what our own families expect of us!) What may seem like a "difficult" teacher may actually be a teacher carrying out state-mandated assessments, or implementing district NCA accreditation goals. Or, that seemingly difficult teacher may just be having a rough day (many times as a result of all of those above-listed pressures).

When your child comes home with a complaint, you are, of course, his or her number one advocate. I know that there are situations when it is appropriate for parents to intervene on behalf of their child. However, in most cases, teachers, even seemingly difficult ones, are willing to work as a partner with parents to do what's best for your child.

Parents must also remember that teachers are just like any other human being out there. Some times people "rub each other the wrong way." This can happen with teachers and students too. Some times a kid may just not like the teacher's personality. It's not the kid's job to act in a professional manner, so in some cases, the kid not liking the teacher can spill over into his or her behavior, which may cause conflict in the classroom.

Conversely, if a student raises a teacher's hackles it *is* that teacher's job to remain professional and hopefully that teacher will never let on that he or she doesn't appreciate that child's personality quirks. However, teachers do make mistakes and if he or she does act inappropriately, he or she should apologize, and as a parent, you have the right to ask for that, if the teacher does not offer to do so on his or her own.

Parents, though, should insist on their children's respect for all teachers, at all times, even when that child perceives the teacher to be "difficult."

Now what if it isn't just a rough day for the teacher? What if your child is making consistent complaints about this teacher? I suggest, as a sign of respect, using the proper chain of command. Depending on the age of the child, you could ask your child to try to talk to the teacher first to see if he or she can solve the problem on his or her own. If your child is too young or too shy and you feel it's time for you to intervene, talk directly to the teacher. Send him or her an email, call him or her or make an appointment to see him or her in person. See what you, your child and the teacher can work out. You'd be surprised what you can accomplish with a two-sentence email, or a five-minute phone conversation.

If you do this and do not receive satisfaction after trying this, talk with the school counselor. If there is still no agreement reached, it is at this point you should probably take it to the top and call the principal. It would be unusual if you tried all of these steps and were unable to come up with some sort of solution to satisfy all parties.

As an educator myself, I am of the opinion that *most* teachers, administrators, and counselors that I know will bend over backwards, do flips, cartwheels, and stand on their heads, do the conga, or cha-cha with a pit bull to ensure that a kid succeeds. And, a parent can take a kid far, but ultimately, especially at the high school level, the kid has to go the full distance on his/her own.

In my duel roles as mother and teacher, I know that one of the means to my own children's success is teaching them how to problem solve, deal with people that they may or may not like, and to be respectful of all people. It may be your first instinct to take care of your child's problem for him or her, but allowing them the chance to work through it on their own can oftentimes be more the more valuable experience.

We all encounter difficult people in our every day lives. School, many times, ends up being a microcosm for the "real world." Students can actually benefit from working through their problems with their difficult teachers because chances are that teacher won't be the last difficult person he or she encounters. And, when your child sees you modeling respect for the teacher, even though you may not agree with everything the teacher says or does, your child can learn a valuable lesson on working through conflict.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Meet The Teacher Night

Our annual “Meet the Teacher Night” will be Thursday, September 6. This is an opportunity to meet your child’s teacher and hear the procedures and expectations for the school year. Please remember that this evening is for parents only.

Below is a schedule for “Meet the Teacher Night”. Please note that the schedule is designed for all parents to have time in each child’s classroom. The intent is that parents with more than one child can vary their schedule so that they can meet with all the teachers involved.
6:00 - 6:30 Specials Teachers (PE, Music, Art, Library, TAG,
Life Skills, Structure, Jump Start, Science & Resource)
6:30 - 7:00 Kindergarten, 1st Grade, 2nd Grade
7:00 - 7:30 3rd Grade, 4th Grade

It is helpful to bring your calendar to facilitate classroom sign-up.

We look forward to seeing you Thursday night. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call the school office.



Friday, August 31, 2007

PTA Wants YOU for Underwriting!

Please take part in the Underwriting campaign......I don't want to see what the Underwriting Chair photoshops me into next.......

No Dogs Allowed at Hyer? Aren't We the Huskies?

Just a reminder to all of our Hyer families that dogs are not allowed on campus during school hours. This is both a city ordinance and policy for all of the district campuses. Being a dog owner myself, I know how a pet can become an integral part of the family and how tempting it is to bring them to school. However, with the safety of all our students in mind, I am asking that dogs not be brought onto school grounds during school hours. This would include walking your dog to school when picking up and dropping off your child. Thank you again for all of your help and support in this matter.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Hyer Calendar - September and October Events

September 2007

Monday, 9/3 School Holiday – Labor Day
Wednesday, 9/5 Room Mothers’ Fall Orientation – 9:00 AM in auditorium
Thursday, 9/6 Meet the Teacher Night – 6:30 PM (Parents only)
Friday, 9/7 Sally Foster Sale Begins
Tuesday, 9/11 HPISD Board of Trustees Meeting -5:00 PM at MIS 5/6 assembly room
Tuesday, 9/18 PTA Meeting – 12 Noon – Lunch provided by Short Stop
Thursday, 9/21 Sally Foster Sale Ends

October 2007

Monday, 10/1 School Pictures (new date)
Monday, 10/1-5 Safety Week
Friday, 10/5 Safety Rodeo, Fall Family Picnic and Carnival Bake Sale
Friday, 10/5 1st 6 weeks ends
Monday, 10/8 Student Holiday - Fair Day
Tuesday,10/10 HPISD Board of Trustees Meeting- 5:00 PM at MIS 5/6 assembly room
Saturday,10/13 Hyer Carnival (11:00 AM-3:00 PM)
Saturday,10/19&20 Happy Hollydays Bazaar (Hyer Preschool Association)
Monday, 10/22-26 Red Ribbon Week sponsored by C.A.R.E.
Tuesday, 10/30 Pumpkin Patch

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Monday, August 27, 2007

New Security Procedures Start Tomorrow, Aug 28th

Hyer Families,

The district completed the installation of the security doors and
cameras this summer on all campuses. Our new entry procedures will begin
on the 2nd day of school, Tuesday, August 28th. Each elementary school
will have all doors locked at 8:20 a.m., and any parents/guests in the
building after 8:20 will need to come to the office to sign in and
receive a badge. Anyone needing to come in the building after 8:20 will
only be able to enter the building through the front entrance of Hyer
(Caruth side). To request entrance into Hyer after 8:20, push the camera
button located on the right side of the door and wait to be "buzzed in"
by a member of Hyer's office staff. For any students\families needing to
enter with the use of a handicapped ramp after 8:20, the entrance
located on Pickwick will be available to be "buzzed in." Once "buzzed
in" all visitors will need to report to the office to sign in and
receive a visitor's sticker. Finally, all doors will remain locked until
3:30 p.m., and staff members will not be allowed to open any door other
than the front entrance for visitors.

Our goal is to continue to maintain the neighborhood school atmosphere
while also improving the safety of everyone in our facilities. We thank
you in advance for your support with our new security procedures. If you
have any questions, please do not hesitate to call.

The first day is finally here!

What a great first day! I want to thank everyone for making this day run so smoothly and for trusting us with your wonderful children. We had such a great turnout last Thursday with Open House and I do believe that had so much to do with us having such a great first day. Going into all of the classrooms today, I could see the excitement in all of their faces.......many told me they could hardly sleep last night......so they should sleep well tonight. I will have first day pictures up soon so look for those and our first podcast of the year is right around the corner.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Last Day!

Even though we would have loved to have had better weather for the last day of school, we managed to fight through it and have a great last day of school. Thanks to you and your support, we had another fantastic year at Hyer Elementary. Big, gigantic kudos to our outgoing PTA President - Kathleen Wallace. What a wonderful leader and just an outstanding example for future PTA presidents.........you will be missed.

Everyone have a great summer and for those of you returning to us next year......see you in August!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Handicap Parking

There has been enough said, posted, blogged and written the last few months regarding who is supposed to park in the handicap parking spaces. We have students and caregivers of students that need and use the spots each day and if you are neither of these, please do not use these areas to park, pull into or drop-off if even for "a minute." It is not possible for someone to police these spaces at all times.......whether it be at Hyer, Tom Thumb or NorthPark so it is up to each individual to make an effort to obey the law and only park in a handicap space if you have a designated and legal permit/placard from the state of Texas allowing you to do so.

What a great school and a great community we have in these 6 square miles.........we can do better than going back and forth on blogs and in Starbucks about "who said what", "who parked where", and "what happened next." Let's move forward and let's pull forward from this point on.......especially if you were thinking of illegally parking in one of Hyer's handicap spots.

Field Day Info for Friday, May 18th


The following is the Field Day menu provided by the Hyer cafeteria. The cost is $4.50 a tray. Dinerite or cash can be used.

Mini subs

Baked Nacho Doritos


Sugar cinnamon cookie

Tropical Fruit juice



Beginning Tuesday, May 15th all 4th grade DineRite accounts will be closed. Your 4th grader will need to bring cash for lunch each day for the remainder of the school year. You will receive a note with your child’s remaining balance. You will have the option to move the funds to a sibling’s account, receive a refund or donate the funds to the Lunch Fund. The Lunch Fund is used to help families in need with lunch payments. If you have questions or concerns, please contact Jennifer Harrison (jenniferh@remacinc.com).

How many days you ask?

Why that would be 10..........the last day of school is May 25th.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Mrs. Payne's Class Podcast


Teacher of the Year

Always an exciting time of the year........the time when we announce Hyer's selection for "Teacher of the Year". After the staff votes were counted, the "Teacher of the Year" for Hyer is........(insert drum roll).......Gail Miller!!!!! Big congratulations to a teacher that completely and absolutely does her best to design engaging work for her students each and every day! This is an award that is well deserved.......way to go Gail!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

4th Grade Program

Had the opportunity to sit in on a rehearsal yesterday.......what a great program! Parents, I think you will love it as much as the kids will enjoy presenting it you. Remember the performances for parents are on Thursday at 6:15 for those families that have students in Alexander, Funderburk, and Miller's classrooms. The next performance at 7:30 is for families in Pino, Rohde/Payne and Tilger's classrooms.

See you then!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

4th Grade Mom's Skit - Info from 07-08 PTA President

Dear Parents~

Thank you for your overwhelming response to our 4th grade mom's skit
survey. I appreciate everyone taking the time to give me your feedback.

Yesterday, I called an Executive Board meeting between both year's
boards and Greg Smith to discuss these results. I felt it was important
to involve this team in making the right decision. We evaluated the
results of the survey and based on these results, we will continue the
tradition of the 4th grade skit. We have taken into account all
comments and have designed a new format of which to continue. We feel
these changes are positive and everyone will feel comfortable

Some of these changes include:
1. New name: 4th Grade Parent's skit (dad's are welcome too)
2. New date: We will hold the skit the last week of school to be part
of 4th grade graduation activities - Thursday May 29th
3. New format: There will be musical numbers and comedy skits and
groups will chosen differently
4. New Direction: All scripts, routines, music, costumes, rehearsal
time, etc. will have set guidelines

We believe these changes will have a positive impact on this tradition.
It is our hopes that the 4th Grade Parent Skit continues as it was
originally intended.. to be fun! We are continuing a tradition that is
for our children! If we keep them in mind at all times, then this can
be a fun experience for everyone. Let's keep it simple, clean and fun!

Thank you again for your support and participation in this decision.

With gratitude,


Jenice Dunayer
Hyer PTA President '07-'08

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Dogs On Campus

As we get closer to the end of the year, I am starting to see dogs on the campus again. Just a reminder that during school hours, dogs are not allowed on school grounds for safety reasons. Now, I am not anti-dog.......we have two of our own and I do believe my wife would give me up before her precious Bernie, but for the safety of all of our students I need to ask that you leave "Astro" at home.

Much appreciated...........

Hyer Auction Results - Big Congratulations and Thanks to Everyone Involved!!


Thursday, April 26, 2007

4th Grade Fossil Rim Video


4th Grade Program Information

Dear Parents,

Our fourth grade students are performing Music Through the Decades on the evening of Thursday, May 10th. Friends and family of students in Alexander, Funderburk, and Miller’s classes are invited to the 6:15pm performance. Friends and family of students in Pino, Rohde/Payne, and Tilger’s classes are invited to attend the second performance at 7:30pm. We will also be performing for the school the morning of Wednesday, May 9th.

Every class is assigned a decade and will wear a costume that is characteristic of that decade. E-mails have been sent out from parent volunteers giving costume suggestions for your child’s decade. If your child has been assigned a speaking part, he/she will dress in the decade that has been assigned to the class. If your child is a member of one of the small ensembles, please consult the list below for his/her appropriate decade dress. The decade assignments are as follows:

ALEXANDER/ROHDE/PAYNE: 50’s (Contact: Sandra Lewandowski)

FUNDERBURK/ROHDE/PAYNE: 60’s (Contact: Jennifer Shelmire and Alicia Fanning)

MILLER/ROHDE/PAYNE: 70’s (Contact: Margaret Watson)

PINO/ROHDE/PAYNE: 80’s (Contact: Suzanne Chaltas and Kim Meaders)

TILGER/ROHDE/PAYNE: 50’s (Contact: Martha Stedman)

Small Ensembles:

LOLLIPOP GIRLS: 50’s (Contact: Jill Crow and Katherine Westbrook)

I WILL SURVIVE GIRLS: 70’s (Contact: Sandra Lewandowski and Margaret Watson)

STAYIN’ ALIVE GUYS: 70’s (Contact: Sandra Lewandowski and Margaret Watson)

Please have your child bring his/her costume to school on Monday, May 7th, in a bag with his/her name-decade-class written on it. Their bag will stay at school in the music room.

Our students have been working extremely hard on this production, and we are all very excited. If you would like to volunteer to help with costumes or the set, please let me know as soon as possible. Thank you for your support. If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail or call me at school.


Adrienne Dieterich

Music Teacher

Hyer Elementary School

(214) 780-3300


Okay....we are back in business

I have had trouble logging in the last few days, but we seem to be back up now. Look for some pictures and videos from the 4th grade field trip to Fossil Rim today.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants

Below is a link to an interesting article from Mark Prensky, author of "Don't Bother Me Mom - I'm Learning." If you have not yet heard the phrase "digital native" or "digital immigrant" you may start to hear it soon and Mark explains both in the article. Hint - my two boys are definitely digital natives and I am definitely a digital immigrant.


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Doing my part for the U.P. School Carnival........

U.P. Elementary School Carnival

Saturday, May 5th

11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Come Live It Up in Panther Paradise!

3505 Amherst

All ages invited.

Confetti eggs, cake walk, M*A*S*H* tent, face painting, inflatables, five & dime, dunk tank, photo buttons, sweet shop, raffle baskets, and games galore!


Ms. Killpack's Class Podcast

Ms. Killpack's class has created a podcast that has news and events for their classroom during the month of April. It is available by clicking on the "Links" section on the left-hand side of the blog.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Future Podcasts

Send me an email or leave a comment on future podcasts that you would like for us to produce. Topics? Interviews? Let me know........

TAKS Assessment for 3rd and 4th Grade

Third and Fourth grade students will take the Math portion of the Texas Assessment for Knowledge and Skills tomorrow. On Wednesday, our fourth grade students will take the Reading the portion of the TAKS test.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


Well, we found out today what topic generates the most interest......that would be class lists. Thanks to so many of you that sent an email, made a call, left a comment on the blog or said something in person to a staff member regarding the information you received from listening to the podcast. Glad to hear from so many of you and I hope our future podcasts are as well received as this one was today. Now that we know that we actually have some listeners, we will continue to "cast" on........

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Podcast #003 - Class Lists

A discussion with Nancy Theirot regarding class lists is now available on Podcast #003 - Class Lists. Nancy Theriot discusses how class lists are created at Hyer. A few of the topics that Nancy discusses are:

How are class lists made at Hyer each year?

Can parents request a specific teacher? Why or why not?

Can a parent request that their child not be in a specific teacher's classroom?

Can a request be made for a child to have specific friends in their classroom? What are some problems that can arise from these requests?

How much time does it take to create a balanced classroom?

When do students and parents find out who their teacher will be for next year?


Friday, April 6, 2007

Hyer Podcasts and iTunes

For those of you that use iTunes to download your podcasts, you can now find the Hyer Elementary podcasts at http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=251181208

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Brought my spotlight with me today.........

I dug through my garage last night until I finally found my spotlight underneath the 10 person tent that we had planned on using every weekend for years.........I think we used it once and when we realized air conditioning wasnt included and the temperature at night in July was 102.......well, the tent has been gathering dust since. But I birdwalk......I found my spotlight and thought I might use it today to spotlight a couple of our fabulous teachers at Hyer.

The first teacher I would like to spotlight is Mary Kate McIntosh, a second grade teacher at Hyer. Ms. McIntosh has been teaching for 20+ years and does a wonderful job of designing work with the rigor and substance that students find engaging. Entering the classroom on any given day is akin to walking into a science lab.......watch out for the wide assortment of insects, spiders and various other biological life forms. Never a dull moment in this classroom......wonderful learning abounds!

I would also like to take this spotlight and shine it on one of our newest staff members, Adrienne Dieterich. Ms. Dieterich teaches music and is in her first year at Hyer. We managed to "recruit" Ms. Dieterich away from her former district and she has done a fabulous job in her first year at HPISD. From the wonderful student programs to the work the students are doing each day, Ms. Dieterich has a classroom where her students are not just "hands on" but "minds on." Maybe if I had Ms. Dieterich when I was in elementary school, I would be one of the final 9 in American Idol.......except I am sure that Sanjaya would leave me in his dust as well.

Such is life.........

Hyer Art Show


Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Below is a link to a short video clip that the faculty viewed and discussed last Monday. We were discussing the meaning and development of intelligence, creativity, lesson design and student engagement. I think you will enjoy the clip if you have the time to view it. Please feel free to leave me a comment regarding the video or any of the blog posts.



All future podcasts can be accessed on the left sidebar of this blog. Simply click on the # of the podcast you wish to listen to and click on the play button or download the podcast to your computer. Enjoy!

Monday, April 2, 2007

Upcoming Podcasts

This week, Podcast #002, will contain a discussion with Mrs. Pino and Mrs. Zmigrosky regarding the use of Promethean Boards in their classroom. A link will be posted on this blog when the podcast has been uploaded.

Our next podcast, #003 is one that will probably bring the server down.......this will be an interview with Nancy Theriot and she will be discussing class lists. How do we make the class lists? What goes into placing your child in a particular classroom? What type of requests can be made regarding student placement? Why can't parents just choose their child's teacher? This and so much more will be answered in this podcast. Subscribe now to this blog or just come back daily to check for updates and you will be the first to have all of the "class lists" answers. Stay tuned........

Annual Easter Egg Hunt

Spring is here! Let’s Celebrate!

Let’s Celebrate Spring at

Hyer Preschool Association’s Annual Spring Party.

Everyone is welcome to attend on Tuesday, April 3rd

from 4:00 - 5:30 p.m. on the

front lawn at Hyer. Enjoy David Chicken in

concert, photo opportunities with the Easter Bunny

and the Annual Easter Egg Hunt. Admission is $5 and a

dozen treat filled eggs per child.

School Security Upgrades

The installment of our new security system will begin in the next few weeks. Details regarding what will be installed and the changes that will occur can be found at http://www.hpisd.org/contents.asp?s1=1&s2=2&s3=3&id1=15&id2=125&id3=402

As we move closer to the completion of the project, additional information will be communicated to all of our Hyer families. Please send me an email if you have any questions or concerns.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

What a Success!

Grandfriend's Day was an unbelievable success yesterday......the only problem being that the memory card on our digital camera failed and we lost our pictures of the event. I heard many positive remarks from so many parents and grandparents regarding the valet parking that PTA organized for Grandfriend's Day. Jenny Robertson did a fantastic job as the Grandfriend's Day Chair and the music program, directed by our music teacher, Ms.Dieterich was wonderful. Finally, I have had many requests for my next podcast and I want to let you know that it should be on the website next week. Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday, March 30, 2007

Grandfriend's Day Today

This is probably my favorite day of the year at Hyer.......Grandfriend's Day is a very special event and I hope the weather doesn't keep anyone away. Pictures should be posted later on this afternoon.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Cybernet Bullying

Can Words Hurt?

Can Pictures Hurt?

Does Your Child Use the Internet or a Cell Phone?

Come Watch and Discuss ABC Primetime's:"Cybernet Bullying And Internet Safety."

Monday, April 2nd, Hyer Auditorium at 9:15 a.m.

Presented by the Parent Education Committee

One more reminder......

Hyer Families,

This is a reminder to please not park in the six handicap spaces at Hyer as these are for use for persons with disabilities and their parents/caregivers who have an appropriate license plate or a tag prominently displayed from their rearview mirror. The spaces on Colgate and Caruth are marked with orange cones for easy visibility and should not be parked in unless you have the required license or tag. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Excellent Article

Interesting article from Time Magazine last month - http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1568480,00.html

Spring Gift Committee

Our Spring Gift Committee met this morning and gifted over 200,000.00 to Hyer Elementary. This is an incredible amount and it is just another example of how gracious and involved so many of our parents are at Hyer and in HPISD. A good portion of the 200,000.00 will be for the installation of Promethean Activ Boards (http://www.prometheanworld.com/us/) in all of our classrooms.

Monday, March 26, 2007

First Post

Welcome to Hyer Elementary's first blog posting. This will be my first time to "blog" so bear with me as I learn from my freshman son on the "ins" and "outs" of blogging. This experiment is similar to our use of podcasting...........trying out new ways to communicate with the Hyer community.

Today was a staff inservice day for all HPISD employees and we spent our day at Hyer discussing and reflecting the importance of designing work that is engaging for students. In addition, we received further training on the use of the Promethean Activ Boards which many of you may have seen in some of our classrooms. Our goal is for all classrooms to have a Promethean Board installed before the 2007 - 2008 school year begins in August.

Drop me a line and let me know what you think of the blog and also if you would like to hear another podcast in the future. Thanks for reading and I will be back to "blog" soon. Hard to believe this word was not even part of our collective vocabulary 5 years ago..............