Read about the many wonderful ways FISD students and staff made the holiday season brighter for others in the latest edition of the FISD Update, Great Things.
Location: All Campuses
FISD Board Meeting
Date: 1/17/2017, 6:45 PM – 9 PM
Location: FISD Administration Building
Wilson County Livestock Show
Location: Wilson County Show Barn
As we work together to provide a quality education to FISD students, I felt it was important for you to have information on the A-F Accountability Rating System. Click on the link to learn about research that clearly communicates the A-F school rating systems fail as an indicator of school quality, and how you can have a voice in helping the Legislature understand that no single letter rating will ever be able to adequately capture the actual effort and effectiveness of a school.
Before we leave for our Winter Break, I want to say how much I appreciate the FISD staff and all that they do for our FISD students each and every day. I have been touched to see the outpouring of generosity from our students, staff and community to help make sure those less fortunate have a Merry Christmas. Wishing you and yours the very best as we look to 2017!
The FHS FFA Agriculture Advocacy Team finished 6th in the state after competing in the semi-finals and finals on December 2-3. Congratulations to Mikaela Talley, Caroline Burkett, Savannah Engquist and Emily Mann on this outstanding achievement.
Read about the great things happening at FISD in the latest FISD Update.
Read Dr. Bays' blog about how the FISD Core Beliefs are alive in our district.
What does it take to get a 2,826% increase in the usage of a resource? Ask the FISD Library team, because that’s the percentage of increase they’ve seen in the check-outs of eBooks from all of last year to the first HALF of this year! It hasn’t been easy, but, if you ask them, it’s been worth it.
It started by looking at data that was a little bit difficult to swallow. In a digital age, the fact that in all of FISD, last year, only 557 eBooks were checked-out isn’t what you want to see. So, Mrs. Sharon Varnon, District Librarian, decided to make the use of eBooks a focus. Now, it’s easy to say it’s a focus, but what they did was make a strategic and sustainable plan to make eBooks a go-to resource for students and staff.
“It’s important that we adapt to the changing times. Kids in college have to be able to use digital resources and we need to prepare our students,” said Mrs. Varnon. But, introducing students to eBooks wasn’t all that had to be done. “We also had to make sure the library staff was comfortable with them and could help teachers and students who were also learning to use them for the first time,” said Varnon. That’s when she and the Library Facilitators really dug-in; they attended training and made a plan for each campus. A plan that has resulted in 16,300 check-outs in a semester, compared to 557 check-outs all of last year. According to Mrs. Varnon, both teachers and students are now asking for digital resources instead of avoiding them.
Students being able to use resources like eBooks increases their digital literacy, which is the ability to use technology to navigate, evaluate and create information. In this day and age, digital literacy is incredibly important to success in almost any field. We are excited that Mrs. Varnon, Ms. Ramsey, Mrs. Gerrard, Ms. Aguilera and Mrs. Nickles are making focused, intentional efforts to help our students prosper in an increasingly technological world.
Garrett McCoy and Zoey Wiatrek are the FISD December Students of the Month. Click above to read more about these outstanding seniors.
At FISD, we call ourselves a family. Families take care of one another and Dr. Bays recognized South Elementary teacher, Lisa Orth, for creating an opportunity for an entire campus to help one of their family members. Lisa organized a t-shirt fundraiser for Christy Canales; the shirts read, “Friends don’t let friends fight cancer alone.”
Christy Canales has been a teacher at FSE for 13 years. She’s currently battling cancer but she continues to be a wonderful teacher, grandmother and friend. Lisa said about Christy, “She thinks of her students above everything. She’s a sweet, kind, helping person. We just wanted to help her during a difficult time, to try to ease her discomfort.”
When Christy talks about her FSE family, she is overwhelmed by their support that comes in many forms: encouragement, meals, hugs, lending a helping hand on the harder days. “They are as good as gold,” she said.
Shelley Keck, FSE Principal, is proud of Lisa, her staff and their support for each other. “Floresville South Elementary is a Project Wisdom school, this year. Each day, we share a story or quote that helps remind us of the important things in life. Recently, we read a quote from Saint Francis of Assisi, ‘Blessed is the man who helps his neighbor in trouble, just as he would wish to be helped in like circumstances.’ Lisa Orth did just that. Christy is a fighter and we have her back! Keep fighting Christy!”
Christy is definitely not fighting alone. We call ourselves a family because we are.
Jana Clarke, FHS Culinary Arts Teacher, is making a difference for students, but not just the culinary students. This November, the FHS Culinary Department hosted Friends-giving. Students from the FHS Life Skills class were invited to join the culinary students in the kitchen to make their favorite holiday recipes. After the students worked together to create a delicious meal, all of them sat down together to enjoy their efforts.
“It is so important that ALL students have the same opportunities whenever possible and are made to feel included no matter what disabilities they may have,” was her response when asked why this type of activity was important to her. And, according to Jana, food is a perfect way to bring these students together. “Food is the one thing that breaks down barriers and connects us as human beings. People for thousands of years have been breaking bread and building relationships. I thought, what better way to break down the barriers between students with varying abilities than to prepare a meal and, then, gather around the table to celebrate a job well done!” One of the things Jana may not have expected was how excited her Culinary students were to share their passion with students who may not often spend time in the kitchen. “I am not sure which students enjoyed it more, the Life Skills or the Culinary,” she said.
There was a lot more going on in that kitchen and dining room than cooking and eating. There was inclusion, collaboration, empathy, caring, mentoring and a whole bunch of happiness. FISD wants to thank Mrs. Clarke for providing an avenue to teach important life skills to ALL her students.
Mikaela Talley and Kolten Bippert are the November Students of the Month. Read more about these amazing students by clicking above.