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October is National Bullying Awareness Month

As Floresville ISD strives to build a community of character, we will take numerous opportunities in October, to highlight our expectation to promote an atmosphere of care and respect throughout the entire school year.  Many of the student and campus activities will be posted on our FISD web site and social media as well. 

On Monday, October 5th, please join FISD by participating in Blue Shirt World Day of Bullying Prevention, by wearing something blue.  Let’s show our solidarity to stop bullying and cyberbullying.  Together we can prevent bullying!

Our FISD School Board and Staff will sign a Declaration of Respect.  As caring adults we will pledge to help bullied students by listening carefully to ALL students who seek our help and act on their behalf to put an immediate stop to bullying.  We are committed to working with other caring adults to create a safe environment for ALL students in Floresville Independent School District.

You are also invited to join our students and staff in accepting Rachel’s Challenge, a simple challenge to treat others with kindness and compassion which may start a chain reaction of the same.  If you have an act of kindness that you would like to add to our FISD and Community Chain, send an email to Mary Carrillo at mcarrillo@fisd.us .  Recognizing acts of kindness is an excellent way to reinforce its importance.

FISD is committed to developing 21st century graduates who possess character traits that lead to success.  With students, parents, staff and community working together, graduates of FISD will act with respect and integrity, contributing to the greater good. 

FISD & the Greater Good

The importance of good character has been, and will continue to be, a focus at FISD.  Our character is what determines how we respond to the situations and circumstances of life.  It is much more than just what we try to display for others to see; it is who we are, even when no one is watching. Good character is doing the right thing because it is right to do what is right.

 

The Portrait of a Floresville ISD Graduate illustrates our district’s commitment to develop 21st century graduates that possess character traits that lead to success.  It specifically identifies that with students, parents, staff and community working together, graduates of FISD will act with respect and integrity to contribute to the greater good.

 

Character Day was Friday, September 18.  This coming week you will see examples of how FISD participated in this international event dedicated to celebrating the importance of character in our schools and our communities.  Throughout this school year, you will hear from some students that have set examples of good character.  

 

Recognizing outstanding character is an excellent way to reinforce its importance.  At FISD Board meetings, we take pride in recognizing students, staff and community members who emulate the core values that are the focus of our districtwide commitment to character.  Those core values are: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.  If you would like to make a nomination to be considered for the FISD Community of Character Award, please email me with the details.  Working together, FISD students will be future ready - prepared to be good citizens in their communities and in the work force.

 

 

#FISDGreatKids

Existing research has found most media stories about young people are negative.  You don’t have to wait long to come across stories involving young people involved in crime, violence, and social exclusion.  The media often reports stories in a sensational way that does not always represent reality.  Do kids always make the right decisions?  Of course they don’t.  Our hope is that they learn from those failures and challenges, and are resilient in their efforts to reach their goals.  I don’t know about you, but some of my greatest lessons have been learned from my failures, not my successes.

 

Instead of turning on the TV to hear about the small percentage of adolescents that have made bad decisions, one of the things I plan to do this year is share with our community the many good things that our FISD students are doing at school every day.  I am going to start with the hottest FISD social media post this week – Tiger football players greet very surprised and excited Floresville South Elementary students.  It has had over 520 likes on Facebook and with good reason.  Who would have thunk it?  Teenage boys wake up early and take time out of their busy day to greet elementary children with a smile as they arrive at school – now that is newsworthy.  This is just one of the many examples you will hear and see more about this school year, how FISD kids are caring, kind and respectful.  

 

As a public educator and superintendent of FISD, I am proud of our students, I am encouraged by their incredible achievements and thoughtfulness and I am optimistic about the future where our students will be the leaders.  FISD has great kids. 

After three days of campus meetings and staff development, I welcomed an energetic staff back on Tuesday at the FISD Convocation.   I began by talking about being “public and proud”, highlighting the accomplishments of Texas Public Schools and FISD.  My goal was for each teacher and staff member to recognize the difference they make to our students, our community and our world, to realize their impact. 

I want to deliver a similar message to the parents of FISD students and the community of Floresville.  Our FISD Board of Trustees believe that the public schools are the foundation of our community and that the community is a partner in preparing our students for a prosperous life.

FISD has a proven record of success.  We have closed the graduation gap by 7% since 2007 and with a 98.3% graduation rate, FISD is 10 percentage points higher than the Texas average.   As a public school, do we face challenges and is there room to improve?  Absolutely, there is always room for improvement!  I am confident, with the continued involvement of our parents and community, FISD can reach even higher heights.  I am proud of our work, I am encouraged by our incredible achievements and I am optimistic about the future of Public Education.

Parents and Community, your involvement in the education process is critical to our students’ success – Know Your Impact on FISD.

Great Things Happened!

As we have come to the end of the school year, I want to express my admiration for the job each of our  FISD employees do as we work hard together to prepare our students for a prosperous life.  I know that it is more challenging now that it has ever been, yet FISD is blessed with employees that are focused on what is best for kids, and are resilient in their efforts.  Negative comments and actions of those who would do away with public education cannot diminish the extraordinary effort that is demonstrated throughout our district on a daily basis and is illustrated in the last edition of our FISD Update for the 2014-15 school year.  I encourage you to take a few minutes to click on the link below to learn more about the amazing staff and students at FISD and how we are working together, and with our community, to make good things happen for other people.  I wish our students, staff and parents a safe and relaxing summer break. 

http://www.fisd.us/ourpages/auto/2012/9/6/44093515/FISD%20Update%20June%202015.pdf

FHS Graduate Pursuing Her Passion on National TV

Tonight, Georgia Dunn, 2012 Floresville High School graduate and current Texas A&M Kingsville student, will compete on national television on the Fox show, Master Chef. Georgia was a culinary student during her time at FHS and while it’s not her current major, cooking is one of her great passions. We are so proud to be able to offer students opportunities to find their passion and cultivate skills. Not only were her culinary skills good enough to get her on the show, she also showed a tremendous amount of initiative and courage to pursue an incredible life experience. Building prosperous lives reaches farther than a paycheck. It’s also about teaching students skills and instilling character traits that will help them achieve personal happiness as well. Please join me in tuning in to Master Chef to watch Georgia fulfill one of her dreams. One more thing to note, Georgia is going to college to be a teacher. It certainly seems like Georgia was inspired by her time at FISD and we couldn’t be prouder of her.

http://www.fox.com/masterchef

FHS, Alamo Colleges and Alamo Area Academies Partner to Create a School to Careers Pipeline

 

Last Friday, representatives from Alamo Area Academies brought 21 letters of acceptance to FHS students.  Alamo Area Academies is an industry driven, higher education program of studies, specializing in technical skills education for the 21st century in the following areas: Aerospace, Technology, Manufacturing, Health and Heavy Equipment.  Not only are these rewarding careers, but they are important industries in the San Antonio area as well.  You can click on this link to learn more about the Alamo Area Academies  http://www.alamoacademies.com/about-alamo-academies

 

Beginning their junior year, these students will make some sacrifices. They will wake up early enough to catch a bus that will leave for San Antonio at approximately 6:30 every morning.  They will also participate in course work on a college campus that will last approximately three hours before boarding the bus to head back to Floresville to catch their afternoon FHS classes.  With the exception of Health, the students taking courses in these high tech career areas can earn approximately $3000 during a paid summer internship between their junior and senior years.  Not to mention, they will graduate from FHS with at least 32 hours of dual credit as a result of the Alamo Academies course work.  This amazing opportunity for our students will allow them to achieve the career they want in the global marketplace today, in order to take hold of their financial freedom and independence. 

 

I am so proud of, and excited for, these FHS students.  FISD has been and will continue to be resilient in our efforts to ensure our students are future ready - which we know can look different for each child.    The bottom line is partnering with parents and community, we are working hard to prepare our students for a prosperous life. 

 

Teachers are Dream Makers

 

Teachers change the world one child at a time.  In order to recognize, honor and celebrate teachers, FISD held its first annual Dream Makers Banquet. The FHS Class of 2015 Top Ten students were asked to choose one FISD teacher that had inspired and encouraged our students’ academic and/or personal lives.   During the banquet, the Top Ten students shared how the teachers had made a difference in their lives.  Even though there were only ten teachers recognized at the Dream Makers Banquet,  I know that every teacher in our district is a Dream Maker for some student at some time during the school year.  I truly believe the teaching profession contributes more to the future of our society than any other single profession and we cannot say thank you enough.  You are appreciated and respected for all that you do.   

 

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week.  Please take time to let a teacher know how much you appreciate them.

 

BIG GIVE SA & The Friends of Floresville ISD

A group of active community leaders have come together to revitalize FRIENDS OF FLORESVILLE ISD, an education foundation founded in 2003. The purpose of the foundation is to promote quality education by supporting enhancements through innovative programs and initiatives. The foundation will allow FISD teachers to apply for grant funds for “home-grown” initiatives that directly affect their classrooms, departments or campuses. The first grants will be awarded during the 2015-2016 school year. The education foundation hopes to be a vehicle to enhance the Floresville Independent School District’s established standards of educational excellence. It really is a great thing that our community wants to collaborate with and support our teachers, as we all work together to prepare our students for a prosperous life.  You can show your support for FRIENDS OF FLORESVILLE ISD by participating in the Big Give S.A.

 

On May 5th, 2015, San Antonio and surrounding counties will come together for 24 hours of nonprofit giving during the Big Give S.A.  It’s South Central Texas’ second annual giving day, and it’s YOUR chance to make a real impact, as part of a family and community.  Last year’s event raised nearly $2,100,000 for local charitable causes and we hope to make an even bigger impact this year!  All you have to do is commit to donating a minimum of $10.00 to FRIENDS OF FLORESVILLE ISD this TUESDAY, May 5th through the Big Give SA website:  http://www.thebiggivesa.org/ and you help us become eligible for prize money and matching dollar opportunities.  Learn more about the Big Give S.A. by click on this link   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wLSVTJwxN0

 

I look forward to you joining me in giving… giving BIG, giving back, giving to support FRIENDS OF FLORESVILLE ISD.  Together we will prepare FISD students for a prosperous life!  You are encouraged to share your donation on social media sites using the hashtags #fofisd #liveheregivehere #makingadifference #biggivesa #givelocal.

 

Ready…. SET…. CLICK HERE: https://www.thebiggivesa.org/#npo/friends-of-floresville-isd

Innovation Does Not Require Technology

Throughout this school year we have recognized 16 FISD teachers at school board meetings who have met the challenge to be innovative as they educate our students.  It just so happens that every one of these examples have involved technology.   As I shared in an earlier blog, innovation is the act or process of introducing a new idea, device or method.   Innovation can be teaching a very old concept in a new and engaging way.  That is exactly what 1st grade teachers at Floresville South Elementary had in mind when their students entered their classrooms yesterday morning and walked into a crime scene.  Their job was to make inferences about what could have happened based on the crime scene evidence. 

 

An inference is an educated guess. We learn about some things by experiencing them first-hand, but we gain other knowledge by inference — the process of inferring things based on what is already known.   Making an inference is a challenging yet critical skill all students need to develop.  Reading a story to students and trying to get them to explain what they know about the story without actually reading that specific detail can be frustrating for teachers and students alike.  Instead, as a result of their crime scene investigation, 1st grade students drew pictures of the evidence and identified things they found like a big footprint, a paw print, a swan with confetti, and an empty starburst box.  Students finalized their investigation by drawing a picture of their suspect and provided a brief statement describing the key evidence used to create the drawing.  Were the students’ stories in complete sentences?  Absolutely not.  Were their words all spelled correctly? No, they were not; spelling was creative and not the focus of this assignment.  The earlier that children begin to experience reading and writing, the stronger their own reading-writing connection will be.

 

This innovative approach to teaching inferences is a great example of how FSE teachers are working hard to ensure our students are future ready by allowing them to work collaboratively, creatively and think critically, while making connections between reading and writing.  Not only are we developing great readers and writers, but get ready, CSI, FSE is honing detective skills as well!

 

 

Since April was declared as Child Abuse Prevention Month in 1983, it has been a time to acknowledge the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse.  Please join me in support of our children across not only Wilson County, but the entire state of Texas, by wearing blue this Friday.   According to the Prevent Child Abuse America organization, here are a few things we can all do to support kids and parents that can help reduce the isolation and stress that often leads to abuse and neglect.

  • Be a friend to a parent you know. Ask how their children are doing. Draw on your own experiences to provide reassurance and support. If a parent seems to be struggling, offer to baby-sit or run errands, or just lend a friendly ear. Show you understand.
  • Be a friend to a child you know. Remember their names. Smile when you talk with them. Ask them about their day at school. Send them a card in the mail. Show you care.
  • Talk to your neighbors about looking out for one another's children. Encourage a supportive spirit among parents in your apartment building or on your block. Show that you are involved.
  • Give your used clothing, furniture and toys for use by another family. This can help relieve the stress of financial burdens that parents sometimes take out on their kids.
  • Volunteer your time and money for programs in your community that support children and families, such as parent support groups, child care centers, and our state chapters and local Healthy Families America sites.
  • Advocate for public policies, innovative programs and issues that benefit children and families.

Every year FISD teachers are asked to nominate and elect their campus teacher of the year.  It is a huge honor to be recognized by your colleagues for being an outstanding teacher who inspires students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn, has the respect and admiration of students, parents, and colleagues, plays an active and useful role in the community as well as in the school and are poised, articulate, and possess the energy to withstand a busy schedule.  By design, the teachers of the year were notified in their classrooms in front of the students whose lives they positively touch every day. I, along with campus and central office administration, and most importantly their students, celebrated the recognition of their hard work and dedication. 

The 2014-15 FISD teachers of the year are: Vanessa Yoe's from Floresville North Elementary, Stephanie Gilchrist from Floresville South Elementary, Renee Caro from Floresville Middle School, Gary Smith from Floresville High School, and Jimmy Crews from Floresville Alternative School. Professional educators from outside FISD will be brought in to interview each of these teachers for the title of FISD Elementary and Secondary Teacher of the Year who will then compete for the Region 20 Elementary and Secondary Teacher of the Year.

Many businesses in the community contributed to a gift basket which included small tokens of appreciation for the teachers commitment to FISD students.  A special thank you goes out to:  HEB, Wal-Mart, Sonic, Sister's, Mad Designs, Friends & Company, Trendy Treasures, Mata's, Olivia's, Marissa Ximenez - Scentsy, J.C. Burger, Wilson County News, Rachel Pena - FISD Board President, Little Caesars, Vi Nails, Tasty Buffet, Arcadia, FISD Workbase Learning, FISD Athletics, Church's Fried Chicken, Annie's' Peanut Brittle, Rice to Go, Raquel Amaro - Divas & Cowboys and Muscle Mechanic Massage.  Your generosity in recognition of these outstanding teachers is very much appreciated.  

Jimmy, Gary, Renee, Stephanie and Vanessa, thank you for making good things happen for other people by taking the time to listen, to encourage, and to share. You make a real difference in the lives of the educators who work with you and in students’ lives as you work to prepare them for a prosperous life.  You are each valued members of our FISD team. 

Read to a Child – It Gives Them So Many Advantages

 FISD believes that academic achievement starts with reading.  In fact we feel so strongly about the benefits of reading we developed an initiative, Floresville Reads Millions, in hopes of instilling a love of reading in our students so that they will become life-long readers. The District's goal is for FISD students to collectively read 10 million minutes by the end of the school year! As our students are dedicating their time, energy, and enthusiasm to work toward this goal, we want to encourage them by giving away Kindles---an electronic e-reader that hosts books.  Each quarter, we will award 21 Kindles to students, one at each grade level (PK to 12), who have met their reading goals.  If you are interested in being a sponsor of Floresville Reads Millions, click here.

According to the Family Literacy Foundation, there are many benefits of reading aloud with children:

  • Children's self-esteem grows as they experience the security of having a parent or other caring person read aloud with them.
  • Children experience increased communication with parents and other family members.
  • Children are introduced to new concepts such as colors, shapes, numbers, and alphabet, in a fun, age appropriate way.
  • Children build listening skills, vocabulary, memory, and language skills.
  • Children develop imagination and creativity.
  • Children learn information about the world around them.
  • Children develop individual interests in special subjects like dinosaurs, cats, or cars.
  • Children learn positive behavior patterns and social values.
  • Children learn positive attitudes towards themselves and others.
  • CHILDREN LEARN THE JOY OF READING!

Many thanks to Savannah Mohedano and Brandon Garcia, FHS students who designed our Read Across America flyer highlighting campus activities to promote reading. To quote Dr. Seuss, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”  When we celebrate Dr. Seuss and reading, we send a clear message to our Floresville students that reading is fun and important – preparing them for a prosperous life.

FISD Career Days Align with Intent of HB5 - Focusing FISD students on Future College and Career Plans

Students at Floresville South Elementary were all abuzz yesterday as they had the opportunity to learn more about career options in our area. Presenters ranged from Doctors, Engineers, and Taxidermists, to DPS officers, HEB truck drivers, Journalists and Chefs – just to name a few. In addition to informing students of the many options, some of which require college graduation, and others that do not, presenters stressed the need for good character. Dr. Wade Krause told students it was important to be kind, caring and trustworthy, he said patients want a doctor they can trust. San Antonio Fire Fighter, Steven Ibrom, stressed the importance of making good decisions – because bad decisions as a youth could possibly impact your career options later in life. While I was visiting classrooms, one student asked me if she could fly a car. My response was, “well first you need to design it!” FSE, FMS and FHS are all scheduled to have career days in the spring which have intentionally been designed to get our students thinking about their future college and career plans – the intent of House Bill 5.

In January 2014, the Texas State Board of Education established the rules that govern House Bill 5 (HB5) and the Foundation Graduation Program requirements for the 2014-2015 freshman class. The bill provides more flexibility for high school students to pursue either higher education or a career pathway. It received widespread support among educators and several business groups that are experiencing a need for skilled labor as the Texas economy continues to grow and diversify. House Bill 5 Graduation Plan created a foundation diploma that all students are expected to meet and offers several endorsements in areas such as business and industry; science, technology, engineering and math; public services; the arts and humanities; and multidisciplinary studies, which is a variety of advanced courses.  An Endorsement is an area of focus designed to have a positive influence on our students’ future college and career plans.

The Foundation Graduation Program also allows individual students to receive Performance Acknowledgments on their transcript/diploma. During high school, a student may earn a performance acknowledgment for outstanding performance: in dual credit courses by earning 12 or more hours of college credit, in bilingualism and bi-literacy, on an AP test with a score of 3 or better, on the PSAT, the SAT, or the ACT, or by earning a nationally or internationally recognized business or industry certification or license. Any current 10th or 11th grade FHS student interested in moving from the 4x4 Graduation Plan, to the HB5 Graduation Plan, should contact their counselor.

In conclusion, students are encouraged to take rigorous coursework that supports their college and career goals. The Foundation Graduation Plan with an Endorsement will help students be college and career ready upon graduating from high school.  To learn more about the Foundation Graduation Requirements, see information at the following link: http://www.fisd.us/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=193900&type=d&pREC_ID=548555

Let FISD help YOU be a life-long learner!

We are excited about expanding FISD’s traditional role in public education to include Community Education.  By growing a mutually supportive relationship between home, school, and community, we will be able to provide lifelong learning opportunities, increase community involvement in our schools, and efficiently use our resources.

By design, Community Education takes advantage of local resources and capabilities and responds to an individual community's particular needs and wishes.  We are starting this journey with small steps by offering two courses:  Microsoft Word 101 beginning February 24th and Nutrition Education beginning February 17th.  In order to cover the cost of the instructor, at least 10 people will need to sign-up for the courses to be held.  For more details on these two courses, please click here or visit the District’s web site under the “Preparing You” tab.  

If you have an area of expertise that might be a future course offering or if there is a topic you would be interested in learning more about, please contact Assistant Superintendent Clay Rosenbaum at 393-5300 or email at crosenbaum@fisd.us.  At FISD, we believe that public schools are the foundation of our community.  Working together, we can help individuals in our community prepare for a prosperous life.