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Archive for July 16th, 2008

Operation Backpack

Posted by Texas Education on July 16, 2008

Help make a difference in a child’s education. Take part in this year’s ‘Operation Backpack’ and give a child what he or she needs to get a good education.
The fourth annual YMCA Operation Backpack will collect brand new backpacks filled with school supplies for children in 31 Houston area school districts beginning July 12 through August 17. The 38 YMCA of Greater Houston facilities throughout the city and select sponsor locations (see below) will serve as collection sites for people to drop off backpacks and supplies.
Last year, YMCA Operation Backpack collected more than 11,800 backpacks and about 152,200 school supplies, thanks to generous Houston-area donors. All of the items helped prepare more than 25,000 children for their first day of school. This year’s goal is to touch the lives of more than 50,000 children.
But this project extends beyond the boundaries of YMCA buildings to help children. Each Houston-area YMCA is partnering with a local church that will also serve as a school supply collection site. More than 40 parishes in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston will join the YMCA Operation Backpack team. Each church which will be given a collection bin and the items donated will be picked up by the YMCA. School supplies can also be dropped off at participating Toyota dealerships, Memorial City Mall, the Devon Energy Tower, RediClinic and select IBC Bank locations. The school supplies will then be distributed to children in need within the participating school districts. There are nearly 100 collection sites in all!
YMCA Operation Backpack is supported by ABC-13, 89.3 KSBJ Radio, Toyota, Devon Energy, IBC Bank, Memorial City Mall, and RediClinic.

  • The YMCA: Collecting now through August 17th
  • Devon Energy Tower at 1200 Smith, 25th floor: Collecting now through August 17th
  • IBC Bank: Collecting now through August 17th
  • RediClinic in HEB stores: Collecting August 1 – 17th
  • Memorial City Mall at 900 Gessner, Houston 77027 at Guest Services Center: Collecting now through August 17th
    For more information, log on to www.YMCAHouston.org or call 713-353-5209.
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    “Updated: Target Revenues Per WADA”

    Posted by Texas Education on July 16, 2008

    Looks like Joe Smith over at Texasisd.com has reported some information on WADA, or weighted average daily attendance for our school districts, on how our schools are funded. Also, looks like he is waiting for some ‘splaining the TEA needs to do concerning the WADA. I have posted some of our surrounding ISD’s for your perusal. This is where it becomes extremely “unfair,” as our children would put it. Why? Don’t ask me, go ask your mother! List All Districts Target Revenue Per WADA.

    District S1 S2 S3 MAX
    ALDINE ISD 4,908 4,924 4,727 4,924
    ALIEF ISD 4,674 4,665 4,665 4,674
    CHANNELVIEW ISD 4,627 4,664 4,687 4,687
    CROSBY ISD 4,894 4,962 4,962 4,962
    CYPRESS-FAIRBANKS ISD 4,489 4,485 4,485 4,489
    DEER PARK ISD 5,277 5,651 5,330 5,651
    NORTH FOREST ISD 4,699 4,645 4,662 4,699
    GALENA PARK ISD 4,736 4,808 4,636 4,808
    GOOSE CREEK CISD 5,065 5,446 4,926 5,446
    HOUSTON ISD 4,697 5,102 4,883 5,102
    HUMBLE ISD 4,938 4,819 4,819 4,938
    KATY ISD 5,128 5,180 4,876 5,180
    KLEIN ISD 4,786 4,806 4,806 4,806
    LA PORTE ISD 4,942 5,304 5,187 5,304
    PASADENA ISD 4,582 4,703 4,611 4,703
    SPRING ISD 4,728 4,830 4,799 4,830
    SPRING BRANCH ISD 4,826 5,106 4,883 5,106
    TOMBALL ISD 5,151 5,783 5,605 5,783
    SHELDON ISD 5,175 6,180 5,226 6,180
    HUFFMAN ISD 4,820 4,817 4,792 4,820

    Joe says: On July 11, TEA updated “The Target Revenue per WADA”. Since this is a very critical number for projecting your 08/09 revenue and many of you are having budget workshops, we encourage checking this number for your districts and making the appropriate changes to your 08/09 revenue projections. While I was not able to identify all the changes that were made, I did note that the critical number, “target revenue per WADA”, was increased for the 3 districts I reviewed. I am including an updated list of the “Target Revenue Per WADA” for each district. If you wish to review the target revenue calculations, they are part of both of the 06/07 calculations as well as the 07/08’s. I will update this information as soon as TEA posts its explanation of the changes. – js webmaster@texasisd.com

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    School Finance Summit

    Posted by Texas Education on July 16, 2008

    This just in…This is the best news we have heard from the state, so far, concerning our present system of education. Some of us have been asking for, and wanting this for quite sometime, it appears the TEA has responded to our call.

    The Texas Education Agency has been planning a School Finance Summit to identify and explore financial issues important to school districts. This is in preparation of the upcoming 81st session of the Texas Legislature. Our hope is to have productive data and information gathering conversations with the field to offer some possibilities for both short-term and long-term solutions to school finance issues. The summit will be held in room 1-104 of the William B. Travis Building from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM on Tuesday, July 29, 2008. The participants will include a representative from each of the 20 education service centers, a representative from 12 education associations and 4 individuals in addition to the Commissioner of Education and our Deputy Associate Commissioner for School Finance. Each participant is encouraged to be familiar with the school finance system and larger concerns and issues of their region and/or association. In addition to the invited participants, interested educators and general public are welcome to observe the conversation. The agency will also make this discussion available to interested parties via live audio web streaming (on our website at www.tea.state.tx.us). We hope that this opportunity will result in field-based recommendations and priorities that will be present in the upcoming legislative session.

    We hope so too! So mark this on your calendars 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM on Tuesday, July 29, 2008!!!

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    Texas PTA Legislative Update – Farm Bill

    Posted by Texas Education on July 16, 2008

    Texas PTA Legislative Update – Farm Bill Passes Both U.S. House and Senate

    After months of delays and contentious debate, the Farm Bill passed Congress a few weeks ago. The final version of the Farm Bill included several provisions related to the school nutrition programs, several of which are described below:

    Public School Nutrition Programs Will Be Winners

    • Expansion of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Programs – The bill increased funding from $9 million to $70 million a year, with the program available in 35 elementary and secondary schools in each of the 50 states. The bill also allows additional schools to be added in proportion to the student population of the state.
    • Purchases of Locally Produced Foods – The bill eases bidding restrictions for school districts trying to acquire locally grown foods. With this new language, school nutrition programs could use geographic preference in procuring locally grown items. This change should help expand participation in farm to school programs.
    • Grain Pilot Program – The legislation allocates $4 million to establish a pilot program in 125 schools in 6 states. The program will provide whole grain products to participating school nutrition programs for use in the reimbursable meal programs.
    • Purchases of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables for Distribution to Schools (Department of Defense (DoD) Fresh Program – The Farm Bill raises the amount of money allocated for the purchase of fresh fruits and vegetables to $50 million a year for the next 5 years.
    • Survey of Foods Purchased by School Food Authorities – Under this legislation, $3 million is allocated to periodically survey school nutrition programs to examine what types of food they purchase.
    • Healthy Food Education and Program Replicability – $10 million is authorized for a 5 state pilot program that makes grants available to “high-poverty” schools for school garden initiatives. The bill also encourages the USDA to sponsor projects that promote nutrition education and can be replicated in schools.
    • “McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program – The bill increases funding for the program, which provides food assistance to school nutrition programs in developing nations, to $300 million. This is a significant cut to the initial $840 million allocated in the original House version of the bill.

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    The Laptops Are Coming! The Laptops Are Coming!

    Posted by Texas Education on July 16, 2008

    This article is interesting, mostly to those who are truly involved with education, teaching, but more so those who are involved with technology and teaching.

    At first, Sarah Heller McFarlane believed that a classroom of students with laptops was an educator’s dream come true. Then the hard truth set in for this Washington State-based high school teacher. Among the unforeseen changes McFarlane details in “The Laptops Are Coming! The Laptops Are Coming!”, she found herself being less a teacher and more an electronic snoop than she ever imagined. Worse, as her students engaged with their laptops they disengaged with her and their fellow students.

    McFarlane’s essay is a cautionary story on the problems associated with turning over laptops to students and turning classrooms into technology centers without creating a strategy that includes unplugging the earphones, turning off the machine, and tuning in to each other.

    I found it fascinating because I could relate to most of what this teacher had to say about the kids and their experiences with technology. I also felt, especially in the beginning, and at times, like her, more worried about what the kids were doing (not instructional) during class. I felt this was my biggest criticism and wonder if any other teacher, or anyone else for that matter, could police them any better than I had. After reading this article I remember back when I felt I had to – disconnect – from technology and get back to basics, if you will. I would do “games” that would connect my students. I also felt I was faulted on not getting to know my kids better, and as a very new teacher, I needed to find ways to do that, especially since they would come in and all I saw was the backs of their heads, for the most part. Most students don’t show off, or ask questions, even when they have them, so learning about them, getting to know them and helping them when they need it, can be truly difficult, at best. One of the most popular games was rules-of-the-game. I introduced this during the second semester after I had come back from CKH’s and found the key is to “connect” and learn the story behind the behavior. They absolutely loved that game and would constantly ask it they could play it. I honestly got to know the quiet ones better. I found a student who hardly ever spoke a word, was a very funny guy.

    Krikey, I find myself more involved on the computer now than ever, researching, reading, studying, learning. I often wonder, especially those teachers who are not computer literate, how the heck they do it and find the time. Yesterday, my husband paid me a compliment, he needed some information faxed (no, we don’t have a fax, and the one that “comes” with the computer is very funky) to our insurance company and wanted me to, go do it. I looked at the form and you could also email it. I told him, could I just do that instead? He said it would take longer. I though, um, go upstairs, scan and email, as opposed to putting on shoes, getting in car, driving the couple of miles, PAYING for the fax, wondering if it made it, um…which would be faster. After I did it, and bcc’d him, he came in and said “wow, that took a lot less time than I thought, it would have taken me a whole lot longer.” (My husband works with computers!) As he left the room, I said, “I will take that as a compliment.” And I did!

    If you are interested in educating students, using technology to do that or you are just curious how it can be done or how it’s done, take a few minutes. Read this story, be enlightened!

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