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Swine flu – a little too close to home

Posted by Texas Education on May 1, 2009

Maplebrook Elementary will closed until May 18 as a child has been diagnosed with a probable case of H1N1. Thankfully, the child is recovering and doing well. As is customary, the Center for Disease Control has directed that the probable case be treated as if it is a confirmed diagnosis. At the CDC’s direction, the school will close for 14 calendar days. Teachers will be asked to report back to work on May 11 th.

This is what is on the Humble Website. I got a call from a teacher friend at the school, and an email from my support group. A sibling of a student does in fact have the swine flu. All the siblings have symptoms, but do not have their results back.

I’m a bit numb from this as it all seemed so surreal hearing about it, now I’m so close to it. I don’t know who the student is, but I’m sure he/she has been in my class.

Please pray for us, I’m very scared.

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Swine Flu Information and Precautions

Posted by Texas Education on May 1, 2009

From the Texas PTA – tips on how to prepare yourself during this outbreak. I found this information to be very concise.

Swine Flu: What You Can Do
The outbreak of the H1N1 virus (swine flu) continues to grow. As PTA leaders, you can help disseminate factual information to the parents at your school through your newsletters and websites. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has prepared a series of questions and answers entitled Swine Influenza and You at www.cdc.gov/swineflu that you can forward to parents.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that you keep your children home from school if they are sick. The symptoms of swine flu include:
  • Fever (greater than 100°F)
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Stuffy nose
  • Chills
  • Headache and body aches
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
The CDC recommends the following to help you and your family stay healthy:
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
  • Stay home if you get sick. CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
  • Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other social distancing measures.
  • Develop a family emergency plan as a precaution. This should include storing a supply of food, medicines, facemasks, alcohol-based hand rubs and other essential supplies.
  • Call 1-800-CDC-INFO for more information.
Swine Influenza and You
What is swine flu?
Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses that causes regular outbreaks in pigs. People do not normally get swine flu, but human infections can and do happen. Swine flu viruses have been reported to spread from person-to-person, but in the past, this transmission was limited and not sustained beyond three people.
Are there human infections with swine flu in the U.S.?
In late March and early April 2009, cases of human infection with swine influenza A (H1N1) viruses were first reported in Southern California and near San Antonio, Texas. Other U.S. states have reported cases of swine flu infection in humans and cases have been reported internationally as well. An updated case count of confirmed swine flu infections in the United States is kept at http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/investigation.htm. CDC and local and state health agencies are working together to investigate this situation.
Is this swine flu virus contagious?
CDC has determined that this swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is contagious and is spreading from human to human. However, at this time, it is not known how easily the virus spreads between people.
What are the signs and symptoms of swine flu in people?
The symptoms of swine flu in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with swine flu. In the past, severe illness (pneumonia and respiratory failure) and deaths have been reported with swine flu infection in people. Like seasonal flu, swine flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions.
How does swine flu spread?
Spread of this swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is thought to be happening in the same way that seasonal flu spreads. Flu viruses are spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing of people with influenza. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose.
How can someone with the flu infect someone else?
Infected people may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 7 or more days after becoming sick. That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick.
What should I do to keep from getting the flu?
First and most important: wash your hands. Try to stay in good general health. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food. Try to not touch surfaces that may be contaminated with the flu virus. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Are there medicines to treat swine flu?
Yes. CDC recommends the use of oseltamivir or zanamivir for the treatment and/or prevention of infection with these swine influenza viruses. Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaler) that fight against the flu by keeping flu viruses from reproducing in your body. If you get sick, antiviral drugs can make your illness milder and make you feel better faster. They may also prevent serious flu complications. For treatment, antiviral drugs work best if started soon after getting sick (within 2 days of symptoms).
How long can an infected person spread swine flu to others?
People with swine influenza virus infection should be considered potentially contagious as long as they are symptomatic and possibly up to 7 days following illness onset. Children, especially younger children, might potentially be contagious for longer periods.
What surfaces are most likely to be sources of contamination?
Germs can be spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth. Droplets from a cough or sneeze of an infected person move through the air. Germs can be spread when a person touches respiratory droplets from another person on a surface like a desk and then touches their own eyes, mouth or nose before washing their hands.
How long can viruses live outside the body?
We know that some viruses and bacteria can live 2 hours or longer on surfaces like cafeteria tables, doorknobs, and desks. Frequent handwashing will help you reduce the chance of getting contamination from these common surfaces.
What can I do to protect myself from getting sick?
There is no vaccine available right now to protect against swine flu. There are everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza. Take these everyday steps to protect your health:
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you get sick with influenza, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
What is the best way to keep from spreading the virus through coughing or sneezing?
If you are sick, limit your contact with other people as much as possible. Do not go to work or school if ill. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick. Put your used tissue in the waste basket. Cover your cough or sneeze if you do not have a tissue. Then, clean your hands, and do so every time you cough or sneeze.
What is the best technique for washing my hands to avoid getting the flu?
Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. Wash with soap and water. or clean with alcohol-based hand cleaner. We recommend that when you wash your hands — with soap and warm water — that you wash for 15 to 20 seconds. When soap and water are not available, alcohol-based disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers may be used. You can find them in most supermarkets and drugstores. If using gel, rub your hands until the gel is dry. The gel doesn’t need water to work; the alcohol in it kills the germs on your hands.
What should I do if I get sick?
If you live in areas where swine influenza cases have been identified and become ill with influenza-like symptoms, including fever, body aches, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, or vomiting or diarrhea, you may want to contact your health care provider, particularly if you are worried about your symptoms. Your health care provider will determine whether influenza testing or treatment is needed.
If you are sick, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people as much as possible to keep from spreading your illness to others.
If you become ill and experience any of the following warning signs, seek emergency medical care.
In children, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:
  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Not waking up or not interacting
  • Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
  • Fever with a rash
In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
Can I get swine influenza from eating or preparing pork?
No. Swine influenza viruses are not spread by food. You cannot get swine influenza from eating pork or pork products. Eating properly handled and cooked pork products is safe.

Posted in H1N1 virus, In-the-news, swine flu, Texas Children, Texas PTA, Texas schools | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Swine Flu – affecting Texas schools

Posted by Texas Education on April 30, 2009

I plan on this being updated as I receive the information. If ya’ll are like me, you are looking everywhere you can for any updates on this thing and how it affects you and your kids, and their schools. Here is information I have received thus far, as of

Thursday, April 30 2009:

Officials confirmed a 22-month-old boy from Mexico City died earlier this week in a Houston-area hospital after traveling with his family to visit relatives in Texas, said the Texas Department of Health Services. In addition to swine flu, the boy had several underlying health problems.

Austin area responds to its 1st probable swine flu case
As swine flu cases spread nationally and a child’s death was reported in Texas on Wednesday, Gov. Rick Perry declared a disaster in the state, and Travis County’s first probable case of swine flu prompted the closing of an Austin preschool.

Fort Worth schools are the latest to close through at least May 8th (and only essential personnel would be working) after confirming one case of swine flu at 1 of its middle schools.

The medical director of the Tarrant County Public Health agency, Dr. Sandra Parker, said during a news conference tonight that one case of the swine flu is confirmed at a Fort Worth middle school.

Tarrant County has 11 probable swine flu cases.

Comal ISD teacher reported with swine flu NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas — A teacher for the Tri-County Adult Education GED Program has symptoms of swine flu. The teacher lives in Guadalupe County.

All sports activities are being postponed at public schools in Texas until May 11, because of the swine flu outbreak.
This means the baseball season is suspended and that regional track championships will be eliminated, according to University Interscholastic League executive director Charles Breithaupt. He told the AP the action was taken on the recommendation of public health officials.

The state’s high school golf and tennis championships are scheduled to begin May 11. The state track meet remains scheduled for May 13-14, but qualifying procedures may have to be changed.

Click here to read the complete press release from the UIL.

Fort Bend County Has Swine Flu Case Episcopal High School Student Has Virus; School Closed
State health officials said one of the 16 Texas cases is in Fort Bend County. The patient is a student from Fort Bend County who attends Episcopal High School in Houston. The head of the school, Ned Smith, confirmed that the school will be closed because one of their students has swine flu.

Websites with more information
http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/swineflu/default.shtm
http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/
http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/investigation.htm
http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/slideshow-swine-flu

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Update on Legislative Committee 4/29/09

Posted by Texas Education on April 29, 2009

A memo from Dr. Sconzo:

Both the State Senate and House have approved appropriations bills for the biennium and both bills have new additional funds for public education ranging form 2.3 to nearly 3 billion. HOWEVER, those funds are contingent on passage of a new funding mechanism bill (ie. SB 982 – HB 1550) and neither of those bills have been voted out of committee yet! SO, we continue to write and visit with Senate and House Education Committee members and your doing likewise in support of SB 982 and HB 1500 would be of SIGNIFICANT help!

It is important to note that there are two other funding mechanism bills that were introduced…in the Senate Education Committee there is SB 2392 introduced by Chairwoman Shapiro and in the House Education Committee there is HB 3646 introduced by Rep. Hochberg. These are not companion bills and they provide insufficient information to know whether or not they would be good for us!

So, we need to stay the course on loud and repetitive support for SB 982 and HB 1550!

One other bill we are getting busy voicing our support for is SB 2374. This bill would raise the funding availability to school districts for the “Existing Debt Allotment.” This is the state funding provided to pay down bond debt. Its funding that has not been increased in a number of years and to us, this bill is the equivalent of 7 cents on our debt tax rate! SO, absent this essential increase, state legislators would cause the need for an increase in local property taxes to just keep pace in paying off bond debt! PLEASE send messages to state elected officials that SB 2374, in effect, means property tax relief!

Thanks Dr. Sconzo for all your hard work!

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House bill 2476 is a critical bill for children

Posted by Texas Education on April 28, 2009

This in from Children at Risk:

House bill 2476, by Representative Dora Olivo, will be heard TODAY in the House Public Education committee. We urge you to contact members of the House Public Education Committee, and in particular Chairman Rob Eissler, to express your support of this bill immediately!  Specifically request that they vote the bill favorably from committee.  By doing so, the bill will more quickly make its way to the House Floor.

House bill 2476 is a critical bill for children this 81st Texas Legislative Session because it improves discipline strategies in public schools by mandating staff development in effective discipline strategies.  Such training will empower teachers with conflict resolution techniques, positive behavior management, classroom management, and intervention strategies for students exhibiting behavioral difficulties.  The bill also requires that data be reported on how many students each school refers to disciplinary alternative education program.  Collecting this information will allow districts to idenitfy where staff training is most needed.

You can help ensure that HB 2476 makes it to the House Floor, by contacting members of the committee in support of this important bill.  This is a critical step in the legislative process, and we need your help to ensure HB 2476 gets passed this session!

Talking Points: I support HB 2476 because it it improves discipline strategies in public schools by require staff development in effective discipline strategies.
Students referred to alternative disciplinary settings have five times the dropout rate of mainstream schools and one in three juveniles sent to the Texas Youth Commission are school dropouts.This bill will encourage the commissioner to develop and make available age-appropriate disciplinary management training for teachers at all grade levels that includes: conflict resolution techniques, positive behavior management, class management, and intervention strategies for students exhibiting behavioral difficulties.By equipping teachers and school administrators with training in areas that focus on how to identify the causes of and potential solutions to behavioral problems, as well as how to effectively communicate with students and their parents, the likelihood of behavior escalating to referable offenses may be decreased. In improving its approach to disciplinary management, Texas can increase the chances that its students will graduate from high school and succeed in life.

Take Action!
Instructions: Click the icon below to take action on this issue:

Tell-A-Friend: Visit the web address below to tell your friends about this. Tell-a-Friend! What’s At Stake: Zero tolerance policies in Texas schools have caused thousands of juveniles to be removed from their classrooms and sent to alternative disciplinary settings. As a result of these alternative placements, many students fall behind their peers academically and are led to the criminal justice system.

FACTS:

  • Texas pays approximately $164 more per person to support a dropout each year than to educate them while that child was in school.
  • Among “risk factors” commonly associated with future involvement in the juvenile justice system, the most important predictor is a history of school disciplinary referrals.

HB 2476 is consistent with CHILDREN AT RISK’s recommended policy changes to:

  • Require staff development programs to include training in discipline strategies, including classroom management, district discipline policies, and the student code of conduct.
  • Encourage the commissioner to develop and make available age-appropriate disciplinary management training for teachers at all grade levels that includes: conflict resolution techniques, positive behavior management, class management, and intervention strategies for students exhibiting behavioral difficulties.
  • Improve data collection of discipline management stategies.

Campaign Expiration Date: May 1, 2009

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Vote! Today – Keep Bonnie on Board

Posted by Texas Education on April 27, 2009

Just a reminder, today is the first day of early voting for our School Board members. From Bonnie Longnion:

Friends, parents, students, community leaders, educators, voters, and taxpayers, a reminder that there is a school board election. Early voting begins Monday, April 27, 2009, and continues through May 5. May 9 is election date! (Polling sites and times are below). Please forward this message to those individuals you feel are interested in maintaining, enhancing, and supporting our high quality school districtl The school board continues to systematically address on-going challengfes — particularly funding issues. Encourage your friends to vote during early voting or election date.

Thanks for sharing the information with others….remember to vote!! Thanks.


Keep Bonnie on Board

Ø Action Oriented — Solution Focused

Ø Achievement Oriented– Partnership Focused

Ø Accountability Oriented – Shared Responsibility Focused

=

A+ RESULTS

Early Vote (April 27-May 5) or Vote May 9, 2009

www.bonnieonboard.net for more information on Bonnie.

Dr. Bonnie Longnion is committed to the following priorities:

· Maintaining and enhancing quality education programs, services and facilities

· Managing state funding crisis

· Ensuring student safety and security

· Addressing growth challenges, and

· Securing competitive employee salaries and benefits

Early Voting April 27 (Mon.) through May 5 (Tues.), 2009 (All precincts can vote at any site.)

Site

Address

Date

Time

City of Humble, Council Chamber

114 W. Higgins Street,

Humble, TX

April 27-May 1

May 4-May 5

8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

7:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.

Humble ISD Adminstnistration Building

20200 Eastway Village

Humble, TX

April 27-May 1

May 4-May 5

8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

7:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.

Instructional Support Center

4810 Magnolia Cove Dr.

Kingwood, TX

April 27-May 1

May 4-May 5

8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

7:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m.

Election Day
Voting
May 9, 2009 (Saturday), 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Polling Pl #

Site and Location

Address

Precincts

1

The City of Humble/Council Chamber

114 W. Higgins Street,

Humble, TX

108, 334, 598, 599, & 776

2

North Belt Elementary

8105 North Belt Drive

Humble, TX

45, 83, 363, 380, 742, 799, 840, 841, & 847

3

Oaks Elementary

5858 Upper Lake Drive

Humble, TX

351, 388, 658, 659, 674, & 764

4

Foster Elementary

1800 Trailwood Village

Kingwood, TX

199, 469

5

Kingwood Middle

2407 Pine Terrace

Kingwood,TX

340, 357, 590, 635, 636, & 758

6

Creekwood Middle

3603 Lake Houston Parkway, Kingwood, TX

459, 563, 612, 670, & 760

Political Advertising Paid for by Keep Bonnie on Boarda

Carol McCord, Campaign Treasurer

One Kingwood Place, Suite 101, Kingwood, Texas 77339

Subscribed to the Code of Fair Campaign Practices

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This & That

Posted by Texas Education on April 21, 2009

I know I’ve been a bit AWOL. I’ve been tired, working full time can wear a person out…and, there is a lot going on. Last Tuesday’s City & State had a great article by Lisa Falkenberg, who, I must say, in person, is very funny! She talks about the stimulus money, which I am most interested in due to the fact I hope it gets me gainfully employed! See, they tend to cut out tech stuff, but with some money…well, crossing fingers, anyway! I have to agree with her on this one, she says, “can you still call it ‘stimulus’ if it’s being used for a purpose no more stimulating that maintaining the status quo?”

Also, on that front page is an article on sex ed in the doctor’s office. Talks about mother’s taking their daughters to the gynecologists to do the talking for them. That’s a tough one for me, I have a daughter, 17, so again, this one is a bit near and dear (for lack of a better way to say it.) I don’t wish to comment on that one, don’t know what to say, really. I found this part interesting though:

“If you say: ‘Are you sexually active?’ They say: ‘No, I only have one boyfriend.’ If you ask, ‘Are you having sex?,’ they say no, but when you ask them about the last time they had sex, they say a month ago,” said Sinacori, a Memorial-area obstetrician/gynecologist.

Then on Thursday of last week, Humble filled up the Kingwood/Humble section, well actually the whole section. Front page “An ‘A’ for extra effort.” This talks about how the mentoring program and how successful it is. I believe that, seems like a no brainer, if you put anything into it…should come out positive. One part in the article about Waymond Wesley, the AP at Humble MS, he is quoted as saying:

“I never saw my father, so I learned from others,”

260xstoryGotta say, that pretty much sums up my childhood. (Ok, some may TMI here, but I feel I can talk about my successes just like Mr. Wesley.) I also feel I can connect with some of the students because of my background.  That paragraph goes on to say:

“They conveyed to me that I could do whatever I wanted. The more they shared of themselves, the more confidence I got in myself.”

I don’t even feel I had it THAT good. I was not real good at anything, but I did well in school, but didn’t have anyone to convey anything, share, nor give me confidence. I pretty much did it on my own, looked at role models, etc. Hey, I’m not crying here, just telling it like is was. School was my sanctuary, and I’m thankful for that, and try to make it that way for any student I come across.

Another article with a great mug of Dr. Sconzo! “District finds ways to turn hard issues into success stories.”  Pretty much sums up the article. They didn’t put that one on-line though, sorry!

And rounding out that section, the “Report Card.” The school I’m currently at did extremely well, looks like, most of the schools in Humble did well, also. We must be doing something right, eh?

You can check out your schools “Report Card” here.

Posted in Abstinence Education, financing, FYI, Good Stuff, In-the-news, learning, mentoring, Sex-education | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Rep. Garnet Coleman fighting to make higher education more affordable

Posted by Texas Education on April 16, 2009

The passage of legislation deregulating tuition in 2003 marked the end of an era of accountability, accessibility and affordability in Texas public higher education. Since tuition deregulation went into effect, designated tuition at Texas colleges and universities has skyrocketed 112 percent, placing the burden of these increased tuition rates on the backs of students and families. Texas Grants and student loans have not risen on par with the escalating cost of tuition, nor have they kept up with the number of qualifying students; thus creating a growing gap between those able to afford college and those in need of financial assistance.

Today, I laid out legislation – House Bill 2955 – in the House Higher Education Committee that would repeal the tuition setting powers of university boards of regents. HB 2955 would scale back tuition rates to reasonable levels and set the tuition for the next 6 academic years. This would give Texas students the opportunity to financially plan their education and focus on their studies, rather than worry about how to pay for college. It is time that state officials take back the responsibility for controlling tuition and expand educational opportunities for Texas students, not continue to price them out.

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Capturing Kids’ Hearts is coming to Humble ISD

Posted by Texas Education on April 16, 2009

Well, not exactly, but…I got an update from the last Board meeting, sorry I missed, that they are…well here’s the update:

Capturing Kids’ Hearts Professional Development

The entire Summer Creek High School staff will be pursuing Capturing Kids’ Heart professional development training. This special training in affective development techniques will cost $67,900 and will be paid for with Federal Title II grant funds.


This is such a wonderful, and I must say, surprising thing. My heart believes so strongly in Capturing Kids’ Hearts. I do believe it has made me a much better teacher and has given me the hope, that all of us need, to know that every child deserves the best from his/her teacher and this program/philosophy does just that.


In other action, the Board approved:

  • Design development plans for elementary school #26, Turner Stadium renovations and additions, and Community Learning Center renovations and additions.
  • Boundary option 1 for Lakeshore Elementary. Details
  • The annual AVID Membership Renewal for 2009-10 for all secondary campuses. The $42,574 is paid through the State High School Allotment fund.
  • Declaring a corner lot across the street from the old Bender High School in Humble as surplus property. The Board authorized having it appraised and advertising it for sale.
  • Population And Survey Analysts to begin its total Demographic Study focusing on the southeast area of the school district at this time.
  • Lemons Auctioneers to provide online auction services for 31 surplus portable buildings.
  • Chick-Fil-A to provide pre-packaged, ready to serve chicken sandwiches at all middle and high schools.
  • SBWV as the architect for the Kingwood High softball field design work.

Posted in Good Stuff, leadership, teachers, teaching, teen leadership | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Just say don’t know – Sexuality Education in Texas Public Schools

Posted by Texas Education on April 15, 2009

JUST SAY DON’T KNOW:
Sexuality Education in Texas Public Schools

Texas has long been held up as the poster child for abstinence-only sexuality education. In fact, Texas consistently leads the nation by a wide margin in federal abstinence education dollars – more than $18 million in 2007 alone. What has not been known, however, is what public schools are actually teaching students about sexuality education in their classrooms. Just Say Don't Know Masthead - TFN web version

Until now.

TFN Arrow Read the report and watch the videos.

from TFN

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