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January is School Board Recognition Month!

Posted by Texas Education on January 13, 2009

Have you thanked a school board member lately? January is School Board Recognition Month, a recognition that coincides with a nationwide effort to honor and underscore the important role of elected school board members in public education.

On the national level, School Board Recognition Month began in the early 1990s with a proclamation by then-President Bill Clinton. A number of other states also dedicate a month to recognize the service of local school boards.

Such recognition can encourage veteran trustees to continue to make the commitment board service requires; other citizens might be encouraged to get involved in the schools and make positive change. A full month of activities allows local districts, PTAs, booster clubs, community leaders, and individual campuses to organize activities convenient and appropriate for them.

School board members exemplify local control and decision making in our educational system. They volunteer hundreds of hours and an immeasurable amount of energy to assure that our schools are providing the best education possible for the children of this community. Your local school board members ALWAYS have the best interest of the student in mind. The state organization, Texas Association of School Boards (TASB), has declared January as School Board Recognition Month. And, Governor Perry has also declared January School Board Member Recognition Month.

Here are some reasons that January has been declared School Board Recognition Month:

* School board members are local citizens, your friends and neighbors, whose decisions while serving on the school board affect all our children – what they learn, who will teach them, and what kinds of facilities will house their classrooms.

* These are men and women elected to establish the policies that provide the framework for our schools. They represent YOU, and they take this responsibility seriously by attending lengthy meetings; attending conferences where they can broaden their knowledge about education and educational issues; and by attending to numerous conversations about our schools.

* Our school board is one of many such boards across the state. These boards enable the citizens of Texas to have local control of our school, meaning that decisions on school programs are made by local people who understand the community’s unique problems, values, culture, and circumstances.

* With the advice and counsel of the educators they hire, our school board has an impact on virtually every aspect of our schools. It’s a huge responsibility and one that is not to be taken lightly by our members.

Too often we neglect to recognize the dedication and hard work of these men and women who represent all of us. Take a moment to tell a school board member “thanks for caring for our kids.”

So “thanks” to the dedicated men and women who make it possible for our community to have a say about education. We salute the public servants whose dedication and civic responsibility make local control of public schools in our community possible.

Take this opportunity to help acknowledge thousands of public servants who make the time to share their vision and voice about the future of Texas children. Our best wishes for a productive month of building awareness and support in your community.

“Throughout the month of January, an awareness campaign will be conducted to highlight the important role of school boards throughout the Lone Star State. At this time, therefore, I encourage all Texans to recognize the vital contributions of school boards, and the enduring legacy they continue to mold in furthering the best for the Texas of tomorrow,” Perry said.

“As citizens who serve children and their communities, individual school board members face complex and demanding challenges. Yet few people fully understand the scope and far-reaching implications of board members’ responsibilities. Their role is not an easy one. They establish a vision for the education program, design a structure to achieve that vision, assure schools are accountable to the community, and strongly advocate continuous improvement in student learning,” said James B. Crow, executive director of the Texas Association of School Boards.

We applaud them for their vision and voice to help shape a better tomorrow for our students today.

For ideas to help you recognize the valuable contributions of your board of education members click here. Recognition ideas include:

Original Certificates to present to school board members (Fill in the names and have the superintendent sign it)

• Sample local proclamation

• Tip sheet with ideas for recognition activities

• Sample letters to school board members’ employers to acknowledge their service to the community and emphasize school-business ties

• Sample marquee slogans

• Sample news release

• Sample column for the district newsletter, local newspaper, Web site or other publication
adapted from Kansas Association of School Boards

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Legislative Watch

Posted by Texas Education on November 19, 2008

legislativewatchbutFrom Humble ISD’s website:

Texas legislators could begin pre-filing bills for the 81st Legislative Session Monday, and pre-file they did! As of Thursday, Nov. 13, more than 500 bills and resolutions were filed – many that will impact Texas public schools. The Texas Association of School Boards web site has excellent information about these bills on their web site.
In the coming weeks, TASB will write bill summaries of education-related bills and post them online, along with updates about what is happening at the Capitol; a regular accounting for all the important issues, events, and stories.

You can get involved now, by joining Humble ISD’s Legislative Committee is gearing up for the 2009 session. Call 281-641-8200 or email – first meeting is Dec. 2. Join Now!

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Tiny School District To Allow Teachers To Carry Weapons

Posted by Texas Education on August 18, 2008

I worried when I started Texas Education I might not have enough (are you kidding me?) to keep me busy. I’m finding, I can’t keep up with all that is swirling around us, amongst us, on top of us. Some of my scratchings I find through my own research, some I get via emails from friends and colleagues, and some I see on the telly. Well, this particular article I seemed to have found on all three. My timing is a little late, but I’ve been dealing with some new water polo happenings, creating a web page for that, going to office openings, and just a little R&R. But here it is and I must say, a little scary at that. Can you believe??? (I keep finding myself saying more and more, “only in Texas.”) I’m sorry, but I see disaster written all over this. I can’t believe the mindset of some of these individuals. “‘The naysayers think (a shooting) won’t happen here. If something were to happen here, I’d much rather be calling a parent to tell them that their child is OK because we were able to protect them,’ Thweatt said.” I don’t see this happening. I see fear, panic, mayhem. I’m sure that is what happens when there is a shooting, but I think this would only exacerbate the problem. Oh, well, what’s done is done. Good luck with that!

HARROLD, Texas — A tiny Texas school district may be the first in the nation to allow teachers and staff to pack guns for protection when classes begin later this month, a newspaper reported.

Trustees at the Harrold Independent School District approved a district policy change last October so employees can carry concealed firearms to deter and protect against school shootings, provided the gun-toting teachers follow certain requirements.

In order for teachers and staff to carry a pistol, they must have a Texas license to carry a concealed handgun; must be authorized to carry by the district; must receive training in crisis management and hostile situations and have to use ammunition that is designed to minimize the risk of ricochet in school halls.

Superintendent David Thweatt said the small community is a 30-minute drive from the sheriff’s office, leaving students and teachers without protection. He said the district’s lone campus sits 500 feet from heavily trafficked U.S. 287, which could make it a target.

‘When the federal government started making schools gun-free zones, that’s when all of these shootings started. Why would you put it out there that a group of people can’t defend themselves? That’s like saying ‘sic ’em’ to a dog,’ Thweatt said in Friday’s online edition of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Thweatt said officials researched the policy and considered other options for about a year before approving the policy change. He said the district also has various other security measures in place to prevent a school shooting.

‘The naysayers think (a shooting) won’t happen here. If something were to happen here, I’d much rather be calling a parent to tell them that their child is OK because we were able to protect them,’ Thweatt said.

Texas law outlaws firearms on school campuses ‘unless pursuant to the written regulations or written authorization of the institution.’

It was unclear how many of the 50 or so teachers and staff members will be armed this fall because Thweatt did not disclose that information, to keep it from students or potential attackers. Wilbarger County Sheriff Larry Lee was out of the office Thursday and did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment, the newspaper said.

Barbara Williams, a spokeswoman for the Texas Association of School Boards, said her organization did not know of another district with such a policy. Ken Trump, a Cleveland-based school security expert who advises districts nationwide, including in Texas, said Harrold is the first district with such a policy.
The 110-student district is 150 miles northwest of Fort Worth on the eastern end of Wilbarger County, near the Oklahoma border.
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On the Web:
Harrold Independent School District, http://harroldisd.net/

Posted in In-the-news, Texas schools | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »