Wednesday, December 17, 2014

ACE Students Spread Cheer to Local Nursing Home

ACE students passing out Christmas cards.
Students in the ACE Program at the MISD Alternative Education Center spread some Christmas cheer Wednesday to a local nursing home—proving that you should never judge a book by its cover.

The ACE Program provides an alternative learning environment for students ages 17 to 21 wanting to receive a high school diploma, whose age and academic performance indicate that he or she has not benefited from the traditional educational setting.

Students and staff visited the Mansfield Nursing and Rehabilitation Center to pass out refreshments, stuff stockings with snacks and gifts, pass out Christmas Cards, make glitter snowflakes, decorate the residents’ rooms, and sing Christmas carols.

It’s an annual tradition that has been going on for five years.

Science Teacher Sally McClure getting into the holiday spirit
with the students.
Sally McClure, teacher and science department chairperson at the Alternative Education Center, said there is very little opportunity for the students to get recognized for something positive, so they get excited for events like this one.

“There’s a transformation that happens within the kids when they come here,” said McClure. “I love watching these kids—who have been written off by some people—turn around and put a smile on the face of a person who really needs a friend.”

The transformation could be seen in the faces of the nursing home residents as well. For a majority of them, the students were the only visitors they will receive in a very long time.

“70 percent of the residents here have no family,” said Gene Compton, administrator for Mansfield Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. “Today, I can see hope in their eyes and connections being made with the younger generation.”

Senior Devin Settle helping a resident make a snowflake.
Senior Devin Settle was just one of many students who showed an outpouring of love and support to the residents. It was an emotional experience for him.

“I loved being able to touch the hearts of these people," said Settle. “It choked me up a little. It’s sad to see that they don’t have support, but that’s why we’re here today.”

To encourage the ACE students to continue in a path of positivity after the two-hour visit, Compton gave the students a message he hopes will stick with them.

“Always remember that you can achieve your goals, even if people put barriers in front of you.”

Friday, December 12, 2014

Hour of Code Ends via Chat with Polyvore CEO

Technology Applications students at T.A. Howard
video chatting with Polyvore CEO, Jess Lee.
It’s not every day that you get to talk to a major company’s CEO, but the technology applications (tech apps) students at T.A. Howard Middle School were able to as a prize given during the Hour of Code.

In celebration of Computer Science Education Week (December 8 - 14), the event is part of a nationwide movement to get schools to dedicate one hour of time for students to learn coding. During this hour, kids in participating schools learn how fun coding can be through interactive activities.

About two percent of college students graduate with a degree in computer science, and the numbers have dropped since the last decade. Yet, computing jobs make up 60 percent of all math and science-related jobs.

These startling statistics are what sparked T.A. Howard Middle School to take part in the event.

As an extra bonus, one out of 100 schools that participated in the Hour of Code won the opportunity to video chat with a celebrity or industry executive. Amy Toombs, T.A. Howard’s librarian, was selected to video chat with Jess Lee, CEO of the style website Polyvore.

“Jess Lee’s in-person speaking fee is $22,000, so getting to hear all her wealth of knowledge for free was exciting,” said Toombs. “I loved that she looked like a regular person and made big goals seem so attainable.”

T.A. Howard was one of seven schools allowed to ask one pre-approved question to Lee, so students in the tech apps classes brainstormed to come up with the perfect one. Eighth grader Hayden Hartrick was the lucky student who got to ask the question during the video chat.

The question: “To what do you attribute your success today? Was it a skill, a class, a mentor or life experience? All of the above?”

Eighth grader Hayden Hartrick asking Lee the
pre-approved question.
It was the only inquiry that prompted the style mogul to respond, “That is a good question!”

View full video chat here.

For Hartrick, the chat with Lee taught him to not back away from the hard things in life.

“If you see something that is difficult, you need to traverse that road and go for what you want,” he said.

Teachers and staff hope this event will encourage students to pursue a career in the computer science field.

“Coding is used for everything from gaming to everyday apps,” said Kristi Bell, instructional technology technician for Mansfield ISD. “These children are learning why coding is important and why they should learn it.”

Find out what you can do to foster the next generation of coders and programmers by visiting the website.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Drive to Save Lives

Legacy Blood Drive
Legacy seniors Haley Jones (left) and McKenzie Johnson (right)
donating blood for the first time.
Saving a life can be as easy as donating a little bit of your time—and blood. That’s what students at Legacy High School discovered.

The school’s Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) group partnered with Carter BloodCare to organize a blood drive Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Lashandra Bible, a representative for Carter BloodCare, said drives like the one held at Legacy are very important to the organization’s blood bank supply.

“The majority of the blood we get comes from our high schools. We get dozens of participants from schools all across North Texas. We’ve gotten over 1,000 donors in one day at certain locations.”

A few of the high school participants were first-time donors who wanted to take advantage of the yearly event.

“I wasn’t old enough last year [to give blood without consent],” said McKenzie Johnson, senior at Legacy. "This year, I wanted to come out and make a difference because I know my blood will help someone in need. It’s for a good cause.”

Carter BloodCare needs 1,100 donors daily to keep up with supply. Approximately one pint of blood is drawn from each donor, and the procedure takes about five to 10 minutes.

For those who are too needle-shy to go out and give blood, senior Haley Jones gave some words of advice.

“Don’t think of your fears. Just think of the lives that you’ll be saving.”

For more information on the blood donation center nearest you, visit the Carter BloodCare website.

2014 Toys for Tots Event Brings in 26k Toys

The third annual Mansfield ISD Toys for Tots event was a stunning representation of the giving spirit of our community. Parents, students, staff, and local community members opened their hearts and donated 26,000 toys and an estimated $8,000 for DFW Toys for Tots!

The event was held on Wednesday, December 10, from 5:00 to 10:30 p.m. at the MISD Center for the Performing Arts. FOX 4 was on site to capture the magic of the evening, as joyful community members flooded the big event. The festivities were kicked off by a student/staff parade, followed by photos with Santa, a giant snow tubing hill, a bounce house and obstacle course, live reindeer, food trucks, more than 30 onstage student performances, and a variety of activities for kids and families.

We are so grateful for the continued support of this fantastic event. Thanks to the many student groups, sponsors, community leaders, and volunteers who make this event possible!


Special thanks to: Mansfield Police Department, the City of Mansfield, Mayor David Cook and the Mansfield City Council, MISD Board of Trustees, Mansfield ISD Police Department, MISD Warehouse Crew, the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves, Fox 4, Steele Freeman Construction, Huckabee, Lee Lewis Construction, Texas Trust Credit Union, Sam’s Club, Lowe’s Top of Texas Photography, Two Men and a Truck, Sports Clips, Starbucks, First United Methodist Church of Mansfield, Home Depot, Hawaiian Falls Water Park, Mellow Mushroom, BBCTA’s radio station 99.9 THE WILD, Dr. Chuck Roe from the Fine Arts Department, Mark Walker from the Athletic Department,  MISD Transportation Department, Quentin Myers the Music Man, and last but not least – all MISD schools and departments for supporting this event and helping promote the spirit of giving.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Ben Barber Program Manufacturing Results

 Advanced Precision Metal Manufacturing Program: (L-R)
Miranda Small, Raquel Frantz, Ethan Welch, Eric Lucas,
Khalil Wines, Dylan Deen, Javier Garcia, Christopher Richards,
Bradley Ivie, Logan Hawkins, Christian Kinnison,
James Ferguson, and Mr. Ron Johnson.
Instructor Ron Johnson had no clue what he was getting himself into when he was asked to lead Ben Barber Tech Career Academy’s new Advanced Precision Metal Manufacturing (APMM) program.

All he knew was that he was committed to the mission: getting students prepared for the real world.

The program partners with five local companies to give students a hands-on experience of the manufacturing industry. Students can even get forklift certified by the end of their internships.

“It really is a cutting-edge program,” said Johnson. “These students are manufacturing things like drills and aerospace parts. They work very hard.”

And now, the hard work is starting to pay off. The APMM program received an award Wednesday from Texas Workforce Solutions of Tarrant County for its economic involvement within the community.

The organization honored Ben Barber Career Tech Academy, Mansfield Economic Development Corporation, Cam-Tech, Drill King, Fluidic Technologies, Klein Tools, and Trinity Forge—all the entities involved in a collaboration that is preparing the future generation.

Javier Garcia, a Frontier High School senior enrolled in APPM, said the program helped him decide what he wanted to do for a living.

“I knew I liked to build things and work with my hands, but I still didn't know what I wanted to do. After taking a few classes in the program, I decided that engineering was going to become my career.”

And for some students, the effects of the class will last beyond their graduation date.

“Companies already want to employ some of my students after they graduate. Not too many people can say that. I’d say it’s been a good first year,” said Johnson.

The APMM program is expected to grow next school year with two more local companies taking part.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Take the Pledge to Save Energy

"Turn it off. Shut it off. Close the door."

Mansfield ISD demonstrates a true commitment to saving energy, and we challenge the whole community to do the same!

MISD earns more U.S. EPA Energy Star Awards than any other district in Texas, and a $3.1 million cost reduction was achieved through our energy conservation and education program.

Conserving energy helps our environment and saves money. Make a difference by taking the pledge to protect our resources.

Download and sign the pledge. Then, post it somewhere visible to let everyone know that you’re doing your part!

Be sure to also check out Energy Star's tips on ways to save.