Monday, February 20, 2017

Mansfield Day at the Capitol

Representatives from Mansfield ISD, the City of Mansfield and the Mansfield Chamber of Commerce loaded up on buses and took a trip down Highway 35 to let their voices be heard.

Feb. 15 was Mansfield Day at the Capitol; and MISD had its students, staff and board trustees take part in the day of advocacy.

“I wanted our kids to interact with [state legislators] so they can continue to see what great kids we have in our district,” said MISD Superintendent Dr. Jim Vaszauskas. “I also wanted for the kids to meet our legislators who represent us in Austin and hear them speak.”

The group took a full tour of the State Capitol in Austin.
Students were grateful to be in attendance because it gave them the opportunity to take what they learn in their textbooks and bring it to life.

“It’s a blessing to be here because a lot of people don’t get to see what it’s like to really be in a position where you get to see how your say gets put in the Capitol. It’s a good experience to see for yourself,” said Cierra Lockhart, senior at Summit High School.

The trip to Austin also gave the MISD school board a chance to share all the great things happening within the district.

“We’re really a voice for our kids,” MISD Board President Raul Gonzalez explained. “We’re making sure state legislators put the political agendas aside and make public education a priority.”

The day at the Capitol was hosted by the Mansfield Chamber of Commerce. The organization holds advocacy days every two years, but 2017 marks the first year the three entities have gone together to show strength in numbers.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Two-Time Runner-Up Wins 2017 MISD District Spelling Bee

And then there were two.

Out of the original batch of 35 spelling bee contestants who made it to the district competition by being the winners at their campus bee, only two girls were left in round 10.

Ruth Oyerokun from Linda Jobe Middle School and Tojumi Olayiwole from Mary Orr Intermediate School battled it out for almost an hour on Feb. 10 to see who would be named the Mansfield ISD spelling champion.

Androcentric. Lithe. Folksiness. Polymer. Each word was spelled effortlessly—until the word to spell was hogan.

Olayiwole misspelled it, which gave Oyerokun the opportunity to correctly spell the next two words. T-r-a-w-l became her trophy-winning letters.

“I’m very happy,” said the seventh-grader. “This is my fourth spelling bee. I was runner-up in fourth and fifth grade.”

Olayiwole (left) and Oyerokun (right) were competitors and friends.
Winning was a little bitter-sweet for Oyerokun because the runner-up is her friend, but she said it felt satisfying to win after years of qualifying and preparing for the district bee.

“It feels good to finally not be behind someone,” she said. “I’ve been studying for the past two months for 30 minutes a day. My family has been very supportive and told me to learn from my past mistakes.”

The annual MISD Spelling Bee fosters public speaking skills, enhances vocabulary skills and builds self-confidence through friendly competition. It is just one of the ways the district and community come together to support literacy.

“One of the tenants of Rotary International is literacy,” said Randall Canedy from the Mansfield Sunrise Rotary Club, which sponsors the event. “[The spelling bee] isn’t the only thing we do, but it’s something we really enjoy and one of our favorite events of the year.”

Oyerokun already has her eyes set on her next prize. She’ll go on to compete at the Scripps Regional Spelling Bee on March 2 at Texas Christian University.

List of Contestants/Campus Winners

Alice Ponder Elementary
William Curlin
Anna May Daulton Elementary
Morgan Taggart
Annette Perry Elementary
Emma Shatto
Asa Low Intermediate
Dante Perales
Brooks Wester Middle School
Cris Vint
Carol Holt Elementary
Jayden Maple
Charlotte Anderson Elementary
Drew Dazey
Cora Spencer Elementary
Jaden Marshall
Cross Timbers Intermediate
Tiffany Lam
D. P. Morris Elementary
Emma Griffith
Danny Jones Middle School
Elizabeth Mingle
Della Icenhower Intermediate
Mariam Dohadwala
Donna Shepard Intermediate
James Edwardsen
Elizabeth Smith Elementary
Kemi Morohunfola
Erma Nash Elementary
Joseph Oehlke
Glenn Harmon Elementary
Shayla Simms
Imogene Gideon Elementary
Trevin Lawson
J. L. Boren Elementary
Julia Rio
James Coble Middle School
Himadri Nath
Janet Brockett Elementary
Aaron Pradith
Judy Miller Elementary
Kojo Boadu
Kenneth Davis Elementary
Luke Dickey
Linda Jobe Middle School
Ruth Oyerokun (winner)
Louise Cabaniss Elementary
Ayush Shah
Martha Reid Elementary
Angel Brefo
Mary Jo Sheppard Elementary
Marcus Jones
Mary Lillard Intermediate
Nicolas Shea
Mary Orr Intermediate
Tojumi Olayiwole (runner-up)
Nancy Neal Elementary
Cadence Webb
Roberta Tipps Elementary
Ayaan Monga
Rogene Worley Middle School
Kennedy Johnson
T. A. Howard Middle School
Kashif Ghani
Tarver-Rendon Elementary
Joshua Oyerokun
Thelma Jones Elementary
Caitlyn Nguyen
Willie Brown Elementary
Cristian Rodriguez

Friday, February 3, 2017

Retired NBA Superstar Teaches Students the Journey to Success

Moncrief, nicknamed Super Sid, told the students about his NBA days.
He went from playing professional basketball to coaching it. Now, he uses his passion to coach people and inspire them to achieve greatness.

Five-time NBA All-Star Sidney Moncrief made a stop at Mansfield ISD’s Phoenix Academy and Behavior Intervention Center (BIC) to teach students about the road to his success despite his childhood difficulties.

“I used to get into trouble when I was younger,” the Milwaukee Bucks legend explained. “But once I got to high school, I found my calling, which was basketball.”

The 6-4 guard said he was very skilled in basketball, but his grades didn’t always make the score. Once he made the decision to apply himself, his grade point average (GPA) went from a 1.85 entering high school to a 3.85 by the time he graduated.

“I didn’t get smarter; I decided to put in more hard work and effort,” Moncrief said. “Here’s a guy that had everything going against him, and he was still able to do something very good. You have the same potential to be great. You just have to find a way to tap into that.”

The father of four detailed the habits needed to become a successful adult whom people can trust. Topics ranged from preparation and smart choices to kindness and respect.
Students were excited to welcome the Defensive Player of the Year.

Students like Ryan Redd said they connected to his message.

“I think it was the best presentation,” said the 11th-grader. “I relate to his situation more because I play basketball. I learned how key responsibility is.”

Moncrief is now a speaker, consultant and author. He said he wants to make sure everyone learns the real definition of success.

“Success isn’t only about who wins. Success is who gave all there was to give.”

Friday, January 27, 2017

A Special Thanks to MISD’s All-Star Team

They work tireless hours without getting paid a dime, and it’s all to make sure that the students of Mansfield ISD receive the best education possible.

The seven MISD board trustees are the elected public servants who play a major part in setting the vision and policy for the district. They carefully oversee a multi-million dollar annual budget for more than 34,000 students, approximately 4,000 employees and 43 schools.

January is School Board Recognition Month, and MISD wanted to make sure these public school advocates realize how much they mean to the entire community.

“The members of the MISD school board have a passion for children and work to provide them quality educational opportunities in a fiscally responsible manner,” said Superintendent Dr. Jim Vaszauskas. “On behalf of the district, I want to send a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to the dedicated volunteers who serve on our school board.”

Some MISD campuses adopted a trustee for a day filled with pep rallies, food and fun. (View photos here.) Mansfield Mayor David Cook even proclaimed January 2017 as School Board Recognition Month in the city.

MISD is grateful for the time, energy and counsel given by the men and women who serve on the school board. Even though the month is designation for them, they are all-stars year-round.

Friday, January 20, 2017

A Small Team of Big Contributors

A team consisting of only 10 people make all the deliveries and pickups to and from the 43 campuses and several department buildings within Mansfield ISD. Their services can sometimes go unnoticed; but when the devoted employees don’t do their jobs, everyone feels the effects.

“We distribute and collect mail, food and supplies, salvage and surplus, furniture, records, etc.,” said Brad Barker, MISD’s warehouse supervisor. “When schools move in or out of a facility, we’re the ones who move all of their assets too.”

The workers in the distribution center work in all types of weather conditions. Even though the conditions can be a bit unfavorable at times, Barker said he loves his crew, and they love their jobs.

An MISD employee stops to ask which surplus items are available.
“I have a great crew. I rely on them, and they rely on me,” Barker continued. “I don’t have a big turnover. Most of my guys have been here between three to 15 years. Without them, the district wouldn’t run as efficiently.”

The distribution workers are focused on not wasting money. Barker said that all collected materials are either recycled, put into surplus or auctioned away.

“A lot of staff do not know that they can come to our warehouse and look around to see if they see any pieces of furniture that will benefit them,” the supervisor said.

Putting items into surplus is one of the new ideas Barker was able to bring to the district. Along with surplus, he said he loves figuring out what the district needs in terms of supplies and being able to be of service to others.

“My guys get the job done pretty quickly. Mail is usually delivered the next day, and we can move an entire campus in or out in approximately three days. We just love what we do.”

Friday, January 13, 2017

Mastering Reading by Increasing Vocabulary

Through the hallways of Mary Jo Sheppard Elementary School, young learners can be heard shouting out some pretty advanced vocabulary words.

“Algorithm! Distinguish! Fiction!” the second-graders said as the teacher gave a definition of each term.

The elementary school, like many others across the district, is focusing on building vocabulary to strengthen reading skills. The emphasis on vocabulary lines up with Mansfield ISD’s Vision 2020 strategic plan, which states that students will read on level or higher by the beginning of third grade and will remain on level or higher as an MISD student.

“We believe that if the students master their academic vocabulary, they will be reading on grade level, especially our second-graders,” said Dr. Lori Ayala, assistant principal of Sheppard Elementary School.

A teacher reviews vocabulary in the hallway.
Teachers have started using several teaching techniques to make vocabulary fun and memorable. They utilize videos, games, flipbooks and vocabulary journals in which the student talks about the word, draws the words and writes the word in a sentence.

“The teachers are constantly reviewing the words, even when they have time in the hallways for restroom breaks,” Ayala explained.

Student progress is also tracked. Word mastery has increased across the campus, and each student keeps a journal of how they are improving.

“Everyone has met their goals so far,” Ayala continued. “Our goal at the beginning of the year was to pass with 70 percent. We’ve met that goal and went beyond that.”

For more information about MISD’s Vision 2020, visit the district website.