Friday, July 17, 2015

MISD Team Gears Up for Solar Car Race

The solar car team's new and improved vehicle, Mark III.
While people are soaking in the summer rays, a Ben Barber Career Tech Academy team is using those rays to power their racecar—and they’ll put it to the test at the Texas Motor Speedway next week.

The high school students will be racing their solar car at the world-famous track as part of The 2015 Solar Car Challenge, which takes place July 18-23.

The Solar Car Challenge started in 1993 to motivate students in science, engineering, and alternative energy. Students learn how to design, engineer, build, and race roadworthy solar cars.

Shine Runners test out the racecar
before the big day at the Solar Car Challenge.
Ben Barber’s team—Shine Runners—will be competing against 29 teams from across the nation. The team’s race is scheduled for Tuesday, July 21 at 9 a.m. Principal Catherine Hudgins said she’s thrilled to be able to wave the flag that day to start the race for each team.

“I am privileged and honored to be a part of the race this year,” said Hudgins. “We have a strong student team of future leaders and teacher sponsors who are willing to go the extra mile. Our solar car has taught our students so much more than any textbook or classroom could ever teach. It is the true meaning of real world application.”

This is the fourth year Shine Runners has competed in the Solar Car Challenge. Last year, the team took part in a cross-country challenge, going from Fort Worth to Austin, and finished fourth place overall.

The team is sponsored by Mansfield ISD, Meter Technology Werks, Lockheed Martin, CSB Battery Technologies, Mouser Electronics, Super ATV, and Raising Cane’s.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

MISD Students Discover Possible Career Choices in Summer Camp

Maddie Campbell slicing the chicken quesadilla she cooked.
Mansfield ISD students entering sixth, seventh, and eighth grades got a chance to explore their future occupations this summer.

For the sixth year in a row, MISD held its Rising Stars Discovery Camp. The camp offers unique courses in areas like crime scene investigation, health sciences, video game design, graphics, American Sign Language, and culinary arts.

“I chose the cooking class because I love to cook and want to own my own restaurant one day,” said Maddie Campbell, incoming sixth grader at Donna Shepard Intermediate School.

No matter what class students chose, the goal was the same—exposing children to different career paths at an early age.

”Our camp showcases a few of the offerings that are available to students at the high school level,” said camp administrator Eric Holschuh. “Each section is representative of a course or career path available at Ben Barber Career Tech Academy.”

Keven Smith teaching a student about garlic.
Especially new this year was a course teaching young minds about the basics of agricultural science. Students enrolled in that program met at the new Ron Whitson Agricultural Center and learned hands-on about farming, fishing, and gardening.

“Those skills are essential for America,” said Keven Smith, Agriculture and Science Teacher. “Without us taking care of what we have, we will become less independent.”

“I liked tending to the animals and growing plants. Time flies when you’re having fun,” said Matthew Fuller, incoming 8th grader at Danny Jones Middle School.

Rising Star Discovery Camp was held from June 15 to June 25, excluding Friday, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Holschuh hopes next year’s camp will bring in more students and subjects.

“The camp changes every year depending on teacher availability,” said Holschuh. “We open registration the Monday after spring break.”

View more images from the 2015 Rising Star Discovery Camp. For more information, visit the camp’s website.

Friday, May 29, 2015

MISD Seniors Prove Hard Work Literally Pays Off

L-R: Grant Wilkie, Kendall Curtis, and Ifeoluwa Obayan
For three Mansfield ISD seniors, hard work in their junior year paid off—literally.

Grant Wilkie from Summit High School, Kendall Curtis from Mansfield High School, and Ifeoluwa Obayan from Timberview High School all received very prestigious scholarships from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC).

Wilkie and Curtis received the National Merit Scholarship. Obayan was awarded the National Achievement Scholarship, which is given to high-achieving African-American students. Both of the scholarships are awarded based on a student’s high Preliminary SAT (PSAT) scores.

The winners of the scholarships receive $2,500, and universities often discount their tuition to finalists. For Wilkie, the news couldn’t have come at a better time.

“This is definitely the most important thing that’s happened to me in my life,” said Wilkie, who will be headed to Baylor University in the fall with his tuition fully paid. “I’m finally able to give back to my parents by saving them money. It’s a huge blessing.”

Out of 1.5 million National Merit entrants nationwide, only 7,600 are named as scholarship winners. Curtis, also headed to Baylor, explains what she did to help her odds.

“AP classes helped,” said the future law student. “I would suggest reading a lot of high-level literature and taking the harder math classes.”

Obayan can boast that she’s one of 800 winners out of 160,000 total applicants to receive the National Achievement Scholarship. She said looking back, she’s glad she put in the countless hours to review for the PSAT.

“I really worked hard,” said Obayan. “The District offered a PSAT prep program in the summer in my junior year, and I remember spending every Monday in that class for two to three hours. It really paid off.”

Obayan, valedictorian of her class, will be going to Harvard University to major in biomedical engineering.

For more information about the National Merit Scholarship Corporation and their awards, visit the NMSC website.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

100 MISD Ambassadors Learn the Importance of Spreading Positivity

There's a lot of great things happening around Mansfield ISD, and 100 staff members from various campuses and departments around the district learned how to spread that positivity throughout the community.

For the second year in a row, MISD partnered with Friends of Texas Public Schools to bring the Ambassador Training Academy. The program reunites campus and district staff around the district’s overall mission to foster a community built on mutual support and to cultivate productive, lifelong learners.

The ambassadors learn how the power of professional unity profoundly impacts their classrooms, campuses, district, and profession. Through three powerful sessions, participants are challenged to think differently about their roles as educators, and to stand up for public education in a way that sparks positive change in our organizational culture.

The program explores some of the major issues negatively affecting the perception of Texas public schools, but the majority of time is spent focusing on celebrating all that is going RIGHT in our schools.

Ambassadors engage in a variety of activities including a book study, headline-gathering to share strengths and achievements from each campus and department, and initiating an activity or program that promotes brotherhood and teamwork.

The response from this year’s group of ambassadors was overwhelmingly positive:

"Ambassador Training was by far the best training I’ve been to in a while. What an opportunity to hear the great things we are doing all around and celebrate successes. The presenters were truly exceptional and the book teaches all of us how to begin to reframe our thinking. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of it and I hope others will get to attend next year!" – Jennifer Castrillo, Curriculum Coordinator

"I would like to say how welcomed and included I felt. Being in transportation I must say this district strives to include all departments, and it means the world to me! I found this very informative, and an all-around fun time. To see and hear the stories generated and the togetherness we have in our district was heartwarming. I felt privileged to be a part of this!" – Rosetta Sanford, Transportation Department

"The Ambassador Training Academy reinforced my belief that culture makes a big difference and is the driving force behind employee performance and productivity. It is responsibility of campus leaders to set the tone and model acceptable behaviors in bringing about change. I feel empowered by the training and honored to be a part of campus leadership in Mansfield ISD." – Erika Dillard, Content Mastery Teacher at Ben Barber Career Tech Academy

Congratulations to our newest group of MISD Ambassadors!

Friday, May 15, 2015

MISD Seniors Graduating with Diploma and College Degree

Jaeidah Reed (left) and Yesenia Day (right) looking forward
to graduation day.
As two Frontier High School seniors walk across the stage on graduation day, they’ll go back to their seats knowing they only have two more years to go until they earn their bachelor’s degree.

That’s because Yesenia Day and Jaeidah Reed have earned enough credits to obtain a diploma and an associate degree in June.

The 17-year-olds are part of Frontier High School’s TCC Trinity River East Campus (TREC) Program, which allows juniors and seniors to take college courses and earn certifications in the health profession.

Day and Reed will readily admit the journey was hectic and difficult at times.

“It’s not a hand out, and you have to really plan it out to make it happen,” said Day, who is also valedictorian of her Frontier High class. “You just need to be committed.”

“You have to be able to handle leaving your tradition school setting. There are no bands, no sports, and not a lot of extracurricular activities,” said Reed.

But for them, the hard work was well worth it.

Day will test to get certified as a pharmacy, electrocardiogram (EKG), and medical billing/coding technician. Reed is studying for her pharmacy technician, EKG, and emergency medical technician (EMT) certifications.

The two friends both plan to go into the medical field—Day as an orthopedic surgeon and Reed as a trauma surgeon.

“There’s a lot of school ahead for us, so getting our associate degree and hopefully our certifications will cut down some of that time and money,” said Reed.

Reed plans to take a semester at sea through the University of Virginia before she enrolls at Southern Methodist University. Day will be heading out to Santa Clara University in the fall on a full scholarship.

“Everyone has the opportunity to do what we did,” said Day. “You just have to be proactive.”

Friday, May 8, 2015

Elementary School Challenges Students, Community to Keep Reading in Summer

As the school year comes to a close, one Mansfield ISD elementary school principal hopes an important activity her kids practice in the classroom will continue into the summer months.

So with students cheering, cheerleaders chanting, and teachers dancing, Janet Brockett Elementary School kicked off their 333 Reading Challenge with a school-wide pep rally.

Principal Tamara Liddell talking about the 333 Reading Challenge.
The challenge calls for families to sit down together and read for 30 minutes a day, three times a week. And after each reading session, everyone should share three things they learned from what they read.

Principal Tamara Liddell started the challenge two years ago at Brockett Elementary. She said it’s important to start early to plant that seed and develop a strong foundation for reading.

“When you learn to read, that is something that no one can take away from you,” said Liddell. “Reading brings experiences, understanding, and connections.”

One of the special guests at the summer reading pep rally was Jarius Pace. He’s a seventh grader who attended Brockett from kindergarten through fourth grade. He talked to the younger children about how reading has personally helped his academic career.

“I've gotten awards for reading,” said Pace. “It allowed me to understand things better, and I'm able to focus more."

Jarius Pace speaking to the elementary students.
Teachers and administrators at Brockett Elementary have come up with ways to keep summer reading interesting for the students. “Reading bingo cards” were created that include suggestions to read a book in an accent or read under the kitchen table.

“Camp days” have also been scheduled in the summer where students can come on campus and be read to aloud and receive free books.

Students who participate in the summer reading challenge will get to go on a field trip to the Winspear Opera House in Dallas on July 30.

Principal Liddell hopes the reading challenge will bring families together while instilling a joy for reading in her young students.

For those who can’t make it to a library, most public libraries offer e-book options. You can also check out Unite for Literacy and Children’s Library, which provide free online books.