Tuesday, April 8, 2014

100 New Ambassadors Prepared with Positivity

Mansfield ISD teamed up with Friends of Texas Public Schools to offer a unique opportunity for staff members to discuss and celebrate all the things going right in our district and schools. The Ambassador Training Academy is designed to unite campus, district staff and to strengthen a culture of optimism and hope for MISD and Texas public schools.

A group of 100 educators representing Mansfield ISD campuses and departments came together for three energizing and informative professional development sessions. Participants learned how the power of professional unity profoundly impacts the profession and why a culture of brotherhood is essential in any successful organization.

Here’s what some of the Ambassadors had to say about the program:

“The opportunity to attend the Ambassador program was priceless!  I enjoyed taking time to reflect on all the amazing things we are doing as a campus and district that we sometimes go unnoticed.  Highlighting these accomplishments has been important in creating a positive mindset at our campus and our community.” 
- Miranda Utkin, 5th grade teacher at Mary Orr Intermediate School

"It was refreshing to hear about Texas Public Schools in a positive light! Negativity has been dominant for far too long in conversations about our students, schools and teachers. Thank you for bringing this to program to Mansfield ISD!” 
- Christopher Bryant, Event Specialist at the MISD Center for Performing Arts

“My favorite part of MISD Ambassador training was the book,
Hard Optimism. I enjoyed it so much I had my 6th grade son read the book to show him how important being an optimist is to your health, grades, and future work environment. He actually told me that it changed his life.”
- Brandon Austin, Social Studies Teacher/Department Head at Lake Ridge High School

“I enjoyed the passion from everyone there…. whenever you surround yourself with so much positivity it is truly contagious! Just as the story of saving one starfish at a time, I feel like we all walked away with a bit more “power”!”
- Mary Costa, P.E. Teacher at Martha Reid Elementary School

” I believe strongly in message shared by the Ambassador Program, to celebrate and promote all the amazing teaching and learning occurring in our public schools. The book we read,
Hard Optimism, inspired and motivated me to reframe my thoughts, words, and actions to enhance to the positive energy in our schools.”
- Ann Devlin, Assistant Principal at Summit High School

“I truly enjoyed learning how attitude is an option despite all the adversities in life and how cognitive behavioral restructuring can change your life for the better. I also enjoyed learning how new positive ideas can be contagious and the impact they have on total team morale is immense!”
- Bill Palmer, Traveling RN from Health Services

Thank you to everyone who took part in the 2014 Ambassador Training Program. We hope you will carry on the lessons you learned, and take every opportunity to share and celebrate all of the things going RIGHT in our amazing district!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Superintendent Update - April 2014

Watch the April Superintendent Update on YouTube or the Video Portal inside the MISD network:

Dr. V discusses the latest updates on the new attendance zone maps, the upcoming Kindergarten Roundup on April 15 and the 2015-16 Calendar Survey.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Cabaniss Elementary surpasses donation expectations to Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

Cabaniss Elementary students, parents and staff is raising funds to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. This fundraiser was sponsored by the school's Mini-Mentors and had a goal of $550. Kindergarten student, Justin Verdeja (above), had been saving his money and he decided he wanted to donate it instead. Justin's mom, Melissa Verdeja said that after they watched a video about leukemia and lymphoma he was so touched that he asked if he could donate his Disney savings for Pasta for Pennies, benefiting the Luekemia and Lymphoma Society. His total amount was $438.69!

The Mini-Mentors goal for Pasta for Pennies was $550. We are expecting our grand total to surpass $5,000.

The Cabaniss Mini-Mentors is a council made up of (6) students who are trained to be effective age appropriate mentors. Each mentor meets with their kinder mentee weekly. The mentors will be directly involved in delivering media messages, campus outreach visitations, organizing project meetings for our students, and assisting with the day to day operations of the campus when needed. These activities will be scheduled during times when the regular academic classes will not be interrupted.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Orr Intermediate and Jones Middle Continue Winning Streak in District Academic UIL Contest

This year’s Academic UIL District Meet was hosted at Mansfield High School on Saturday, February 15.  UIL offers the most comprehensive literary and academic competitive program in the nation, with 22 high school and 18 elementary and junior high contests. The program draws more than a half million student participants from across the nation.

The 2014 meet was the largest in MISD history, with over 500 participants from 11 Intermediate and Middle Schools from across the district. For the third consecutive year, the overall winning teams came from Mary Orr Intermediate and Danny Jones Middle School. Congratulations to all of the hardworking students who participated in the competition!

Special thanks to Mike Vopal, Jonathan Tamayo, the MHS faculty and staff, Renee Cox, Erica Marburger, and the student volunteers from MHS and THS.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Author PJ Hoover Talks Writing with Secondary Students

Guest post from Amy Toombs, Library Information Technology Educator at T.A. Howard Middle School

Students from four Mansfield ISD schools were treated to a visit from PJ Hoover, author of the young adult novel Solstice. Students from Lillard Intermediate School, Wester Middle School, Jobe Middle School, and T.A. Howard Middle School experienced a colorful talk highlighting the writing and publishing process and Hero’s Journey in literature. After briefly summarizing Odysseus and his odyssey, Hoover documented her own hero’s journey. A question and answer session followed, and students quizzed her about everything from how long it takes to write a novel to what Greek myth was her favorite.
Hoover with the Literary Knights Book Club at T.A. Howard

Hoover first fell in love with Greek mythology in sixth grade. After a fifteen-year stint as an electrical engineer designing computer chips, she decided to take a stab at mythology and started writing books for kids and teens. When not writing, she enjoys practicing Kung Fu (she’s a black belt), solving Rubik’s Cubes, and watching Star Trek. PJ is the author of four novels, including the forthcoming Tut. She lives in Austin with her husband, two children, and dog.

Hoover’s novels mix mythology with modern or future societies, and are non-stop action.  Her presentation was non-stop action too, mixing myth and the current day to capture students’ attention and reinforce the importance of the writing and editing process. There’s nothing like learning from an expert source! 

Monday, March 24, 2014

MHS students offered HOPE for a brighter future

Guest post by LeAnn Downs, Mansfield High School English teacher and HOPE Coordinator

HOPE Mentoring Program is designed to help foster leadership among our students at Mansfield High School. The mentoring program involves teachers mentoring students. The students chosen for the program are recognized for their potential to be future leaders. These students are ones who can greatly benefit from additional support to help guide and direct them in making wise choices for their futures.

The teachers choose one student to mentor throughout the year. Our mission is to prepare students for life-long success through creating positive adult mentoring relationships. Within this program, the mentors will HELP students take advantage of the many OPPORTUNITIES made available to them within the educational system. In addition, students will be able to PERSEVERE as they are EMPOWERED with necessary tools for their future, thus bringing clarity and practical steps to accomplish their lifelong goals.

Each year, the Mansfield High School HOPE students attend Camp Inspire in the spring. This year, Camp Inspire was held on March 7, at The MISD Center for Performing Arts. The 2013-2014 theme was “HOPE Instagoals:  Snapshots of Success, Achievement & Purpose.”  Over 75 students were in attendance.

Throughout the day, the students were privileged to hear guest speakers whose messages addressed leadership, team building, perseverance, people skills, and decision-making. Keynote speaker, Mr. Steve Knagg of Pinetop Presentations, shared how the students must learn to build others up in order to be good leaders. MISD’s own John Sohel and Andrew Marsh of Danny Jones Middle School creatively entertained the students with silly videos, creative skits, and wise words on becoming strong leaders. Finally, Ms. Sherrie Barrett of Bank of America discussed the importance of people skills when interviewing for jobs. Throughout the day, many of our staff and community leaders poured into these students to help make them feel special while encouraging them to become great leaders. MISD school board member Courtney Wilson, Mayor David Cook, and Superintendent, Dr. Jim Vaszauskas were in attendance during lunch to also share with the students the value and importance of becoming strong, influential leaders. 

The students ended the day with team building activities in the form of mini-Olympics. They made new friends, realized their abilities to lead, and left feeling more encouraged and capable of accomplishing their goals. Because of the many that helped make Camp Inspire possible, “HOPE” for a brighter future was given to these students.

PTA provided fun door prizes to give out to the students, and the MHS staff contributed financially to surprise every student in attendance with a $5.00 gift card to a local restaurant. Matthew’s Office Supply donated bags of school supplies for every student in attendance. Camp Inspire t-shirts were provided by the following local businesses:  Harris Cook Law Firm of Mansfield, W-R Roofing, Utopia Fitness, and Auto Doctor.