Thursday, August 20, 2015

MISD Teachers and Staff Kick Off the New School Year in Style

More than 4,000 Mansfield ISD teachers and staff came together for a time of fun, laughs, and encouragement in preparation for the upcoming school year.

MISD Convocation 2015 was held on Wednesday, August 19 at the MISD Center for the Performing Arts. From the high-energy dancing to the motivational messages, the goal was to get everyone excited for another year of great achievements.

Superintendent Dr. Jim Vaszauskas and School Board President Dr. Michael Evans empowered the audience by explaining why every single job title held within the school district is important to a student's education. The key speaker, Dr. John Draper, helped educators realize that everything they do can influence a child's life.

View the photo gallery of MISD Convocation 2015.

Special thanks to our speakers and:

  • Josh Roberts - emcee
  • Eric Morrison - DJ 
  • The Education Foundation - presented grants to teachers
  • The MISD Energy Team - spoke about the importance of energy conservation
  • Lake Ridge High School cheerleaders and band members - performers for those entering The Center 
  • Mansfield High School's JROTC - presented the colors during the national anthem 
  • Timberview High School's choir- sung the national anthem 
  • Legacy High School's drill team - performed during Convocation

Friday, August 7, 2015

MISD Students Create Logo and Website for New Local Business

Students and employees at the ribbon cutting of Bark Out Loud.
When you walk into the Bark Out Loud Doggie Boutique and CafĂ© in Mansfield, you don’t have to look far to see the impact of a determined group of Mansfield ISD high School students.

About 35 students in the graphic design club at Ben Barber Career Tech Academy are the masterminds behind the company’s branding.

The Team of Animation and Graphic Design (TAGD) was contacted in February to tackle the logo and website. It was a mission that the first-year club was excited to take on.

“It’s one thing to be teaching it in the classroom, but having an actual client gives the students real-world feedback. They can add this on their resume rather than just getting a grade," said Brandon Buckner, graphics design teacher at Ben Barber.

The students worked on the project for a few hours every week, and were able to see the fruits of their labor at the company’s ribbon-cutting on August 4.

Connie Romano excited to open shop with
the help of MISD students.

“It was fun, and everyone had a hand in it,” said Connie Romano, owner of Bark Out Loud. “I would definitely recommend them. They did a great job, and I was glad to be able to support them.”

Buckner hopes his TAGD students will continue to get opportunities that will add to their portfolio while helping local businesses.

“I encourage them to think global, but act local,” said Buckner. “We would love more clients so that we can get involved in the community as much as possible.”

For more information about Ben Barber’s TAGD club, visit the campus webpage.

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!