Friday, May 30, 2014

Mance Park Celebrates this Year's Successes with the Help of First United Methodist Church

The end of the school year brings the awards season, when campuses around the district celebrate and honor the achievements of students of all ages.  

Seventh grader Hannah won the bike pictured here in a raffle drawing for perfect attendance.
Mom was quick to point out that because of her work schedule, Hannah and her brother Connor are fully responsible for getting themselves ready in the morning, so this award is "all Hannah!" 
These awards include exceptional work in academics, athletics, attendance and citizenship. Earlier today, we were at Mance Park Middle School as they recognized awards for Huntsville's seventh and eighth graders.

Awards were given for Academics, Most Improved, Citizenship and Perfect Attendance.
For Athletics, awards were given for Leadership and the "110% Award."

Who's going to win the bike???????

Mr. Walker, Mrs. Hoke and Mrs. Skaines are still smiling!!

 As part of the festivities, representatives of the First United Methodist Church's group, Mance Park Methodist Partnership (MPMP) were on hand to present and announce some extra special awards for those with perfect attendance.

From L-R, Reverend Ellen Willett, Principal Bennett, Assistant Principal Evans,
Assistant Principal Marshall, Assistant Principal Dunbar, Counselor Vossler.

We caught Yulissa & Araceli right after they received their Spirit Awards.

Mrs. Marshall, newly named assistant principal for Mance Park,
enjoys the proceedings as Principal Bennett offers the opening remarks.

The shirt says it all!

Um, Principal Bennett?  That bike is not for you- sorry about that!!
In a way, today's surprise announcement of a bike and e-tablet give away was the culmination of the year long partnership that the congregation has forged with this campus.

Jasmine and Nathan earned the
Cally Belcher Leadership Award.

Kennedy gives her mom a squeeze after receiving a Most Improved Award for Spanish.
For the church, this connection runs deep and this year's adoption seemed a natural fit for them, as Mance Park Middle School's namesake was a church member, and the family continues to be active members, including his grandson, also named Mance Park!

Olivia onstage.
Throughout the year, the MPMP has hosted countless events including all-staff treats for each six weeks, semesterly pizza parties for students with perfect attendance, an after school program that included woodworking, arts & crafts and (of course tutoring).

Church member Mr. Friday teaches
an MPMS student woodworking.

Assistant Principal Dunbar checks in on a MPMS student
 after school woodworking earlier this semester.
Let's Do This!  The Home Depot donated funds for the
After School Program.

MPMS Student Taryn and church member Mrs. Sprague

Ms. Dial, who spearheaded the after school program,
takes a moment to try her own hand at jewelry making.
Additionally, the MPMP provided support and refreshments for the Nurses Prep night for immunization of sixth graders (including popcorn, hot dogs and lemonade) earlier this month, staffed the Mock Interview program which gave students the opportunity to practice their job interviewing skills as part of the Career Exploration program AND the all-staff end-of-year luncheon.  (Phew- that's a lot!!)

A Sam Houston State Student helps MPMS seventh grader Natasha after school in the lab.
And they aren't done!  This coming Tuesday, the group will host a pizza party for this semester's 'perfect attendance holders' and give each of the nineteen students who has had perfect attendance all year an e-tablet! And, during that lunch, the church-funded book donation program will allow each of the student of the month from the past school year to pick the book they want to donate to the Mance Park school library on their behalf.

Reverend Ellen (center) surrounded by just a few of the MPMP Committee members.
(BTW, That's Mance Park teacher Ms. Greene on the end of the row on the right.)

Thank you First United Methodist!!  And congratulations to the students here at Mance Park, and throughout our District!!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Huntsville ISD at TxGoo for Blue Bell Ice Cream...and some Google Stuff, too!

Last Saturday in Brenham, the nonprofit Techs4Tex hosted the second annual Texas Google Summit, (affectionately known as TxGoo), and folks from our district represented Huntsville- big time!

HISD School Social Worker and Volunteer Extraordinaire Sally Dowis 
There were dozens of workshops (and several ice cream flavors) from which to choose, so our participants got to tailor their experience to what they wanted to learn.  TxGoo also created the opportunity for our folks to mingle among other Google learners from across the state and the country.

Huntsville Intermediate's Brooke Lowery and Heather Levine
Not only did we have lots of teachers and administrators from all grade levels learning and sharing (and eating free Blue Bell ice cream) among a sold out crowd of 500, several of our folks teamed up to present!
Mance Park's Chris Price is getting into it.
Bridget Costello, Brooke Lowery and Heather Levine of Huntsville Intermediate School collaborated on two sessions, Sharing Student Folders and "Flipping" Class Lessons.
"Busted!  My Dog Ate My Homework"
Google Session with Brooke, Bridget and Heather. 

Bridget Costello: She's so excited, and she just can't hide it!

Huntsville High School's Barbara Lesikar and Julie Savage
Albert Archuleta, Dr. Rosa Martinez (who recently earned her doctorate, we’ll have you know :-) ) and Pam Payne from Gibbs teamed up with Matthew Lahey to present on how they created a type of tv station with Google Hangouts on Air.

Albert Archuleta, Rosa Martinez and Pam Payne presenting.
They shared their success, and the path that got them there, utilizing a webcam, a few Google Apps and a willing AP to help their teachers help their children with learning and practicing Conscious Discipline techniques.
Together we're Better!  AP Albert and iTech Matthew

Mike Wallace on Secure Socket Layers and Networks.
Mike Wallace represented our technology department with workshops on navigating the "admin side" of Google Apps for Education.

Samuel W. Houston's Elementary Gabrielle Beatty & Lauren Thomas are all ears!

Huntsville High's Catherine Scriven overtaken in the moment!
Huntsville High's David Brockhausen is ready to map out his day.

Mance Park's Shelley Petkovsek is all smiles.
Huntsville High's Rachel Calabretta takes well deserved break.
(This is the only time she sat down all day!)

Essential help from iTechs (L-R) Karen Paschal, Melissa Thornton, Ruth Hutchison and Lisa Gregg.
Our Instructional Technology department stepped in with critical support on and offsite help!   TxGoo happened because of the help of volunteer extraordinaires Rachel Calabretta of Huntsville High School and our District's social worker, Sally Dowis.

As you may know, Techs4Tex has strong ties to the district, as Amy Mayer and Jessica Powell are on the board of directors and Matthew Lahey is a member.
Amy Mayer presenting in one of the four (count 'em, four!) sessions she hosted.

Want to see more pictures from TxGoo 2014?? Just click here.

Matthew Lahey  Huntsville ISD Huntsville Independent School District

Friday, May 16, 2014

Huntsville High's The Hive Celebrates Our Champion Athletes, Enjoy Success of Their Own

As you probably already have heard or read, in the last few weeks Huntsville High School athletes have achieved incredible success on the state level!

The Lady Hornets Golf Team and Coaching Staff have a LOT to smile about!
From Front:  Coach Evans, Hannah Valentine, Casey Leatherman,
Paige Weiss, Reece Haralson, Courtney Tibletti, Coach Leatherman.
The Lady Hornet Golf Team won the State Championships, Track & Fielder Audie Wyatt earned first place in the State in the Pole Vaulting competition, and of course Megan Gautreaux rode to a Girl's State Championship in Mountain Biking.  But do you wonder what they would say for themselves?

A View from Over the Camera:  State Champ Audie sits down with The Hive's Chijindu

Megan is a student during school, and mountain bike champion after!

Well, today you can hear from our champion athletes speak for themselves as all of these students will be featured on today's episode of  "That Friday Show," as each athlete shares the excitement and gratitude that their success brings.

You check it out here:

We have become accustomed to tuning to The Hive for announcements or viewing episodes on YouTube- it's our go-to source for all things Huntsville High.

Nathaniel & Kayleigh 
And anyone that visits the High School has no doubt seen students with cameras and microphones in their hands, so it's hard to imagine this is just the first year of these video announcements, and that the program started over the summer under the leadership of Mandy Stewart with a group of enthusiastic student volunteers.

Arturo behind the camera, setting up the shot.
The show airs every day with a special longer edition each Friday.  Teachers, principals, student organizations and clubs of all kinds appreciate being able to get information to the students, and the students appreciate getting the info...and seeing the sometimes ridiculous, always entertaining commercials.

Vic & Kaleigh- The Hive News Team Ready for Action

As Mrs. Stewart explains, when she began teaching here at the High School and took over the The Hive, it was a print edition that cost the school $500.00 for 500 copies.  Not only was it expensive, it came out once a month and therefore it naturally contained some 'old news.'  Around that same time, Huntsville ISD was opening up YouTube for teachers.  With Principal Burt's thumbs up, Mrs. Stewart saw an opportunity to launch.

Sydney & Daniel enjoy The Hive's"sumptuous" set.
It may look a little funky off camera, but it looks pretty darn good on camera.
(By the way, in a later H-Factor post we plan to feature the remarkable collaboration that The Hive has with The Huntsville Item, our local newspaper whereby our students get to write for The Huntsville Item every week- stay tuned!)

Behind the Hive!
Top Row (L-R): Mrs. Mandy Stewart, Kaleigh, Daniel, Christina, Meagan & Arturo
Middle Row: Victor, Nathaniel, Cody & Jonathan
Bottom Row:  Sydney, Jonathan, Sam & Tanner
Not Pictured: Caitlyn ,Chijindu, Elizabeth, Emilee, Garrett, Keona, Laiton & Makayla

As we celebrate the athletic success of our Hornet Family, we can also recognize the success of the program we turn to to keep informed of all things Huntsville High School!!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Pizza and Serious Conversation- High Schoolers' Regular Lunch Meeting with Dr. Johnson

Today marks the last lunch meeting of the year of one of the most unique groups in Huntsville Independent School District.
They joke it's like Las Vegas:  What's Said in Here Stays in Here
It happens every nine weeks, and it's closed to everyone but the group's "regulars."  It's Superintendent Dr. Steve Johnson's meeting with a diverse group of Huntsville High School students, where they share pizza and have honest conversations.

Chandler shares his opinion.
Dr. Johnson began this three years ago when he began his tenure as Superintendent in the District, as he sees this as a forum to hear directly from his students.  The rules are simple- be respectful, be honest and don't hold back.  Everything shared in this meeting is confidential. 

Carolyn & Treasure listen intently.
There have been many changes that have come about as a result of these discussions over pizza.
True to the nature of the meetings, Dr. Johnson allows for student input and then shares with them why some changes are possible while others may not be.
Dr. Johnson
Pizza and Serious Conversation

Although this was the last meeting this year, you can be sure it'll pick right back up next year.

Matthew Lahey  Huntsville ISD Huntsville Independent School District

Friday, May 9, 2014

Our Future Journalists Take a Step Back in Time to Help Visitors in the Here and Now

A few days ago, we caught up with a group of future journalists taking a step back in time, and they are doing it to help visitors in the here and now.

Kayla knows that sometimes you have to get down to shoot up!
Mance Park Middle School Teacher Ms. Petkovsek's students are recreating the walking guide for visitors of Huntsville's historic Oakwood Cemetery.  Ms. "P." explains that this is the culminating project at the end of this semester, and it's done every other year.

History just steps away from the Mance Park Middle School.

Several of her classes are collaborating on the guide,  which will require students to research, fact check, photograph, update and create a downloadable document that anyone interested in Huntsville (or Texas) history can use to guide themselves around Oakwood. Students drew names out of thirty prominent sites to determine their subjects, and these will present to the class on their subject in addition to producing this walking guide.

Eduardo sizes up these gravestones to get the best shot.
Many of us are familiar with the cemetery being the final resting place of Texas Hero Samuel Houston, though here are many other grave sites of note, including those of both Union and Confederate soldiers and various Texas historical figures.
Veronica demonstrating the composition
principle of leading lines.
Alexia finds the right framing.
One of the most photographed areas of Oakwood has to be gravesite of Rawley Powell, a young boy who died and whose parents erected a full size replica of "The Christus" by Danish Sculptor Bertel Thorwaldsen.  This is the statue that is known informally as the "Black Jesus," as the bronze has developed a deep dark patina over the years.

Chelsea goes for an interesting angle. 
Getting in Focus:  Students train their cameras on "The Christus."

Joey finds Oyster Shells embedded in a marker.

Ashley and Amahya on the path to finding
their assigned grave.

Lissett gets a close up of one of the countless
wildflowers growing in Oakwood.
MacKenzie poses for a pic before she snaps one.

The students worked in teams.  Cheyenne gently holds the flower for Ana,
so you can see how having a partner helped out.

Monument to Samuel Houston- Burial site just behind here.

Their fearless leader, Ms. "P."

Matthew Lahey  Huntsville ISD Huntsville Independent School District