Thursday, January 26, 2017

Week of January 31

The +10 Mindset
We are beginning the process of defining our mission, vision and motto.  At BRISD we are chasing excellence by ensuring that we equip every BRISD educator to be their absolute best at what they do, so that they can help every student grow into the excellence that we know is deep inside them.

WE WANT YOUR INPUT - What would be a motto that would fully describe this mindset for developing excellence in every student.





Upcoming Events
The baseball field will have lights this
season.  Qualite Inc. will have poles completed
by February 1.


  • Fri, 1/27 - HS BB vs Trenton HERE
  • Tue, 1/31 - HS BB vs Bland AWAY
  • Thu, 2/2 - JH BB vs Wolfe City AWAY
  • Fri, 2 /3 - HS BB vs Celeste HERE (SENIOR NIGHT)
  • Fri, 2 /3 - End of 3 Weeks
  • Fri, 2/3 - Wear Red Day for American Heart Association
  • Sat, 2/4 - JH BB District Tournament - Dodd City


Calendars
District Calendar
Elementary School Calendar
Middle School Calendar
High School Calendar
Athletic Calendar



Thank you to Faith Jech for sponsoring awards for our
Teachers of the Month.  We are honored to have her support.





American Heart Association


Please read the letter below to join our district initiative to be a healthy community with the American Health Association (AHA)




BRES earns State Arts Grant
The Texas Commission on the Arts has granted BRES half of the artistic fee to have A Day of Drumming come to the school.  On January 31, the students will spend their rotation time learning about the music and culture of West Africa, play a drum or hand instrument, and learn how teamwork, self-expression, listening & communication work within the drum circle.  Here's a link to their website: http://rhythmpath.com/  Special thanks goes to BRES Counselor, Missy Douglas for getting this grant for our kids.

BRISD presents at TCEA State Conference
We are very honored that our district was selected to share their expertise at the Texas Computer Educators Association Convention in February.  Our district will present on the topic of Chromebooks & GAFE: Endless Possibilities.  Our students already had Google Apps for Education accounts, but not until the implementation of Chromebooks did we really see our students truly engaged when using technology! In this session, we'll cover the many ways we use GAFE, including Chrome apps, extensions and Google Drive add-ons used by our students in our 1:1 Chromebook initiative.

Our district presenters include:  Anthony Figueroa, Scott Leslie, Katie Pelzel, Kimberly Fritchman, Mary Townsend, Melissa Stiney, Stephanie McPherson, Dena Hamilton, Amy Hopkins.  The team will present on Monday, February 6.  Congratulations to them.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Week of January 24

The +10 Mindset
Thank you BRISD School Board Members
From L-R - John Wink, Seth McGinnis, Gary Lillard,
Tammy Phillips, Kevin Dauster, Brad Duncan, Mike
McCreary, Joe Harvey (not pictured)
The first semester of school has come to an end, and we are officially half way through the year.  As we head into the second semester, I want to encourage you to work with your child to increase in their efforts in school.  As our children's first teacher, it is critical that we, as parents, preach the importance of hardwork and digging deeper in learning each and every day.

At the end of the day, our children are listening especially when we don't think they are.  With each passing conversation, question about their school day, interest in their academic performance, and demand for their absolute best, parents shape and mold their children into responsible adults.  Don't miss the opportunity to set growth goals for the 2nd semester. They could be just the thing that propels your child to discover their true excellence.


Upcoming Events
Our students are setting growth goals
based on their 3rd 6 weeks assessment.

  • Fri, 1/20 - HS vs. Honey Grove HOME
  • Sat, 1/21 - 7th Boys BB at Honey Grove Tourney
  • Sat, 1/21 - HS Powerlifting Boys at S&S
  • Tue, 1/24 - HS BB vs Wolfe City AWAY
  • Thu, 1/26  JH BB vs Celeste HERE
  • Fri, 1/27 - HS BB vs Trenton HERE




Calendars
District Calendar
Elementary School Calendar
Middle School Calendar
High School Calendar
Athletic Calendar


Here is a Link to the Senate Education Committee
This link has their contact information, and I am encouraging them to pass legislation that helps public education.


FFA Excels at Collin County Show
We are so proud of Leslie Packard for leading our FFA students to excellence. With the help of outstanding parents, Blue Ridge FFA earned a tremendous number of accolades at the Collin County Show last week.  Below is a list of all of our accolades. Congratulations to everyone involved.

Cattle:

Heifers:
Brennan Garner: Breed Champion Beefmaster Heifer
Congrats to our Teachers and Leaders of the Month
From Top L - Cole Jenkins (MS), Gerald Young, Tammy Wall,
Pat Beausejour (Custodians), Leslie Packard (HS),
Melissa Stiney (ES)
Garrett Mathers: Breed Champion Limousin Heifer
Carson Garner: Reserve Champion Beefmaster Heifer
Kaitlyn Garner: 1st Place Beefmaster Heifer
Krystal Levitt: 2nd Place Beefmaster Heifer
Ross Feagins: 2nd Place Polled Hereford Heifer
Ryan Rodriguez: 2nd Place Polled Hereford Heifer
Katherine Henric: 3rd Place Shorthorn Heifer
Bryce Jurca: 3rd Place Shorthorn Heifer

Steers:
KC Swift: Champion Steer British Division
Jaci Horton: 1st Place Heavyweight British 
Mckenna Quillin: 2nd Place Medium Weight European 
Alyssa Swift: 3rd Place American
Kelsie Kennon: 4th Place Heavyweight European

Sheep:
Brennan Garner: Champion Breeding Ewe
Carson Garner: Reserve Champion Breeding Ewe
Brennan Garner: Champion Breeding Division
Carson Garner: Champion and Reserve Champion Finewool Cross
Kaitlyn Garner: 2nd Place Southdown
Brennan Garner: Champion Medium Wool & Grand Overall
Carson Garner: 3rd Overall
Kaitlyn Garner: 1st Place Medium Wool
Abi Sullivan: 5th Place Medium Wool
Erin Blackburn: 8th Place Medium Wool

Swine: 
Jaci Horton: Breed Champion Hampshire
Kelsie Kennon: Reserve Breed Champion Cross
Jimmy Fortner: 2nd Place Duroc
Blake Rushing: 3rd Place Cross
Gillian Fortner: 4th Place Duroc
Jacob Varner: 4th Place Cross
Garrett Varner: 4th Place Cross
Zoe Sadler: 4th Place Hampshire
Logan Blackburn: 5th Place Chester
Bryce Jurca: 5th Place Duroc
Justice Morman: 6th Place Duroc
Jimmy Fortner: Champion Junior Showman

Horticulture:

Rachel Evans: 2nd Place Asymmetrical Design
Keeley Jurca: 4th Place 
Kelsie Kennon: 4th Place Round Design

Thank you Board of Trustees from BRHS


video

Your Input Matters
If you have a question, suggestion, or comment, please let a comment below. Comments are not published immediately. Please do not leave negative comments about individual people. If you have a negative comment, please email the principal, superintendent or call 972-752-5554.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Week of January 16

January is School Board
Recognition Month
The +10 Mindset
Blue Ridge ISD is growing by leaps and bounds, and that is because of the leadership of our board members.  January is Board Appreciation Month, and this month, we would like to take time to thank our board members for the sacrifices that they make to lead our district closer to excellence.

Our school board members are focused on continuous improvement, high expectations, support systems to reach district goals, and they create and approve policies that help administrators support teachers, help teachers support students, and guarantee that every student reaches excellence.  Please join me in thanking our board members.



Top L-R - Lillard, McGinnis, Duncan, Phillips
Bottom L-R - Dauster, Harvey, McCreary, Wink
Blue Ridge ISD Board Members 

  • Mike McCreary, President
  • Joe Harvey, Vice President
  • Kevin Dauster, Secretary
  • Tammy Phillips
  • Seth McGinnis
  • Gary Lillard
  • Brad Duncan





Upcoming Events

1st Graders learning Place Value
  • Fri, 1/13 - End of 2nd 9 Weeks, Exams, and Early Release Day
  • Fri, 1/13 - HS BB vs Bland HERE
  • Sat, 1/14 - 7th BB at Trenton Tourney
  • Sat, 1/14 - JV BB at Bland Tourney
  • Mon, 1/16 - School Holiday (MLK Jr. Day)
  • Tue, 1/17 - BRISD Board Meeting at 6 p.m.
  • Tue 1/17 - Beginning of 3rd 9 Weeks
  • Tue, 1/17 - HS BB vs Celeste AWAY
  • Thu, 1/19 - JH BB vs Dodd City AWAY
  • Fri, 1/20 - HS vs. Honey Grove HOME
  • Sat, 1/21 - 7th Boys BB at Honey Grove Tourney



Calendars
District Calendar
Elementary School Calendar
Middle School Calendar
High School Calendar
Athletic Calendar



BRISD is #BetterThanALetter.
Last week, I shared some information detailing the new A-F ratings that the state of Texas released in a "what if" scenario last week.  This scenario will detail what the ratings might look like when the A-F rating system will become official in August 2018.  This week, I would like to highlight some amazing things that BRISD does that will never be included in our rating.

Did You Know?

  • BRHS will have an international trip to Italy this spring break for several HS students.
  • For years, BRMS 6th and 8th graders have taken a 4 day trip around Texas to learn more about science and Texas history.
  • That our UIL  Middle School and Elementary Academic teams increased their overall performance by 50%-100% in just one year.
  • Our band program is growing by leaps and bounds.
  • Our FFA program is making great accomplishments in competition.
  • Our high school began a new robotics program.
  • Our SAT and ACT average scores increased by 15% in one year.
  • 90% of our HS students graduated completing a Career Technical Education coherent sequence.
  • 98% of our seniors graduated in 2015, and 100% graduated in 2016.
  • 75% of our seniors graduated on the Recommended High School Plan and 81% did the same in 2016.

If you would like to learn more about A-F or you would like to contact your Texas legislator, please CLICK HERE.

DROP A COMMENT to tell us a special fact about BRISD that will goes well beyond what is being evaluated on the Texas Accountability System.


Your Input Matters
If you have a question, suggestion, or comment, please let a comment below. Comments are not published immediately. Please do not leave negative comments about individual people. If you have a negative comment, please email the principal, superintendent or call 972-752-5554.

Friday, January 6, 2017

A-F: Is It More about Accountability or Affluence

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) was required to develop a school accountability system that showed the performance of every district and campus using the letter grade system (A-F).  The purpose for the system was obvious, to give parents a transparent way to communicate a school's performance, and that is something that we must always strive for.  Parents deserve to know how well their school is doing at teaching their child.

The ratings for all Texas public schools have been released today, and there will be a lot of frustration from a lot of schools across the state.  The grades are not our rating now, but the district and campuses will be rated on this system in 2018.

Blue Ridge ISD met standard on every campus and for the district in 2016, and we are well on our way to grow to even higher levels this year.  The letter grades reflect what our rating would be in 2018 when the system becomes official.  The school's rating is shared below is only a scenario based on our performance from 2015-2016.

The number one issue that I am hearing from other districts, educators and board members is that the grading system makes no sense.  Furthermore, it is quite evident that poverty plays a huge role in the kind of grade that the school may receive.

In the slides below, you will see that the grade distribution for every domain mainly shows that the more affluent students are, the higher grade the district will likely receive.  In other words, schools with the least amount of poverty is more likely to receive an A or B.  Therefore, if your child attends a school district with high levels of poverty, then the district is more likely to receive a C, D or F.

Blue Ridge ISD has a poverty rate of 56%, and you will notice that our scores reflect what the majority of schools like us in Texas will receive.








My Facebook Live explanation of the A-F Accountability Model





How did they come up with the grades?

To best answer this question, I would like to encourage you to read this article by Mary Ann Whiteker, Superintendent of Hudson ISD.  It outlines the complex and downright unexplainable formulas that the state is using to rate schools, and her article does a great job translating how the rating formulas penalize schools even when they have students performing at high levels.

 The system is significantly flawed, and here is just 1 of several examples.  Hudson MS was recognized as 1 of the 7 BEST Title 1 Schools in the entire state of Texas.  This school was so revered that the state of Texas did extensive research on the school.

Hudson MS earned 2 B's, 1 C and 1 A.  If one of the very best schools in the state is receiving average or above average ratings, then how can this rating system make sense?  There are many examples of other high performing schools who are rated as average and even lower in this system.

Below are the grades assigned to Blue Ridge ISD.  What you will see is that 55% of the rating system is based on STAAR and NOTHING ELSE.  Essentially, our rating is based on one test on one day.  While the performance of our school is communicated as average, please know that Blue Ridge is NOT average.  Below are the scores for Blue Ridge and how they are derived.

Blue Ridge ISD's Grades


Domain
Basis for Assigning the Grade
BR Grade
1
STAAR Performance
  • 1/3 of the total - passing the STAAR,
  • 1/3 of the total - postsecondary readiness scores on the STAAR,
  • 1/3 of the total - advanced scores on the STAAR.
  • Higher poverty schools received lower grades
C
2
Student Growth based on STAAR in Reading and Math only.
  • 1 point for improving 1-10 points from last year
  • 2 points increasing by 10 or 20 points from last year
  • 0 points for dropping a couple of points from last year.
  • Writing, Science and Social Studies not included in score.
C
3
Closing the Gaps

  • This domain is the same as Domain 1 except 
  • The rating is based on performance compared to district with similar percentages of Economically Disadvantaged students.
  • The majority of schools in Texas received a D in this domain.
D
4


  • Elementary Schools evaluated 100% based on "Chronic Absenteeism (nothing that has to do with academics is considered).
  • Middle Schools evaluated on Chronic Absenteeism and Dropout Rate (nothing that has to do with academics is considered).
  • High Schools evaluated on Graduation Rate, Graduation Plan and College Ready Graduates.
  • The majority of schools in Texas received a C.
C


Can You tell a Story with Just 1 Letter?
If you want to read a story, 1 letter simply won't suffice.  You have to read words and even sentences in order to know what the story is all about.  Schools deserve an accountability system that actually tells the community the real story about student performance and continuous improvement.  My hope is that you will tell parents, educators and legislators (CLICK HERE for Contact Info) your school's story about student achievement and that a letter which basically communicates subpar performance is morally wrong.  Letter grades to define academic performance will do nothing more that hurt schools and more importantly the communities that support them.

See TexasStudentsMatter.com for more information.

Week of January 9

The +10 Mindset
Mrs. Stiney working hard with students in guided learning.
She is the BRES Teacher of the Month.
2017 is now here, and we are starting the month by getting ready for our 3rd formative assessment and exams.  As we start a new year, it is so important that we set a New Year's resolution and what better way than to set a resolution for growth in learning.

This week I would like to encourage you to set a +10 Goal for learning with your student.  A +10 Goal is a commitment to improve by 10 points from last year's STAAR test or from the last assessment.  Growth is a goal that can be attained if we first proclaim it and then work hard every single day to reach it.  Below is a great motivational video that I encourage you to watch with you child before you set your +10 Goal.  It will change your belief system about goals.






Upcoming Events

January is Board Appreciation Month.
Thank you BRISD board members for all that you
do to lead our district to Excellence.
  • Fri, 1/ 6, Girls BB vs Wolfe City 5 pm HERE
  • Fri, 1/6, Boys BB vs Lindsay 7 pm. HERE
  • Sat, 1/8, MS BB Boys Tournament
  • 1/9 - 1/13 Exam Week and Formative Assessment Week at all campuses
  • Tue, 1/10 - Girls HS BB vs. Trenton AWAY
  • Tue, 1/10 - Boys HS BB vs. Celina AWAY
  • Thu, 1/12 - JH BB vs Trenton AWAY
  • Fri, 1/13 - End of 2nd 9 Weeks, Exams, and Early Release Day
  • Fri, 1/13 - HS BB vs Bland HERE
  • Sat, 1/14 - 7th BB at Trenton Tourney
  • Sat, 1/14 - JV BB at Bland Tourney
  • Mon, 1/16 - School Holiday (MLK Jr. Day)
  • Tue, 1/17 - BRISD Board Meeting at 6 p.m.




Calendars
District Calendar
Elementary School Calendar
Middle School Calendar
High School Calendar
Athletic Calendar




We Need You to Advocate for Texas Schools!!!
The Texas Legislature will begin its session on Tuesday, January 10 and this probably the most important session facing education in the last 20 year.  As superintendent, I have been meeting with legislators in Collin County and advocating for the following legislation:
  •  A call to repeal any A-F campus and district grading system
  • Opposition to vouchers or Education Savings Grants and 
  • An increase of funding for Texas’ public schools.
I would like to invite you to join me in pushing these efforts.  If you would like to learn more about how these 3 priorities, please go to TexasStudentsMatter.com.  Additionally, if you would like to know who your legislators are, you can CLICK ON THIS LINK, enter your address, and this site will tell you who they are.

If you would like to know more or would like to visit with me about this, please call the school at 972-752-5554 or leave a comment at the bottom with your contact information. (The comment will remain private and will not be posted on the site.)

Here are a few more links of interest that will tell you why we are pushing for this change to the legislation:


Your Input Matters
If you have a question, suggestion, or comment, please let a comment below. Comments are not published immediately. Please do not leave negative comments about individual people. If you have a negative comment, please email the principal, superintendent or call 972-752-5554.