Mrs. Hoffman’s 5th grade math classes at Corinth Elementary recently took part in the Sumdog Denton County Mathematics Contest. Sumdog is a mathematics website that enables students to practice their math skills while playing games against their friends, classmates, and even other students from around the world. The games are math-based and are tailored to each student’s skill level, so they play against opponents who share the same skills.
To take part in the Denton County Mathematics Contest, students were entered as a whole class and simply played Sumdog’s free math games. In order to progress, they had to answer math questions correctly. Each correct answer they gave counted toward their overall individual score and also their average class score. Students were able and encouraged to play both at school and at home during the contest timeline, which ran from September 31 to October 6.
Mrs. Hoffman’s class was the only elementary students participating in the competition, going up against older students at both Lake Dallas Middle School and the Prestwick STEM Academy. Out of 24 classes competing, Mrs. Hoffman’s class placed 14th overall with an average score of 237. On October 3, her math class was also a daily winner for having the highest class average score for that date.
Even more impressive was the placement of Katelyn McCurdy, who, out of 392 students, took 1st place overall by answering a total of 975 of 1,000 questions correctly. Four additional students placed in the individual top 50 students for the competition. Those students were Veronica Fielder (5th place), Emily Ibarra (20th place), Gracelyn Castillo (24th place), and Joseph Silver (27th place). Mrs. Hoffman’s class is already looking forward to the next competition in January of 2017.
The Lake Dallas FFA members stood out in the Swine show at the State Fair of Texas Livestock show as they participated in the Berkshire, Chester White, Duroc, Hampshire, Poland China, Spotted and Yorkshire swine livestock shows. Here is the list participating members and their awards:
Brandie Brown, LDHS 11th grader & FFA Treasurer:
1st - Spotted gilt class
Champion - Spotted gilt
2nd - Duroc class
2nd - Duroc gilt class
Rylie Hardin, LDMS 8th grader, Jr. FFA member
Reserve and Grand Champion - Poland China gilt
1st - Duroc gilt class and Reserve Champion
2nd - Berkshire class at the Open Show
2nd - Berkshire gilt
3rd - Duroc class
Tiffany Patterson, LDHS 11th grader
3rd - Chester White class
4th - Chester White
Adelyn Smith, LDHS 11th grader & FFA Reporter
2nd - York class
6th - Hampshire class
Each year more than 5,200 students participate in the youth events and leadership contests at the State Fair of Texas. In the spring, FFA members will travel all across the state showing animals at livestock shows in Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio and more.
LD Senior named semifinalist in 2017 National Merit® Scholarship Program
Jerry Armijo, Lake Dallas High School senior, was name a semifinalist in the 62nd annual National Merit Scholarship Program. As a member of this academically talented high school group of seniors, he will have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth about $33 million that will be offered next spring. To be considered for a Merit Scholarship® award, Semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition.
About 90 percent of the Semifinalists are expected to attain Finalist standing, and about half of the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar® title. NMSC, a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program.
Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC with its own funds and by approximately 420 business organizations and higher education institutions that share NMSC’s goals of honoring the nation’s scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.
Steps in the 2017 Competition
About 1.6 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2017 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2015 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of Semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest scoring entrants in each state. The number of Semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.
To become a Finalist, the Semifinalist and his or her high school must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the Semifinalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. A Semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT® scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.
From the approximately 16,000 Semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the Finalist level, and in February they will be notified of this designation. All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of Finalists. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference.
National Merit Scholarships
Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring of 2017. Every Finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit® $2500 Scholarships that will be awarded on a state-representational basis. About 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will be provided by approximately 230 corporations and business organizations for Finalists who meet their specified criteria, such as children of the grantor’s employees or residents of communities where sponsor plants or offices are located. In addition, about 190 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 4,000 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for Finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.
National Merit Scholarship winners of 2017 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July. These scholarship recipients will join more than 323,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.
New teachers at Lake Dallas ISD were treated to breakfast and gifts of classroom supplies by the Lake Cities Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, September 14, at Lake Cities United Methodist Church.
The LCCC Adopt-A-Teacher program began 17 years ago under the leadership of then Chamber President Fon Laughlin. Fon’s passion for education and her desire that Lake Dallas ISD teachers feel the support of the lake cities communities and businesses inspired her to start the program. In recent years, Judy Graham and Trenna Ezzell have led the charge to ensure that every new teacher in the district has the supplies needed to start their LDISD careers.
Each year as part of New Teacher training, teachers are asked to create wish lists of items that they would like for their classrooms. Adopt-A-Teacher takes donations from community members and businesses to provide each teacher a basket filled with their wish list items at the breakfast in September. In addition, goodie bags with items from local businesses are also provided to each new teacher and para professional in the district.
“This is a fabulous program that shows our new teachers what a wonderful community they have joined,” Dr. Gayle Stinson, LDISD Superintendent said. “We can’t say thank you enough to the Lake Cities Chamber, and, in particular, Judy and Trenna, for making our teachers feel welcome and supported as they start working at Lake Dallas ISD.”
A special Buddy Bench Dedication ceremony for the three LDISD elementary school playgrounds took place September 14, at Lake Dallas Elementary School. The benches were made and donated by Brian and Carmen Richard.
Administrators, teachers and student leaders from all five LDISD campuses attended the dedication ceremony at Lake Dallas Elementary school including student council officers from Lake Dallas High School and Lake Dallas Middle School, as well as 5th grade Leader in Me students from each of the elementary schools.
Superintendent Dr. Gayle Stinson spoke at the dedication thanking the Richard family and the student leaders that showed compassion and leadership to provide the bench as a resource to students who need a friend, remarking that “at times, we all just need a buddy.”
The Buddy Bench concept is a simple idea to promote inclusion in play, eliminate loneliness and foster friendship on the playground. This was an idea developed by a little boy named Christian who wanted to spread the message of inclusion and kindness. Students are encouraged to meet new friends at the bench to play, talk and walk, or just sit and be a friend.
“We are excited that every LDISD elementary campus now has a "Buddy Bench" so that no child has to feel left out at recess,” Ms. Katie Chalkley, LDHS Student Council advisor said. “This project helps us teach our youngest Falcons that everyone is included.”
In the coming days, the Leader in Me students will help to show all the other students on their campuses the purpose of the benches, and demonstrate how to use them. Students will learn the “rules of the bench,” as set up by Christian when he developed the idea. Here are the rules*:
When you sit on the Buddy Bench
When you see someone sitting on the Buddy Bench
*Note: These recommendations are adapted from “Wanted: Playground Buddy” and Christian’s Buddy Bench.
Six Lake Dallas High School students traveled to Peru for a service trip during the summer. While there, the group, led by LDHS teachers Katie Chalkley and Jill Cole, saw many sites and experienced the culture through hiking and touring the 12,000 ft altitude country.
To arrive at the site of service projects, the group traveled to Puno, took a boat ride to the Uros Floating Islands, and then to the south side of Lake Titicaca to the town of Laquina Chico.
The service projects included hauling rocks up the side of a mountain, and bringing large sacks of sand down from the top. They helped mix concrete to pour a sidewalk for the people in the small town.
“The students were greatly impacted by what the people did not have – no internet, modern plumbing, or cell phones,” Ms. Chalkley said. “But they did have chickens, pigs, and a great sense of community, and we had a wonderful time getting to know the people in the town, and we all have great things to say about the experience. We have truly wonderful kids here at LD, with service hearts.”
Current LDHS students Shelby Helmlinger, Sydney Haldeman, Gunnar Gray, and Callee Buxton attended the trip along with recent graduates Maria Dunne and Shelby Davis.
The group visited the Machu Picchu, Pisac, Ollantytambo, and many other ancient Incan sites. They also met Pablo Seminario, a famous Peruvian artist who has works on display at the Smithsonian. In Cuzco, the former capital of the Incan Empire, they saw the palace of Qoriacancha, built on the old Incan Temple of the Sun. They also went to many markets, sampled a lot of local food (some good, some not so good), and met many llamas.
Denise Kennedy, a band director at Lake Dallas High School in Lake Dallas ISD, was named the 2016 Region 11 Secondary Teacher of the Year at a special awards banquet at the Hurst Conference Center on August 10, 2016. The banquet, hosted by the Education Service Center Region 11 and generously funded by the EECU credit union, recognizes all of the teachers of the year from school districts in the north central Texas region.
Denise Kennedy earned her bachelor’s degree in music education from Southwestern Oklahoma State University. She has served as an associate director and a director of bands at Lake Dallas ISD since 2009. Prior to that, she has worked as a band director in Mabank ISD and in three school districts in Oklahoma.
In reviewing her application, the judges were impressed with the passion that Kennedy conveyed in her application. “You can feel her determination and grit,” commented one judge. “I can just see her class filled with all of these students with varying developmental skills – and they’re all learning.”
The judges were also touched by Kennedy’s commitment to her community through the activities in which she has her band students participate. “She focuses on only on developing music skills, but on developing servant leaders in her students,” said another judge.
In her professional biography essay, Kennedy discusses the lack of good band directors in the school system in which she grew up. “Mediocrity became the norm rather than the exception, and it made me mad,” she writes. “For me, that wasn’t acceptable. I had a laundry list of things that you should never do as a band director, and I became determined to be the exception and make a difference.” In her philosophy of teaching essay, she writes, “Leading the band is about the students, shepherding each along a pathway until they find their voice, their confidence, and their independent spirit. Only then can we make beautiful music together.”
“EECU was thrilled to be an active partner in the Region 11 Teacher of the Year Celebration,” said Lonnie Nicholson, EECU president and CEO. “We’ve all been inspired by the care and enthusiasm of a great teacher. This event was a wonderful opportunity for EECU to support both teachers and the youngest members of our community.”
The Teacher of the Year Program, sponsored by the Texas Association of School Administrators, allows districts to submit one elementary and one secondary candidate to compete at the regional and state levels. Sixty-four teachers, representing 35 school districts in Region 11, participated in this year’s competition.
District winners who competed for the regional award were required to complete seven lengthy essays describing their educational history and professional development, professional biography, community involvement, philosophy of teaching, education issues and trends, the teaching profession, and their message should they be selected as state teacher of the year. The regional selection panel, comprised of teachers (including past regional winners), assistant principals, and central office staff from school districts within Region 11, reviewed and scored all of the essays before selecting Lemke and Kennedy as the regional winners. In addition to the two regional winners, 12 teachers (six elementary and six secondary) were recognized with a “best of category” essay award.
Kennedy will now compete at the state level for the Texas Teacher of the Year award. The Texas Association of School Administrators will meet with selection committees to review the applications of the regional winners on August 15, 2016. On August 22, three secondary teachers will be named as state semifinalists in the competition.
The semifinalists will then travel to Austin for an interview with the selection committees on October 13, 2016. The elementary and secondary state winners will be announced at a state ceremony on October 14.
ESC 11 Press Release by
Public Information Officer
The bell schedule for LDISD elementary schools and Lake Dallas High School students will change this fall because of a new state law measuring the school day in minutes instead of days.
To comply with this new law, LDISD must extend the high school and elementary school day.
The district will use the following bell schedules:
2016–17 Bell Schedule
Elementary schools: 7:50 a.m.–3:10 p.m.
Middle school: 8:30 a.m.–3:50 p.m.
High school: 8:20 a.m.–3:40 p.m.
LDISD students in grades 3-8 performed above others in the state on the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) last spring. The data was released by the Texas Education Agency earlier this month, and results were presented to the LDISD Board of Trustees at the July meeting.
Despite state-wide testing issues and increased standards, STAAR test passing rates for 3rd-8th graders at LDISD exceeded the statewide average on every test in every grade. The 8th grade scores were particularly impressive beating the state average by over 10 percentage points in reading, math, and science and 22 percentage points on the social studies test.
Lake Dallas ISD superintendent Dr. Gayle Stinson said she was pleased with the results and the passing rates, noting that there were increased standards that took effect this year in that test takers had to answer more questions correctly to pass.
*Note: These are initial results. Final results including second administration tests and End Of Course exams will be released when received.