Monday, May 21, 2018

Superintendent Message on Sante Fe ISD Tragedy

Dear SBISD Parents,
Today’s tragic events and loss of life in Santa Fe ISD have deeply shocked and saddened all of us, and our thoughts and prayers go out to the Santa Fe community and the families who have lost loved ones in this terrible school shooting so close to home.  We have reached out to our colleagues in Santa Fe to offer our support at this difficult time. 
We also are reaching out to our families, knowing that your children’s questions, fears and emotions may come forth in the aftermath of yet another school shooting. We once again share with you on the attached page tips for speaking with your children provided by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP).  

More is available at at and at the American Psychological Association website
As always, our counselors and Communities in Schools staff members are prepared to support your children.   
Since the Parkland shooting in February, we have revisited our safety and security protocols, updated our safety plans and continued to conduct drills at our schools. Our central office staff has reviewed and updated our response plan in the event of an emergency. SBISD Police continue working with federal and other local law enforcement agencies to improve and enhance our security efforts. 
Please remind your children to be vigilant in sharing any concerning or suspicious information seen, heard or observed in person, on texts or on social media that may prevent harm or tragedy. If you see something, say something. This would also apply if they are being bullied or witness bullying by others. Our SBISD Administrators are trusted adults, and the SBISD Police can be reached 24-7 at 713.984.9805. 
We thank you for the trust you place in us, and we take very seriously our responsibility for the safety and security of your children.
Thank you,
Scott R. Muri, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

Spring Branch Education Foundation awards 105 scholarships

Spring Branch ISD graduates receive $163,900

Spring Branch Education Foundation (SBEF) awarded 105 scholarships to Spring Branch Independent School District seniors—a total of $163,900—at the SBEF 2018 Bright Stars of SBISD, Celebrating Academic Excellence awards program on May 17 at The Westin Houston, Memorial City.

The event, hosted by SBEF, honored scholarship recipients as well as 2017-18 Teachers and Principals of the Year. “We are privileged to recognize these exemplary seniors and educators who represent the many bright stars in Spring Branch ISD,” SBEF Executive Director Cece Thompson said.

“At the Bright Stars event, we publicly pay tribute to our seniors for their achievements and also to the educators and district employees who helped prepare our honorees for the next stage of their lives,” Warren Matthews, SBEF board member and Scholarship Committee chair, said.

Each scholarship application package is independently reviewed and evaluated by every member of the Scholarship Selection Committee. It’s an enormous task, and I’m very appreciative of their commitment and engagement,” he continued.

“Our honorees include campus leaders, community volunteers, students who have overcome significant challenges and obstacles, and others who helped their communities recover from tragic events, including the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. Many recipients are the first in their families to pursue higher education, and we’re happy to help them take that first step.”

Throughout the school year, Spring Branch ISD staff members contribute to the SBEF Employee Campaign, funding scholarships for SBISD graduates who are children of district employees. When employees were asked in August 2017 to contribute to SBEF’s 2017-18 Employee Campaign scholarship fund, they eagerly responded

“The response was so great we awarded a $1,250 scholarship to every applicant – 42 graduates,” Thompson said.

Employee Campaign Scholarship, $1,250

Miles Griffin, Bailey Hill, Caleb Howell, Nicorette Keykurum-Coland, Jenali Mehta, Nathan Nadarasa, Robert New – Memorial High School

Fina Leger – Northbrook High School

Hope Harlow, Addison Jacobs, Rinley Jacobs, Kenneth Thompson, Julianna Trapp, Lorena Zuniga – Spring Woods High School

Kaelen Benefield, Bailey Boane, Wyatt Branch, Caroline Bucek, Norman Bui, Gabriella Colon, Julia Davis, Victoria Gomez, Joshua Hughes, Lindsey Iler, Davis Jones, Elias Mata, Lauren Meyer, Austin Muckridge, Andrew Nash, Sydney Parisian, Alexander Parizot, Mariana Rincon, Kelby Robinson, Alfonso Vanegas, Margaret Vinyard – Stratford High School

Victoria Garza, Morgan Howell, Zeida Martinez, Kenneth Munoz, Eduardo Ruiz, Ricardo Saucedo, Destiny Trotter – Westchester Academy for International Studies

Other scholarships were presented to SBISD graduates by individuals or organizations, funded through SBEF.

Memorial City Mall Scholarship, $6,000
Julia Klein, Jonathan Loebl – Spring Woods High School

Wilchester Men’s Club Scholarship, $5,000
Geoffrey Baring, Sean Daly – Stratford High School

Newspring Butterfly Scholarship, $4,200
William Sicola – Memorial High School
Rosa Bielma – Northbrook High School

Sarah Chidgey Memorial Scholarship, $4,000
Macon Lee Boane – Stratford High School

Goldstein Altman Scholarship, $2,500
Kendrick Foster, Adriana Kelly – Memorial High School

Rummel Creek Elementary PTA Scholarship, $2,500
Elizabeth Cole, Noura Daryani – Stratford High School

Wilchester Men’s Club Scholarship, $2,500
Seungho Lee, Catherine Parnell, Brad Perkins, Christopher Song – Stratford High School

Spring Branch Education Foundation Scholarship, $2,000
Pierce Nguyen – Memorial High School
Evangelina Covarrubias – Spring Woods High School
Amy Deaton, Maia Fageria, Elizabeth Gex, Thomas Howell, Andrea Humphries, Samantha Weed – Stratford High School

Judy Weisend Memorial Scholarship, $2,000
Jessica Bustamante  – Northbrook High School

Warren Barfield Memorial Scholarship, $1,000
John Beck – Stratford High School

Andres Bautista Memorial Scholarship, $1,000
Morgan Gilmore – Spring Woods High School

Bunker Hill Elementary PTA Scholarship, $1,000
Azelia Lau – Stratford High School

CITGO STEM Scholarship, $1,000
Stephanie Walker – Memorial High School
Cristina Lopez, Emily Zuniga – Northbrook High School
Zachary Angeles, Scott Carrion, Erin Collins, Nina Elez, Grace Elphingstone, Abigail Hudson, Audrey Hudson, Paul Kim – Stratford High School

Cornerstone Academy PTA Scholarship, $1,000
Madison Graham – Spring Woods High School

Benjamin Cuellar Memorial Scholarship, $1,000
Alexis Kohnke – Stratford High School

Friends Scholarship, $1,000
Mary Mouton – Stratford High School

Frostwood Elementary PTA Scholarship, $1,000
Emily Qin – Memorial High School

Hunters Creek Elementary PTA Scholarship, $1,000
Aimee Phan-Dong – Memorial High School

Meadow Wood Elementary PTA Scholarship, $1,000
Adam Kiker – Stratford High School

Memorial Drive Elementary PTA Scholarship, $1,000
Phuongnhi Pham – Memorial High School

Memorial Middle PTA Scholarship, $1,000
Benjamin Howell – Stratford High School

Memorial Middle School Class of 2014, $1,000
Christian Bates – Stratford High School
Grant Nunley – Memorial High School

Monica Neubauer Memorial Scholarship, $1,000
Katherine Caesar, Weijia Yan – Memorial High School

Rachel Pendray Memorial Scholarship, $1,000
Jesenya Clark, Chelsey Tran, Lorena Zelaya – Spring Woods High School

Prosperity Bank Scholarship, $1,000
Rocio Sidonio – Northbrook High School

Lary Reap Memorial Scholarship, $1,000
Nancy Castro – Northbrook High School

Shadow Oaks Elementary PTA Scholarship, funded by Valley Oaks Elementary PTA, $1,000
Kristen McDermott – Spring Woods High School

Terri Sharp Memorial Scholarship, $1,000
Grace Klam – Memorial High School

Spring Forest Middle School PTA Scholarship, $1,000
Sanja Stojcic – Stratford High School

Stratford High School PTSA Scholarship, $1,000
Dillon Cockrum – Stratford High School

Stratford High School PTSA Sister School Scholarship, $1,000
Bryan Silva – Northbrook High School

Valley Oaks Elementary PTA Scholarship, $1,000
Claire Bingamon – Memorial High School

Wells Fargo & Company Scholarship, $1,000
Emma Holland - Stratford High School

Wilchester Elementary PTA Scholarship, $1,000
Sydney Lawrence – Stratford High School

Community members who wish to support scholarship programs are invited to make tax-deductible donations to the Foundation and earmark it for scholarships. 

Call 713-251-2381 or visit for more information.

Photo: 42 SBISD seniors received $1,250 scholarships from the SBEF Employee Campaign

About Spring Branch Education Foundation:
Spring Branch Education Foundation is committed to supporting SBISD students and educators. It partners with the district and community to fund programs that enhance education and prepare students for the future. 

In 2016, Caruthers Institute ranked SBEF 42nd in the nation among 188 K-12 education foundations and in the top 10 of its division of foundations with $1 million to $1,999,999 in revenues. 

Since 1993, the Foundation has donated more than $11 million to the district. SBEF is a 501(c)3 organization; all donations are tax deductible.

Friday, May 18, 2018

UIL Program Ratings & Results

Spring Branch ISD music students returned this spring from performing arts competitions with top tier state rankings and results.

SBISD student choirs, bands and orchestras completed the UIL season this year with 31 campus-based groups earning the Sweepstakes Award, which is issued for Superior rankings in concerts and sight-readings.

In addition, 4 other groups received First Division Superior rating evaluations for their stage performance and 7 more groups for sight-reading performance this year. Congratulations to all these students and their teachers.

Sweepstakes – Both Concert and Sight-reading Awards:

Landrum Middle School Varsity Choir Tenor /Bass
Memorial Middle School Varsity Choir Treble
Spring Branch Middle School Varsity Choir Treble
Spring Forest Middle School Varsity Choir Tenor/Bass
Spring Forest Middle School Non-varsity Choir Treble
Spring Forest Middle School Varsity Choir Treble
Spring Oaks Middle School Varsity Choir Treble
Memorial High School Non-varsity Choir Treble
Memorial High School Varsity Choir Treble
Memorial High School Varsity Choir Mixed
Memorial High School Non-varsity Choir Mixed
Spring Woods High School Non-varsity Choir Treble
Spring Woods High School Varsity Choir Mixed
Spring Woods High School Non-varsity Tenor Bass
Memorial Middle School Varsity Band
Spring Branch Middle School Varsity Band
Memorial High School Varsity Band
Memorial High School Non-varsity Band
Stratford High School Varsity Band
Stratford High School Non-varsity Band
Memorial Middle School Non-varsity Orchestra
Memorial Middle School Varsity Orchestra
Spring Branch Middle School Varsity Orchestra
Spring Forest Middle School Varsity Orchestra
Memorial High School Non-varsity A Orchestra
Memorial High School Non-varsity B Orchestra
Memorial High School Non-varsity C Orchestra
Memorial High School Varsity Orchestra
Stratford High School Sub-Non-Varsity Orchestra
Stratford High School Non-Varsity Orchestra
Stratford High School Varsity Orchestra

Concert Stage Only Award:

Landrum Middle School Non-varsity Choir Treble
Northbrook High School Non-varsity Choir Treble
Stratford High School Varsity Choir Treble
Spring Forest Middle School Non-varsity Orchestra

Sight-Reading Only Award:

Landrum Middle School Non-varsity Choir Treble
Spring Branch Middle School Varsity Choir Tenor/Bass
Memorial High School Non-varsity Choir Tenor/Bass
Stratford High School Varsity Choir Mixed
Stratford High School Non-varsity Choir Treble
Spring Forest Middle School Varsity Band
Spring Oaks Middle School Varsity Band

Congratulations to these fine SBISD students and instructors!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Spring Branch ISD Offers Summer Evaluation Process for Gifted & Talented

Spring Branch ISD offers a gifted and talented evaluation process each summer for students who are newly enrolling in the district. To qualify for this screening session, students must have been identified for gifted services in their previous educational environment or come from a school or education setting with no gifted services, such as a private, homeschool, international or a related background. 

This evaluation process is designed to determine if students entering 1st through 12th grades need special educational services provided in the SBISD Gifted and Talented Program.  The Summer GT Evaluation packet may be downloaded from the district’s gifted and talented website.  The deadline to register for the process is Friday, July 20.

For students who were identified as GT in their previous districts, parents should contact the Advanced Academic Studies Department about providing documentation for review before the July 20 deadline. Qualifying data and programs may differ by school district. 

To register, parents must complete the Summer GT Evaluation packet and submit it to the Advanced Academic Studies Department.  Packets may be mailed, emailed or dropped off.  Contact information is provided in the packet.

Girls Soccer Player Named Region’s Best

Memorial's Grace Yochum is the Chronicle's All-Greater Houston Girls Soccer Player of the Year. Photo: Jon Shapley, Houston Chronicle

Memorial High’s Grace Yochum has been named the Houston Chronicle’s All-Greater Houston Soccer Player of the Year. This top honor follows the Mustang girls soccer team’s recent postseason victories leading up to the first-ever state soccer championship for a SBISD team.

Here’s what the Chronicle wrote recently after interviewing Grace Yochum:

Memorial's Grace Yochum is All-Greater Houston girls' soccer player of year

Story written by Jason McDaniel

Memorial's girls experienced plenty of regular-season success during Grace Yochum's four years on varsity, securing three district championships, but they didn't take off in the postseason until this year – with Yochum leading them all the way to the Class 6A girls soccer state championship.

The Mustangs ousted defending state champ Pflugerville Hendrickson, which ended their season last year, in the area playoffs, rolled Round Rock Westwood to make their first regional semifinal, survived a showdown with The Woodlands, then beat Round Rock for their first state appearance.

They didn't stop there.

With their senior midfielder supplying early goals in the 6A semifinals and championship match, the Mustangs captured the first girls soccer state title for a Houston-area team since The Woodlands' in 2010.

The Oklahoma State signee racked up 22 goals and 16 assists, despite missing five games while playing basketball, making her an easy choice for the Chronicle's All-Greater Houston Girls Soccer Player of the Year.

"She is the ultimate competitor and a natural leader," coach Lindley Amarantos said. "She has the ability to dictate the tempo of a game with her amazing technical skills and vision of the field. Grace is as comfortable scoring as she is setting up others for goals. She's a great teammate and wonderful person."

Q: What do you love about the game? What drives you?

A: "I love the competitiveness of it. I love the camaraderie with the team, and of course you can get that with any team, any sport, but there's something about soccer. It's different. (And) it's becoming a huge girls sport, which I love, and I love helping that and making it bigger in this country."

Q: What was the mindset going into the playoffs after last year's second-round exit?

A: "Last year we had a solid team, a great chance, and we go into the second round and play Pflugerville Hendrickson, and we were the better team. We had a penalty kick in the first five minutes, didn't capitalize, and then went to PKs (tied 1-1) and lost 5-4. So, coming off that year, we knew this was the year. We had the talent, we had the team, and these were the girls we were going to do it with – my best friends. We played Pflugerville Hendrickson same round, same place this year and smoked them."

Q: Making state this year was a big step for the program. Did you think you could win it all in Memorial's first trip?

A: "No. Honestly, I was worried about getting past Round 3, because the program had never been past that point before, but we blew that out of the water and kept going – and kept winning games."

Q: How were you able to manage the nerves and play so well in Georgetown?

A: "It's all my best friends. I played for them. I wanted to win this thing for them so bad and leave a legacy at Memorial. But let me tell you, I have never been more nervous for anything in my life than in those state games – and that Woodlands game."

Q: What was your reaction immediately beating after Flower Mound Marcus in the final?

A: "I didn't believe it was true, just because the second half was such a relaxed game, because we were already up 3-0. In that sense, it wasn't like, 'Oh my gosh, we did it,' like with penalty kicks, and 'Boom, we won,' because we knew from halftime we had the lead, we had the momentum and we were about to win state. But it didn't take away from the fact that, when the clock hit zero, I can't put into words how amazing that was."

Q: What's been the reception back home?

A: "We're like celebrities. We've been asked to throw out the first pitch at the Astros game (Sunday, May 20). The school has embraced us, with all our friends, classmates and teachers loving on us, so it's been amazing."

Q: What did it mean to you to give your team early leads in both state games?

A: "It's incredible. To put the team up so early, and set the tone, that's exactly what we needed. We needed an early goal. We felt like we were the underdogs in that final game, so to come out of the gate as fast as we did, and get that early goal, I'm so happy I could do that for my teammates."

Q: Memorial went undefeated this season, but there was that one, 1-1 tie with Seven Lakes. Does that bug you?

A: "It actually is incredibly annoying. I wasn't even at that game. I had a basketball game, so I didn't play in the Seven Lakes game (on Jan. 19). And we have a couple of friends on that Seven Lakes team, and they're always like 'Don't forget that one,' so it bugs us so much, but it's whatever."

Jason McDaniel is a freelance writer.