Friday, March 24, 2017

SBISD Candidate Forum Set For March 30

A candidate forum for two positions on the Spring Branch ISD Board of Trustees will be held at 7 p.m. on March 30 in the Bunker Hill H-E-B Community Room.

Trustee positions for the upcoming election are Position 1, currently held by incumbent Josef D. Klam, and Position 2, which is held by incumbent Chris Gonzalez.

Klam, 43, is a pastor and is unopposed for Position 1. Klam was appointed to the seat in June of last year after the resignation of Wayne Schaper Sr.

Gonzalez, 41, who lists her occupation as director, will face Mary Curry Mettenbrink, 37, a non-profit executive, for Position 2. Gonzalez was appointed in 2011 after the resignation of Mary Grace Landrum and has twice been elected to the seat.

The League of Women Voters will moderate the forum, which is sponsored by the Spring Branch ISD Council of PTAs.

The Bunker Hill H-E-B is at 9710 Katy Freeway. The Community Room entrance is at the front of the building, facing the parking lot.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. on Election Day, Saturday, May 6.  Voters cast ballots at their zoned middle school.

Early voting will open on April 24 and run through May 2.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Spring Branch ISD Names New Vanguard Fellows Teaching Cohort

In early February, the Cohort II team met in a special Meet & Greet event attended by Superintendent of Schools Scott R. Muri, Ed.D. (fourth row, center).
Thirty-six Spring Branch ISD educators were welcomed publicly Feb. 24 as Cohort II members in the district’s innovative Vanguard Fellows teacher corps. They join 19 educators selected for the first-ever Vanguard Fellows team last May.

The 55-member Vanguard Fellows group represents 29 campuses, from prekindergarten up to high school. The teachers applied for positions and were then interviewed before selection. A long-term district effort to encourage and support innovative instruction through smarter use of technology integration and refocused curriculum design is a priority for these chosen teachers.

In early February, the Cohort II team met in a special Meet & Greet event. The second cohort increases representation by 15 campuses. On Feb. 24, all Vanguard Fellows attended special sessions and welcoming activities at the SBISD Technology Training Center.

“We are super excited to welcome these innovative educators to the Vanguard Fellows team,” Superintendent Scott Muri, Ed.D., told district leaders in announcing the new fellows.

Karen Justl, SBISD educational technology director, echoed his remarks. “Their energy and enthusiasm will definitely enrich the fellowship as we expand into 15 additional campuses. Through professional networking opportunities, their collaborative spirit translates into partnerships across campuses as they support one another on their #LearnersJourney,” Justl said, a reference to the district’s strategic plan for greater student learning and classroom innovation.

SBISD’s Vanguard Fellows will develop in its own way, but similar teams have been created successfully in other public school districts where Dr. Muri served. These include Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina and Fulton County Schools in suburban Atlanta.

The Vanguard Fellows will meet in the months ahead in special team sessions.

Cohort II Vanguard Fellows (February 2017)

Lindsay Duke, Bear Boulevard School for Early Learning, Prekindergarten
Stephanie Chambers, Bendwood School, 3rd-5th Grade
Cassie Salas, Buffalo Creek Elementary, 1st Grade
Lauren Blouin, Cedar Brook Elementary, 3rd Grade, English Language Arts/Social Studies
Cassandra Cowen, Cedar Brook Elementary, 2nd Grade
Amanda Breland, Cornerstone Academy, 8th Grade, English Language Arts
Roldan Moreno, Housman Elementary, 5th Grade, Math & Science
Lucia Flores, Landrum Middle School, 7th Grade, Math
Juan Alvarez, Lion Lane School for Early Learning, Prekindergarten
Erika Wheeler, Meadow Wood Elementary, 3rd Grade, Science
Tabitha Pena, Meadow Wood Elementary, English Language Arts/Social Studies
Ami Rapp, Meadow Wood Elementary, 3rd Grade, Math & Science
Hayley MacDonald, Memorial Drive Elementary, 3rd Grade
Andrea Skaggs, Memorial Drive Elementary, Intervention
Christopher Villarreal, Memorial High School, English Language Arts
Baily Dizdar, Memorial High School, Chemistry
Gail Dunn, Memorial Middle School, Tech Apps
Laura Grabarschick, Northbrook Middle School, 7th Grade, English Language Arts
Leela Simmons, Northbrook Middle School, 7th Grade, Math
Jeanette Choy, Nottingham Elementary School, 7th Grade, English Language Arts
Melanie Marshall, Nottingham Elementary School, 2nd Grade, Math & Science
Candase Charles, Rummel Creek Elementary School, 5th  Grade, Science
Sandra Hardie, Spring Branch Middle School, English Language Arts
Amy Wiley, Spring Oaks Middle School, 6th Grade, English Language Arts
Michelle Greenawalt, Spring Oaks Middle School, Career & Technology Education
Maria Luna, Spring Shadows Elementary School, 3rd Grade
Abigail Price, Spring Woods High School, English Language Arts IV
Ambila Bobmanuel, Spring Woods High School, Pre-Calculus
Stephanie Woods, Spring Woods Middle School, 7th Grade, English Language Arts
Laura Caldwell, Treasure Forest Elementary School, 4th Grade, Math & Science
Nichole Nakadate, Westchester Academy, 6th Grade, English Language Arts/Social Studies
Tamika Caston-Miller, Westchester Academy, World Languages
Carol Mendez, Westwood Elementary School, 2nd Grade
Romelia Jimenez-Garza, Westwood Elementary School, 4th Grade
Veronica Evetts, Terrace Elementary School, 4th Grade, English Language Arts/Social Studies
Carrie Estes, Hollibrook Elementary School, 5th Grade, Math & Science

Cohort I Vanguard Fellows (May 2016)

Shelby Acevedo, Northbrook High, Special Education Co-Teacher
Christina Canney, Westchester Academy, 6th Grade Science
Jonathan Claydon, Northbrook High, Pre-Calculus and Calculus
Jamie Flint, Spring Woods High, Pre-Advanced Placement (AP) and AP Chemistry
Sofia Guerrero, Landrum Middle, 7th Grade Mathematics
Kari Heitman, Spring Oaks Middle, Teacher Librarian
Ashley Johnson, Hunters Creek Elementary, 1st Grade Self Contained
Edith Lewis, Spring Oaks Middle, 7th Grade Science
Sharon Mahabir, The Lion Lane School for Early Learning, Prekindergarten
Angela McNeil, Westwood Elementary, 4th Grade Self Contained
Annie Mitchell, Nottingham Elementary, 3rd Grade ELA Arts/Social Studies
Crystal Nicholas, Northbrook Middle, 7th Grade Mathematics
Lindsay O’Neil, Cedar Brook Elementary, 2nd Grade Self Contained
Jennifer Roberts, Westwood Elementary, 3rd Grade, Self Contained
Becky Singley, Stratford High, English Language Arts/English I
Anne Smalling, Memorial Drive Elementary, 4th Grade Self Contained
Francisco Villareal, The Panda Path School for Early Learning, Prekindergarten
Donna Ward, Spring Forest Middle, 7th Grade Mathematics
Amarilys William, Northbrook Middle, 8th Grade Science

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Partnership Summit Looks to Better Align Programs, Activities

SBISD partners at work during a SWOT analysis exercise at the Partnership Summit on March 8.
 SBISD’s Community Relations department welcomed some 60 district partners Wednesday morning for a partnership summit to help better align partner activities with T-2-4 and the strategic plan, The Learner’s Journey.

Coordinator for Strategic Partnerships and Volunteer Programs Abby Walker said the morning’s purpose was twofold: to better align not just what partners are doing now but what needs to be done, and to develop a baseline of where to begin that alignment.

“We want to be more strategic about our alignment with district goals,” Walker said. “And we want to develop a Resilient Foundation (one of the pillars of The Learner’s Journey) for partnerships.”

Partners participated in a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis, facilitated by Safal Partners, a local firm that consults nationally with educators. Community Relations Officer Linda Buchman lifted out one of the firm’s consultants, Leonel Olmedo, a 2006 graduate of Northbrook High School who went on to earn a biological sciences degree from the University of Chicago, where he was a Gates Millennium Scholar.

SBISD partners work at both the district and the campus level in a variety of programs. The district has more than 260 partners in its Good Neighbor program, which requires three or more activities in support of SBISD or the Spring Branch Education Foundation (SBEF), and some 10,000 approved volunteers.

“I feel really good about the summit,” Walker said. “We’ve gotten really good feedback so far … it’s been overwhelmingly positive.”

View a recent presentation on partnerships and volunteers >>

SBISD Scholastic Art Award Winners Honored

Memorial High School Scholastic Awards winning entries
Thirty-seven teenage artists from Spring Branch ISD middle and high schools have earned Scholastic Art Awards in regional annual competition sponsored through the Harris County Department of Education.

SBISD student photography and art were among 53 individual works selected for recent display with other regional winners; 11student artists won Gold Key awards to advance to a top judging category, the national level.

Gold Key winning photography entry Hoi An by Sarah Hambly (11th grade, Stratford High School)
Nineteen students took home Silver Key art awards, and many other students won Honorable Mention awards for works of art and photography.

View more winning artwork >>

SBISD high school award winners in Gold and Silver categories will have their works displayed March 11-30 at Spring Street Studio, 1824 Spring St. A young artist reception will be sponsored on March 11 from 2-4 p.m. at the Spring Street Studio, too, for these high school artists.

A separate Gold and Silver Exhibit will be held for all middle school art winners March 11-30 at Texas Art Supply, 2001 Montrose Blvd.

Regional Gold and Silver Ceremonies will be held for regional winners March 25 and March 30, depending on grade level, at the Alley Theater or the Midtown Arts and Theater Center Houston. Ceremony times are based on award levels and vary.

The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, now 94 years old, provides an opportunity for middle and high school students to show and also to have their work judged. Winning works are displayed to regional and national audiences, promoting and inspiring a new generation to create and consider fine arts careers.

Former national Scholastic Art & Writing winners have included such notable writers as Truman Capote and Lena Dunham, photographer Richard Avedon, pop artists Andy Warhol and Robert Indiana, director/actor Robert Redford, filmmaker Ken Burns, and fashion designer Zac Posen.

For more information about the regional Scholastic awards, please visit

SBISD Student Art Award Winners:

Gold Key Awards

Memorial High
Julia Delaney, 12th grade, Drawing and Illustration, for “The Shadow of Death” and “Reflections of Youth”
Raymond Zrike, 11th grade, Photography, “Larry the Birdman”

Memorial Middle
Saranna Zhang, Drawing and Illustration, “My Journey”

Spring Branch Middle
Alexandra O’Shell, 8th grade, Photography, “Season of Hope”

Stratford High
Sarah Hambly, 11th grade, Photography, “Hoi An”
Madeline Harms, 11th grade, Painting, “Colored Paint-cils”
Alyssa Stanford, 12th grade, Photography, for “Abandon” and “Opaque”
Juwon Yoo, 12th grade, Drawing and Ilustration, “Spaghetti for Dinner” and “Glutton”

Silver Key Awards

Memorial High
Leslie Clark, 12th grade, Drawing and Ilustration, “Danger in Emeralds” and “Prehistoric”
Julia Delaney, 12th grade, Art Portfolio, “Existence”
Katherine Hrap, 11th grade, Drawing and Illustration, “Dawson and Tucker”
Katie Klaff, 12th grade, Drawing and Illustration, “Parrotdise”
Joy Lu, 12th grade, Drawing and Illustration, “Breadwinner”
Mary Torres, 12th grade, Drawing and Illustration, “Glass Reflection”

Spring Branch Middle
Chandler Gartner, 8th grade, Photography, “Layers of Grace”
Kirby Robinson, 8th grade, Photography, “Morning Dew”
Olivia Willard, 8th grade, Photography, “Burst of Passion”

Stratford High
Kate Bortner, 10th grade, Photography, “All Boarded Up”
Elizabeth Gex, 11th grade, Painting, “The Cupboard”
Samantha Hanslip, 12th grade, Photography, “Mom”
Madeline Harms, 11th grade, Drawing and Illustration, “Queen of the Chair”
Giboom Park, 11th grade, Drawing and Illustration, “Dominance”
Alyssa Stanford, 12th grade, Photography, “Vulnerable”
Collin Whitby, 12th grade, Photography, “Hands of Light”
Juwon Yoo, 12th grade, Art Portfolio, “Viva la Vida”
Juwon Yoo, 12th grade, Drawing and Illustration, “Little Space in Time”

Honorable Mention

Memorial High
Leslie Clark, 12th grade, Art Portfolio, “Wild Spirits”
Lauren Dickerson, 10th grade, Drawing and Illustration, “Kk”
Eleanor Green, 10th grade, Drawing and Illustration, “Selfie”
Rachel Jiang, 12th grade, Drawing and Illustration, “Oyster Omelette”
Katie Klaff, 12th grade, Drawing and Illustration, “Scrub a Dub”
Joy Lu, 12th grade, Art Portfolio, “The Joy of Art”
Adelle Schlenker, 12th grade, Painting, “pink”
Adelle Titterington, 12th grade, Drawing and Illustration, “Major”
Melanie Vargas Verde, 12th grade, Painting, “Blue eyed Felix”
Amy Womac, 12th grade, Drawing and Illustration, “Shooter”
Raymond Zrike, 11th grade, Photography, “East 41, NY” and “Walks in Peace” and “Something Fleeting”

Spring Branch Middle
Emma Feuer, 8th grade, Photography, “Life in the Darkness”

Spring Forest Middle
Kelly Chau, 8th grade, Mixed Media, “Wonders of Culture”

Stratford High
Maia Fageria, 11th grade, Photography, “8:43 A.M.”
Abigail Gex, 9th grade, Photography, “Welcome Home”
Lauren Graham, 11th grade, Drawing and Illustration, “Cracked Open”
Robin Graves, 11th grade, Drawing and Ilustration, “Breakfast”
Zachary Harkins, 12th grade, Photography, “Starry Sky”
Audrey Hudson, 11th grade, Photography, “Fruit?”
Katherine Mesa, 11th grade, Photography, “Adolescence”
Lauren Pfeifer, 12th grade, Photography, “Hands”
Juwon Yoo, 12th grade, Drawing and Illustration, “Crumble World” and “Finding Beauty”

SBISD art and photography instructors who helped guide and support these award-winning students include Sharon Clark, Crystal Fiocchi and Marilyn Guerinot at Memorial High; Lynn Ludlam at Memorial Middle; Elisa Barry at Spring Branch Middle; Elaine Jones at Spring Forest Middle; and Bess Garison, Lillian Harris and Jennifer Clouse at Stratford High.

Volunteers Make Spring Branch Education Foundation Golf Classic A Success

When golfers gather at Sealy’s River Ridge Golf Course on Saturday, April 8, they will be part of a two-decades-old tradition of community leaders supporting SBISD’s 35,000 students. It’s a tradition that’s possible because of dedicated volunteers who have a heart for education.

This is year 21 for Spring Branch Education Foundation’s Golf Classic. Volunteers extraordinaire, hosts and co-chairs Mike Baker and Jay Sartain have great expectations. They’re looking for wonderful weather, great fun and a sold-out event.

Golf has been a life-long passion for Mike Baker. A golfer since 5th grade, he has searched out opportunities to play in tournaments since he moved to Houston more than a few years ago. He started playing in the SBEF Golf Classic about seven years back to support the school district that educated his children and the Foundation where his wife, Jennie, serves as a board member.

“Through Jennie, I’ve learned so much more about what SBEF does for SBISD’s students and teachers,” he says. “While we all pay our property taxes, much of what we pay is redistributed to other school districts in Texas. SBEF helps fill some of the funding gaps through fundraising events, with the objective of enhancing our students’ education and preparing them for life after high school. The annual golf tournament is one of the Foundation’s largest fundraisers, and that’s why I chose to co-chair it this year.”

Another volunteer, Debra Aitken, is not a golfer. She has, however, served on the SBEF board for 15 years for one simple reason: “I like giving back to my community. Strong schools make stronger communities. And I appreciate that SBISD prepared my children for success at UT Austin, Texas A&M and the MBA program at OU.

“At the golf tournament, we have fun, raise money and reach an audience who may or may not have children in our district. With 36 teams, we reach 144 men and women who clearly care about education and the Foundation’s mission of making our schools better for students and teachers.”

“The Golf Classic continues to grow,” says Cece Thompson, SBEF executive director. “It’s a popular tournament because golfers appreciate that the money goes for scholarships and campus grants. Everyone enjoys the day.”

The tournament is a four-player team scramble and includes a raffle, mulligans, a sponsored drive for scholarships and contests for putting, longest drive and closest to the hole. Breakfast and lunch are included. Team and individual registration is open through Tuesday, April 4: teams, $2,000; individuals, $500.  Register online here >>

Call the SBEF office, 713-251-2381, for more information.

Perdue Brandon Fielder Collins & Mott, LLP has signed on as the tournament’s Eagle Clubhouse sponsor. Also teeing up as sponsors are Phillips 66; Group 1 Automotive; MetroNational; Stantec Architecture, Inc.; and PBK Architects, Inc. Other sponsorships are available.

In addition to Aitken, co-chairs Baker and Sartain have tapped community members to serve on the SBEF Golf Classic committee: Doug Goodson, Scooter Hicks, Kamden Kanaly, George Kurisky, Warren Matthews, Roy Montalbano, Paul Moreton, Ted Nowak, Ron Nunley, Lisa Schwartz, Debbie Slack, Warren Sloan, Rob Stewart and Cece Thompson.

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 ̅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 $10 million to the district. SBEF is a 501(c)3 organization; all donations are tax deductible.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Odyssey of the Mind Teams Prepare for State

The Stratford High team won first place in To Be Continued: A Superhero Cliffhanger and Ready, Set, Balsa, Build.
 Twenty-four Odyssey of the Mind campus teams will represent Spring Branch ISD at state next month after regional competition was held recently. Texas Odyssey of the Mind state competition will be held April 8 at Waller High School.

SBISD campuses supported 42 separate student teams from 17 schools for regional competition. More than 200 SBISD students took part in competition on teams with five to seven students collaborating on problems and solution responses.

Odyssey of the Mind, also called OM, is a creative, problem-solving competition open to students at all grade levels. OM student teams work together on a pre-set, or Long-Term Problem, during local, regional and state competitions.

Teams ranked from first to sixth place in for each problem advance to state finals.

During competition, OM teams must also solve a problem they haven’t ever seen before to find a Spontaneous Problem solution.

The Cornerstone Academy team won first place in Catch Us If You Can.
Cedar Brook team

Meadow Wood team

Terrace team

Rummel Creek team
SBISD state qualifying teams and Long-Term Problems they solved include:

Problem 1: Catch Us If You Can
Meadow Wood Elementary, 2nd place; Terrace Elementary, 4th place; Ridgecrest Elementary, 3rd place; Rummel Creek Elementary, 8th place(this team advances); Cornerstone Academy, 1st place; Spring Oaks Middle, 3rd place

Problem Synopsis: This is your Odyssey, should you choose to accept it . . . your team will design, build and run vehicles from a multi-level Parking Garage to a secret meeting place without being stopped. Vehicles will travel different routes to reach the same destination. During their Odyssey, the vehicles will do something that prevents them from being followed. The performance will include the reason for the meeting, someone who wants to prevent the meeting, a simulation of a scene taking place inside a vehicle as it travels, and a soundtrack to accompany the vehicles’ travel.

Problem 2: Odd-a-Bot
Hunters Creek Elementary, 4th place; Valley Oaks Elementary, 5th place; Wilchester Elementary, 6th place; Memorial Middle, 4th place; Cornerstone Academy, 5th place

Problem Synopsis: For this problem, teams will create a humorous story about a family that brings home an “Odd-a-Bot.” Instead of being programmed to perform tasks, this Odd-a-Bot robot learns from watching others. Teams will design, build and operate an original robot that demonstrates human characteristics when performing tasks. In the performance, the Odd-a-Bot will move and learn human actions from watching characters perform activities such as household chores, creating art, and dancing. The Odd-a-Bot learns more than it was expected to learn, and will confuse its actions with humorous results.

Problem 3: It’s Time, Omer
Ridgecrest Elementary, 1st place; Pine Shadows Elementary, 3rd place; KIPP Academy at Landrum Middle, 2nd place; Westchester Academy, 2nd place

Problem Synopsis: The future and the past collide in this problem about important works of art – both existing and yet-to-be created. Teams will create and present an original performance about time travelers looking to discover the inspiration for great works of art, little did they know – it was OMER every time! The travelers go back in time – twice into our past and once into our future. They will see OMER inspire two classical artists and a team-created artist from our future. The performance will include how the three works of art positively impact the world, a visual and audible effect that indicates when time travel is occurring, two re-creations of the classic works of art selected from a list, and a team-created work of art.

Problem 4: Ready, Set, Balsa, Build
Meadow Wood Elementary, 3rd place; Spring Forest Middle, 1st place; Memorial Middle, 4th place; Stratford High, 1st place; Spring Woods High, 4th place; Memorial High, 5th place

Problem Synopsis: Creativity can be defined by using only what you have to get a job done. In this problem, teams will design, build and test a structure made of only balsa wood and glue that will balance and support as much weight as possible. The structure must include sets of balsa pieces of predetermined sizes and quantities as listed in the problem. Some sets much be parts of the structure while others, if incorporated, will receive additional score – the more sets of pieces used, the higher the score! Teams will present a performance with a theme about what’s available and that incorporates weight-placement and assembling original team creations.

Problem 5: To Be Continued: A Superhero Cliffhanger
Meadow Wood Elementary, 2rd place; Stratford High, 1st place; Memorial High, 3rd place

Problem Synopsis: Creativity is being taken away from the world, and it is up to Odyssey teams to rescue it! Teams will create and present a humorous performance about an unexpected superhero that encounters three different situations where it must save creativity in some way. The superhero will change appearance when it displays its superpowers and go back to blending in with society when not. The performance will also include a clumsy sidekick, a nemesis character, a choreographed battle, and a cliffhanger ending.

Bosses Night Funds Five Student Scholarships

As a top highlight of the evening program, Tera Harris and Finance Dept. staff danced and sang during a performance of the Bruno Mars hit, “Uptown Funk."
More than 200 district employees attended a recent Bosses Night celebration sponsored by the Spring Branch Educational Support Association (SBESA). The dinner program’s fund-raising efforts resulted in thousands of dollars for student scholarship awards. SBESA’s Boss of the Year announcement was also made.

A silent auction held during the Feb. 9 dinner and event program at Frostwood Elementary School raised $2,310 for five high school scholarships, to be made later this month. Raffle winner Julie Hodson, district grants director, donated a large sum back to the association – $215 – when her ticket number was called.

During the celebration, Community Relations Officer Linda Buchman received the well-deserved Boss of the Year award.
Community Relations Officer Linda Buchman was named Boss of the Year, an overdue honor in the view of many Community Relations and Communications team members. “Linda is our guiding star, and we could not be more proud to be part of her ‘amazing team’,” her team nomination states in one section.

“Our team works many long hours to make connections with partners, engage community volunteers, communicate with our internal and external customers, support the District leadership and make sure our employees feel valued. Linda is right there in the trenches with us, and never asks us to do anything she would not do herself . . . At the end of every event, before our tired bodies even hit the pillow, we have a ‘Thank You!’ text from Linda, telling us, ‘You are the greatest team!’ This kind of praise makes us hungry for more and keeps us working hard,” the nomination also stated.

Staff teams nominated eight separate administrators for this top recognition, an internal sign of the district’s strong leadership and team values.

Others nominated for the Boss of the Year award this year were Kathy Menotti, Westchester Academy for International Studies assistant director; Ellen Green, Frostwood Elementary principal; Tera Harris, district director of accounting; Barbara Robillard, district director of purchasing; LaWanda Coffee, district director of external funding & compliance; Julie Hodson, district director of grants.

Bill Burger from Cornerstone Academy was Bosses Night emcee. In addition to a dinner from Maggiano’s Italian Grill, eight district staff members performed for a welcoming and appreciative audience.

Staff who performed included Ibn Walker, Chris Doyle and Annissa McDonald, all with the Transportation Dept. (Transportation); Scott Keairns (Northbrook High); Bill Kirkland (Westchester Academy), Jose Cavazos (PEIMS Dept.), TJ Lampart (SBESA) and Tera Reid (Finance Dept). 

Talent show winner was Bill Kirkland, who dazzled with his rendition of “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me!”

A top highlight of the evening program was Tera Reid and Finance Dept. staff’s dance and song performance of the Bruno Mars hit, “Uptown Funk,” to close out the Bosses Night celebration.
Five scholarships, one from each high school, will be awarded at the end of March at the SBESA Installation Dinner for new 2017-18 school year officers.

Transportation Dept.’s Matt Riely was Bosses Night photographer. Twelve student volunteers from The Guthrie Center helped serve dinner for service hours credit.

Report submitted by Jan Lampart, Bosses Night Chairman; SBISD Communications Dept. edited the initial report and added supporting material.

Navy Jr. ROTC Cadets Earn Orienteering and Other Awards

Guthrie-Spring Branch 2016-17 Orienteering Team
Navy Jr. ROTC cadets from the district’s Guthrie Center returned from contests in orienteering, group drills, academics and personal physical fitness with top awards recently. Two notable cadet competitions were held during February:

Stubblefield Orienteering Meet

Twelve cadets competed in the annual Stubblefield Orienteering Meet held Feb 18-19. The meet, hosted by the Houston Orienteering Club, was held near Stubblefield Campground, north of Lake Conroe in the Sam Houston National Forest.

The Stubblefield Orienteering competition is considered a rigorous event due to the denseness of the Sam Houston National Forest. This recent two-day meet served as the Navy Jr. ROTC Area 10 Orienteering Championship.

Three SBISD high school cadets earned age group medals at the campground meet. Orienteering is a competitive sport in which players, or orienteers, use an accurate, detailed map and a compass to find points in a particular meet landscape.

SBISD cadets earning top recognitions included:
  • Daisy Baltazar, Northbrook High sophomore, first in 16-year-old females;
  • Chance Moberly, Stratford High junior, third in 18-year-old males; and
  • Dennis Lopez, Spring Woods High sophomore, fourth in 16-year-old males.
Other Guthrie Center cadets who competed in the orienteering event were Anthony Condon, senior, and Devin Williams, junior, both of Spring Woods High; Elba De La Rosa and Pedro Quiroz, seniors; Syrah Bamaca and Megan Olvera, juniors; and Megan Olvera, sophomore, all of Northbrook High; Brandon Hancock, sophomore, Stratford High; and Chris Barron, junior, Westchester Academy for International Studies.

A standard orienteering course consists of a starting point, a series of control sites marked by circles and connected by lines, and numbered in the order to be visited, plus a finish point.

On the ground, a control flag marks the location that the orienteer must visit. To verify a visit, an orienteer uses a punch hanging next to the flag to mark a card. Different punches make separate patterns of holes in the paper. The route between control flags isn’t specified, and is entirely up to the orienteer – this element of route choice and ability to navigate through the forest landscape are orienteering key elements.

Cadets relax after Saturday competition.

Drill, Academics and Physical Fitness

Twenty-seven cadets competed Feb. 11 at Spring High School in drill, academics and physical fitness against nine other area Jr. ROTC programs from the Houston and Beaumont areas. The cadets took first place in both physical fitness and color guard drill, and placed third in academics.

First place medals were awarded for pushups to Pedro Quiroz, a Northbrook High senior, and Lauren Rodela, a junior at Spring Woods High. Also awarded the first place medal was Spring Woods High junior Azucena Gonzales for sit ups. 

Third place medals for sit ups were also awarded to Spring Woods High seniors Anthony Condon and Dennis Lopez

The next cadet competition will be held March 25 at the Caney Creek Top Gun Field Meet at Caney Creek High School. 

The Guthrie-Spring Branch Navy Jr. ROTC is an elective citizenship development and leadership program available to all Spring Branch ISD high school students.

SBISD cadets are led by U.S. Navy Retired Commander Jerry Coufal and Navy Master Chief Retired Petty Officer Mark Heuser.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Character Without Question Awards

This year's Character Without Question Award recipients
Forty-seven outstanding students enrolled in prekindergarten through 12th grade were honored as Character Without Question Award recipients during a recent ceremony for students and families hosted at Northbrook High School.

This year’s award presentation was conducted during the Feb. 27 monthly meeting of the Spring Branch ISD Board of Trustees. Winning students were recognized in a special event presentation that attracted many family members.

A unique and special recognition, SBISD’s Character Without Question Award honors students who exhibit great character traits and habits that include honesty and integrity, responsibility and dependability, respect, perseverance and effort, courage, caring and kindness, and citizenship and civic virtue.

“You are receiving this award,” states district Superintendent of Schools Scott R. Muri, Ed.D., “because of the outstanding character and positive actions you have demonstrated to your teachers and fellow students. “According to them, you are responsible citizens who show respect, caring and kindness to everyone and are always ready to ‘do the right thing’ in all situations. You truly make a difference in your school, your community, and in the lives of others.”

This year’s student recognitions included awards to two separate family members, a brother and sister who have a sibling honored with the same award a year ago.

Avery Ramsey, a Hunters Creek Elementary fifth-grader, joined her older brother, Preston, an eighth-grader at Spring Branch Middle School, on stage to receive the special honor. Their brother, Riley, now a sixth-grader, won the award last year.

Left to right:  Preston, 8th grade, Spring Branch Middle; Kristen and John, parents; Jack, 5th grade, Hunters Creek Elementary; Riley, 6th grade; Front: Avery, 5th grade, Hunters Creek Elementary
“As a parent, if my kids are going to receive an award, this is the award that I want them to receive,” says Kristen Ramsey, their mom. “This award speaks to their personal character, and I believe that character will take them far in their lives.”

Preston, a football team captain at Spring Branch Middle School, is known for his leadership and as a student who stands up for others.

“Preston Ramsey was chosen as Spring Branch Middle School’s Character Without Question winner because of his ability and willingness to stand as a positive leader for his peers,” said eighth-grade counselor Patricia Cezeaux.

“Many students at Preston’s age follow negative role models or don’t have the self-confidence to stand up and speak out for what is right. Preston, no matter how soft-spoken he may be, allows his actions to speak loudly, and those actions are always kind, helpful and admirable.”

At Hunters Creek Elementary, Avery is well known for her empathy, and for helping others first. Last year, Riley was tested by an ACL surgery and recovery, and won notice for his perseverance and upbeat demeanor.

“Our fifth-grade class this year is such a great class with many students who show great character,” Hunters Creek Principal Robye Snyder said. “Avery stands out, through her years as Hunters Creek Elementary, as a step above the others. She is consistently kind and caring to all, takes responsibility for her learning, does her best at all times, and is a great peacemaker. All of the four Ramsey children exhibit these characteristics and are a testament to great parenting.”

Kristen and her husband, John, were pleasantly surprised by double award winners this year. “We’re thrilled. It has truly been an honor for our kids, and we are all honored that they were even nominated,” she said.

The campus-based awards are coordinated through liaisons working with SBISD Social and Emotional Learning/Character Education. Student award recipients were presented with a copy of Kobi Yamada’s book, “What Do You Do with an Idea?”

The program and pre-event reception are supported generously by Wells Fargo and Spring Branch Education Foundation.

Additional support was provided by Events for all Seasons, Lion Market Catering with Culinary Arts, and Jennifer Cardenas and Allie Adams with Landrum Middle School.

Sarah Soliz and Paul Bryant with SBISD’s Community Relations/Communications provided publication and planning support.

2016-2017 Character Without Question Recipients:

Schools for Early Learning (Prekindergarten)
Bear Boulevard – David Mendieta
Lion Lane – Isis Aileen Garcia
Panda Path – Ariel Rubio
Tiger Trail – Alina Sahoo
Wildcat Way – Camila Rodriguez

Elementary Campuses
Buffalo Creek – Vanessa Espino, 5
Bunker Hill – Brooke Maddox, 5
Cedar Brook – Viviana Olivera Cardenas, 5
Edgewood – Getzamary Solano, 5
Frostwood – Michael Eubanks, 5
SB Academic Institute – Caroline Graham, 5
Hollibrook – Gabriela Romero, Garcia 5
Housman – Melissa Garza, 5
Hunters Creek – Avery Ramsey, 5
Meadow Wood – Lizzie Emerson, 5
Memorial Drive – Grace Al-Abdullah, 5
Nottingham – Kendall Zoboroski, 5
Pine Shadows – Yisell Garcia-Jaramillo, 5
Ridgecrest – Adriana Lizbeth Castillo, 5
Rummel Creek – Tatum Marye, 5
Shadow Oaks – Sara Flores, 4
Sherwood – Yelena Geanne Van De Coevering, 5
Spring Branch – Gabriel Zavala, 3
Spring Shadows – Michael Nathaniel Rangel, 5
Terrace – Angel Torres, 5
Thornwood – Ava Elizabeth Leon, 3
Treasure Forest – Jasmin Resendiz, 4
Valley Oaks – Goldie Chandler, 5
Westwood – Saherdeep Kaur, 5
Wilchester – Johnny Crawford, 5
Woodview – Donovan Tovar, 5

Middle School Campuses
Academy of Choice – Alondra Lissette Martinez, 8
Cornerstone Academy – Leyse Vasquez Maury, 8
Landrum Middle – Julius Constytine Alvarado, 8
Memorial Middle – Cameron Fuller, 8
Northbrook Middle – Carla Luna, 8
Spring Branch Middle – Preston Ramsey, 8
Spring Forest Middle – Samuel Bernardo Hinojosa, 8
Spring Oaks Middle – Thy Minh Ho, 8
Spring Woods Middle – Ananna Alam, 8
Westchester Academy – Angela Alvarado, 7

High School Campuses
Guthrie Center – Jamauri Bagby, 10
Memorial High – Allison Gentry, 11
Northbrook High – Samuel Chase Gonsoulin, 12
Spring Woods High – Johanna Ortega Rosales, 12
Stratford High – Anali Cervantes, 12
Westchester Academy – Alec Miller, 12

Friday, March 3, 2017

Dr. Seuss Celebration Marks Start of National Reading Month

Treasure Forest Elementary students had some very special visitors to help them celebrate the start of National Reading Month and Dr. Seuss’ birthday this week.

Members of the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation Young Professionals Group read Dr. Seuss books to 3rd graders at the school in honor of the author’s birthday and the annual National Education Association’s (NEA) Read Across America Day.

In addition to their reading aloud activities, the Foundation provided each 3rd grade classroom with a set of Dr. Seuss books for their libraries. Books will be used for reading aloud in class and literacy development. Reading aloud is shown to strength literacy skills for listeners and readers alike and research indicates it may even help predict a child’s later success with reading and writing.
Other early skills closely related to later success with reading and writing:
·        Alphabet knowledge—the ability to name letters and the sounds they make
·        Phonological awareness—the ability to hear and manipulate the sounds of spoken language (such as hear the beginning sound of a word)
·        Rapid letter or number naming—the ability to quickly name letters or numbers
·        Rapid object or color naming—the ability to quickly name random series of colors or objects
·        Phonological memory—the ability to remember spoken information for a short period of time
·        Writing letters or write a student’s own name—the ability to write single letters in isolation, or write their own name

#Every Child’s developmental journey has its own pace. No matter what age or level your student, you can help foster important skills with activities that suit his or her current abilities and interests. A great resource for parents is SBISD’s ReadyRosie. Click here for more information about this resource.