In The Schools

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District to be honoredfor propane bus use

The Denton school district will be recognized by the Texas Railroad Commission for utilizing propane to fuel its buses.

Railroad Commissioner David Porter will honor the district with a check presentation during a brief ceremony scheduled at 4 p.m. Tuesday in the Denton ISD Bus Barn, located at 5093 E. McKinney St.

For 17 years, the district has been one of the leaders in alternative fuel use. The district is one of 77 school districts in Texas that uses propane buses. 

The district operates 104 propane school buses, making it one of the largest propane fleets in the state.

Porter will present the district with a check for $123,696 for the purchase of seven propane buses and the upgrade of the 18,000-gallon propane refueling site. The district has also received more than $655,000 in federal alternative motor-fuel tax credits for use of propane.

“I am very pleased that Denton ISD has led the way in Texas in saving hundreds of thousands of dollars on fuel and operating costs by using Texas-produced propane instead of imported oil,” Porter said. “Not only do these propane buses save money and reduce dependency on foreign oil, they are reducing exhaust soot by 99 percent, which is good for the environment and our children.”

Aaron Robbins, the district’s director of transportation, said the savings has helped the transportation budget and provides many environmental benefits.

“The incentives that allowed Denton ISD to select alternative fuel buses have been incredible,” Robbins said. “We have improved our fleet’s numbers and done so by saving the district vital financial resources. Most importantly, it’s the students who have benefited most with the new quieter and cleaner running buses.”

For more information, contact Sharon Cox at 940-369-0006 or .


Schools to close Monday for holiday

Students and staff in the Denton school district will have a three-day weekend Saturday through Monday. Students and staff are joining the nation to observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a school holiday on Monday. All school facilities will be closed on that day.


Transitional meetings set for eighth grade

Special transitional meetings for all eighth-grade students and their parents will start at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 28, at Denton, Guyer and Ryan high schools.

The purpose is to help parents and their eighth-graders learn more about high school programs.

Special presentations on high school enrollment procedures will be given at 7 p.m. for parents. Participants will be able to talk to teachers, organization sponsors and coaches.

There will be school counselors, teachers and administrators available to answer questions. The various high school clubs and organizations will have booths with information.

Prior to the transitional meetings, the high school career counselors will be meeting with all eighth-grade students to counsel them about careers, college opportunities and explaining how high school courses can assist students with their future goals.

The high school principals and counselors will have informational and “get to know” meetings with the eighth-graders from Friday through Feb. 1 at all the district’s middle schools. High school counselors will start registering the students in February.

For more information, contact the counseling offices at Denton High, 940-369-2000; Guyer High, 940-369-1000; and Ryan High 940-369-3000. In case of inclement weather, the event will be rescheduled at the same times for Feb. 4.


Reception planned for Stephens on Jan. 24

A special reception is planned for Dennis Stephens, the assistant superintendent for human resources, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Jan. 24, in the boardroom at the district’s central services building. Stephens is retiring this month after 41 years with the school district.

He began his career with the Denton school district in 1972 as a math teacher at Strickland Middle School. In 1978, he became a middle school counselor, a position he held for four years. He was than promoted to coordinator of attendance and safety in 1982.

He was named director of personnel in 1987 and has served as the top administrator for human resources for almost 25 years, including executive director of human resources and most recently, assistant superintendent for human resources.

Stephens also has been involved in the Denton community, including serving as a board member of the United Way of Denton County.

Additionally, he has served on the boards of Ann’s Haven Hospice, Friends of the Denton Public Library, Retired and Senior Volunteer Program and DATCU.

“During his four decades with the district, Mr. Stephens served as a strong role model for not only our employees, but for our students. He developed a strong rapport with many of our staff and with others throughout the community,” Superintendent Jamie Wilson said.

As a community leader, he has served on numerous task forces, which have helped the city and school district with its fast growth and increasing population.

“Throughout his school, community and church service, Mr. Stephens has touched the lives of countless students, educators, colleagues and friends. Most recently, he has been instrumental in seeing to the personnel needs of Denton ISD as it has opened 18 schools in the past 15 year[s],” Ray Braswell, retired superintendent, said of his longtime colleague. 

Over the years, he has overseen the hiring of more than 3,000 employees as the Denton district grew from a small-town school community to a fast-growing district.


Savannah Elementary School

Second-grade teacher wins $1,000 grant

Jeanetta Byrd, a second-grade teacher at Savannah Elementary School, was recently awarded the 2012-13 Grant for Teaching Excellence Award from the Association of Texas Professional Educators.

Byrd submitted a proposal showing how the use of the Nook tablet/e-readers could help her students improve their math and reading skills.

Her idea was selected as the best in the state in the elementary category, earning Byrd a $1,000 grant and complimentary registration to the annual ATPE Summit in Austin in July.

The Denton school district has set a goal to “actively pursue, foster and support an advanced digital learning environment” and Byrd points out that her class will have that ability through the use of the ATPE grant.

Byrd is in her fifth year as a teacher at Savannah. She is a graduate of the University of North Texas.



Reception planned for Krum superintendent

A retirement reception for Krum school district Superintendent Mike Davis will be from 2 to 6 p.m. Tuesday in the boardroom at the district administration building, 1200 Bobcat Blvd.

Cake and punch will be served and guests should feel free to come and go.

Davis will retire this month after 20 years in education, having served as head of Krum schools since 2008. The school board will designate an interim superintendent at its meeting tonight.


Krum High School

Student earns chair in TMEA All-State Choir

Krum High School sophomore and choir student James Fitts was selected as fourth chair in the area auditions for the Texas Music Educators Association All-State Choir. Auditions were held Jan. 12.

The accomplishment makes James the district’s first all-state choir member.

The audition process takes place over the course of the fall semester as more than 15,000 auditioning students are narrowed down to about 500 in four rounds of auditions.

As part of the process, students perform sections of their literature and test their sight-reading skills for a panel of five judges in each of 28 TMEA regions across the state. The advancing students continue the competition against the other seven TMEA areas, vying for the honor to be named an all-state member.

James will participate in a three-day clinic and perform at noon Feb. 16 at the TMEA convention in San Antonio.


Student selected to ATSSB All-State Band

Valeria Ibarra, a sophomore at Krum High School who plays trumpet, has been selected to the 2013 Association of Texas Small School Bands All-State Band.

 Ibarra is the only student from Krum to advance to the state band.

More than 9,000 high school band students from across Texas auditioned in 20 regions for a place in their respective all-region bands. The top chairs in each region advanced to area auditions Jan. 12, when 240 students were selected for all-state honors.

Krum High School area qualifiers also included Helen Harward, Jacob Stevenson, Karley Bayer, and Allie Guest.

The All-State band concert will be at 9 a.m. Feb. 16, in the Lila Cockrell Theatre at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio. 



Recommendations to name schools sought

The Northwest school district school board invites the community to submit nominations to name the district’s new high school and elementary school No. 17.

Board policy states: “The Board shall name school buildings and educational facilities according to one of the following documented categories:

“School buildings serving kindergarten through grade 8:

“1. In memory of a person who has served the district or community, especially in service to children, and whose virtues or characteristics will serve as role models to students, staff and the community;

“2. In memory of any person who has made a significant contribution to society and/or education, whose name shall lend prestige or status to an institution of learning;

“3. A local residential or geographic area [names in this category should be “neutral” if more than one community will be served by a particular facility]; or

“4. A District property donor or his or her family members.

“School buildings serving grades 9 through 12:

“1. In memory of any person who has made a significant contribution to society and/or education, whose name shall lend prestige or status to an institution of learning;

“2. Any state or national heroic figure, landmark and/or historical attributes, which have significance to the district, the NISD communities, or the State of Texas.

“3. A district property donor or his or her family members.”

An electronic nomination form is available on the district’s website at , or a hard copy can be requested by calling 817-215-0171. Additional information can be included, such as news clippings, letters of recommendation and/or printed resources.

Elementary school No. 17 will open this August and is located in Roanoke on Litsey Road. The district’s third comprehensive high school will open in August 2015 in the north Fort Worth/Haslet area.Construction will begin this spring.

Nominations received through Feb. 7 will be reviewed by a committee and recommended to the school board. Trustees will vote on the names March 18.



Group slates dinner, dancing fundraiser

The Denton African American Scholarship Foundation will hold “A Night at Motown,” a Valentine’s Day dinner and dancing benefit event supporting the foundation’s 2013 scholarships and endowment.

The event will feature a live band, Fingerprints, and take place at 7 p.m. Feb. 9, at The Center for the Visual Arts, 400 E. Hickory St. Tickets are $50.

Organizers for the benefit say attendees can expect to enjoy the sounds of Motown Records from the ’60s and ’70s while assisting the foundation in raising funds to award scholarships to a minimum 10 graduating seniors attending high schools in Denton.

Applications are available to students for the scholarship through their school’s counseling office and they are due no later than Jan. 25. Scholarships will be awarded in April.

Limited seating is available for the event. For more information or to order tickets, visit .



Ponder High School

Group honored for efforts in competition

A group of students from Ponder High School were recently recognized as the top high school investors in the Legislative Challenge competition of the Stock Market Game.

Representing legislative District 63 in this statewide competition, Ponder students Jacob Gerik, Taylor Littleton, Tanner Morgan, Spencer Waldo and Levi Whittington increased the value of their $100,000 online virtual investment account by more than $11,100 in only 10 weeks.

On Jan. 8, Steven Cobb, the director of the Center for Economic Education at the University of North Texas, presented students with a $75 award recognizing their efforts. Rep. Tan Parker, R-Flower Mound, sent letters of resolution for their outstanding performance.

The Stock Market Game Program is a national program of the SIFMA Foundation offered statewide by the Texas Council on Economic Education.

It is widely used in grades four through 12 to teach students about investing and personal finance as they apply math, social studies, business, economics and language skills.

Each team of students is given a hypothetical $100,000 to “invest” in stocks, bonds or mutual funds over a 10-week period in their own online trading account. They research companies and make decisions on where to invest their virtual money. Teams with the greatest increase in the value of their investments are recognized.



Students win first in speech tournament

Liberty Christian School students won first place overall for the third straight year at StoneGate Christian Academy’s 17th annual speech tournament in Irving.

Winning by more than 150 points, Liberty students competed in various events and received critiques from professional actors, directors and teachers.

“Along with fellow teacher Kirk Holland, I am so proud of our students, their talent and their work ethic to do their very best in everything they do,” said Misty Baptiste, fine arts department chairwoman. “While our students are working very hard on polishing their pieces and putting in the work it takes to be successful, they are also learning presentation skills that will help them greatly in any career they choose to pursue.”

The following are the individual results from the tournament:

•  Original Oratory: Jacob Quast, second place and Spencer Mackenzie, third place;

•  Poetry: Lauren Massing, first place;

•  Solo Acting: Malyn Porter, second place and Emmy Edwards, third place;

•  Duet Acting: Austin Mann and Emmy Edwards, first place and Bryan Gray and Alexandra Stewart, second place;

•  Prose: Malyn Porter, first place; Emmy Edwards, second place and Ross Earley, third place;

•  Group Improv: Austin Mann, Ross Earley, and Bryan Gray, second place and Malyn Porter, Hannah Spates, and Emmy Edwards, third place.



Group slates forums on testing, vouchers

Speak Up for Texas Public Schools will conduct three community forums Jan. 23, to provide area residents information on high-stakes testing and vouchers, along with the impact pending legislation will have on local communities, students, teachers, and public schools.

Forums will include speakers from Texans Advocating for Meaningful Student Assessment and Texas Kids Can’t Wait!, and participants will have the opportunity to ask questions of a panel of speakers. Residents from across North Texas are invited.

All forums will be identical and repeated throughout the day at various times and locations to allow as many people as possible to attend.

Forum times and locations are:

•  9:30 a.m. at the William T. Bolin Administrative Center, 1565 W. Main St., Lewisville

•  noon at the Lewisville school district’s Career Center East, 2553 FM544

•  7 p.m. at LISD’s Special Services Administrative Building, 400 W. Main St.

Each of the forums is expected to last about one hour.



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