Category Archives: School news

Grand Prairie ISD Wins 2020 TAEA District of Distinction Award

Only the top 4 percent of districts in the state earned the honor this year.

The Grand Prairie Independent School District has been awarded a 2020 District of Distinction Award by the Texas Art Education Association. TAEA announced the 42 winners of this year’s award for providing a well-rounded education that advocates and integrates visual arts curriculum to inspire creativity and reach all different learners.

TAEA is the leading advocate for the visual arts in the state. The organization has previously honored outstanding TAEA members for work in their classrooms and districts. This is the second year that TAEA is honoring districts that meet rigorous criteria as evidenced from data.

For the 2020 award, more than 1,000 districts were eligible to apply. Each district submitted documentation they met from the 12-point rubric over the 2019-2020 school year. Only 42 districts met the high standard and will receive the outstanding honor indicating they are in the top 4 percent of districts in the state.

“Grand Prairie ISD has set a high standard for visual arts advocacy, integrated visual arts curriculum, encouraged creativity and community participation,” said Stacia Gower, Chair of the Administration and Supervision Division of TAEA. “With the challenges educators faced this past school year it is a true testament to their skill, dedication, and flexibility that the quality of their programs continued strong and comprehensive.”

“We are extremely proud of our Fine Arts program in GPISD,” said Superintendent of Schools Linda Ellis. “Grand Prairie ISD has a long history of excellence in the fine arts and this award speaks to the dedication, passion, and creativity of our students and staff.”

Forty-two districts, including GPISD will be honored at the TAEA Administration & Supervision Division meeting as part of the TAEA Conference on November 21, 2020. The event will be held virtually this year.

About TAEA District of Distinction Award: District of Distinction is a fairly new award created by the Texas Art Education Association in 2019. The award honors school districts that are leading the way in the visual arts. The TAEA Administration and Supervision Division recognizes districts with outstanding leadership in promoting the arts in their district and community. The organization also looks at field experiences, community service, and community exhibitions to name a few as part of the rigorous rubric for the award.

About TAEA: TAEA is the largest state professional organization for art educators in the United States. It is the mission of TAEA to promote quality visual arts education through leadership, advocacy, service, and professional development.

Grand Prairie Fine Arts Academy Group Takes National Honor

The Foundation for Music Excellence has notified the Grand Prairie ISD that the Grand Prairie Fine Arts Academy Singers, under the direction of Joel Duarte and Candace Maughan, has been selected as a National Winner in the Mark of Excellence/National Choral Honors Project.

The Mark of Excellence is a competition, entered by recordings, and the top quarter are selected as National Winners. This year, 145 ensembles from across the nation, entered the competition. To date, the project has received entries from 38 states.

“This year’s entries were amazing, with stunning performances,” said Managing Director Rick Yancey. “These young students perform incredibly well, and that is a testament to their talent, training, and wonderful teachers.”

For more information, please contact Sam Buchmeyer, Public Information Officer, at sam.buchmeyer@gpisd.org or by phone at (972) 237-5380.

CISD’s Brad Hunt Selected as a National ‘Superintendent to Watch’

Coppell ISD Superintendent Dr. Brad Hunt is one of the “2020 Superintendents to Watch” selected by the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA). He is among only 24 district leaders in the nation and only three in Texas, who NSPRA chose for this recognition, because of how these superintendents use communication in innovative and effective ways. 

“It is an honor and privilege to receive this recognition  and be among this group of superintendents who prioritize strong communication with their communities,” Dr. Hunt said. “Transparent and interactive communication is essential to the work my team and I do each day, as we work to build authentic relationships and collective engagement with internal and external stakeholders through consistent communication in a variety of channels. 

According to NSPRA, “Superintendents to Watch” engage and inform their school communities with new communication technology tools combined with tried-and-true techniques.  Honorees have fewer than five years of experience as a superintendent and possess dynamic, fast-paced leadership with strong communication at its core. For a complete list of “Superintendents to Watch,” visit www.nspra.org/superintendents-watch

Dr. Hunt’s effective and innovative communication tools include his weekly “Catch Up with Hunt” video messages to the CISD Community, his “Hobbies with Hunt” interactive videos with students during the district’s closure due to COVID-19, Facebook Live events to engage directly with the community in a two-way forum, consistent email messages to the community about district happenings and Interacting with staff, families and the community on social media. 

“Whether it’s expanding the lines of communication with our business community, leading the charge with the district’s strategic design to identify new core values, or reaching across our community to increase engagement, Dr. Hunt doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks the walk,” said Kevin Nevels, chairman of the Board of the Coppell Chamber of Commerce and owner of Coppell Taekwondo Academy. “As the demographic make-up of CISD has changed, Dr. Hunt has been very intentional about making sure that all stakeholders and cohorts are represented and given a voice.”

Prior to the Coppell ISD Board of Trustees naming him the district’s superintendent in July 2017, Dr. Hunt served CISD for almost 30 years as a teacher at Coppell High School, assistant principal at Coppell Middle School West, Director of Human Resources, principal of Coppell High School and as the Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services. Dr. Hunt has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of North Texas, a Master’s degree from the University of Texas at Tyler and his Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.) from the University of North Texas.

ITServe Alliance Dallas Chapter and U.S. India Chamber of Commerce DFW donates $9,000 check to Coppell ISD for hotspot internet connections for students

ITServe Alliance Dallas Chapter, through a connection with the U.S. India Chamber of Commerce DFW, is donating $9,000 for hotspot internet connections for Coppell ISD students without reliable internet connections, as the district has approximately 70 percent of its students participating in distance learning for the first grading period.  This donation will provide approximately 25 hotspots for CISD students. 

The IT Alliance and U.S. India Chamber of Commerce want to ensure that those who need reliable internet access and service during distance learning have access.  They are donating these funds to CISD to help the district provide hotspots to those families who need it. 

The check presentation was Wednesday, Sept. 2 at 10am outside of the Coppell ISD Administration building. 

Gov. Abbott calls for firing of Dallas teacher over assignment comparing police, KKK

By ShaCamree Gowdy

Screen Shot 2020-08-29 at 9.47.15 AMAn assignment from a Wylie Independent School District social studies teacher in Dallas seemed to compare police officers to the Ku Klux Klan, and Texas Governor Greg Abbott wants the teacher fired because of it.

Fraternal Order of Police vice president Joe Gamaldi brought attention to the eighth grade class assignment via Twitter last Thursday. He tweeted a cartoon collage that shows men dressed as police officers, slave owners and members of the KKK, holding their knees on a Black man’s neck as he struggles to say the words “I can’t breathe.”

It’s clearly in reference to George Floyd, who grew up in Houston’s Third Ward before dying in Minneapolis police custody on Memorial Day.

Read more from The Houston Chronicle…

CISD Board Secretary Nichole Bentley earns Master Trustee designation

Nichole_Bentley

Nichole Bentley

Coppell ISD Board Trustee Nichole Bentley has earned the designation of Master Trustee upon completion of the Leadership TASB program, sponsored by the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB).

“Participating In this program has helped me grow and thrive as a leader and as a Trustee,” Bentley said. “I was able to learn from my Trustee peers across Texas, as well as gain an enhanced knowledge of how to continue to be an engaged advocate for public education in my district and beyond.”  

Trustee Bentley, who serves as the Board Secretary, joins CISD Trustees Leigh Walker, Tracy Fisher and Anthony Hill, as well as Board President Thom Hulme, as Master Trustees. CISD is one of only a few School Boards in Texas to have five Master Trustees. 

Bentley is the CEO of Prio Consulting, LLC, and the co-owner of Cruise Planners. She and her husband, Brett Schneider, have four children, all boys, who have graduated from Coppell High School and New Tech High @ Coppell. She was elected to the CISD School Board in 2018. 

She participated in a virtual graduation hosted by TASB Aug. 9-18. School board members in the 2019–20 Leadership TASB class gathered for their unique traveling tailgate graduation. At seven parking lots in seven different locations — Kingsville, Uvalde, Channelview, Cypress, Georgetown, Allen and Coppell, portions of the class of 36 participants met to receive their graduation honors.

Upon graduating, Leadership TASB participants joined the ranks of more than 900 school board members statewide who are Leadership TASB alumni.The 2020 Leadership TASB class represents Texas school districts of all sizes and property wealth. Participants who completed all required elements of the study program earned Master Trustee status, the highest designation recognized by TASB. Leadership TASB is sponsored in part by H-E-B.

TASB is a voluntary, nonprofit association established in 1949 to serve local Texas school boards. School board members are the largest group of publicly elected officials in the state. The districts they represent serve more than 5.43 million public school students. Learn more at www.tasb.org

GPISD Board of Trustees Sets Lower Tax Rate for 2020-2021

9Kw5gdBe_400x400At a called meeting on August 27, 2020, the GPISD Board of Trustees voted to set the tax for 2020-2021 at $1.5097 per $100 of valuation. This is a decrease of nearly $0.03 from last year ($0.02865).

The overall tax rate is made up of two parts:

  • $1.0547 for the purpose of maintenance and operations
  • $0.4550 for the purpose of payment of principal and interest on debts

Including this year’s tax rate decrease, the GPISD Board of Trustees has lowered the tax rate by just over eight and a half cents over a two-year period.

Grand Prairie ISD Plans Two-Step Return to In-Person Instruction

9Kw5gdBe_400x400At a called meeting Thursday night, the GPISD Board of Trustees voted to request a waiver from the Texas Education Agency in regard to virtual learning. As a result, the Grand Prairie ISD announced a plan for a two-step return to face-to-face instruction.  

The decision to return in stages was based on recommendations and input from several sources: 

  1. Recommendations of the Dallas County Health Department, the City of Grand Prairie Health Services Department, and district legal counsel
  2. Careful consideration of critical student needs and the social/emotional needs of all students
  3. A review of the best ways to keep students and staff safe, supported by a plan to mitigate risk through established protocols, and a review of the latest information on the transmission and prevention of COVID-19
  4. Input from GPISD parents, with the goal of supporting the choices they have made for their children. In GPISD, 60% of our families have chosen virtual learning for their students, while 40% have chosen in-person instruction

After taking all of this into consideration, the Administration recommended the following plan for returning to in-person instruction:

    • Students in grades PK-2 and identified self-contained special education programming whose parents have chosen in-person instruction will return to their schools on September 14, 2020.
    • Students in grades 3-12 whose parents have chosen in-person instruction will return to their schools on September 21, 2020.

For more information, please contact Sam Buchmeyer, Public Information Officer, at sam.buchmeyer@gpisd.org or by phone at (972) 237-5380.

Grand Prairie ISD offering virtual counseling services

9Kw5gdBe_400x400In addition to the continuing counseling services provided by campus counselors and social workers, Grand Prairie ISD is offering an opportunity for students in 6th through 12th grades to receive virtual counseling services with a trained licensed professional counselor before and after school hours and weekends through DialCare. Counseling is available through the app or on the phone.

Adolescents are often faced with social-emotional challenges that may be difficult for them to handle on their own. Many times, just having the chance to talk through these issues can lead to personal growth and wellness. Actively taking steps to improve one’s overall well-being and happiness is a key component of self-care. Self-care plays a vital role in helping adolescents cope with and conquer the challenges of life, especially during these unprecedented times. 

GPISD is pleased to offer these services because self-care matters at every age. Please see the DialCare link for more information: https://www.gpisd.org/dialcare.

 Also, please visit the Virtual Counseling webpage to see the supports the GPISD Counseling Services provides at www.gpisd.org/VirtualCounseling. 

Grand Prairie ISD resumes meal pick-ups, adjusts meal pick-up locations

9Kw5gdBe_400x400Even though the Grand Prairie ISD began the school year with all virtual learning, the District is still committed to meeting the needs of all students including meals. The GPISD Child Nutrition Team resumed pick-up meal service for all enrolled GPISD students this week. Meals are either free, reduced priced, or paid based on individual student’s eligibility.

To pick up meals, families will need proof of enrollment (such as school ID) and eligibility. Eligibility status can be found at www.gpisd.org/mealstatus. To minimize contact, families are strongly encouraged to load money on their Myschoolbucks account so no one is handling cash.

Meal Prices for Elementary:

  • Breakfast: FREE
  • Lunch: $2.80
  • Lunch Reduced Price: $0.40

Middle/High School:

  • Breakfast: Free *
  • Lunch: $2.90
  • Lunch Reduced Price: $0.40

*Breakfast is free except students enrolled at Powell, Reagan, and Grand Prairie Fine Arts Academy. Breakfast price is $1.60


Over the weekend of August 22-23, Grand Prairie ISD made some adjustments to the locations of their meal pick-up service. As of August 24, GPISD Child Nutrition will have pick-up meal service at five locations. Pick-ups are available Monday-Friday from 10:00am-12:00pm.

Locations:

  • Mike Moseley Elementary
  • Fannin Middle School
  • Crosswinds Accelerated High School
  • South Grand Prairie High School
  • Young Women’s Leadership Academy

Meals are either free, reduced-priced, or paid based on individual student’s eligibility. That eligibility is determined by filling out the free and reduced-price meal application. That application is found in Skyward or at gpisd.org/MealApplication. More information, including prices, map to schools, and how to check eligibility can be found at gpisd.org/fallmealpickup.