Category Archives: School news

Just in Time for Halloween, GPISD Students Premiered “Tardy Terror”

High school.

From Carrie to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, monsters and high school have gone together like, well … Frankenstein and Dracula. It can be scary stuff.

As part of a class project, students at GPISD’s Dubiski Career High School played with the idea of what would happen if there was a monster lurking on their campus. That project grew into something much more. As in, feature-length more.

In the 2018-2019 school year, Dubiski Career High School instructors Tyler Case and Brian Blosser took a short-film project and turned it into a full-blown movie-making adventure.

The film, titled “Tardy Terror,” had a budget of $3,000 (with $2,500 of that donated) and ended up taking 65 days to shoot. That didn’t involve editing, post-production, or a worldwide pandemic that slowed – but didn’t stop – the project.

The cast is almost exclusively students though some professional actors, previously brought in to speak to and mentor students, ended up being part of the film as well. Several teachers were also involved as were a number of extras and even some parents. Though most of the film was shot on the Dubiski campus, the crew also used Main Event in Grand Prairie, Hangman’s House of Horrors, and the Gopher-Warrior Bowl. Costumes were made by Midnight Studio Effects and the school’s Architecture pathway even built some of the sets.

The students, and the school, hosted a limited, invitation-only, masked and socially distant premiere at the Studio Movie Grill in the Arlington Highlands on Thursday, October 29, at 7:00 p.m. On Halloween, they had a 24-hour showing of the movie on YouTube.

Their goals are to submit their work to film festivals, get it on Amazon Prime and Vudu, and ultimately market it for sale with money going  directly back into the program so other students may have the same opportunity.

For a look at the film, here are some previews of “Tardy Terror”:

Tardy Terror – The Blast Clip
Behind the Scenes

Watch the Movie

The Coppell ISD Education Foundation Give for Grants Program Continues Integral Support for Classrooms

The Coppell ISD Education Foundation (CEF), which launched the Give for Grants initiative last school year, provides donors a means to give funds directly to teacher grants of their choice. The Give for Grants program offers flexibility, ease of use and will increase funding given directly to classrooms in Coppell ISD (CISD).

The CEF supports the educators in CISD through their annual grant program. The Classroom Grant Program is designed to encourage, facilitate, recognize, and reward effective, innovative, and creative, instructional approaches that directly impact students while transforming classroom learning. For example, during the 2019-20 school year, the CEF awarded more than $63,000 in classroom grants. The Give for Grants program will allow parents, educators, and community members to donate at any giving amount directly to a specific grant of their choosing. Whether a donor would like to support a specific campus, specific educator or a specific project, the Give for Grants program gives donors the flexibility of choice.

Donors can select specific grants to support financially through the www.Give4GrantsCISD.org website. Additionally, a donor can select to give to the Give for Grants campaign in general and not to a specific grant here. The donation window will be open from October 1 through October 31. The donation process is simple:

  1. Choose the campus
  2. Select the grant to support (or give to the general Give for Grants campaign here)
  3. Donate at any giving amount and make an impact

This year, 12 grants were submitted by educators totaling more than $29,000. The goal of the Give for Grants program is to make a lasting impact in the classrooms in CISD. Together with individual donations and the funds raised by the CEF, more grants will be funded transforming the learning in CISD. The CEF will continue to financially support the grants as in years past through donations raised in other fundraising efforts.

Donors can choose the specific grant to support at www.Give4GrantsCISD.org website from October 15-November 15.

Texas Education Agency promises funding for school districts offering in-person instruction through first half of 2020-21 regardless of enrollment

School districts across the state offering in-person instruction are guaranteed to receive their anticipated funding through the first half of the 2020-21 school year regardless of changes in student enrollment or attendance rates due to COVID-19, according to the Texas Education Agency (TEA).

Officials announced Oct. 1 a six-week extension to the minimum funding guarantee established due to the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure flexibility and financial security for school districts, according to a press release. Remote instruction will also be fully funded for those who wish to learn from home as previously announced by TEA officials.

“Given the uncertain nature of this public health crisis, we are giving as much support and flexibility as possible to school districts to ensure that we are balancing the need for student learning with our desire to help all our state’s students, teachers, staff, and families remain healthy and safe,” Education Commissioner Mike Morath said in a statement.

Statewide, school districts have generally seen a slight decline in enrollment in 2020-21 due to the pandemic, and officials said the extension allows time for enrollment to become more stable. Districts taking advantage of this extension must identify and locate students who are not currently participating in either in-person or virtual instruction.

Funding adjustments for the second semester will be based on data gathered through January, according to a press release.

To read more, visit Community Impact…

GPISD’s Hobbs Williams Elementary School Named 2020 National Blue Ribbon School

The Grand Prairie Independent School District is proud to announce that Hobbs Williams Elementary School has been named a 2020 National Blue Ribbon School. Williams is one of only 367 schools across the country to be recognized today by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos as a Blue Ribbon School based on overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.

“We are extremely proud of the students and staff of Hobbs Williams Elementary School,” said Linda Ellis, GPISD Superintendent of Schools. “This award affirms their hard work and commitment to excellence.”

The coveted National Blue Ribbon Schools award affirms the work of educators, families, and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content. Now in its 38th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed almost 10,000 awards to more than 9,000 schools, with some schools winning multiple awards. Schools are eligible for nomination after five years. 

“Congratulations to this year’s National Blue Ribbon School awardees,” said Secretary DeVos. “It’s a privilege to recognize the extraordinary work you do to meet students’ needs and prepare them for successful careers and meaningful lives.”

The U.S. Education Department recognizes all schools in one of two performance categories, based on all student scores, student subgroup scores and graduation rates:

·         Exemplary High Performing Schools – These are among their state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.

·         Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools – These are among their state’s highest performing in closing achievement gaps between a school’s student groups and all students.

Up to 420 schools may be nominated each year. The U.S. Education Department invites National Blue Ribbon School nominations from the top education official in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and the Bureau of Indian Education. Private schools are nominated by the Council for American Private Education (CAPE).

The 2020 National Blue Ribbon Schools Awards Ceremony will be held virtually Nov. 12 and 13.

Gerry Miller selected as CISD Coordinator of Fine Arts

The Coppell ISD Board of Trustees approved Coppell High School Band Director Gerry Miller as the district’s Coordinator of Fine Arts during their meeting Sept. 28 

“For the past five years, I have seen firsthand Mr. Miller’s dedication to our student performers and the fine arts program at CHS, as well as his instilling a passion for instrumental music in our middle schools,” CISD Superintendent Dr. Brad Hunt said. “He has elevated our high school band to achieve at the highest levels, while demonstrating a commitment to all of our fine arts’ disciplines.

In his new role, he will continue to help ensure the creativity of our students can flourish and thrive allowing them to demonstrate success in a variety of ways.  I am excited to see the impact Mr. Miller’s leadership will have on our fine arts program in CISD, which will include helping to spearhead our future orchestra program.”

Miller begins his new duties on Oct. 1. For the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year, he will continue to serve as the CHS Band Director, in addition to his new duties.  The hiring process for a new CHS Band Director will begin in the spring. 

“It is my distinct honor to have been selected to serve as Coppell ISD’s Coordinator of Fine Arts,” Miller said. “The arts play a vital role in the well-rounded education of every child in CISD, and I am humbled to have the opportunity to continue to grow our already superb fine Arts programs into the very best for our staff and students.”

Miller joined CISD as the Coppell High School Director of Bands and the school’s Fine Arts Department Chair in 2016. Prior to joining CISD, Miller served as the founding Director of Bands and Fine Arts Department Chair at Wakeland High School in Frisco ISD. 

He received his Bachelor of Music Education degree from Loyola University New Orleans. He currently serves as an Area Band Chair for the Texas Music Educators Association, the Marching Band Vice President for the Texas Music Adjudicators Association and as a music judge for Drum Corps International.

Miller and his wife, Lori, live in Frisco. They have two sons, Gerry, who attends the University of North Texas, and Benjamin, who attends Griffin Middle School in Frisco ISD. 

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…