Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : November 12, 2015

blue ribbon-teachers

By Russell Slaton and Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writers
MALAKOFF–Three teachers and Malakoff Elementary School Principal Ronny Snow went to Washington D.C. to be recognized on behalf of the students and staff for being one of the best schools in the nation, Monday and Tuesday. Malakoff Elementary is one of just 332 school campuses receiving the national Blue Ribbon Award from the U.S. Department of Education. The award recognizes public and private high schools and below where students are performing at very high levels over a five year period.
Malakoff Elementary School celebrated the recognition and held a send off on Nov. 5 with an assembly attended by special guests and featuring a choral presentation by its students, under the direction of music and art teacher Myron Williams.
“It’s a great day to be a Malakoff Tiger,” Malakoff ISD Superintendent Randy Perry said. School board president Rick Vieregge was also introduced as in attendance.
Snow credited students and staff for the school’s success. “I never cease to be amazed by the staff at Malakoff Elementary School,” Snow said. The teachers who went to D.C. included Christy Jackson, Kasey Holt and Shay Masterson. “The award goes to the hard-working staff and their determination to accept nothing but the best from their students,” Snow said. “This award also goes to the many students who have been here the past six years and have reached for excellence and succeeded. I am proud to have been along for the ride with all of them. It is truly an accomplishment that all who were involved with will always remember.”
Also during the ceremony, Julie Armstrong, a 1981 Malakoff High School graduate, who is vice president and branch manager of First State Bank-Athens’ Malakoff branch, noted the efforts of Malakoff’s administration. “We have a gem in them,” Armstrong said.
Brad Parker of Horace Mann Insurance-Stanley Brown Agency presented a donation to the teachers to defray some of the costs not covered for the trip to the nation’s capital.
Also on hand were Henderson County officials Sheriff Ray Nutt, Chief Deputy Botie Hillhouse, Precinct 1 County Commissioner Scotty Thomas, District Attorney Scott McKee and County Attorney Clint Davis. Malakoff City Administrator Ann Barker was in attendance as was Mark Terry, assistant executive director of the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association.
Representatives from state and federal government joined in the celebration with special presentations from:
• Michele Slaton of state Sen. Robert Nichols’ office, who read a proclamation noting the award;
• Michelle Burks of state Rep. John Wray’s office, who presented a resolution along with a Texas flag that has flown over the state capitol; and
• Phillip Smith of U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling’s office, who read remarks honoring Malakoff Elementary made Oct. 1 by Hensarling on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, which was entered into the Congressional Record and forever enshrined in the Library of Congress.
Founded in 1982, Blue Ribbon Schools is a U.S. Department of Education program which this year recognized only 332 campuses in 44 states to honor for 2015.
By winning the Blue Ribbon Award, Malakoff is considered to be in the top one percent of all American elementary, middle and high schools, said Snow, who has led Malakoff Elementary for 11 years. Chandler Elementary in eastern Henderson County is the only other county school to win the award during the program’s 33 years of existence, he added.
Also noted during the ceremony were three former teachers, all of whom Snow lauded for their past contributions that he considered integral to the award. Those former teachers (Mary Lou Faulk, Ralinda White and Linda Tanner) received special pins affixed with a blue ribbon.
Malakoff Elementary received news of the national recognition Sept. 29 by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. When news of the award first broke, Snow gave this insight into what the school has been doing that he most attributes to the success of the students: “I’ve been asked frequently, ‘What are ya’ll doing?’ Probably the two best specific things that we do for achievement are our after school tutorial program. It lets us work in small groups and has been very beneficial to our students. The second thing would be the use of Mentoring Minds as a supplemental instruction piece. It is very rigorous and if students are able to do it, then any state testing is no issue for them.”
Mentoring Minds is a Tyler company Snow has used the last nine years, he said.
In late January, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) nominated 26 Texas public schools, including Malakoff Elementary, for the 2015 award. Each school has an economically disadvantaged population of 25 percent or greater.
“National Blue Ribbon recognition for these campuses (25 nominees) is well deserved and reflects the hard work of its teachers and students in our communities,” said state Education Commissioner Michael Williams. “It is also indicative of the strong education efforts taking place in classrooms throughout our state.”



Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : March 22, 2015

Beach club members enjoy a rousing worship period in song and dance.
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

MABANK–The first day back from Spring Break and about 40 students from Mabank Intermediate School are happy to stay after school for an hour of fun, friendship and Bible study.
Lead by volunteers, under a national nondenominational organization, KiDs Beach Club is making an impact on students and their families.

“It’s where kids connect with God,” founder/president Jack Terrell told The Monitor.
The 20-year career children’s minister from Euless formatted the one hour of activities around large and small group activities, which includes games that reinforce the lesson.

A cardinal rule for volunteers serving with the club is adults are never to be alone with any child at anytime.
Each club is sponsored by a local church which provides the screened volunteers for training, a partnering fee and after-school snacks.

While there are strict rules and training for adults working as leaders and helpers, there’s nothing but fun, excitement and learning through activities that reinforce and connect kids to Bible truths, principals and key character words.

Five short rules keep order so fun and optimism takes center stage. These are: sit up, look up, listen up, hands up and have fun.

Youngsters start off in small groups to enjoy snacks and friends, but shortly are on their feet for a very active large group worship period that uses up excess energy. The children follow student leaders and a music video to sing and move with the songs.

This is followed by an introduction to a Bible verse and a small group game that helps them remember it. On this day, the verse is: “Let the little children come to me.” Matthew 19:14.

Leaders ask questions about the verse pointing out that parents who recognized Jesus was someone special wanted their children to meet him, too. And unlike some adults, Jesus felt the children were important and he wanted to spend time with them. That’s one of the ways Jesus showed his love for children.

“He’s never too busy for you,” the leader concludes before starting the memory game, which involved tossing a hackysack back and forth with each child tossing back with the next word in the verse. Each small group competed with the other groups to finish the verse and race to the other side of the room when finished where an adult holds a large sign with the word Jesus spelled out.

Then follows a short Bible reading, done aloud by select club members. On other weeks children see the story acted out or through various other interactive ways.

A review activity follows in small groups with some more games.

Throughout the hour, children are rewarded for appropriate behavior with tickets and points that are redeemed at the end of the hour with a trip to the treasure chest.

“The word describing Jesus’ character in this lesson,” leader Stacy Ross says, “and one he wants every follower of his to adopt is Love.”

The children are attentive and well-mannered as the hour progresses. A loving atmosphere is in evidence through their behavior and interaction with adult volunteers.

“Children have tender, open, receptive hearts,” Terrell observes, “that’s why we do Beach Club.”
Started in 2003 in Euless and expanded into a national organization in 2006, the KiDs Beach Club is in 146 schools in eight states and has more than 10,000 student enrolled.

The 2,193 volunteers , which include parents, and 107 partnering churches are Making Jesus Cool at School!®
Each third-sixth grade student participates with permission from their parents in an upbeat, positive atmosphere.

Up until this year, Bibles were presented as incentives; 24 per club, one for each week the club meets. But this year, a member of the board of directors challenged the organization to ask, “Why not provide each child with his or her own special KiDs Beach Club Bible at no cost to the children?”

At Mabank Intermediate, most of the children remembered to bring their Bibles to club time and earned points for doing so. Each child read from it and found key words from within its pages.

The KiDs Beach Club also lowers barriers between families and the partnering church through the loving volunteers that form healthy, trusting relationships within the club setting. “God is made known through his people,” Terrell said.

In Mabank ISD, a club is found in each elementary school, as well as in Kemp and Eustace intermediate schools, and Malakoff and Tool elementary schools. More are located in Athens, Brownsboro, Chandler, Ennis and Corsicana.

Nearly 10 years ago, 48 percent of families whose students participated in the club did not identify with any church affiliation.

Last year, that percentage had grown to 62 percent, Terrell said.

KiDs Beach Club opens a tremendous opportunity for partnering churches to make connections with families that have no church home, he pointed out.



Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : February 26, 2015

Monitor Photo/Ronald Wheeler Eustace ISD newly appointed board member James Kirkhart Jr. is sworn-in Feb. 17 at the monthly board meeting.

Monitor Photo/Ronald Wheeler
Eustace ISD newly appointed board member James Kirkhart Jr. is sworn-in Feb. 17 at the monthly board meeting.

Maximizes competitive edge in 2016; discuss championship commemerative marker

By Robyn Wheeler
Monitor Staff Writer

EUSTACE–The Eustace ISD Board of Trustees met Feb. 17 to discuss the 2015-16 calendar, induct a new board member and modify the Cheerleader Handbook to enable cheerleaders to compete in 2016.
Board members opened the meeting with the swearing-in of newly appointed board member James Kirkhart Jr., who was appointed Jan. 20 to fill a vacant seat until the May 9 election.
Board members also heard Eustace ISD Cheerleaders will compete in the inaugural UIL Texas State Spirit Championship competition January 2016 in Arlington.
The competition is open to all schools that want to compete, allowing each team 20 participants with two or fewer males.
“It is not a tumbling thing. It is to see what your team looks like at a Friday night football game,” Eustace ISD Superintendent Dr. Coy Holcombe said.
Board members agreed to modify a few items in the Cheerleading Handbook to maximize the teams competitiveness. “Thirty-five ladies are trying out this year and eight are trying out for mascot,” Holcombe said.
Varsity squad membership will be increased from 12 to 16 with two mascots, and junior varsity will be bumped up to 12 members and one mascot.
“This allows us to take 20 participants to the competition. The 20 best girls at tryouts will get to go whether they are varsity or junior varsity. This gives the JV team something to work for and look forward to,” Holcombe explained.
Board members also approved next year’s calendar with Monday, Aug. 24, being the first of day of school.
“The 2015-16 school calendar looks the same. It is the easiest calendar we’ve done in 14 years,” Holcombe said.
Many comments were received about the ease and likability of this year’s calendar and many staff members wanted the new calendar to be similar.
The 2015-16 state waivers were approved, giving four comp days to teachers; and six early release days, including two at the end of the semester, one before spring break and one before Easter.
Holcombe also presented a brief overview of the district’s bond indebtness, interest earned and monthly revenue stating the fund balance was healthy with enough money to cover the monthly payments. He also stated January’s interest was the highest of the school year so far.
“We do not have any unexpected expenses. Everything was done purposely. The report is boring but that is good. It means things are going well,” Holcombe said.
Expenditures did not include anything out-of-the-ordinary, with bills going toward:
• bus fuel,
• payments on the March 2014 purchase of two buses,
• round kitchen tables for the high school,
• calculators for the middle school,
• golf apparel,
• track meet medals and ribbons,
• counter tops in the computer lab at the middle school, and
• new baseball uniforms.
In other action, trustees:
• reset the Tuesday, March 17 meeting to Thursday, March 5.
• heard enrollment is up by 28 students from this time last year for a total of 1,515 students.
• reviewed the preliminary drawing of the state championship marquee. Estimated costs and location of the structure are still under discussion. Suggested locations included the grassy area by the old marquee, in the park, or in front of Bulldog stadium.
“I want people to be able to read it when they drive by,” Holcombe said.
The new marquee will have individual student’s and coach’s names for championship commemoration on multiple side plaques, while the center section could highlight current championship information and be interchangeable.
The preliminary plans are for a 10-15-foot high structure with an arch bridging two pillars.
“I envision a historical marker-type of thing,” Holcombe said.
• heard most staff members are agreeable to enrolling in graduate classes related to their area of teaching in a staff Post Graduate Interest survey. A hundred percent of those surveyed said they would need financial assistance with tuition and 85 percent agreed to commit to staying with the district for another five years if financial assistance was provided.
• approved Holcombe’s certification as the superintendent for the Regional Advisory Committee for Region 7.
• unanimously supported HB 384, which would allow residents in common law cities (less than 5,000 residents) to restrict access as to where registered sex offenders can reside.