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A New Way Forward for Aldine ISD: It’s time to focus on choice and opportunities

By Dr. LaTonya M. Goffney

This week, 124 freshmen are walking through the doors of a new high school.

Rose Avalos P-TECH School is a state-of-the-art high school designed to create pathways for students from high school to college. The Pathways in Technology program ensures that students graduate high school with workforce certificates and an associate degree from Lone Star College. Students will also have internships and career development opportunities. Principal Diana del Pilar, an Aldine ISD graduate, is charged with ensuring her students’ learning ties to the real-world needs of tomorrow. This is the future of Aldine ISD.

Nearly 70,000 Aldine ISD students started the 2019-2020 school year this week. During my listening tour last year, I heard from many of our students and their families. I agree with what they said should be our priority: Aldine ISD must do more to ensure that students receive a dynamic and unparalleled education that guarantees choices and opportunities today and in the future.

We must ensure that Aldine ISD students are receiving the highest-quality education. Providing innovative programming like Avalos P-TECH does just that.

Last year that included creating a pre-kindergarten pilot for three-year-olds at several early childhood schools, which resulted in 111 of our youngest scholars getting a head start. It also meant opening the Dr. Archie L. Blanson Career & Technical Education High School. The campus offers a unique learning setting that allows students to receive a diploma while working on a workforce certificate that can lead to an immediate job or be built upon at a college or university after high school graduation.

This school year, Aldine ISD families will have access to several new programs that offer additional opportunities and choices.

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Stephens Elementary and Aldine ISD get high ratings, says TEA

Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath presents the new A to F evaluation system, while Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick listens.

ALDINE – Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath, along with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, visited Aldine ISD’s Stephens Elementary School on Thursday, Aug. 15 as part of their trip across Texas to feature schools that made tremendous gains in the state’s AF accountability rating system during the 2018-19 school year.

Stephens Elementary moved from a ‘D’ to an ‘A’ campus in the state’s A-F accountability ratings in one year.

Joining Commissioner Morath and Lt. Gov. Patrick at the event were Aldine ISD Superintendent Dr. LaTonya M. Goffney, AISD Board President Steve Mead, Board Vice President Connie Esparza, Board Secretary Dr. Kimberley Booker, Board Asst. Secretary Paul Shanklin and Board Members Patricia Ann Bourgeois and Rose Avalos.

Morath applauded the work Stephens principal Shauna Showers and her staff performed turning the school around in just a year’s time, and lauded Aldine for moving to a ‘B’ district.

“Aldine has about 65,000 students (there are 20 districts of this size in Texas, called ‘very large districts’) and of these very large districts Aldine gained the most in student achievement, second most in school progress, and second most overall,” Morath said. “Perhaps even more interesting, 87% of Aldine ISD kids receive free and reduced lunch – meaning Aldine is the highest poverty, very large district in Texas, and yet you’re outpacing them all in terms of improvement.”

Close to 90% of Stephens’ students are classified as economically disadvantaged and half of their students are English language learners.

Lt. Gov. Patrick singled out Showers and her staff for the outstanding gains they made in one year.

“This is an incredible day,” the Lt. Gov. said. “You (speaking to Showers) did it in one of the toughest environments possible. We are here to celebrate individuals schools and school districts that have excelled.”

Dr. Goffney thanked Commissioner Morath and Lt. Gov. Patrick for showcasing Stephens Elementary and Aldine ISD and added the work is just beginning in Aldine.

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New facilities to be built at Squatty Lyons Park

Mayor Turner with Armando Walle, and other officials at the dedication ceremony Wednesday.

$3.1 Million Squatty Lyons Park Renovation to Provide Sports Improvements for Northside residents

Mayor Sylvester Turner; State Representative Armando Walle, District 140; Council Member Karla Cisneros, District H; Matthew Fougerat, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Local Park Grants Coordinator; Alex Aguilar, Vice-President, North Houston American Little League, and the Houston Parks and Recreation Department (HPARD) will break ground on a $3.1 million sports field and park amenities improvement project at Squatty Lyons Park, 1701 Chamberlain Street, 77093, on August 15th at 12:30 pm.

The Phase II renovations to this new sports experience complex will complete the Squatty Lyons Park Master Plan and re-design all outdoor recreation amenities to increase participation and engage neighborhood residents in outdoor activities. Ball field renovations will include new fences, backstops, dugouts, leveling, grading, repairing and sodding all fields, repairing/ replacing lighting, and installing new irrigation systems. Other improvements include a new playground with units for 0 to 5 and 5 to 12 years with swings, a new concession building with restrooms, a loop walking trail and exercise station, refurbishing the two parking areas to add over 100 additional parking spaces, and landscaping with native plantings. The project’s $3.1 million cost includes the total construction budget (including contingency, engineering and materials testing, and civic art) and design cost. Renovations are expected to be completed in the Spring of 2020.

“The second phase of improvements to this park are a vivid example of how my staff and I are providing upgrades to neighborhood parks, not just the showcase parks in our city,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said. “I am already looking forward to the great experiences young people, adults and families will enjoy as a result of this work.”

SITE PLAN from Houston Parks Department and Clark-Condon Landscape Architects shows a new baseball field, new softball field, new T-Ball Field, refurbishing of the three existing fields, and in addition new parking, playgrounds, picnic areas, and walking trails. The park is at the corner of Cromwell and Hardy Toll Road in the East Aldine District.

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Aldine ISD to hold second annual Jamboree Aug. 13

Aldine ISD will hold its second annual Jamboree to showcase the district’s athletic and performing arts programs on Tuesday, Aug. 13.

The Jamboree will be held at the M.O. Campbell Educational Center (1865 Aldine Bender Road) and will run from 6-8 p.m.

Aldine ISD Superintendent Dr. LaTonya M. Goffney will address the crowd, as will other guest speakers. Last year, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner delivered remarks.

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Online Enrollment Expedites Registration for New Students

More than 1,740 new Aldine ISD students were enrolled using the new student online registration portal, since July 8.

At the beginning of the month, the district launched a new and convenient way for families new to the district to enroll their students. The online enrollment tool has expedited the registration process allowing families to complete a portion of their back-to-school registration before coming to their campus.

Students new to the district or previous Aldine ISD students who were not enrolled on the last day of school must register as a new student for the 2019-2020 school year.

Forms are available online and can be completed on most computers, cell phones or tablets. Aldine ISD campuses will also have computers available for parents to complete required forms electronically. (more…)

HAPPY Summer Camp at Nimitz HS

A group of Aldine ISD students pose with staff from the Memorial Hermann Nimitz Clinic prior to one of their session at the H.A.P.P.Y (Healthy Attitudes Promote Positive Youth) Summer Bootcamp held the July 15-19 at Memorial Hermann’s Nimitz Clinic.

Aldine ISD students get start on healthy Lifestyles by attending H.A.P.P.Y Summer Bootcamp

It’s never too early to start a healthy lifestyle and that’s why a group of Aldine ISD students spent a week this summer at the H.A.P.P.Y. (Healthy Attitudes Promote Positive Youth) Summer Bootcamp sponsored by the Memorial Hermann Nimitz Clinic.

The camp was held July 15-19, and 13 AISD students in fifth – eighth grade participated.

The weeklong camp consisted of daily sessions that included an hour of daily exercise, a medical evaluation, a nutrition consultation and a self-esteem group counseling session. Campers also enjoyed a daily arts and crafts session.

The sessions promoted a healthy lifestyle through guided practice, according to Ashley Scott, MPH, PA-C, the camp organizer.

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Aldine ISD Back-to-School Expo set for July 27

Students and parents at last year’s Family event.

Aldine ISD, in partnership with U.S. Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia and BakerRipley, invites the community to the annual Back-to-School Family Engagement Expo. The event will be held from 8 a.m to noon on Saturday, July 27, at the M.O. Campbell Educational Center, 1865 Aldine Bender Road. The free event is open to families in Aldine ISD with children in prekindergarten to high school.

The event will provide resources for school and helpful tips and strategies to help students succeed. Free immunizations and free health screenings will be available, while supplies last. Additionally, vouchers for free uniforms and free school supplies will be available while supplies last. Throughout the event there will be an opportunity to win door prizes and refreshments will be available.

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Back to School Immunizations Sat. July 27

UT Physicians and State Rep. Armando Walle are holding a Back to School Immunization clinic on Saturday, July 27 from 9am to Noon at the UT Clinic at Jensen and Crosstimbers. Parents should bring immunization records. The shots are free, and the first 100 will also receive a backpack with school supplies, courtesy of the Rotary Club.

Aldine ISD to launch Accelerating Campus Excellence model at two Elementary Campuses in the Fall

Aldine ISD will adopt the ACE (Accelerating Campus Excellence) model, which uses strategic staffing and a “whole child” approach to bring the most accomplished educators to the most struggling schools.

Several of the state’s largest and most diverse districts have implemented the ACE model with notable success. The districts have seen dramatic academic outcomes in multiple schools with similar student demographics as Aldine ISD.

Two Aldine ISD campuses will start the 2019-2020 school year using the Accelerating Campus Excellence (ACE) model with the goal of improving student outcomes. Goodman and Worsham Elementary schools will begin in August with new campus leaders, teachers, and staff as well as increased focused support from district leaders and departments. These two campuses, called ACE Demonstration Schools, will be used as models to significantly increase student achievement across Aldine ISD.

The ACE model, which has been applied in several districts throughout the state including Dallas ISD, Fort Worth ISD, Garland ISD and Richardson ISD, is designed to bring the most accomplished educators to the most struggling schools. (more…)

Aldine Education Foundation, Aldine Scholarship Fund award scholarships to graduating Seniors

Aldine ISD Superintendent Dr. LaTonya M. Goffney congratulates an Aldine ISD senior during the Aldine Education’s Scholarship Awards ceremony, held Tuesday, May 14 at the M.O. Campbell Educational Center.

Two hundred eighty-two Aldine ISD seniors received the opportunity to continue their academic careers by receiving either Aldine Education Foundation (AEF) or Aldine Scholarship Fund (ASF) scholarships during an awards ceremony this spring at the M.O. Campbell Educational Center.

AEF incorporated in 2012 to enable more Aldine ISD students to receive financial support for colleges of their choice, to award grants to educators for innovative instructional programs and to recognize and reward excellence in educators and students.

ASF, now under the direction of the Lone Star College Foundation, has a permanent endowment totaling more than $2 million, which sends AISD students to Lone Star College.

During the ceremony, AEF awarded 147 scholarships and 135 AISD seniors received ASF scholarships. The scholarships awarded this year totaled $573,000. That’s an increase of 31 scholarships from the 2017-18 school year.

“Because of significant support from Noble Drilling, this is the third consecutive year AEF was able to award a four-year, $20,000 scholarship to a graduate from each of Aldine ISD’s high schools,” said AEF Director Michele McGovern. “Additionally, the amazing support of Aldine ISD staff through payroll deductions funded $98,000 in scholarship funds for 26 students.”

Prior to the awarding of the scholarships, Aldine ISD Superintendent Dr. LaTonya M. Goffney delivered the Superintendent’s Challenge to this year’s scholarship recipients.

“You have done so much to get yourselves here – skipped social events to study, stayed after school to work on projects, all the things that it takes to meet your goals,” she said. “It is those traits – hard work, determination, and sacrifice that make you a true scholar and those same traits will suit you well as you go into the next chapter of life.”

She also challenged the scholarship recipients to embrace this next chapter in their lives.

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