Verizon Funds Pre- K Literacy Initiatives
Representatives from Verizon presented the BEST Education Foundation with a check for $5,000.00 to jump start the literacy initiatives at the District's two Pre-K Centers, Cisneros and Parsons.
The ceremony took place at the Verizon store on Centerville Road and Northwest Highway, their number one retail center in the U.S. Ceasar Moncada, and David Russell of Verizon presented the check to Helen Dorsey, BEST Board President. "This really is a boost to the wonderful programs that the Pre-K Centers have started to assist in preparing our students for Kindergarten".
Ecolab continued its support of GISD teachers and students Monday afternoon as the company presented the district with $46,800 in grants...read more
GISD Recognizes 2012 Teachers of the Year with Rangers
On Friday, April 27th the BEST Education Foundation and the Texas Rangers recognized the 2012 Garland I.S.D. Teachers of the Year.
Students, teachers, & staff made their way to the Ballpark in Arlington to cheer on the 2012 Teachers of the Year and the Texas Rangers on a beautiful Friday evening.
The the National Anthem was performed by R.S.V.P. from Rowlett High School under the direction of Karen Lewis. Larry Glick, GISD Trustee threw out the ceremonial first pitch. This is the 7th year that the Texas Rangers and Garland I.S.D.have recognized their teachers with a night of their own.
$5,000 Matching Grant Challenge for Fine Arts Grants
An anonymous donor has made a $5,000 matching grant challenge to the BEST Foundation for the Betsy Henderson Fine Arts Grant Program. This means for every dollar that is contributed to the grant fund, it will be matched up to a total of $5,000.This is a great way to make a final tax deductible contribution before the end of the year.
The Betsy Henderson Grant was established in 2005 for the specific purpose of funding creative and innovative programs in the GISD Fine Arts Department. The grant is named for retired Fine Arts Coordinator Betsy Henderson.
Contributions can be made to the Henderson Grant by mailing a check to the GISD Best Foundation, PO Box 460517, Garland, Texas 75046-0517. Please specify Henderson Challenge.
Raytheon "Fills the Bus " to Help GISD students "Back to Back"
For the second straight year an altered route for one Garland ISD school bus resulted in a different type of student delivery.
Raytheon Intelligence and Information Systems employees welcomed the GISD school bus into the employee parking lot at its massive operational facility on Jupiter Road and loaded the seats with back-to-school items. The effort was part of Raytheon’s “Fill the Bus” program which will provide supplies to hundreds of Garland ISD students. “Our employees always look forward to helping out the school district,” said Dawn Funches Allen, senior software engineer for Raytheon. “We let them know when the bus was coming and you can tell they were ready for it by taking a look inside. We’ve got things in almost every seat. Our people really have filled the bus.” Raytheon is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, homeland security and other government markets throughout the world. With a history of almost 100 years, the company provides state-of-the-art electronics and mission systems integration. The Garland location specializes in information integration.
GISD Employees Band together to "Bring It Home" and Surpass Employee Campaign Goals
From September 21st - 25th the Employee Campaign "Bringing it Home" took place to raise funds for the BEST Education Foundation.
During the campaign district departments and campuses competed to see who could raise the most money to contribute to BEST. This year the campaign surpassed its $100,000.00 goal by raising $105,464.70.
On December 10th the department, elementary, middle, and high school campaign leaders who brought in the most money for the foundation were rewarded. Each 1st place campaign leader was given 30 seconds in a money machine, and they got to keep all the cash they grabbed!
Local Industrial Supplier Donates $5K to Help Students
In February, the Garland ISD Career and Technical Education Department received a $5,000 donation through the Grainger Community Grant Program. The funds will be used for trade and technology scholarships for Garland ISD high school students.The resources may be used to benefit students in their pursuit of training at the secondary and post secondary level.
Grainger representatives Jody Stroup and Steve Horne presented the scholarship to Dr. Phil Gilbreath and Dr. Phyllis Parker of Garland ISD. Grainger, a local distributor of facilities maintenance supplies, has a long history of giving back to the communities in which its employees live and work. Grainger is also committed to supporting the growing need of skilled tradespeople in today’s workplace.
“We want to give back to the community that supports us and see the results,” said Jody Stroup, branch manager for the Garland Grainger location. “It always helps when you can look back and witness these donated resources take hold. Grainger is proud to show our support for local students pursuing technical careers.”
Dr. Phil Gilbreath, Director of Career and Technical Education with the Garland ISD, thanked the Grainger representatives for their genuine interest in GISD students and their contribution.
Another Successful Year for the BEST Masters Golf Tournament
The BEST Education Foundation held it’s Seventh Annual Golf Tournament Monday April 20th at Firewheel. The Golfers and volunteers could not have asked for a better day with temperatures in the 80’s along with plenty of sunshine.
The golfers were treated to a catered Lunch and Outback Steakhouse Dinner as well as a great round of golf with friends. Pictured on the right is a team that signifies what our Partnerships are all about with members from the City, Chamber, School District, and Richland Community College.
The 2009 BEST Masters golf tournament winners were Brian Cheek, Josh Cheek, Logan Stout, and Chris Scheetz from Balfour.
2008 Christmas Show
2008 marks the first Christmas Show as fund-raising activity for the foundation.
The 2008-2009 school year marks the beginning the sixth year of this successful program. The continued goal of this program is to allow special needs students the opportunity to learn the skills needed to excel in the workplace.
There are several day-to-day jobs that are the responsibility of the MACS students. The first responsibility is preparing for meetings, which includes coffee/tea/soda/water preparation, snack basket set-up, room set-up, etc. The students are also responsible for the Munchies Mart Cart, which is a full service mobile snack, and drink cart that is taken to all the employees of the Harris Hill Administration building for purchasing. In addition to these jobs, we have a larger version of the Munchies Mart Cart that is available during lunch with numerous lunch and snack items to accommodate those in the building.
As the program has grown and established itself, we have added some additional projects such as the "Special Lunches." Several days during the school year, the MACS students prepare and serve lunch to those in the building who wish to participate. We have Baked Potato Day, Nacho Day, Frito Pie Day, and Taco Salad Day. Another project that we have incorporated into our curriculum is our "Morning Express." The Morning Express, which is open every Friday morning, is a breakfast store, where they sell cappuccino, hot chocolate, and breakfast foods.
All of these projects allow the students to learn proper social skills in the workplace, the skills to work with co-workers, money management skills, making change for customers, working with customers and their needs, accounting for items sold, communication skills, and budgeting, just to name a few.
They also go out into the community learning skills of independence such as DART training, collecting and filling out applications for employment. They visit places of potential employment such as restaurants, hotels, grocery stores, hardware stores, child-care centers, etc. We focus on the individual students and their interests when visiting places of employment. We want to give these students as much experience and knowledge so they can further their productivity in the world.We have several students who have begun their employment history with GISD as summer maintenance workers at the Harris Hill Administration building. We also have students that have attained employment while at MACS and continue to be gainfully employed.
Girls With GoalsElvia Flores, an active community volunteer, saw a need for young girls in grades 5-8 to have higher goals for their personal lives, academic careers, and adult life beyond. Aided with seed money from Kiwanis and the BEST Education Foundation, she founded the “Girls With Goals” program at a neighborhood elementary school and middle school.
The participating young women are introduced to activities designed to build their self-esteem, self-confidence, and cultural awareness. Through regular meetings and field trips, the girls gain leadership skills as they meet successful role models in a variety of occupations and a world filled with limitless career opportunities.
The program has provided speakers such as Courtney Taylor from SHW Architects who gave kits to the girls so they could learn to design their own homes. The girls have also been exposed to the Cultural Arts such as the "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" production at the Patty Granville Art Center.
The original group that started in 1999 are seniors this year. Every year we average 40 girls in the program. This year, in the 5th grade, I have a girl whose sisters were in the program before her. One is in high school and the other is at Bussey Middle School. I also have a 5th grader whose sister was in the program in the 5th grade and now goes to Bussey instead of Sellers Middle School to continue to be in the Girls With Goals.
21st Century Scholars
One of the goals the business community expressed during the early stages of BEST was the need for a better-educated workforce. They cited a need for young adults entering industry to have better skills in math, science and foreign languages. Thus, 21st Century Scholar was born. Students are encouraged to choose advanced classes in math, science, and other areas in lieu of “easy” classes that might yield a higher GPA at graduation.
Garland ISD has always been a leader in the State of Texas and the Nation with its State Scholars Initiative.
Scholarly Encounter —
"I know who you are," the young voice said. "Just a minute, and I will tell you your name," he added as I was going through the buffet line as a visitor at a local Noon Exchange Club meeting. After a brief pause the student repeated both my first and last name. At that point I was a bit taken aback as my mind was racing to place where we had met.
Then it dawned on me...he was a middle school student from a local campus where I had spoken about Texas Scholars the week before. Since 1992, business leaders are recruited to go into the classrooms of all eighth-grade students in the Garland Independent School District to share real world experiences. Additionally, we encourage them to challenge themselves to choose a more rigorous field of study during their high school years so they will have greater options when they graduate from high school.
"Well, tell me what you decided to do," I queried. He grinned widely and said, "I went down to the counselor's office and changed my schedule for next year." "Awesome," was the best word I could muster. Then I shared some more heartfelt words and told him how he had made my day. You see, over the years I have wondered if what we say really makes a difference to these future leaders. Do they actually listen to us since we are not their parents or teachers? The school district has gone from 700 to over 2300 graduates a year who achieve the Texas Scholars recognition. I knew that in my head but always wondered in my heart. This brief encounter re-emphasized, that yes, we can make a difference in another's life. The class lasted maybe 55 minutes and there was much dialogue during that time, but in those few minutes something had clicked with him.
Suddenly, that day at lunch, the teacher became the student. I was the enlightened and encouraged one. Just how powerful are our spoken words? How often are we going through our daily grind and don't give a second thought about what we say? I had helped him make what I thought was a good decision. He in turn used his words to encourage me. Next year, as I enter the classroom yet one more time, I will approach it with more reverence. Who knows which students need to hear a positive and encouraging remark on that very day? They will be in that classroom. I may never again know which ones they are, but they will be in there.
Michele Hawkins Reimer