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Educate Midland

Family Fun Day – Save the Date

By | Education, Events

Family Fun Day – Save the Date

On August 10, 2019, The Boys and Girls Clubs of the Permian Basin will hold their third Annual Family Fun Day. Mark your calendars for a day of free family fun, including music, games, face painting, petting zoo, jump zone and so much more! 

The Boys and Girls Club of the Permian Basin has hosted Family Fun Day for the past two years. Hosting the event alongside the Boys and Girls Club are The United Way of Midland County and UTPB’s early childhood education program, “First Five.” The event includes a large community school supply drive as a part of Family Fun Day to help under-privilaged children get a jumpstart on the upcoming school year. This year, Educate Midland is partnering with several local faith-based organizations to provide even more supplies for our children. 

Our Lady of Guadalupe and Father David Hererra, Goodwill Missionary Baptist Church and Pastor Ken Johnson, and First Baptist Church of Midland and Pastor Darin Wood expressed a desire to get their congregations involved in directly aiding the students of MISD and the Permian Basin. In the spirit of collaboration and Collective Impact, Educate Midland facilitated a partnership between the three churches and current event partners to further the success of the past two years.

This year’s goal is to provide 5,000 backpacks filled with school supplies for the children of the Permian Basin. Additionally, nearly a dozen other church bodies in the Permian Basin will join to sort and pack school supplies before the event, along with hundreds of other community volunteers. $85,000 has been raised through community and event partners in pursuit of this goal, and donations will continue to be accepted until the day of the event. 

Whether you donate your time, your resources, or join us for Family Fun Day, thank you for being an active member of our community, and for investing in our children. It takes big ideas, giving hearts and encouraging partnerships to bring communities together in the pursuit of change, and we can’t wait to see how our children benefit because of it.

Summer Alignment Programs / After School Tutoring Programs

By | College, Education

Summer Alignment Programs / After School Tutoring Programs

Elementary school teachers have one of the most important jobs: teaching children how to read. From kindergarten to fifth grade, teachers work with students to improve their reading skills and get them fully prepared for the following grade. However, who is working with students to enhance their abilities during the summer months? Studies show that low-income students can lose more than two months of reading achievement over the summer. Although low and middle-income students learn at the same rate throughout the school year, middle-income students advance their knowledge over the summer. Meanwhile, with lack of access to learning materials, low-income students are often falling behind, increasing the achievement gap between the two income groups each summer. By the end of fifth grade, low-income students can be two to three years behind their middle-class peers. 

This ongoing problem will continue to cycle if efforts are not made to change it. Our goal is to create opportunities for all students to advance over the summer through Summer Alignment Programs and after school tutoring. MISD has joined with Educate Midland and a group of our community partners to share and utilize the school system’s online math and reading tools in a variety of summer programs for MISD students. Our goal is to support our partners to facilitate a summer learning environment where students not only maintain their reading level, but excel into the next school year. 

XTO Energy’s generous funding and donations have helped us in aligning seven partners for these summer programs. For students to access the available online resources, we have donated new and repurposed laptops to YMCA, Kaleidoscope Ministries, Casa De Amigo’s, Unlock Ministries, Breaking Bread Kitchen, and the Boys and Girls Club of the Permian Basin for a total of more than 100 laptops donated for students’ use. Our seventh partner, Greater Ideal Baptist Church, did not need any technology donated but will still be utilizing the reading and math resources to track a progression of students in their summer program. MISD will also provide technical support throughout the summer to ensure the successful use of these learning tools for our students. 

There were 900 participants a day in 2018, and we are currently up to 1600 participants a day in 2019. We hope that these numbers will continue to rise each summer and our list of Summer Alignment partners will increase, allowing us to help as many MISD students as possible. Advancing reading levels among low-income students over the summer is not only possible, but achievable. 

SB 1882 – Charter School Startup and Support

By | College, Education

SB 1882 – Charter School Startup and Support

Creating opportunity for more choices in education within the community is our number one goal and one that we are very passionate about. Of the ten in-district charter schools located in Texas, four of them are located in Midland, giving MISD students the opportunity to pursue passions of their own in a flexible and innovative environment. 

Educate Midland has recently decided to assist Ben Milam International School, Goddard Junior High, and Bunche Elementary through the process of obtaining 501(c)3 status. This change is very exciting for these three schools and our community, however, this process can be rather confusing. Therefore, we would like to shed some light on how this process will work and what our involvement entails. 

While we are responsible for the transition of these three schools from district to charter, we are not running them. They will still proceed as normal, and leadership will be handed over as soon as the process is complete. The Senate Bill 1882, passed in 2017, grants additional funding to school districts that agree to work collaboratively with nonprofit partners, are focused on continuing collaboration, enhancing educational opportunities and ensuring schools provide the best programs for the children served. This opportunity for potential funding opens new doors for a unique and outside-the-box approach to education. Our goal is simply to guide these schools through this transition so that families and children are given the opportunity for choice in the community. 

We see the importance of this opportunity for these schools because their structure and vision for the future lends itself to a change in structure to a charter school. In fact, the vision already being implemented through REACH Network, pioneered by Goddard Junior High, was a driving force behind the decision to seek charter school status for the schools in question. REACH Network’s mission is to graduate students from its PK-8 curriculum prepared to fully engage and excel in high school coursework and have a strong path to post-secondary opportunities of their choice.

For a currently operating school or academy to become an in-district charter, charter organization officials fill out an application, which is then reviewed by the district. From there, a performance contract is set up and a 501(C)(3) to operate the charter. Once this is complete, Ben Milam International School, Goddard Junior High, and Bunche Elementary will run as normal, with additional freedom and advanced school subjects for each child to choose from. With the approval of Senate Bill 1882, the REACH Network, and a 501(c)3, these three schools will have successfully transferred from a public school system to a charter system, and we are honored for the opportunity to assist them in achieving this goal.

New Legislature – House Bill 3

By | Education, Legislature

New Legislature – House Bill 3

This week marked a historic moment in education as Texas State Legislature outlined the final version of House Bill 3, focused on School Finance. A lot of information of varied accuracy has been floating around about this bill, so in striving to be Midland’s local source for education information, we wanted to outline some of the most pertinent facts to help you better understand the implications of this bill.

The Basics:

HB 3 invests approximately $4.5 billion into Texas public education, reduces recapture by $3.6 billion and provides $5 billion in property tax relief. The legislation prioritizes many of the student-focused recommendations from the 2018 Texas Commission on Public School Finance.

Some Specifics:

  • New Dollars for Schools and Property Tax Relief: Increases the basic allotment to $6,160, a 20% increase above current law and compresses local property taxes by 8 cents in 2020 and 13 cents in 2021. This basically refers to the amount of money spent per pupil, or the cost associated with educating a child. Compression of local property taxes will result in local property tax relief, since Midland is a “property-rich” district. Reducing recapture means that our district won’t have as much money to send back to the state, otherwise known as the “Robin Hood” act.
  • Funding for Early Literacy: Infuses $780 million for low-income and English-language learning students in grades K-3, sufficient to fund full-day, high-quality pre-K for eligible 4-year-old students statewide, and an additional $1.1 billion in targeted resources for low-income students. This means that more money is being focused on the early critical years with options to put more money towards resources to support children with dyslexia, dual-language programs. Since Midland Independent School District (MISD) already has full-day pre-K, that money can be used towards other areas of need in early literacy.
  • Quality Standards for K-3: Expands evidence-based strategies to improve 3rd grade reading proficiency, such as reading academies and a requirement for Pre-K-6th grade teachers to demonstrate competency in the science of teaching reading by January of 2021. For us, this means the districts will be able to identify gaps in grades Pre-K-6th in reading on grade level and focus money towards solutions such as teacher training, additional literacy tools, or dedicated curriculum.
  • Outcomes-Based Funding: Provides equitable bonus funding to school districts based on the number of students meeting postsecondary readiness and access goals, differentiated for low-income, non-low-income, and special education student cohorts. This means our districts will receive more funding for more students graduating “college, career, or military ready” based on the standards TEA has placed on that definition. Passing the TSI (Texas Success Initiative test), hours enrolled in dual-credit classes, or ACT/SAT test scores are a few examples of this readiness indicators. Currently, only  about 50% of MISD students are graduating college, career, or military ready. This incentivizes plans to increase that number, like Educate Midland’s “What’s Your Plan?” campaign.
  • Strategic Teacher Compensation: Creates an optional pool of funding for districts to enact locally developed, robust teacher evaluation systems and reward Texas’ most effective educators. This is an accountability component, or a plan to allow teachers to be paid according to their added value/effort, instead of tying it to tenure or student-based outcomes (test scores.) Think of it how other professions are assessed on a performance-evaluation scale, and then compensated according to the standards set prior.
  • Dedicated Funding for Teacher Pay Raises: Requires that 30% of the increase in the basic allotment be used on pay raises for teachers, librarians, counselors, and nurses, prioritizing differentiated compensation for classroom teachers with more than 5 years of experience. This will likely be discussed and determined in the school board’s budget meeting. These raises must come from the $6,160 per pupil expense. So depending on how many children enroll in MISD or Greenwood ISD, $1,848 of that must go towards this “pot” of teacher raises.

What Comes Next:

  • HB3 has officially passed and the camaraderie amongst the Speaker of the House, Dennis Bonnen, and the Lieutenant Governor (head of the Senate), Dan Patrick, were very cordial about the agreement our government was able to reach in support of 5.4 million kids in Texas!
  • Gov. Abbott will sign the bill into law in the coming weeks.
  • Once signed into law, the Texas Education Agency, with other agency partners, will begin to create the standards for districts and charter schools surrounding what they can and cannot do with this funding.

 

Facts and figures provided by https://www.investedtx.org/

 

For more information on this landmark legislature, check out this recent MRT article. https://www.mrt.com/news/article/HB3-passage-would-mean-MISD-tax-rates-recapture-13899108.php
midland resources

How to Help Your Child Study for Exams

By | Education, Learning

How to Help Your Child Study for Exams

Watching your son or daughter struggling through a difficult class or worry about a big test, might leave you feeling helpless. While Mom and Dad can’t exactly go to school and take the exam in their child’s place, parents that establish strong study habits at home will set up their children for success in school. Here’s how to help your child study for exams:
midland resources

1. Create a study space and eliminate distractions

Studies repeatedly show that television is a distraction to students completing assignments, and it’s best to set a strict house rule: study time is “no TV” time. Eliminating TV distraction while studying will help your child increase their study productivity throughout their entire academic career.

2. Explain the difference between studying and homework

There is a fundamental difference between completing homework and studying, and it is important for your child to understand the difference. Completing their homework does not mean your child has studied for their exam. Encourage your child to study by:

    • Taking notes during the reading
    • Learn to skim material
    • Learn to comprehend reading material and summarize the information
    • Rewrite notes for longer review
    • Make flashcards for quick review

3. Encourage your child to organize their study and homework projects on a planner

Time management is a critical study skill that your child needs to master in their younger years. The ability to plan study and homework time ahead of due dates and exams will help your child to succeed in all their future endeavors. Encourage your child to study over multiple days, not the night before the exam. This is guaranteed to increase comprehension and memorization of the study material.

4. Develop critical note-taking skills

Many students will feel they have to write down every word the teacher says in a lecture, which can be an ineffective way of notetaking. Teach your child to adopt an outline form of note-taking, focusing on important key ideas. Utilize abbreviations to jot down more information quicker.

5. Help your child feel confident in their ability

Test-taking is a difficult experience for many students, so help your child feel confident in their test-taking ability. Encourage them to get a good night’s sleep the night before the exam; studying the night before rarely works, and will do more harm than good mentally. Remind your child to relax during the exam, take a deep breath and read all the directions and questions carefully. Remind them that they studied hard, they understand the material, and they are going to ace this exam!

If you’re looking for more tips and fun academic research tools, check out some of these sites:

Midland Volunteer Opportunities

Midland Volunteer Opportunities Over the Holidays

By | Volunteering

Opportunities for Giving Back Over the Holidays

The holidays are a time for us to give back. Giving doesn’t always require a gift, money or any material things. Giving is about doing for others for no personal gain. During the holidays, the best way to give is often through volunteer work. Volunteer work not only helps the community, but provides an excellent resume builder for students who lack job experience. Here’s a list of some local volunteer opportunities this winter break.

West Texas Food Bank

The West Texas Food Bank collects, purchases and distributes food to people in need across 19 West Texas counties. The Midland location is in need of Christmas pantry volunteers starting December 14th. Volunteers will need to set up and re-stock the pantry, assist clients with their food selections, and help with cleanup. The position is open to anyone 14 and up.
Sign up to volunteer at the West Texas Food Bank online.

Gifts Of Hope

Gifts of Hope serves cancer patients and their families through support, lodging, information and networking. The Midland location is in need of sign and sandwich makers, greeters, and clerical volunteers this winter break. The positions are open to anyone 16 and up.
Sign up to volunteer at Gifts of Hope online.

Breaking Bread Soup Kitchen

Breaking Bread Soup Kitchen is a faith-based food kitchen that provides meals to the hungry. Breaking Bread serves meals to the homeless, working poor, and elderly every Monday through Friday from 5:30-6:30. They are a completely voluntary organization looking for all the help they can get over the holidays.
Sign up to volunteer for Breaking Bread Soup Kitchen online.

Midland Volunteer Opportunities

Casa De Amigos

Casa De Amigos improves the quality of life throughout the Midland community by helping people help themselves. Casa De Amigos offers youth and adult education, senior services, social services and health wellness information in order to help individuals meet their needs. They need volunteers this Christmas break to clean, organize, and care for their facilities.
Sign up to volunteer at Casa De Amigos online.

7 Things To Do over Christmas Break

By | Activities, College, Travel

7 Things To Do over Christmas Break

Christmas break is here! This means a much needed, and well-deserved break from school. With extra time on your hands, you may be brainstorming how to put your time to good use. Here are a few ideas on how to enjoy your break to the fullest.

Spend quality time with your family

Once you go off to college, you most likely don’t get to see your family the way you used to. Use your break from school to enjoy quality time with your family.

Catch up with old friends

Chances are, some of your good friends may have ended up attending a different college than you. So, now that you’re home for break, it is a great time to make plans to catch up and hang out with some of your hometown friends.

Try new recipes

It’s the holiday season, which means there are plenty of seasonal recipes to try. With extra time on your hands, it’s time to put your cooking skills to the test. Pick a few of your favorite recipes and try them out. You’ll return to school with new and improved cooking skills under your belt.

Apply for scholarships

We understand school is probably one of the last things you want on your mind. However, with a break from the hustle and bustle of school, it may be the perfect time to tackle some scholarship applications. We know how hard these can be to focus on during the challenging school year, so it may be best to put forth the effort while things are a bit more relaxed.

Schedule out the remainder of the year

To finish out your school year strong, take some time to plan out your schedule for the Spring semester. Take another look at your class syllabi and ensure you are mentally prepared for the deadlines, assignments, and tests to come.

Read a book

No worries, we don’t mean a textbook. Pick up your favorite novel, or a new book you haven’t had the chance to read and dive deep into the story this break.

Netflix Marathons

This time of year is prime for new Netflix series. Park yourself on the couch, grab a snack and try tuning into a new show or re-watching an old one.

5 Activities to do with your child over Thanksgiving Break

By | Activities, Learning

5 Activities to do with your child over Thanksgiving Break

Don’t let your child waste away their Thanksgiving break playing phone games or watching television. There are plenty of ways to get involved in the community and interact as a family during Thanksgiving break. Ditch the devices, and use this small break from school as a big opportunity for you and your child to create lasting memories.

1. Volunteer

Thanksgiving is the perfect time for you and your family to participate in a volunteer program. Volunteermatch.com is an excellent resource for finding volunteer opportunities in your area, as the website allows you to search by zip code. Not only will you be giving back to your community, some studies show that volunteer work can make you a healthier and happier person. www.midlandvolunteerconnections.org

2. Read fun Thanksgiving-themed books

Go to the library and let your child pick out a few Thanksgiving-related books to take home and read together. Not only are you keeping their mind sharp and engaged over the break from school, reading a book together is a great memory that your child will treasure for their lifetime.

3. Turkey crafts

The biggest symbol of the Thanksgiving season is the turkey. Celebrate by putting together some easy Thanksgiving turkey-related crafts. Pinterest is an excellent resource for finding simple and easy craft ideas.

4. Play outside and collect the leaves

No Thanksgiving holiday is complete without some fun in the sun. Tossing the football around outside, or diving into piles of autumn leaves can become some of your child’s most precious memories of the Thanksgiving season. Collect the Autumn leaves for some fun leaf art projects!

5. Create an indoor Thanksgiving scavenger hunt

A fun and exciting activity that can apply to the holiday of Thanksgiving: create a Thanksgiving scavenger hunt that leads your child to a small prize, candy or yummy Thanksgiving snack!

5 Best Books to Read This Fall

By | Activities, Learning

5 Best Books to Read This Fall

Fall is the perfect season for curling up from the cold, West Texas wind and crawling into a good book. Here is a selection of fresh material we think are worth a flip through this autumn!

Manhattan Beach

Author: Jennifer Egan

A thriller set in Great Depression-era New York, Manhattan Beach is a mesmerizing novel you won’t want to set down. This historical tale explores the life of Anna Kerrigan and the mysterious circumstances surrounding the disappearance of her father. Egan weaves a masterpiece involving organized crime, merchant marines, class conflict and World War 2. How much more action-packed can a book be?

Uncommon Type

Author: Tom Hanks

Yes, this is a collection of seventeen short stories by THE Tom Hanks. With stories involving a wide range of subjects from professional bowlers to eccentric billionaires, Hanks shows that he is as talented a writer as he is an actor. Hanks takes cues from his acting performances and delivers tales that are equal parts surprising, hilarious, and enlightening.

Turtles All The Way Down

Author: John Green

Sixteen-year-olds Aza and Daisy become detectives after a hundred-thousand-dollar reward is posted to solve the disappearance of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett. Turtles All The Way Down delivers a brilliant story of two girls searching for fugitives, love, friendship, and resiliency. Author John Green of The Fault in Our Stars fame returns in full-form for this young adult drama.

Sing, Unburied, Sing

Author: Jesmyn Ward

Sing, Unburied, Sing is a gritty and honest portrait of a family coming to grips with drug addiction, death, prison, and family values in rural Mississippi. The story dissects both the meaning and limitations family can provide for family members.

The Last Ballad

Author: Wiley Cash

The Last Ballad explores life before labor laws for textile workers in early 20th century America. Long days, little pay, injustice, and oppression were just some of the prices paid by factory workers in the 1900s. A young woman named Ella May looks to change the way workers are treated by joining a labor movement at a potentially high cost to her family and loved ones. Wiley Cash masterfully translates the bravery and struggle faced by early human rights activists in this historical drama.

4 Tips to Survive Feeling Homesick in College

By | College, Travel

4 Tips to Survive Feeling Homesick in College

So you’ve spent the majority of your life under the same roof as your family. They were there when you needed them for 18 years, now you have left them. You’ve traded the comfort of their home and your room for a living environment that can be cramped and lacks privacy on campus. The idea of separation from home can be exciting for some and be disheartening for others. To help you survive this feeling of homesickness we have compiled four things to keep in mind.

Being Homesick Doesn’t Make You Weird

Homesickness for many college students isn’t a matter of “if” you will miss home but “when.” Home represents comfort, so when school gets tough or uncomfortable, you long for home even more. You aren’t weird for having these feelings as almost every college student has felt this way at one point. Homesickness is part of becoming independent and growing into young adulthood, so embrace it a little.

Give Yourself Breathing Room

Homesickness can make you feel like a fish out of water and may even tempt you to return home after a few weeks. Returning home is not recommended as these growing pains can be precisely what you need. Things as simple as staying busy with school work, reading, watching Netflix, going to school events, playing intramurals and having “me” time are perfect for keeping your mind off of home. A little breathing room may be all you need for your anxieties and fears to slip away.

Stay Connected But Not Dependent On Home

There’s a difference between staying connected with home and being dependent on home. It’s good to stay connected to old friends and family, but that shouldn’t become the extent of your social life at school. When you’re having a difficult time, there’s only so much a loved one can do from a distance. The best way to get through the tough times is to build a support system of friends at your school.  

Make a “Home Away From Home”

You may not believe it now, but in the near-future, you may refer to your dorm, apartment or house at school as “home.” You’re the only one who can make yourself at home. Whether you create bonds with people down the hall, down the street, or in an organization, it’s these connections that become the familiar place you call home.

 

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