Cubs Corner
Summer Vacation!

Summer vacation! Those very words bring happy feet, huge smiles, and tears of joy to the faces of all of our wonderful students, staff, and teachers that grace the halls of BISD. Our students, teachers, and staff have worked hard and everyone is ready for a break.
But, as you can always expect a teacher to say, summer break is an excellent time to continue learning.
If you polled the students that live in my house, you would get the unanimous result of “Yes, we have to read before we swim, play, watch TV….” Just about anything would fit into the last part of that sentence. And I won’t lie – it’s not an easy task. Their brains want to be on vacation too, so there are more than a few struggles with getting our reading time in.
But we, myself included, need to remember that learning doesn’t always come from a book. In fact, in the summertime, it is a necessity for us to find other ways to educate our kids. Lessons that come from the classroom of life.
Our family was fortunate to go on a vacation this summer that provided tremendous opportunities for learning – for our kids and for us. While gazing at the Grand Canyon and trying to comprehend its massiveness, we were able to discuss the way it was formed. We talked about how the different layers of rock created the colors we could see. And most of the discussion was led by our soon to be 6th grader who was showing the science skills he learned from amazing teachers. During a stop in Las Vegas, we fought the heat and the crowds. The buildings and sights left us awestruck. One of our favorites was the Fountains at the Bellagio. We watched as the fountains danced in concordance with music. I thought it was one of the most impressive things I would ever see – until I heard my 4th grader explain to me how HIS light and water show would work and how he would also incorporate great things like roller coasters and Ferris wheels. Now THAT’S a show I can’t wait to see. Thanks to BISD and its teachers, my son has the confidence and encouragement to think of things like that. He knows he can build that someday because he’s had teachers that have taught him math, science, and most importantly, confidence. We ended our trip in the city by the bay – San Francisco. We set out to see all the sights, and accomplished everything on our list. A highlight, for sure, was driving across the Golden Gate Bridge. We craned our necks and soaked in every sight of the man-made wonder as we traveled with traffic. Before we could even reach the other side, we had all received a lesson in what type of bridge it is (suspension), what supports the suspension (towers), and what supports the underside of the highway(trusses). This all, thanks to our 2nd grader, who is fortunate enough to have BISD teachers who spend time creating lessons that stick with even the youngest of our family. We even learn from members of other communities, such as the California Highway Patrol. Thankfully, he was kind enough to send us on our way with a warning, and let us know that we must drive 55 mph pulling our trailer through the great state of California.
Even within our own community, we have so many opportunities to learn while we are on summer break. Our very own Terry County Museum offers a glimpse of our own history that we may not be aware of. It’s even a good repeat destination – it seems we learn something new about Terry County every time we visit. Kendrick Memorial Library is another Brownfield destination. Besides the books you can lose yourself in (still need to do that summer reading!), they provide programs and visitors that encourage our students to read, but more importantly, learn.
As a community, we need to always be on tap to teach our students. Whether it be teaching them with a once-in-a-lifetime vacation or teaching them how to change the oil in the lawnmower, we are responsible for teaching them. Our BISD teachers and staff are committed to teaching our students throughout the school year, which will soon be upon us. And we are all grateful of the help our parents and community give us to teach our students during our summer break (even if it’s just reading a book.)

What is ESL?
By Chris Edwards BEC Principal

It is hard to believe that the summer is about over and a new school year is right over the horizon. While we look at all the great accomplishments of the previous year, we must also spend time looking at data on each of our students in order to provide them with the best education possible. The group of students I will be focusing on is our English Language Learners, also known as our ESL or ELL students. These are the students who do not speak English as their first language. These students are very cognitive yet they sometimes get left behind because of the language barrier, especially academic vocabulary. There are over 120 different languages represented in Texas schools with Spanish speakers making up 90% of the languages. Some of the other prominent languages are Vietnamese, Arabic, Urdar, Mandarin Chinese, and Burmese. In the state of Texas ELL’s (English Language Learners) represent about 18% of the total student population. In BISD we serve 157 ESL students with Spanish being the prominent language--followed by German. The mission of BISD is to ensure that all students meet the cognitive, affective and linguistic needs of English Language Learners within a culturally supportive environment in order to obtain student achievement. So, it is our job as a district to serve these students in order to be successful in their course work as well as in the English language. Most ELL’s have a five year window to become proficient in English. One of the state tests our ESL students take is the TELPAS which measures reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. They are also responsible to pass the STAAR test in their tested grades.
As the ESL coordinator, it is my responsibility to make sure that all parties involved are successful with the student taking center stage. One of the biggest under takings is to make sure that the parents of our ELL’s are well informed and that they understand how our program can help their student and are guided in the right direction to make sure that this goal is obtained. As a district we must follow not only state guidelines, but federal guidelines to be in compliance with NCLB or No Child Left Behind. To meet this, federal and state mandates require training for all our teachers at the start of the school year and continuing training throughout the school year. Accountability is one of the biggest measurements of our district and ESL students. The state has leveled the playing field in the sense that our ESL students have a progress measure to meet in order to make sure that these students are progressing without negatively affecting the accountability of a district and if the students are within their plan.
The benefits of all ESL programs including the BISD ESL program is to make sure all students are taught in English. Students participate with English speaking students in all content areas. Each student is given the appropriate time of instruction with a certified teacher. By law, we also provide summer programs for Pre K and Kindergarten age students.
ESL programs can be very complicated at times when it comes to state and federal guidelines. It is also complicated and confusing to the general public in the sense that many do not understand the goals of an ESL program. In a quality program all students will speak English, but we must take in to account that students must be taught in a way that is conducive to optimize the learning opportunity. There are laws in place due to the fact that this group of students have been under represented and left behind because of the language. Just because you cannot speak the English language does not mean that you cannot understand or learn the content. Plyler V. Doe [457 U.S 202 (1982)] ensured all persons the right to an education if they meet the age limits determined by the state education code. Maybe one day all schools will have programs in place where all students will be bilingual because the students that can speak more than one language will be able to compete in the global workforce. BISD is taking steps to ensure our ELL’s are receiving a quality education using the newest and most efficient techniques to prepare them for their lives outside of public education.

“I’m bored! There is nothing to do!” These are a parent’s most feared words from a child in the summer. Well parents, the light at the end of the tunnel is in sight. By the time most of you will be reading this we will be halfway through our summer. With that in mind there are some activities that are important for your child to be participating in to help them get ready for the upcoming school year and most importantly, beyond grade school, in college and in life.

One of the most important things you can promote for your grade school age son or daughter is a healthy lifestyle. According to the CDC (2015), childhood obesity has more than doubled in the past 30 years. There are many factors that have led to this increase, but specifically kids are eating more and less healthy than they were 30 years ago and they are exercising less compared to you as a child! One simple way to increase healthy eating is to sit down on a regular basis and have a family meal. The advantages of a family meal are twofold. One of the advantages is that you get to sit down and catch up with your kids. In this day and age of social media, talking face to face is very important and can be a lost art for our children. The second advantage is adults tend to eat healthier than children, so by default your children are more likely to eat fruits, vegetables and snack less on unhealthy foods. This is a great opportunity for you to be a healthy role model. You can also be a healthy role model by encouraging and participating in the CDC (2015) recommended 1 hour or more of physical activity a day. Take your children for a walk, ride a bike, go swimming. The possibilities are endless.

Another important aspect of keeping kids engaged and productive in the summer is keeping kids reading throughout the summer. According to Reading is Fundamental ( 2015, students who don’t read over the summer lose up to 3 months of reading achievement. What’s worse is that this “summer slide” is cumulative and by the end of their 5th grade year, students can be as much as 3 years behind their reading counterparts. Kendrick Memorial library, here in Brownfield, offers a Summer Reading Program for school age kids with prizes for children that read books and turn in reading logs. In addition, there will be a grand prize at the end of the summer. I know most kids and parents don’t feel like they have time to read. For most families the problem is that reading competes with the television. One easy thing that you can do to encourage reading for your children is to turn off the television for 30 minutes and read a book. Another simple thing is read a book for 15-20 minutes at bedtime. Remember parents, little eyes are watching, so make sure you model your expectations. Also, don’t forget to visit Kendrick Memorial library!

These are simple things that we try to do at my house, but they are not always easy. Research shows that on average it takes an activity 66 days for it to become a habit. Try something new, but don’t give up if you get a little resistance. We live in a time where there is no time. I would encourage each of you to slow down, read a book, sit down for a meal, or go outside and play!

Have you ever found yourself frustrated with your child’s behavior and how to redirect them in a positive and productive manner? Region 17 Education Center, Brownfield ISD, and the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities teamed together to bring in a presenter from the Love and Logic Institute, Inc. Love and Logic is a balance of love, mutual respect, limits and accountability that is designed to help kids become happy, self-controlled adults.
Jedd Hafer, the Love and Logic presenter, shared practical strategies with educators, parents, and community members on ways to understand and respond to difficult behaviors in our children. Hafer shared that there are only two rules with Love and Logic. Rule #1 is that adults set firm limits in loving ways without anger, lecture, threats, or repeated warnings. Rule #2 is when children misbehave and cause problems, adults hand these problems back in loving ways.
Mr. Hafer included that the most important Love and Logic skill is empathy, which is the willingness and ability to put yourself in the child’s shoes. He also shared helpful tips for parents and teachers on homework, chores, house rules, arguing, problem solving, consequences, and more! Love and Logic provides information for all age ranges for parents and educators. For parents, Love and Logic provides positive loving tools for raising well-behaved and happy children. For teachers, it provides them with valuable classroom management tools that save time, energy, and are worthwhile.
If you are interested in learning more about Love and Logic please feel free to contact the Special Education office at 806-637-8448. You can also join the Love and Logic Insider’s Club for free where you will receive online articles with helpful parenting and classroom management information. To become a member you can sign up online at, email the company at, or call 800-338-4065.

Celebrating Our Teachers

On June 4, 2015, our school district family gathered in the Brownfield High School Commons to celebrate a year of achievements and recognitions for the 2014-2015 school year. Years of service from outstanding individuals were recognized for their dedication to our school district. It is an awesome experience to see standing ovations to display heart-felt recognition for genuine displays of gratitude and appreciation for an individual’s achievements in education. At the end of our school year, special recognition was awarded to elementary and secondary teachers. Specialized awards were given to an Up and Coming Elementary Teacher and the Brownfield ISD Elementary Teacher of The Year was awarded to Mrs. Jeanette Simmons. In secondary education, a specialized award was given to an Up and Coming Secondary Teacher and the Brownfield ISD Secondary Teacher of The Year was awarded to Mrs. De’Ann Burris. Even though these outstanding individuals are not teaching on my campus, I am so proud of them and their accomplishments! These outstanding individuals are such a blessing to our school district, our schools, and most importantly to our students!
After receiving the District Elementary and Secondary Teacher of The Year Awards, these individuals are submitted to the Region 17 Education Service Center as part of the Texas Association of School Administrators’ Texas Teacher of the Year for 2016 honors. During June through July, 2015, the local Region 17 will judge and complete the Region 17 Teacher of the Year, and then in October, 2015, the Texas Teacher of the Year will be awarded. Later in October, the National Teacher of the Year will be announced.
Celebrating these outstanding teachers and our teachers of our school district for their passion for students and the learning process can be inspirational. Teachers place forth countless hours of time and preparation for learning. When many others are traveling, often our teachers spend their free time in professional development to improve their art of teaching and learning. Great teachers work tirelessly to create challenging, nurturing environments for their students. A great teacher holds high expectations from their students, and they don’t accept anything less. In education, expectations form a self-fulfilling prophecy. When teachers believe each and every student can soar beyond any imagined limits, the students will sense that confidence and work with the teacher to make it happen.
Successful teachers think creatively. The best teachers think outside of the box, outside the classroom, and outside the norm. They leap outside of the classroom walls and take their students with them! As much as possible, top teachers try to make classroom experiences exciting and memorable for the students. Think tactile, unexpected, movement-oriented, and a little bit abnormal…then you can see successful teaching and learning.
Top teachers live outside of their own needs and remain sensitive to the needs of others, including students, parents, colleagues, and the community. It is so challenging because each individual needs something different, but the most successful teachers are a special breed who play a multitude of roles in a given day with fluidity and grace, while remaining true to themselves.
You need to know that teachers don’t see their classrooms as places where you go to make rules and assign homework; rather they see them as extensions of their kitchen tables and living rooms. Teachers strive to make these places safe and nurturing. You need to know that teachers worry about their students; they celebrate the smallest of student accomplishments. Teachers wake up at night thinking about their hard-to-reach students. You need to know that teaching doesn’t just happen at 8:00 a.m. in the morning and closes at 5:00 p.m. night. Most of all teachers could have chosen any profession, but they chose to teach.
Celebrate teachers at the end of the school year, at the beginning of the school year, and during the school year. While teaching is a gift that seems to come quite naturally for some, others have to work overtime to achieve great teacher status. Teachers and school staff work really hard for students-- not for the praise. They are in it for the students—the desire to make a difference in their student’s lives.
As we look to a new school year, beginning on August 24, 2015. Our school district will host Meet the Teacher on Thursday, August 20, 2015 at the elementary and secondary campuses. The first day of school is sometime referred to as the most important day of the school year: the day that all of our celebrated teachers will help students to begin to realize their full potential! Brownfield ISD Quest for Excellence: Making a Difference, One Cub at a Time!

Kathleen Crooks, Bright Beginnings Academic Center Principal

Life Lessons from Colonial Heights….by Dana Ketchersid

As I reflect on this past school year, I am thankful for the opportunities that it has provided. Seeing our young students grow physically and academically is a true reward. As these students head home for the summer, I want to share my “top ten” lessons that life has taught me during my years as an educator.
1. Time is a precious commodity that we can never have back. Spend it wisely! Your children will never be as young as they are now, so take time to listen to their stories, play their games, and go places with them. This investment of time will pay dividends.
2. Laugh often and enjoy the humor in life. I love starting the school day with a corny joke. It is fun to see students smile and start their day on a positive note. Research also tells us that humor reduces stress, increases endorphins and dopamine, and helps us bond with others.
3. Be an encourager! When we encourage others, we desire to be of service to them. We all understand the power of a kind word or thoughtful deed especially in the face of adversity.
4. Take chances and be a risk-taker. You never know what discoveries you will find or ideas that will come from taking a risk. In the words of Dr. Seuss, “If you want to go far, you have to think of things never thought of before.”
5. Be grateful. Having a gratitude attitude helps us to appreciate the abundance in our lives. It allows us to feel positive, both emotionally and physically. After all, we have so much to be thankful for.
6. Be flexible. When you get used to something, and you count on it always being there, it is often very uncomfortable when it changes. However, there is usually a reason for the change. That is why it is important to be flexible. Try to imagine all the good things that might happen as a result of the change. Oftentimes, good things come from this change and it allows us to grow.
7. Remain humble. We should never forget that we were once beginners and there is always someone that knows more or does something better. Showing kindness and compassion allows us to model service, see others in a positive way and humble ourselves.
8. Be forgiving. This is a very important lesson that I have learned from working with youngsters. Students are able to forgive and forget instantly. They can easily move on and never harbor ill feelings. What a wonderful example they model daily. For them, each day is a clean slate. After all, forgiving others shows strength of character, not weakness.
9. Respect the contributions of others. No matter what job you have, the people around you will have ideas or actions of how it can be improved. Appreciate others’ talents or gifts. Not only can you learn from them, but by working together or respecting their contributions, everyone can be better.
10. Be a lifelong learner. Pursue knowledge and continue learning something new each day. Life is full of wonderments and explorations.

Despite the cooler temperatures and significant rainfall the last few months, summer is upon us. Based on the Flex Calendar implemented by Brownfield ISD this year, students who met certain criteria finished their 2014 - 2015 school year on May 20, allowing campuses to channel resources on focused instruction for the remaining students through June 4, which fulfills the standard 180-day calendar required by the state. Regardless of the dismissal date, summer is here and students and teachers alike will hopefully enjoy their opportunity for some much needed down time and relaxation.
While I believe the most important thing for kids to do during the summer is enjoy their families and have fun, it’s important to avoid the temptation to sleep all day and spend hours watching television or playing video games. To be successful in school and life, kids must continue learning throughout the summer. This doesn’t mean they have to write definitions or complete daily math worksheets. In fact, the summer is a great time to try new things and explore interests that don’t necessarily fit into the school curriculum. Whether students travel or remain in their neighborhood, learning can occur.
Here are a few affordable activities your child can do to have fun and continue learning:
1. Plant a garden. Kids can plant seeds and learn the science of growing things. They can explore what it takes to make a plant grow: air, sun, water, and nutrients. They can also grow vegetables and sell them to neighbors or enjoy them with a meal.
2. Plan your vacation. If you’re going on a vacation, allow your kids to research your trip. Have them check the distance from your home, to the destination, and back, and calculate gas prices. Have them research sightseeing attractions and family activities at your destination. Have them search for better hotel deals and discounts.
3. Work outside. Summer jobs and community service teach children work ethic, punctuality, how to follow directions, and the rewards of serving others. Require your child to wash the car, paint the fence, trim the bushes, rake the leaves. Ask your child to find ways around your house to conserve energy. Important note: Kids do not have to be paid to perform house chores. You have been paying them since they were born with food, shelter, clothes, activities, and the list goes on, and on, and on.
4. If you do pay them, or provide an allowance, teach financial responsibility. Based on an analysis of Federal Reserve statistics and other governmental data, the average household owes over $7,000 in credit card debt. Kids need to learn at a young age, the importance of budgeting, saving, and giving. Have your kids set aside part of their allowance or paycheck to teach them at an early age that all of your money is never all of your money.
Remember to enjoy summer and be sure not to over plan. Be creative and intentional on continuing your child’s learning. According to Susan K. Perry, author of Playing Smart: The Family Guide to Enriching Offbeat Learning Activities for Ages 4-14, “To avoid boredom, a child has to learn to be motivated on his or her own, to a certain extent, and that is an acquired skill. If every time your child says, ‘I’m bored,’ you step in with a quick solution, they’ll never learn to develop their own resources. But do provide some options. Just don’t try to instill learning. That’s not how it works.”
Finally, if you need help keeping your child busy or you’re looking for fun, enrichment activities for your child, check out the Brownfield ISD ACE (Afterschool Centers for Education) programs at each campus. There are numerous activities that will benefit various students. At BMS, we are offering high-intensity training for boys and girls, speed and agility training, a pottery class, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math project learning), open gym, and X-Box club. For more information, please contact the BMS office at (806) 637-7521.

2015 Brownfield High School Graduation!

As I am finishing up my third year as principal of Brownfield High School and conducting my third graduation, I feel like we have made great gains. It seems that as the years go by, I get more attached to our kids. Watching them start their high school careers as freshmen and witnessing how they mature as they become seniors is amazing. With the struggles some have gone through, the accomplishments, and mistakes they have made, I have tried my hardest to be there for each and every one of them. I feel like it is my responsibility as the leader of my campus to guide, support, and care for each student like my own child. It is and will always be my goal to ensure that every student who enters Brownfield High School receives the best education, graduates, and attends college. I also strive to build relationships with the students and their parents.
The graduating class of 2015 has accomplished great things at BHS through their involvement in a multitude of extracurricular activities. In athletics, our Cubs and Lady Cubs went beyond district competition, and a couple, for example, tennis and track, reached state competition. Our Spirit of the Plains band has continued to earn sweepstakes and reach state competition. The agriculture program has grown, with students attending stock shows and competing in career/leadership development events. One Act Play competed at the state level. I could go on and on about the success that our students have had this year. More importantly, we have 100% of our seniors graduating this year. The students have received over $123,300.00 in scholarships this year. Also, we have many students enrolled in college for this fall. Since they were freshmen, this group of seniors has always followed my lead and met any goal I set for them. They are a great, smart, caring, and ambitious group of young men and women. I wish them the very best and I hope they know that they can always come to me if they ever need help or advice.

It’s GREAT to be a Brownfield CUB!

Paul Coronado
Brownfield High School Principal

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