Written by Phil Cerroni
Principals of west side Carrollton/Farmers Branch ISD update parents, business leaders
By Sissy Courtney
Principals from Las Colinas Elementary, Barbara Bush Middle School and Ranchview High School held a breakfast meeting for parents and business leaders to bring them up to date on accomplishments, future events and to discuss the International Baccalaureate Program (IB) continuum between the schools.
Las Colinas Elementary
Principal Ahveance Jones talked about the IB reauthorization of Las Colinas Elementary.
“We will not find out until the end of the school year, but we are thrilled with some of the comments made, so we are not worried at all about that,” Jones said.
Jones told the group that construction on a new school building for the elementary will begin soon.
“Tom Bell who is over the construction of the building is trying to hold a meeting before Christmas break, but if not, we’ll do it after the first semester,” Jones said.
The new building will open with the 2014-2015 school year, and the old building will be torn down.
“For kids to be successful, they’ve got to find a place in the school,” Principal Matt Warnock said. “We present a tremendous amount of opportunities through clubs, organizations, athletics, and fine arts for kids to get involved in and get hooked at school.
“Our top orchestra got to take a trip down to Baylor University to attend a workshop with a college professor. These are seventh and eighth grade kids that are learning from a collegiate professor that teaches orchestra. They got to hear the Baylor Orchestra perform and a guest performance from an orchestra in Japan. An important aspect of the trip is that they got to spend a day on a college campus.”
“There are four fall sports: seventh grade football, eighth grade football, seventh grade volleyball and eighth grade volleyball,” Warnock said. “We were district champs in three out of the four. Success on the volleyball court brings success to the classroom, and I want a school that kids can be proud of.”
Warnock talked about the caring aspect of IB.
“Our kids are so philanthropic,” he said. “We donated $400 through Red Ribbon Week to MADD and $300 to Tuesday’s Children the week of 9/11. This benefits the children and families who were victims of 9/11. These things are brought to us by kids.
“We just did our canned food drive for the holidays, and we had almost 400 items of nonperishable items brought in by the kids, so we’ve got a caring group of kids that continues from the IB portion of Las Colinas,” Warnock said. “We are one of the few feeder programs in the area that can offer K-12 IB. I was not always a believer, but I have come to truly believe in the IB Program and the things that it brings.
“If (students) can think cross curricular, if they can make those connections, they will be successful no matter their career or what the world looks like.”
Ranchview High School
Principal Sherie Skruch is new to the school.
“This fall we had four national merit semi-finalists,” Skruch said. “That’s the largest percentage of students in the district. Creekview had six students, but they have two and a half times the number of students we have. That translates into lots and lots of money for college and that’s exciting for the parents and the kids. We had a national merit achievement scholar, and we had four national merit commended scholars and one national merit participant.
“Ranchview was recognized by the Texas ACT Council for a college readiness award. We are showing that we are getting our kids ready for college after high school.”
She agreed with the Bush MS principal about the IB Program.
“It teaches kids to think critically, not just to analysis the information but to think deeply about where they are going with the information, why it is important and how they will use it in the future. The skills that we are teaching in the classroom are making a difference.
“The community service projects they are creating, designing and putting together amazes me,” Skruch said.“It is not the classroom that you or I sat in years ago
“We also have successes in all avenues. Athletics is improving. We’re excited that all those district champions are going to be coming to Ranchview next year. Two of our cross country runners made it to Regional.
“The band received straight 1’s at UIL and went on to the Area competition. We have band, orchestra, choir and theatre programs and that is almost unheard of in a 3A high school to have all four fine arts programs.
“We had four students selected for the future leaders of Irving Program,” Skruch said. “That is a great opportunity for students to get out into the community to see how business leaders run their businesses.”
“Ranchview collected $1,000 to donate of Muscular Dystrophy. Our kids really care. The amount of service projects that we have on our campus is amazing. Through the IB Program, the Theory of Knowledge Program and the CASP Project, every student designs their own community service action that directly impacts something in their community.”
Some of the projects include: mentoring programs at Bush Elementary; mentors for middle school band members as they make the transition to high school; collect and donate athletic equipment for underprivileged students in the community.
“Ms. Henderson, one of our geography teachers was selected by TEA this fall to sit on the Review Committee for the upcoming STAAR Test,” Skruch said. “That’s a huge honor.
“Liz Mahaffey, one of our special Education teachers, received the grant this fall. Her students have opened the Wolf Pack Coffee Shop. In her classroom every morning from 7:30 to 8:15, she and her students make coffee and hot chocolate for the staff and students. Monday, they made over 120 cups.
“They go to Sam’s and purchase supplies; they bring it back and prepare it and serve it. They are learning customer service. They count the money at the end. The life-skills that they (are learning) in a real world situation is amazing.
All of our kids have embraced it,” Skruch said. “They love going and hanging out in the classroom with Ms. Mahaffey’s kids. They interact; they talk; they laugh. They are friends, and they have a great time.”
“Next year, I will have students in all three of these schools,” one parent said. “My first year at Bush was (the principal’s) first year at Bush, and every year there have been improvements because of transparency and listening to the parents. We could not pay a private school for what our kids are getting in this district and at these schools.”
Come on down
All three principals welcome parents to visit the schools. They said to look for the Westside Feeder Pattern Newsletter.
Did you know?
Barbara Bush Middle School Principal Matt Warnock was named 2012 Texas Public Schools Ambassador of the Year at a dinner at Frontiers of Flight Museum Dec. 5.