Monday, November 15, 2010

Thankful for Texas Public Schools

It's that "thankful" time of year again! The one where I find myself counting my blessings a little more often. And, in this tough economic time, I've found myself time and time again being thankful for having a job when so many we know are out of work. But, when I think about being an educator, simply having a job and a paycheck doesn't really seem to sum up just how thankful I am for the role Texas public schools have played in my life. As a second generation teacher, public schools were providing for me long before I even knew what school was! I am thankful for the 12 years I spent in Texas public schools receiving an education that has served me well in college and beyond. I am thankful for the awesome Texas public school teachers that went above and beyond for me as a student in the classroom and as a fellow teacher. And now, I am thankful to that same public school system and it's educators for providing my children with the same quality education and positive school experience. I am proud and THANKFUL to the public schools of Texas.

I want to issue to you all a "Thanksgiving Challenge" this year. As you spend the day with family, share with them why you are thankful to be an educator, a product of public school, or a public school parent. Share a story about your kids or colleagues, a particular success or achievement that you are proud of this year, and how much you love your job in education. Let's make sure that those who love us know that we are thankful and proud of the role we play in our Texas schools.

Thanksgiving Blessings,

Monday, May 24, 2010

Experiencing the Underground Railroad...Elementary School Style

I have the opportunity to serve on our school district’s education foundation and I love it! A couple of weeks ago I was invited to Celia Hays Elementary to see one of our grants in action. Wow. Was I ever amazed.

The grant involved every 5th grader and was titled “What if the Underground Railroad had GPS?” This was the culmination of an in depth study on the Underground Railroad. The students used GPS devices to find geo-caches that had been hidden at locations all over school property. The students worked together in small groups to follow the Underground Railroad to freedom. Each location had information leading them to the next location, a journaling topic and obstacles that had to be overcome. It integrated social studies, science, language arts, math, music….100% cross curricular.

The final location, where the students made it to freedom? The school flagpole of course! Waiting for them there was Harriet Tubman. A school staff member, dressed in period costume, met the students and led them to freedom. Goosebumps!! Those students didn’t just learn about the Underground Railroad, they experienced it. Truly innovative teaching at its very best.

Not only was I speechless over the lesson and its execution, but I was amazed at what great ambassadors the staff were for their school.

When I arrived I was greeted in the front office by the school secretary and the principal, who both welcomed me. One of the fifth grade teachers came and escorted me down to the fifth grade classrooms so she could show me the work the students had done in preparation for the activity. She then directed me out to the playground where they were searching for the geo-caches. Every teacher I encountered was so excited, appreciative and full of great things to say about their students and their campus.

I love opportunities that enable me to see first hand that critics of public schools are dead wrong! As a member of this awesome profession, I feel it’s my honor and my duty to share these achievements with everyone I encounter…my family, my friends, at church, on the soccer fields, in line at the grocery store. It’s high time those of us with formal connections to public schools be vocal about the success we witness.

As this school year comes to an end, let’s take moment to celebrate all the strengths and achievements that 2009-2010 has brought to the children of Texas.



Monday, March 29, 2010


Welcome to our blog! We are so excited to have a place to celebrate the strengths and achievements of our Texas public schools.

A few introductions are probably in order. My husband Scott and I (Leslie) founded Friends of Texas Public Schools in 2004 because we were sick and tired of false and misleading news reports about our Texas schools. As someone who is proud to be a product of Texas public schools, proud to be a second generation Texas public school teacher and the proud parent of 3 Texas public school children...I was sick and tired of being PICKED ON! The truth is that our public schools are achieving more today than ever before and it's high time that those of us who witness the great things happening in our schools stand up and SAY something!

This blog is where we hope to do just that. So, buckle up and stay tuned!