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Posted January

BISD’s Band Legacy
A history of the award-winning Brownsville ISD high school band program is the subject of an interesting article in the 2012 VanderCook College of Music Annual Report. VanderCook, located in Chicago, Illinois, is a world-renowned institution and has been the training ground for numerous successful BISD band directors and their assistants for over 60 years. BISD’s association with VanderCook got its start with James R. Murphy who became the head band director of Brownsville High School in the 1950’s. The tradition continues to this very day. The district currently has seven VanderCook graduates on staff. Paul Flinchbaugh, Instrumental Music Supervisor; Dennis Ewing, Hanna Band Director; Rolando Zapata, Rivera Band Director; Armando Medrano, Vela Assistant Band Director; Mick Kuntz, Hanna Assistant Band Director; Tiffany Gibson, Rivera Assistant Choir Director; and Dave Gibson, El Jardin Music Teacher.

Online Access to Grades
Over 10,000 BISD parents have already signed up to use the district’s new online grade service known as Home Access Center or HAC allowing them to stay informed about their child’s academic progress.  A simple login gives parents access to grades and assignments for each course their child is enrolled in at school.  A user ID and password can be obtained at the campus with proper identification.  Parents/guardians must make arrangements with the campus HAC coordinator and sign a user agreement to receive a username and passwork.  For more information, contact your child’s school.

Welcome to Our Houston ISD/Neuhaus Friends
Brownsville ISD is pleased to welcome a large delegation of educators, administrators, and board trustees from Houston ISD on Tuesday, January 29 through Thursday, January 31.  They will be accompanied by representatives from the Neuhaus Education Center.  The visitors will tour classrooms at Benavides, Breeden, Gallegos, Ortiz, Pullam, and Southmost Elementary Schools and talk to BISD district and campus personnel about various programs including the implementation of the language arts program and Texas Literacy Initiative Grant. 

Middle School Bands Dominate
Brownsville ISD middle school band students swept the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) Region 28 band audition held on Saturday, January 19.  BISD students earned a total of 157 all-region band chairs including  12 of the 16 coveted first chair positions.  For the third consecutive year, students in all 11 BISD middle school band programs earned chairs. Congratulations to our middle school band students and their directors.

A Message to Parents
BISD is partnering with the Texas Center for District and School Support (TCDSS) for a District Snapshot data collection to review our district level practices supportive of campus-level success. Through this process we can identify ways to more efficiently and effectively utilize our resources in the best approaches for improved performances.

Science is Fun
Hundreds of district high school scientists competed on Saturday, January 19 at the annual BISD science fair held at Porter High School.

BISD Artists Are Tops
The Brownsville Fire Department has announced the two BISD students who placed in the State Firemen’s and Fire Marshall’s Association of Texas 2012 State Poster Contest:

1st Place - Andrea Ballesteros - Manzano Middle School
2nd Place - Christina Indridson - Manzano Middle School

Employees Can Stay Healthy with Free Flu Shots
Free flu shots are still available to BISD employees as per the district’s group health plan. Flu shots are available at CVS, HEB or Walgreens with a BISD Insurance ID card. If you are visiting your family physician, please specify that you are there for the flu shot, not an office visit, to avoid being charged for an office visit. For more information, call the BISD Benefits/Risk Management Department at 548-8061.

Hanna Represented at Inauguration
An excited group of approximately 40 Hanna High School students and chaperones will get an opportunity to attend the Presidential Inauguration in Washington, D.C. on Monday, January 21.  They will also share their experiences with their fellow Hanna students and employees via social media and a video production as they visit national monuments, museums, Mount Vernon, and other landmarks.  The students have prepared for their once in a lifetime trip by conducting extensive research on the places they will visit and the historic events they will witness while fundraising to supplement campus expenses.  The Hanna group will depart on Friday, January 18 and return on Wednesday, January 23 with a wealth of new knowledge and experiences to share.

Employee W-2 Forms
All current BISD employees will receive their W-2 forms no later than Thursday, January 31, 2013. The W-2 forms for former BISD employees will also be mailed by that date.

Two Schools Welcome Famous Author
Kim Purcell, a noted novelist, journalist, and teacher, will visit two BISD secondary campuses libraries to talk to students on Thursday, January 17. At 10 am, Veterans Memorial High School will host Purcell and at 1 pm, the Manzano Middle School library will welcome her. Born and raised in British Columbia, Purcell has also lived in Guadalajara, Seoul, Los Angeles and New York City. She became the Curriculum Director of WriteGirl, and trained professional writers to lead creative writing workshops for girls and their mentors.

Kudos to Our BISD All-State Musicians
A grand total of 28 BISD secondary fine arts music students earned chairs at the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) Area G auditions held on Saturday, January 12.  They will perform in the All-State Band or Choir at the TMEA conference in San Antonio on February 16, 2013.  By earning chairs in these prestigious ensembles, the 28 BISD students are ranked in the top 2% of Texas music students.  They advanced through a rigorous process of district, regional and area competition to achieve this remarkable honor.

Thank a School Board Member
Texans benefit every day from the tireless work and countless hours contributed by a group of more than 7,300 men and women in communities across the state. These local volunteers are elected by their constituents and receive no compensation for their work as public servants. These men and women are the school board members of Texas. January is School Board Recognition Month and Brownsville ISD will take this opportunity to thank these leaders for devoting time to support public education and serve our local schools. “It’s more important than ever before that the public shows support for public education. Board members face critical challenges in their roles as advocates, and they will continue to stand strong and guard against anything that takes away from our children and undermines our public schools,” said Dr. Carl A. Montoya, Brownsville ISD Superintendent. “Even though we are making a special effort in January to show appreciation to our board members, we realize their many contributions reflect a year-round commitment. They generously give of themselves to ensure that decisions directly affecting our local schools are made by representatives of this community, people who are close to our schools and know our teachers, parents, and students. In these challenging times, they face difficult choices and shoulder critical responsibilities. Their ultimate goal is always focused on the future success of the children in our district,” Montoya said.

BISD Student Historians Compete
Several hundred students will participate in the district’s 18th Annual History Day to be held on Saturday, January 12 from 8 pm – 5 pm at Pace High School. The public is invited to view exhibits in the library from 1-2:30 pm and the awards ceremony will begin at 3:30 pm. The top two contestants in each category will advance to the regional contest to be held on February 16 at UT-Pan American in Edinburg.

Attention BISD Employee Athletes
There will be organizational meetings for the volleyball and basketball recreational leagues at the BISD Wellness Fitness Center. The volleyball league will continue to be co-ed but there will be a discussion about beginner and advanced teams. The basketball league will be divided into male and female teams. The team captain or a representative must attend the meeting.

Volleyball Meeting…Wednesday, January 16 @ 7pm
Basketball Meeting…Thursday, January 17 @ 7pm

Call Anisa Gonzalez, BISD Wellness Coordinator, at 698-0194 for questions.

Get Well, Get Fit
Wellness is Hot Stuff in BISD, even in cold January. The BISD Wellness Fitness Center, located in the Central Administrative Complex, is open for business. Check out the special hours for employees, parents and secondary students. Zumba classes, step aerobics, toning and boot camps are also available. For more information, contact Anisa Gonzalez at 698-0194.

A Message to BISD Employees
Only BISD employees classified as part-time, working less than 20 hours including substitutes, will be affected by the new Social Security tax rate which increased from 4.2% to 6.2% on January 1, 2013. Full-time employees are not impacted by the tax increase since Brownsville ISD employees contribute to the Teacher Retirement System and not the Social Security Program. For more information, contact the BISD Payroll Department at 548-8391.



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