The News Staff Reports
ATHENS–Trinity Valley Community College confirms college President Glendon Forgey was suspended with pay Monday, April 25.
Board President Ray Raymond said the board has been presented with confilicting governmental documents by Forgey without acceptable explanation.
The school board is elected by the citizens of the college district to oversee the college and its administrators and act in the best interest of TVCC students and staff.
Raymond said the board takes their responsibilities very seriously and has determined the concerns regarding the president’s conduct should be fully investigated in order to properly fulfill its duties to the public.
An investigation into his contract is pending.
Posted by : April 28, 2016| On :
The News Staff Reports
Posted by : March 24, 2016| On :
the news photo by pearl cantrell
A grant of $6,425 from the Malakoff Education Foundation will allow six Tool Elementary teachers to get a mobile Smart Table for their classroom, for collaborative computer projects.
By Pearl Cantrell
The News Staff Writer
MALAKOFF—The Malakoff ISD School Board approved the 2016-17 School Calendar Tuesday to include 76,515 minutes. The state now measures school attendance in terms of minutes, Superintendent Randy Perry explained, with 75,600 minutes a minimum requirement. The 900 extra minutes are built in for bad weather time off, or early dismissal on days an athletic team is going to compete at state, he said.
The change calls for the first day of school for students to begin on Aug. 22 and the last day be May 25, 1917, before the Memorial Day Holiday, he noted. The school day will begin at 8 a.m. and end at 3:25 p.m. and five minutes later at the high school, while buses are in transit to the campus.
Other important board decisions Tuesday included amending local policy to increase the superintendent’s discretionary spending from $10,000 to $25,000. The trusting relationship between the board and the superintendent was noted, along with a change in state ethics law that would delay by 30 days the district’s ability to respond promptly to unforeseen needs.
The board also granted permission for the superintendent to extend the district’s current contract for electrical services in order to lock in a low rate through 2025, in view of the likelihood of rates increasing with the projected reduction in coal-powered generation plants. “It’s a hedge against any spikes in prices way down the line,” Perry said. Currently, the district is paying 4 cents per kilowatt hour with two years left on its contract. The current extension offer is for a little less than 5 cents per kilowatt hour (.04599 -.0469/KWH), he said.
At the top of the meeting, Perry recognized Malakoff ISD Police Chief Stacy Hillhouse for her prompt action to halt a shooter in the parking lot at a basketball playoff game in Teague last month. “It had nothing to do with any Malakoff people,” Perry said, except that our police chief drove up on the action and stopped the suspect, and that two bullets hit a car belonging to a Malakoff resident attending the game. “We’re very proud of Stacy Hillhouse.”
The meeting was held at the Tool Elementary School, which was advantageous because the Malakoff Education Foundation presented a grant request to a group of teachers at the campus.
MEF President David Bullock presented a check for $6,425 for a smart table. The technology is used as a social, inclusive, and captivating collaboration tool that makes it easy to get young students excited about learning. It’s a great way to enhance the social and academic skills of active learners and ensure all students can achieve success. Third, fourth and fifth grade teachers Kristi Dalrymple, Stephanie Youngman, Tasha French, Amanda Jones, Jolinda Caar and Kristina Mast submitted a grant proposal to the foundation and were extremely pleased by the presentation. “They’ve been wanting to get that table for years, ever since they saw it demonstrated at a teachers’ conference,” Tool Elementary Principal Crystal Calhoun told The News.
The foundation also presented a check to install 15 new overhead projectors throughout the district. “Teachers indicated that the most used piece of equipment in the classroom was the overhead projector,” Bullock said. “So we thought some of these could probably stand to be replaced.” He presented a check for $13,845 for the project for a grand total of $20,270. To date, the foundation has distributed $123,000. “They (MEF) put in a lot of effort to taking care of Malakoff students,” Perry said.
In other business, the board members:
reviewed the Quarterly Investment Report, with a total of $13,961,893.75 as of Feb. 29 invested in three different accounts, garnering various amounts of interest between (.15 to .50 percent).
Certified that the superintendent may serve on the Region VII Education Service Center’s Advisory Committee; and that instructional materials in all subjects other than physical education meet or exceed TEKS requirements for 2016-17.
Viewed a summer plan for teachers’ professional development in the use of technology and best practices in the classroom.
Approved three properties to be sold at the Sheriff’s Tax Foreclosure Sale,
Approved a budget amendment to add funding received from an insurance settlement in connection with the overturning of a school bus last year. It was noted that the district paid a $1,000 deductible and came out even on the costs of repairs.
Posted by : February 4, 2016| On :
Jacob Cole has been named the 2016 Beekeeper Ambassador for the East Texas Beekeepers Association.
Special to The News
MALAKOFF–The East Texas Beekeepers Association (ETBA) recently named Malakoff High School freshman Jacob Cole as the 2016 Beekeeper Ambassador.
Cole will travel throughout East Texas speaking at fairs, schools and other venues about the importance of honey bees and keep the media and the public up-to-date on the ETBA Ambassador Program Facebook page.
“The perfection of the honey bee cells always amazes me,” Cole said.
“It is fascinating how each cell is built for a specific need, and the size varies depending on whether the cell is for a queen, worker or dron bee to grow in. Being able to watch the bees fly in and out of the hive loaded with pollen and nectar is one of my favorite things to do.”
Cole began beekeeping in 2013 through the ETBA Youth Scholarship Program. He has spoken at various Henderson County Master Gardener events and loves passing along his knowledge of beekeeping and inspiring others to get involved too.
Cole earned his Master Beekeeper certification in 2014, and will advance to the next level this year.
Coles also loves to hunt, read and participate in 4-H activities. He is a food pantry volunteer and teaches children in the garden at South Athens Elementary School. He hopes to become a Texas Game Warden.
To book Cole for a speaking event, contact Lani Lanchester at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by : January 28, 2016| On :
Courtesy Photo/Toni Garrard Clay, AISD
At the recommendation of Athens ISD Board President Robert Risko, the school district trustees have approved and adopted a resolution nominating Blake Stiles for 2016 Superintendent of the Year “for his exemplary and visionary leadership toward improving student performance in our schools,” Risko said. “We have a great captain steering this ship.”
Posted by : January 21, 2016| On :
Celebratory reception set for 3:30 p.m. Friday at Tool Elementary
Malakoff ISD School Board members are honored with gifts from each campus and received a Texas State House Resolution, courtesy of District 10 Rep. John Wray, which superintendent Randy Perry holds (center). Pictured are (from left) Jason Dalrymple, Billy Sparks, board president Rick Vieregge, Perry.
the news Photo/Pearl Cantrell
Malakoff ISD School Board members are honored Jan. 14 with gifts from each campus and received a Texas State House Resolution, courtesy of District 10 Texas House Rep. John Wray, which Superintendent Randy Perry holds (center). Pictured are (from left) Jason Dalrymple (Vice President), Billy Sparks, Rick Vieregge (President), Perry, Tim Mattingly (Secretary) and Mike Monroe. Not pictured are board members Gary Woolverton and Dustin Youngman.
By Pearl Cantrell
The News Staff Writer
MALAKOFF—School trustees heard that Malakoff ISD is the smallest district to ever have back-to-back years as nominations for the National Blue Ribbon School recognition. Now in its 34th year, the Department of Education program recognizes public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students perform at very high levels. A final criterion is that nominated schools have an enrollment of 20 percent or greater from an economically disadvantaged population.
Tool Elementary School was listed as one of just 26 schools in Texas to be nominated and its enrollment is nearly 80 percent from an “economically disadvantaged population.”
Principal Christal Calhoun credited the diligent work of her staff, teachers and especially the students for achieving the scholastic results on her campus. “The staff and kids are very excited,” she said.
Calhoun then described how she broke it down for the 213 children enrolled in pre-k through fifth grade at her campus. At a suggestion from one of the teachers at Tool Elementary School, “We first looked at a map of the entire United States and then of Texas. Then I told them how many schools there were in Texas, including private ones, upwards of 8,000. But they still didn’t get it. But when I showed them a clear plastic barrel containing 8,000 dry black beans and pulled out 26 of them, then I pointed out just one of these. Then they understood what a distinction the Blue Ribbon nomination really is!”
Since the announcement came Jan. 13 and Calhoun passed the news to her students, she said parents have been calling to find out when the “Blue Party” was going to happen and what they could do to help. The district has set a congratulatory reception for 3:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 22 at the school. “All our loyal supporters from the community are invited to attend,” Calhoun said.
During the Jan. 14 school board meeting, Calhoun wrapped up her campus report by looking toward Assistant Superintendent Sybil Norris and Malakoff Elementary School Principal Ronny. Snow for their assistance and guidance in setting the goals that need to be met and the necessary reporting instruments to bring the school through the process to win the 2016 Blue Ribbon Award. The final selections are made in September, school trustees heard. Malakoff Elementary School earned the National Blue Ribbon Award for 2015.
“We, the students and staff, are committed to coming to school every day and doing our very best,” she said. The average daily attendance at Tool Elementary School is an unheard of 97 percent and 14 new students have been recently enrolled, she added. The school, and all the other Malakoff ISD campuses, are beginning twice and thrice weekly individual tutoring sessions.
“Not many school boards get to see that!” Board chairman Rick Vieregge said. “This is a real honor,” Perry said. “We’re the only school district below 5A to do that!”
Snow reported that the State Board of Education has invited him and select teachers to join them in Austin April 8 for special recognition of their Blue Ribbon Award. Snow added that after school tutoring begins on his campus as well and that it’s a real grind that makes for long days, but one that he and his staff feel makes all the difference.
Both elementary schools are seeing the addition of iPads for third-sixth grade classrooms, so every class will have access to six to eight of these, Snow said.
In addition to special gifts and recognition for the school board members during January’s School Board Appreciation month, trustees were treated to a music video produced by students of Malakoff Middle School, that has also been played on the local radio station during morning drive time. Trustees were impressed by the words and sentiments expressed, both personal and individualized. “These are really neat kids,” Middle School Principal Quinton Watkins said.
In other business, trustees:
• Accepted the 2014-15 audit from Smith Lambright and Associates, who noted a strong fund balance of $5.6 million and a new accounting of unfunded liability from future retirement earnings. “You don’t have to budget for it,” J.W. Lambright said. “Just know that your share comes to $1,468,000.”
• Noted the school attendance is now being measured in minutes instead of days.
• Reviewed the highlights of the Texas Academic Performance Report. Malakoff ISD met state standards or above in all important indicators, Norris pointed out. The full report is available on line at www.Malakoffisd.org and as printouts at each campus and administration building.
• Heard progress on baseball field lighting and other improvements have been hampered by the wet weather and possible options for getting around that in time for the season to start.
• Reset the July board meeting from the third Monday in July to the second Monday, July 11, to accommodate a request from the superintendent.
• Evaluated the superintendent’s performance and extended his contract another three years, through 2019.
Posted by : January 14, 2016| On :
THE NEWS PHOTO/RUSSELL SLATON
Malakoff ISD Superintendent Randy Perry (right) tells fellow Malakoff Rotarians Jan. 5 about construction projects at Malakoff High School, including the new fieldhouse building underway at the football field featuring bigger and better concessions and restrooms.
Former state Educator of Year joined MISD
By Russell Slaton
The News Correspondent
MALAKOFF – Malakoff Rotarians hosted Malakoff High School principal Martin Brumit during the club’s weekly luncheon held at the Flagg House Jan. 5.
Before Malakoff, Brumit served as assistant principal at Denton Ryan High School until he was hired by Malakoff ISD in the summer of 2013. Soon after, Brumit was awarded Educator of the Year by the Association of Texas Professional Educators for his work as an administrator and later accepted the award in Austin.
Brumit began by highlighting a “very successful fall” for Malakoff High School athletic teams, including the powerhouse Tiger football team under Coach Jamie Driskell getting within one point of taking down the three-time defending state champion in the playoffs.
The MHS volleyball team made the playoffs for the first time since 2007.
Basketball is underway now, with the girls team ranked No. 12 in the state, including defeating a Class 6A team (Malakoff is 3A) by 20 points at the Kaufman tournament, which the Lady Tigers won.
One-act play is in full swing, with the students putting in much practice over winter break. One-act play did very well last spring, Brumit said, and has a chance this year to move to state competition. Brumit added that 20 Malakoff students went to University Interscholastic League (UIL) regional academic competition under the guidance of Jessica Bentley, MISD UIL director.
Spring sports, including golf, track, baseball and softball, begin at the end of January. The MHS softball team boasts two college-bound pitchers, senior Candace Denis (University of Massachusetts) and Hazel Puempel (Texas Woman’s University in Denton). Coach Matt Wittram’s softball team last season included six freshmen and the team advanced three rounds into the playoffs, Brumit added.
February 1 will see the next round of biannual UIL realignment, with Malakoff possibly being matched up with different teams in district as well as regional play. Malakoff is hoping to play schools that are closer, Brumit said.
The Future Farmers of America (FFA) agriculture program at MHS will compete at the Fort Worth Stock Show Jan. 21, then San Antonio, Houston and back to Henderson County in April. Brumit said the school’s ag barn is “very nice” and includes cameras for remote animal monitoring. Coach Driskell’s son had a best-in-show pig last spring, Brumit added.
A new ninth-grade English teacher and published author, Beth Fehlbaum, has charged her class with writing a novel of several thousand words, Brumit reported. Malakoff High School administers the SAT on campus (a change), and with unlimited dual courses, more students are able to graduate from Malakoff with both a high school and associate’s degree. Every college student who took Microsoft’s software certification test passed the exam, he reported.
Malakoff High School is expecting 90-95 graduates this spring, which is up from 70 last year. Brumit said he was ready for spring and to “spring into the New Year.”
Superintendent Randy Perry, a Rotary member and the club’s past president, also informed Malakoff Rotarians about the nesw of the school district. Student enrollment stands at 1,287 students, up about 60 over this time last year. Perry said the district’s greatest challenge is to get all the students to the highest academic strata, across all socioeconomic backgrounds. “Our middle school has been doing wonderful and it bodes well for the future,” Perry said.
He also told Rotarians that state law allows districts to measure the daily attendance rates of attendance by minutes, instead of days. So, instead of 180 days, students must attend for 75,660 minutes. “That gives us flexibility to go longer days to get instruction finished by Memorial Day,” Perry said, adding that he hoped to do so for the 2016-17 school year.
The Malakoff superintendent also briefed Rotarians about construction projects proceeding at Malakoff High School. All are funded by a May 2015 bond package, approved by voters. The football fieldhouse, concessions and restroom facility will be bricked to match the high school, Perry said. Restrooms will be on each end, with more allotted to the home side. The visiting team will enter the building through the back, with concrete all around the facility, especially in the front.
The baseball field’s lighting project has been delayed by the weather, but the concrete bases are in place. The brick backstop is almost finished, and the perimeter behind home plate will feature netting instead of chain-link fencing.
Contractors have completed wiring for high-definition video cameras at the high school, with its front entrance being more secure, requiring visitors to buzz in at the double doors. Video cameras will be installed in all campus buildings, including Tool Elementary School. Perry and the district maintenance director will have remote access, he said.
Posted by : December 30, 2015| On :
Toni Garrard Clay/AISD
Bel Air Elementary third-graders entertained their schoolmates Thursday morning with the Christmas production “A Bugz Christmas.” Pictured are just a few of the performers, who are (front row, from left) the “very hungry” termites: Hunter Branch, Warren McCain, Jase Warren, Davin Perry, Emely Escobar and Isaac Pineda; and (back row, from left) queen bee Macy Shelton; ladybugs Kendall Svehlak and Camdyn Rodriguez; grasshoppers Alyson Martinez and Amy Moreno; and yellow jacket Justice Wells.
Posted by : June 27, 2013| On :
By Russell Slaton
The News Correspondent
MALAKOFF–Malakoff ISD trustees approved hiring Martin Brumit as the high school principal during its June 20 meeting.
Brumit will begin his duties on July 1. He was most recently an assistant principal at Denton Ryan High School, and had been with the district for the past five years. He replaces previous principal Daniel Barton, who moved to Tarkington ISD near Cleveland, Texas, in the same capacity following a two-year stint in Malakoff.
Excited about his move to Malakoff, Brumit said that while Denton Ryan is a large school (more than 2,000 students), it had a small town atmosphere, and that experience will serve him well in Malakoff.
The new principal was recently chosen as a finalist for the Association of Texas Professional Educators statewide Administrator of the Year award, which will be bestowed in July. Brumit graduated from West Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s degree in history and kinesiology, and has a master’s degree in educational administration from the University of North Texas.
Trustees also heard a report from superintendent Randy Perry about preliminary state test results for the district, which includes the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) and the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS).The STAAR has replaced the TAKS, but the TAKS is still administered to students who entered high school before the 2011-2012 school year.
“The STAAR scores were excellent, especially the elementary schools,” Perry said. Preliminary results included 100 percent of Tool and Malakoff elementary schools’ third-graders passing the reading and math portions. “That’s amazing. We’re thrilled,” Perry said.
Other STAAR highlights for the district included Tool Elementary’s fourth graders, who passed the writing portion at a 98 percent rate. Also, scores for eighth grade reading rose 21 percent in one year.
Perry said that the high school English I writing results marked the greatest need for improvement, with Malakoff students finishing behind the state average. Eighth grade social studies also came in slightly behind the state average, but Perry noted that Malakoff students still scored better compared to surrounding school districts.
Additionally, the superintendent told board members that the district’s TAKS science results for its African-American students showed a big increase from last year, with all students in that demographic passing that portion of the test. Overall, students who took the TAKS passed the English Language Arts test at a 91 percent clip, math at 92 percent, social studies at 97 percent and science at 97 percent.
Also during the superintendent’s report to trustees, Perry said that Malakoff Middle School’s first place entry in the Texas Schools Rock! video contest was recognized during the Texas Association of School Boards’ Summer Leadership Conference, which was held in Fort Worth in mid-June.
In other business, trustees approved buying two 2014 Thomas school buses at $90,765 each. Funding for the new buses comes from $463,000 in bond money returned to the district after contractors came in under budget following recent Tool Elementary School additions. Also, board members gave the go ahead to replace tile at the 17 year-old high school’s cafetorium with carpet in the school’s black and gold colors. This project will be handled by Gallagher Construction Services of Richardson for $31,100. Similar carpeting has already been installed in the high school’s hallways.
During the meeting, trustees heard from its tax collection attorney, Alison Wylie of Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson’s Tyler office. Wylie said that the district will sell property located at 502 N. Martin in Malakoff which was previously removed from the district’s tax roll following the delinquency. The property will be up for bid at the sheriff’s sale Aug. 6 on the steps of the Henderson County Courthouse in Athens.
In addition to a new high school principal, the board approved Gary Lucius as assistant high school principal.
Lucius had served as director of the district’s Leo Orr Sr. Education Center. Other hires include: Chrissy Humphrey, high school math; Brenda Clark, high school English; Tawna Walden, elementary teacher; and Hagen Keele, high school math and coach.
Posted by : May 13, 2013| On :
By Erik Walsh
The News Staff
MALAKOFF–Texas public schools using the STAAR-readiness tool CSCOPE have recently come under fire from conservative groups for teaching an anti-Christian, anti-American and pro-Islamic curriculum with a “hidden agenda.”
Malakoff ISD Superintendent Randy Perry updated Malakoff Rotarians about the situation during their weekly meeting May 7 and said the claims were “misguided” and “not based on fact.”
CSCOPE is a teaching tool used by, according to Perry, 870 of the 1,100 public schools in Texas. Its purpose is to get public school students from kindergarten to high school ready for college using the tougher standards from the Texas STAAR tests.
“It worries me that people think that 870 Texas schools that have the best interest of their kids at heart promote Islam and Communism,” Perry said.
Perry illustrated a confrontation he had with a member of the Red-Hot Conservatives, a group that opposes CSCOPE, last January.
“I’m also a Baptist minister. Lets just say it was the first time I had ever been accused of promoting Islam,” he said.
According to Perry, opponents of CSCOPE, including a Cedar Creek Lake based group operating from the email email@example.com, pull their arguments from two CSCOPE lesson plans. One, which is no longer in the curriculum, was titled Heroism verses Terrorism.
“The lesson encouraged students to think critically about the Boston Tea Party and how the action was perceived differently by the colonies and the British Crown,” Perry said.
According to Perry, this led opponents to conclude the curriculum pushed anti-American values.
The other point of interest that CSCOPE opponents draw from is the teaching of Islam and World Religions.
Before explaining the criticisms, Perry reminded Rotarians that a basic class on World Religions must be taught in public schools.
“I asked my Social Studies teachers what they thought of the World Religion section of CSCOPE and they concluded that it probably does spend more time on Islam than Christianity,” Perry said. “Last time I checked we were a Christian nation, so my teachers have the liberty to decide how much time they think is needed to teach Christianity as well as the other World Religions.”
Perry said that teachers have the same liberty in any subject, not just in World Religions.
“At Malakoff ISD, we treat our teachers as professionals and use CSCOPE as a tool to assist in meeting testing criteria. They can follow the lesson plans as closely or loosely as they wish.”
Posted by : March 21, 2013| On :
By Erik Walsh
The News Staff
MALAKOFF–Students at Malakoff Middle School found out that a little hard work and good presentation can be well rewarded.
Students submitted a video about what makes Malakoff Middle School exceptional to the “Texas Public Schools Rock!” video contest. By early March, the video was floating around the Internet and social media sites, racking up the views.
On March 19, the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) announced that Malakoff Middle School won first place and a $5,000 reward to be given to the district to be used in the students’ classrooms and campus.
Only one first place prize was given for all Texas Middle Schools. The context was open to all Texas elementary and secondary public school students.
Malakoff Middle School Principal Quintin Watkins is extremely proud of the students.
“They did such an amazing job,” Watkins said. “Malakoff Middle School has the best students in the state of Texas. They play, learn and grow together so well. Teachers and parents make sure they get the best education they can every day.”
The school will be deciding what will be done with the prize money soon. According to Watkins the students that were a part of the video will meet with teacher Jerri Cheek (who organized the submission) and the campus improvement team to determine the best way to spend the money.
“Whatever we end up doing, we want to make sure to recognize all the students that participated in the video so that future students will know of their legacy,” Watkins said.
There were many videos from Texas public school that TASB sifted through to determine the winner.
“With so many excellent entries, the final choices were extremely difficult,” says said Viola Garcia, TASB president. “We are thrilled that students from all over the state showcased their creativity and enthusiasm for the great things going on in their districts. These winning entries help explain why local schools deserve the support of their communities and appropriate funding from the state. Our students’ voices underscore why all Texans should be proud of their public schools.”