Brenham is known for more than bluebonnets and Blue Bell; we're also home to the first public school district established in the great state of Texas. We've been leading the way in public education since 1875! Join the Cub Nation Station each Wednesday as staff members and students share what's new in the Brenham Independent School District. It's a great day to be a Brenham Cub!
Brenham ISD Technology
Kim Strauss - Director of Information Technology
Tech Talk Conversations with Veronica Johannsen and how to have a purposeful dialogue with your kids.
How can parents engage children and teens in conversations about technology?
What about social media? How can parents start that conversation?
What are some other ways parents can stay connected?
#technology #technologykids #conversation #conversationabouttechnology #techtalk #educhat #techstudents2020 #engage #social #socialmedia #stayingconnected #connect #techconnect
Brenham Cubs put their own spin to “Coachella” celebrating Cubchella this Homecoming 2020
Jennifer Fuchs and Elizabeth Kolby discuss plans.
Student Council, teachers, and the Brenham High School Cubs have been searching for creative, safe ways to celebrate Homecoming 2020. Every school year, Cubs look forward to the excitement of Homecoming-and this year is no different. Despite the annual dance and homecoming parade cancellations, preparations and planning have begun for high school students.
The student body’s Homecoming 2020 theme will follow a Brenham Cub spin to “Coachella,” celebrating Cubchella for spirit week. The weekly theme begins on Monday, November 9:
Music Monday: Wear your favorite band themed shirt.
Rest up Tuesday: Wear school appropriate pajamas.
Cubchella Wednesday: Wear sequins, tie-dye, or dress as if you were going to a music festival. Please ensure that your outfit is school appropriate.
Glow on Thursday: Wear neon or black lite attire.
Cub Pride Vibe Friday: Wear your class colors.
Seniors wear green
Juniors wear yellow
Sophomores wear blue
Freshmen wear red.
Other campuses are encouraged to wear green.
As of now, Wednesday, November 11, Brenham High School will be hosting a community-wide pep rally at Cub stadium at 6:00 p.m. Spectators will be able to enjoy beats delivered by the Brenham High School Band, followed by a special recognition for our Veterans by the ROTC and the choir; see a magnificent performance delivered by the Belles, and chant their favorite cheer with the high school cheerleaders.That night, the Homecoming Court will be introduced and ride out on ATV’s with their homecoming partner. The fun-filled afternoon will be free to students and the community! The festivities offer a safe way for students to come together as a community and celebrate in a new way.
After countless weeks of anticipation, the Homecoming Queen and King will be announced on Friday, November 13, at the Cubs vs. Elgin game. This year’s homecoming game will be at 7:00 p.m. at Cub stadium. Tickets for the game can be purchased on the athletic page of the Brenham ISD website.
As always, we want every event to be an enjoyable experience for all fans. To avoid UIL sanctions, we must abide by the safety precautions put in place. Masks will be required to attend all homecoming events.
As you know, Brenham ISD has been closely monitoring updates from our local health department, Texas Department of State Health Services (TSHS), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the UIL, and the Texas Education Agency regarding COVID-19. At this time, many schools across the state have canceled homecoming events.
This is a very fluid situation, and in order to help slow the spread of the virus and safeguard the well-being of our students and staff, BISD continues to explore options for the homecoming parade and homecoming dance.
This year’s homecoming game will be at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, November 13 at Cub Stadium. Tickets for the game can be purchased on the athletic page of the Brenham ISD website. Jennifer Fuchs discusses homecoming activities and what precautions are in place during this fun-filled event.
Brenham ISD understands homecoming is a traditional event for students', staff, and the community.
Deniese Collora is an educator with 22 years of experience. She moved to Brenham, TX, during the pandemic to become a 5th grade math and science teacher at Brenham Middle School. She says she has finally found a district she can call home. In this podcast, she discusses what she believes connects her to her students and how she pushes each one to reach their maximum potential.
If your why is not big enough to change your how - it's not big enough.
Defining your why.
What is your purpose?
Reset your mind
Take Control of Your Life: How to Silence Fear and Win the Mental Game
#positivemindset #grind #positive #positivethoughts #change #intentionalthoughts #intentional #resetyourmind #mentalgame #silencefear #takecontrol
1. What are some challenges you have faced this year?
2. What are some responses to those challenges?
3. What are some new techniques you've implemented during this COVID era that you will continue to use even when we transition out of these times?
4. How have you made the Remote/Virtual students feel a part of BMS?
5. Tell us more about morning meetings and online learning.
6. Will you tell us about the BMS House system?
7. How are you handling House meetings during this time?
It’s no secret that our educators have had to get creative and make learning fun during a pandemic. One Brenham ISD principal goes the extra mile to bring a smile to students' faces for the morning roar. In this week's episode of Inspiring Brenham ISD Educators, we show how Toni Schwartz, Early Childhood Learning Center’s Principal, makes sure her students don't miss out on any experiences.
#positive #mindset #feelgood #educator #educators #changinglives #transforming #transforminglives #grit #findingyourwhy #growth #love #life #empathy #principal
Veronica Johannsen Interviews Toni Schwartz, ECLC Principal
Child Nutrition Interview Questions
September 28th SSO Program Offering Free Meals
What has changed to allow you to serve everyone free meals again, like during the COVID school closure? The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Texas Department of Agriculture announced a waiver flexibility that will allow Brenham ISD to operate the summer meal program during the fall semester temporarily. Beginning September 28th, district participation in the (SSO) summer meal program will begin serving free meals to all the district students and children of the community between the ages of 1-18.
Where are these free meals offered?
Free meals are available to all students attending BISD in the building,
Curbside meal service will continue to take place daily between 10:00 am -10:45 am at Brenham Junior High to serve all remote learners and any community children between the ages of 1 and 18 who would like a meal.
Do we have to sign up to receive the meals?
There is no sign-up necessary to receive meals.
Will the children have to be in the car to receive a free meal?
Remote learners will NOT need to be present in the vehicle to pick up their meal however, A parent or guardian must bring the student’s ID card or Remote Learner Meal ID card to obtain the student meal. (Parents shall pick up the Remote Learner Meal ID card at their child’s campus).
If a child is not enrolled in the district, the child will need to be present or a birth certificate for that child will need to be presented.
If my child is getting these free SSO Meals, will I still need to fill out a meal application for free/reduced meals for the 2020-21 school year?
Because this is a temporary program offered by the USDA that will end when funding runs out or December 31st, whichever comes first, we encourage households to reapply if they are still on last years application status or complete a new application on the http://brenham.healtheliving.net/ website.This will allow a smooth return to the National School Lunch program when this temporary waiver expires.
Veronica Johannsen Interviews Tray Lawhun, Brenham ISD's High School Senior Football player.
In this interview Tray discusses becoming a Cub high school football player.
Don't Quit, It's Possible!
Football Motivation .
Are you working hard to achieve your dream of becoming a football player? Everything is possible if you really want it.
You Have To Want It Every Single Day, You Have to Grind For It, Never Give Up- Interview With Brenham ISD High School Senior: Keanu Jones
Veronica Johannsen interviews Keanu Jones, Brenham ISD's senior football player. Keanu highlights what is needed to succeed in football. The want, hunger, and determination that is needed to win. . How bad do you want it?
Our students have worked so hard to start the year strong. They’ve followed all of the safety protocols and measures put in place to stay healthy and to keep our schools open. If you plan on attending an event, please mask up and follow all safety protocols.
Let's talk about how to make it in football. Lets Go Cubs!
Texas High School Football
Getting Ready for Friday Night Lights in Brenham, TX.
Our students have worked so hard to start the year strong. They’ve followed all of the safety protocols and measures put in place to stay healthy and to keep our schools open. If you plan on attending an event, please mask up and follow all safety protocols.
Brenham ISD High School Students Kayla Sansom and Keely Mikolajchak discuss how they were able to boost their confidence.
They talk about their passion for Brenham FFA and their recent accomplishments.
Have you met Ms. Randermann, Brenham Elementary School's 4th grade Math Teacher? Today, we will take you inside her classroom and talk with her about her motivation for teaching. We’ll also hear from one of her students as he shares advice to younger students. #memorableteachers #inspiringteachers #CommittedUnitedBold #CubProud #CubStrong
Welcome to your Cub Nation Station!
Where it's always a great day to be a Cub, I'm your host Veronica Johannsen and our guest today is Alton Elementary Principal, Michael Ogg. Thanks for being here today.
How are things going? What can we expect from Alton Elementary this school year?
Good job by teachers, parents, and students
New teachers joining us this year
Some new protocols in place to help keep a safe environment
We are on an adventure this year
What else are doing as you face this new adventure?
Encouraging mask or face shields
Social distancing in the cafeteria
Encouraging student to bring water bottles
New pick up procedures in the afternoon
Let get off COVID for a second. I read an article from one of your students and mentioned they enjoyed the morning huddle. I learned students are looking forward to learning how to be a leader. Can you elaborate on why the morning huddle is so important?
Everyone wants their student to succeed...What are some ways that parents can help their children be successful this year?
Stay in contact with the teacher - Class Dojo
Routines, routines, routines
Read every chance you can get
4) In closing, what would you like to tell the community of Brenham?
We are in this together
It is challenging, but stay positive
Being away from school and returning to an environment that has changed can be anxiety-provoking. Here are some ways you can support your child:
1) From a mental health standpoint, what is the best way to prepare students to come back to
a) Be available
c) Provide support- not necessarily answers; Sometimes we can’t solve all our children’s
problems, but they don’t always need solutions – just to feel understood and
2) What advice can you give to our parents that have kids dealing with anxiety about returning
to school? (it’s not just our kids)
a) Recognize the difference between what we can control and what we cannot
b) Practice mindfulness
c) Practice gratitude; explore the positives (Explore the positives. Even if they are
worried about returning to school, there may be some things they are looking
forward to. It can be helpful to chat through these together if they seem open to
this); shifting mindsets
3) Once students are back in the classrooms or are attending virtually, what can parents do to
help foster their student's success?
a) Consistency of schedule- Routines are safe and familiar which can help reduce anxiety.
b) Again, being a good listener and support; Be available.
It is incredibly important to remember that none of us have the solid answers we are all
desiring at this point. Our board members, administration, teachers, staff, parents, students,
government… everyone. The most important aspect of getting through this pandemic is trying
to walk through it together with grace. Remembering that we are all being challenged at our
own levels can keep anxiety, anger, and frustration to a minimum. And, THAT is what helps us
from a mental capacity.
If you notice your student having difficulties adjusting, please reach out. We all need help
during difficult times.
A lot has happened over the last few months and although our facilities are closed, we are all very much hard at work. Bring us up to speed with what you and your staff have been doing at Brenham High School since we ceased normal school operations.
We were so happy to hear that we are able to recognize our honor graduates and scholarship recipients in person. Tell us about the scholarship ceremony happening on June 1.
Even more exciting is the announcement that we will, indeed, have an in-person graduation ceremony to celebrate our 2020 graduating seniors. What do students, parents, and the community need to know about that event?
I know the staff and students of Brenham High School were hoping to hold prom at the end of this month, but in order to comply with the governor’s orders, that event has been postponed. What can you tell us about prom moving forward?
I know the class of 2020 is special to you, as they were freshmen when you began your tenure as principal at Brenham High School. What message do you have for them as they enter the next chapter of their lives?
What are a few ways to continue wellness practices during this time?
With all the uncertainty of these times, some people are still having difficulty relaxing. What do you suggest?
What words of encouragement would you extend to parents right now?
Other than the obvious physical contact for health reasons, are there actual benefits to quarantining?
Can you discuss social connection in the midst of social distancing?
1. What does learning at home look like for Brenham ISD students?
2. Are students learning any new content?
3. How and when will students receive grades for their work?
4. What should parents or students do if they have questions about their learning at home assignments?
5. What if students were in STAAR or EOC tested grade levels or courses?
Q. How is Brenham ISD planning to conduct virtual parent meetings for students who are identified as Gifted and Talented to discuss program options?
A. BISD usually provides an in-person Gateway parent meeting for parents to have the opportunity to meet the grade level Gateway teachers, hear from the campus principals, and learn about the aspects of the program. In order to ensure this can still occur, Brenham ISD will be providing virtual grade level Gateway parent meetings on Tuesday, April 28, and Wednesday, April 29. Staff members will be reaching out to parents about details on how to log into the meetings. Parents will have a chance to hear about the program components of both Gateway and CSI. In addition, they will get the opportunity to meet the Gateway teachers and hear from the campus principals. The meeting should not last longer than an hour and parents will also be able to ask questions. Although we will miss the special touch of seeing everyone in person, this will be a productive meeting and we look forward to hearing from our parents.
Q. What do our secondary students and parents need to know about the changes that have occurred in regards to Advanced Placement tests for college credit?
A. The College Board has given a unique opportunity for Advanced Placement students to decide if they would still like to take the college credit advanced placement exams. The exam dates will be given from May 11-22 with makeup test dates from June 1-5.
Q. What changes have been made to the length and format of the Advanced Placement tests?
The College Board has shortened the test and modified the format. Students can take exams at home on a computer, tablet, or smartphone. They will be able to type and upload their responses or write responses by hand and submit a photo via their cell phones. Students can also test at Brenham High School on a Chromebook following state and local health guidelines. For most subjects, the exams will be 45 minutes long, plus an additional 5 minutes for uploading. Students will need to access the online testing system 30 minutes early to get set up.
Q. Is there any specific information pertaining to certain tests?
A. Certain courses—Art and Design: 2D; Art and Design: 3D; Computer Science Principles; Drawing; Research; and Seminar—will use portfolio submissions and will not have a separate online exam. All deadlines for these submissions have been extended to May 26, 2020, 11:59 p.m. ET. Teachers and students may receive separate course-specific communications. Students taking world language and culture exams will complete two spoken tasks consistent with free-response questions 3 and 4 on the current AP Exam. Written responses will not be required. Teachers will provide additional details in the coming weeks to help students prepare.
Q. Where can students and parents find out more information about the Advanced Placement tests?
Brenham High School administrators Joe Chandler and Erin Thibodeaux have been working diligently with teachers and counselors to come up with a solid plan to help students navigate this process and be prepared for the tests. I cannot say enough about the level of commitment that our AP teachers have demonstrated and their desire to see each student succeed even in these challenging times. Students who are continuing to take the test have been contacted, teachers are providing lessons on Google Classroom to prepare and review for the tests, and more information will be given regarding testing environments. We ask that parents and students check emails and Google Classroom regularly for updates from teachers.
This week Governor Abbot announced that schools are to remain closed through at least May 4. We suspected something like this was coming, but what does it mean for Brenham ISD?
Well, first of all, I want to thank our parents and community for your support and patience as we adjust and find our way through our current circumstances. I end each day with gratitude for you and for our BISD team during this highly unusual time. As much as we hoped that we might see the end of the stay home directives before May, we are committed to protecting the safety of our staff, students and community and will follow all regulations from state and local authorities.
Also this week, Brenham ISD rolled out online and paper at-home learning. What went into making that decision?
That is correct. Online and paper at-home learning began on Thursday, April 2. The next update in content will be released on Thursday, April 9. Our curriculum and instruction team has been researching the best ways to meet the unique needs of our varied learners and have developed a thoughtful first phase of our at-home learning plan. We will continue evaluating our plan and making changes where necessary.
What tips can you offer parents for successful learning at home?
Kids thrive on routine - Establish a routine for maximum success.
Rise and shine! Set a wake up and get ready time and be consistent.
Establish a productivity mindset. Have your students get Dressed, brush their teeth, complete household chores, etc.
Most of all, you have to create a home learning schedule that works for your family. No two situations are exactly alike.
What is happening with our drive-thru meal program?
We realize a great number of our students rely on school district nutrition programs for food, so we will continue to provide a free drive-thru hot lunch and bagged breakfast for all students during the closure. Meals may be picked up at:
Alton Elementary School from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Brenham High School from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Goodwill Missionary Baptist Church (located at 9180 Texas Highway 105) from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
We are serving roughly 350 students per day at Alton, approximately 400 students per day at Brenham High School and nearly 50 students per day at the Goodwill Missionary Baptist Church. In total, the Brenham ISD child nutrition department has served over 15,000 meals since the school closure.
Where can parents and the community go to get more information about teaching and learning through COVID-19?
The best place to get information is on our BISD COVID-19 webpage which can be found on our main website at brenhamisd.net. On this page, you will find information about how to minimize risk to you and your family, what BISD is doing to help keep students and staff safe, communication updates from the school district, and resources for additional information from DSHS and CDC. The school district will communicate broadly any potential changes to school district operations through its usual channels of email, the district website, BISD Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and push notifications through the Brenham ISD free mobile app--available through iTunes and Google Play. Be sure to follow us on social media and download the mobile app if you have not already done so.
I assume everyone knows that Brenham ISD has been closed due to growing concerns over Novel Coronavirus COVID-19, but bring our listeners up to speed with the current situation.
Give us an overview of what our district departments are doing during the school closure.
This week we expanded drive-thru meal service to include two new locations. Tell us about the efforts to continue feeding our students.
Many parents are concerned about how to manage instruction at home. What advice do you have for them?
Where can our listeners go for more information about how Brenham ISD is handling this challenging time?
What current events are happening at Krause Elementary?
What Core Value is being focused on currently?
Tell us about Texas Public School Week this week.
Tell us about your most recent community service project.
Q. Tell us about your background and your role in Brenham ISD.
A. I have worked in education for the past 23 years. Early in my career I had the privilege to teach students in early childhood, students with special needs, and students learning English as a second language. Later on in my career I served teachers, educational programs and parents as a facilitator. For the past 3 years I have had the opportunity to work for Brenham ISD as the F.A.M.E. parent liaison. Fame stands for Families Actively and Meaningfully Engaged. My main role is to facilitate the connection between families and the school district. BISD would like to ensure that every parent engages in their child's education. I support parents to help them become aware, learn, ask questions and offer their opinion to ensure their children reach their highest potential by taking advantage of everything the school district has to offer them.
Q. What is the F.A.M.E. Cafe?
A. The F.A.M.E. Cafe is inside the Brenham Community Education Building located at 1301 S. Market Street across from Alton Elementary. The Cafe is a safe haven for parents to find resources and information on the programs that BISD has to offer and also ask questions about their child’s education. The F.A.M.E. Cafe also has a parenting book library with 120 titles in both English and Spanish. Parents can check out one of our parenting books while enjoying some coffee or tea at our comfortable and cozy setting. Come on over and visit us!
Q. What is Parent University?
A. The goal of Parent University is simply to increase meaningful parental involvement in our district. Parent University aims to provide knowledge and strategies to empower parents to raise children who are successful not only in school, but in life. We accomplish this by providing parenting training sessions on the most frequently requested topics of interest and community concerns. We are holding 4 Parent University sessions throughout this school year and in every session we offer 3 different courses. Our first 2 Parent University sessions took place back in August and January.
Q. Tell us about the next Parent University session.
A. Our third Parent University is on Thursday, March 5 from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m. at Brenham Community Education. The three courses offered this time will be: Effective Communication with your Children, presented by BISDs social emotional counselors; CENSUS 2020: Shape your Future, presented by BISD’s director of information technology; and we will have a book review of The 5 Love Languages of Children and Teenagers by Gary Chapman. Our fourth and final Parent University session will take place on April 23 where two medical doctors from Baylor Scott and White will present and answer all your questions on ADHD.
Q. Where can parents go to get more information and how can they contact you?
A. If you have any questions or concerns about your child's education or you simply want ideas or parenting tips, please don't hesitate to call me at 979-277-3895 x2175 or email me at email@example.com. Better yet, stop by the F.A.M.E. Cafe and Parenting Library at Brenham Community Education and take a look at one of our 120 parenting books while enjoying some coffee or tea with us. Hope to see you there soon!
Q. Please tell us about your position in the District.
A. I am the director of business and finance and have worked in the district for 18 years. I also serve in the role of secretary for the BISD Education Foundation. Both of these positions allow me to place resources where needed for student and staff success.
Q. Briefly describe your role as the finance director
A. I am responsible for coordinating a $58 million budget, overseeing payroll and making sure all of the bills are paid in a timely manner. My favorite part of my job is working on compensation and benefits because that is where I started my career at Brenham ISD.
Q. Tell us about your position in the BISD Education Foundation
A. I work with a board of ten community members and our mission is to generate and distribute resources to Brenham ISD to enrich and expand programs needed to meet the district’s mission of excellence in education. The way we achieve this mission is to fund instructional mini-grants for our staff. Last year we were able to give the district $77,656 and I would like to reach $100,000 this year!
Q. How can the public help support the Brenham ISD Education Foundation
A. Attend the Arts & Appetizers event on Thursday, February 27 at 5:30 p.m. at Ant Street Inn in Downtown Brenham. There are many great pieces of artwork and auction items for sale. Purchase a raffle ticket from a board member or stop by the Brenham ISD central office to make a purchase. The tickets are $20 each or 6 for $100. Employees can participate in employee giving with a payroll deduction and the public can donate online at the Brenham ISD website. There are also sponsorships available for Arts & Appetizers. This year’s sponsors are Ant Street Inn, BIG, Crain Group, E3, LTY Engineers and Plan North.
Q. What can attendees expect at Arts & Appetizers?
A. The event will have appetizers donated by David at Design II, beverages by Mike Hopkins Distributing and many great pieces of artwork for sale. Half of the proceeds from the artwork will be distributed to the student artists. The event is from 5:30-7:00 p.m. and the dress attire is business casual.
Q. We’ve been hearing information about the national vaping epidemic. What is a vape, or electronic cigarette?
A. The National Institute on Drug Abuse defines electronic cigarettes (also called e-cigarettes, vapes or Juuls) as battery-operated devices designed to deliver nicotine with flavorings and other chemicals to users in vapor instead of smoke. These devices have a heating element that vaporizes the liquid nicotine contained within the cartridge. Vaping devices come in all shapes and sizes, and many are designed so they are not recognized in a search. They may look like a flash drive, a pen, or even candy. Vape pens and other e-cigarette devices are incredibly easy to conceal. Unless a parent knows what they’re looking for, they may not realize that their child even owns one.
Q. We understand that Brenham ISD is offering a free special presentation for parents and community members. Tell us about that event.
A. Brenham ISD has partnered with the Nancy Carol Roberts Memorial Library to bring nationally recognized expert Timothy Shoemaker to our parents and community. The Brenham community is invited to join us on Wednesday, February 19 from 5:30-7:00 pm at the Nancy Carol Roberts Memorial Library to learn about the dangers of vaping and how we can keep our children safe. Timothy Shoemaker’s presentation “Save Your Breath” has been delivered in over a dozen states, to more than 500,000 audience members. Admission is free, but seating is limited. We ask you to please visit brenhamisd.net to reserve your seat.
Q. This isn’t the only measure BISD is taking to fight the vaping epidemic. What other steps has BISD taken?
A. We have launched a district-wide anti-vaping campaign that started with a letter from me to our district parents on Monday, January 27 expressing my concern and personally inviting them to join us in this fight. Our board of trustees also adopted a resolution formally stating their concern for our students and publicly supporting our anti-vaping measures. We have developed a parent information webpage that can be found under the parent information tab on our district website and our students will soon be seeing anti-vaping posters on each campus. Additionally, Timothy Shoemaker will also be presenting special student sessions at Brenham Middle School, Brenham Junior High and Brenham High School on Wednesday, February 19 during the school day.
Q. Is vaping addictive?
A. Absolutely. According to the American Lung Association, there is a misconception that vapes are just flavors and steam. That is not true. Vaping is highly addictive. In fact, one JUUL pod can contain as much nicotine as 20 cigarettes or about one pack of cigarettes. Vape pods can also contain toxins and carcinogens, including formaldehyde, propylene glycol and acrolein, which can cause irreversible lung damage. And because vaping is new, we’re still uncovering its long-term health effects.
Q. What else can parents do to keep their children safe?
A. Look for opportunities to start a conversation with your child. Be patient and ready to listen, but know the facts so you can answer their questions. If you have specific concerns, please reach out to a campus administrator or use our Safe2SpeakUp online reporting tool which can be found under Parent Information on the Brenham ISD website.
Q. What’s happening at Brenham Middle School?
A. February and March are packed with activities. In February, we are celebrating Black History Month with a program and activities in our library. Fifth grade has Practice STAAR and sixth grade will take their 9-week assessment soon. We will continue house check-ins and house rewards, and we have clubs once a month after school. In March, fifth grade has Outdoor Classroom and of course Spring Break!
Q. How is Brenham Middle School celebrating Black History Month?
A. This year fifth and sixth-grade students will learn about Black Heritage through various books in the library, as well as with special guest readers. Students will start the month with a book called Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes. On February 21 our campus will have a Black History program.
Q. Tell us about Outdoor Classroom.
A. Outdoor Classroom for fifth grade is held at Nails Creek in Somerville. It is an opportunity for our fifth graders to learn about nature. This year students will identify aquatic invertebrates, dissect owl pellets, and identify bird adaptations. Fifth-grade students attend Outdoor Classroom either March 3rd or March 5th. Parents will receive information in the coming weeks.
Q. What are some of the clubs available to students at Brenham Middle School?
A. Once a month, BMS teachers host a club after school. Because the clubs are held after school, students had to sign up at the beginning of the school year. Some of our clubs are sports-related and some are academic, but they are designed for fun. Our clubs include a running club, book club, girls in science, Rubik’s cube, and kindness club, just to name a few.
Q. What are your house updates?
A. As you know, BMS is participating in a house system this year. House leaders meet with the members of their house twice a month to go over student goals and discuss house activities. At the moment, the green house leads in points followed closely by the pink and purple houses, but all 7 houses are very close in points. We are currently in the midst of a House Reading Challenge. For every Reading Plus Combo a student earns in the month of February, he/she earns a point for their house. The house with the most points at the end of February wins a reward.
with BHS students Isabelle Flores and Megan Neisig
Q. Describe what a certified clinical medical assistant, or CCMA, does.
A. We get to do things like giving injections, taking vital signs, operating EKGs and interpreting them, and eventually, we’ll begin phlebotomy. We’re doing all of this while only being 16, 17 or 18 years old. It’s an amazing experience!
Q. What are some things that students in the BHS CCMA program get to do?
A. We are able to get in so much practice. We recently performed a health screening where we got teachers and parents to show up so we could take their vital signs. We also have the opportunity to go to the nursing home and take vital signs there. We have also given a few vaccines to their residents.
Q. What has been the best experience so far?
A. Definitely the injections! We haven’t even gotten to phlebotomy yet but the injections are so much fun. Some people say ouch, some people scream and some people take it like a pro. It’s interesting to see how someone will react to it. It’s mind-boggling that I am 18 and I can give injections!
Q. How do you become a certified clinical medical assistant?
A. There are a few different types of medical assistants, and the program we offer is for a CCMA. You must have a high school diploma or GED, so these students will have to get a provisional certification until they graduate. You also have to complete a training program or you can work as a medical assistant for a year and sit for the test with NHA. Most facilities now require an actual certification, so this option at BHS is a great way for students to make themselves highly qualified to get a job in the medical field right out of high school.
Q. Megan, what do you plan to do with your certification after high school?
A. For me personally, I’ll go to work as a CMA during college to provide for myself while I continue to further my education in the medical field. It’s nice to already have an idea of what to expect before I actually get too far. It’s very worthwhile.
Q. What is Welcome Prideland?
A. Welcome to Prideland is an amazing event for current 8th graders who are preparing for their course registration for their 9th-grade year. The Prideland theme this year is “Great Things Happen Here,” so students and their families will get to experience firsthand all of the great things that await them at Brenham High School. There will be booths set up for academic courses, CTE courses, electives, sports teams, and clubs.
Q. When is this year’s event and how long does it last?
A. The event is Monday, January 27 from 5:00-6:30 pm. Check-in will be in the front foyer of Brenham High School. We will also have assistance for any Spanish speakers that come to the event.
Q. Who is invited to attend Welcome to Prideland?
A. The event is open to all 8th graders and their families. We also encourage any families that might be new to the area to join us as well. Even if their children are already enrolled at Brenham High School, we want everyone to get all of the important information about what is offered at Brenham High School.
Q. What if the entire family attends?
A. We want to give as much information as possible to everyone involved in our future students’ lives, so we encourage the whole family to attend! Childcare will be provided for children ages 3-10, and everyone who attends will be given a ticket for a sausage on a stick.
Q. What should eighth-grade students expect to see at the event?
A. The best thing about Welcome to Prideland is that incoming 8th graders are not just going to booths staffed with teacher representatives. Many booths are run by students, so attendees will be able to get information about clubs and organizations from the perspectives of their future peers. Also, there are some great prizes involved. Each booth will provide a prize, so make sure you register at every booth you visit!
Q. Tell us about some of the new things happening over at Brenham Community Education.
A. Brenham Community Education is excited to announce that we will have a new select basketball team this summer! Brenham Select is now accepting registrations for tryouts for grades 4th - 12th for boys & girls. If your child loves to play basketball we encourage you to sign him/her up for tryouts. Tryouts are free and registration is online. We are also excited to let our community know that Driver’s Education is back and being held at Brenham Community Education. If you would like to register your teenager for driver’s education, please give me a call at 979-277-3895. Also, for those looking to crush their New Year’s health and fitness goals, we encourage you to check out our fitness training programs. We have several to choose from: Chair Piyo, P90X Express Strength, PiYo Live and TurboKick/HIIT. We also offer a multi-class discount! So, whether you’re looking to get in shape, learn something new, or enjoy an activity with your friends, we have a course for you!
Q. How does someone become a Community Education instructor?
A. If you are interested in making a little extra money, consider teaching a course for Brenham Community Education. Becoming an instructor is simple! Classes are flexible and custom-designed by YOU! Instructors set their own schedule and class fees, and keep 80% of the fee! All you need is an idea - we handle the rest! Just visit our website at brenhamcommunityed.com and select the Teach a Course link to submit a course proposal online or call me at 979-277-3895 ext. 2171.
Q. Tell us about the new Advanced Career Training options you’re now offering online.
A. These programs prepare students for a career and are designed to provide job training and/or advancement opportunities. They also lead to industry-recognized certifications. You can start these career training programs anytime and work at a pace that suits your individual style. You'll have access to all the lessons and assignments from day one, and many of these programs can be completed in less than six months. You'll get all the materials and instructor assistance you need to have a truly comprehensive learning experience. Some of the Advanced Career Training programs include Graphic Design, Certified Administrative Professional, Certified Clinical Medical Assistant and numerous others.
Q. Where can the community go to get more information about Brenham Community Education?
A. Visit brenhamcommunityed.com or call 979-277-3895 to discover new areas of interest, pursue passions, and achieve new knowledge and skills. We also invite you to come see us at 1301 South Market Street here in Brenham.
Q. You also handle all of the centralized new student registration for Brenham ISD. What do parents need to know about registering their child?
A. New student registration is held Monday through Friday from 8 am - 12 pm at the Brenham Community Education building. Registration packets can be picked up ahead of time or can also be found on our district website under the Parent Information tab. Parents of new students will need to provide the following documents along with the registration packet upon registration: Proof of district residency, Child’s Birth Certificate & Social Security Card, Photo ID of parent/guardian and Current Immunization Records. If families have any questions regarding registration, they can contact me at 979-277-3895.
We see the yellow buses all around town driving our students here and there, but for those who may not have much information about the transportation industry, tell us a little bit about who Durham is.
I know that Durham is more than yellow school buses. What other services does Durham provide?
Tell us about Durham’s #1 goal, which I am sure aligns with our #1 goal in Brenham ISD.
Is Durham School Services hiring?
What kind of benefits do you offer?
Tell us about the ECLC and what makes it good, high-quality preK program.
How has the community been involved with supporting your campus?
What’s been going on at the ECLC for the month of December?
Tell us about the Pajama Drive your campus is involved with.
We hear you have a message from the boys and girls at the ECLC. Would you share that with us?
Q. What choir classes are currently offered at Brenham ISD?
A. There are currently have 4 different ensembles that students can be involved in at Brenham ISD. There is a 7th-grade choir and the 8th-grade choir at Brenham Junior High and at Brenham High School students may participate in Cub Choir, Women’s Chorus and Varsity Chorale.
Q. What are some of the benefits and opportunities that being in choir offers?
A. Studies have shown that students who are engaged in music programs outperform their peers on many different levels including grade-point average, graduation rate, SAT/ACT scores, attendance and discipline referrals. It’s also important to understand that students who participate in choir learn more than how to “sing pretty.” They learn valuable skills like how to speak/sing confidently in front of a large crowd, how to handle high-pressure situations like auditions and contests, and how efficiently manage their time. Additionally, due to the growth in the choir program over the past few years, I have had to depend heavily upon student leadership. Student leaders not only learn how to sing but also how to conduct an ensemble, lead a section and offer critique. Students in choir also get the opportunity to travel. This summer we will be traveling to Branson Missouri where students will get to have a clinic and concert with the famous country singer Clay Cooper.
Q. Tell us about choir competitions.
A. All of the choirs in Brenham ISD compete at UIL and consistently earn high ratings. This past semester the Varsity and Women’s Chorus competed at the Texas Renaissance Music Festival where they both earned superior marks. In November they had a record number of Varsity members make the TMEA Region 27 Choir and recently Edin Inestroza and Mia Aschenbeck made Area. They will go in January to compete against the top singers from our Area for a spot in the ALL-State Choir. This is an extremely rigorous audition process and I am so proud of all my students for their hard work.
Q. How can students get involved in choir?
A. It is not too late for students to sign up for choir. Students and parents simply need to speak with their counselor to have choir added to their schedule for the spring semester. High school students wishing to join the Varsity choir will need to audition in April. The junior high and Cub Choir are excellent places to start for students who have never sung in a choir before or maybe just want to see what it is like. There is no audition or experience required for these ensembles. Women’s Chorus is also a great ensemble for high school girls who want to compete and perform around the community.
Q. What events do you have coming up?
A. We have a holiday concert on Thursday, December 12 at 6:30 pm in the BHS Auditorium. The theme is “Holiday Harmonies” and the choirs will be performing contest music as well as Christmas favorites like “Once Upon a December” from the musical Anastasia and Holy Night Silent Night. Admission is free so bring the whole family! There will also be a bake sale and silent auction with poinsettias during intermission.
Q. Tell us about yourself and what your role is in Brenham ISD.
A. My name is Lori Ruiz-Wamble and I have the privilege of serving as the Director of Special Programs and Advanced Academics in Brenham ISD. I manage programs for our special student populations such as dyslexia, bilingual and ESL, gifted and talented, and advanced academics.
Q. How can parents know if their child is gifted?
A. If you see that your child has critical and creative thinking abilities above their grade level peers, they are very curious about how things work, they ask lots of challenging questions, they have the ability to see relationships, they have a great sense of humor, and they have the ability to learn at a faster rate, these are just some signs your child could be gifted. On the Brenham ISD website under Special Programs - Gifted and Talented, there are some questions parents can fill out to see they should refer their child for G/T screening.
Q. What can parents do if they believe their child might indeed be gifted?
A. Beginning December 9 through December 20, parents, teachers, and administrators may nominate students to be screened for the identification of gifted and talented. Brenham ISD screens students for the G/T program using a multi-criteria approach to selection with 3 phases of placement. G/T identification is based upon data collected from achievement tests, ability tests, parent and teacher observation surveys, and student products from Kingore Planned Experiences. Parents must complete the Request for Screening Form and the Parent Checklist located at www.brenhamisd.net. The deadline for parents to complete and submit the forms is no later than 12:00 pm on December 20.
Q. What services are provided by the program for gifted and talented students?
A. Brenham ISD has 2 stellar G/T programs in the elementary and middle school called Gateway and Challenging Scientific Investigations (CSI). CSI is a Brenham ISD initiative that provides an opportunity for 2nd - 6th grade G/T students to explore science and technology as they read, write, solve problems, conduct experiments and apply science to their daily lives. Students who participate attend CSI once a week for half a day using technology and other STEM-related activities to create innovative projects and research. Gateway is a fully immersed program for students in grades three through six who are identified as G/T. Gateway is designed to build critical thinkers, problem solvers, and life-long learners by providing a rigorous, non-traditional atmosphere with inquiry-based learning with student choice and outstanding learning experiences. On the secondary campuses, our advanced learners are served in the pre-advanced placement, advanced placement classes and the AVID program allowing students to engage in multiple research-based projects and develop their individual academic knowledge and skills.
Q. Where can I find more information about all the services and programs offered for gifted and talented/advanced academic students?
A. To learn more about the amazing opportunities and programs that our advanced learners have in Brenham ISD, join us at the Brenham ISD Advanced Academics Expo on Tuesday, December 10 from 6:00-7:30 pm at Brenham Middle School. Students and staff members will present information on Advanced Placement, AVID, CSI, Gateway, and Gifted and Talented. This event is open to the public. Please join us to discover what our amazing students are creating and innovating within Brenham ISD!
Guest: Danny Ramsey, BISD Assistant Athletic Director
Tell us a little bit about your background and how you got to Brenham.
We’ve heard you say that mindset is critical for success. What does that look like in real life?
How you help student-athletes achieve a balance between athletics, academics, and everything in between.
We know that winning is how many people measure success, but sometimes you have to just celebrate the little things. Does this tie into mindset?
Talk to us about intentional living and embracing joy in the midst of adversity.
Q. Tell us a little about how your background and how you got to Brenham.
A. I am so excited to be here. My family and I moved to Brenham this summer and it has been an amazing experience so far. I grew up in Huntsville, but have lived in the Clear Lake Area of Houston for the past 23 years. I always wanted to return to a small-town atmosphere. I received my undergraduate degree from Sam Houston State University and taught mainly in the Clear Creek Independent School District. After several years, I decided to go back to school and received my master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling from Lamar University. With my heart still very much based in education and a love for kids, my husband, two children and I decided accepting the position of social emotional coordinator for the Brenham Independent School District was a good move.
Q. What exactly is a social emotional coordinator?
A. A social emotional coordinator assists students and adults in developing fundamental social and emotional competencies, skills and tools such as confidence, optimism, a growth mindset, stress management, self-motivation, effective communication, and responsible decision-making. As educational trends continue to develop, we are finding more evidence that, while developing academics is important, developing social skills and higher emotional intelligence is essential for individual success in today’s society. Brenham ISD wants to provide that opportunity to their students and educators - that’s where I come in.
Q. What does that look like in practice?
A. It can take on many different forms, so that’s a tricky question. In a nutshell, it is supporting teachers in fostering classroom environments and lessons that practice social and emotional skills. That may mean working with students one-on-one when needed, helping teachers design specific lessons or modify existing lessons to include SEL skills, visiting classrooms to discuss a variety of topics, promoting mental health awareness through workshops, or launching district-wide awareness campaigns.
Q. What are some things we can expect from the program?
A. Ideally, we will see more well-adjusted students and educators, higher levels of proactive conflict resolution, increased test scores, and lower levels of burn-out. It may not be felt or seen right away, but as these practices become more ingrained within our educational environment, these results will become inevitable.
Q. What are your personal thoughts about how social emotional learning can affect the district?
A. I believe that increasing social and emotional skills and awareness is priceless. The bottom line is that our students will be better adjusted, more capable of functioning in today’s society, and have the skills to help them navigate through life with more grace and confidence. While educating students is our primary goal, SEL reaches beyond our students and touches the lives of our educators, administrators, parents, caregivers, and community.
Q. It seems that there are reports regarding cyber threats and bullying in the news on a regular basis. What preventative action is Brenham ISD taking to address cyber issues in general?
A. Brenham ISD students and staff are learning cyber safety this year with our #eCubSafe program. Every six weeks has a theme with classroom lessons, announcements, and parent flyers. The current theme is ALERT. This theme focuses on scams and verifying online identities. Future themes include STRONG with a focus on passwords and account security checks, KIND with a focus on cyberbullying and positivity with online communication, and the final them is BRAVE with a focus on using reporting tools when an online communication makes a student feel uncomfortable.
Q. The current theme is ALERT. Tell us more about that.
A. The ALERT theme means “Don’t Fall for Fake.” It includes activities about phishing scams and fake online profiles. Phishing is when someone tries to steal information like your login or account credentials by pretending to be someone you trust in an email, text message, or other online communication. Some phishing attacks are obviously fake, but others can be sneaky and really convincing.
Q. How can you spot phishing emails or texts?
A. A website or ad can’t tell if there’s anything wrong with your machine. Never click a pop-up that says your machine has a virus and you need to call a phone number to have someone remote in and fix your device. If a link in an email or text message looks suspicious, ask yourself some questions:
Does the site’s URL match the product’s or company’s name and information? Does it look misspelled?
Does the URL start with https:// with a padlock next to it? That means the connection is secure.
Is there fine print in the email at the bottom? Read it for more information.
Does the message sound weird? Did they offer information about you as if they are trying to gain your trust? Search your text messages or email for a previous communication from that person. Reply to the older message and ask if they sent you something recently. Many email accounts are spoofed - not exactly hacked, just using the account address.
Is it asking you for personal information? Some phishing messages are posing as personality tests to gather facts to make it easy to guess your passwords.
Is the message a chain or email post asking you to forward it to others? If you are unsure of the source do not pass it on.
Q. What if you do fall for a scam?
A. Don’t panic! We ask students to let a parent or teacher know immediately. If it is a school account, we ask the teacher to notify the technology department. Change passwords for online accounts immediately. If you think your email was hacked, notify contacts after you change your password. Warn them not to click on any suspicious messages that might have been sent from your account. If your computer was hacked, shut it down immediately to stop access.
Q. How do you verify a person’s identity online?
A. Is their profile photo suspicious? Bad photos, emojis, photos of pets make it easy to hide a real identity. Does their username contain their real name? Look at more than just the online name. Look at the URL and see if it contains their real name socialmedia.com/jane_doe. Do they have a profile bio? Does the information in the “About Me” section confirm how they may know you or does it look like information that could be found easily? How long has the profile been active? Fake accounts usually don’t have much content or signs of people posting, commenting, and socializing with them.
1. The weather is getting cooler, will students at Brenham Elementary be taking any field trips?
Yes, our second graders recently had a blast at the Oil Ranch and first grade was able to go to Blessington Farms. On November 7, our kindergarten classes will also head out to the Oil Ranch. Students always have such a great time, they even get to bring home they’re very own pumpkin! We’re hoping for great weather on that day!
2. Parent involvement is so important, what events do you have coming up for parents to attend?
It’s beginning to be that busy time of year. We have our annual Veteran’s Day program at 1:30 p.m. on November 11. Our fourth grade students are practicing hard during their music time. We invite all veterans to come and be a part of this fabulous celebration. As we get closer to our Thanksgiving holidays, first grade will have a feast and second grade is planning a picnic. Teachers will keep parents informed of upcoming events or they may check out our social media channels for more information. Also, we always welcome parents and community members to become CARS volunteers. Please contact our school at 979-277-3880 for more information.
3. How do you communicate to parents and the community about events at Brenham Elementary?
Great question! In today’s digital world, a lot of our communication is through social media. Our teachers use the Remind app to reach out to let parents know what’s going on in their classrooms. When we have upcoming events, I post them on our Brenham Elementary Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts. We also have a monthly digital newsletter that is posted to our social media accounts and we offer digital flyers through Peachjar, which can be found on our website at brenhamisd.net under schools. As always, we encourage parents to call us at 979-277-3880 should they have any questions!
4. What kind of tutorials are going on during this time of the year at Brenham Elementary?
We have ELT (Extra Learning Time) built into our daily master schedule. After we assessed our students, we found that our third grade math needed a little more reinforcement, so we incorporated 7:20 a.m. Educational Galaxy math tutorial time in our computer lab. A huge thank you to parents and students who come to school early for extra learning. It’s a great way to get the day started!
5. The other schools are having school fundraisers, what will Brenham Elementary be participating in?
We are having our first Boosterthon November 4-14. This is a fitness and character-based fundraiser where students earn pledges that help raise money for our school. We will kick it off on November 4 with a big pep rally during PE time. Watch our social media channels for more information!
Q. What special events are happening at Krause right now?
A. We are looking forward to our big family event, the Krause Carnival, on October 24. We will have games, silent auction items, and a Halloween costume contest. We invite anyone to come and join the fun from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Krause. We are also looking forward to the BISD Block Party coming up on Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Cub Stadium. We are continuing to celebrate positive behavior with our Bingo Bucks and Mega Bucks for students as they exhibit awesome behavior in the hallway, cafeteria, gym, on the playground, and during arrival or dismissal.
Q. What CORE Value have you been talking about this month?
A. For the month of October, we have talked about Courage. Each day our students hear that having courage means being brave enough to do what is right even when you are afraid. We have heard some amazing quotes like “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear,” by Mark Twain. Or another great message by Winston Churchill stating “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”
Q. How has your campus celebrated Red Ribbon Week?
A. Red Ribbon Week is being celebrated across our campus by all of our students participating in daily dress-up days. On Monday, our campus wore red from head to toe. On Tuesday, our staff and students wore crazy socks as we “socked it” to drugs. On Wednesday, we’re wearing camouflage as we join the fight against drugs. Thursday we will “put a cap on drugs” as we all wear our favorite cap or hat, and on Friday, it’s green out day as we talk about Cubs not doing drugs.
Q. Tell us about the Omega International Exchange Program that you have going on at Krause.
A. This program began last year as a sort of “pen pal” activity with a group of students and teachers from China. We met some teachers and directors who actually came to our campus, but we also met students from China online. We have been working with these same students with various projects, and we are very excited to begin an online learning program in which we spend an hour learning with students in China. This means we have to meet at 7:00 p.m. our time so that the students in China are meeting at 9:00 a.m. their time. We are experiencing so much learning and fun! We can’t wait for our next virtual learning session.
Q. What is the most important thing parents can do for their children in their learning process?
A. The biggest way parents can help is by talking to their children about their day. Today our world is so fast-paced and we get so caught up in technology, getting to the next place, or accomplishing the next task that we often forget to just talk. Talking can lead to some of the best conversations about what is happening in school, what is happening in life or just about what your child had for lunch that day. Take time to put the cell phone away and spend 5 minutes talking about your child’s day.
Q. Tell us a little bit about what’s going on at Brenham Junior High School.
A. Our theme this year is “One Small Step Today…One Giant Leap Tomorrow!” in honor of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Thanks to our staff, students, and parents, we’ve had an amazing start to the year. We appreciate the effort our students are making to follow the rules by being in dress code, wearing IDs, and being wonderful students! We also appreciate the support of our Bush’s Chicken fundraiser which raised $14,783 for field trips and other student activities.
Q. What are your goals as you enter your sixth year at Brenham Junior High School?
A. I strive to create a team environment at BJHS so our staff and students are excited about what we are doing as a campus. I want our students to regard the time they spent with us as the best educational experience they have ever had. I also want to ensure our students are being educated in a safe, positive, loving environment, and that they are prepared not only for success on state assessments but also for the academic rigor of high school and college.
Q. What programs are in place at BJHS to assist students?
A. We recently had the first Saturday school of the year for students having attendance issues or academic issues. We will offer two Saturday schools per month until the end of the school year. We have also been using Edgenuity, an online program to address the four core disciplines. Additionally, we use Reading Plus as a tool for reading improvement. We also plan to bring in some of our AVID students to help the Saturday school students with binder and agenda organization.
Q. Tell us about the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program.
AVID is in its third year on our campus, and we base everything we do on the four domains of AVID: Systems, Instruction, Leadership, and Culture. We are an AVID certified campus and our goal is to become an elite AVID National Demonstration School. All BJHS students have an organized binder and agenda, and every department works on having focused note-taking in their classes. As a campus, we have two seventh grade AVID elective classes and two eighth grade AVID elective classes, but all of our students know that AVID reaches into EVERY classroom and impacts them academically. Our AVID elective teacher Jenny Schaer continues to push our AVID students to achieve the highest goals!
Q. What upcoming events do you have occurring at BJH?
A. We have a “pink out” themed pep rally on October 21 at 2:30 p.m. in our gym with a girls vs. boys competition. The Brenham High School band will also be joining us for this pep rally. Red Ribbon Week will be celebrated October 21-25, and we will also be wearing orange in support of Unity Day on October 23 for bullying prevention. Football, volleyball and cross country are all well into their seasons and basketball will be starting the next few weeks.
Q. There has been some discussion lately regarding the handling of students with negative lunch accounts. What is Brenham ISD doing to address this?
A. An automated phone call is placed each night to the phone number on record when a student has a negative meal account balance. A student with no money is allowed to charge up to three days’ worth of meals (3 breakfasts, 3 lunches) to give the household time to make a payment on the child’s account. Once the grace period is exhausted, the student receives a complete alternate meal consisting of a cheese sandwich entrée plus fruit, vegetable, and choice of milk and condiments free of charge. If a student receives four alternate meals, the household is personally contacted by the child nutrition department to identify their needs and connect them to assistance where possible.
Q. Speaking of assistance, how can someone from the community help alleviate debt on student accounts?
A. The Brenham ISD Child Nutrition Department has a donor account from which transfers can be made to pay off negative balances. Donations can be made to this account by contacting the child nutrition office at 979-277-3750.
Q. As a parent, how can I see what my child’s account balance is and what my child has been spending their money on?
A. You can create an EZSchoolPay account from the link on the Brenham ISD child nutrition website. This will allow you to see your child’s balance at any time. By clicking on your listed child, you can also see a report of all their transactions for the last month.
Q. Is there a charge to set up EZSchoolPay?
A. No, there is no charge to set up an account in EZSchoolPay. An EZSchoolPay account can be set up without entering any credit card information at all. Parents can also create an account for their child with no credit card associated with the account. The child can then download the EZSchoolPay app on their phone and log in to view the meal account balance at any time.
Q. It’s almost National School Lunch Week. What is Brenham ISD doing to celebrate this week?
A. This year’s National School Lunch Week is October 14-18. The superhero theme will focus on “Saving the Day with a Healthy School Lunch.” We will start each day with morning announcements to promote our super healthy food group of the day and at lunch, we will serve a variety of menu choices with special attention to the daily featured food group. These featured groups offer menu items that are essential to help support memory and provide vitamins such as vitamin C, provide protein for muscle development and strength, provide fiber for digestive health and B vitamins, plus calcium for bone building. Of course, no celebration is complete without a treat, so also this week, we will also offer a special super treat with lunch meals!
Q. Brenham Middle School has implemented a “house system.” What is that and what is the goal?
A. Our house system divides the entire staff and student body into “houses” that compete against each other. The goal is to build a community of learners and a sense of belonging through teamwork and friendly competition. We have house meetings twice per six weeks to discuss how we can become a more successful team by demonstrating character, growing academically and being responsible. Each house is led by a staff house leader and elected student leaders.
Q. How many houses do you have at BMS and how did you determine who would be in each house?
A. The students were randomly divided into seven different houses. Each house is represented by a character trait, a color, and a symbol. The names of the houses are actually the character trait in a different language. Each house is made up of an even number of fifth and sixth graders, as well as 10 to 11 staff members. Students learned what house they were in by opening an envelope with their student ID and a colored lanyard that matched their house.
Q. How do the houses compete against each other?
A. Students can earn points for their house daily by earning character cards. Staff members hand out character cards to students who are caught demonstrating good character. On a weekly basis, students earn a point for their house for getting their planner signed by a parent. Every six weeks, students gain points for passing grades, attendance and behavior.
Q. How often are winners announced and what can the houses earn with their points?
A. Each Tuesday, we do a house update over the announcements. Those announcements sometimes include a special reward for the house that earned the most points for a particular initiative such as signed planners, wearing their ID’s, or earning the most character cards. Once per six weeks, we have a House Pep Rally. All of the students and staff gather in the gym wearing their house colors. We announce the house winner for the six weeks, do some fun games among representatives from the houses and recognize individuals who earned the most points for their house. We also do a house reward each six weeks for the house that is in the lead.
Q. With the first six weeks behind you, what do you feel is the biggest benefit of the house system?
A. Our students feel like they’re a part of something. They get high fives from staff members in their houses, sit together at lunch on designated days, and enjoy being part of a family. As house leaders, we check on our students who are struggling academically or having behavior concerns. We hold them accountable in a positive way. Also, we incorporate community service projects, like raising money for local organizations, to encourage students to participate in competitions while teaching the importance of giving back to the community.
Q. We hear the fall course catalog is out. What courses are you offering this semester?
A. The Brenham Community Education fall course catalog has been published and we invite you to come learn with us. We are currently offering: Nature Expressions, Macra-Made, Halloween Makeup Workshop, Cookie Decorating, Pumpkin Painting - No Carve Solution, Pretty Pumpkin Carving, Sewing Classes for Beginners, Mason Jar Terrariums, Thanksgiving Centerpiece Workshop, Christmas Wreath Workshop, Pot-in-a-Pot Garden Art, Painting Holiday Ornaments and several monthly fitness courses. Whether you’re looking to get in shape, learn something new, or enjoy an activity with your friends, we have a course for you!
Q. How does someone become a Community Education instructor?
A. Becoming an instructor is simple! Classes are flexible and custom-designed by YOU! Instructors set their own schedule and class fees, and keep 80% of the fee. All you need is an idea - we handle the rest! Just visit our website at brenhamcommunityed.com and select the Teach a Course link to submit a course proposal online or call me at 979-277-3895 ext. 2171.
Q. Tell us about the Advanced Career Training options you offer online.
A. These programs prepare students for a career and are designed to provide job training and/or advancement opportunities. They also lead to industry-recognized certifications. You can start these career training programs anytime and work at a pace that suits your individual style. You'll have access to all the lessons and assignments from day one, and many of these programs can be completed in less than six months. You'll get all the materials and instructor assistance you need to have a truly comprehensive learning experience.
Q. Where can the community go to get more information about Brenham Community Education?
A. Brenham Community Education is an important part of the district’s involvement in the community and can open doors for students and instructors alike. Visit brenhamcommunityed.com or call 979-277-3895 to discover new areas of interest, pursue passions, and achieve new knowledge and skills. We also invite you to come see us at 1301 South Market Street here in Brenham.
Q. You also handle all of the centralized new student registration for Brenham ISD. What do parents need to know about registering their child?
A. New student registration is held Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Brenham Community Education building. Registration packets can be found on our district website under the Parent Information tab. Parents of new students will need to provide the following documents, along with the registration packet, upon registration: Proof of district residency, child’s birth certificate and social security card, photo ID of parent/guardian and current immunization records.
Q. Tell us about Pride Academy and DAEP.
A. Pride Academy educates students who are at risk of dropping out of school or having a difficult time learning in a traditional school setting. At Pride Academy, students are instructed using a non-traditional school day. Students can attend school for four hours a day using the TEA approved Optional Flexible School Day Program. The Disciplinary Alternative Education Program (DAEP) is a culturally diverse program implemented to nurture and foster the necessary knowledge and skills students need to be socially and academically independent. Students at DAEP can reflect on choices they have made, while feeling empowered not to repeat those same mistakes, using the restorative discipline model.
Q. What are the criteria for enrolling in Pride Academy?
A. To be an eligible candidate for Pride Academy, a student must be at risk of dropping out of school for various reasons. A student must be a junior with at least 17 credits and have passed two of the End of Course exams. Also, the student must have a recommendation from their grade level counselor. The student and parent will be interviewed by a committee that will determine the student’s acceptance into Pride Academy.
Q. Can you tell us what kind of student opportunities Pride Academy provides for its students?
A. Students are given various opportunities to learn about technical programs, junior colleges, community colleges, test prep and entrance examinations, and grants that can help them with their education after high school.
Q. What is your campus culture like?
A. Our campus culture is great! I couldn’t ask for a better team! The students are excited, the teachers are excited, and the community is excited about the positive things going on at Pride Academy. The BISD theme this year is Great Things Happen Here, and we think we are the perfect example of that!
Q. Do you have any programs to motivate students to be successful?
Yes, we have mentoring programs from the Prairie View A&M Social Work Action Club and the Blinn College Distinguished Gentleman’s Club. Both of these organizations provide excellent support of both the DAEP and Pride Academy students.
Q. What is the FFA?
A. FFA is a nationwide youth organization that aims to build premier leadership, personal growth, and career success, through a classroom environment and supervised agricultural experiences. FFA is designed to grow leaders, build communication, and strengthen agriculture.
Q. What achievements can you obtain within FFA?
A. Some of the awards within the Brenham FFA Chapter include Star Greenhand, Top Seitz Fruit and Meat Seller, and Tophand. There are also state and national level degrees you can earn which include Greenhand Degree, Chapter Degree, Lonestar Degree, Discovery Degree, and the American FFA Degree, as well as the opportunity for many scholarships.
Q. How do you become an FFA member?
A. In order to become an FFA member, you must be enrolled in an agriculture class, fill out a membership form, and pay a $25 membership dues, which also gets you an FFA shirt.
Q. What are some opportunities FFA offers its members?
A. FFA has a wide range of activities personalized for many interests. Supervised Ag Experiences (SAEs), allow students to get hands-on experiences in agriculture, such as raising an animal, doing an agri-science fair project, or entrepreneurship. Leadership Developments Events (LDEs) are focused on developing leadership skills through public speaking and problem-solving. Finally, Career Development events (CDEs) provide a variety of events based on student interests. Some of these include Livestock Judging, Entomology, Wildlife, Dairy Judging, Vet Med, Agronomy, and Forages.
Q. What’s going on in Brenham FFA now?
A. Members are preparing for the Washington County Fair, which will take place on September 13-21. Our current service projects include a soda tab collection for the Ronald McDonald Foundation and our September meeting will include a trash pickup for our Adopt-A-Highway on FM 2935. We have also been hard at work preparing for leadership development contests which will begin in October. We want to remind students that we are still accepting members through September.
Q. What are some goals that Alton Elementary will be working toward this year?
A. Our focus will remain on helping students grow academically, socially and emotionally while also growing a community of readers. We know that readers are leaders! Although we are pleased that we met the state’s standards for our accountability rating, we are always looking for ways to improve. We want to make Alton Elementary School a place where people are beating down the doors to attend!
Q. The new school year brought some changes that parents need to know about. What are some changes that you would like everyone to be aware of?
A. First, I want to thank our parents for their cooperation as we made some changes to our master schedule and dismissal procedures. Our biggest change involved implementing new procedures for our car riders to eliminate crossing traffic during loading to ensure student safety at all times. We will continue our morning huddle from 7:45-7:55 each morning and are excited that the STEAM program has expanded, allowing first, second, and third grades to visit the STEAM class twice per week. Our kindergartners and fourth graders will continue to visit the STEAM club once per six weeks.
Q. What suggestions do you give parents to help their children succeed in school?
A. The biggest suggestion I can make is to get involved and stay involved. We have a wonderful Parent Teacher Organization that provides many ways parents can serve our school and our students. We’re also kicking off our Watch D.O.G.S. program with a launch event at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 3. I also encourage parents to communicate often. Our campus uses Class Dojo to keep an open line of communication with parents and to keep them engaged in their child’s learning experience.
Q. What events are coming up at Alton Elementary?
A. Our fall fundraiser will be kicking off soon and will run until September 25. Students will receive a lanyard and collectible keychain for their first box sold, and prizes for additional boxes. These funds are used to provide activities for students and staff throughout the year. We also invite all of our parents to attend curriculum night on Thursday, September 12 at 5:30 p.m. to get more information about what your child will be learning this year.
Q. What else do you want parents and our community to know going into this school year?
A. We are all excited to be back and we thank everyone for a smooth start to the year. We are already working hard and heading in the right direction to keep moving forward and focus on getting better every day. Our theme this year is “Another Day in Paradise” and our staff are all working to ensure teaching and learning feel like paradise at #AlohaAlton!
Q: Brenham ISD provides a variety of ways for parents to connect with schools. What are the best ways for parents to stay informed?
A: Our district website, www.brenhamisd.net, is a great place to start. Each school also has a campus website that can be accessed from the district homepage. Additionally, we offer a mobile app that can be found in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. Brenham ISD is also active on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Follow us at @BrenhamISD!
Q: Many Brenham ISD staff members consistently go above and beyond the call of duty. Is there some way for parents to recognize those outstanding individuals?
A: Absolutely! Brenham ISD offers the Cub Compliment program as a way for anyone in our district or community to recognize staff members who exceed expectations. Anyone can nominate any Brenham ISD staff member to receive this honor. Recipients get a letter signed by Dr. Jackson with a description of the nomination and a certificate for a treat from the school cafeteria. You can access the nomination form on the district website at www.brenhamisd.net under Departments > Communications.
Q: Brenham ISD is starting a podcast this year. Where can we get more information or subscribe to the podcast?
A: Brenham ISD has had two wonderful radio shows for years, the BISD Round Table which airs on KWHI at 9:00 a.m. on Thursdays and the BISD Today Show which airs on 94.1 Lite FM at 8:45 a.m. on Saturdays. The new podcast, Cub Nation Station, will feature this content, as well as special interviews with students, board members and staff members. The podcast will be available on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast and Spotify.
Q: Tell us about the community services department housed at the Brenham Community Education building.
A: Georgiane Gessner is the Community Services Associate in charge of new student registration and the Brenham Community Education program. Contact Georgiane at firstname.lastname@example.org or 979-277-3895 x2171 if you have a student entering Brenham ISD or would like to take or teach a class! Karem Chandler is the F.A.M.E. (Families Actively and Meaningfully Engaged) Parent Liaison. Karem can help parents sign up for parent portal, assist with parent-teacher conferences, and answer questions about academic programs. Contact Karem at email@example.com or 979-277-3895 x2175.
Q: What is the Cub Connection newsletter and how do parents sign up to receive it?
A: The Cub Connection newsletter is a monthly email publication that is automatically delivered to parents through our broadcast system, School Messenger. The newsletter includes events, district information and spotlight stories. Contact the campus registrar to ensure you have a current email address on file in order to receive the Cub Connection newsletter or find the archives at www.brenhamisd.net under Departments > Communications.
Q. Tell us about Brenham ISD’s new Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Accountability.
A. We are so excited to have Sarah Cook join our central office team! Sarah began her educational career with Brenham ISD in 2004 as an instructional aide, and went on to serve as a sixth-grade science teacher, a CSI teacher, and most recently a content specialist for science and social studies. Sarah earned a bachelor's degree in forensic chemistry from Sam Houston State University and a Master of Education from Lamar University with a focus on teacher leadership. She enjoys working with students and teachers, as well as researching data trends and instructional teaching practices to improve student achievement.
Q. Each year the school district celebrates its history as the first public school district in Texas. Tell us about Brenham ISD’s rich history.
A. Brenham ISD was established following a bill passed on March 25, 1875 during the 14th Legislature. The first day of classes for Brenham Public Schools was September 6, 1875 and the session lasted forty weeks. Classes were conducted in the old Key Home on the site of the Sacred Heart Convent, with a monthly rental of $50 until the city purchased the property on October 22, 1877 for $2500. A new two story brick building was constructed during 1878 at a cost of $10,000.
Q. The district recently received accountability ratings from the state. How did the district perform?
A. We are proud to announce that the district earned a “B” rating from the Texas Education Agency. Overall the district’s score increased by 8 points, moving from a 79 in the 2017-2018 school year to an 87 for the 2018-2019 school year. Brenham ISD campuses also earned a total of 12 distinction designations. Brenham ISD has seen an increase in the number of students who leave the district ready for college, career, or the military. Additionally, students continue to excel in the area of mathematics and gains are being made in literacy at the secondary levels, as well.
Q. What are some of the areas of focus for the district this year?
A. Our areas of focus include literacy in all grades, closing achievement gaps, and overall student growth. We have turnaround support in place for our areas of need and the district has allocated targeted resources to ensure growth moving forward. We’re also investing heavily in our teacher development program to attract and retain quality instructional staff.
Q. What do parents need to know about teaching and learning in Brenham ISD?
A. Our teachers work hard to plan and deliver quality instruction to meet the diverse needs of your children. We plan all of our instruction based on the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), which are the state standards for what students should know and be able to do. Our staff members attend regular professional development and strive to ensure our students are prepared for successful careers in fields that are constantly developing.
Q. School is underway and the Brenham ISD has a new theme this year. Tell us about “Great Things Happen Here.”
A. Each year we aim to choose a theme that showcases how our district and community work together to ensure our schools and students are successful. From academics and athletics to fine arts and extracurriculars, great things are happening in Brenham ISD each and every day. We are grateful to our dedicated staff members and community partners who build greatness in each of our students to help them reach their maximum potential.
Q. Can you share some Brenham ISD statistics to remind our listeners about the makeup of Brenham ISD?
A. Brenham ISD educates just over 5,000 students with an operating budget of approximately 51 million dollars. We are proud to share that we had 349 graduates in 2019 and the Brenham High School celebrates a 96% graduation rate, which is well above the state average. We are also celebrating that our starting teacher salary was increased this year to $46,000 which puts us above the average for our market.
Q. There were many summer projects happening all over the district. What were some of the biggest undertakings?
A. Two of our biggest summer projects were the construction of new stairwells at the Brenham High School and the completion of the Deb Tackett Memorial Library at the Brenham Early Childhood Learning Center. Many thanks to Assistant Superintendent of Operations Paul Aschenbeck and our Brenham ISD maintenance department for supporting both of these efforts. Great things are happening at our facilities!
Q. The 144th Brenham ISD anniversary celebration is coming up. Tell us about this year’s event and honorees.
A. Brenham ISD is proud of its history and accomplishments, and as the oldest public school system in the state, we will soon be celebrating our 144th Anniversary and honoring the 2019 Brenham ISD Distinguished Alumni: Charles Ellison, Class of 1972; Atwood Kenjura, Class of 1963; Ron Parker, Class of 1972; and Kay Lyn Schwartz, Class of 1980. This year’s celebration is at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, September 6 at the Blinn College Student Center. Individuals may contact Jackie at the Brenham ISD Central Office at 979-277-3700 for tickets to this event.
Q. What do parents need to know going into this new school year?
A. We’ve all been diligently working to ensure that this will be the best year ever. Brenham ISD will remain laser focused on our mission of educating the hearts and minds of our students in a safe and nurturing environment. We ask that parents support our efforts by acting as ambassadors for our public schools and maintaining an open communication with our district. Great things happen when we all work together for the success of our children!