Local T.A.F.E. members participate in state meeting
Eldorado High School TAFE members participated in the Family and Consumer Science Teachers Association of Texas, state meeting July 31 to August 1, 2012 at the Sheraton Hotel in Dallas. The first day we worked the TAFE booth in the exhibit hall informing teachers about TAFE and encouraging them to sponsor TAFE clubs at their schools. To open the conference Alexis Garcia and Isabel Santos presented the colors, while Kevin Cruz led the teachers in the pledges.
On August 1, 2012 Eldorado TAFE members had the opportunities to assist Alejandro Arguello in presenting the session “ TAFE plant the seeds for the future” which was attended by various T.A.F.E advisors and teachers planning to start a T.A.F.E chapter. It consisted of an overview of the TAFE membership, training opportunities, and publications. We as officers introduced ourselves, while giving a brief description of how T.A.F.E has affected our lives.
Our experiences, coming from different backgrounds have led us to view the way T.A.F.E. can empower individuals to explore their opportunities, responsibilities, and its importance in our communities. Stated by Alexis Garcia, “Our T.A.F.E. chapter at
Eldorado high school found out that one of the school technicians, Andy Martinez, who suffered from cancer, had a wish to attend a Dallas football game. At that moment we decided to start a fundraiser so that he could fulfill his dream. While we raised the money we received the terrible news that Andy had passed away. Our mission did not stop there; the money that was raised was given to his family. Although we could not fulfill his dream, our chapter felt as though we had accomplished so much more than we had set out to do.”
Isabel Santos followed up by explaining how T.A.F.E. has improved her confidence level by stated “Before I joined T.A.F.E. I could not stand in front of an audience without having a panic attack, but since I went to the officers’ retreat in May I have learned to gradually improve my public speaking skills, how to introduce myself, and how to compose myself properly in front of an audience.” Kevin Cruz followed up with his speech by saying the following “this organization has opened my eyes and made me realize how important education really is. The difficulties that teachers have to face but most importantly, the impact they can make in a Childs’ life.”
In conclusion to our speeches, we realized that T.A.F.E has been a great experience and made us understand life in a way that we could have never imagined. It has given us a better understanding of how we, as T.A.F.E. officers, can provide our peers (students) with the knowledge and challenges teachers face. We can be role a model by showing students what it takes to be a leader, how taking responsibilities and having the willingness to learn can improve their character. How a small project can change the mentality of the students and show them to serve their community. How we can make a difference in future generations to improve their understanding of the teaching profession.
At each of the meetings we are attending in 2012, Whitney, Jessie, Alexis and the other state officers are planning the session they are supposed to present at the International Future Teachers of America conference in April of 2013. A few ideas were discussed at Mo-Ranch. In Dallas, Alexis attended a workshop about bullying and got a lot of information to research. The officers have decided on a theme, bullying and written a proposal to present to FTA.
Conservation Agency Seeks Local Input at Annual Meeting
The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Eldorado Divide Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) and the Local Working Group invite the public to their annual Conservation Stakeholder’s Meeting at 3:00 pm, Aug 21 at the 1st Community Federal Credit Union Conference Room located at 107 South Divide in Eldorado.
Each year, the Local Working Group hosts a public meeting to determine the resource concerns and needs of the area and how to best address those needs. The NRCS and their local conservation partner, the Eldorado Divide SWCD, provide agriculture producers with professional consultation and financial assistance through Farm Bill conservation programs to apply conservation practices on their land that address soil erosion and health, water quality and quantity issues, as well as wildlife habitat. The Local Working Group includes community agricultural producers, owners/operators of nonindustrial private forest land, professionals representing agricultural and natural resource interests, and individuals representing a variety of disciplines in the soil, water, wetland, plant, forestry, and wildlife sciences who are familiar with agricultural and natural resource issues.
All landowners and land managers in Schleicher County are encouraged to attend and participate in this meeting. This open discussion public meeting will focus on identifying area natural resource concerns that can be addressed using conservation programs and activities.
Through the Eldorado Divide SWCD, the Local Working Group will provide recommendations to the NRCS District Conservationist on local natural resource priorities and criteria for conservation activities and programs planning for the upcoming fiscal year. These issues will be especially important in decisions made for financial assistance when implementing the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). This program is administered by the NRCS and provides incentive payments for the installation of several conservation practices on eligible participant’s land. The information gathered from these meetings will be used to help carry out the EQIP and other programs in 2013.
For more information, including eligibility requirements, call or visit the NRCS office in Eldorado at 325-853-3535 Service Center locations, meeting dates and program information can be found on the Texas NRCS Web site at www.tx.nrcs.usda.gov.
Gonzales appointed to vacant City Council seat
Mary Ann Gonzales was appointed Monday night to fill the unexpired term of Stacy Haynes, following her death last month. Gonzales took the oath of office and immediately got down to business familiarizing herself with her duties as a representative of Ward #1.
LeRoy Olsak places in State Pecan Show
By Anthony Munoz, CEA-Ag/NR
Local pecan producer, LeRoy Olsak had a very good showing at the 2011 Texas State Pecan Show held in San Marcos, TX on July 15, 2012. Over 200 qualified entries from across the state flooded into San Marcos to be judged in their respective divisions and varieties.
Serving as judges for this year’s competition were Dr. Leonardo Lombardini, Texas A & M University, Dr. Larry Stein, Texas AgriLife Extension, Dr. George Ray McEachern, Texas A & M University, Dr. Tommy Thompson, USDA-ARS, and Dr. L.J. Grauke, USDA-ARS. Each of these individuals are all well known in the pecan industry.
In the Shoshoni Variety, Olsak placed 1st with 38.92 nuts per pound and a Kernel Percent of 52.27. Olsak placed 1st again with his Nacono Variety that weighed in at 38.04 nuts per pound and a Kernel Percent of 55.79. In the Western Varieties, LeRoy came close to a third 1st place but wound up in a close second to Barbara Johnson from Midland County with 47.88 nuts per pound and a Kernel Percent of 59.34. Olsak also had entries in very tough Cheyenne and Wichita Classes in which he faired well against some high quality pecans.
Nancy Lester receives 4-H Silver Clover Award
By Anthony Munoz, CEA-Ag/NR
A local 4-H leader was honored last Thursday night in San Angelo at the Silver Clover Banquet. The banquet was held at Zentner’s Daughter where volunteers from all across the district’s 23 counties gathered. Nancy Lester, a local 4-H leader along with 26 other individuals were honored during the Texas AgriLife Extension Service’s annual banquet.
School lunch price goes up, portions get smaller
The Schleicher County ISD board of trustees met Monday, August 13th and voted to increase the cost of a school lunch from $1.85 to $2. The increase came in response to pressure from federal regulators who are requiring the district to raise the price to at least $2.51 over a four year period.
The school offers free and reduced-price lunches for children in low-income households. (See public notices on Pages 8 & 9)
The trustees also learned from Food Service Director Ima Bruce that serving sizes will be smaller this year. Bruce explained that a federal initiative, headed by First Lady Michelle Obama, has mandated a reduction in serving sizes as a way of combating childhood obesity.
Bruce said that children PreK through 8th grade may only receive two total ounces of protein in a meal. That includes meat, meat substitute, eggs or cheese. The same students are also restricted to 10 total ounces of protein in any given week.
High schoolers have it a bit better. They are restricted to no more than 12 ounces of protein per week.
Bruce noted that more restrictions are coming and told the trustees that she has little if any leeway in implementing the regulations.
She explained that students will no longer be offered a cookie for dessert. Instead, Bruce said, dessert will consist of some sort of fruit.
Trustee Michael Mertz expressed dismay at the report. Other trustees agreed and questioned the government’s rationale.
“Kids today are not becoming obese on school lunches,” Superintendent Collins said. “To the extent it is happening, it is happening after school or at home.”
Collins went on to note that there is very little the school can do except follow the federal guidelines.
On a positive note, Collins and Bruce explained that the cafeteria offers an ala carte line, which is not subject to the restrictions. The cost of food is slightly higher there, with students being charged for each individual item they select.
In other business, the trustees proposed a tax rate of $1.0934 for the coming tax year. The rate is down from $1.17 last year, primarily due to a $78 million increase in property values.
Some trustees expressed concern that the increase in property values wouldn’t really net the school any additional money.
Superintendent Collins blamed the state’s school funding formula.
“We’re trapped like rats in an elevator at funding levels for 2005-06,” Collins said.
The superintendent went on to say that SCISD cannot increase taxes above an absolute limit and any money the district might gain from higher property values is siphoned away under the state’s recapture plan.
Recapture is a phrase currently used to describe the state’s school funding plan formerly known as “Robin Hood.” Under the plan, money is taken or recaptured from property-rich school districts and allocated to poorer districts.
In a related item of business, the board acted on a recommendation by Collins and voted to purchase attendance credits from the State of Texas for the 2012-13 school year. It was explained that the action is just one way the district can return money to the state or “equalize its wealth.” The complete cost won’t be known until the end of the new school year when SCISD’s average daily attendance is computed.
Collins notes that the district sent the State of Texas just over $89,000 last year.
Technology Director J.D. Doyle began the meeting by giving the trustees an overview of the school district’s computer and network systems. He noted that the trend these days is toward “cloud computing” where information is stored on the Internet, instead of locally on servers.
Doyle went on to note that the district is in good shape but needs to be vigilant about keeping up with the technology curve.
“A lot of what we have, people can’t see,” Doyle explained. “It’s the infrastructure, the servers and switches that sit behind a locked door and make the system work.”
Doyle added that he expects less emphasis on specific computer devices.
“We have to be prepared to serve desktop computers, laptops, notebooks, iPads, iPhones and Droids,” Doyle said. “They all use different operating systems and that is a big challenge.”
SCISD Athletic Director Danny Wilhelm was on hand to discuss a new Concussion Oversight Team being put in place by the district. He explained that all of his coaches have attended concussion training this summer.
On the recommendation of Wilhelm and Superintendent Collins the board voted to appoint four members to the Concussion Oversight Team including Randy Matthews and Cory Turner, both licensed athletic trainers at San Angelo Community Hospital, Dr. Warren Conaway with West Texas Medical Associates, and Bobby Romatowski, Physician’s Assistant at Schleicher County Medical Center.
It was noted the team will establish and oversee the district’s concussion policy. Also, benchmark tests will be conducted on each student athlete before the athletic season for use in determining if they have sustained a concussion, either in workout or in a game.
For his part, Coach Wilhelm explained that a trainer will be on hand for every varsity football game. He noted that his coaches have also been trained to recognize the symptoms of a concussion.
“Our policy will be, when in doubt, sit ‘em out,” Wilhelm said.
In other business, the board reviewed and approved the district’s financial reports as presented by Finance Director Ray Ballew. They also approved the minutes of two previous meetings and set a public hearing for 6 p.m. on Monday, August 27, 2012 after which they plan to adopt a budget and set a tax rate.
Before adjourning, the trustees approved the 2012-13 Student Code of Conduct as presented by EHS Principal Robert Gibson. They also passed a resolution authorizing new signatures on the district’s bank accounts.
Board President Kurtis Homer presided over Monday’s meeting with trustees Michael Mertz, Kriss Griffin, Berta Nicholson, Holly Griffin and Kirk Jones in attendance. Trustee Lupe Sanchez was absent.