CISNT Blog
The Bond of a Mentor
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Written by Hope Williams   
Tuesday, 15 January 2013 15:42

Hope Williams, CIS North Texas Program Manager at Gene Pike Middle School in Northwest ISD, writes about the extraordinary bond that a mentor has formed with his student.

Carl McCarron is a mentor at Gene Pike Middle School. This is Carl's third year to mentor, and he has met with the same young man all three years. Carl never misses a day, and he is a very devoted mentor.

The week prior to Winter Break, Carl planned his visit like every week. He called me like he does every time to make sure his student was there at school. I told him that he was not and that he and I needed to talk because something had changed with his student. He learned that his student would have to complete the semester at another school.

Truth be told, his student had gotten into a little bit of trouble and would have to complete the remainder of the year at the alternative school. I spoke with Carl and met with his student. I learned that the student wished that Carl would still be able to meet with him. I learned that the weekly mentoring sessions meant a lot to him. I spoke with the principal at the alternative school, and she told me she thought it would be wonderful for Carl to continue mentoring the student there.

I quickly called Carl back and briefly explained the situation to him. He told me he wished he would have known this sooner. He told me that regardless of the trouble this youngster had gotten into, he would never give up on him. It was at that point that I really understood the bonds that mentors and students could form.

Carl has then since continued visiting this student on a weekly basis. Carl McCarron exemplifies what it means to be a mentor.

Communities In Schools of North Texas

 
Setting Small Goals to Make a Big Breakthrough
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Written by Stephanie Valle   
Wednesday, 09 January 2013 22:24

Stephanie Valle, CISNT Program Manager at Lewisville High School Killough in Lewisville ISD, shares a story of how setting small goals helped a student feel a sense of accomplishment.

I first met Jr. because his teachers were concerned about his lack of motivation in school. He was not completing his assignments, cheating, and was late in turning in school work.

Together, Jr. and I began to set some goals. We started small with weekly goals. He was feeling discouraged and said he "wasn't one of those students," meaning someone who gets good grades and does well in school. He didn't believe in himself and didn't think he was smart. I began working with his teachers explaining that he was working towards certain goals and to encourage his efforts.

theater logoHe was having small successes in some classes, but still showing his "old ways" in his other classes.  For example, he had to memorize a speech in his theater class, but he didn't practice it. Instead, he didn’t try and took the zero. This was a major setback since one of his goals was to complete all of his school assignments.

Several weeks later, Jr’s theater teacher came excitedly into my office to report exciting news! She told me that Jr. memorized his whole entire speech, which was a long three minute speech. We were so proud of him. I called Jr. in my office to tell him that I knew about his accomplishment. This was the first time that he was proud of himself and felt that he could finally do whatever he sets his mind to.

 
Drama at CIS!
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Written by Patricia Hernandez   
Thursday, 15 November 2012 19:32

Patricia Hernandez, Communities In Schools of North Texas Site Coordinator at Hedrick Elementary in Lewisville ISD, writes about the educational enrichment activities that the students in her 21st Century after school program are participating in.

drama clubThis is the second year that Mr. L from Ludlam Dramatics has been working with the 21st Century students at Hedrick Elementary. Last year, Mr. L focused on team building for students and staff. This year, Mr. L is focusing on incorporating an actual Drama Club into the 21st Century program. Through his first session with 5th graders, Mr. L and Coach Amy had students focus on making a "Do's and Don'ts" procedures video. The students in 5th grade learned about camera angles, narration, and video recording. The 5th graders had their video featured during the 21st Century Parent Orientation.

During the month of October, 21st Century at Hedrick Elementary focused on Fitness, which incorporated every-day activities, as well as increase student knowledge of things they may not be familiar with. During their enrichment time, students learned about Soccer, Nutrition, Relay Races, Basketball, Soccer and Stretching. Mr. L and his wife Mrs. Jenn helped our students increase their knowledge by offering our students a "Fitness if Fun" activity. Mrs. Jenn led the entire 21st Century group in a kid-friendly version of Zumba.

As if that wasn't enough, Mr. L's next project with the students is creating the basis for our Holiday Parent Event in December. In this current session, Mr. L is working with 3rd and 4th graders to create their own version of a holiday movie. So far, students have learned about preparation and planning and the sequential and necessary process a movie should follow. The movie will be featured during a Holiday Movie Night for parents. Stay tuned for what's coming soon!

 
Pike Middle School's Student of the Month
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Written by Hope Nicole Williams   
Tuesday, 06 November 2012 18:36

Hope Williams, CISNT Program Manager at Pike Middle School in Northwest ISD, brags on her student of the month.

RoyRoy is a 7th grader at Pike Middle school in the Northwest Independent School District. Roy has younger siblings at home that he helps his parents with. I have never witnessed Roy in a negative mood and although shy, he still tries to make everyone feel welcomed. Roy maintains awesome grades and is involved in many different organizations at school.

Roy is in student council and really wanted to run for Vice President. Because Roy is so shy he really didn't think that he would win. He told me that he did not have many friends, and he did not think that he would get a lot of votes. I told Roy that he never knew and if he really wanted it and worked hard for it, he just may be surprised. Roy took my advice and worked really hard to campaign for himself.

After two exhausting weeks of campaigning Roy was filled with joy when he found out that he had won the election for Vice President. I am so proud of him. Thus far, he has held true to the promises that he made to his peers. Roy is CIS student of the month.

 
A Breeding Ground for Math Geniuses
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Written by Nkechi Chibueze   
Monday, 05 November 2012 20:19

Nkechi Chibueze, CISNT Site Coordinator at Ginnings Elementary in Denton ISD, writes about the breakthrough her fifth grade students have made in math.

MathThis month, I have to highlight the wonderful work of Mr. Bryce and his fifth grade class! Mr. Bryce is an Academic Enrichment Specialist in the CIS 21st Century After School Program at Ginnings Elementary. For the past month, as requested by the fifth grade teachers, Mr. Bryce has been reviewing math lessons that the students need a little help with. The students have HATED it. When Mr. Bryce announces it is math time, the kids begin to whine and groan:

"Mr. Bryce, no maaaaath!"

"Mr. Bryce it's not fair!"

"Mr. Bryce, the fourth graders don't have to do it, so why should we?"

Though the sophomoric complaints were constant, Mr. Bryce would patiently work through the math problems with the students on a daily basis. One day, the students had been doing an exceptional job on division problems, so Mr. Bryce decided to take it a little further and showed them a basic equation problem. The students solved the problem instantly.

After the problem was solved, Mr. Bryce said, "Congratulations kids, you just learned a little Algebra!". The Students went wild. They then turned to me and shouted, "Ms. Kechi, Ms. Kechi! We know Algebra!" To extend the excitement, I decided to say, ‘Wow! You guys are smart! I didn't learn Algebra until the 9th grade!"

That was a BIG mistake.

For the next week, the kids were telling EVERYBODY, "Guess what? We learned about algebra FOUR years before Ms. Kechi did!"

I would tell them to stop but...technically, they are telling the truth!

 
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