Tag Archives: education

Praying in the Front Seat

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Praying in the Front Seat

This morning I was dropping off my son’s medicine at the Junior High. I was rushing from school to school because it’s STAAR testing day in the great State of Texas.

I won’t bore you with my feelings about standardized testing. Not today. But for the record, I don’t believe the STAAR test is the right way to encourage achievement in education.

However, this morning my focus was encouraging my kids to do their very best. I wanted to send them to school full of beliefs. They are able to conquer STAAR Mountain!

As I came out of the Junior High I noticed a father parked in front of the school. Maybe he was a grandfather or an uncle, but for the sake of this story, he’s just Dad.  Read the rest of this entry

We Can’t Make the Grade

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I’m not surprised to see many central Texas schools receive failing grades on the new report cards the State of Texas sent out Friday. When will we learn? This is not the way to educate a smarter generation.

Here’s the result for my local school district:

Campus District School type 2016 Rating D1 D2 D3 D4
ROCKDALE ELEMENTARY ROCKDALE ISD Elementary Paired campus
ROCKDALE HIGH SCHOOL ROCKDALE ISD High School Met standard* D F D A
ROCKDALE INTERMEDIATE ROCKDALE ISD Elementary Met standard* C B D A
ROCKDALE ISD ROCKDALE ISD District Met standard* C C D A
ROCKDALE JUNIOR HIGH ROCKDALE ISD Middle School Met standard* C D C C

The new report rates schools and districts in four domains:

  • D1: Student Achievement
  • D2: Student Progress
  • D3: Closing Performance Gaps
  • D4: Post-secondary Readiness

It’s no wonder that state teacher groups are calling for the legislature to repeal this new letter grade system, that will markedly affect most Texas schools. The question I have is why do we keep sticking a square peg in a round hole? Read the rest of this entry

Daddy Didn’t Know

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So apparently my husband had no idea that we give out teacher appreciation gifts! I’m not sure how he missed that. We’ve had kids in school for the past 16 years now. I used to do a Christmas gift, maybe a little something for their birthdays- but add that to the pile of “things I did when I had a few kids!” Now, I run a zoo, so it’s just once a year that I sit down and try to show my appreciation for the people who spend almost as much time with my kids as I do- and if you know my kids, you know these amazing people deserve some appreciation! Daddy should have realized that even if there wasn’t a tradition of teacher appreciation already in place, there would need to be some kind of recognition for the people who help tame our circus!

This year I thought it would be fun to make some edible arrangements. Every single time that commercial comes on, KK asks me if we can order one of those. I looked once- I was going to surprise her, and when I saw the price, let’s just say that fell off my to-do list. I thought “surely they couldn’t be that hard…”

My little ZooCrew was so excited to open the fridge this morning and see the creations they got to give their teachers! One teacher even emailed me a pic of her enjoying it!

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Old Dog, New Tricks

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So this is Macy. She’s sixteen years old, which according to our calculations makes her roughly 112 in doggy years. If there were an AARP for dogs, she’d be card-carrying member. I’ve always heard you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but I can assure you this isn’t true.

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Recently Macy figured out how to have a warm snuggly night at my expense. She grabs the corner of my down comforter with her mouth and pulls it on the floor in the middle of the night and she even takes a pillow if there is one close enough to the edge of the bed. For a while I thought the kids were tucking her in, but one night I woke up and there she was- dragging the blanket right off my feet. Read the rest of this entry

On the Road Again

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So I’m on the road to graduating, again. I don’t k now why it’s taken me 6 years to finish college, but hey, better late than never, right?! Actually I do know why it has taken me so long. It’s a crazy mix of chaos and the inability to do anything for myself.  All my life I have felt utterly guilty anytime I was focused on something for me.

journal 005From the moment I could hold a pencil, I have loved to write. It’s been my way of dealing with every heartbreak, every challenge, and every moment of joy in my life. I started with this little red diary that I wrote in when I was seven years old. Sometimes I go back to that little book and check on the little girl who rambled on those pages and the one thing that sticks out at me still is the fact that at seven years old, I dreamed of going to college.

I was a pretty smart kid. So smart I was bored. I thought for sure college would challenge me with new ideas. I was a pretty good student, in fact if I said how many colleges were interested in having me, it would sound like a fisherman’s tale, but I could have made many choices. I have to believe God’s plan for me was somewhere in the choices I made. Read the rest of this entry

Gonna Go Back

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Sometimes I feel like no matter what I have accomplished, I have yet to accomplish anything because I have yet to complete my very first goal. I know some people say that a college degree isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on, or that you spend so much money chasing a degree that it doesn’t pan out, but still, at the end of the day, I always wish I had finished college already.

I was the kid who wrote in her diary at the wise old age of 8 that all I wanted in life was an education. I believed then, as I believe now, that education opens doors. Even in elementary school, I saw education as the only way out of poverty and dysfunction. I believed it was fundamental for everyone to be on a journey of higher learning.

Back in high school I was a super star student. I made excellent grades. I was in all of the honor classes. I was such a nerd that I worked as a nanny to afford summer school so that I could take things like Economics in the summer and free more room in my schedule for French and A Capella Choir. I was an officer in the Marching Band and the Captain of the Debate Team. I won all sorts of awards like “Outstanding Female Debater” and “Free Enterprise” and I still have my “Who’s Who” coffee mug. I was even one of the speakers at my graduation.

When my Senior Year was winding down things looked VERY promising for me! Fourteen colleges had not only accepted me, but offered me some kind of scholarship money to boot. Pepperdine, McMurray, McNeese, and Whittier were the front runners in my mind. But somehow I couldn’t take a step through any of those open doors. In fact, only recently have I sat back and realized just how many opportunities awaited me. Read the rest of this entry

Any Mother Knows…

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Any mother knows that the most difficult thing to do is to watch your child struggle. Especially if there is absolutely nothing you can do to figure it out, or to help that child get to a better place. From the time my youngest son was a baby I could tell that he was different from his brother and sister. He was far more emotional. My sister and I have had long talks about this because she has a similar child. These children are both our sweetest and our most challenging.

For my son, ADHD isn’t the only issue. I try so hard to teach him that ADHD is not an obstacle. It is a gift. Yes, folks, I am telling you the truth! Having ADHD is an amazing gift. It confuses the rest of us, so we label it as a disability because it takes a different way to teach these kids, but the fact is that some of the worlds most amazing minds came from people labeled with ADD or ADHD, such as Albert Einstein, Frank Lloyd Wright, Emily Bronte, Jim Carey, Pete Rose, Ty Pennington, Nolan Ryan, Elvis Presley, Ben Franklin, Michael Phelps, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Henry Ford, Christopher Columbus, Bill Gates, Evil Knievel and his son Robbie along with both the Wright brothers (there is a genetic factor with ADHD), Robin Williams and even John F. Kennedy. These people are businessmen, inventors,  writers, politicians, musicians, architects, and each one of them blazed a trail for others to try and follow. I believe the ADHD gave them fire, a spark not all of us have, but for a child, its sometimes too much to handle! Read the rest of this entry

Don’t Go To Work!

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Navigating the world of seven kids has had more than a few challenges. Sometimes I’m not sure if I’ve moved forward in my journey or if I’ve taken giant steps backwards. Some days it’s just hard to tell…

The biggest struggle for me personally is whether or not to have a job. I feel like I’m drowning in a catch 22. I’m sure every stay-at-home mom wonders “should I go to work” and I know every working mom says at some point “I wish I were home”… it’s forever impossible to find the balance. And just when I thought I had come close to my middle ground, there’s go life throwing me another curve ball.

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