Volume 8 Issue 21 |  February 10, 2012               Duncanville ISD Smugmug Photo Galleries



I am Duncanville ISD - Angela Banks
Upcoming Events
Parent Survey
Taking Learning to a New Level

Campus Candids
A STAAR is Born
PACE Graduates Seven
DHS ACT Prep Class March 3

You're Invited - Education Foundation Event
2011 AP Scholar Awards
Alumni Accolades
Athletic Update

District Strategic Plan

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Upcoming Events

  • February 1-29 - Black History Month. This year's theme is "Black Women in American Culture and History". For more information, please click here.
  • February 15-19 - Duncanville High School's Drama Department is proud to present the plays Wiley and the Hairy Man and Totally Red! Performances will be held in the Shine Performance Hall at 7:30 pm on February 15-18 and 2:30 pm on February 18-19. Tickets are $5 at the door.
  • February 16 - Brandenburg Intermediate will hold its Black History Month program at 7:00 pm in the cafeteria.
  • February 17 - Duncanville High School will hold its annual "Build Your Future" conference for those who have registered to attend. Community leaders will share secrets of their success and career-enhancing advice from 8:00 am - 12:00 pm in the DHS Auditorium.
  • February 24 - Bilhartz Elementary will hold its Black History Month program. Contact the school for more information.
  • February 24 - End of the fourth six-week grading period.
  • February 27 - Start of the fifth six-week grading period.

Parent Survey

The Duncanville ISD Learning Services Division invites parents and students to take a brief eight-question survey rating various aspects of programming and educational experiences offered by Duncanville ISD. Information from survey responses will be compiled by each campus and shared with members of the school’s Site-Based Committee. Site-Based Committee members develop annual campus improvement plans that serve as guides in each school’s future decision-making processes and program initiatives.  Your feedback to this survey will assist with the creation of those plans. Members of the Site-Based Committees include staff members, parents, and community representatives.  Interested in serving on a Site-Based Committee?  Email news@duncanvilleisd.org.

Take the Survey in English or Spanish.

Campus Candids

SideDish Superstars

Photo courtesy of Micah Nunley

Following their appearance on an episode of NBC 5's Foodies, Duncanville High School's Culinary Arts students and instructor Faye Blackmon are now being featured on D Magazine's foodie blog called SideDish. An article written by Carol Shih describes Blackmon as legendary, and her classes as a source for real-life skills. You can read the full report by clicking here.

Centennial Celebration

February 3 marked the 100th Day of School in Duncanville ISD, and classes at Bilhartz Elementary held celebrations to commemorate the occasion.

PowderPuff Praise

Congratulations to the Duncanville High School junior class - they were the winners of January's Powder Puff game. Nearly $2,000 was also raised and will go toward senior class events. Watch the video above for highlights from the game courtesy of Panther Prints.

DHS ACT Prep Class
March 3

An ACT Prep Class will be held on Saturday, March 3 in the Duncanville HS East Seminar Room (B104).  Students will learn how to approach the test on timing issues, how to do the different types of reading samples, how to approach the writing sample, and how to work on the Science part of the exam.  The class is for the morning of Saturday, March 3 from 7:45 am to 12:00 pm.  The cost for the class is $60 (cash only), and students can pay Mrs. Thomas in B135 through March 2.

You're Invited - Education Foundation Event

Did you know the sole purpose of the Duncanville ISD Education Foundation is to fund the creative and innovative techniques developed by district teachers? Did you also know that you can help to enhance the quality of education provided to our students? The Education Foundation is hosting "A Flight Plan to Excellence" on Saturday, March 24. The gala fundraising event will include live and silent auctions, emceed by local entertainer David Hira. Click here for more information and RSVP to irodriguez@duncanvilleisd.org or by calling (972) 708-2053.

Alumni Accolades

Congratulations to Duncanville High School graduate Elijah Blakemore - he has been named the Most Outstanding Freshman Electrical Engineering Student by the Roy G Perry College of Engineering at Prairie View A&M University. The Class of 2010 alumnus is the son of Duncanville ISD employee Roberta Blakemore. He will be recognized at the university's Celebration of Excellence Awards Ceremony on February 20.

And Blakemore isn't the only former student being recognized for academic excellence. Class of 2008 graduate Kevin Eaton was recently selected as the 2012 Dedman College Outstanding Senior at Southern Methodist University. A college made up nearly twenty Humanities and Science majors, Dedman chooses only one student annually for this award - one with exceptional qualities in scholarship, leadership, and service to the University community. Eaton will be recognized at two ceremonies later this spring. "The College is proud to count you as one of our brightest scholars," said Dedman Dean William Tsutsui in a congratulatory letter. "Your future is promising, and we are poised to hear about all the exciting things you will accomplish after your departure from SMU."



I am Duncanville ISD - Angela Banks

Launched in 2010, the “I am Duncanville ISD” video series is an inside look at our district. It showcases members of our organization - many of whom hold regional, state, or national titles - as they work toward a common goal of student success. In the video below you'll hear from Duncanville High School Ninth Grade Academy teacher Angela Banks. She is also the 2012 Region 10 Secondary District Teacher of the Year, and talks about why she chose to work with at-risk students.

Taking Learning to a New Level

With a desire to see profound learning take place, Duncanville ISD believes that 21st Century environments are the key to student engagement. Those educational atmospheres are being created across the district through problem-based learning (PBL) lessons. Two recent PBLs at Smith Elementary are inspiring a love of learning and preparing students for life beyond school.

Collaboration across Campuses

In third grade today and part of the engineering workforce tomorrow, Lisa Treibly's students are preparing for their futures through collaboration with the Duncanville High School Engineering Academy. Their partnership began as part of a problem-based learning lesson designed to teach third graders about ecosystems. DHS students have created an Aquatic Farm that has grown to now maintain three generations of fish. 

Visiting the Academy in January, Smith students observed the EcoPond and posed questions to its creators. "We wanted to show them a working, living ecosystem so they could see how different species of aquatic plants and underwater life interact to support each other's life cycles," said engineering instructor Bart Burnett. "Another objective was to show them how Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) principles can be used to create self-sustaining ecosystems that support our environment." "Our hope is that by being effective designers and facilitators of this project, both the students at Smith and DHS will be encouraged by one another, leadership skills will shine further, and we will develop a love of the engineering design process and career," added Treibly. 

Third graders will continue to communicate with DHS students via Skype throughout the rest of the semester, discussing the EcoPond's progress and making suggestions on how to increase its success. The Engineering Academy has also promised Smith students the fourth generation of baby fish so they can start their own aquatic ecosystem. With plans to roll out an engineering program at Smith next fall, Treibly says she's excited for her students to be its pioneers. "They have already designed their tank, what it should contain, the types of plants that need to be included, and much more. They talk about it all the time and can hardly wait for their fish to arrive!"

Bringing the Outside World In

Providing real-world experiences on a regular basis, Smith Elementary has created its own little town complete with a mayor, jobs, and special interest clubs. Every Friday from 8:00 - 9:15 am, Smithville is in full swing. The idea for the project came after principal Shea Shaefer visited a school in Coppell that has conducted a town center for seven years. "We want our students to be excited about coming to school," said second grade teacher and Smithville Mayor Krystle Gomez. "We also wanted to give our teachers an opportunity to show what they are passionate about."

Smithville is made up of 31 jobs/clubs that are hosted by teachers, school administrators, paraprofessionals, and community volunteers. Every eight weeks, students fill out an application to apply for a position, and Gomez places them according to their interests. Students who don't fill out the application on time report to the "Unemployment Office" run by the school secretary to find their assignments.

On Smithville days, students don't report to their classrooms, but instead go straight to their job/club. Some positions include the Yogatry Club run by Shaefer, which combines yoga and poetry; the Healthy Kids Club, where students learn about the human body; and the Geek Squad, where students learn about new web 2.0 tools to teach their fellow students and possibly their instructors. "Arts are missing in our elementary school, and I wanted to bring them back," explained Adventures in Art leader and third grade teacher Lisa Treibly. She will also offer a Karate Club later this school year, saying, "Self-discipline and focus are key. I hope to instill that in our students."

After eight weeks in a position, students will fill out another application, switching jobs/clubs to explore other interests. But before they do, they'll present a culminating project that shows what they've learned. Only one month into operation, Smithville is already creating excitement among its participants. "On the first day of Smithville, I was excited because it was the first time that we ever got to go to clubs," said second grader Talyia Parson. "It was really great, a perfect day."

A STAAR is Born
New State Testing System Begins this Spring

The state will transition to a new accountability and student testing system in March 2012 - the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR).  Representing the fifth generation of state testing programs, STAAR replaces the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) that has been in place the past nine years.  The new tests are described as more rigorous, focusing on open-ended rather than multiple choice questions. Also, many of the grade level exams will ask students more questions than the TAKS assessments, and for the first time since the implementation of a state standardized testing program students will only be given four hours to complete the exam unless a testing accommodation has been given.

This spring students in grades 3-8 will be given the STAAR in place of TAKS.  For grades 9-12, the STAAR testing program will be phased in over the next four years, beginning with students currently enrolled in grade 9.  This spring, students in grade 9 will take individual end of course exams in the four core subject areas of English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies.  Students in grades 10-11 will continue to take TAKS.

The district has put together a basic information page, with frequently asked questions and links to helpful documents and resources intended to assist parents and students in better understanding the new test.  Learn more about STAAR...

PACE Graduates Seven

New Duncanville ISD alumni, seven students are leaving our district and embarking on a journey to higher education and careers. The latest graduates from Mary E Smithey PACE Learning Center, Luis Baez, Cameron James, Maya Lewis, Nick Morales, Ryan Oliver, Elisa Soto, and Damian Vega were celebrated in commencement exercises at the campus on February 2. You can read more about each alumnus below. Congratulations to these students!

Luis Baez enrolled at PACE in 2010 and earned 11.5 credits to reach graduate status. He will now either enlist in the military or continue his education in the field of hotel management or tourism.

Coming to PACE in 2009, Cameron James completed his final 12.5 credits. Upon graduation, he plans to continue his education at UTI, training to be an automotive technician.

Maya Lewis began attending PACE in 2011. While there she earned her final 8 credits and now plans to enroll in a community college.

Nick Morales enrolled at PACE in 2009, and obtained 12 credits to reach graduate status. Aspiring to one day be a doctor, he will continue his education at a community college.

Coming to PACE in 2011, Ryan Oliver completed his final 14 credits. Upon graduation, he hopes to attend barber college or begin training to become a dental assistant.

Elisa Soto began attending PACE in 2010. While there she earned 18 credits and will now enroll at Northlake Community College to study criminal justice.

Damian Vega enrolled at PACE in 2011 and obtained his final 3.5 credits to reach graduate status. He will now attend El Centro College before enrolling at the University of Texas at Arlington in pursuit of a career in nursing or physical therapy.

2011 AP Scholar Awards

Thirty-four current and graduated Duncanville High School students have been named AP Scholars by the College Board, in recognition of their exceptional achievement on the college-level Advanced Placement Examinations.  About 18 percent of the more than 1.8 million high school students worldwide who took the AP Examinations in May 2011 performed at a sufficiently high level to merit the recognition of AP Scholar. 

Students take AP Examinations in May after completing challenging college-level courses at their high schools.  The College Board recognizes several levels of achievement based on student performance on AP Exams.  Current students have at least this school year to take additional exams and possibly earn even higher awards.

DHS graduate Burhanuddin Ezzi qualified for the National AP Scholar Award by earning an average grade of 4 or higher on a 5-point scale on all AP Exams taken, and grades of 4 or higher on eight or more of these exams.

Ten students qualified for the AP Scholar with Distinction Award by earning an average of at least 3.5 on all AP Exams taken, and grades of 3 or higher on five or more of these exams. These students are graduates Brooke Ballengee, Nathan Heineman, Grace Hevron, Alejandro Perez, Jozabad Sanchez, and Tania Zuniga, and current students Shanan Ahmad, Samuel Frickle, and William Jameson.

Six students qualified for the AP Scholar with Honor Award by earning an average grade of at least 3.25 on all AP Exams taken, and grades of 3 or higher on four or more of these exams. These students are graduates Peter Eaton, Amada Estrada, Benny Kovoor, and Matthew Rizo, and current students Kristin Hill and Eric Ludwig.

Eighteen students qualified for the AP Scholar Award by completing three or more examinations, with grades of 3 or higher. The AP Scholars are graduates Shailja Amin, Takel Avery, Madgalene Craven, Lindsey Graf-Juarez, Elizabeth Kenworthy, Jennifer Oakes, Nathaniel Ramrattan, Joshua Ridgeway, and Callie Stanford, and current students Lydia Craven, David Daniels, Marcus Howard, Ala Ismail, Lynda Lee, Patrick Magistrado, Katherine McElroy, Nicholas Nickerson, and Melanie Smith.

Through more than 30 different college-level courses and exams, AP provides motivated and academically prepared students with the opportunity to earn college credit or advanced placement and stand out in the college admissions process. More than 3,800 colleges and universities annually receive AP grades. Over 90 percent of four-year colleges in the United States provide credit and/or placement for qualifying exam grades.

.Athletic Update
Congratulations to the Duncanville HS girls basketball teams on their clean sweep of South Grand Prairie on Friday, February 3.  The freshman girls red team finished the season with a record of 14-0.  The varsity team remained undefeated in district play in the last regular game of the season on Tuesday, February 7, with an overall record of 33 wins and 1 loss.  They will face LD Bell HS in bi-district action on Monday, February 13; the game will be played at 6:30 pm at
Grand Prairie HS.  Congratulations – Go, Pantherettes!

The Duncanville varsity and JV boys basketball teams defeated Mansfield Timberview on Tuesday, February 7.  On Friday, February 10 the boys teams will meet Mansfield Legacy at home, with the JV game beginning at 6:00 pm. Come on out and show your Panther spirit!


The Duncanville JV Swim Team had an excellent outing in their last meet of the season on Saturday, January 28 at Mansfield HS.  Results:

Noely Paniagua – First Place, 50 Free
Jose Garcia – First Place, 500 Free
Sarah Good – Third Place, 50 Free
Ana Andrade – Third Place, 500 Free
Jessica Mancillas – Fourth Place, 100 Free
Katelynn Whittington – Sixth Place, 50 Free

The Duncanville HS varsity boys soccer team opened district play with a win over Grand Prairie HS on Tuesday, February 7.  The team plays Midlothian at home (Old Panther Field) on Friday, February 10 at 8:00 pm.

The Duncanville HS baseball season began this week, with winning scrimmages against Mesquite HS by the varsity and both JV teams.  Stay tuned for more baseball action!

SportsDayHS App
Looking for the latest athletic action? It's now just one click away! Download the free SportsDayHS app on any smart device and get news, scores, stats, schedules, and standings for more than 200 Dallas-area high schools. Plus, when you download the app or get the latest update, you'll have an opportunity to vote for Duncanville High School. The 5A school with the most votes by February 18 will win $1,000. Click here for more information.

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