Lone Star ES holds mock student job fair

Montgomery ISD Premier Praise Page: July – August 2021

Every month, Montgomery ISD celebrates the extraordinary contributions of our teachers and staff through “Gold Cards.” Those new to MISD may find themselves asking, “What exactly IS a Gold Card? Why would I give one? HOW do I give one?”

Gold Cards are officially titled, “The Premier Card.” They are a tangible way for any Montgomery ISD staff member to recognize a fellow employee for something specific or just general praise. It is left entirely up to the one submitting the card. You can find the cards in various locations throughout every MISD campus or department facility. After the card is completed, they are submitted to campus or district administration. Upon submission, the cards are forwarded to MISD Superintendent Dr. Heath Morrison. He then reads them, signs them, and sends them back to the campus where the recipient of the gold card is recognized.

As we kicked off the 2021-2022 school year, many MISD employees celebrated their fellow MISD employees through those precious gold cards. Below are recipients of gold recognition cards for July and August. Congratulations!

Montgomery ISD to close ahead of Tropical Storm Nicholas

Due to the uncertainty regarding Tropical Storm Nicholas, and to ensure the safety of all students and staff, all Montgomery ISD facilities and schools will be closed tomorrow, September 14th.  District facilities are scheduled to reopen on Wednesday, September 15th, pending road and weather conditions.

Please be safe, remain alert to weather conditions, and follow the advice of local officials. More updates will be provided as we receive information from the National Weather Service and city and county authorities. Follow our social media and continue to monitor your emails for updates. 

Montgomery Junior High Rock Stars

Montgomery Junior High Rock Stars are born out of exemplary citizenship and scholarship.  They embody BEAR character in the following ways:

Better Our World

Exemplify Excellence

Act with Integrity

Respect Self and Others

Stand Up For What Is Right

Each month, the teachers of Montgomery Junior High seek out one boy and one girl per grade level that are hardworking, dedicated, take pride in themselves and their school, have a genuine concern for others, and demonstrate a great BEAR attitude.  This month’s MJH Rock Stars are:

6th Grade

Addison Lehmann
Colton Williams

7th Grade

Caitlyn Hartner
Michael Brennan

8th Grade

Sehaly Sanchez
Caleb Adkins

The MISD Minute – September 3, 2021

A special message from MISD Superintendent Dr. Heath Morrison

New district website coming Tuesday, September 7

Our new district website is officially created and will be LIVE by Tuesday, September 7. We believe this is a critical form of communication with our community and we look forward to the resource it will be as we continue to grow.

Let’s Talk! platform going LIVE with new website rollout

In addition to our new website, Montgomery ISD is also introducing an online customer service solution that will make it easy for our community to reach out to us any time and ensure they receive a timely, accurate response. Let’s Talk! is available wherever and whenever -24 hours a day, seven days a week- from any computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Communication with families in our district is and will always be a huge priority to the administration in Montgomery ISD. When a parent, student or staff member has a concern, question, or even a suggestion, we want to hear from them. Unlike sending an email, and the time it takes for them to find the email address they think will get them the answer they need, the Let’s Talk! platform will automatically route an inquiry to the person or team at district office that is best suited to respond.

This platform is not just for parents, but is intended for use by students and staff as well. As staff members, you can even share a story of something great going on that you believe we need to know about. When you start a conversation on Let’s Talk!, you will select the category or interest area that best fits your need, and each of them will be assigned to the appropriate staff member or team that can get an answer or response to you quickly. If you want your response to remain anonymous, that’s an option too. We would encourage you to please let us know who you are so that we can respond to you directly, but we understand that some circumstances may help our community of customers to feel more secure when reaching out anonymously. 

When you use Let’s Talk! you will immediately receive a thank-you message upon submission, as well as an email documenting your sent message. As the right person receives your response and takes time to respond accordingly to you, you will be able to carry on a back and forth dialogue with the person or team assigned to your inquiry. Upon completion of that discussion, you will receive an additional email that will ask you to rate your customer experience. This feature of Let’s Talk! is very important to the Montgomery ISD administration team. District leaders will be using this tool to track dialogue responses, evaluate satisfactory ratings given by users, and have access to a real-time dashboard that provides key metrics for understanding and improving the customer service given throughout Montgomery ISD. We want to know that we are serving our community, and serving you well.

Local businesses continue to step up for campus “hustle projects”

In April 2021, the Montgomery ISD Education Foundation hosted our district’s first Together We Grow Community Fundraiser with the support of local businesses and the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce. For a fun intra-district competition, each principal presented a campus wish, or “hustle project”. Campuses sold “hustle tickets” benefiting the Education Foundation as part of a competition for a grant intended to fund their project. Oak Hills Junior High and Lone Star ES were the winning campuses in April. Following the event, local Montgomery businesses began to fund other some of the other eight campus hustle projects.

Over the summer, several campuses wishes were granted including water refill stations at Linclon ES, a delivery of gravel to the garden at Stewart Creek ES, and a commitment to purchase a book vending machine at Montgomery ES was made. This week, Dan and Debby Dykes of Network in Action donated a sonic-style ice machine to the faculty and staff of Lake Creek High School!

Montgomery ISD continues to be so very thankful for the commitment our local business partners have to supporting the students and staff in our district.

The MISD Minute- Friday, August 27, 2021

Be ONE Team: Culture of Respect campaign being created for MISD staff

In order to be successful in becoming The Premier School District in the state of Texas, we must make sure that Montgomery ISD is a place where our employees not only want to work, but also feel like their contributions to the district matter. Whether working on a campus, or in a district building or facility, our employees should always feel that their role is valued and that they are respected. Employees should have confidence that when the need arises, they have a safe place to share concerns and speak openly when doing so.  They should also know that district administration wants – and even expects – them to share, because we cannot make continuous improvements to how we operate without the input and voice of all district employee groups.

Many of you might be asking why a Culture of Respect campaign has become a priority . Through interactions with staff, many employees have brought up the culture within the district, with many of the concerns being centered on respect. The different responses varied from how employees treat and speak to each other, as well as how individuals feel that their role in the district is valued. While most felt that the culture in Montgomery ISD is good, it’s important to make sure that we don’t become complacent, especially as we continue to grow at the rate we are currently experiencing. In Montgomery ISD, as we strive for Premier, “good” is not good enough. We want to be “great”. When employees have concerns, they need to feel comfortable sharing them, and confident that their concerns will be received with empathy, understanding and action. We need our district culture to be one that provides this level of respect that every employee is deserving of receiving.

Our administration knows that there are employees who directly teach, and those who directly support the teaching that takes place in MISD. Our goal in this campaign is to make sure that the culture in Montgomery ISD provides security and affirms that the work our employees do, and the way they are made to feel while doing it, is always valuable. 

Finally, to show that we truly must confront challenges on One Path, Together, due to the increasing demand for substitutes on campus, staff at the district office will begin to serve campuses as subs one day a week, when needed. I am proud of how eager the district office staff was to help when asked, being willing to serve campuses at this capacity.

-Dr. Heath Morrison

Montgomery ISD health protocol update

We want to thank all staff who are working extremely hard each day to ensure our students are remaining healthy and that quality academic instruction is occurring in the classroom. As we aim for this to continue, we are working to implement increased safety measures, including directional hallways, additional lunch periods, increased physical distancing in classrooms, and more. While we watch the numbers closely, we have made some efforts that we believe will serve and support you as we continue to be impacted by this pandemic and we are continuing to explore options that can keep our students and staff healthy, and in attendance.

In an effort to make sure that all staff and students are able to get free COVID testing when the need arises, Montgomery ISD will be hiring additional staff to expand our capabilities to offer testing. We are working to increase our testing schedule to every weekday from 8:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Please continue to use this link to sign-up for an appt.

Montgomery ISD is encouraging our district employees to wear a mask or face-covering when in close contact with employees and students. We want to keep our focus on personal responsibility with self-screening, hand washing and physical distancing when possible, but it’s important to add one more layer of protection, when physical distancing is not possible. Additionally, should you come in close contact with a positive person in your household, please report this information to your supervisor, monitor yourself for symptoms, and consider testing daily.

Our Education Support Center served as a location for a local COVID-19 vaccination site on Thursday and Friday of last week. Nearly 100 individuals chose to receive a dose of the vaccine. We are planning to open our facility again as a vaccination site on September 9 and 10. Please watch for communication regarding how to sign up to receive the vaccine on either of these days in the coming days. We will continue to explore how we can support the community during this challenging time.

As previously reported, the Board of Trustees approved an extension of COVID leave days for all Montgomery ISD employees at the August board meeting earlier this month. Each staff member now has a total of 10 COVID leave days. Employees may use these days if they have tested positive for COVID-19 or if they have come into close contact with an individual in their household who has tested positive for COVID-19. We hope that this decision demonstrates the level of support that we are trying to provide Montgomery ISD staff as we navigate our way through this uncertain time.

In order to use these days, staff will need to contact Teresa Tipton at teresa.tipton@misd.org or 936-276-2045.

Friday Night Lights starts tonight

It’s the end of August in Texas, and that can only mean one thing… it’s time for some high school football! Both of our MISD football programs kick off their seasons this weekend on the road. Lake Creek will play at Dayton at 7:30 p.m. tonight, and Montgomery will play at Porter at 6 p.m. tomorrow. Mark your calendars with the schedule below to support our Lions and Bears.

For those of you that would prefer supporting our Bears and Lions in air-conditioning, here is the home schedule for Varsity volleyball teams at both high schools.

Child Nutrition Department recognized by Texas Agriculture Commissioner

The Texas Agriculture Commissioner, Sid Miller, announced this week that the nutrition team at Montgomery ISD has successfully completed the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) 2021 Spring Farm Fresh Challenge.

MISD joined schools and childcare providers across Texas in “Eat Local, Teach Local and Be Social” from April 12 through May 14. The children at Montgomery ISD ate local foods and learned about Texas Agriculture.

Read the entire news article by clicking here.

MISD Child Nutrition Department recognized for achievements in the Farm Fresh Challenge

The Texas Agriculture Commissioner, Sid Miller, announced today that the nutrition team at Montgomery ISD has successfully completed the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) 2021 Spring Farm Fresh Challenge.

MISD joined schools and childcare providers across Texas in “Eat Local, Teach Local and Be Social” from April 12 through May 14. The children at Montgomery ISD ate local foods, learned about Texas Agriculture, and the nutrition staff shared their success on social media. The challenge is part of Commissioner Miller’s Farm Fresh Initiative created to connect farmers and ranchers with operators of nutrition programs administered by the TDA. 

“We are honored to have received this award again for the special Spring Farm Fresh Challenge,” Child Nutrition Director Lena Neugebauer said. “We will always strive to serve high quality, Texas-grown products to the students of Montgomery ISD.”

The Spring Farm Fresh Challenge reflects TDA and its partners’ commitment to introducing Texans to local foods and supporting Texas farmers and ranchers. TDA delayed the start of the challenge to allow agricultural producers a chance to assess product availability after Texas’ winter storms. Schools and childcare centers were encouraged to use these current events in their lessons about the hard work and dedication required to bring food to the table. Prioritizing agricultural education and Texas foods during the challenge was a great way for partners to strengthen local economies and recognize the efforts of Texas farmers and ranchers.   

“The Farm Fresh Challenge plays a critical role in connecting Texas farmers and ranchers directly with school children, child care providers and local communities,” Commissioner Miller said. “Texas agriculture has a real impact on students and their daily lives. I want to challenge our kids to make healthy lifestyle choices for every meal they eat by filling their plates with locally sourced produce from right here in the Lone Star State.” 

The Man, The Myth, The Legend

Montgomery Junior High history teacher Dr. Meeker surprised by his coworkers

The 2021-2022 school year will be a special year for Dr. Meeker, as he will be retiring from education after 42 years in the classroom. Last Friday, the MJH history hall honored his 42nd year by wearing a commemorative shirt to show their appreciation for his years of service. “This is the sweetest thing that has ever happened to me as a teacher,” Dr. Meeker said. “My coworkers’ surprise today was so touching and really caught me off guard! I love being a Montgomery Bear!”

Montgomery JH Principal Mrs. Chapman was a 7th grade student in Dr. Meeker’s first Montgomery ISD classroom. “He has touched many lives in his 42 years of teaching and I was one of them,” Mrs. Chapman said. “He was not only my childhood teacher, but he has been my friend, coworker, and someone I respect dearly. His legacy will live on at MJH through his passion for teaching history and the impact he made with his students, our staff family, and the community.” 

The MISD Minute- Friday, August 20, 2021

Board of Trustees extends COVID leave for employees

This week, the MISD Board of Trustees approved our recommendation to extend COVID leave for employees an additional five days – for a total of 10. Employees may use these days if they have tested positive for COVID-19 cases or if they have come into close contact with an individual in their household who has tested positive for COVID-19. This action by our board continues a trend of our district taking a lead in prioritizing employee health and well-being throughout this pandemic. We were one of the first school districts in the state to extend COVID leave last year after the federal requirement expired on December 31 and we were one of the first in the region to extend such leave this year. We hope this action provides employees with some comfort as we continue to be challenged by the impact of this pandemic. 

I know that all of us hoped that with COVID rates declining over the summer and the availability of vaccines, that the impact of this pandemic would lessen this school year. Unfortunately, local and state positivity rates continue to climb. We will continue to follow our established health protocols and ask all staff and students to remember the most important aspect of these plans call for personal responsibility; if someone is sick, they should stay home. Additionally, we are doing everything we can with continuing to offer rapid testing and vaccination opportunities for staff and students. Research suggests that the most effective measures while indoors are to social distance as much as possible, wash hands frequently and wear a mask. While masks are optional in Montgomery ISD this year, we want to make sure all staff and students feel comfortable and supported in whatever decision they make.

At a time when these issues have become divisive, let’s demonstrate that we will come together as one team – one path forward.

Dr. Heath Morrison

District hires architectural firm to begin possible bond election

After completing the district’s facilities assessment this past spring, Texas-based architectural firm Huckabee has been selected as the building and planning partner while Montgomery ISD begins the process of preparing for a possible May 2022 bond election. The district will be creating a citizens’ advisory bond committee complete with MISD parents, staff and business and community leaders to help plan and create the scope for a potential bond.

The citizens’ advisory bond committee will meet often, research and assess our district’s needs, and collect data that will assist them in creating a schedule and a budget for potential projects to be considered. The committee will send surveys to all district families, continue to monitor the rapid growth and expansion in our community and seek to assure that any potential bond brought forward will positively benefit all of those working and attending schools in MISD.

As the planning continues and the real work begins, the district will seek transparency in the vision and prioritization and will make sure that any possible bond brought forward is not only the district’s bond, but also the community’s bond. As we seek to be the Premier school district in the state of Texas, it is important that our community is beside us and an integral part of any bond process.

MISD to adopt Culture of Respect: Be ONE Team

As explained at the board meeting Tuesday evening, in order to be successful in our mission as a district, we need our current staff to feel respected and heard and have confidence that each member is a contributing partner to ensuring that MISD has a strong employee culture of respect. Through interactions with staff of Montgomery ISD, many employees have brought up “culture” and “respect,” with many of the concerns being centered around respect. The different responses varied from how employees treat and speak to each other, as well as how individuals feel that their role in the district is valued. When employees have concerns, they need to feel comfortable sharing them, and confident that their concerns will be received with empathy and understanding. We need our district culture to be one that provides this level of respect that every employee is deserving of receiving.

Every single member of Team Montgomery matters, and we don’t just want those to be words. We want it to be known and felt by each of our employees. In the near future, we will be launching our awareness campaign with a committee formed consisting of all levels of our employee base. We will be listening first. Committee members chosen will be individuals who can be honest and open when reflecting on the data that is collected through surveys sent out district-wide. Our administration knows that there are employees who directly teach, and those who directly support the teaching that takes place in MISD. Our goal in this campaign is to make sure that the culture in Montgomery ISD provides security and affirms that the work our employees do, and the way they are made to feel while doing it, is always valuable.

District Highlight: Montgomery ISD Maintenance Department

As we have started a new school year, it’s important for us to make sure we recognize those groups that directly impact our ability to effectively educate the students of Montgomery ISD. At Tuesday night’s board meeting, Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Operations Kris Lynn took the opportunity to recognize the district’s maintenance department and their Director, Joe Kinard.

Each member of the maintenance team was recognized for their continued efforts and hard work ethic to get our campuses ready for the 2021-2022 school year. As a part of our Culture of Respect campaign, it’s important that we recognize all members of our staff and the work that it requires of each department to help a district be successful. The Montgomery ISD maintenance department is an exceptional group of men and women that we are thankful to have serving the staff and students in MISD.

House Bill 4545 adds accelerated instruction requirements to curriculum

This past summer, the Texas Legislature passed HB 4545 requiring accelerated instruction services for all students during the 2021-2022 school year, based on STAAR results from Spring 2021. For each of our students that did not take or meet requirements of the STAAR test in grades 3, 5 and 8, an accelerated learning committee must be formed including the student’s parent, the campus principal or their designee, and the teacher for the subject area in which the child did not pass. This committee is tasked with creating an accelerated instruction plan to best enable the student to perform on grade level by the conclusion of the school year.

The guidance laid out in HB 4545 for accelerated instruction will continue to take effect through subsequent school years and will require an intense look at master schedules, high-impact tutoring programs, and data systems used to track student success. As we take these steps to follow these guidelines and serve the students in our district that need this extra level of academic intervention, it’s important that we always continue to focus on educating the whole child, emotionally, physically, mentally and academically.

Our Curriculum and Instruction Team provided the Board of Trustees with an overview of the new law in a presentation during the Board Meeting on Tuesday. You can watch the HB 4545 presentation during the board meeting here.

Lake Creek Theatre Director receives Golden Apple award

Montgomery ISD is proud to announce that Lake Creek theatre director Mr. Ramirez has been honored by the Texas Thespian Board of Directors and has received the Golden Apple Award for leading a stellar theatre program. This award was established to honor those adults who have 10 or more years of service by dedicating themselves to promoting Texas educational theatre. The recipient of the Golden Apple is chosen for his or her dedication to theatre performance in Texas and to the aims and ideals of the Educational Theatre Association, as well as their contributions to continued standards of excellence in Texas theatre.

We are very fortunate to have Mr. Ramirez working with the students at Lake Creek High School and appreciate his dedication to his students and the theatre department.