Three Montgomery ISD Destination Imagination teams advance to state for their creative success

After months of collaboration, research and using their creative ideas to problem solve, three Montgomery ISD Destination Imagination (DI) teams are traveling to the state DI competition in Arlington, Texas on March 26.

Oak Hills JH sponsor Wendy Jebousek represented two teams at the Regional competition on February 26. The OHJH Scientific Team, The Naked Eyes, competed in the middle level of the Scientific category, challenged with the task of researching the science of microscopy. They were required to create and present a story of a character who encounters a mysterious object while in the microworld, design and build a scenery that brings the microworld to life and design and create a visual effect that enhances the mysterious object. The Naked Eyes earned a High 1C, 1st place in Instant Challenge, as well as receiving the Renaissance Award and placing 1st in the Scientific Category. Advancing to state from Oak Hills JH is Matthew Fitzgerald, Taylor Spier, Aubrie Shahan, Bethany Gordy, Noelle Potee, Aubrey Clevenger and Dillon Hight.

Lincoln ES sponsor Kristen Watkins represented the DonutMessWithUs! DI team, competing in the Fine Arts Challenge, Tricky Tales. The team of students, consisting of seven 3rd, 4th and 5th graders, planned and worked together to create a story about a trickster who attempts to overcome a Tricky Situation. They were required to include a costume transformation that uses technical methods and an illusion, along with two team choice elements and an instant challenge that gets factored into their overall score.

The team placed 1st out of twenty teams in the Southeast 6 Region and one team member, Stephanie Kaaz, received the DaVinci Award, given to a select few individuals in the entire tournament for their unique approach and outstanding creativity.

“I am so proud of their hard work, dedication and perseverance to complete the challenge and score higher than any other team in the region,” Watkins said. “They are already working to prepare for the state tournament!”

DonutMessWithUs! team members advancing to state are Brinly Fuller, Emery Hird, Eli Allen, Stephanie Kaaz, Cecilia Cole, Brianne Creswell and Pierce Welsh.

The Salty Popcorn team from Madeley Ranch Elementary was represented by Laurel Plunk and Robin Riley and competed in the Improv Festival Friendly Challenge. The students were required to research several specific festivals from around the world. After being told which festival was selected for them, the team had 2 minutes to prepare a storyline that has a goal to go along with the facts of that festival, with no props and only 10 random boxes that must be incorporated in the skit. In addition, the team was given a random “fork in the road” to include in their storyline and all of the performance had to be completed within five minutes.

“This team is a dynamite team full of creativity, dedication and friendship to pull off such a feat in a short amount of time,” Plunk said. “This fast-paced challenge always gets our hearts pumping because of their energy level and we never know what they’re going to perform!”

Placing 1st in the Improv category and advancing to state from Madeley Ranch ES are students Hudson Dellafranco, Kyndal Rodriguez, Kamdyn Small, Stella Sudduth and Elisabeth Wernecke.

Congratulations to these three teams and their campus sponsors on a job well done using their preparation skills and creativity.

Lincoln ES teacher “taxes” students through New World lesson

Teaching students about history can require some outside the box thinking, and that’s just what Mrs. Boyle did with her Social Studies classes last week when teaching about the New World colonies and the start of our government in the late 1700s. With a list of taxable items from school supplies to leaving to use the restroom, students were each given their coins (fruit loops) at the beginning of the day and were able to learn the lesson through life experience.

“Today was a chance to bring history to life,” Mrs. Doyle said. “King George III taxed the colonists (students) throughout the class period for all kinds of things, such as using a computer, getting a paper, sharpening a pencil, and even for asking the King a question.”

Mrs. Boyle dressed up as King George and the students had to pay their taxes through the day as they completed a list of assignments. Students were seated in colonies and worked together to help each other, while also completing their individual task cards that demonstrated comprehension of the geography, government timeline and the different acts that were protested. Posters were around the room reminding the students of the Acts of the American Revolution that they had already studied, including the Sugar Act, the Tea Act, the Stamp Act and the Townshend Act.

“By the end of the day, I wanted the students to understand how the colonists felt and why they desperately wanted independence from England,” Mrs. Boyle said. “Not only did they understand our American history better, but they increased their reading skills, comprehension, inferencing, and map skills.  When students practice all of those skills, understand history, and participate in something they won’t ever forget, it is a big win for this teacher!”

Campus “Hustle Projects” continue to be completed with support of local businesses

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!

In April 2021, the Montgomery ISD Education Foundation hosted the first Together We Grow Community Fundraiser and presented each campus with the opportunity to win a campus grant to pay for a “hustle project” of the principal’s choice. A fun competition took place between the campuses selling hustle tickets to their campus families and community members in order to have their campus’ hustle project funded.

Oak Hills JH and Lone Star ES were the two grant winners at the event, earning grants from the Montgomery ISD Education Foundation to fund an outdoor learning space (OHJH) and a book vending machine (LSE). After attending the event and seeing each campus’ wish, local Montgomery businesses began to work with the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce to help fund the wishes of other campuses. Six of the eight other hustle projects have been completed or funded by local area businesses.

A delivery of gravel to the garden at Stewart Creek ES happened over the summer, thanks to a generous donation of labor and supply from Hauser Land Services.

In August, Keenan ES and Montgomery ES both received donations for their hustle project wish. Woodmen Life Insurance donated beautiful benches for the garden at Keenan ES and Coco Phillips and Pat Prein with Coffee News gave a financial donation for a book vending machine at Montgomery ES.

This month two more campus hustle projects were completed at both Lake Creek HS and Lincoln ES. Dan and Debby Dykes of Network in Action donated a sonic-style ice machine to the faculty and staff of Lake Creek HS and Dr. Mariana Coconu of Lakeside Dental Practice donated money for the purchase of water bottle refilling stations around campus at Lincoln ES.

Montgomery JH has received a donation from Pam Westlake Realty to provide new computers for the students use and that photo will be shared when the computers arrive on campus.

Montgomery ISD wants to thank the Montgomery ISD Education Foundation for the start of the hustle project idea, as well as the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce for connecting our business partners with our schools and helping to get these gifts for our students and staff. Montgomery ISD is on #onepathtogether with our community partners!

Lincoln ES kicks off Bear-ista delivery service for 2021-22 school year

Ms. Cole and Ms. Kraus’ life skills and functional academics students are making Fridays fabulous at Lincoln ES. Students collect orders for beverages and homemade cookies and deliver to the teachers one Friday per month. For the first Bear-ista delivery this school year, one generous teacher purchased a cookie for every staff member, giving the students even more opportunities to make deliveries and bring a smile to all.

“The Bear-ista program offers many learning opportunities and different ways for kids who may learn differently to shine,” teacher Julia Cole said. “This program allows every student to participate and practice essential social skills while giving more opportunities for growth within the school community, which encourages self-motivation and involvement with peers.”

Wearing their aprons made by Ms. Cole herself, the students were very proud to walk with their peers and make these deliveries. Each item was $1 and students worked to tell the teacher their total, accept their money and make change when needed.

“At Lincoln, we are excited to provide this opportunity for our students to practice financial literacy through real-world experiences,” Lincoln ES Principal Kerri Ashlock said. “Bringing activities like our Bear-ista cart into the school setting motivates our students and provides practical, cognitive, and self-management skills that will extend beyond our students’ time at Lincoln ES.”

As the students are able to make a profit with this program, they hope to use the income to purchase more cooking equipment to help their students learn many valuable life skills, while incorporating academic skills at the same time. The equipment purchased would not just serve the Bear-ista, but would become an integral part of their daily educational program.

Kerri Ashlock named Principal of Lincoln ES

MISD Superintendent Dr. Heath Morrison has selected Ms. Kerri Ashlock as the next principal of Lincoln Elementary School.

Ashlock holds eight years of experience as an elementary school assistant principal, most recently in the Katy Independent School District.

“I am thrilled for the opportunity to serve the students and staff of Lincoln ES,” Ashlock said. “I look forward to joining the LES Bear family and working alongside our teachers and staff to ensure that every child who enters our school is thriving academically and socially.”

Ashlock succeeds Mrs. Courtney Dyer as principal of Lincoln Elementary School. Dyer recently accepted the role of Director of Community Services within Montgomery ISD.

Following Dyer’s appointment as Director of Community Services, a team consisting of district leadership, teachers and parents began the search for the principal of Lincoln Elementary school. This process included meetings with Lincoln Elementary School staff and parents to discuss the experience, qualities and characteristics desired in their next leader. 

During the interview process, Ashlock described herself as relationship-driven and systems based.  She incorporates a leadership style based on a coaching approach that focuses on data driven decision-making and instructional best practice and prides herself in assuring decisions are made in the best interest of students.  Ashlock has extensive training in Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports and the Professional Learning Community process and is eager to share this knowledge with others.

Ashlock begins her new role as principal of Lincoln ES on Wednesday, July 14. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Texas A&M Commerce and a Master’s Degree in Education Administration from Sam Houston State University.

“We’re excited about the experience, vision and leadership Kerri will bring to Lincoln Elementary School,” Morrison said. “I am extremely confident that under her leadership, Lincoln families will continue to be served with excellence and academic outcomes will be raised to even greater heights.”

Montgomery ISD announces district leadership changes

Montgomery ISD Superintendent Dr. Heath Morrison has announced changes to district leadership. 

Lincoln Elementary School Principal Courtney Dyer has been selected as the district’s Director of Community Services. 

In this role, Dyer will cultivate and promote positive partnerships between families, educators, and the community to ensure the district is improving student achievement by addressing the various non-academic and social and emotional needs of our students and families. She will serve as the district’s homeless and foster care liaison and coordinator of pregnancy-related services. Dyer will also oversee and coordinate services with campus counselors and lead the district’s mentor program.   

“We’re excited about adding this important role to our district,” Morrison said. “Educating the whole child by addressing needs they may have outside of the classroom has become a critical function as it relates to ensuring students have the necessary supports to excel academically.” 

Dyer has served as the principal of Lincoln ES for the previous three years. Before this, Dyer spent seven years as an assistant principal, six years as a school counselor and six years as a classroom teacher. Dyer holds a Bachelor of Science in Academic Studies and a Master of Education in School Counseling from Sam Houston State University.  

Dyer will begin her new role in July. A broad search for the next principal of Lincoln Elementary School begins immediately with a goal to name the next campus leader in July. 

“Serving as the principal of Lincoln Elementary School was an honor and I will dearly miss my Bear family,” Dyer said. “However, I am thrilled for the opportunity to expand my role to one that will allow me to support even more students and families across our district.”  

Jaimie McCallister has been named the district’s Elementary Instructional Coordinator and Megan Evans has been named the district’s Secondary Instructional Coordinator.  

The elementary and secondary curriculum coordinators will work with department directors and campus principals to develop instructional programs and curriculum guides and oversee testing programs and staff development. 

McCallister brings over 20 years of experience to the position, having most recently served as Elementary Instructional Coach at Madeley Ranch ES. She also has experience as an elementary school principal. Evans is joining the district from Katy ISD where she spent the previous six years as a high school instructional coach.

Elissa Cross has been named the district’s Director of Transportation. Cross takes over as leader of the MISD Transportation Department from Mike Foster, who recently retired after 12 years of service to the district. Cross joins the district from Klein ISD where she most recently served as Operations Manager, directly supervising staff in the transportation department.  

Montgomery ISD Destination Imagination Teams Impress at Regional and State Competition

As with many events this school year, the Destination Imagination (DI) tournaments were set on a virtual stage this year. Montgomery ISD sent five teams to the regional level of competition. Of those five, four teams advanced to the state competition. In the end, Absolute 7 from Oak Hills Junior High and D.I. oh_My! from Lincoln Elementary earned a spot at globals. A first for MISD.

Destination Imagination is a global educational nonprofit dedicated to inspiring the next generation of innovators, leaders and creative problem solvers. Students form teams of up to seven members. Upon forming their team, a challenge is selected and the team works together to develop a solution. Each team has at least one team manager (often a parent or teacher) tasked with keeping the team on track, but does not assist or interfere with their challenge solution.

“We are proud of the hard work, imagination, and creativity demonstrated by the Destination Imagination teams in MISD,” Director of Special Programs Amy Busby said. “Even though they were presented with unique challenges and new formats due to COVID restrictions, they persevered and had a successful competition season.”

Regional Results:
Flying Potatoes (Lincoln ES) – 2nd place (advanced to State)
The Pixel Racers (Montgomery JH) – 6th place
Absolute 7 (Oak Hills JH) – 2nd place (advanced to State)
D.I.oh_My! (Lincoln ES) – 2nd place and Instant Challenge Award (advanced to State)
Destination Interrogation (Montgomery ES) – 1st place (advanced to State)

State Results:
Flying Potatoes (Lincoln ES) – 11th place
Absolute 7 (Oak Hills JH) – 4th place (advancing to Globals)
D.I. oh_My! (Lincoln ES) – 2nd place (advancing to Globals)
Destination Interrogation (Montgomery ES) – 6th place and Instant Challenge Award

Lincoln ES launches “Little Free Library”

The Lincoln ES Library has started a Little Free Library for the community. 

Patty Barfield, the librarian at Lincoln Elementary, wants children to have access to books in multiple ways.

“During quarantine, I kept worrying about students at home in need of books,” Barfield said. “My hope is this will help all students get the access to books they need.”

The Lincoln Free Library is located at Lincoln Elementary School’s main entrance.  

In the photos, Ayden and Madelynn Ward donate books to the library.