Montgomery JH Jolly Trolley raises money to support campus Angel Tree students

The Jolly Trolley can be seen on campus at Montgomery JH each Friday, selling snacks and drinks to staff to raise money for their program’s Community Based Instruction (CBI) opportunities. The Functional Academics and Life Skills students receive the opportunity of service, expanding their social skills while working together to interact with the Montgomery JH staff that purchases from their cart.

Seeing a need on their campus and an opportunity for a community service project, Life Skills teachers Kristal Enyart and David Donenfeld helped their students add a Hot Chocolate Bar to their menu for the previous two Fridays, with the students using the proceeds to adopt two Angle Tree students.

“Doing Jolly Trolley, the kids get to learn so much interacting with the general ed population,” Mr. Donenfeld said. “But with this opportunity, they are also getting to learn to give back.”

Students spent time practicing how to measure the water and hot chocolate, while also separating and organizing inventory, decorating the hot chocolate bar and developing the skills to properly greet teachers and staff.

After the money was raised, the students were taken on a CBI trip to Walmart to shop for their Angel Tree students. With the direction and support of teachers and paraprofessionals that joined them for shopping, the students followed the wish lists, helped pick the best gifts and even used voting methods when everyone didn’t agree on the right shoe or pant selection. Working together as a team they filled carts with gifts and wrapping supplies, as well as Jolly Trolley supplies for this week’s service.

“Taking our students shopping allowed them to practice their social skills and shopping within a budget,” Mrs. Enyart said. “Most importantly, they were able to learn about giving to others.”

When the shopping was completed, students earned a Pizza Shack lunch as their payment for the Jolly Trolley job, rewarding their hard work. They returned to campus and spent the afternoon wrapping the gifts and celebrating a job well done.

“This project was a win-win-win for all involved,” Mr. Donenfeld said. “The students win with this experience, our Angel tree students are gifted with needs and wants, and we get to be a part of something great with our kids.”

Montgomery JH continues heritage studies with Hispanic Heritage Wax Museum

Montgomery JH Principal Angie Chapman is working hard to create a culture on her campus that recognizes the unique characteristics of each heritage and continues to bring focus to the “Together we can achieve more” campus slogan. The student council at Montgomery JH has continued to impress her with their leadership and their plan for the year to incorporate a different heritage study into each month of the school year.

Since October is Hispanic Heritage Month, the campus Spanish teacher, Mrs. Ladd, was excited to get to help ramp up the heritage studies with the campus’ first wax museum.

“I’ve seen wax museums done on other campuses in the past,” Mrs. Ladd said. “But I’ve never seen it done specific to one culture. When Mrs. Chapman and I discussed the possibility, I was excited to give it a try. I had no idea how excited the students would get and once I mentioned it to them, it was happening.”

The wax museum was cross-curricular in nature, as Mrs. Ladd got the names of famous figures from history and art teachers and many of the costumes came from the theatre department. Ladd’s Spanish II students were able to select from a list of historical Hispanic figures and a few of them even presented their own idea from someone they had learned about in another class.

Each student was behind a window opening in the school’s library and was posed as if they were encased in a museum. Pressing the button in front of each student would share the student’s recording of their character’s life story and visitors could also scan the QR code on the window for more information, completing the museum experience.

This is Mrs. Ladd’s third year in Montgomery ISD and her first year to add the wax museum to the lesson plans for October. Parents of the museum participants were invited to attend and eighth grade students were able to visit the museum during their history class time.

“Any chance that our students can learn from other students is a wonderful learning opportunity,” Mrs. Chapman said. “That’s what I’m trying to do here. Students leading students, sharing about their culture and bringing learning to life.”

Mrs. Ladd wanted to make sure and thank her donors that helped purchase some of the costumes, MJHS theatre director Tamara Lumpkin for sharing the theatre’s costume closet and her mother-in-law for donating the curtains hung around each piece of the exhibit.

“I love teaching in this community,” Ladd said. “It’s a wonderful thing to be a part of a community that works together for the benefit of our students and the support the kids received to make this happen was so important to their success.”

Montgomery JH expands #BearsDontHate initiative into new school year with Student Heritage studies

Establishing and growing strong campus culture is a task at Montgomery JH that Principal Angie Chapman finds very important. During the 2020-2021 school year, the campus took ownership of the #BearsDontHate motto and this year the campus theme follows that initiative with the slogan, “Together everyone achieves more.”

Throughout the school year, Montgomery JH staff from every department will be coordinating together to teach culture lessons, highlighting the uniqueness of each heritage and how together, we really can achieve more. To start the year, students in grades 6 through 8 have performed a heritage study on their own family’s history and each Social Studies class is dotting a world map to show that representation and answer the question, “Where is MJH from?”

“This is the first application to an entire school year’s worth of Heritage study,” eighth grade Social Studies teacher and Student Council Sponsor Pegi Morgan said. “We started in August with ‘Bears come in all shapes, sizes and abilities’ and after we complete our Culture and Heritage Mapping, each month will highlight one heritage through cross-curricular activities and discussions.”

“Our students learning about their family’s heritage and culture is so important to campus unity,” 7th grade Social Studies teacher Allison Mittag said. “I really enjoy seeing how they take pride in what they learn about their family and understanding that we aren’t really all just ‘from Texas’ or ‘American’. Learning how to own their history and learning about the heritage of their classmates helps them show respect to others.”

In October Hispanic Heritage will be studied through Mrs. Ladd’s Spanish classes creating a Hispanic Wax Museum offering representation from all departments, including historical Hispanic figures from social studies, the arts, literature and more.

“It’s about developing a culture of respect on our entire campus,” 6th grade Social Studies teacher Phyliss Teasdale said. “They are learning that we are all unique and our heritage is the history that creates all of us.”

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!

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 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.” 

Montgomery Junior High Welcomes Lesa Dunbar

Ms. Dunbar joins Barbara Gagliano and Tressie Stewart on the MJH Counseling Team. The team will be providing counseling services by grade level this year; Mrs. Gagliano will have 6th grade, Ms. Dunbar 7th, and Mrs. Stewart 8th.

Ms. Dunbar is beginning her 21st year in education, with the past four as a professional school counselor.  She has a Bachelor’s degree from Stephen F. Austin State University and a Master of Education in School Counseling from Sam Houston State University.

She had this to say of her new opportunity, “I am so excited and honored to join the MJH TEAM!  I look forward to bringing my experience and training to support our students, staff, and community.”

Please help us give Ms. Dunbar a warm BEAR WELCOME!

Montgomery Junior High Bear Production Closes the Curtain on a Great Season!

MJH first took the stage this year with One Act Play’s performance of “A Toby Show” by Aurrand Haris and advanced to district at Zone.  While there, Lane Fields stole the show when he received Best Performer! Other Zone awards included:

All Star Cast- Owen Brown and Regina Chapa Espinosa

Honorable Mention- Adella Morton

All Star Tech- Kaya Daigle

At District, the accolades continued when the Bears earned District Champ status, and Regina Chapa Espinosa won Best Performer! Fellow cast members also took home titles including:

All Star Cast- Lane Fields, Owen Brown

Honorable Mention- Adella Morton, Gavin Cox

All Star Tech- Peyton Lawson

Rounding out the season, these fabulous performers had a special performance at the Crighton Theatre. And, Bear Production Director, Mrs. Lumpkin, was named MJH Teacher of the Year! Please help us give a round of applause to these talented up-and-coming actors, stage crew, and their director. 

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

Montgomery Junior High Choirs Sweep Competition

MJH took three choirs to competition this week. They each received first division ratings from all six judges. Earning them sweepstakes trophies for their excellence in both concert and sight-reading. The choirs are directed by Mr. Joey Bansuelo and Mrs. Rheagan Smith. Please join us in congratulating them on their magnificent achievement.