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Archive for the tag “Sabine Area Career Center”

EDUCATION TEXAS- HEMPHILL ISD/ SABINE COUNTY

 

I had several meetings to discover how our local school district provides for the education of our children. These meetings provided some impressive results, some which I shared previously. Previous articles exposed the unexpected educational opportunities provided by the Sabine Area Career Center (SACC) and my first visit with Dr. Glen Pearson, Superintendent, HISD.

Dr. Pearson had invited me to return to visit the laboratories and suggested that I visit with Dr. Lana Comeaux, Executive Director at SACC and possibly a school board member before we met again. On Thursday, April 21, I met again with Dr. Pearson and Dr. Comeaux that involved a tour of the new high school campus focused on the laboratories and the Special Education Center. I was accompanied by the Science Consultant for the Harris County Department of Education, Lisa Felske, who is my daughter and was here for an Easter visit.

“WOW” would be a one word description of the visit. We were accompanied by Marc Griffin, high school Principal on the tour. The laboratories are the most modern that I have ever seen in a high school. The facility design that separates the labs from the classrooms is the most proficient I have ever seen. I managed testing labs at Lockheed for several years and the safety features and storage of chemicals was outstanding. My daughter was extremely surprised to see that the lab designs provided adequate space between work stations that is unusual in her assessment of labs in over 50 school districts in the Houston metropolitan area.

One of the subjects we had discussed in our first meeting was discipline. The news is rampant in exposing factual cases of discipline nationwide. Mr. Pearson stated that discipline was under control at HISD and the tour and observations proved that true.

We also visited the communications control center and the available computer terminals in every classroom. We also had observed the “smart boards” in the labs that are state-of-the-art teaching tools in each classroom. With over 600 computers and the technical support, communications operations at HISD are outstanding.

The visit to the Special Education area was an eye opener for someone who finished high school in 1947. Anyone with even moderate special needs would not be permitted to attend public schools in my time. The visit with the teachers, nurses and observing actual methods used to help these students was awesome. I will tell you what DR. Pearson whispered to me during the visit, “When I think I have a bad day, I come visit this area. It helps me realize how fortunate I am and motivates me to stop feeling sorry for myself”. I may have reworded the actual message, but it would do the same for me.

Another rewarding fact, out of the 137 students enrolled this semester in SACC courses, 69 are from Hemphill High School. I also wish a special thanks to everyone we met that were very professional in answering questions and explaining their facilities and responsibilities. Everyone I met sincerely demonstrated that they have the student’s education as their number one objective. Special congratulations to Sherrill Hobbs for winning the Buddy Low award this year. Montez McNaughten, that I know well, who won the award last year, gave Hemphill ISD two in a row.

Unfortunately I did not have a chance to visit with Dr. Chad Moody, the newest member of the school Board. Hopefully we can meet in the future.

Now I have a message to the parents and everyone who pays school taxes to the Hemphill ISD. We are very fortunate to have one of the lowest tax rates in Texas, so no one needs to question the fact that we have modern educational opportunities for the children. I am keenly aware that there is no way to pass a bond issue or raise any taxes in Sabine county. I have been here nearly 20 years and watched several fail. The opportunities that are provided for both our students and parents to acquire free college credit courses with the SACC are not available statewide. Another fact is that all of the new facilities have been provided without increased taxes or debt. This takes professional leadership.

All of these operations have succeeded because I observed teamwork with a dedicated group of teachers and administrators. I had never met Dr. Pearson before my April 7th visit. For those who are unaware, he will retire again after this semester and we all owe him a debt of gratitude for his service. I now have a new friend who I could possibly end up in a boat fishing with soon. Thanks Dr. Pearson and I hope your replacement will keep your “team” together.

 C Brewer

EDUCATION TEXAS- A LOCAL ADVANTAGE?

For those who have children or grand children in K-12 schools, let me encourage you to find out if your if this described advantage exist where you live. It is obvious to me that the Texas Legislature uses politics to provide educational variables to pacify themselves and the appointed and elected Boards to favor certain school districts. Nationally the US Department of Education uses 90% of their billions to provide social justice for the minorities and aliens. Just read the itemized 92 page budget if you doubt my words. If the states and the federal governments would admit that a local program like the one described below would find the right path for aligning children’s capability with a mixture of academics and vocational programs necessary to prepare them for their place in society. We may all be created equally but we all do not fit into society equally. It is time for the people to stop this waste of money and demand change. CB

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“First let me apologize to Dr. Lana Comeaux, whose name I misspelled in the last article. I have lived in Sabine county, very close to Louisiana, for nearly 20 years. When Dr. Pearson suggested I meet Ms. Como, my age drove me to associate the name to Perry when I took notes.”

I had the pleasure to visit with Dr. Comeaux on Monday April 11th at the Sabine Area Career Center in Pineland, Texas. I had no conception of what a great advantage was available to the citizens of Sabine and San Augustine counties.

The center has several specialized classrooms to conduct classes and a welding facility with modern equipment and seven individually vented weld stations. The computer classroom is well equipped and is available for students use in searching the internet for assignments. Classrooms are available to permit students to participate and interact by video with some specialty classes being conducted at Angelina College in Lufkin.

The Career Center also has a large meeting room that is available for community meetings and special events. Currently this room is utilized for programs like Dance, Taekwondo, Photography, Flower Arranging and Computer classes. Another program available is support meetings for parents with autistic children.

In addition to the Angelina campus, some of the classes are conducted at Hemphill ISD and Jasper ISD where science labs or other specialty facilities exist. I have another meeting scheduled this April 21st with Dr. Pearson and Dr. Comeaux to view the Hemphill laboratories and other specialized facilities.

Some of the two year college credit courses are; English, World History, US History, Texas History, Sociology, Algebra, Chemistry, Biology etc. The Career Center also provides Community Service Programs that include; Phlebotomy, Certified Nurse Asst., Medical Asst., GED Preparation, and Welding. Future planning includes courses for EMT, LVN, Police and Fire careers, Automotive and A/C & Repair.

All of the programs are available to students at Hemphill, West Sabine, Brookland, Broadus and San Augustine school districts.

Citizens of the area are fortunate to have this facility. It does require the five school districts to work closely with Dr. Comeaux. This includes a student’s needs assessment and scheduling classes to permit the students to be able to take the Angelina programs. Each of the five school districts provide either the superintendent or a principal to serve on the on the Board of Directors.

The program is totally funded by grants, donations and private foundations. Currently the Beaumont and TLL Foundations provide significant funding for the Center. No state or local taxes are appropriated for the center. This is an unusual advantage for both the students and parents of Sabine and San Augustine counties.

A student can take up to twenty classes which can result in roughly 60 credit hours if they take full advantage of the program. Students are eligible after their sophomore year to start in that summer and can take 2 courses each semester. There are two summer sessions in addition to the regular fall and spring school semesters. This means that if a student is academically driven, they can start their college or university education as a junior. For those families with funding limitations, a high school student can obtain an Associate’s Degree in the summer after they graduate from high school.

Every parent should be aware of this advantage. The economic distress and the mystery of what the politicians in Austin and Washington D.C. will dream up next, demands that we prepare today’s students who will have to pay for the debacle.

Clyde Brewer

EDUCATION TEXAS-IS STATE FUNDING ADEQUATE & FAIR?

 

I recently reported that we have 1265 school districts in the state. I have tried to understand the reason for this but there is none. Downsizing and digging deeper in an attempt to understand, I discovered that children in Sabine County where I reside, attend four different school districts. Even though the current census reported that we had surpassed 10,200 people, this makes no business sense.

While working at the local level, I wish to report some figures obtained from the Texas Education Association (TEA). The State of Texas appropriated $7,561 per student average across the state. The US state average is nearly $10,000 per student. The highest is Vermont that provides $15,139 per student. I asked our State Representative, Wayne Christian, in a letter last month why the two largest school districts in Sabine County received less than $5,000 per student. I have not received a response but he did have a press release issued on April 7th that addresses some of my questions. My two letters to Mr. Christian and his first response is on my blog should you desire to read them. I will post his news release soon.

Hemphill ISD received $4,806 and West Sabine ISD received $4,596 per student. For everyone’s information the Westbrook ISD received $13,121, Wink-Loving ISD received $12,526, Sundown ISD received $12,544 and Webb ISD received $11,057. It would be nice to see more people ask why! I hope I am not alone as a layman in trying to understand and improve education and equalizing the funding for all children in America.

My current focus is to visit with educators, administrators and school boards in east Texas. This will permit me to determine how to better understand how we can all help improve education. I will share the knowledge gained in future articles.

I had my first meeting with Mr. Glen Pearson April 7th and gained a much better understanding of the Hemphill ISD. I was surprised to find we do have some impressive vocational programs offered to the K-9-12 students in Sabine County. Mr. Pearson recommended that I meet with Ms. Lana Comeaux, at the Sabine Area Career Center, and let her provide me with the details of the various programs. These programs provide the area students with vocational opportunities and college credits. The Hemphill ISD pays for two courses each semester. These courses are offered in the evenings and on weekends. I will try to meet with Ms. Comeaux next week and write an article explaining the details as soon as possible.

Mr. Pearson was also concerned about the variations in state funding and it appears that Wayne Christian is also looking into the matter. My overall knowledge of Hemphill ISD was greatly expanded in the meeting. I will share some of the results of my meeting with Mr. Pearson in future articles. I hope to visit with Mr. Pearson again on April 21st.

One evening a few years ago, my closest neighbor, Dr. Michael Neal, told me an educational related story that I will never forget. He had a sixteen year old boy in for a physical. During the exam, he asked the boy how he was doing in school. The response was “OK”. He then asked him what he desired to be after his high school experience. The response was, “I just want to be a better hawg hunter than my daddy.” I will always respect this honesty and this is one example of education just wasting this young boy’s time.

Hopefully someday, we can find the right formula to educate the children and align them to their destined place in society. All children were not intended to be identical and some are not capable of being a doctor, lawyer, teacher or a rocket scientist.

Observing our political leaders in Washington D.C. and Austin over the past several years has me convinced that the education of all politicians has been an abysmal experience. As most of these politicians are lawyers, it is apparent that common sense is not a subject required or offered in our universities or law schools.

Clyde Brewer

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