GuideStone Financial Resources, a Dallas-based company, generously donated 26 computers to Dr. Bruce Wood Elementary School. The computers, most of which are only three years old, have made an incredible impact on the students at WES.
“What seemed old to some people has changed the lives and education of our students,” WES teacher Brandie Raney explained. “We live in a tech savvy world, and these computers will help our students be better prepared.”
The search for new computers began when Mrs. Raney identified a need on their campus. The goal was to provide more students with access not only to computers, but also to the variety of software-based teaching tools available in the district.
“We have two computer labs on campus, but neither have enough computers to accommodate an entire class,” Mrs. Raney said.
Seeing this challenge as an opportunity, Mrs. Raney began searching for a solution.
“I discussed this need with my husband, and he agreed to check with his company to see if they might be able to donate some of their gently-used computers,” Mrs. Raney said.
Her husband, Ronny Raney, is the Senior Manager of Infrastructure and Architecture at GuideStone Financial Resources. He worked with David Heidle, Senior Manager of IT Service Delivery, and James Hair, Director of IT Services, to find and secure a donation of 26 computers.
Many teachers could hardly contain their excitement. “The computer lab is the new highlight at Wood,” WES teacher Tamara Burgess said.
“The computers that were donated as a result of Mrs. Raney’s hard work and initiative are fast, dependable and beautiful,” bragged WES principal Jacki Cooper. “This is such a great gift to our students and staff!”
The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts recognized Terrell Independent School District with its “platinum” member status in the State Comptroller’s Leadership Circle Awards for financial transparency.
This is the first year for the Comptroller’s office to offer the upgraded award from gold to platinum, making platinum the highest ranking a local government can receive. TISD also maintained the gold award, the highest available up to this year, prior to the change.
The Platinum Leadership Circle Award is reserved for those local governments that have met the Comptroller’s highest standard for online financial transparency.
“It is an honor to receive such a prestigious award for financial transparency,” TISD Director of Business Services Becky Wesson said. “The District has a long-standing commitment to careful management of taxpayer money. We work hard to make sure every dollar counts.”
Following guidelines set by the Texas Comptroller Leadership Program, TISD has worked to become financially transparent by opening its books to the public; providing clear, consistent pictures of spending; and sharing information in a user-friendly format that lets taxpayers easily drill down for more information.
TISD’s financial transparency website, which can be accessed through the district website (terrellisd.org), provides the public the ability to sort through a variety of financial documents. TISD staff members update the information online on a regular basis.
Pushing a cart full of cleaning supplies is a man with a warm smile and a big stack of books. Mr. Allen Jones is much more than the Lead Custodian at John F. Kennedy Elementary School; he is a grandpa, a mentor, and a reading buddy to the more than 650 first and second grade students who walk the halls of the school each day.
“Mr. Jones, I did my homework,” one student exclaims as she passes Mr. Jones in the hall.
“Hi Paw Paw,” another student shouts as he runs up to give Mr. Jones a big hug.
Mr. Jones is somewhat hesitant to open up about his own experience as a student. As a young boy he struggled through school, and admits that he graduated from high school without really learning how to read.
“I know there are a lot of opportunities I missed out on because of that,” Mr. Jones explained. “That’s why if I see a student sitting somewhere, and they don’t have a book, I make it a point to give them one so they will have something to read.”
Mr. Jones has built meaningful relationships with the youngsters at JFK, not just by handing out books, but also by offering words of encouragement any chance he gets.
“When I walk by a class of students lined up in the hall, I just encourage them to make good choices and get a good education,” Mr. Jones said. “I wish someone had done that for me.”
Mr. Jones has worked for Terrell ISD for nearly 20 years. To JFK Principal Renee Jones, he is an important part of the JFK family.
“Mr. Jones does his job with a joyous attitude,” Mrs. Jones said. “He not only helps keep our building clean, but also encourages our students to work hard and always strive for the very best. He is an incredible man, and we are so lucky to have him as part of our team.”
Mr. Jones dreams of one day purchasing a farm and opening a mentoring program for students. The father of seven and grandfather of 20 says he envisions a place where children will develop a strong work ethic and learn skills both of the mind and the hands. But for now, Mr. Jones plans to continue touching the lives of JFK students by sharing his love for reading and passion for education.
More than 120 John F. Kennedy Elementary School students put on their dancing shoes and packed the gym for a miniature drill team clinic lead by the Terrell High School Tigerettes.
“We’re bringing in programs beyond academics that will make students excited to be here. Without after school programs like boys and girls clubs, students at this age don’t really have many opportunities for extra-curricular activities,” shared JFK Principal Renee Jones. “The Tigerettes are wonderful role models. They help our kids understand the value of good character, behavior, attendance and punctuality.”
The mini drill clinic will take place before school once a month. The girls will learn dances, and much more.
“We hope to teach them leadership skills,” said Tigerette Lizabeth Pina. “Drill team is more than just dance. We’re a family. We have each other’s back and help one another whenever we’re needed. It’s about friendship, new experiences, and learning to respect others. We want to teach these young girls to be excited about their future. They have a lot to look forward to.”
The Tigerettes were excited to see the students practicing the dance routine they learned earlier that morning on their way to class. They were surprised by how much fun they had teaching the dance routine, and were glad the students enjoyed the new experience as much as they did.
The next clinic is schedule for Tuesday, Jan. 20.
Modern day giants performed feats of strength paired with motivational messages for Terrell ISD students earlier this week. Wednesday morning, TISD hosted The Power Team, a group of world-class athletes, at four school assemblies. Led by The Power Team, the assemblies focused on the need to make positive decisions in life.
The Power Team has performed the world’s greatest exhibitions of power, strength, speed, inspiration and motivation in every state and in more than 40 countries for 30 years. These giant men, many weighing more than 300 pounds, can blow up hot water bottles like balloons, snap baseball bats like twigs, lift telephone poles overhead, rip phone books and license plates like pieces of paper, and smash walls of ice and concrete. The Power Team has several world record holders, former NFL football players, and professional wrestlers.
“The Power Team was phenomenal. I believe they are not only strong physical men but strong mental men,” explained Dr. Juan Solis, Terrell High School Principal. “I hope the students learned that they are ultimately responsible for their choices and for the way they choose to look at opportunities that are presented to them. I want to thank The Power Team for inspiring our students to make the right choices.”
The Power Team has performed at more than 26,000 school assemblies in the past 20 years, and is ranked as one of the top school assemblies in the nation. Vice President John Kopta has been active in these assemblies for 30 years and was impressed by TISD students.
“They have been nothing but respectful. They are just phenomenal kids,” Kopta said.
Believing that inspiration and motivation equals academic and personal achievement, The Power Team tackles the tough issues of drugs, alcohol, violence, abstinence, peer pressure, and suicide. From elementary ages to high school, young people all over the world have been challenged and changed by their positive messages.
If you missed out on the action, you can see The Power Team perform Jan. 7-10 at 7:00 p.m. and Jan. 11 at 4:00 p.m. at First Assembly of God Church in Terrell.
Established in 1883, Terrell Independent School District has a proud history of providing quality education to students. It is our belief that the future of our community, state, and nation hinges on the quality of the students being educated by our school system.