Thursday, December 17, 2009

December 10 School Board Meeting Videos

In C-FB ISD, we are continually looking for ways to openly communicate with our parents, staff and community. We will now be providing the regular School Board Meetings as video on demand segments. Please feel free to watch the December 10 School Board Meeting. We have also provided the "December 10 School Board Notice" for your reference.

Dec. 10 School Board Notice

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Second Innovation Day

Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District is "an innovative leader in learning." That’s our brand, and we recently had our second Innovation Day with our C-FB ISD team.

You can learn more about C-FB ISD and why we are an "innovative leader in learning."

That’s simply a day when we ask our C-FB ISD team to wear our black and white “i” shirts that we received last year from our partner SHW Group, Inc. The goal is to promote unity among our staff and remind each of us that our district is “innovative leader in learning” because each of us “innovates, leads and learns.”

We did have a new twist this year, Innovation Man. Innovation Man made his debut at the November School Board meeting. He made the rounds on Innovation Day

He will be visiting all over the district in 2010 to encourage innovative teaching and learning and innovative practices in other district operations.

Watch this short video, and you will see some of C-FB ISD team in their "i" shirts plus some of our students at two special activities with Innovation Man.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Smith Vs. Longview Play-Off Game

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Smith v. Carter Play-Off Game

Friday, November 13, 2009

Newman Smith Play-Off Game

Monday, November 9, 2009

Play-off Bound Newman Smith Trojans!

Congratulations to the Newman Smith Trojans on an amazing regular football season. Newman Smith ended District 10-4A play with a 6-1 record and the regular season with an 8-2 record. The football team is headed to the plays-off for the first time since 1983.

In the UIL 4-A Division 1 Play-offs, the Trojans will take on the Sherman High School Bearcats from District 9-4A in a Bi-District match-up on Fri., Nov. 13 at 7:30 p.m. The game will be at Plano ISD’s Clark Stadium, 6600 Stadium Drive, Plano.

Presale tickets are available at Newman Smith, 2335 North Josey Lane, Carrollton during school hours this week. Tickets are $7.00 for adults and $5.00 for students. General admission tickets at the gate on Friday night will cost $7.00 for adults and students.

Now, if you can’t make it to Clark Stadium for the game, C-FB ISD has you covered. You can come back to Blogabilities at 7:30 p.m. on Friday night, and we’ll be blogging live with text, photos and maybe even some video.

Or, if you like live play-by-play, C-FB ISD’s Vince Cowdrey will be calling the game on, just click on cfb-tv.

Now, if you are a TimeWarner cable subscriber in Carrollton or Farmers Branch, you hear Vince’s play-by-play announcing on Channel 95.

Or, if you subscribe to Verizon Cable, you can hear Vince’s play-by-play on Channel 38. As Vince says, “This broadcast will take you back to the days of ‘radio play-by-play.’”

We hope that you can come out to Plano’s Clark Stadium to cheer on the Trojans, but if not, C-FB ISD will bring the Trojans to you via several technologies.

Go Trojans!

Monday, November 2, 2009

High Student Achievement for All - New Strategic Plan

C-FB ISD has a new Strategic Improvement Plan. The plan is our guide to meet our one goal: high achievement for all students.

We developed four supporting objectives to accomplish our goal. They are:
• Continuously increase student achievement
• Continuously improve the learning environment for students and staff
• Continuously increase operational effectiveness
• Continuously increase stakeholder confidence and support of our school system

And, under each objective, we established performance measures and targets to meet the objectives.

Along with the objectives, we are sharing our vision and mission statements as well as our beliefs and principles in the plan. The only change that has made to these items is our vision statement.

C-FB ISD’s Vision Statement
All students will meet the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) at the proficient or commended level and graduate college-ready and/or workforce-ready without remediation.

Check out the complete Strategic Improvement Plan plus the School Board Policies that outline the requirements for the plan.

Strategic Improvement Plan for C-FB ISD 2009-2012

Monday, October 19, 2009

Everybody Learns in C-FB ISD

The phrase, “lifelong learning,” is so overused that sometimes it can seem trite but not so in the Carrollton-Farmers Branch School District. Our principals and other leaders are involved in a development program that we believe is really impacting student achievement.

After all, C-FB ISD has just one goal: high student achievement for all.

At a recent School Board meeting, Dr. Sheila Maher, assistant superintendent of instruction, talked about NISL – which stands for National Institute for School Leadership.

This is a really different type of development program because leadership experts from the business world, engineering, the military, medical community and other fields developed the curriculum.

We see NISL as way to give principals the tools and knowledge they need to lead their schools to become high-performing schools. NISL is a two-year commitment and includes four courses where principals spend lots time collaborating and reading.

By the time people finish the NISL training, they have read 14 books, 34 articles/executive summaries, and five case studies. That’s a lot of reading!

Take a look at this video and see what some of our principals think about their experiences in NISL and how the training has helped their schools be better learning places for students.

You can also check out Dr. Maher’s PowerPoint Presentation too!
NISL Board Presentation

Friday, October 2, 2009

Live Coverage - The Battle of Josey Lane

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Battle of Josey Lane

This Friday night, Oct. 2, the Battle of Josey Lane continues - Newman Smith and R. L. Turner football teams will compete for the 32nd time. Watch this video to hear John Mathews recount the history of The Battle of Josey Lane.

If you cannot make it to the game at Standridge Stadium on Oct. 2 at 7:30 p.m.:
  • We will cover the game live here through this blog. Log-in Friday night, Oct. 2, at 7:30 p.m. to follow the game.
  • You can also listen to the game on CFB-TV at to hear a live broadcast of the game.
  • We will re-broadcast the game on CFB-TV on Tuesday and Thursday at 7 p.m. Visit to find out more information.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Success in learning

In C-FB ISD, our main goal is high achievement for all students. Well, here’s an example of high achievement.

Just recently, the National Merit Corporation sent letters to 16,000 high seniors across the country saying “Congratulations, you are a 2010 National Merit Semifinalist!”

Those letters made their way into the homes of 10 C-FB ISD seniors. The seniors are from Creekview: Cienna Breen, Andrew Crider; from Newman Smith: Ryan Allen, Daniel Lewis, Victor Lopez, Bryan MaHony, Tristan Munnerlyn, and Kevin Smith; from R. L. Turner: Roman Stolyarov, Amanda Werneke.

What’s so amazing -- they represent less than 1 percent of the top high school seniors in the United States.

How did they become Semifinalists? Their performance on the PSAT (Preliminary SAT) as juniors earned them the recognition.

We salute these 10 National Merit Semifinalists from our high schools, their teachers and families. They have received this academic honor because of their commitment to purpose and learning.

These are just 10 success stories of academic achievement in C-FB ISD.

We have other success stories because in C-FB ISD we are innovative leaders in learning.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Student Achievement in C-FB ISD

We in the Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District see student achievement as our number one focus. Everyone who works in C-FB ISD has a role in helping students learn. At last week’s School Board meeting, Dr. Sheila Maher, our assistant superintendent for instruction and curriculum, presented a report on academic achievement related to the 2009 TAKS results.

Basically, C-FB ISD students did incredibly well on TAKS. Did you know that there are five subjects tested: Reading/English – Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, and Writing AND that students are divided into five subgroups: All students, African American, Hispanic, White, and Economically Disadvantaged.

When the state measures C-FB ISD’s performance on TAKS indicators, it is evaluating the district on 25 different indicators. In 2009, C-FB ISD improved on 23 of the 25 indicators. That is really outstanding work for our teachers, principals, and instructional staff. Of course, our students and their families deserve praise too! Success happens when everyone works together as a team.

If you take a look at Dr. Maher’s PowerPoint presentation, you will see even more outstanding achievement – especially the continued overall gains of the 2009 total test takers.

As you go through the presentation, see how our students are excelling in Commended Performance on the individual tests of Reading/English – Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, and Writing. They are outperforming their state peers significantly, and we saw a higher commended performance than in 2008.

We know that success can happen in C-FB ISD because we believe everyone in C-FB ISD can "innovate, lead and learn."

Student Achievement

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Thank You for the Supplies

We have a fabulous community! Individuals are always giving and providing needed materials to our schools and students. Just last week, the Texas Hospital for Advanced Medicine in Farmers Branch made two special huge deliveries of school supplies – one to Nancy Strickland Intermediate School and the other to Farmers Branch Elementary School.

What a great moment to watch as the hospital representatives stopped by each school. They unloaded boxes, boxes, and boxes of school supplies full of backpacks, crayons, notebooks, pencils, erasers and much, much more. School is already in full swing, but we can always use school supplies.

So, McLaughlin/Strickland principal Tracy Smith and her team and Farmers Branch principal Susan Lightsey and her team say thank you very much to the Texas Hospital for Advanced Medicine for thinking of their students and families. We know these supplies will be put to good use.

And, we in the Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD say thank you to the hospital and all of our other partners who have given generously to help us start the 2009-2010 school year.

Watch our video below and you can see how wonderful the time was!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

First Day of Pre-Kindergarten in C-FB ISD

Our pre-kindergarten classes for eligible four-year-olds started this week. C-FB ISD begins this program a week later than other classes so that our pre-kindergarten staff has time to work with families to complete the eligibility process. We also take this occasion to help the families learn about how they help their children with school.

For those unfamiliar with the pre-kindergarten program, we have specific criteria that students must meet before students can become pre-kindergarteners.

The number one requirement is the child must be 4 years of age on or before September 1, 2009.

And, then the child must meet one of the following criteria:
1. Unable to speak and comprehend the English language.
2. Educationally disadvantaged (Eligible to participate in the national free or reduced-price lunch program.)
3. Homeless, as defined by 42 U.S.C. Section 11302, regardless of the residence of the child, of either parent of the child, or of the child’s guardian or other person having lawful control of the child.
4. Child of military: active, reserved, missing in action or who have died.

Once the children get into pre-kindergarten, they spend a half-day working on their oral language skills and other basic concepts. Our goal is to get them ready for kindergarten.

We visited the Pre-Kindergarten Center at the district’s Community Learning Complex (CLC), and our teachers and pre-kindergarten students were already hard at work.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Are You Ready for Some Football?

High school football in Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD starts tonight at Tommy Standridge Stadium, 1330 W. Valwood Parkway, Carrollton.

We have three games this weekend.

Here’s the schedule:

• Thursday: Creekview vs. Arlington at 7 p.m.
• Friday: Newman Smith vs. Denton Guyer at 7:30 p.m.
• Saturday: R. L. Turner vs. Terrell at 7 p.m.

Come on out and support your local high school teams.

If you haven’t purchased your tickets, you can purchase your tickets at the stadium. The ticket booth opens at 6 p.m. each game day.

For information about ticket prices, click on this link: C-FB ISD Football Ticket Prices

And, if you are a C-FB ISD resident who is 60 years or old, you qualify for an Advantage Card. Come by the Administration Building during our office hours for your card. You will need to bring photo identification to show proof of age and C-FB ISD residency. The card provides free general admission for athletic events plus much more.

Interested in Advantage Card: Advantage Card Information.

If you need to a complete schedule of home Varsity Football Games, you can find the games on the district's website under our Event Dates. Our Event Date page has many other activities that you may be interested as well.

Here's just a schedule of home varsity football games.

Varsity Football Games at Standridge for 2009-2010

See you at Stadium!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

First Day of School in C-FB ISD

Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD students started school on Mon., Aug. 24. What a great grand opening we had. From reports across the district, we had a wonderful first day. Over 25,000 students “reported for duty.”

Our pre-kindergarten students - four-year-olds - will start next Monday (Aug. 31). They always start one week later. That gives our pre-kindergarten teachers and staff time to double-check enrollment status and paperwork.

I visited Country Place Elementary with Superintendent Bobby Burns. And, we found students working away as if they hadn’t been gone for the summer. We also found a beautifully renovated building. Country Place Elementary was built in 1974, and now it looks like a brand new school with a new cafeteria, offices, classrooms, library and much more. The modernized look is thanks to the 2003 bond referendum approved by C-FB ISD voters.

In our branding positioning statement, we talk about quality, learning-focused facilities. And, the "new and improved" Country Place definitely fits the bill. For all those former Country Place Eagles, you need to stop by and take a look.

Take a look at part of the tour of the school with Principal Kathi Ferris and Superintendent Bobby Burns. Thank you Country Place students and staff for sharing part of your first day of school with us.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Board of Trustees Special Election Information

C-FB ISD will hold a special election on Tues., Nov. 3 to fill a vacancy on the School Board. This election will be in conjunction with the General Election that is scheduled for that first Tuesday in November.

Persons interested in running for that C-FB ISD School Board position have until Aug. 28 at 5 p.m. to file the necessary paperwork. All the paperwork is available in the Administration Building, 1445 North Perry Road, Carrollton. The building is open Monday through Friday. For more information about filing, persons can call 972-968-6185.

If you need information about how to register to vote, you can check out information on these websites:
Dallas County Elections website:

The Secretary of State’s voter information:

Denton County Elections website:

The deadline to register and be eligible to vote in the Nov. 3, 2009 General Election is Oct. 5, 2009.

Below is information about the C-FB ISD Special Election for School Board, including Early Voting Dates and Locations plus Precincts for Nov. 3.

You can also find this information on

C-FB ISD Board of Trustees Special Election Information

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

We are financially and academically strong

The good news about Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD is that we are a financially and academically strong public school district.

We are very fortunate that we have solid, well-versed educators and financial leaders on our team. That doesn’t mean that our district like other Texas school districts isn’t facing financial challenges.

Basically, C-FB ISD and other Texas districts are in this situation because our state school finance system operates under what are called Revenue Targets. Revenue amounts are now based on the Revenue Target per student allocation not on local property values.

Increases in property values are no longer as important to the maintenance and operating (M&0) budgets of school districts as they once were. If local property values increase, state funding decreases. Unfortunately, the Revenue Target hasn’t provided for needed teachers or competitive teacher salaries or kept up with other such rising costs as utilities, health insurance, gasoline, and food.

C-FB ISD is coping with those challenges because the School Board and Administration realize that the district's complete financial picture includes fiscal responsibility to taxpayers, a quality educational program for students, and competitive salaries for staff.

Plus by working together, C-FB ISD developed guiding objectives that we’ve been using to help reduce our M&O budget for the 2009-2010 year. Using those objectives, the district has made significant reductions in many areas of our budget. Even with these reductions, C-FB ISD will still have a deficit budget for 2009-10. This will require additional reductions in the future as well as a consideration of a tax increase.

We’ve also delayed our construction program for a year. The district did not sell any school construction bonds this year. As a result, the district is lowering its debt service tax rate from .3223 cents to .3022 cents. This decrease will help our taxpayers see a slightly lower overall tax bill. (You can see that on page 39 of the “Quick Facts” below.) In fact, this is the fourth year that the district has lowered the debt service portion of the district’s overall tax rate.

Our finance department pulls together lots of great information about the district’s budget and other financial information. One such document is the “Quick Facts Version of the 2009-10 Budget.” This 42-page document is below, and it can also be found on

A public hearing will be held on the 2009-2010 budget at the next School Board meeting on August 27 at 7 p.m. All meetings are in the Administration Building, 1445 North Perry Road, Carrollton.

Quick Facks Version Budget 2009-10

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Convocation 2009

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Being prepared for the hot weather

August means hot weather in Texas and the beginning of practice for high school football. And, our C-FB ISD athletic program is prepared. In fact, we are really prepared. Thanks to good planning and reviewing the University Interscholastic League and the National Athletic Trainers' Association, C-FB ISD came out on top in a recent Dallas Morning News survey of about 40 area school districts.

Our athletic department has guidelines that are very comprehensive. They include recommendations from the UIL and the National Athletic Trainers’ Association. Our procedures take weather conditions into account, including the heat index. Our guidelines include what some people call often overlooked items. These include: weighing the athletes before and after practice, measuring the heat with an instrument called a sling psychrometer, and having ice baths available.

The district also has guidelines for our elementary schools and PE classes too. We look at the heat index as well as the ozone conditions.

C-FB ISD continually works to maintain a safe learning environment for students. And, having extensive heat and heat illness prevention guidelines for our student athletes is part of this goal.
C-FB ISD Heat Guidelines

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Deliberate Practice

“We value creativity, relevance and rigor."
“We have one purpose: learning.”

Those two sentences are from our positioning statement, and you’ve seen them before in our blog. The emphasis on creativity, relevance and rigor continues to pay off for C-FB ISD students.
  • Newman Smith graduate Celeste Russell and R.L. Turner graduates Rabab Surani and Hussain Lalani earned scholarships through the Gates Millennium Scholars program, the nation's largest minority scholarship program. These are full-ride scholarships to any university, and only 1,000 are awarded nationally.
  • Amelia Ragsdale, Creekview junior, was one of 25 individuals who completed New York University's Summer Woodwinds Program for high school students, college students and young professionals. She also received the Excellence in Achievement Award. She was one of three high school students chosen to study with some of New York's top instructors from NYU, Julliard, and Manhattan School of Music.

This summer, we’ve been reading the book Influencer, The Power To Change Anything by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler. It’s a fascinating book. And, in the book, they talk about deliberate practice that has been researched by psychologist Anders Ericsson. His findings tell us that you can have talent, but unless you have carefully practice over and over to enhance your skills through structured or “deliberated practice” you won’t achieve outstanding performance.

I don’t know if these four students have heard of “deliberate practice” but isn’t great to see individual students excel because they have studied and practiced?

We in C-FB ISD believe in high achievement for every student, and the way to get there is through “deliberate practice.” And, we will because C-FB ISD has one purpose: learning.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Six Years in a Row: Top Financial Rating

Most people are familiar with the annual ratings of “exemplary” or “recognized” that our campuses and school district receive from the Texas Education Agency. Many may not realize that Finance Departments receive annual state ratings too. That system is called School FIRST (Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas).

For the sixth year, C-FB ISD received the “Superior Achievement” rating. That means the district demonstrated the highest level of fiscal management. Our Finance Department earned a perfect score. And, we’ve received the highest rating every year since that the system has been operational.

C-FB ISD has a long of history of strong sound fiscal management. Our district has been recognized on the state and national levels for quality financial reporting. The district also has a strong bond rating from Standards & Poors.

As our positioning statement says, “We do not compromise high expectations for students and staff.”

In C-FB ISD, student achievement is our number one priority. And, we have a great instructional team, but we have other departments who contribute to high student achievement. The Finance Department team is one such department. Those team members have high expectations of sound fiscal and operational management.

They are valuable members of the C-FB ISD: an innovative leader in learning.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

It’s only July! But, We’re Already Thinking About Back-to-School

While most people are still at the beach or hiking in the mountains, we in C-FB ISD are getting ready for our families to return for the 2009-10 school year. Our high school and middle school principals just returned from their summer vacations, and our elementary school principals will be back next week.

We just posted on our website, a wealth of back-to-school information for new families and our returning families. One big change for families is the immunization requirements. So, please check out the requirements to make sure your student is up-to-date before the first day of school on August 24.

For our new families, if you need to find out which school your student will attend, use our school locator service.

For all other back-to-school information, click on this link: Back-to-School in C-FB ISD.

As we get more details about new school year, we will be posting them on that page.

Remember, in C-FB ISD -- “We have one purpose: learning.”

We are C-FB ISD: an innovative leader in learning.

Monday, June 22, 2009

WOW! It’s Summer time in C-FB ISD

It’s hard to believe that we are already starting the fourth week in June. Most C-FB ISD students and staff are on vacation, but just over 5,000 students are taking advantage of our summer school program. Most of our summer school programs will wrap the first part of July except for the second session of high school. That will go on until July 24.

Most people think that teachers take off and enjoy June, July and most of August. In reality, many C-FB ISD teachers are involved in all kinds of training and even working on curriculum and other materials in preparation for the new school year.

Speaking of the next school year, the district has lots of ways for parents and the community to stay informed over the summer and during the regular school year.

Here’s a sampling:

District Website – provides up-to-date event dates, news, accolades, Directory of Schools, School Locator, special alerts, school closing updates and information. The district website also links to campus and department websites. The website also provides some information in Spanish.

Twitter - We joined the Twitter “revolution” to communicate news items, information and accolades. Twitter is a free social networking and microblogging service that allows you to answer the question, "What are you doing?" by sending short text messages 140 characters in length, called "tweets", to your friends or "followers." Twitter members can set up 'tweets' to be sent to a cell phone via text messages (charges may apply, ask your carrier for details). There are also free applications for Blackberry, Android and iPhone that can be used to keep track of 'tweets' without using text messaging. Go to to follow us on Twitter.

We also write e-newsletters which you can sign-up for by visiting We edit them on a variety of topics; however, you receive them more often during the school year when C-FB ISD is in full swing.

We are known for podcasting so if you listen to podcasts check out our Podcast Station.

Our CFB-TV can be seen on or if you have cable TV on Time Warner or Verizon, you can tune in to Time Warner Cable Channel 98 or in Farmers Branch on Time Warner Cable Channel 95 or on Verizon Channel 38.

We want our parents and the rest of our community to be in the know about C-FB ISD because as our positioning statement says: “We have one purpose: learning.”

We are C-FB ISD: an innovative leader in learning.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What A Great Academic Year!

“We value creativity, relevance and rigor in learning.”“We have one purpose: learning.”
Recent events really accentuate these two sentences from our positioning statement.

· Our high schools hold senior walks annually. These are events where the senior classes learn about college scholarships and other awards. These scholarships may be from such local organizations such the C-FB ISD Educational Foundation, Civic League, local Rotary Clubs or area businesses. Students also receive scholarships from colleges, universities, the military and other non-community sources. This year, our 2009 graduating class accepted $23,100,166 in scholarships. Nine C-FB ISD graduates received appointments to military academies, and 36 are joining the armed forces.

· For fourth time, C-FB ISD has been listed as a “Best Community for Music Education in America.” This national recognition comes from the N-A-M-M Foundation. This year’s the 124 Best Communities represent 21 states with a record amount of communities from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Texas.Ten Texas school districts made the list – C-FB ISD, Arlington, Denton, Hurst-Euless-Bedford (HEB), Katy, Klein, Midway, Northwest, Pasadena, and Plano.

· Preliminary TAKS scores are in, and the news is phenomenal. We believe all C-FB ISD elementary schools will be either recognized or exemplary under the Texas Education Agency (TEA) accountability rating system. That’s a first for us.

· When we look at our 2009 Projected TEA campus ratings, we are seeing a dramatic increase in the number of exemplary schools and notable decline in academically acceptable ratings. Take a look:

Rating20092008Change from 2009
Academically Acceptable314-79%
% Exemplary or Recognized92%61%+31%

· Even better is news – we have more students who have made commended performance scores on their TAKS. What this means is that they scored considerably above the state passing standard and showed thorough understanding of the knowledge and skills at the grade level they were tested.

All in all, C-FB ISD has had an excellent year for learning. The support our community and others have given not only the Class of 2009 but to all our students is incredible. The $23 million-plus in scholarships is just an example of the financial support that our students have received thanks to their academic success.The achievement of our students on the Texas Academic Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) is something to celebrate.

It is an indication that all of us value creativity, relevance and rigor in learning.C-FB ISD: We innovate, lead and learn because we are innovative leaders in learning.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Making the Vision Possible

In an earlier post, we talked about this sentence in our positioning statement:
“We are the Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District.”
And, in that post, we wrote about our fabulous classroom teachers. In Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD, they are the heart of our school system. We recognize many remarkable teachers through our Very Important Profession of Teaching program, or as we call it – the VIP program. Check out our VIP program.

While our teachers are the heart of Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD, the backbone of our school district is another group --– team members classified as full-time auxiliary, paraprofessional, and non-campus based support professional team members.

They come to work each day to support our teachers so students can achieve to the highest level possible. This year, we began the MVP (Making the Vision Possible) program to honor these unsung heroes.

Starting in January, we asked any administrative team or School Board member to submit online MVP nominations. Others on our team could recommend a nominee to their supervisor.

By March, 46 individuals were nominated for exemplary service, leadership, innovation, cooperation, and teamwork. From those nominees, we randomly selected, 16 MVPs who will represent these 46 staff at two School Board meetings – June 4 and August 27.

All 46 team members have received MVP lanyards that we hope that they will wear proudly throughout next year. Click on this link to see the first MVPs of the Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD.

We will be posting the photos of the MVPs who are honored at the Board meetings on our MVP page so here’s that link.

Plato wrote, “What is honored in a country will be cultivated there.” Although those words were written centuries ago, they reflect what I believe is so special about this district. C-FB ISD is an incredible public school system because we have a great team who truly cares about the education of all students.

Congratulations to the first class of our MVPs!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Our Top Ten Students Are Amazing

“We have one purpose: learning.”

That sentence, which is part of our positioning statement, was certainly clear this week as Angela and I had the good fortunate to attend our high school Honor Breakfasts.

At these events, our high schools salute the graduating seniors who are in the Top Ten Percent of the 2009 Senior Class, then the Top Ten Graduates, and finally the Valedictorian and Salutatorian.

These teenagers are amazing. They are not only intelligent, but they are also community-minded, amazingly talented, and extremely focused. In C-FB ISD, we say that “we do not compromise high expectations for students and staff.”

Well, these groups of students are prime examples that high expectations are the norm in C-FB ISD. Numerous hours working in the community, being involved in the fine arts or athletics, and taking multiple advanced placement courses were the norm for these graduating seniors.

But, what we saw the most was enthusiasm. They are enthusiastic about whatever task they are doing -- studying, playing, learning, volunteering -- all with a gladden heart. After all, enthusiasm can move the world.

These honor graduates are so enthusiastic, so involved, so committed to purpose. I know that our community, state and nation are in good hands with these future leaders.

Friday, May 8, 2009

We Are Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District

“We are the Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District.”

That sentence starts off our positioning statement. Exactly, who is Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District? Well, several groups make up our district, and each is vital to our success – families, staff, and business owners/workers.

Today, we are focusing on the people who have chosen C-FB ISD as their work home. We have great people who work in C-FB ISD. Our team models this Albert Einstein quote, “Your job is a self-portrait. Autograph it with excellence.”

At the heart of any effective public school are classroom teachers. We truly believe that the teaching profession is the most valuable. Without educators, professions such as scientists, lawyers, technology experts, doctors probably would not exist.

A great teacher always challenges us to do more than thought we could, be more than we thought we could be, and achieve more than we thought could. C-FB ISD has so many, many remarkable teachers who do just that for their students.

This week, Angela and I along with Dr. Burns and Dr. Cole joined the C-FB ISD Educational Foundation Board members. We handed out 17 teacher grants around the district. We had a great time making surprise visits with Foundation Board members to the classrooms. There were lots of cheers and jumping up and down as teachers learned that they were receiving money for their ideas.

“We are the Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District.” Watch this video and see some of the faces of the C-FB ISD family who make our school district an innovative leader in learning.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Rigor in Learning

In an early posting, we talked about our branding positioning statement. We focused on one sentence: “We value creativity, relevance and rigor in learning.”

In that posting, we chatted about why creativity was part of C-FB ISD’s positioning statement. Creativity and innovation can be found throughout our C-FB ISD campuses and district operations.

This week, we want to talk about “relevance and rigor in learning.”
We are seeing more and more middle and high school students (grades 6- 12) take advanced courses, especially in math and science.

And, with college getting more expensive, parents are going to like this news. We have more high school students enrolling in dual credit courses. This means our students are earning college credit and high school credit by taking the same course – while in high school.

At the School Board meeting on April 23, Dr. Sheila Maher, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction shared statistics. As you can see, C-FB ISD is on the right track when it comes to students understanding the importance of stretching their learning.

The percentage of students enrolling in advanced courses (Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and dual credit) is growing annually.

2005 - 39.84%
2006 - 45%
2007 - 47%
2008 - 55%

And, taking all those advanced course work is paying off for C-FB ISD seniors. As the 2008-09 school year wraps up, you will hear wonderful success stories about the 2009 C-FB ISD Graduating Class.

Just three examples.

  • Celeste Russell - the Newman Smith student - a Gates Millennium Scholar. Celeste now has a four-year full scholarship to any university. Only 1,000 students are selected. Gates Millennium Scholar News Release

  • Newman Smith Senior Sameer Badruddin - a 2009 Dell Scholar. The scholarship, valued at $20,000, was awarded by Michael and Susan Dell.

  • R. L. Turner student Charuta Gavankar is one of 560 semifinalists in the 2009 Presidential Scholars competition. The President Scholar program established to honor the nation's most distinguished graduating high school seniors.
    2009 Presidential Semifinalist News Release

Check out the Accolades section of or visit the C-FB ISD Celebration WIKI. On these two sites, you will always find out the celebrations of students, staff, and campuses.

We know that taking these advanced courses pays off in so many other ways. In his book, The World Is Flat, Thomas L. Friedman wrote about the future. He said that if we wanted to maintain our standard of living then our country must concentrate on the right education.

Well, in Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD, we do concentrate on the right education because we are innovative leaders in learning.

Friday, April 17, 2009

C-FB ISD Impacts Community Life

“We impact all aspects of corporate and family life in the six communities we serve.”

That sentence is from our district’s positioning statement. Many people don’t realize this, but the Carrollton-Farmers Branch School District takes in six cities – Addison, Carrollton, Coppell, Dallas, Farmers Branch, Irving.

In fact, our district takes in parts of those six cities – we don’t serve the complete cities of Carrollton and Farmers Branch. It can be very confusing to people moving into the area.

But, being a part of six cities makes the Carrollton-Farmers Branch School District very unique. It allows us the opportunity to interact with multiple communities, different community organizations, and varied businesses. Our six cities provide many connections for students and staff.

If you’re not sure about where the C-FB ISD boundaries are, check out our district map. Or, you can even check our individual school attendance zone maps.

We are really proud to be part of six cities but we are one school district – the Carrollton-Farmers Branch School District – an innovative leader in learning.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Creativity and Innovation Are Alive In C-FB ISD

C-FB ISD is an Innovative Leader in Learning … and a key to innovation is creativity. In our branding positioning statement, we wrote, “We value creativity, relevance and rigor in learning.”

Many believe that what sets the United States apart from other countries is the creativity and innovation of our economy. We want to share from one article:

On May 2, 2008, eSchool News published an article called "Study: Creativity is important but neglected." It featured a report called "Ready to Innovate: Are Educators and Executives Aligned on the Creative Readiness of the U.S. Workforce?," released by the Conference Board and Americans for the Arts, in partnership with the American Association of School Administrators (AASA). In that report, researchers surveyed 155 superintendents and 89 business executives about creativity and innovation.In the eSchool News article, Meris Stansbury writes, "Educators and employers agree that creativity is increasingly important in U. S. workplaces. … Yet, the report suggests a disconnect exists between what survey respondents say they believe and how they act: In fact, findings indicate most high schools and employers provide creativity-conducive education and training only on an elective or ‘as needed' basis’ (2008).

Creativity and innovation can be found throughout our C-FB ISD campuses and district operations. That is, why creativity is part of our branding positioning statement.

This week, we salute two examples:

John Gordon, R. L. Turner junior. John is a student in the Academy of Media Arts and Technology or AMAT. John is a budding filmmaker. For the second year, he has a film in South by Southwest. This year’s film, Cloudburst, John wrote, directed and edited with Kristina Cobb, another R. L. Turner student. Cloudburst was also featured at the Dallas AFI.

His first film, To the Ends of the Earth, was also featured in South by Southwest.

AMAT teacher Jason Wheeler isn’t just teaching his students filmmaking at R. L. Turner. He is also a screenwriter. Jason has been collaborating with Dan F. Long Middle School teacher Bart Van Bemmel. Their short film, Butterscotch, wrapped up shooting in March and is currently at a production house. Jason and Bart hope to have Butterscotch finished in time to enter the Austin Film Festival and the Sundance Film Festival. Their goal is to use the short film to sell their feature-length script based on this short film.

Their feature length film, Swisher, still has a Hollywood director and actress attached and is currently making the rounds with producers and production companies including MGM and Paramount. Isn’t that exciting for Jason and Bart? Let’s hope they hear some positive news soon. We will keep you posted.

And, what exciting real world experiences that they can share with their students.

John has had a dream of making films since middle school. Just think – it all started here in C-FB ISD.

Creativity and innovation are alive in well in C-FB ISD.

Friday, April 3, 2009

An Innovative Leader in Learning

Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District is "an innovative leader in learning. " This isour brand…This is what sets us apart from other public school districts. That's what people think about us -- people who have businesses in our community; people who work in our schools; people whose children attend our schools; people who are educators in other school districts.

From the inside, our people are innovators. They value creativity, relevance and rigor in learning.They respect and honor the diversity of our families. They impact all aspects of corporate and familylife in the six communities C-FB ISD serves. They do not compromise high expectations for themselves or their students. They live the character values of cooperation, integrity, pride, respect, responsibility, service and citizenship.

Creativity, relevance and rigor are not just found in our Fine Arts; they permeate the curriculumbecause we know that students find school work much more appealing when what they are learningrelates to today's world. That's why we now have a virtual campus … why our high schools now offeracademies in international business, media arts and technology, engineering, biomedical professions, and law and criminal justice. It is also why R. E. Good became the first public elementary school in northeast Texas to receive International Baccalaureate authorization for the Primary Years Programmae and why Ranchview High School is now offering International Baccalaureate. Las Colinas Elementary and Barbara Bush Middle Schools are working toward their authorizations as well.

Everyone who works in C-FB ISD is a valuable team member; each job in C-FB ISD is here to supportthe concept "student achievement at the highest level. " Without quality people who truly care aboutthe education and welfare of all children, C-FB ISD would not be known as an innovative leader inlearning across Texas and the nation. Our team members are known as innovators whether they arein the business, facility services, instructional or personnel division.
Our students are so fortunate because they have quality, learning-focused facilities. These buildingsare well-maintained and have tremendous technology thanks to a community who has supportedbond referendums through the years. The technology ranges from computer labs, laptops, smartboards, hand-held devices, and iPods.

Innovation goes beyond technology. Innovation means taking an appropriate risk. Innovation meansbeing a creative thinker. Innovation means being a lifelong learner.

Innovation Chant
Check out this music video featuring McCoy Elementary students. Don't miss the Innovation Chant!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Welcome to C-FB Blogabilities

Welcome to C-FB Blogabilities. Here's a video to welcome you to our new blog.

Now watch this video about innovation in C-FB ISD.
See you next week!