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Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
April 3, 2013     Hays Free Press
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April 3, 2013

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Hays Free Press April 3, 2013 JAIL UFE And inside look at Hays County Jail - Page 1D the Page 3B + Hays district hopes waterless urninals will conserve resources, monies BY KIM HILSENBECK districts urinals. Each one But Herrin said he was very takes approximately five min- pleased by the pilot test of the utes to install the new valve retro-fitted urinals. and costs $145. "I haven't found any nega- With Central Texas in the He also said his staff saved fives," he said. midst of a protracted drought, all of the old values in case A smart screen at the base, and water costs rising, Hays they ever need to put them which Herrin said lasts about CISD is taking steps to save back on. But that doesn't 30 days, has a bioactive en- money and conserve water seem likely at this point, zyme that breaks down the - starting in the boys' rest- Herrin says the potential urine to avoid releasing odor. rooms, for water, and money, savings The urinals were already us- The maintenance and op- is significant, ing a type of screen to pre- erations team has so far ret- "We estimate $200 to $400 vent debris from going down rofitted 14 urinals to be ba- per urinal," Herrin said. That the drains so the district is sically waterless at Wallace could translate to anywhere not paying for an additional Middle School as part of a from 200,000 to 400,000 gal- product, just a different type. pilot program. Existing uri- lons of water per year just at Proponents of waterless nals were retrofitted with a one school, systems like the one at Wal- Betco valve that doesn't allow That's a lot of saved flushes lace point out that the typical the handle to flush, except by and less money going down smells associated with urinals maintenance personnel with the drain, occur when the area around a special key. Yet waterless urinals have them is not properly cleaned. Because the valves are ret- had their share of negative Herrin also checked with rofitted, the urinals are not criticism since they were in- his maintenance staff during technicallywaterless, because troduced in the United States and after the pilot. He didn't the maintenance crew still in theearlypartofthelastde- want the change to cause flushes each urinal at least cade. more issues. But so far, he said once a day when they clean Problems cited by plumb- his staff seems happy with the the bathrooms. But since the ers and janitorial personnel retrofit. new valves prevent others range from being difficult to Rosario Ortiz, head custo- from flushing, they are a kind maintain to creating a bad dian at Wallace, said, "Using of waterless system, smell to costing a lot of addi- the smart screen in conjunc- The plan, according to R.C. tional money for special car- tion with the Betco valve is Herrin, the executive direc- tridges and chemicals, more hygienic, the restroom tot of maintenance and op- "We were concerned about smells better, and is easy to erations for the district, is to those issues as well," Herrin maintain and clean the rest- eventually convert all of the said. room." PHOTO BY KIM HILSENBECK Newly installed valves on the urinals at Wallace Middle School prevent them from being flushed, except by staff with a key. The change is estimated to save up to 400,000 gallons of water annually and about $300 per urinal. BY KIM HILSENBECK Students at Simon Middle School are immersed in a pilot study us- ing Strategic Instruction Model (SIM). The results so far, according to Simon Principal Matt Pope, are noth- ing short of transformational. In a partnership between Central Texas schools, Dell and E3 Alliance, Simon was one of seven area middle schools that benefitted from RAISE up Texas. The goal of the program is to build college and career readiness. Under a one-time $1 million dollar grant from the Dell Foundation, the middle schools, including Simon as well as Goodnight in the San Marcos CISD, were able to implement SIM. Developed in 1988 by researchers at the University of Kansas-Center for Re- search on Learning, SIM is a research- based model for whole-school reform. Proponents say at its core, the mod- el is promoting effective teaching and learning of critical content in schools. SIM helps teachers make decisions about what is of greatest importance, what teachers can teach students to help them to learn, and how to teach them well. This new method of instruction is a critical piece of the model. Each of the middle schools in the RAISE up Texas program funded by the Dell Foundation have a SIM coach - a teacher who goes through professional development training to learn the SIM way. At Simon, it's Kristyna Brewer. Another benefit to Simon being in- volved, Pope said, is that when the ini- tial seed money runs out, Hays CISD will have its own in-house trainers and professional development instructors, which is a significant chunk of the cost to implement SIM. Yet perhaps more important than A Simon Middle School student using the Strategic tional for his students. COURTESY PHOTO Instruction Model (SIM) that Principal Matt Pope said is nothing short of transforma- training teachers in SIM is how stu- feedback about seeing higher grades out their educational life and into the dents become engaged in the learning on report cards, workforce," Pope said. process. Under SIM, school-wide learning in For example, there are four SIM Pope, who has been at Simon for everysubjectisaffected.Teacherslearn strategies specifically related to read- three years, two as assistant principal, how to more effectively organize the ing: said students used to just receive infor- content. Pope said SIM gives teachers Paraphrasing - students express mation from teachers, a way to organize and differentiate the main idea and details in their own With SIM, "Students are taking an material for all levels of learners, words active role in their own learning," Pope At the same time, students ben- Self questioning - students develop said. efit from organizing what they learn, questions concerning reading pas- He spoke recently at an E3 Alliance Students can expect the same kind of sages and read to find answers summit to Central Texas business instruction in each class because the Visual imagery - students visualize leaders- many of whom are keeping a teachers are all using SIM strategies, scenes in detail pulse of the future workforce pool. The process encompasses strategies Word identification- students de- "SIM completely transforms think- for acquiring information from the code unfamiliar words by using ing," he told the audience, printed word, strategies for organizing context clues and word analysis His assertions are based on higher and memorizing information, strate- In a video produced by E3, one stu- scores on end of unit assessments and gies for solving math problems, and dent talking about SIM told viewers, "It benchmark assessments, strategies for expressing information will help basically the rest of your life." "We've seen huge gains on those in writing (including on tests). In that same video, Brewer said, test," Pope said. '~_nd these are strategies the stu- "SIM has truly transformed student He said parents have also provided dents can take with them through- learning." PHOTO BY PRISCILLA DELGADO San Marcos CISD students visit Texas State campus More than 200 Bowie Elementary School students took a field trip to Texas State University as an award for participating in the school's Texas Bluebonnet Award Challenge. The program, sponsored by the Texas Library Association, challenges students in third through six grades to read at least five books from the association's master list. This year, 227 students at the school read five or more books from the list - a record according to Bowie Librarian Priscilla Delgado. At Texas State, students toured the campus, visited the library, ate lunch at the LBJ Student Center and had the opportunity to ask college students questions. PHOTO BY DONANDERS 'Tale of Cinderella' coming to San Marcos Academy stage As Cinderella's notorious stepmother and two stepsisters, San Marcos Academy students Tanya Slavik, Rusti Wade and Sarah Gonzales per- form "Poor, poor, poor!" during a recent rehearsal for A Tale of Cinder- ella. The musical will be performed at 7:30 p.m. April 5, 7 and 8 in the Robinson Christian Center at the Academy, and the public is invited. SCHOOL BRIEFS Chapa Middle School to host 5K fundraiser Chapa Middle School students, their families and friends, all runners, walkers, athletes, community members and people who just love to spend time outside are invited to run/walk in the Chapa 5K Challenge. This is a school fundraiser. Awards will be given for the fastest times. Event also includes a Zumba challenge and Health Fair. The Chapa 5K takes place at 9 a.m. April 6. Register online at www. National College Fair at the Austin Convention Center The Austin National College Fair offers parents and students the opportunity to gather information about more than 300 colleges and universities. Hays CISD high school students have the option to ride buses from their campus to the event, which takes place from 5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. April 9 at the Austin Convention Center. The event is free and open to the public. Elm Grove Eagle Spring Jamboree The Elm Grove Elementary PTA will host the second annual Eagle Spring Jamboree featuring entertainment, a silent auction, a rock climbing wall, hamster ball, 24-foot tall vertical rush, dunking booth, bounce houses, trackless train and go carts. There will also be class- sponsored booths such as Face Painting, Duck Pond, Football Toss and Balloon Darts. Concessions and ice cream will be available for purchase from Buda Lions Club. The event will be held from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. April 12 on the Elm Grove Elementary campus. Carpenter Hill hosts Colt Carnival April 13 Get set for a day of games, food and fun activities at the second annual Colt Carnival. This family event is the PTA's major fundraiser for the school year. Events include putt-putt, go- karts, a "hamster ball," and dunking booth. There is also a silent auction of themed baskets, plus face painting, an estimation station and many fun games. The Colt Carnival takes place 11 a.m.- 3 p.m. April 13 at Carpenter Hill. For details, visit www. Two way dual language program meetings coming up The Two Way Dual Language Programs at Blanco Vista and at Science Hall will be holding parent meetings to present information on the benefits of students learning a second language and the process to apply for the program. Meetings will be held at Blanco Vista on April 9 and May 9, 2013 from 6-6:30 p.m. in the library. Meetings at Science Hall will be held on April 11 and April 25, 2013 from 6-6:30 p.m. For more information, call Irene Jimenez at (512) 268-2141 ext. 8240. See SCHOOL BRIEFS, pg. 4B