Carlton Center honors its Class of 2018 graduates

May 29, 2018—Graduation season will be in full swing May 31 through June 2 at the Berry Center, but it officially got underway with 10 graduates from the Dorothy Carlton Center leading the way May 25.

The Carlton Center offers specialized programs to serve students with disabilities. Several graduates completed a pre-vocational program, preparing them and gearing each toward independence and potential paid employment. The training can last one or multiple years with partnerships with community businesses.

A number of graduates already had jobs secured following graduation.

“It’s just a day of celebration for not only the students, but their parents and the educators who have worked with them,” said Rhonda Turns, the Carlton Center director.

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Jessica Ann Powers of Jersey Village High School raises her arms in celebration after she and nine other Carlton Center graduates were honored at a ceremony May 25 at the center. She was among eight graduates who were part of the Vocational Independence and Training for Adult Living program and also previously walked with their home campuses.

Jerome Clinton Bell of Langham Creek High School and Jassiel Garcia of Jersey Village High School each donned or carried their respective caps and gowns representing the Class of 2018.

The remaining eight graduates honored were part of the Vocational Independence and Training for Adult Living (VITAL) program and previously walked with their home campuses:

  • Carson Travis Berg, Cy-Fair High School;
  • Zachary Renard Dumas Jr., Cypress Springs High School;
  • Jacob Ryan Dunshie, Cypress Creek High School;
  • Keyana Marie Hayes, Jersey Village High School;
  • Ericka Rubi Hernandez, Cypress Lakes High School;
  • Jesse Hernandez, Cypress Springs High School;
  • Jessica Ann Powers, Jersey Village High School; and
  • Ashley Renee Wilkinson, Jersey Village High School.

“It was really good. I learned a lot,” Dunshie said. “I think people can benefit from the Carlton Center because it teaches them skills that they need in the future. These people are really nice and really good. They’re actually the best teachers I’ve ever had.”

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Jerome Clinton Bell of Langham Creek High School holds is diploma during the Carlton Center graduation May 25 at the center. Ten graduates were honored, as the center offers specialized programs to serve students with disabilities. Several graduates complete  pre-vocational training geared toward independence and potential paid employment.

Said Dr. Mark Henry, superintendent of schools: “We see that our motto comes to life – that it’s ‘Opportunity for All.’ Every student, no matter what their challenges are, we have a spot for them in Cy-Fair ISD.”

Members of the Cypress Woods High School wind ensemble performed before the ceremony and also during the processional, while the Cypress Woods Air Force JROTC color guard presented the colors.

Dan McIlduff, assistant superintendent for educational support services, gave the graduation address, while a reception followed for the graduates and guests.

“Thank you to the district for supporting us and providing all the resources we need to help our young people,” Turns said.

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AFJROTC offers students leadership, team-building opportunities

A number of programs, classes and organizations within Cypress-Fairbanks ISD offer students the ability to assume leadership roles, work together in a team setting and learn discipline and structure. One that represents more than 1,100 high school students at all four grade levels is Air Force Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC).

Hosted on eight of CFISD’s 12 comprehensive high school campuses – students from non-hosting schools combine with other units – JROTC is a federally-sponsored program by the United State Armed Forces and dates its origin to the National Defense Act of 1916. At its core, the program is designed to help develop students learn and understand good citizenship, leadership, respect, community service, the importance of physical fitness and self-reliance.

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Cy-Fair High School Air Force Junior ROTC students participate in the Military Drill Competition on Feb. 3 at the Berry Center. 

There is no military obligation and the program isn’t designed to steer participants toward military service, though the influence includes curriculum (aerospace science and leadership in CFISD) taught by retired military personnel and cadets required to wear a uniform. The focus is instead on building those soft skills to help students thrive in any career path they choose.

“The students run the program,” said Dr. Sharon Hogue, CFISD AFJROTC and career and technical education coordinator. “It’s a cadet-run program, and so the instructors build up the cadets and the cadets take charge.”

Within each JROTC unit are a number of activities and teams in which a cadet can participate, including the drill team and color guard. Units participate in competitions, team-building activities and community service. Earning a letterman jacket is also possible in JROTC.

“I really love ROTC because of everything it has to offer after school,” said Sayra Rodriguez, a Jersey Village High School senior and the school’s AFJROTC corps commander. “There are so many teams that you can join and it actually gave me my first leadership position.”

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Cypress Falls High School AFJROTC cadets lead the “Pass in Review” at Pridgeon Stadium on April 21. 

CFISD and its AFJROTC units hosted a Military Drill Competition on Feb. 3 at the Berry Center, in which 25 units from across CFISD and the Houston area participated. Langham Creek High School placed third overall, as cadets competed in events that included academic presentations and testing, inspections, exhibition drill and physical training. Units were evaluated by military training instructors from Lackland Air Force’s 737th Training Group, University of Houston ROTC cadets and Texas A&M University cadets.

The district also hosted its 16th Annual AFJROTC Pass in Review, which was held April 21 at Pridgeon Stadium. A military tradition designed to display the readiness of troops and their units to a newly assigned commander, the Pass in Review showcased the cadets’ discipline and uniformity to a crowd that included family, friends, Board of Trustees members and campus and district administrators.

Cypress Falls High School AFJROTC Unit TX-20003 served as the host school and senior Josephine Ngo served as the commander of troops.

“This event is steeped in military tradition dating back to the American Revolution at Valley Forge,” Hogue said. “These cadets carry on the proud tradition of excellence with their precision maneuvers, as evidence of the hard work, discipline and dedication of the instructors and cadets.”

Though a four-year program, JROTC has the ability to help students build long-lasting relationships beyond high school.

“We are a big family, so all the connections with people are really strong,” said Fatima Medina, a Cy-Fair High School junior and cadet captain. “You find friendships and connections and bonds that can’t be broken. It’s really a special thing.”

GoNoodle stimulates active learning in CFISD

Thanks in part to a sponsorship from community partner Memorial Hermann Cypress Hospital, CFISD educators and students have been able to take their teaching and learning to another level during the 2017-2018 school year with GoNoodle.

A movement program used in approximately 80 percent of U.S. public elementary schools, GoNoodle aims to fuel learning through the power of movement. Using short, interactive videos and games, GoNoodle incorporates movement (dancing, stretching, running and other activities) that can be used in the classroom and at home.

Memorial Hermann Cypress sponsored the Plus version of GoNoodle for CFISD for the 2017-2018 school year at a value of $165,000. The hospital was recognized for its giving and the sponsorship during the Board of Trustees meeting in October.

 
1020 Memorial Hermann Cypress 3Students throughout CFISD are getting moving thanks to the brain-based classroom movement program, GoNoodle. District partner Memorial Hermann–Cypress funded GoNoodle Plus in CFISD for 2017-2018. 

“We know that creating healthy habits in young people puts them on the right track to maintain healthy lifestyles as adults,” said Heath Rushing, Memorial Hermann Cypress senior vice president and CEO. “We are thankful that our community partners like Cypress-Fairbanks ISD also place a high priority on instilling healthy habits in the young people they impact every day.”

Memorial Hermann Cypress also sponsored professional development for teachers to go with GoNoodle Plus for the district.

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Dawn Tryon (left), Keith Elementary School principal, and Dr. Linda Macias, associate superintendent of curriculum and instruction and accountability, move alongside students to a learning activity on GoNoodle Plus during a media event on Nov. 14 at Keith Elementary School. Memorial Herman Cypress Hospital sponsored GoNoodle Plus technology and professional development for teachers for CFISD for the 2017-2018 school year at a value of $165,000.

Launched in 2014, GoNoodle allows teachers and students to use “brain breaks” and other movement activities to not only break the mantra of stationary learning from a desk, but instead continue the learning process with academic-incorporated games while also promoting physical activity. A number of the learning activities have game-like attributes, helping keep a student’s attention even more during the day as levels are earned or characters successfully complete challenges.

“When we get kids moving and learning, they retain information longer,” said Erika Sanchez, a preschool programs for children with disabilities (PPCD) teacher at Copeland Elementary School and GoNoodle ambassador. “Our whole goal is to want kids to have fun in the class and GoNoodle is one of the ways we can utilize technology in a platform that gets the kids up and moving, and learning the different content areas.”

HORIZONS program meets needs of gifted and talented students

Livestock Show and Sale an exclamation mark for FFA students

The program’s highlight came to a finish with a live premium auction Feb. 10, but the CFISD Livestock Show Association’s 24th annual Show and Sale is just part of what CFISD students and community members can experience through FFA and Agriculture Science education.

It’s still a topic that can open one’s eyes, said Corey Taylor, a Cypress Falls High School FFA adviser and Agriculture Science teacher, thanks in large part to Houston’s enormous urban footprint and the overall lack of exposure.

Sometimes, it’s just as simple as getting past that first question.

“We hear, ‘Does a student have to raise an animal to be a member of take the class?’” said Katie Dale, a Cypress Woods High School FFA adviser and Agriculture science teacher. “And we start off by saying you do not have to raise an animal to become involved.”

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The CFISD Livestock Show and Sale – like FFA – is way beyond animals in the show ring at the CFISD Exhibit Center during the Premium Sale during the show’s final day. Every aspect, which includes agriculture science certifications, showing livestock, agriculture mechanics and horticulture, can offer lifelong skills for students. The program can prepare them for careers and become confident in the decision-making process.

“Beyond this, it allows students to get a hands-on feeling for what it takes to become dedicated, responsible and invested in something that will make them grow as young people in both humble wins as well as defeat,” Taylor said. I like to tell my students involved in the program that ‘You either win or you learn.’ Either way, you aren’t losing.”

The three-day CFISD Livestock Show and Sale is the peak for most students involved in the program, as they are able to showcase their work to the CFISD community and business partners. Now in its 24th edition, the 2018 show and sale saw approximately 800 students combine for nearly 900 entries.

The first two days are the shows and judging to determine champions in 11 separate divisions (Broiler, Turkey, Ag Mechanics, Horticulture, Goat, Lamb, Steer, Heifer, Market Rabbits, Breeding Rabbits and Swine).

The final day brings the sales, with first the silent auction and freezer sale before the Premium Sale (live auction) ends the showcase event. A final amount for total sales generated is not yet available, but the Premium Sale unofficially raised nearly $340,000.

Students are expected to seek out buyers and donations, tying those marketing and social skills back to what the learn in the classroom. Sales, pledges and donations to show entries are used to help fund higher education or further a student’s experience in the program. The 2017 Volume Buyer Award went to Mike and Darlene Jarrar of Jarrar & Company, Inc., which contributed $93,600 to the nearly $800,000 in sale generated at last year’s event.

“You can see the passion in the students’ eyes and all their hard work surface, and it is a privilege to cheer for them on the side lines,” Dale said. “To watch my students in their big moment makes every late night and early morning worth it. I believe that FFA helps grow students into the best version of themselves. It teaches them responsibility, manners, sportsmanship, and financial responsibility. Watching a student transform into the best version of themselves through their livestock project and through everything else our chapter has to offer has been a major blessing and the best feeling in the world.”

CFISD Classroom Cheerleader Spotlight: Robert Walker

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As the third-largest school district in Texas and the largest employer in Northwest Harris County, Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District impacts the lives of far more than the 115,000 students and thousands of teachers, employees and administrators across 88 elementary, middle and high school campuses and special program facilities that study and work within our walls. In fact, we’re proud that as a top-rated school district, the work we do within our school system extends beyond the schools and permeates within our neighborhoods and businesses, making the greater Cypress-Fairbanks community a better place to work, live, study and play. The Cypress-Fairbanks community excels because of our CFISD cheerleaders; the individuals and businesses that invest in and support our students and community at large.

Today, we highlight Robert Walker, a CFISD grounds department foreman since 1994.

How long have you lived/worked in Cypress-Fairbanks?

I have worked in CFISD for 23 years.

Why are you so passionate about being a part of the Cypress-Fairbanks community?

I’m passionate because I love working in the community and also working with good-hearted people and helping everybody when they need me. As long as I can satisfy at least one person, then my job is complete.

How has Cypress-Fairbanks ISD impacted you, your family or your business?

CFISD has impacted me because it has given me an opportunity to grow in my work field and I have had two kids graduate from the district and continue to be successful.

What piece of advice would you like to give to Cypress-Fairbanks ISD students?

Hard work pays off. Always keep pushing toward your goals.

What’s your favorite thing to do, see, eat or experience in our community?

My favorite thing to do and see is anything to do with sports and spending time with family and friends. I like experiencing the different variety of restaurants and entertainment in the community.


Interested in getting involved, being featured as an upcoming Cheerleader (or featuring someone who you think makes our district great) or in learning more about how Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District makes the larger Cypress-Fairbanks community a better place to work, live, study and play for all of us? Visit CFISDSpirit.com to cheer along with our team!

CFISD Classroom Cheerleader Spotlight: Shawn McAnear

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As the third-largest school district in Texas and the largest employer in Northwest Harris County, Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District impacts the lives of far more than the 115,000 students and thousands of teachers, employees and administrators across 88 elementary, middle and high school campuses and special program facilities that study and work within our walls. In fact, we’re proud that as a top-rated school district, the work we do within our school system extends beyond the schools and permeates within our neighborhoods and businesses, making the greater Cypress-Fairbanks community a better place to work, live, study and play. The Cypress-Fairbanks community excels because of our CFISD cheerleaders; the individuals and businesses that invest in and support our students and community at large.

Today, we highlight Shawn McAnear, head band director at Bridgeland High School and the former band director at Cypress Falls High School.

How long have you lived/worked in Cypress-Fairbanks?

I have served 21 years as a band director in CFISD.

Why are you so passionate about being a part of the Cypress-Fairbanks community?

I am passionate about being a part of the Cypress-Fairbanks community because it allows me to do what I love each and every day. I get to teach life lessons through music to help students develop the skills needed to be successful citizens.

How has Cypress-Fairbanks ISD impacted you, your family or your business?

CFISD has continued to support the vision of fine arts programs throughout the district. With their support, we continue to challenge ourselves individually and as an ensemble to be better than the performance before. In return, we as a band program work extremely hard to represent our school and community throughout the state and nation at the highest levels possible.

What piece of advice would you like to give to Cypress-Fairbanks ISD students?

We talk all the time with the Bridgeland band members that the only variable you can control is you. Set goals, work hard, focus on the task at hand, do everything you can to be better each time and always make your bed!

What’s your favorite thing to do, see, eat or experience in our community?

We love attending fine arts events throughout CFISD. The amount of talent on display by the many student performers is truly amazing. From the many marching and concert bands, choirs, orchestras, art displays and theater productions–there is always something great going on at a campus near you!


Interested in getting involved, being featured as an upcoming Cheerleader (or featuring someone who you think makes our district great) or in learning more about how Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District makes the larger Cypress-Fairbanks community a better place to work, live, study and play for all of us? Visit CFISDSpirit.com to cheer along with our team!

CFISD Classroom Cheerleader Spotlight: Edward Torres

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As the third-largest school district in Texas and the largest employer in Northwest Harris County, Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District impacts the lives of far more than the 115,000 students and thousands of teachers, employees and administrators across 88 elementary, middle and high school campuses and special program facilities that study and work within our walls. In fact, we’re proud that as a top-rated school district, the work we do within our school system extends beyond the schools and permeates within our neighborhoods and businesses, making the greater Cypress-Fairbanks community a better place to work, live, study and play. The Cypress-Fairbanks community excels because of our CFISD cheerleaders; the individuals and businesses that invest in and support our students and community at large.

Today, we highlight Edward Torres, an area manager with CFISD’s operations department.

How long have you lived/worked in Cypress-Fairbanks?

I have lived in and worked for Cypress-Fairbanks for more than 30 years.

Why are you so passionate about being a part of the Cypress-Fairbanks community?

I am passionate about Cypress-Fairbanks ISD because I have grown not only personally but professionally through my years. I have made lifelong friendships. Cypress-Fairbanks is passionate about their employees, so that motivated me every day to be the best I can be.

How has Cypress-Fairbanks ISD impacted you, your family or your business?

Cypress-Fairbanks has impacted me when I was able to see all my children go through Cy-Fair schools and prepare them for their future careers. I am grateful to work for a district that allows me to provide for my family and watch my children be products of Cy-Fair ISD.

What piece of advice would you like to give to Cypress-Fairbanks ISD students?

To accept challenges, learn from your mistakes and show passion toward the career you choose. Always strive for the best, stay focused and become a productive citizen.

What’s your favorite thing to do, see, eat or experience in our community?

I like to attend high school craft shows and support local restaurants while seeing students working and being productive and making a difference in lives of others.


Interested in getting involved, being featured as an upcoming Cheerleader (or featuring someone who you think makes our district great) or in learning more about how Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District makes the larger Cypress-Fairbanks community a better place to work, live, study and play for all of us? Visit CFISDSpirit.com to cheer along with our team!

CFISD Classroom Cheerleader Spotlight: Allison Payne

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As the third-largest school district in Texas and the largest employer in Northwest Harris County, Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District impacts the lives of far more than the 115,000 students and thousands of teachers, employees and administrators across 88 elementary, middle and high school campuses and special program facilities that study and work within our walls. In fact, we’re proud that as a top-rated school district, the work we do within our school system extends beyond the schools and permeates within our neighborhoods and businesses, making the greater Cypress-Fairbanks community a better place to work, live, study and play. The Cypress-Fairbanks community excels because of our CFISD cheerleaders; the individuals and businesses that invest in and support our students and community at large.

Today, we highlight Allison Payne, second-grade math and science teacher at Moore Elementary School. Payne was also named the school’s 2016-2017 Spotlight Teacher.

How long have you lived/worked in Cypress-Fairbanks?

Eleven years.

Why are you so passionate about being a part of the Cypress-Fairbanks community?

I love my Cy-Fair community. We are all one big family who helps one another and cheers each other on!

How has Cypress-Fairbanks ISD impacted you, your family or your business?

Cy-Fair has helped grow and mold me into the teacher I am today. I’ve had the amazing experience to work with and learn from some of the best administrators and teachers. I’ve met some of my best friends by working here in Cy-Fair. We really are one big community that supports one another!

What piece of advice would you like to give to Cypress-Fairbanks ISD students?

Never give up! You can achieve anything you set out to do! If you can dream it, you can achieve it!

What’s your favorite thing to do, see, eat or experience in our community?

I love trying new restaurants, attending movies, concerts and sporting events!


Interested in getting involved, being featured as an upcoming Cheerleader (or featuring someone who you think makes our district great) or in learning more about how Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District makes the larger Cypress-Fairbanks community a better place to work, live, study and play for all of us? Visit CFISDSpirit.com to cheer along with our team!

CFISD Classroom Cheerleader Spotlight: Aaron Perez

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As the third-largest school district in Texas and the largest employer in Northwest Harris County, Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District impacts the lives of far more than the 115,000 students and thousands of teachers, employees and administrators across 88 elementary, middle and high school campuses and special program facilities that study and work within our walls. In fact, we’re proud that as a top-rated school district, the work we do within our school system extends beyond the schools and permeates within our neighborhoods and businesses, making the greater Cypress-Fairbanks community a better place to work, live, study and play. The Cypress-Fairbanks community excels because of our CFISD cheerleaders; the individuals and businesses that invest in and support our students and community at large.

Today, we highlight Aaron Perez, Cypress Springs High School junior, who plays French horn and serves as drum major for the Cypress Springs Panther marching band.

How long have you lived/worked in Cypress-Fairbanks?

Eleven years.

Why are you so passionate about being a part of the Cypress-Fairbanks community?

I am passionate about this community because of the wonderful people I get to interact with every day. Cypress-Fairbanks contains a multitude of cultures, all with their own unique ideas. I believe that having an understanding of all schools of thought grows empathy between all people, so that we may be accepting of each other and compassionate towards one another.

How has Cypress-Fairbanks ISD impacted you, your family or your business?

CFISD has been an enormous blessing to my family by not only providing a quality education for me and my brothers, but also opening many doors for us. My brothers, Yoel and Alex, are the first in our family to attend college. They were a part of the Cypress Springs High School band, just as I currently am. Being in a band in this school district has impacted me by teaching me a valuable lesson: music is not about playing the correct notes and rhythms, but it is about interpersonal connection. Music is simply a language used to tell stories or convey complex emotions that cannot be explained in words. Music should never be played for music’s sake, but rather as a medium for displaying empathy and humanity. Although I learned this lesson through music, the same concept applies to all aspects of our lives. We should always act with compassion and seek understanding.

What piece of advice would you like to give to Cypress-Fairbanks ISD students?

Intentionally seek out moments to be compassionate. It is easy to get wrapped up in the daily stresses of our lives and forget that there are others around us who need kindness.

What’s your favorite thing to do, see, eat or experience in our community?

I enjoy going to the Boardwalk at Towne Lake with my friends because it has great restaurants and beautiful scenery!


Interested in getting involved, being featured as an upcoming Cheerleader (or featuring someone who you think makes our district great) or in learning more about how Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District makes the larger Cypress-Fairbanks community a better place to work, live, study and play for all of us? Visit CFISDSpirit.com to cheer along with our team!