Conceptual Design for Second Katy ISD Stadium Unveiled

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As a follow up to the May and June Board meetings where the justification for a second stadium was made and the project architect was selected, the Board of Trustees and public got their first look at the conceptual design for Katy ISD’s proposed second stadium Monday night. The stadium project is just one of three projects being considered for a Student Activities Facilities referendum this fall.

The conceptual design was developed in part by a cross-representational group of community members who participated in a design workshop in June. During the workshop, the group discussed the basic design components for the new stadium, along with traffic and pedestrian circulation, location of the field house and orientation of the stadium in relation to the site and the existing stadium.

The consensus of the group was to design a facility with a capacity of up to 14,000 seats and up to 4,667 parking spaces subject to the amount of available funds. The new facility will consist of an activity center, multi-purpose rooms, field house, flex spaces, athletic offices, security command center, officials rooms, locker rooms, storage, restrooms, training rooms, press box, film decks, warming kitchen, administrative offices, and other support areas. Read more…

Katy ISD Students Receive Awards for National PTA Reflections Program

Two Katy ISD students recently received awards for their National PTA Reflections entries. Cinco Ranch High School’s Samrath Kaur won an Award of Excellence for her visual arts entry “Frozen in Time,” and Beck Jr. High student, Katelyn Smith, won an Award of Merit for her photography entry, “What a Good Book Can Do.”

The National PTA Reflections program is a cornerstone arts program developed in 1969 to encourage students to explore their talents and express themselves. The Reflections Program has inspired millions of students to reflect on a specific theme and create original artwork. Each year, students of all ages are recognized for bringing the theme to life through choreography, film production, literature, music composition, photography and visual arts.

Additionally, the Texas PTA awarded the following students from Katy ISD Council of PTAs with state-level recognition:

Pre-K – 2nd grade
Brandon Wees (Stanley PTA), Film Production, Award of Excellence for “Super Bow-Wow”
Aayushi Gandhi (Alexander PTA), Literature, Award of Excellence for “The Magical Dolphin”
Sophia Lukyanchenko (Creech PTA), Visual Arts, Award of Excellence for “I can see earth” 

3rd – 5th grade
Jonathan Harvey (Creech PTA), Film Production, Award of Merit for “Magic of the Moment Gymnastics”
Samuel Aqui (Kilpatrick PTA), Photography, Award of Excellence for “Riding in the Mist”
Elizabeth Cowand (Williams PTA), Visual Arts, Award of Excellence for “Beautiful Butterfly”

6th – 8th grade
Aaron Barnard (Cinco Ranch Jr. High PTA), Film Production, Overall Award of Excellence for “Marley’s Dream Come True”
Katelyn Smith (Beck Jr. High PTA), Photography, Overall Award of Excellence for “What a Good Book Can Do.”

9th – 12th grade
Jack Rinderknecht (Cinco Ranch High School PTSA), Film Production, Award of Merit for “What is a Moment?”
Melissa Black (Cinco Ranch High School PTSA), Literature, Award of Excellence for “Three Seconds Photography”
Samrath Kaur (Cinco Ranch High School PTSA), Visual Arts, Overall Award of Excellence for “Frozen in Time”

For more information about the PTA Reflections Program, visit the National PTA and Texas PTA websites.

College-sponsored Merit Scholarship Winners Named

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation released the names of more than 2,500 winners of National Merit Scholarships financed by U.S. colleges and universities. Among these talented students includes seven from Katy ISD:

  • Woo Choi, Taylor HS, National Merit Texas A&M University Scholarship, probable career field: orthodontics;
  • Sohye Joo, Taylor HS, National Merit Texas A&M University Scholarship, probable career field: biomedicine;
  • Grant Winkelmann, Taylor HS, National Merit Texas A&M University Scholarship, probable career field: agricultural management;
  • David Bjerkaas, Cinco Ranch HS, National Merit University of Oklahoma Scholarship, probable career field: chemical engineering;
  • Angela Camille, Seven Lakes HS, National Merit Texas A&M University Scholarship, probable career field: chemical engineering;
  • Bohao Cheng, Cinco Ranch HS, National Merit Texas A&M University Scholarship, probable career field: petroleum engineering;
  • Dylan Rasch, Seven Lakes HS, National Merit Texas A&M University Scholarship, probable career field: geology;

Officials of each sponsor college selected their scholarship winners from among the Finalists in the 2013 National Merit Scholarship Program who plan to attend their institution. These awards provide between $500 and $2,000 annually for up to four years of undergraduate study at the institution financing the scholarship. 

To date this academic year, Katy ISD has had a total of 18 seniors receiving scholarships through the National Merit Scholarship Corporation – three Corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship winners, eight National Merit Scholarship winners and the seven students announced last week. An additional group of College-sponsored Merit Scholarship winners is expected to be announced in July. 

For more information, visit www.nationalmerit.org.

Katy ISD Participates in Disaster Relief Efforts

Katy ISD recently participated in an effort to bring support to the cities that have been affected by recent disasters. Many staff, students, parents and community members joined the district effort to raise funds for the communities of Moore, Oklahoma; West, Texas; and Granbury, Texas. The Katy ISD community raised more than $27,700 for the communities, including gift cards.

The district partnered with the Brazos Valley Schools Credit Union to set up separate accounts available at any location in Katy. The results from the disaster relief efforts by location are:

Oklahoma City/Moore, OK
Cash      $4,420.89
Cards     $7,074.21
Total      $11,495.10

West, TX
Cash     $3,958.17
Cards    $3,183.11
Total     $7,142.28

Granbury, TX
Cash      $3,854.14
Cards     $5,226.70
Total      $9,080.84

 Katy ISD Total Amount Raised:  $27,718.22

Katy ISD thanks everyone who contributed to this effort, and the Brazos Valley Schools Credit Union for their help in making a difference to these suffering communities.

Board Names New Director of Career and Technical Education

The Katy ISD Board of Trustees approved the hiring of Sarah Martin as the new director of Career and Technical Education for Katy ISD. She is currently the Administrative Coordinator for the Virginia Beach Public Schools Office of Career and Technical Education.

Martin has been in her current role at the Virginia Beach Public Schools Office for 12 years. Having held a variety of positions in the education field, her experience includes developing curriculum, planning and implementing lessons for all levels of marketing, and managing federal grants.

She holds a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education, a Master of Science in Education, and a Doctor of Philosophy from Old Dominion University, and has been a member of numerous professional organizations.

Board Names New Principal of Hutsell Elementary

During their June Work Study Meeting, the Katy ISD Board of Trustees approved Margie Blount as the new principal of Hutsell Elementary. Blount is currently the assistant principal at Hutsell.

Blount began her educational career in 1991 as a Special Education and Pre-Kindergarten teacher in Shelbyville ISD. Her career includes 12 years as principal in Center, TX, as well as experience at Memorial Parkway Jr. High and McMeans Jr. High as an Instructional Coach. She has been in her current role as assistant principal since 2012.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Secondary Education, and a master’s degree in Mid-Management in Secondary Education, both from Stephen F. Austin University. She is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Lamar University.

Wolfe Elementary Music Teacher Celebrates 36 Years of Service

The Wolfe Elementary community recently celebrated the retirement of long-time music teacher Debbie Vaello. Ms. Vaello celebrated 36 years of service with the district, and many honors and awards throughout her career.

The retirement celebration included a medley of songs from the Katy ISD Elementary Music Ensemble, performances by the Wolfe Choir and 5th Grade Wolfe Star Dancers, and reflections on Ms. Vaello’s career by current and former students. The event also included presentations of her many accomplishments by the staff at Wolfe Elementary.

Ms. Vaello’s awards include Wolfe Teacher of the Year in 1994-95, writing lyrics for Wolfe Elementary birthday celebrations, directing numerous musicals, and being involved in preparation for visits and interviews when Wolfe Elementary was named a Blue Ribbon School in 1998.

“When I began teaching in Katy ISD in 1977, there were only four elementary schools. Although the district has grown tremendously, I feel it has maintained the caring atmosphere of a small-town school district,” says Vaello. “Katy ISD has always supported the fine arts, and I’m fortunate to have taught music in one of the best districts for music education in the nation.”

Many of Ms. Vaello’s former students have continued to pursue music after elementary school by performing in bands in the Houston area, becoming music teachers, and being selected as members of the Texas Choral Directors Association (TCDA) All-State Choir.

Mayde Creek High School Students Selected as HYPE Finalists

The Tony Award winning Alley Theatre announced that Mayde Creek senior theatre students Katie Morrison and Gerardo Velasquez were selected as two of the top 6 finalists for the Houston Young Playwrights Exchange (HYPE). 

HYPE finalist playwrights spend six weeks developing their scripts in an intensive workshop with Alley Education staff and guest artists. The workshop culminates with a weekend of staged readings on the Alley’s Neuhaus Stage. Selected playwrights will receive a $500 stipend for participating in the workshop.

Katie Morrison’s play Pamoja Na Wema takes its title from a Swahili phrase meaning “with kindness” and examines how one act of random kindness makes a difference in the life of its protagonist.

Gerardo Velasquez’s play Soup and Gift Baskets finds its protagonist dealing with a diagnosis of cancer and how it may affect the most important relationship in his life.

Click here for more information about the HYPE program.

WoodCreek Jr. High Honored with Superintendent’s ABCD Club Award

IMG_0928WoodCreek Jr. High was honored today for going Above and Beyond the Call of Duty and was named to the Superintendent’s ABCD Club. This honor recognizes campuses, departments and individual staff members that excel by enriching experiences for our students and improving their campus and community. WoodCreek Jr. High joins Bear Creek Elementary, Cardiff Jr. High and McMeans Jr. High as a recipient of this prestigious award.

WoodCreek Jr. High was nominated by a campus parent who relocated to Texas and whose children are both diagnosed with PPD-NOS, an autism spectrum disorder. A concern that the children would not be able to adapt well to such drastic changes was quickly pushed aside when they met with welcoming and understanding responses from WoodCreek staff.

“From the moment we received our first communication from the campus, the staff at WoodCreek Jr. High has gone above and beyond,” said Barbara Vass, WCJH parent. “I want to commend the staff at WCJH for their excellence at communicating with me on everything that the staff is doing with, and working on, for both of my boys to make their time at WCJH successful both academically and socially.” Vass goes on to acknowledge several staff members in particular that have all gone above and beyond the expectations of teachers or administrators, and have mentored her children with patience and understanding.

Congratulations to Wendy Goshorn, Todd Hunter, Tracy Lutes, Gretchen Stockberger, Lindsay McMeans, Kelly Stroud, PASS staff, and the entire staff at WoodCreek Jr. High.

Memorial Parkway Elementary Participates in Relay Recess

Memorial Parkway Elementary recently held the first ever Relay Recess (part of Relay for Life) for their students. Parents, teachers, community members and students came together for one day to walk and participate in fun physical activities. The day began with an opening ceremony parade, and continued throughout the school day with fundraising activities for each grade level. The Memorial Parkway Elementary community raised $9,000 to benefit the American Cancer Society. The Relay Recess event was co-chaired by Nina Gutierrez and Valerie Reeves.