November 2015
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Share the great news about public education by adding the FOTPS logo to your webpage and social media.


School districts can piggyback on money-saving contracts available through two national cooperative purchasing programs under one roof, The Keystone Purchasing Network andPEPPM Technology Bidding and Purchasing Program.  Both programs advertise and solicit sealed bids, which are awarded to the most responsive and responsible bidders.  The result is higher quality at lower prices.

We are thrilled to report 167 districts have joined the network. 


Network membership is $300 for the school year. If your district is not listed and you'd like to be a part of the Friends Network, please call FOTPS Executive Director Stacey Osborne at (512) 334-6555 or sosborne@fotps.org.


Want to help out Friends of Texas Public Schools?


When you shop on Amazon, go to www.smile.amazon.com and log in as you normally do. Amazon will donate a percentage of your purchase to Friends of Texas Public Schools when you select us as your charity of choice.

DK Haney Roofing is a certified TIPS and TXMAS vendor dedicated to helping schools get roofing projects done. Schools have been our specialty for 23 years, so we can help you navigate insurance claims and board approvals. Our state-of-the-art roof management portal provides instant access to all your roofs and reports. Call 866-379-4846. 
Raise Your Army of Ambassadors

Training the 600,000+ people who work in our schools to step up as ambassadors for themselves, their students, and their schools is the most effective long-term strategy for restoring the public's confidence in public education and neutralizing the destructive rhetoric leveled against Texas public schools.

Ambassador program participants gain actionable strategies for raising morale, strengthening the culture of brotherhood, and restoring public pride, hope, optimism and confidence in their schools. 

Contact Leslie Milder at lmilder@fotps.org, or by phone at 214-498-7680 to get started.


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A Note from Our Founder

Scott MilderThe College Board released the results of the recent SAT exam earlier this month. The results showed that the average score of the Class of 2015 on the math section of the SAT dropped nine points from last year to 486 and the critics once again wasted no time condemning our schools as failures.  Placing emphasis on SAT scores is a disservice to the students and teachers who are working hard to increase the number of students aspiring to higher education.
 
At Friends of Texas Public Schools we are committed to educating Texans about the strengths and achievements of Texas public schools. My wife Leslie and I founded this organization in 2004 with the mission of facilitating respectful conversations about Texas public schools through honest communication, productive dialogue, and relentless encouragement. We believe that our students, teachers and administrators deserve a great deal more credit than they are given, particularly in light of the release of these SAT scores. 
 
We agree with Commissioner Williams that the increased participation rates are actually a positive reflection on Texas schools and their efforts to get more students to consider post-secondary education. In a state with one of highest percentages of students on free lunch, LEP, and single parent homes our goal is not to manipulate scores by limiting participation as many states do. Rather, we would prefer to have more students from all backgrounds aspiring to higher education, even if that causes our scores to decline.
 
Alief Superintendent, HD Chambers, also said that it stands to reason that SAT scores will be lower when more students are taking the test. He said that scores would improve if we align our TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) curriculum with the standards of norm-referenced tests like the SAT and ACT exams. "We align our coursework to the TEKS, not to the SAT," Chambers said. To his point, I say, it's like eating an apple then taking a test on what an orange tastes like.
                      
Some have attributed the lower SAT scores in math to the recent decision in the state of Texas to no longer require all high school students to take Algebra II. Bill Hammond, one persistently misinformed critic of public education with impure motives, is quoted as saying that not requiring students to take Algebra II and other challenging courses dooms our students to lower paying jobs and a mediocre education. We disagree. College preparation is not the goal set for public schools by the state. Rather, we focus on helping our students meet state curriculum requirements known as TEKS. Our students are excelling at that goal.
 
Sincerely,
 
Scott Milder
Founder
Friends of Texas Public Schools

Get Your Tickets to the Friend of the Year Gala Now!  Room Block Available at Waco Area Hotel

Tickets are still available fro the Friend of the Year Gala honoring Dr. Mike Moses. The Gala will be held on Wednesday, December 2 at the Baylor Club at McLane Stadium in Waco, Texas, and will include dinner, entertainment, and a silent auction. Host tables are available for $1500, and individual tickets are $125. 

We have reserved a room block at the Courtyard Waco  for the event. Information about how to reserve rooms is available on the event website.

FOTPS Corporate Partners at the Gold and Platinum levels will also have the opportunity to serve as Table Hosts at the event. If you are interested in being a Corporate Partner, please contact Executive Director Stacey Osborne at (512) 334-6555 or online at sosborne@fotps.org

To reserve a table or purchase individual tickets, visit the EventBrite Registration page.
Businesses Joining Campaign to Support and Promote Public Schools
We are pleased to announce our new corporate partner program to better incorporate our organization's mission and vision and give companies the opportunity to show they support public education in Texas.

FOTPS Founder Scott Milder said that the new program's emphasis on partnership is essential. "We consciously decided that it was important to recognize our Corporate partners for what they are: true partners in our mission of educating Texans about the strengths and achievements of our public schools. The companies and organizations that support us also support the schools, and we are thrilled to welcome them to our organization."

The new Corporate Partner program, which was launched in September, offers companies and organizations the opportunity to partner with the organization at levels ranging from $500 to $5000. Benefits for partners include multiple benefits including opportunities to advertise to educators and their supporters.

Corporate Spotlight 

Founded by educators nearly 40 years ago, Northwest Evaluation Association™ (NWEA™) is a global not-for-profit educational services organization known for our flagship interim assessment, Measures of Academic Progress® (MAP®). More than 7,400 partners in U.S. schools, districts, education agencies, and international schools trust us to offer pre-kindergarten through grade 12 assessments that accurately measure student growth and learning needs, professional development that fosters educators' ability to accelerate student learning, and research that supports assessment validity and data interpretation. To better inform instruction and maximize every learner's academic growth, educators currently use NWEA assessments and items with nearly 10 million students. 

 
Spotlight on Our Regional Service Centers

The state of Texas has a state-wide system of 20 regional education service centers created by the 59th Texas Legislature to assist school districts across the state. Their role in public education across Texas is to assist school districts in improving student performance in each region of the system, enable school districts to operate more efficiently and economically, and implement initiatives assigned by the legislature or commissioner. 

Friends of Texas Public Schools will feature one of these service centers in each edition of this e-newsletter, letting readers know about the great things these behind-the-scenes educators are doing for Texas students.


Region Spotlight: Region 3

The Region Three Educational Service Center is located in Victoria, Texas and it serves serves 39 public school districts located in an eleven county area of 10,833 square miles serving approximately 50,000 students. The Executive Director is Dr. Patty Schafer, who was the Superintendent at San Marcus ISD from 2007 to 2010. Dr. Shafer said that one of the biggest challenges the service center faces is reaching out to the large number of smaller rural communities in the region. "We really want to engage the parents and community members in these smaller communities, and we're coming up with some innovative ways to reach out to them and provide resources as we are able. We're excited about the opportunity to expose the students and families in these communities to the larger possibilities that are out there." To help engage communities more effectively, the Center recently launched a new app, available free of charge for IOS and Android devices. The app is called R3 Family Engagement, and it provides resources, tools, and tips for for parents and students to more actively engage with their schools. R3 Family Engagement, which offers content in both English and Spanish, includes resources covering everything from Early Childhood Intervention to Health and Nutrition and College and Career Planning. You can see a demonstration on the ESC website. 

For more information about Region Three ESC, visit http://www.esc3.net.


Advertise with Friends!

With more than a million hits annually on our website and more than 22,000 e-news subscribers, we are pleased to offer advertising and sponsorship opportunities available to organizations wishing to reach school leaders across Texas who support Friends of Texas Public Schools. 

For information on getting your organization's message out to Friends of Texas Public Schools followers and readers, please email Scott Milder at smilder@fotps.org.