01/2 - 01/10

January 4th - January 10th

Mustangs earn 1st Place over the weekend
Congratulations to the Houston Wrestling Team are in order. The Mustangs won 1st place at the Trojan Invitational held at Millington Central High School on Saturday, January 9, 2016.

Individual earning medals:
Ben Allsopp (4th)
Jordan Kelfer (4th)
Joseph Dawson (3rd)
Jack Treas (3rd)
Jake Manuel (3rd)
Luke Fleming (2nd)
Nick Larkin (2nd)
Sam Meagher (2nd)
Austin Branham (2nd)
Mason Bowden (1st)
Tanner Spiecha (1st)
Travis Arthur (1st)
Matthew Dale (1st)
January’s Spotlight on Excellence
Happy New Year! Kick the year off by watching Spotlight on Excellence, Superintendent Jason Manuel's very own talk show. This month, he interviews a young student who is currently training a guide dog at Dogwood Elementary School and much much more!
GMSD Student Hits the Right Notes
Congratulations are in order to HHS 10th grader, Ruby Rhee who has been selected to perform at Carnegie Hall in NYC. Ms. Rhee, along with teacher Jim Smith and our new School Board Chairman Linda Fisher will all be featured in next month’s Spotlight on Excellence.
Meet your GMSD Stampede 5K Color Run planning team!
Partnering with the Germantown Education Foundation, these seasoned teachers and regular marathon/5K participants are just the sort of experts to plan our first ever GMSD 5K run in the spring. “It was amazing,” said School Coordinated Health Coordinator Brian Fisher, “I told them they had to write one idea on the wall before they left the meeting—and by the end the wall was completely full of incredible ideas”.
Classroom CRASHERS
Two or more lucky teachers are about to win the classroom of their dreams
On Monday, all instructional staff were informed about the upcoming GMSD Crash My Classroom Contest.  The Director of Academic Achievement and the Communications and Instructional Technology Coordinator are partnering talents, time, and budgetary funds to give some teachers the classroom makeover of a lifetime.  Cutting edge technology, 21st century furniture, unusual learning spaces--the sky is the limit.  Applications for teachers can be found here.  The deadline to apply for the contest is February 19th.
Jim Smith was named the Germantown Education Commission’s Teacher of the Month 
Jim Smith, director of the award-winning Houston High School Band, has been named December 2015 Teacher of the Month by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen and the Germantown Education Commission.

Smith has been an educator for 32 years and recently announced he plans to retire. He has served 25 years at Houston High. During this time, he has created an organization that has performed at the highest levels among high school music programs across the country. HHS bands have performed across the country under his direction, most recently at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

The veteran educator is known for welcoming every student with an interest in being a part of the Houston band. Each year the band includes student with special needs who might be denied the opportunity to participate if they were in other schools. His only requirements are good citizenship and hard work, according to those who nominated him for the citywide honor. He is also known for his commitment to helping students beyond the classroom and for taking steps beyond his job responsibilities to care for student who special circumstances at home or at school, including arranging for meal donation on many occasions and even for a used car purchase for a family in need.

Smith is a member of the Music Educator’s National Conference, West Tennessee School Band and Orchestra Association and the Tennessee Music Educators Association. These memberships are helpful to students in that when they need to practice for a chair of scholarship audition, he can arrange for them to work with other esteemed music professionals. Smith’s fund raising efforts significantly impact the Houston High budget and the HHS band is able to self-fund its $500,000 annual budget.
(Courtesy of Stacey Ewell, City of Germantown)

Houston High School senior Timothy Liang has been named winner of the December 2015 Youth Excellence Award
He received the award, which is presented by the Germantown Board of Mayor and Aldermen and they city’s Education Commission, at the December 14 BMA meeting held at City Hall.

Liang is known at Houston High as an outstanding student and a talented musician. During his high school career, he has taken only honors and Advanced Placement classes when they are offered, has earned high scores on AP exams and has been named both an AP Scholar with Distinction and a National AP Scholar. Liang ranks in the top two percent of his class, is a National Merit Semifinalist and has earned a perfect score of 36 on the ACT.

Liang plays the saxophone and has been a member of the Houston varsity band throughout high school. In 2015, he was selected as a member of both the All-West Tennessee Concert Band and the Jazz Band. He has earned the first chair in the saxophone section and was asked to serve as the saxophone section leader for the varsity band. In addition to his musical achievements, Liang participates in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) competitions, Knowledge Bowl team, Latin Club, and Key Club.
(Courtesy of Stacey Ewell, City of Germantown)
More Winners...
The City’s January winners, turned up another HHS student as their Youth Excellence Award winner. This month the Mayor, the Board Alderman, and the Education Commission will honor Katarina Jankov, a senior that holds an astounding 4.629 weighted grade point average, scored a perfect 36 on the ACT and a perfect 2400 on the SAT. Our district office took particular notice of her Senior Project—in which she traveled internationally to examine the problem of human trafficking. Everyone is invited to attend the Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting on Monday, January 25, at 6 p.m., for the awards presentation.
Closely following the announcement of her upcoming win at City Hall, Jankov has also been named one of this month’s Commercial Appeal Academic All-Stars. You can read the full story, here.

Can you think of someone who needs to be nominated for Germantown Teacher of the Month or Youth Excellence Award?
Keep the nominations coming! Commission members will consider nominations received by the second Wednesday of each month during the monthly meeting on the third Tuesday of each month. Nominees remain in the pool until chosen or until the end of the school year. Please remember that each nominee needs two letters of recommendation. Nomination forms are available online at here.
Riverdale’s Latest Cover Girl
Debbie Flynt, one of our three exceptional art teachers at Riverdale Elementary School, along with her fellow art teachers work with students at Open House to complete a big mural. “The project was a huge hit,” says colleague and art teacher Tracy Sammons.
Recently, the art department was very excited to announce that Ms. Flynt had a lesson published in the professional magazine, Arts and Activities. “Not only did the article get published, but she got the cover too, which is pretty amazing!” says a very proud Sammons. The article details a well-planned 8th grade ceramics lesson. Teachers are often isolated in their own successful classrooms and schools—but as exemplary teachers in their field its important to spend some time reflecting and sharing best practices with teachers all over the country. Check out her front cover art lesson by clicking here.

The little shout-outs that make a big difference
We see it all over the district—each school, local publications—all doing their part to stop and recognize the hard work and dedication of some of our best and brightest employees and students. We searched the Internet and came across these…
Elementary School Teachers of the Week:
Farmington Elementary School
3rd Grade Teacher Lori Pettit
Nominated by her peers for always going above and beyond for her student and colleagues, Ms. Pettit will enjoy the honorary parking space this week.
Riverdale Elementary School
7th Grade Teacher Mrs. Johnson
Mrs. Johnson is fun and creative. She always thinks of new ways to help us learn.
Germantown News’ December Star Student (sponsored by Fidelity Investments)
Congratulations to Avery Williams of Riverdale Elementary School!
Dogwood Elementary celebrated an entire month of thanks in December.
Every day, several employees and volunteers were publicly thanked via a PTA Facebook page.

The SEARCH is on for Future Mustangs!
January 25-February 5
Do you have a high school aged friend or acquaintance that is interested in attending Houston High School? Help them picture themselves as future Mustang! With a the highest district average ACT score in the State, 17 consecutive years being named “Best of the Preps” by the Commercial Appeal, 39 State Athletic Titles, a world-touring, award winning Fine Arts program and a fully developed AP Program, there’s a lot to discover at Houston High School. There’s something for everyone! Please help spread the word about our Open Enrollment Period and our upcoming Open House at Houston High School on February 4th at 6pm. Please visit the GMSD website for more information.

Start working on those New Year’s Resolutions with a FREE workout
Germantown’s Pure Barre has partnered with GMSD to offer a FREE classes at individual school locations. Please feel free to attend if your schedule allows. The class at Farmington Elementary last week was a blast!
12th - 2:30pm @ Houston Middle
26th - 3:30pm @ Riverdale
28th - 4:30pm @ Dogwood ES

Java City Café premieres in the cafeteria
As Houston High students returned from the break they were greeted by a welcomed change in the cafeteria. Part of the Aramark takeover, their café received some upgrades. A new service counter called, “Green Street Deli” offers up a made-to-order sandwich shop, much like a Subway or a Quizznos. The sales in the cafeteria jumped exponentially during the Deli’s first week—seeing a rise in the lunch participants springing from 170 students to 400.
What are the students most excited about, however? Unsurprisingly, the entrance of “Java City Café”, a grab-n-go counter where students can purchase flavored coffees and other breakfast/bistro snacks, fits the bill for most students. Java City Café is open throughout the day and has become a fast favorite of the student body.
Pictured here, Superintendent Manuel takes Bartlett Superintendent David Stephens and his school board for a quick tour of the new and improved cafeteria. Since the opening of the new and improved cafeteria, HHS has hosted several visitors interested in the recent changes. Last week, our team even spotted the principal of Collierville High School sampling the pizza!
What's new in your school cafeteria?
Check out this great promotion being offered currently at all GMSD schools.
Fifth Measure named the 8th best choir in the nation!
“Making music without instruments is hot right now -- in movies and on TV. Now students from a local school are using their voices to make a difference.” Click here to find out why ABC24 has selected Houston High School and featured the 5th Measure in this week’s Local Cool School segment. On the day of the segment filming, Dr. Billy Rayburn received the good news about their national ranking. Congratulations to the Fifth Measure!

Our very own Allie Allen stars in St. Jude’s latest video
The kids of St. Jude have a special message for friend and supporter Ellen DeGeneres who won the People's Choice Awards Favorite Humanitarian award. The honor comes with a $200,000 donation from Walgreens, which she graciously gave to St. Jude.  Click here to watch Allie Allen lead the charge in a thank you video that is sure to brighten your day.
State reps grab coffee and input from local school boards
Last Thursday, the municipal school boards united to host an informal event, giving them a chance to put in some face time with their legislative State representatives. The brainchild of GMSD board member, Lisa Parker, the event could not have been more of a success. Parker got the idea while sitting in a “Conquering the Hill” seminar earlier this fall in Nashville. Exactly as planned, each municipal board sent some of their members and their Superintendents.
Mark White, Brian Kelsey, Ron Lollar, and Curry Todd were all in attendance to hear concerns and make statements about upcoming educational legislation. The focus of the meeting quickly turned to a close examination of Senator Kelsey’s upcoming bill supporting a school voucher program. The proposed legislation, or "opportunity scholarship," would let parents move a child from a failing public school in Tennessee to a private school with funding from the state. Kelsey explained the purpose and intent of the bill.
The event, named Back To The Hill Breakfast, was a perfect chance for the legislators and school boards to converse easily about such topics. “Hopefully, we’ll stay fresh in their minds as they make their way back to Nashville this week,” says event organizer and board member Lisa Parker.  See photographs from the event by clicking here.

At Your Local Library
Study-Us at the Germantown Library
Teens ages 13 to 18 years are invited to the first in a series of Teen Time programs, Study-Us (a play on the word “studious”), to learn new skills, do homework and other school assignments, prepare for college, work on resumes and more at Germantown Community Library, 1925 Exeter Road, on Sunday, January 31 from 2 to 5:30 p.m. Library staff will be on hand for research help and refreshments will be provided to keep energy high. Pre-registration is required and begins on Sunday, January 24. Call 757-7323.
Friends of Germantown Library Book Drive
January 25-29
*The teacher who receives the most donated books will win $100
*The winning school library in Germantown will receive $500!
*Please send ANY gently used books (children's, adult, YA, Nonfiction, etc.) to your child's class during the above dates
*DVD's and Audiobooks are accepted as well
*Encyclopedia/Reference Sets
*Medical or Textbooks more than 3 yrs. old
*Coloring Books
*Anything damaged -torn, missing, or marked pages

Who’s being honored at the upcoming School Board Meeting?
Farmington Elementary School- Tammy Wilson (teacher), Cyndi Flores (bus driver), Will Bostic (former student)
Dogwood Elementary School- Mary Lirette (teacher)
Riverdale Elementary School- Karen Barbieri (teacher)
Houston Middle School- Keri Eldridge (teacher)
Houston High School- Evie Wright (teacher)
Expect of a full report of what caught our eye about these special honorees for this month’s board recognitions. But, if you know one of them, feel free to join us for the meeting:
Tuesday, January 19th
6:30 p.m.
Germantown City Hall

A word about the change to school start times
The committees have met, the survey has been completed, the district administration has arrived at a determination.  Now, the negotiations with Collierville are currently underway.  The announcement will be made soon!
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