Thursday, December 19, 2013

Winter Holiday Schedule for PTISD

Pine Tree ISD Will be Closed Dec. 23 - Jan. 3 for Winter Break

Pine Tree ISD schools and offices will be closed for winter break Monday, Dec. 23 through Friday, Jan. 3. Administrative offices will reopen and classes will resume Monday, Jan. 6.

The Pine Tree ISD Tax Office will observe the following schedule:
Open:  Monday, Dec. 30, 7:30am-4:30pm, and  Tuesday, Dec. 31, 7:30am - 3:00pm.
Closed: Monday, Dec. 23 - Friday, Dec. 27th, and Wednesday, Jan. 1 - Friday, Jan. 3rd.

We hope you all have a safe and happy holiday season and look forward to seeing you again in the New Year.   Happy New Year!

ArtsView Provides Holiday Presentation to PT Elementary

Pine Tree Elementary School students to enjoyed a live presentation today from the ArtsView Children’s Theatre Road Troupe who presented, "The Gingerbread Girl."  The troupe traveled both to White Oak Elementary School and Pine Tree Elementary School the week of December 16th to perform for over 1,000 students.  

"Community partnerships like this provide a great educational opportunity for our students," said Vickie Echols, Pine Tree Communication Director  "The arts, live theatre in particular, opens a new perspective for students, brings people together and contributes to a number of important skills such as literacy, attention, and language."  

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

PTISD Supports First Year Teachers, Hires the Best

KETK - View Video

 Pine Tree, Longview, Gilmer and Kilgore Independent School Districts are among a list of 18 East Texas schools who have seen an increase in the hiring of 'freshman' or first-time teachers since 2009.

Pine Tree Human Resource Director Suzanne Shackelford, says while the number of first time teachers they hire is on the rise, Pine Tree looks for the best teaching candidates of all ages,
"When we hire anybody, it's what's best for our school and what's best for our students," says Shackelford. "So if they're a good fit for our school, you bet we'll hire them." 
Shackelford also says first-time teachers bring a fresh outlook to the school, 
"They come in and bring these great and new ideas, and I think that's a great benefit for our schools." 
She says the freshman teachers are graduating with an important knowledge of technical skills; something that veteran teachers may not have.
"A teacher who's been teaching awhile that has the great educational skills and discipline skills," says Shackelford. "And if you have the things that you need in the classroom and you pair them with this new teacher that comes in with this new technology, it's a great mix." 
Jatinder Jhass, a first-year teacher at Pine Tree Intermediate, agrees with Shackelford saying teamwork and support have made her first year go smoothly,
"Getting ideas from them, sharing ideas, putting them together, it really helps me a lot," says Jhass. "I'm really enjoying being a teacher, it's been awesome." 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Students in Advanced Placement Government Learn from Local Expert

Students at PTHS were learning from a local expert today.   Mr. Darren Coleman of Boon, Shaver, Coleman, Echols and Goolsby, PLLC, a local law firm, provided the students in Cathy Williams' Advanced Placement Government class with information about the Federal District Court system. 

"My class has been studying the Judicial Branch of our government and I wanted them to have an opportunity to hear from and ask questions of someone actively involved in the process," said Williams. 

In Memory of Kendra Gonzalez

Pine Tree ISD is deeply saddened by the loss of one of our tenth grade students, Kendra Gonzalez, who died due to a sudden illness. The school district’s crisis management procedures are in place to help students and faculty who knew her.

As part of our crisis management plan, we have provided school counselors to meet with high school students throughout the day. Counselors will be available throughout the week to help our students, faculty, and staff cope with this terrible tragedy.

Parents were notified through a letter sent home, to contact the school should they have questions or concerns about their own son or daughter as they process the difficult news. Please keep this family in your thoughts and prayers.

Services for Kendra Gonzalez:

Wednesday 12/18/13 from 5:00pm to 11:00pm. at Jehovah Witness, 1206 Jenny St., Longview.

Funeral Services: 
Thursday 12/19/13 at 3pm. White Cemetery on Brentwood Rd. Longview.

The family asks that instead of flowers or plants, cards and support would be appreciated, and may be delivered during one of the services or mailed to the Gonzales Family, 700 Camille Dr., Longview, Tx. 75604.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Pine Tree ISD Collaborates with Community for Stuff-A-Bus Food Drive

Article in the 
Longview News Journal
by Richard Yeakley

A community-wide food drive landed four Longview nonprofit organizations with nonperishable goods for the holiday season.

Sponsored and organized by Longview Transit, the city’s first Stuff-A-Bus campaign was a rousing success, said Damiya Pentecost, the bus services mobility manager.

“We had two very full buses, and all in all together ... I think it is a success. It is a definite success,” Pentecost said. “ I am really impressed and grateful for the community that came out and supported this event. I couldn’t have asked for a better first event.”

She added people gave in a variety of ways, either through a monetary donation or through grab bags prepared at the different retailers.

The charity drive, which drew together Longview Transit and Longview, Pine Tree and Spring Hill ISDs, collected nonperishable food, dog food and other much-needed items for Longview Community Ministries, Hiway 80 Rescue Mission, and Newgate Mission.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Regional 4th & 5th Grade Robotics Competition

Pine Tree ISD fourth-graders Dylan, left, and 
Ethan watch their robot during a practice run Friday.
Walton Wyoming Smith, Jr., better known as "Wy" to the Region 7 Gifted and Talented Robotics competitors, returned for the region's fourth and fifth grade students as they go head-to-head Friday, Dec. 13, 2013, in the Intermediate Fall Robotics Competition. Nearly 700 high school students on 177 teams from around the region competed in late October.

The event has a theme that is a spin-off of "Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark" and a similar story line for character Wy. In a meeting of the minds, Region 7 fourth and fifth graders will compete for trophies that can be earned based on how well the teams' robots are built and how well they can maneuver through a course that leads the robots through Yellowstone National Park. 

The destination, the Seven Lost Cities of Gold, can only be reached by those robots that can successfully navigate through the challenges of Mudpot Mire, Old Faithful, Tranquility Bear, Cold Deck and Cave Falls Peregrination. And, of course, successfully return home. Each stop along the track is task-specific and requires students to conduct research, including studying the real history of Yellowstone National Park.

The competition involves a variety of subject areas including language arts, technical writing, social studies, mathematics, science, history, developing main ideas, understanding and using advanced vocabulary, and more. Strategies requiring a working knowledge of speed, accuracy, light and objects are also involved in the competition. Students will be judged on engineering and design, stability, overall appearance, originality, component placement and cohesiveness, as well as on a journal they were required to keep on research and designs for the robots.

"The purpose of our Robotics Competition is to facilitate cross-curricular connections that help our students build higher level critical thinking skills and to show how robotics can be used across all areas," said Region 7 Gifted and Talented Education Specialist Donna Ashby. "The competition has grown so much that we had to move the fourth and fifth graders competition to a separate date, and we are looking forward to seeing how they compete this year."

View more photos here.

Kids Count Reports 25.9 Percent of Gregg County Children Impoverished

Adapted from an article by Reese Gordon
View article from Longview News Journal, posted December 4, 2013

Nearly 26 percent of Gregg County children were considered impoverished in 2011, according to a report released Tuesday, December 3rd.

The 7,987 — 25.9 percent — Gregg County children who comprised the 2011 statistic represented a 23 percent increase in the rate of Gregg County children living in poverty in 2000, according to the latest data from the Kids Count report done by the Center for Public Policy Priorities, an independent research organization which advocates for low-income Texans. In 2000, 6,481 children — 22 percent of all Gregg County children — lived in poverty.

Statewide, there was a 47 percent increase in the rate of children living in poverty from 2000 to 2011. That outstripped the 18 percent increase in the state’s child population during the same period.  Twenty-seven percent of Texas children were living in poverty in 2011, a rate that put the Lone Star State among the nine worst states.

Poverty is a key measure of child well-being, according to the report, which added that poverty can create “toxic stress” that alters children’s developing brains and bodies and is related to gaps in health and education.

Friday, December 13, 2013

A Lesson in Giving is Focus for PT Student Project

Warm hearts and toasty toes will be the result of the latest project designed by students in Amy Johnson's class on the Pine Tree's Middle School campus.

"My students started having discussions about helping others. Then as we read about how other children were helping their community, we talked about how it would be good to experience the act of serving others, rather than just talking about it."

The students set out to collect socks for the residents of the Pine Tree Nursing Lodge. They designated a room to start a sock collection and encouraged everyone to give.

"We collected 190 pairs of socks from the students and employees on campus, almost double the goal we had set," said Johnson. "We have a sock thermometer on the wall that we used as a measurement tool, to keep count. It has been lots of fun, and I know they have learned valuable lessons."

The students also made cards for each of the residents. "We hope to build a greater understanding about how we all have needs, and can help each other in some way."

The residents of Pine Tree Lodge will receive their socks on Wednesday, December, 18th, when the students travel to visit them accompanied by the school choir, who will share songs and smiles. Other classes on campus created place mats to use at meal time, and holiday crafts to share.

"I am very excited to reach out to our community and focus on the real meaning of Christmas!" said Johnson.

PTISD Board of Trustee Meeting Summary: Dec. 9, 2013

Board Summary from the Regular December 9, 2013 Meeting
Click to View Photos of student and community awards

The Pine Tree Independent School District Board of Trustees met in Regular session at 5:45 p.m. on December 9, 2013 in the Pine Tree ISD Administration Building Boardroom located at 1701 Pine Tree Road, Longview, Texas.

President Charley Peck called the meeting to order. Members present included Charley Peck, president;
Cynthia Hellen, vice-president; Pat Noon, secretary; Kerri Daugbjerg, Terre Dunn, Craig Meek, MD, and Dr. TJ Farler, Superintendent. Will Adamson was absent.

Other administrators present were James Skeeler, Tony Hollins, Judy Downing, Dr. Daya Hill, Melinda Tidwell, Lara Cavin, Vanessa Robinson, Cindy Gabehart, Vickie Echols, Jon Pollard, Debbie Terry, Amanda Pitre, Derrick Hennigan, Cathy Schmidt, Carmen Dowdy, and Suzanne Shackelford. Pat Noon gave the invocation.

Athletes from the Cross Country team led the pledges to the United States Flag and the Texas State Flag. Four student groups were recognized: Boys and Girls Cross Country teams, Girls Varsity Volleyball team, HS Art of Character Winners, and 4th grade Red Ribbon Week essay winners.  Click to View Photos

Plaza Vendors who served food at the home football games were recognized and presented a plaque.

President Charley Peck reviewed, with the other trustees, the Framework for School Board Development as adopted by the State Board of Education. He announced that all seven board members had exceeded the required continuing education hours required for the calendar year.

Superintendent Dr. Farler gave an update on the storage facility at the new athletic complex and the Softball/Soccer/Tennis field house. She also shared an invitation from Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) for Pine Tree ISD to join an expanded network of schools dedicated to transforming K-12 education for the children of Texas.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Local Trustee Participates in Leadership Program

PTISD Board of Trustees member,
Terre Dunn, addresses Leadership TASB
in Austin, Texas.
(Austin) – Terre Dunn, trustee from Pine Tree ISD joined 32 other school board members from across Texas November 21-23 at the second session of the Leadership TASB class of 2014. 

Selected by the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB), the group is participating in a yearlong education leadership study program. These trustees represent school districts of all sizes, with student populations of 161 to 202,000, and reflect a similar range of property wealth.

Participants who complete all required elements of the study will graduate next year by earning Master Trustee status. This is the highest designation recognized by TASB.

Meeting in Austin, the trustees heard featured speakers State Representative Tryon D. Lewis and Bill Graham, of Graham Corporate Communications. Lewis offered his perspective on successful advocacy techniques including appropriate timing, key office staff to know, and effective practices. On Saturday keynote speaker Graham, a nationally recognized trainer in effective communication, provided the group with tips on effective strategies for contacts with policymakers. His client list includes numerous political candidates, corporate executives, and university classes.

In addition to hearing speakers, participants visited West ISD and Austin ISD’s Eastside Memorial High School.

Other Leadership TASB sessions are scheduled for Corpus Christi, February 27- March 1; El Paso, April 10-12; and Fort Worth, June 26-28. Each session has a unique theme that builds on the previous session and features nationally recognized experts in the fields of leadership development and education. Teams also work throughout the year on extended learning assignments between meetings. Created in 1993, Leadership TASB has more than 700 graduates to date. The current class is sponsored in part by H-E-B. 

TASB is a voluntary, nonprofit association established in 1949 to serve local Texas school districts. School board members are the largest group of publicly elected officials in the state. The districts they represent serve more than 4.9 million school students.

PTHS Theatre Presents Dinner Theatre, "Dearly Departed" Dec. 20th

The Pine Tree High School Theatre Department 
invites you to attend the dinner theatre event featuring, 
"Dearly Departed," 
a drop dead funny comedy, according to The New York Post.

 Dec. 20, 2013, 6:30pm

PT Junior High Cafetorium
Tickets include a delicious dinner, $22
More Info:,

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A Winter Concert: Tuesday, Dec. 10th

The Pine Tree High School Choir

A Winter Concert:  Handel's Messiah
Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013
Trinity Episcopal Church
906 Padon St., Longview, TX
Free Admission

Click links below to listen to these songs performed at the concert:

Monday, December 9, 2013

Treehouse Marks 40th Project for Make-A-Wish Volunteer and PT Librarian

Make-A-Wish wish granters Liz Spering, left, and
Connie Harper, right, pose with Sophie Bunn on
Thursday at the unveiling of Sophie’s new treehouse.
PHOTO BY Les Hassell, LNJ
Article adapted from LNJ, by Angela Ward View LNJ Article.

The unveiling of a treehouse in Sophie Bunn’s backyard on Thursday was a special event not only for the 13-year-old cancer survivor, but also for Make-A-Wish volunteer and Pine Tree Elementary Librarian, Connie Harper.

The deluxe treehouse was the 40th wish Harper has been part of granting.

“I love it,” Sophie said. “It’s way beyond my expectations.”

The treehouse is wired for electricity and has a sleeping loft above its main floor. There’s also a variety of ways to access it; from a standard ladder and a swinging redwood bridge to a rope ladder for the more adventurous.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Texas Lonestar Math Cup Winners at PTJH Are Announced

Twenty-seven days, 2.6 million lessons completed, 54.5 million math problems solved and the second annual Texas Lonestar Math Cup has come to a close. The Regional competition was a close one throughout this year’s contest. The Texas Lonestar Math Cup Regional Champion from each of the 20 Educational Service Centers are:

Region 1: The class of Airport Elementary, Weslaco ISD
Region 2: The A. Perez class of Harvey Elementary, Kingsville ISD
Region 3: The Mrs. Srp's Math #3 Class of Industrial Elementary East, Industrial ISD
Region 4: The Ortiz class of Woodland Acres Elementary, Galena Park ISD
Region 5: The Duerler Math class of Regina Howell Elementary, Beaumont ISD
Region 6: The Terry HR class of Buffalo Junior High, Buffalo ISD

Region 7: The Period 5 and 6 class of Pine Tree Middle, Pine Tree ISD
Mrs. Rogers, 7th Grade Math, Pine Tree Junior High

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Be Prepared: Important Weather and Road Alert Reminders

With winter weather approaching, the following reminders may be helpful.   Pine Tree ISD has established school closing procedures in the event of dangerous conditions such as snow or icy roads. Under most circumstances, a decision to close or delay school due to bad weather is made by 6 a.m. or earlier.

If school is closed or delayed, the announcement will first be posted on the Pine Tree ISD website at and through social network sites: Facebook & Twitter.

An automated phone message and email will also be sent out confirming information that is posted online.

The newspaper and major television and radio stations also will be notified. There may, however, be a delay in posting information on the major television and radio stations due to large call volume so the web site will be your fastest source of information.

Subscribers to the PT Post Email Newsletter will also receive an e-mail alert. We ask that parents and students not call the school district or school offices about school closings early in the morning.

Weather and road conditions can vary greatly from area to area. Please notify the school office if your son/daughter will not be in school or should be dismissed early due to weather conditions.

National Weather Service for Gregg County

Watch/ listen to the following stations:

Click here  to bookmark this information from the PTISD website, for resources to help you prepare for winter weather and adverse road conditions.

Monday, November 25, 2013

A Letter from the Superintendent, Dr. TJ Farler

Dear Pine Tree families and members of our community,

As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, I want to take this time to thank each of you for your dedication to our students and employees. While there are many ways we could celebrate the season, I want to encourage you to reflect on the actions of one of our students. 

Many of you know Tyler Bain, a student at Pine Tree Junior High. Tyler's remarkable story highlights the dedication of many teachers and staff who have supported him and his family. This story is a great example of the message behind our district beliefs. Please take a minute to watch the video if you have not seen this broadcast on CNN National News or one of the many other media stories about our very own Tyler Bain.

I wish you a Thanksgiving that is rich with blessings, family, and peace. Thank you for your continued support of Pine Tree ISD.

TJ Farler

PTJH Incorporates Service Learning in Math Lesson

Pine Tree Junior High students included service-learning in their math lessons during the week before Thanksgiving. The Highway 80 Rescue Mission benefited from the activity, which incorporated academics with character lessons. In addition to learning math principals, they prepared plates full of cookies for the visitors in the shelter.

“We hope that offering project-based lessons in math class, like this one will help students have a higher sense of engagement and realize why the lessons are important," said PTJH Principal, Vanessa Robinson. "We want to help our young people understand math, but they also need to know they are part of a larger community."

Thankful for Milk and Cookies and Perfect Attendance at PTE

Oak Farms Dairy provided Milk & Cookies to the students at the Elementary School students on Friday, November 22, 2013.

Principal Melinda Tidwell along with campus leaders helped students pick up their snack at school after the Celebration Assembly, a program scheduled for that day.  During the ceremony, second graders in Mrs. Katy Hammer's class won the 2nd Grade Perfect Attendance award.

Michelle Mitchell, Director of the Child Nutrition department at PTISD reported that the staff at the Elementary School Cafeteria won the Oak Farms Dairy Halloween Decorating contest for 2013. Their award included a delicious treat for their students.  To view more photos, click here.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

PTISD Encourages Service Project During Holiday Fall Break

Pine Tree campuses and district offices and will be closed next week, Monday, November 25th - Friday, November 29th. The Tax office, will be open Monday, November 25th from 7:30am-4:30pm, then closed for the rest of the week. Students start back to school on Monday, December 2nd.

Pine Tree Athletes, Student Council, and the PTHS DECA club are inviting all students and families to join them at the City of Longview Thanksgiving Food Drive, which will take place at Maude Cobb next week. Volunteers are needed on Monday at 2:00pm to help sort out the food for the boxes. On Tuesday at 11:00am, volunteers will help distribute and carry the boxes. Read more

PT Intermediate students
collected food for the needy.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Pine Tree ISD Begins Search for New Athletic Director

Pine Tree is seeking input to build a profile for the new Athletic Director/Head Football Coach for the Pine Tree Pirates. The search for a new Athletic Director to lead Pine Tree ISD athletics will involve staff and public input.

Staff meetings begin this week in the district, and two public meetings are scheduled in the Community Center Room, at the PT Central Administration, 1701 Pine Tree Road in Longview, Texas.

Wednesday, December 4
12:00-12:45 pm

Wednesday, December 4
6:30 pm-7:15 pm

Mr. James Skeeler, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, will serve as facilitator. “The purpose of the meetings is to gather feedback and learn what traits our staff and our community would like to see in an Athletic Director for PTISD,” he said.

A survey is also available for staff and community to communicate either with an online survey or in hard copy. After the meetings are completed and the survey closes on December 13th, a summary of the feedback will be compiled for use during the interview process.  View Online Survey.

The district will post the job in December, 2013. The interviews, conducted by Pine Tree ISD administration, are targeted for mid-January through the first of February, 2014. The expectation is to hire a new athletic Director in February or March, 2014.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Board Summary from the Regular Nov. 11, 2013 Meeting

The Pine Tree Independent School District Board of Trustees met in Regular session at 6:00 p.m. on November 11, 2013 in the Pine Tree ISD Administration Building Boardroom located at 1701 Pine Tree Rd, Longview, Texas.

President Charley Peck called the meeting to order. Members present included Charley Peck, president; Terre Dunn, vice-president; Pat Noon, secretary; Will Adamson, Kerri Daugbjerg, Cynthia Hellen, Craig Meek, MD, and Dr. TJ Farler, Superintendent.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Pine Tree ISD Salutes Service of Veterans

Adapted from an article by Angela Ward, LNJ
Read entire article at the Longview News Journal website.

Dr. TJ Farler, Superintendent converses with visitors at the annual
Share the Schools event.
Pine Tree ISD paid tribute to area veterans on Tuesday to share their thanks and appreciation for those who have served the country.

“We are here because you were there,” said Harold Jackson, an assistant principal at Pine Tree High School and a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps.

“I come to this every year,” said Mickey Meadows, a Navy veteran whose daughter is a teacher in the district.

The Pine Tree event included music from both the junior high choir and the high school jazz band, as well as recognizing of the veterans and serving them breakfast.

“It’s really great that they do this for us,” said W.C. Fields, an Army veteran whose children graduated from Pine Tree.

Though Veterans Day was Monday, officials with Pine Tree ISD said they chose to have their ceremonies the day after to give local veterans the option to attend more than one event.

View photos from LNJ, taken by Michael Cavazos

Join PTA Today - Every Child One Voice

PTA Membership for Pre-K through 6th grade is underway. The membership drive chair, Jill Laffitte has asked for all membership forms to be turned in by Friday, November 15th.

Click here to view / download a PTA Membership Form

There is an added incentive: The class that turns in the most enrollment forms will receive an ice cream party on Friday, November 22nd. Parents can get a membership application online or at the school office. Forms were sent home in backpacks earlier in the month. Read more about Pre-K through 6th grade PTA at PTISD.

Friday, November 8, 2013

PTISD Students Show the Love with a Trash Bash

A Fall Trash Bash, sponsored by Keep Longview Beautiful, offers the opportunity for citizens to show their love for their Longview Community by picking up litter in their neighborhoods, parks, schools and buildings. Pine Tree ISD students will be doing just that on Friday and Saturday, November 8th -9th.

Beginning Friday, November 8, Pine Tree Intermediate 3rd grade classes began about 9:15 in the morning cleaning up around their school campus.   Later in the day, students were scheduled to clean up in the community park areas of Lear Park and Kid's View.   View photos here!

View a video here (PT Intermediate 1:20)  

"These actions tie directly into the Social Studies curriculum, which focuses on community," said Donna Pruitt, PT Community Resource Coordinator.   The activity is a win-win for all involved. 

On Saturday, November 9th, fifteen players from the Pine Tree Junior Varsity and Varsity football teams work their way down Fairmont to Bill Owens Pkwy, picking up litter from the grounds. PTHS BUCS will also pick up litter on Fairmont and go west to the Loop and into surrounding neighborhoods around the area.

"We appreciate the community partnership we have with Keep Longview Beautiful!" said Pruitt. "And want to give a special thank you to Kim Droege and the City of Longview team for helping us show the love."

Keep Longview Beautiful Executive Director Kim Droege said the purpose of the project is to challenge individuals and groups to engage in projects that will enhance community pride. 

“Show your LOVE Longview spirit by sprucing up your building fa├žade, picking up litter, initiating a recycling program for your area, or planting and maintaining trees and flowers. We want people to brainstorm with their employees, friends, and family about ideas to show how they LOVE Longview. The important thing is for people to think it, do it, and make a difference!”

Anyone can show their LOVE Longview support by signing up at For more information, contact Keep Longview Beautiful at 903-212-4KLB (4552).

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Pine Tree Student Walks After Decade in Wheelchair

November 5th was a big day for 7th grade football team, but not because they just played ball. Their team mate, Tyler Bain demonstrated a lesson for life. Tyler set a goal to walk on the field after being in a wheelchair for over 10 years. None of the students on his team knew that he had been working toward this goal, and he wanted to be able to accomplish walking in front of all of them that night.

A car accident left Tyler paralyzed at age three. After hours of practicing in therapy sessions he wanted to send a message to his fellow students that anything can be accomplished if you put your mind to it.

"I have my ups and downs, I admit it," said Bain. "But I don't quit and the next day I get right back up and say, hey I can do this."

Coach Paul Ellsworth named Tyler the "Honorary Team Captain" for the game night. Coach Ellsworth is a Texas History teacher at PT Junior High and in addition to coaching JH football also coaches JH basketball, and HS softball.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Senior Birthday Breakfast with the PTISD Superintendent and Principal

Dr. TJ Farler, Superintendent and Cindy Gabehart, PTHS Principal met with seniors at PT High School today for a Birthday Breakfast.  Students with August, September and October birthdays were invited to the PTISD Buccaneer Bistro for conversation and good eats!  

Student comments included positive marks for career technology classes, especially health science and welding.  They are happy to have the bistro available and wish it were open more often.  Conversations also focused on graduation and their experiences after high school.  Many shared their plans for college, which included staying local at Kilgore College or traveling to a Texas A&M University or University of Texas in Austin.  This Senior class will be the first to graduate in the new Pirate Stadium, so students brainstormed ideas and gave input on how that ceremony would look in the new complex.  The special birthday breakfast occasion will repeat in three month.  View more photos-click here.

"Student voice is very important to us," said Farler.  "Their experiences are at the heart of very thing we do here at Pine Tree ISD."

Pine Tree Stadium to Receive Extra Turning Lane

By Glenn Evans
Longview News Journal - Read entire article.

A traffic hazard at the newly christened Pine Tree Pirate Stadium will not two-peat after a team of county, city and school officials set a road upgrade in motion this week.

Stoudt and the commissioners court on Wednesday approved an agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation to build a dedicated, right lane on the Loop 281 approach to the stadium.  Pine Tree ISD Superintendent T.J. Farler said construction is expected to begin this coming spring. That would ensure completion in time for the 2014 Pirate football season.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Art of Storytelling was Focus of Field Trip for Elementary Students

First and second grade students from the Gifted and Talented classes of Pine Tree Elementary had the opportunity to participate in the Imagination Fair hosted by Region 7 ESC at the UT Tyler Campus this year. While at the fair, students from area schools performed stories, worked on problem solving activities, and listened to a professional storyteller.

The day began with a professional storyteller demonstrating the art of telling a story. Next, students were grouped for their problem solving tasks. Pine Tree students worked with their classmates to produce a product for presentation to the other students. Finally, students were allowed to perform stories with peers from other school districts. Each student performed his/her story for a small group, and had the opportunity to perform for the large group.

Friday, November 1, 2013

High School Band Contest

Congratulations to the following band students:

Auxiliary Team:

UIL Twirling First Division Ratings (qualifies for state)


Alyssa Brazell
Michelle Davis
Caroline Jones
Rebecca Griffith
Vickie Stewart
Gena Weese
Erin Whittenberg
Stephanie Williamson


Madison Garcia, Alyssa Brazell, and Stephanie Williamson
Michelle Davis, Vickie Stewart and Gena Weese
Erin Whittenberg, Macy Davis and Caroline Jones

All Region Orchestra

Trumpet: Tyler Helms and Chris Turner
French Horn: Rebecca Griffith
Trombone: Nicholas Schaetz

Red Ribbon Essay Contest Winners

Grand Prize Winner
PT Intermediate Campus
The City of Longview Partners in Prevention announced the winners of the annual Red Ribbon Week 4th Grade Essay Contest.  During Red Ribbon Week, over 1,400 essays were written by students from area school districts using 50 words or less to finish the statement, “I am drug free because…”.

An awards luncheon to recognize the grand prize winners and their teachers was provided on Tuesday, October 29th at the LeTourneau University Memorial Student Center.  Winners from the school districts of Gladewater, Hallsville, Longview, Pine Tree, Spring Hill, Trinity, and White Oak attended.

The following students were the Pine Tree ISD Intermediate Campus winners for the 2013 Red Ribbon Week Essay Contest. Daniel Brown's teacher is Ms. Neeley Smith.

1st place - Daniel Brown
2nd place - Xavier Martinez
3rd place - Madison Hughes

"We congratulation the young writers, who earned this award," said Dr. TJ Farler, Superintendent of PTISD.   "And we thank each of the teachers of Pine Tree Intermediate for providing a student-centered environment where our young writers will succeed."

As Daniel read his essay aloud to the group, his teacher Neeley Smith stood nearby nearby.   Each student read their essay.  

"This was a great event for the students and families," said Donna Pruitt, District Community Resource Coordinator.  "We appreciate the work of the City of Longview Partners in Prevention for organizing this event every year as a reminder to students to think about their actions to stay drug free."

Update:  The students were honored at the regular December 2013 School Board meeting, and each read their award-winning essay aloud for the audience.

Essay by Madison Hughes:
I am drug free because...

There are many people who do drugs, not me.  One day I plan to become a teacher, have a happy and healthy family, and a good education.  I could NOT do that if I did drugs, and that's why I pledge to be drug free.

Mix It Up Lunch Day at PT Junior High Supports Anti-Bullying

Photo by Les Hassell, LNJ
Students at Pine Tree Junior High joined more than one million other students across the country to help break down social and racial barriers by participating in the 12th annual Mix It Up at Lunch Day.

The event, launched by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance project in 2002, encourages students to sit with someone new in the cafeteria for just one day. Many schools plan similar barrier-busting activities throughout the day. Some use the event to kick off a yearlong exploration of social divisions.

Cafeterias are the focus of Mix It Up because that’s where a school’s social boundaries are most obvious. Thousands of schools nationwide participated in the event this year. “Mix It Up is a positive step that schools can take to help create learning environments where students see each other as individuals and not just as members of a separate group,” said Teaching Tolerance Director Maureen Costello. “When people step out of their cliques and get to know someone, they realize just how much they have in common.”

Photo by Les Hassell, LNJ
PTJH participates in this activity as part of our No Place For Hate program. It is out 3rd participate in Mix It Up lunch. The Southern Poverty Law Center established Teaching Tolerance in 1991 to provide educators with free resources designed to reduce prejudice, improve intergroup relations and support equitable school experiences for our nation’s children.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Robotics Team at PT Middle and Junior High School Bring Home Awards

Students from two Pine Tree campuses brought home trophies at the Region VII Robotics competition on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013 in Lufkin, Texas.

Five student teams formed the award winning, Pine Tree Middle School Robotics Team, who received recognitions.  Their awards included:
  • 1st in Overall Points (trophy); 
  • 2nd in Engineering Points (trophy); 
  • Robotics Notebook recognition; and
  • Journaling recognition
Even though student teams earned separate awards, Tege Millikin and Jon Carter, both instructors for the Robotics team, stated how proud they were of their students' efforts and how equally proud they were to represent Pine Tree ISD and Pine Tree Middle School. They noted that all students on the PTMS team are responsible for the awards.  

"The awards and recognitions our team took home today are the result of the collaborative efforts of the entire team during the course of the school year," said Millikin.  "Our students are continually questioning and digging deeper to understand relevant concepts, while applying the important skills of teamwork and innovation."

JH Robotics Team and Instructor, Donna Jones
The Junior High Robotics class also traveled to Lufkin on Tuesday for the fall competition.  The Junior High teams brought home two trophies. 

A first place Engineer's Choice trophy came home with "Wilderness Explorers" members: Jayden Randall and BJ Ray. This team also earned the award for having a top ten best Robotics Notebook. 

Second place Engineer's Choice trophy was awarded to the "Gold Miners" team, whose members are Gage Ellis and Shawn Naseiro. This team also received an award for top five team, for table points, and an award for top ten best Robotics Notebook. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Share the Schools Event at PTISD Set for Nov. 12

Veterans, Senior Citizens, Retired Educators, and Retired Pine Tree Employees in the community are invited to be our guests for breakfast and entertainment at the annual PTISD Share the Schools.

Pine Tree Junior High Cafetorium 2100 NW Loop 281
Tuesday, November 12, 9:00 a.m.

• Veterans will be recognized so please let us know
your name & branch when you RSVP

• Ride the bus! Park at the Birch Street entrance to the stadium near Pine Tree Road.  The bus will leave at 8:45 a.m. and drive you to the front door of the Junior High campus.

• Bus Tour! Immediately following breakfast, take the bus and tour the PTHS renovations and the new Pine Tree Athletic Complex

RSVP 903/295-5000 x121 By November 6, 2013
to the Community Resource Office

Monday, October 28, 2013

School Bus Safety Week: Stand Back from the Yellow and Black

During the week of October 28th, PTISD supports School Bus Safety Week, a time set aside each year to recognize the importance of following safety laws in order to protect children around our school buses.

In Pine Tree ISD, 65 school buses travel over 400,000 miles a year  to and from school every day or to events, with safety as their highest priority. Statistically, there is no safer way for a student to travel than on a school bus. This is due in large part to the hard work and dedication of the PTISD bus drivers and technicians.

"We take a moment this week to thank our bus drivers and technicians for what they do for the students of our community," said Superintendent TJ Farler. "I also want to recognized our parents and teachers, who have done an outstanding job educating their children about bus safety."

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Pine Tree HS Schedules Prevention Program for Underage Drinking

As an extension of Red Ribbon Drug and Alcohol Awareness, School Resource Officers Josh Marrs and Chris Bethard, are working to bring the program, “Watch UR BAC” (pronounced “Watch Your Back,”) to the Pine Tree High School students on Monday, October 28th.

Parents and other adults are invited to a program the evening of October 29 from 7:00-8:00 p.m. at the Maude Cobb Convention Center to learn about underage drinking trends and the laws around providing alcohol to a minor or hosting a party for minors.   The program teaches about alcohol misuse, dangers of impaired driving, and friends watching out for friends.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Dr. Kevin Jackson Named Recipient of Distinguished Alumni Honor for Pine Tree ISD

Dr. Kevin Jackson is the recipient of the prestigious award of Distinguished Alumni for Pine Tree ISD for 2013-2014.

With more than 29 years of higher education experience, Dr. Kevin P. Jackson currently serves as the vice president for student life at Baylor University. In this position, he is responsible for leading a comprehensive student affairs division dedicated to enhancing students’ educational, spiritual, cultural, and physical development.

While at Pine Tree High School, Jackson was voted "most popular", and served as President of the Student Council.  He played for the PTHS Tennis team, was a member of Future Teachers of America and served as a BUC.