Friday, September 27, 2013

Curriculum Night at the Junior High School Campus

Pine Tree Junior High will hold a Mix and Mingle Curriculum Night on October 1st beginning at 5:30 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. Visit the campus to see what your child’s school day is all about.  Each core and elective department will showcase what students are learning in classes. The teacher’s will share how to support learning and much more.

Curriculum Night at the Junior High School Campus, grades 7-8, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 5:30-7:00 pm. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

PT Intermediate Campus Welcomes Families at Curriculum Night

Curriculum Night is a great night to get to know your child's teacher, classroom and school. Please join us. The Pine Tree Intermediate faculty and staff values the opportunity to meet with families in support of their students. COME JOIN US.

Intermediate Campus, grades 3-4,
Thursday, Sept. 26, 5:30 – 7:00 pm

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

PT Elementary Campus Curriculum Night

The Pine Tree Elementary staff values the opportunity to meet with families in support of their students. Curriculum Night is a great night to get to know your child's teacher, classroom and school. 

Please join us - TONIGHT.

Curriculum Night at the Elementary Campus, grades 1-2: 

Tuesday, Sept. 24, 5:30-7:00 pm

Monday, September 23, 2013

PTISD Open House Event for Parents/Community Features New HS Renovations

Pine Tree ISD invites the community to join in and “Get on Board” for the fall events including: Open House, Curriculum Nights and Parent Conferences scheduled during the next two months.  

Open House Tour of High School Renovations

Check back for photos of the event!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Bus Delays Due to Rain

Several roads within the district are difficult for buses to maneuver and may be closed due to the heavy rain today.  If your student is a bus rider, there may be a delay in their normal arrival time.  We may take longer today to unload students off the buses due to safety concerns with this type of weather.  

If our drivers find that it is unsafe driving the roads with excess water, then the students will be taken back to their school campus for pick up.  This may affect the following roads:
  • Ward @ Hwy 80
  • Several sections of Buccaneer Road
  • Real Road  
  • Stardust, and parts of Scenic  Road.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Celebrate Attendance Awareness Month

What do you do to get yourself going in the morning?  

Did you know that missing just 10 percent of the school year in the early grades can leave many students struggling throughout elementary school? Or that by sixth grade, missing only that much school is strongly linked to course failure and even eventually dropping out of high school? That’s just 18 days of the school year— or two to three days per month. 

Every school day counts, and everyone can make a difference: educators, after school programs, mayors, businesses, parents… really, everyone!

School attendance is essential to academic success, but too often students, parents and schools don’t realize how quickly absences, excused or unexcused, can add up to academic trouble. Chronic absence— missing just 18 days per school year— can lead to third graders unable to master reading, sixth graders failing courses and ninth graders dropping out of high school. 

The impact is the greatest on students who lack the resources to make up for the lost time in the classroom.
Read more about Attendance Month:

Monday, September 16, 2013

Fall Musical Cast Announcement

Pine Tree High School recently announced the cast of the 2013 Fall Musical: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.  

Under the direction of Travis House and Clayton Nail, students will produce and perform the comedy in the newly renovated Pine Tree High School Theatre.

Tickets are $10 and will go on sale Sept. 30th at the Curriculum Night / Open House at the High School, scheduled from 4:00-7:00pm.   Patrons may also purchase tickets online.  Read more about tickets.

Save the Date for the Performances:
Nov. 7th at 7 p.m.
Nov. 9th at 7 p.m.
Nov. 10th at 2 p.m.
Nov. 15th at 7 p.m.
Nov. 16th at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Friday, September 13, 2013

PT Pride Marching Band Sports Brand New Uniforms at Home Game Tonight

In keeping with the newness of the Pirate Stadium, the Pine Tree High School Marching Band members are sporting brand new uniforms at the September 13th home game.

Described as “up to date” by Mark Melton, the newly arrived ensembles display the same color spectrum as previous uniforms, but sport a brand new look. Although the design is fresh and new, Melton noted the uniforms connect to the past with a familiar dark navy background providing for the PT logo to pop! The final design for the uniforms made by the Stanbury Uniform company of Brookfield, MO was one to which all members of the marching band contributed, Melton said.

National AP® Scholar Awards Program Recognizes 32 PTHS Students

Thirty-two students at Pine Tree High School have earned Advanced Placement (AP) Scholar Awards in recognition of their exceptional achievement on AP Exams.

The College Board’s Advanced Placement Program® (AP®) provides willing and academically prepared students with the opportunity to take rigorous college-level courses while still in high school, and to earn college credit, advanced placement, or both for successful performance on the AP Exams.

About 22 percent of the 2.2 million students worldwide who took AP Exams performed at a sufficiently high level to also earn an AP Scholar Award. The College Board recognizes several levels of achievement based on students’ performance on AP Exams.

At Pine Tree High School:

One students qualified for the National AP Scholar Award by earning an average score of 4 or higher on a five-point scale on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 4 or higher on eight or more of these exams. This student is Elizabeth Jones.

Elizabeth is a PTHS graduate of 2013, and the daughter of Edward and Angela Jones. She is currently attending Texas A&M University, Commerce.   She is studying Environmental Sciences and Wildlife & Conservation Science (double major).
Elizabeth Jones, Class of 2013

“I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Pine Tree ISD for 17 great years,” said Elizabeth’s mother Angela. 

 “All 3 of my children have had such outstanding teachers and principals from K-12," she said. "I don't believe they could have achieved their successes without the support and encouragement of these wonderful individuals.”

Four students qualified for the AP Scholar with Distinction Award by earning an average score of at least 3.5 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on five or more of these exams. These students are Darby Ball, Elizabeth Jones, Davin Sui, and Amanda Wallin.

Three students qualified for the AP Scholar with Honor Award by earning an average score of at least 3.25 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on four or more of these exams. These students are John Cravey, Rebecca Kirchhoff, and Brett Lucy.

Twenty-five students qualified for the AP Scholar Award by completing three or more AP Exams with scores of 3 or higher. The AP Scholars are Peter Ball, Chandler Chappell, Kaya Click, Nathan Comely, Mallory Green, Shelby Hart, Cheyenna Johnson, Kundanika Lakkadi, Tanner Latus, Sean Maples, John Mashke, Kyle McLean, Megan McNanney, Madison Meek, Mehul Nathubbai, Callie Nelson, Christina Nelson, Morghan Parker, James Phelps, Chace Rackley, Allison Steele, Lindsey Sutton, Sara Timmons, David Vasquez, and Jason Zhang.

Tax Rate Set by School Board at Regular Meeting

On Monday, September 9, 2013, the Pine Tree ISD Board of Trustees approved a $1.555 per $100 valuation tax rate, which is an increase from the previous year.

Raising the debt service rate from .341 to .385 cents will generate about $493,000 in revenue for bonded debt payments in the fiscal year, 2013, said Judy Downing, the district’s chief financial officer.  With a maintenance and operations tax rate at $1.17, the overall rate now stands at $1.55 per $100 valuation.

Property tax rates are frozen by state law for people 65 years or older, and the district continues to offer a 20 percent homestead exemption.  The increase comes after certified appraised values received in August were 3.56% lower than the past year, a decrease of about $750,000, Downing said during an earlier board meeting.

Trustees approved a $40.5 million budget for 2013-14 school year in June, as the district transitioned to a July 1 - June 30 fiscal year, instead of Sept. 1 to Aug. 31.  While home values remain strong, Downing said taxable personal industrial property has moved out of the district, including about $30 million in property owned by the Schlumberger Company.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

STAAR Results Reveal Scores Above State and Regional Trends

Results from the 2012-2013 State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) scores were released from the Texas Education Agency. This is the second year students in Pine Tree ISD grades three through eight were required to take the STAAR, and high school freshman and sophomores took STAAR’s end-of-course (EOC) exams in multiple subject areas.

“We are very proud of our students and staff, and the overall performance reported in the STAAR and EOC exams, stated Pine Tree ISD Superintendent, Dr. TJ Farler. “Every one of our campuses, and the district as a whole, "Met Standard" for each of the four indexes included in the new accountability matrix."

Data shows Pine Tree ISD's student scores stood above the state and regional trends in the second year of the more-rigorous STAAR test in several areas.

Eighteen Pine Tree High School Seniors Selected for Texas Bank and Trust Board of Directors

Texas Bank and Trust is pleased to announce the selection of 18 Pine Tree High School seniors to serve on its 2013-2014 Student Board of Directors.

The TB&T Student Board is a prestigious program recognizing outstanding high school seniors in the community. The PTHS seniors who qualified for this year’s Student Board will join with 38 other seniors from Trinity School of Texas, Longview and Spring Hill High Schools to make up the 36th senior class to participate in the TB&T program.

The participating seniors include Jonathan Bunt, Chandler Chappell, Robert Coleman, John Cravey, Michelle Davis, Madison Garcia, Kaylie Hartman, Emma Hellen, Amy Johns, Rebecca Kirchoff, Kundanika Lakkadi, Ryan Lewis, Lindsey Mallory, Kaitlyn Miller, Macy Shaw, Allison Steele, Ariel Wayne, and Melanie Wilson.

The 2013-2014 Student Board members were introduced to the TB&T bank staff in an Orientation Reception, held August 26th in the Main Bank lobby in downtown Longview. Parents and school administrators were invited to attend.

PTISD Trustees Honor Teachers of the Year

Teachers of the Year for the 2013-2014 school year were recognized by the PTISD Board of Trustees at their regular meeting, Monday, September 9, 2013.

"I congratulate all for the work they are doing to enrich the lives and the future of their students,” said Dr. TJ Farler, PTISD Superintendent.

"These teachers were recognized by their peers as outstanding educators and they make a difference in the lives of students each and every day. They demonstrate the skill and dedication that exemplify the very best of the most demanding, yet rewarding profession in our community,” she said.

This event is the first of several recognitions these teachers will receive throughout the year, including monthly celebrations hosted by the Rotary Club of Longview.

The seven PTISD Teachers of the Year for 2013-14 are:

Primary Campus – Rianna Williams
Elementary Campus and also District Elementary Teacher – Dawn Grogan
Intermediate Campus – Claudia Ruiz-Mendoza
Middle School Campus – Lisa Barry
Jr. High Campus – Todd Guest
High School Campus and District Secondary Teacher – Jennifer Solomon
EXCEL Campus – Laurie Kitchen
PACE Campus – Becky Alexander

Campus Teachers of the Year are chosen during the latter part of each school year by their principals and peers. A panel then selects district-wide elementary and secondary honorees.

2013-2014 PTISD Teacher’s of the Year

Pine Tree Primary’s Teacher of the Year is Rianna Williams. Rianna says that she has always wanted to be a teacher and has never regretted her career choice. She has been in education for 11 years, and this is her 6th year in Pine Tree. In addition to teaching Kindergarten at the Primary School, Rianna serves as a Lead Teacher and a Google Guide. She has also organized the annual Fall Carnival for her campus and led many technology trainings. Rianna not only wants to teach her students to read and do math, but she wants to teach them to love school.

Dawn Grogan is the Elementary Teacher of the Year and the District Elementary Teacher of the Year. Dawn has been teaching the first grade at PTE since 2010 and has been a Lead Teacher since 2012. She takes an active role in the integration of technology into her classroom and in her school by providing opportunities for her students to use computers and iDevices and by training and supporting administrators and fellow teachers. Dawn stays up to date with the latest research and technology and strives to be the most positive influence she can be for each child that crosses her path.

Pine Tree Intermediate’s Teacher of the Year is Claudia Ruiz-Mendoza. Claudia became a teacher after working for 17 years in the business world. She stated that she has never regretted giving up her high salary for teaching because she is rewarded in many different ways now. Claudia stays everyday until 5:00 pm for after school tutorials and she started the Computer Club which meets on Saturdays. Claudia received a grant to integrate technology in her classroom. She now has a classroom equipped with the latest technology that she uses to meet the needs of all of her students. Claudia believes in giving her very best and expects the same from her students.

Lisa Barry is the Middle School’s Teacher of the Year. Lisa taught in Pine Tree for 10 years but has since moved to teach in Jefferson where she has lived since 2000. She believes that, as a teacher, she has the awesome responsibility to be her student’s mentor and guide, albeit for a short period of time. Lisa stated that seeing growth in her students academically will always be a priority, but seeing them grow toward becoming lifelong learners is her greatest reward.

The Jr. High Teacher of the Year is Todd Guest. Todd has taught 8 grade Science in Pine Tree since 2009. Prior to teaching in Pine Tree, he taught at Trinity School of Texas for 14 years. He believes that his responsibility is not merely to facilitate but to provide avenue for discover. He feels that being a laboratory science teacher lends itself to the freedom of exploration by his students. Todd truly wants to use his abilities to teach and inspire others. He considers himself inordinately fortunate to be called a teacher.

Jennifer Lambie Solomon is the High School and District Secondary Teacher of the Year. She is the Math and Science Inclusion Co-Teacher for grades 9-12 as well as the Lead Teacher for Special Education. Jennifer has been in education for 10 years where she has taught at the Elementary level, the Secondary level, and served as the Director of a Pre School. This is her third year at Pine Tree High School and she loves that as a co-teacher she get to work directly with and observe other teachers and be a part of an educational team that can positively meet the educational needs of her students. Jennifer strives each day to be an outstanding teacher where she approaches each student as a person first, understands their struggles, involves parents, and builds on their successes.

The EXCEL High School Teacher of the Year is Laurie Kitchen. Laurie believes that the EXCEL High School is the perfect fit for her because she gets to do more one-on-one tutoring, questioning, and listening which helps her influence and positively change one life at a time. Her favorite quote is, “People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care” by Theodore Roosevelt which Laurie says sums up her attitude toward teaching. She feels that the rewards of helping her at-risk students succeed at something they thought was impossible are amazing.

Becky Alexander is the PACE Teacher of the Year. Becky has been teaching in Pine Tree ISD for 12 years and has taught Math at the PACE campus since it opened in 2008 where she is a positive influence on her students and coworkers. She enjoys being able to help students who have made unwise decisions on a one-to-one basis and keep them on track academically with their home campus. She cares greatly about her students and takes an active role when working with the campus teachers so all of her students can be successful.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Reinstatement Announced for PTISD Athletic Director

The Pine Tree ISD Board of Trustees met in regular session Monday, September 9, 2013. After deliberating over three hours in closed session, Trustees supported action for the Superintendent TJ Farler to fully reinstate Coach Derek Fitzhenry as Athletic Director and head football coach.

Details were not disclosed, because the school district is legally and ethically bound not to provide information regarding personnel issues. Any statements made regarding the issues from unofficial sources are merely speculation and rumor.

The process of handling situations regarding a student or employee are always protected by law for the safety and respect of all involved.

Law Firm Brightens Up the Choir Room at PTHS

Te'Aisha , Katelyn and Tiffany, PTHS Choir.
Spangler Law Firm just delivered some sunshine into the choir room at Pine Tree High School this week. The bright new multi-colored rug donated by the law firm was a happy surprise to the choir students and their director, Melody McMullen. 

 The choir room is one of the many projects included in the renovations at the high school as part of the 2011 bond election. An Open House is scheduled for September 30, 2013 from 4pm - 7pm, where the public will view the many changes and updates at the high school.
According to HB 1501 that passed the Texas Legislature last session, Texas public schools — including Pine Tree ISD — have new requirements each September 11th. Students at every grade level will hear an age-appropriate statement about the events that occurred on September 11, 2001. All classes will also observe the state-mandated moment of silence.

The following statement, or something more age-appropriate for younger students will be shared in Pine Tree ISD. Flags on campuses will also fly at half-mast.

PTISD Receives Top Rating for Financial Transparency

PTISD Receives Top Rating for Financial Transparency

Pine Tree ISD has once again joined the Texas Comptroller Leadership Circle Award winners for their success in implementing financial transparency. Pine Tree ISD's efforts to present financial information online in a comprehensive and transparent manner have again earned the district the highest possible rating for financial transparency from Texas Comptroller Susan Combs – the 2013 Gold Leadership Circle.

PTISD has earned the top rating each of the last four years by making key financial documents and supporting information easily available to the public via the district website.   To view PTISD's financial information, please visit the district's Budget & Finance page here. 

For more information about the Texas Comptroller's Leadership Circle, please visit

Friday, September 6, 2013

Hennigan to Serve as Acting Head Coach for Center Varsity Football Game

Coach Derrick Hennigan will serve as the acting head coach for the game against Center ISD on Friday, September 6th.  At this time, Coach Derek Fitzhenry has been placed on administrative leave.  No decisions have been made regarding the status of Coach Fitzhenry.

In an effort to dispel rumor and debunk misinformation circulating in the media, the district reiterates the following information: Because this is a personnel issue, the school district is legally and ethically bound not to provide any details. Any statements made regarding the issues from unofficial sources are speculation and rumor.   No decisions have been made regarding the status of Coach Fitzhenry.  The district is looking into the issues and it will be addressed at the Board meeting on Monday, Sept. 9, 2013.

The varsity team for the Pirate football team won their season opener over Van last week at Pine Tree in the new stadium with a score of 42-38.  The game featured 1,065 total yards and 47 first downs.

Two key defensive players for Pine Tree were Tre Devine, who was in on several tackles and intercepted a pass late in the first half, and Edwin Paz, who sacked Maddox in the final 20 seconds on Van’s final drive.  Read the remainder of the story in the Longview News Journal.

Photo by

In Memory

The Pine Tree ISD staff extends sincere condolences to the family of Victoria Pierce, Pine Tree ISD Middle School student who died on Monday, September 2, 2013. In a letter home to students and families, the school Principal, Lara Cavin reassured parents that counseling assistance is available for all students who are experiencing difficulty.

“Pine Tree Middle School staff and Pine Tree ISD personnel are prepared to support all students through this difficult time,” said Cavin. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to this precious family and friends affected by this tragedy.”

The family shared her obituary, which includes information about services and their designation for support.

LONGVIEW- Victoria “Tori” Pierce, 10, was granted her angel wings on September 2, 2013. Memorial Services will be held at 2 pm. Saturday, September 7, 2013 at Greggton First Baptist Church, with the Rev. Kevin Bright officiating. Burial will follow at Lakeview Memorial Gardens Funeral Home. The family will receive friends from 6—8 pm. Friday, September 6, 2013 at the funeral home.

Tori was born on January 2, 2003 in Longview, Texas. She is survived by her parents Ronald and Chandelle Pierce; her siblings Meagan Cantu, Jacob Pierce, Jessica Pierce, Aaron Pierce, and Elizabeth Pierce; grandparents Fred and Pamela Christy, Stan and Sandi Browne and many loving aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews.

Tori attended the 5th grade at Pine Tree Elementary and enjoyed being surrounded by her friends and family, playing basketball and exploring the outdoors. She loved Jesus, going to church, singing in the choir and sharing her love for the Lord. Her smile could melt the hearts of those around her and with Tori’s passing creating a sense of love and joy for all who knew her.

Pailbearers will be Ronald Pierce, Fred Christy, Stan Browne, Jacob Pierce, Aaron Pierce and Adrian Cantu. The family has designated Greggton First Baptist Church Children’s Ministry for memorial donations.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Why You Should Follow PTISD on Social Media

Why You Should Follow PTISD on Social Media

Our social media channels are great places to get tons of information. Here are five reasons why you should follow us!

1. Find out what’s happening around the district.

One of our biggest goals is to keep you informed about what is going on in our schools. We highlight student and staff success and let you know about upcoming PTISD events.

2. See photos of your children and special events.

We go out to schools regularly to capture photos of life in the classroom and special events. We post many of these images on FacebookTwitter, and GOOGLE+ for you to see and share.

3. Get inclement weather updates.

Sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate with after-school events or the school day in general, and things get cancelled. You’ll find out first by following us on FacebookTwitter, and GOOGLE+ .

4. Connect with PTISD.

You can send us PTISD questions on FacebookTwitter, and GOOGLE+, and we will connect you with the person who will get you the answers you need.

5. Get tips to help make life a little easier.

We know you’re busy, so we have been looking for ideas to help you optimize the time you spend with your children. Visit our Pine Tree Pinterest page, where we’ve posted dozens of quick, kid-friendly recipes; many fun, low-cost activities that your kids will love; and some tips for helping you and your children survive homework and those not-so-great days.

Where can you find all of these resources? Here are our social media channels:

If you have ideas for any of our pages, we want to hear from you! Send us an email at

Monday, September 2, 2013

5 Ways to Help Your Child Succeed This School Year

Students across Longview are headed back to the classroom this week, and there’s no better time than the start of a new school year to set positive routines to help your children succeed. We know that PTISD parents will do whatever it takes to support their child in and outside of the classroom, so here are a few simple yet effective ways to make sure your child has a great year.

1. Be sure your child attends school on time, every day.

They may try to win you over with tears and excuses, but letting your child stay home from school does more harm than good. The school year has only 175 days of instruction, and every day is carefully planned by teachers to provide your child with the knowledge they need to graduate college and career ready. And with the new student attendance requirement, a student cannot miss more than 10 percent of classes, or 17 days, to receive credit in a subject area. Attendance is taken before 11 a.m. so be sure you schedule appointments in the afternoon.

2. Set a schedule and stick to it.

Children do best when they have a set routine, so be sure to limit time watching TV and playing video games (also make sure content is age-appropriate), and schedule a curfew, a bedtime, and time for dinner and schoolwork. Write out the schedule and put it on the fridge as a constant reminder. Routines are essential to establishing good study habits – and it only takes 21 days to set a routine in stone. If you work late, call and check in often.

3. Read with your child.

Students who read and are read to have a larger academic vocabulary and are more likely to succeed in school than those who do not, period. Reading opens children’s minds to new places, experiences, and possibilities, and millions of books are available for free at the local public library. Reading is an easy way to make sure your child doesn’t get left behind.

4. Get involved at your campus.

Attend parent meetings and get to know your child’s teachers, principals, and counselors. The more you visit the school, the larger the support network you will have. Don’t wait until a problem arises – open a communications channel early and ask plenty of questions. Your involvement will lead to success for your student.

5. Ask your children’s teachers how you can support their learning at home.

In a calendar year, children spend an estimated 15 percent of their time in school, 42 percent asleep, and 43 percent away from school at home. To be successful students, they need mental stimulation and support when they are at home in addition to their time at school. Your child’s teachers know their academic strengths and weaknesses, and they can recommend activities and supplemental work to get your child caught up or ahead of the game.