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.  

James T. Ogg Receives 2013-14 PT Golden Anchor Faculty Award

The Pine Tree Education Foundation and Alumni Affairs has announced James T. Ogg as the recipient of the 2013-14 Golden Anchor Faculty Award for PTISD. James T. Ogg served Pine Tree ISD as the Superintendent of Schools from 1946-1958, and among other great commendable accomplishments, was responsible for guiding the Pine Tree schools toward becoming an independent school district in 1948.

James Ogg attended high school in Lufkin and received his Bachelor’s from Stephen F. Austin College and a Master’s degree from The University of Texas, in Austin. Beginning as a high school principal at Broaddus, Texas in 1937, he later moved to Pearland, and to Goose Creek, as classroom teacher and assistant principal. Ogg later served as a mathematics instructor at Texas A&M College, and in 1944, left A&M and went to Polytechnical institute in Puerto Rico as head of the math department. He returned to Greggton-Pine Tree in 1945.

Ogg moved to the Pine Tree community in 1945 as high school principal, and in 1946, he was elected superintendent of schools for the Pine Tree common school district, which was under a county school system. Under the recommendation of Mr. Ogg in 1948, the citizens of the community voted to create an independent schools district. A year later, citizens voted in favor of a $350,000 school bond issue to build a new high school. Pine Tree High School was built on Pine Tree Road and opened in 1950. It was most recently remodeled to serve as the current Central Administration building.

A $550,000 bond issue also passed in 1952 for construction of a new primary and elementary wing, athletic stadium and swimming pool. Growth of the school district was evident during Ogg’s term as superintendent as the student enrollment numbers reached over 1,000 students.

Chris Johnson Named 2013 PT Rising Star Award

Chris Johnson of the Baltimore Ravens warms up prior to the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on November 18, 2012 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (credit: Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Mr. Chris Johnson has been honored as the Pine Tree ISD 2013 Rising Star Award winner.

Chris Johnson was born on September 25, 1979, in Gladewater, Texas. His seventh-grade year he enrolled at Pine Tree Junior High School. At Pine Tree High School, he enjoyed playing football as a starter for the Pine Tree Pirates for three years. By the end of his senior year, he had intercepted twelve passes and helped the team reach a 7-3 record.

After high school, Johnson initially attended Blinn College in Brenham, Texas where he played college football and majored in Administration of Justice. He then transferred to the University of Louisville where he was a 2-year letter winner and had 44 total tackles (32 solo), one tackle for a loss and seven defended passes. In the 2002 Liberty Bowl, which was his first professional bowl game, Johnson was a starter and intercepted a pass in the fourth quarter to secure a Cardinals victory over BYU.

In 2003, Johnson was drafted in the 7th round to the Green Bay Packers. Johnson played for the packers from 2003-2004. During the 2005 season, he was traded to the St Louis Rams. While with the Rams he played 14 games, recorded over 24 tackles, 38 kickoff returns for 857 yards and a 99-yard touchdown return. In the 2006 off-season he was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs, and then signed with the Oakland Raiders on March 19, 2007 where he played cornerback and special teams.

In 2009, he signed a 4 year contract with the Raiders, where he started 15 games and finished with 68 tackles. Johnson has racked up 177 career tackles, 49 passes broken up, eight interceptions, four forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and one defensive touchdown.

On November 13, 2012, Johnson signed with the Baltimore Ravens. His impressive NFL career led him to a Super Bowl Championship as a defensive back with the Baltimore Ravens during the 2012-2013 season.

PT Pirates Get On Board with Homecoming 2013

Pine Tree ISD joins with the PT Education Foundation in announcing the schedule for Homecoming 2013 activities.

Homecoming Celebrations
When: Friday, October 25, 2013

Homecoming Court and Crowning of the Queen, 7:00pm
Alumni Awards Half Time Presentations - Distinguished Alumni, Golden Anchor and Rising Star Awards

Where: Map this event »
Pine Tree Pirate Stadium
3737 W. Loop 281
Longview, TX 75604

Pine Tree Education Foundation and Band Kids Forever present the “Can’t Stop Loving You” Alumni Tailgate Party. The fun begins at 5:30pm at the Pine Tree Pirate Stadium. Admission is free to all PT former students, faculty and staff. This is a great time to enjoy some BBQ, chili, music and friends!

Distinguished Alumni
Each year, the Pine Tree Educational Foundation award honors to Pine Tree Alumni who are locally, nationally or internationally recognized for their contributions to their professions, communities, and/or their demonstrated commitment to Pine Tree ISD and its mission. This year, the Foundation will honor a faculty member who has made a significant impact in the life of any student at Pine Tree with the Golden Anchor Award.

This year award recipients are as follows.
  • Distinguished Alumni Award: Dr. Kevin Jackson, Class of 1977
  • Rising Star Award: Mr. Chris Johnson, Class of 1999
  • Golden Anchor Award: Mr. James Ogg
The awards are presented at the Friday evening Homecoming game and again at Pine Tree Honors in April. All former students, staff and friends of Pine Tree are encouraged to attend the spring event which will feature a formal celebration of their accomplishments.

PT Alumni Announce Awards and Celebrate Homecoming with Tailgate at Pete's Plaza of New Stadium

Pine Tree Education Foundation and Band Kids Forever present the “Can’t Stop Loving You” Alumni Tailgate Party. The festivities kick-off at 5:30pm at Pete's Plaza in the Pine Tree Pirate Stadium. Admission is free to all PT former students, faculty and staff. This is a great time to enjoy some BBQ, chili, music and friends!

Each year, the Pine Tree Educational Foundation award honors to Pine Tree Alumni who are locally, nationally or internationally recognized for their contributions to their professions, communities, and/or their demonstrated commitment to Pine Tree ISD and its mission. This year, the Foundation will honor a faculty member who has made a significant impact in the life of any student at Pine Tree with the Golden Anchor Award.

This year award recipients are:

Distinguished Alumni Award: Dr. Kevin Jackson, Class of 1977

Rising Star Award: Mr. Chris Johnson, Class of 1999

Golden Anchor Award: Mr. James Ogg

The awards are presented at the Friday evening Homecoming football game and again at Pine Tree Honors in April. All former students, staff and friends of Pine Tree are encouraged to attend.

When: Friday, October 25, 2013

Where: Map this event »
Pine Tree Pirate Stadium
3737 W. Loop 281
Longview, TX 75604

Cost:  Free to all former students, faculty and staff. Donations are appreciated.

More info? 903-295-5021,

Free Workshop for Parents: Discipline Strategies

Disciplining children can be a challenging task for many parents and even educators for a variety of reasons, but it’s not an impossible one. And the federal programs department at Region 7 Education Service Center wants to help show area parents and teachers how disciplining children can become less daunting and more rewarding through its Sixth Annual Conscious Discipline for Parents Conference.
Region 7 will host the conference on October 29 from 8:15 am to 2:15 pm at the Education Service Center located at 1909 N. Longview Street in Kilgore.

The conference is free for those who would like to attend, and the registration deadline is October 25. To register for the conference, parents and educators may call 903.988.6700.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Pine Tree Launches Mobile Device Project for Ninth Grade

More than 350 Pine Tree ninth-grade students will have access to school-issued mini-iPads this school year as part of a larger initiative the district is calling,  “PowerOnPT.” The multi-year initiative, which includes a roll out of the one-to-one device initiative was made possible after funds from the Bond of 2011 provided the necessary infrastructure to provide additional technology.  A variety of projects, experiences and strategies are planned to build more engaging learning environments for students.  

“Technology changes the way we learn and the way we teach,” said Dr. TJ Farler, Superintendent at Pine Tree school district.“ Our society is moving rapidly to a culture of mobility, and Pine Tree ISD intends to provide our students with the necessary skills they need to be successful with digital mobile learning.  Anytime, anywhere learning is achievable with digital tools and innovative teaching strategies.”

Local Trustee Participates in Leadership Program

Terre Dunn, Pine Tree ISD School Board Vice President, has joined 34 other school board members from across Texas to attend the Leadership TASB training 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.

Leadership TASB (Texas Association of School Boards) is a unique board development program designed to take experienced board members to a new level of service and leadership by exposing them to a variety of issues, people, activities, and locations during the program of research. Mrs. Dunn is currently serving her 7th year as a member of the PTISD school board.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Building Healthy Lives Through a Red Ribbon Awareness Campaign at PT

October 21st is the kick off of Red Ribbon - Drug Free Awareness Campaign - at PTISD.  At Pine Tree, campus teachers conduct discussions about the importance of being drug free throughout the year, however during the campaign at the end of October, a special set of activities are included to remind students of healthy habits.

On the Primary Campus, Counselor Gina Ozment explained that teachers will have a variety of activities built into each day of the week, where students will be reminded of the value of living a healthy life with healthy choices.  The schedule below provides a sample of campus activities.

Monday, teachers and students will wear red, and during recess tie a large plastic red ribbon somewhere on the playground campus to show our support in the fight to help us all be drug free.

Tuesday, students come to school wearing Safari or animal prints and will receive a pencil that says “Celebrate Red Ribbon Week…Not Just for a Week, But for a LIFE.”  Students will bring links and connect them into a chain and hang them outside the classroom to show that all are “United to be Drug Free”.

Wednesday is the day to wear Camo and Thursday, to wear a Super Hero shirt.  Teachers will pass out “Smarties” to show that it is best to be “Smart Like the Super Heroes and stay drug free”.

On Friday, all will wear Pine Tree blue and gold, and teachers will have discussions about carrying what was learned throughout life.

Red Ribbon Week Activities
PrimaryWear RedWear Safari or Animal PrintWear CamoWear Super Hero shirtWear Pine Tree Colors
ElementaryWear RedWear Safari or Animal PrintWear CamoWear Super Hero shirtWear Pine Tree Colors
IntermediateWear RedWear Safari or Animal PrintWear CamoWear Super Hero shirtWear Pine Tree Colors
Middle 5/6Dress in Red - Wear red to show that you are drug free.Nerd Day - Dress like a nerd to show that you are too smart for drugs.Wednesday: Duck Dynasty Day - Drugs are whack and that's a fact, Jack! Wear your camo and manly beards.Be original, mix it up! - Wear as many patterns as you can.Friday: Spirit Day - Wear your favorite Pirate shirt to show that Pine Tree is teamed up against drugs.
Junior HighRed, White and Blue dayTacky Tourist TuesdayFavorite JerseyMovie Character DayPirate Pride
High SchoolRed, White and Blue dayTacky Tourist TuesdayFavorite JerseyMovie Character DayPirate Pride

Friday, October 18, 2013

Hennigan Named PTISD Interim Athletic Director, Fitzhenry Resigns

Derrick Hennigan has been named the Interim Athletic Director and Head Football coach beginning Friday, October 18, 2013.  Hennigan joined the district April 7, 2011, and currently serves as an inclusion teacher at the high school, head coach for powerlifting, and Offensive Coordinator for varsity football.  In 2012 and 2013, he coached Eddie Calico, who won the boys state powerlifting championship, and Alex Jehlen, who won the girls state powerlifting championship of 2013.

Hennigan has worked as a certified teacher and coach for over fourteen years in several different school districts in Texas.   His wife, Shannon, is the Intermediate School Assistant Principal in Pine Tree ISD and they have two children.  

Derrick Hennigan, Interim AD:
“Our most important focus is the students in all of our athletic programs. It is time to move forward.”

Dr. TJ Farler, Superintendent:
“Every aspect of a student’s experience in school is valuable including extracurricular activities. The district is dedicated to providing our students with the environment they need to be successful. We will continue to encourage our students to participate in a wide variety of extracurricular programs that support our academic programs.”

The district accepted the separation agreement of Derek Fitzhenry effective, Friday, October 18, 2013.

PT High School Band Hits the Highest Note Earning Superior Rating at Contest

The Pine Tree High School Band - The Pride - earned first division, superior ratings from all three judges at UIL Marching Contest at Mt. Pleasant on October 17, 2013.

"The judges were especially complementary of the band's playing ability and musicianship, as well as a very entertaining show," said Director of Bands Mark Melton. "Feedback from the online streaming has also been overwhelming and very complementary."  

The performance was available for live streaming through the internet.  With superior ratings, The Pride is now eligible and will advance to the UIL Area Marching Contest at Mesquite on October 26, 2013.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Alum Revisits PTHS to Share Insights About Career Goals

When Keith Gray walked the halls of Pine Tree High School as a student, he may not have visualized himself coming back to speak one day, but that is exactly what he plans to do when he meet with students this week at PTHS.

A native of Longview, Texas, Keith L. Gray attended American University on a full athletic scholarship and received a Bachelor’s of Arts in Justice after graduating from Pine Tree High School. Raised in a single parent household, Keith’s mother instilled the value of education. Keith’s passion for education led him to begin working at the University of South Florida (USF) as an administrator and instructor.

Pine Tree High School to Host UIL Marching Competition at New Stadium

PTISD’s new Pirate Stadium will be the site of the UIL Marching Band Competition for 31 conference 1A and 2A High School Bands in UIL Music Region 4.  The public is invited to attend.

 The bands will compete on October 23, 2013 – 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, and Oct 24, 2013 – 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. The bands will be awarded Division Ratings, based on their performance of music and marching fundamentals as outlined by the Texas Music Adjudicators Association.

Friday, October 11, 2013

PTISD Continues to Enhance Security for Students

Pine Tree Independent School District has budgeted a half-million dollars to increase security at each of its campuses this school year.  The moves, which include upgrades to facilities and additional personnel, pleased Eric Cabrera, parent of a student at Pine Tree Intermediate School.
“I believe its a great deal for the kids and the families,” he said. “I feel safe leaving my son here.”
Pine Tree ISD Director of Communication
Vickie Echols stands at the new front doors leading into the
Intermediate school building. At left, the old entrance to the building is locked.
Judy Downing, the district’s chief financial officer, said $200,000 has been set aside to pay for campus security personnel, with $120,000 dedicated to the presence of resource officers at the high school and junior high. The remaining $80,000 has been budgeted for off-duty officers now on each campus.
The district last year spent $73,367 last year on its two school resource officers, Downing said. The high school is the only campus in the district with both an SRO and off-duty officer.
Superintendent T.J. Farler said off-duty officers from the Longview Police Department, Gregg County Sheriff’s Office and Texas Department of Public Safety are employed on every campus in the district.
“The real benefit is that interaction with students,” she said. “They eat lunch with the students, no matter what age. They greet in the morning and help unload cars. They help children at the end of the day. It is just a smoother overall operation.”

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Entrances and Parking at PT Pirate Stadium Redefined

Map shows new plans for directing
traffic at Pine Tree’s Pirate Stadium.

Patrons of the new Pirate Stadium will find the entrances and exits of the stadium redefined.

The stadium has three public entrances available during the Friday night home football games and large events. 

The three public entrances available during large events are:

1) the main entrance at 3737 W. Loop 281,

2) an entrance at Cotton Street, leading to Lear Park, and

3) one at HG Mosley Parkway, also leading into Lear Park.  

The main entrance off Loop 281, considered the main entrance is dedicated to home side parking.  Visitors will be routed to one of the two entrances leading to Lear Park, off Cotton Street or HG Mosely.  The entrance leading to the campuses will not be open.  A sign will be posted directing traffic to either the home or visitor side parking lots.   Once stadium lots are full, a sign will be displayed for cars to begin parking at alternate locations.  

Parking lots for stadium parking include:
1) Home side parking lot,
2) visitor parking lot,
3) campus parking lots (for two campuses nearby), and
4) Lear parking lots, which are the most remote.  

Shuttle bus service will begin at 6:30pm from the Lear lot and the campus lots, and run continually throughout the night, and after the game has completed.  A shuttle bus pick up and drop off point will be available on both sides of the stadium.

“We gained some valuable insights after the first few events,” said Dr. TJ Farler, Superintendent.  “We want to solve the issue of getting people into the facility and parked in a safe and orderly manner.  We may not get all the kinks worked out just like we want them, but our goal is to provide an enjoyable experience for all involved.”

If you have any questions related to the stadium entrances or parking, please call the district’s central office, 903-295-5000.

Also find an article at the Longview News Journal.

Pine Tree officials redo Pirate Stadium parking plan

Thursday, October 10, 2013 4:00 am

High school football fans who attend Friday night’s game at Pirate Stadium will find what a district spokeswoman called “redefined” parking, an effort officials hope will cure parking woes that plagued the $16 million stadium since opening day.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Curriculum Night Scheduled for PT Middle School Campus

Pine Tree Middle School Campus, grades 5-6:

Save the date: Tuesday, Oct. 10, 5:00-7:00 pm. Join your child in an evening of learning together. At Pine Tree ISD, we believe in life-long learning. We are a learning organization, where students are engaged and leaders grow, and our parents are partners in the process.

Monday, October 7, 2013

The First Annual Pine Tree Preview Marching Band Contest

Pine Tree ISD will host a first annual Preview Marching Contest, which welcomes bands of all classifications and sizes, and is designed to provide an opportunity for groups to have a formal run-through before UIL competitions.  

You are Invited:
The The First Annual Pine Tree Preview Marching Band Contest, Saturday, October 12, 2013
NEW Pine Tree ISD Pirate Stadium, W. Loop 281,

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Future @Now Texas Leadership Summit Scheduled

Discovery Education, Texas ASCD and TASA will host to a Texas leadership summit focused on advancing digital learning and preparing students for the STEM opportunities and challenges of tomorrow’s world.

Future@Now Texas will bring together Texas Education leaders, Political leaders, Parents, and Business leaders who will share real stories about their work to fuel student achievement and promote college and career readiness.

October 8, 1:00PM - 6:00PM CDT

Pine Tree ISD invites the public to join in a telecast held at the PTISD Central Administration Building, 1701 Pine Tree Road. For more information, contact the Communication Office, 903-295-5136,, or visit the webpage:  

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Chris Sarter to Receive Specialty Van from Gridiron Heros Foundation

Gridiron Heroes Spinal Cord Injury Foundation announced today that Road Trip for Heroes raised $118,056, exceeding their $100,000 goal. The campaign also allowed the Foundation to obtain two wheelchair-accessible vans, earmarked for Gridiron Heroes families in Texas.  Chris Sartor, who suffered a spinal cord injury as a member of the Pine Tree High School football team in 2011, will be the recipient of one of the vans.

Road Trip for Heroes was a 2,500-mile trek across Texas to raise awareness and funds for the non-profit organization. Through the campaign, Gridiron Heroes father and son co-founders, Eddie and Chris Canales, led the trip that stopped in four cities, including San Antonio, Dallas, Austin and Houston.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Tackle Cancer Pink-Out Planned at PTISD

Poster Designed by PTHS Graphic Art student,
Garrett Bryan.
A cancer awareness campaign and fundraiser sponsored by the Pine Tree High School Football Booster Club is underway at PTISD. All proceeds are to benefit Texas Oncology Foundation located in Longview, Texas. The pink-out splash will occur on Friday, October 11th, but several activities occur during the week leading up to the Friday Night Events at the Pirate Stadium that night.

"We are excited to begin this tradition and are eager to include everyone who wants to participate. With the support of volunteers, the parents and staff members who are helping with this initiative, we can all make a greater impact and tackle cancer.”
~ Cindy Gabehart, PTHS Principal