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.