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.