Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Comprehensive Plan Community Event: Let's Design the Future of Longview!

What is your vision for Longview for the next 15 - 20 years? Help us create Longview's roadmap to the future for issues such as parks, transportation, development, beautification, public safety, and much more.

The City of Longview invites you to a special Comprehensive Plan community forum event on Monday, February 10, 2014. Doors will open at 5:00 p.m. The meeting will be held from 5:30 - 7:00 p.m. Participants will receive hors d'oeuvres and a free ticket to the East Texas Symphonic Band's Grand Winter Celebration concert that evening.

The meeting will be an opportunity for residents to help cast a vision for Longview for the next 15 to 20 years. The event will include several interactive activities.

For more information about the Longview Comprehensive Plan process and to take the online survey, please visit   Join the event on Facebook. 

To learn more about the East Texas Symphonic Band,

Friday, January 24, 2014

Pine Tree Athletic Director Position Draws 77 Applications by Deadline

Pine Tree ISD received 77 applications for its athletic director/head football coach position, Superintendent T.J. Farler said Wednesday. The deadline to apply was Monday, January 20, 2014.

“It is a very strong applicant pool,” Farler said, and the committee is screening applicants for the first round of interviews.  Timeline for the process includes first round of interviews during the end of January and first of February.  The district hopes to have the position filled no later than March, 2014.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Director of Fine Arts Named for Pine Tree ISD

Pine Tree Independent School District announced Mark Melton as the new Pine Tree ISD Director of Fine Arts at a meeting held, Wednesday, January 21, 2014, on the high school campus.

“Pine Tree has so many talented students and fantastic teachers,” Melton said, “I am honored to be charged with the task of coordinating our programs to elevate fine arts programs to new heights.”

According to James Skeeler, Assistant Superintendent for Personnel, the new position, Director of Fine Arts, was created to direct and manage the overall program of fine arts for the district. Melton will work to provide each student an opportunity to participate in fine arts and ensure compliance with all district, state, University Interscholastic League (UIL) requirements.

“This is something I feel is really important and that we need to do,” Melton said. “We need to all be on the same page when it comes to scheduling facilities, such as the auditorium and the theater.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Pine Tree ISD School Board Unanimously Approves Contract Extension for Superintendent

The Pine Tree ISD board of trustees Tuesday unanimously approved a contract extension for superintendent T.J. Farler in a special meeting held Tuesday, January 21, 2014.

“The board approved a three-year contract that is extended by a year after the first year served,” said Farler. Her extension will ensure that she is the district’s superintendent through August 2017. She has served the district as Superintendent since August 2011.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Taking Steps to Keep Healthy During Flu Season

Flu season is the time of year when the flu virus is most common, and Pine Tree ISD takes the necessary precautions to guard students from catching it.  The district has held steady in attendance rates.  James Skeeler, Assistant Superintendent at Pine Tree ISD, said attendance rate was about 95.6 percent right now. The average for the school year is about 95.9 percent.

The district works closely with the Texas Education Agency and the Gregg County Health Department to monitor flu conditions and make decisions about the best steps to take concerning our schools.

"We routinely take steps to reduce the spread of flu in Pine Tree ISD," said Vickie Echols, Director of Communication. 

Pine Tree ISD custodians work consistently to sanitize all school buildings. As part of the prevention
for flu season, they use products recommended by the CDC, including disinfectants, Lysol, and Lysol wipes, all of which the District has on hand. Workers wear gloves and protective gear. Classrooms are also stocked with tissues and hand sanitizer. 

"We want to help our students stay healthy during the school year by taking the sanitary precautions. But, parents can also help with this, by reminding their children of a few simple routines." said Echols.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Election Cycle Begins for School Board and County Races in Pine Tree ISD Area

Residents in the west Longview area of Pine Tree school district will decide on a Gregg County Commissioner position, while school taxpayers will consider two seats open for election for the Pine Tree ISD Board of Trustees.  February 3, 2014, is the last day to register to vote in the March 4 primary.

During the upcoming election cycle,
  • Registered voters in the Pine Tree Independent School District will have the opportunity to vote for two open seats on the Pine Tree ISD Board, and
  • Registered voters living in precinct 2 of Gregg County will be able to vote on the commissioner for precinct 2.
Pine Tree ISD has provided polling location in the past and will continue to provide these polling locations for the community.

Voters should know that the following polling locations are scheduled and authorized by Kathryn Neely, Elections Administrator. 
  • Pine Tree High School
  • Pine Tree Elementary School, and
  • Pine Tree Community Center will all serve as authorized polling locations.

Pine Tree ISD Board of Trustees

Board Seats/Places scheduled for election in 2014:
  • Place 6 - Currently held by Craig Meek
  • Place 7 - Currently held Pat Noon
Candidates for the Pine Tree ISD board of trustees file their paperwork at the district’s administration building, 1701 Pine Tree Road.

Important Dates for PTISD Board Election
  • Candidate filing begins Jan. 29 and closes Feb. 28.
  • Early voting is set from April 28 to May 6, according to the Texas Secretary of State.
  • The elections will end at 7 p.m. May 10.
  • April 10th is the last day to register to vote in the election.

    • ______________________________________________________

Gregg County Commissioner Court, Pct. 2

Primary Candidates:
  • Darryl Primo
  • Kimberly Fish
Important Dates for the County Primary Election
  • Party primaries are set March 4. 
  • Early voting begins Feb. 18 and continues through Feb. 28.
  • In races requiring runoffs, election day is May 27, with early runoff voting beginning May 19 and continuing through May 23.
  • Feb. 3 is the last day to register to vote in the March 4 primary.
Pine Tree ISD is proud to partner with the county and city to provide this opportunity on the school campuses, and believe it is a valuable experience and education for students to observe the democratic process of elections.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Hearts and Hands for Kids: January Brings School Board Appreciation Month

January is School Board Recognition Month and Pine Tree ISD is joining other districts across the state to thank these community volunteers for their commitment and contributions to our local schools. The Board of Trustees consists of seven board members elected to serve, without compensation, for overlapping terms of three years each.

“School board members serve countless hours working to make public education the best it can be for every child,” said Superintendent, TJ Farler. “They develop policies and make tough decision on complex educational and social issues that affect the entire community and the lives of individual students. They bear the responsibility and oversight in Pine Tree ISD for an annual general operating budget of $36,770,715 million, approximately 4,653 students in grades Pre-K to 12th grade, more than 651 employees and 8 campuses.

“Preparing today’s students to be productive citizens and the leaders of tomorrow is a tremendous task. As elected officials, school board members are the voice of their communities, serving first and foremost in the best interest of our school children,” said Farler.

Monday, January 13, 2014

EpiPens for Allergic Reactions in Emergency Situations: Keeping Kids Safe

Photo by Michael Cavazos, LNJ
Adapted from an article by Richard Yeakley
View entire article at the Longview News Journal website.

A federal law that went into effect this month encourages school districts to keep epinephrine injections — or EpiPens — in stock to help children having an allergic reaction. 

Fulfilling that directive is easy for the Pine Tree schools, who have provided access for several years.  All employees of Pine Tree are trained annually on how at administer one if needed.

Knowing how to use an EpiPen is important. Doctors are seeing more and more children with allergies, especially food allergies. Due to the unpredictable nature of allergic reactions, epinephrine auto-injectors (EpiPens) are prescribed.  EpiPens deliver medicine quickly and effectively. No child has ever had serious problems from a standard dose of epinephrine when using an EpiPen.

The federal law, known as the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act, was signed into law Nov. 13 and gave preferences for grants to states that permitted schools to stock EpiPens and train school employees on how to use the devices.

2014 Stars Over Longview Include Two PT Education Foundation Board Members

Longview Regional Medical Center's
2014 Stars Over Longview lunchen
(Kevin Green/News-Journal Photo)
Adapted from an article by Angela Ward
Read entire article at the LNJ website.

Longview Regional Medical Center honored the 2014 Stars Over Longview at its annual luncheon Tuesday at Maude Cobb Convention and Activity Center on Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014.

“The ladies we honor at this event are what makes our community the great place to live that it is,” said Jim Kendrick, CEO of the hospital. “This is an opportunity for us to say thank you.”

The 2014 Stars Over Longview are Linda Davis, Marion Mack, Susan K. Smith, Jennifer Harris, Julie Fowler, Martha Glasgow, Mary Ramos, Paula Cargill Kaplan, Karen Maines, Renee Slegeir, Iva Holyfield and Barbara McMichael.

Two women recognized, serve on the Pine Tree ISD Education Foundation Board:
Jennifer Harris, who works as vice president at Texas Bank and Trust is currently serving as the President of the Pine Tree ISD Education Foundation.

Other volunteer activities include: Go Red for Women, the Greater Longview United Way and Buckner Children & Family Services.  She is also an active member of First United Methodist Church.

Iva Holyfield currently serves on the PT Education Foundation Board as the chair for Grants, and has also held many offices in the PTA in Pine Tree ISD.

“I kind of feel like I’m representing all the PTA moms who have given so much to our community over the years,” she said. “I’m amazed at all the talent represented by this group of women.”

Holyfield also served as the first president of the Longview Tennis Association.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Students Return to Class Monday, Moving Toward a New Semester of Growth

photo by Michael Cavazos, LNJ
Adapted from an article by Reese Gordon, Longview News Journal
Read entire article here.

Children were back in class Monday and local educators looked toward a new semester that will see a push toward annual state-mandated exams.  But education officials said the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR), now in its third year, is not something that students can prepare for in the second semester alone.

“STAAR is about knowing the curriculum all year long and making sure that learning is deep seeded and connected with other learning to be able to perform acceptable or exceedingly on that test,” Pine Tree ISD Superintendent T.J. Farler said. “We don’t come back in January and decide to get ready for STAAR. It starts when we walk in the door in August.”

Farler said she considers much the preparation for STAAR is about “professional learning conversations.”

“It’s about data and our teachers looking back to say, ‘Over the last two weeks, how did I teach this piece of information?’ ” she said. “ Did I get the gains I wanted for them?”

Monday, January 6, 2014

Public Hearing Scheduled of Texas Annual Performance Report (TAPR) for PTISD

Pine Tree ISD has scheduled a hearing for public discussion of the annual Texas Academic Performance Report for January 13, 2014, during the regular monthly meeting of the PTISD Board of Trustees.

The Texas Education Agency (TEA), this year, has replaced the Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS) with the new Texas Academic Performance Report (TAPR). TEA requires school districts hold a public hearing on the report within 90 days of the late November release of the report to district superintendents. The Winter Holiday does not count toward the 90 days.

TAPR pulls together a wide range of information on the performance of students in each school and district in Texas every year. Performance is shown disaggregated by student groups, including ethnicity and low income status. It also provides extensive information on school and district staff, programs, and student demographics.