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Monthly Archives: January 2013

Start the New Year as a Games Volunteer

                                bowl2                                    bowl

I know you are asking, What Games?  Well it is Special Olympics of Texas 21st Annual Winter Games which will take place on January 31 – February 2, 2013 in Austin, Texas.  The Games will showcase the talents of over 2,000 athletes in competitive bowling, powerlifting, and volleyball.  This is a very exciting time for these athletes and you do not want to miss being a part of the festivities. 

During the Special Olympics of Texas Bowling Tournament that took place in December 1, 2012, Houston Baptist Council for Exceptional Children student chapter volunteered and it was so exciting.  There was nothing more exciting than to see the athletes’ high emotions as their ball rolled down the alley!  Did every athlete make a strike? No, but the efforts put forth was priceless.  Above are a few pictures taken during this venue. 

So, I am sure you are asking how you can help, right?  It will take over 1,600 volunteers to make this event run smoothly.  There’s no sports experience needed to volunteer, just a willing heart to support the athletes during the venues around Austin.  Can SOTX count on YOU?

To sign up, click here or contact me at

If you would like to see how important the Special Olympics of Texas events are to participants, click on the following link to meet Blaine and others.

 I look forward to seeing you all at the Games this weekend!

Thank you in advance for your support!

Dr. Charlotte Fontenot!

SAT scores and a call for increased rigor in American academics!

The Monitor on Psychology recently drew attention to a September -published article in Psychological Science that examined SAT scores and subsequent college performance of almost 150,000 students. What did they find? 2012’s scores have dropped substantially, especially in reading, since 2006. And 57% of SAT-takers did not score high enough to predict that they’ll succeed in college! (For those who are wondering – SAT scores did predict college performance over and above high school GPA.)

MORE THAN HALF?! Of students clearly interested in attending college?! Suffice it to say, I’m concerned that what we’re doing now isn’t working.

So here’s one thing I did when I read this… I emailed my new 2013 representative in the Texas State Board of Education. This is what I said:

“Representative Xxxxx,

Congratulations on another re-election to the SBOE, and thank you for the hard work you do to serve the students and families of Southeast Texas. I recently saw something that, as an educator of college students from the Houston area, really concerned me. Sackett et al. (2012)  reported that 57% of SAT-takers in 2012 didn’t score high enough to predict college success, and scores have been dropping, especially in reading. I don’t have a brilliant solution for this, but I am worried.

I’m part of a faculty educating future counselors and educators, and I know they are doing their part to prepare for the challenges of helping Texas students develop into everything they have the potential to be. I just want to be a voice expressing concern and asking for help from the Texas SBOE; I hope we are all taking a long term view for our students’ college and vocational readiness.

Do you know who your State Board rep is? Find out here.

And please let me encourage you – you are exactly the right person to contact your state board representative – for the state board of education, for senate, for congress. As part of the electorate, let me encourage you to be actively involved in assisting your representatives to do their part in creating a government that reflects your values! Someone else (with more education, more background, more whatever-you-might-think-you-need) is not better equipped than you for this!
Start small if you want and tell us in the comments – If you were going to make changes to improve basic reading, writing, math, and critical thinking, what would you do?

Again, thank you so much,
Stephanie Ellis, Ph.D.

Sackett, P.R., Kuncel, N.R., Beatty, A.S., RIgdon, J.L., Shen, W., & Kiger, T.B. (2012). The role of socioeconomic status in SAT-Grade relationships and in college admissions decisions. Psychological Science, 23 (9), published online.”

Are Public Schools Really Broken?

When we were in San Diego over the holiday, we had lunch with a mutual friend.  This friend and her husband are both working in education in California.  He is a principal of a private school, and she is working with a company that creates charter schools across the country focused on helping at-risk students complete high school (focused mostly on job training).  As we lamented over some of the very frustrating issues plaguing education today, I heard her say several times that she believed that our public school system is very broken.  She believed that if “we were going to be able to ‘save’ our educational system, then the answer must come from the private sector”.

As we talked about that comment, I was reminded that she live s and works in a union state.  I asked her if she thought the difference in our ideas had to do with perhaps what unions were doing to the teaching profession (early tenure, and the inability to fire poor performing teachers).  She hadn’t really put that together, and she was reminded how different Texas public schools really are.

I have thought about that statement several times.  I am a proponent of public school.  I did all my teaching in public schools.  I taught in some wonderful public school systems all around Texas.  Now that our Texas legislators are considering a voucher system of sorts, I am curious about the changes that may bring.  Vouchers can bring competition into the picture in a very different way for our Texas school children.  I wonder if it will cause our public schools to improve, or will it cause many of our students to choose to attend private schools.

This will be very interesting to watch. Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst organization  just ranked US schools by state and Texas was number 30 and received a D while California (and 7 other states) received an F.  Clearly there is work to be done.  We can’t blame it all on the unions either because Texas (a non-union state) did not do much better on Rhee’s scale.  What do you think it will take to save our public schools…and our children?

Dr. Dawn Wilson

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