• Teens 101 Webinar for Social Media

    Posted by Kristen Hernandez on 12/14/2021

    PfISD Parents and Families, please join us for our second webinar in the Parent and Family Empowerment Series.  January 12th from Noon to 1:00 pm.

    Teens 101 Flyer

    Join Zoom Meeting
    https://pfisd-net.zoom.us/j/85737142125

    Meeting ID: 857 3714 2125
    Passcode: Teens101

    Comments (-1)
  • Parents, course selection for next school year starts soon!

    Posted by Kristen Hernandez on 11/30/2021

    COURSE SELECTION FOR NEXT SCHOOL YEAR:

    Course Selection is just around the corner. High School students will submit their course selections for next year when we return from winter break. This year will be the first year we use SchooLinks for this process. Every student has an account in SchooLinks that provides many tools, like college searches, career exploration, resume writing and a place to record accomplishments. Students will also select courses via their SchooLinks account. ACE classes spent a day letting students explore their Schoolinks account. If you missed this day or would like to continue to explore all that is available, here are the instructions that were shared during ACE:

    SchoolLinks Instructions

    Parents / Guardians will need to approve course selections via Schoolinks. Here are steps for parents/guardians to set up access:

    Parent/Guardian Account Access

     

    SELECCIÓN DE CURSOS PARA EL PRÓXIMO AÑO ESCOLAR:

    La selección de cursos está a la vuelta de la esquina. Los estudiantes de la escuela preparatoria entregarán sus selecciones de cursos para el próximo año cuando regresamos de las vacaciones del invierno. Este será el primer año que usamos SchooLinks para este proceso. Cada estudiante tiene una cuenta en SchooLinks que provee herramientas para hacer muchas cosas, por ejemplo buscar universidades, explorar carreras, escribir un currículum, y tener un lugar para registrar sus logros. Los estudiantes también seleccionarán sus cursos por medio de su cuenta de SchooLinks. Los estudiantes dedicaron un periodo de la clase de ACE explorando sus cuentas de SchooLinks. Si perdiste ese día, o si quieres seguir explorando todo lo que está disponible, a continuación están las instrucciones que compartimos durante la clase ACE:

    Instrucciones para SchoolLinks

    Los padres/tutores tienen que aprobar las selecciones de cursos por medio de SchooLinks. Aquí están los pasos para que los padres/tutores puedan tener acceso:

    Acceso a la cuenta para Padres/Tutores

    Comments (-1)
  • From Dr. Luther Baker, Parent Liaison

    Posted by Heike Cook on 11/15/2021

    Amid coronavirus pandemic, teachers’ mental health suffers in ways they’ve never experienced

    This story was published in partnership with the 19th, a nonprofit, nonpartisan newsroom reporting on gender, politics and policy.

    Carly Evans never missed her weekly appointment with her therapist. She called it her “maintenance” – it kept everything in her life running smoothly. That changed in September, when Evans, a high school English and drama teacher and mother of three, found herself juggling an impossible burden: educating students in a pandemic while stewarding her own family through the crisis. “I wish I could say ‘I’m handling it so well and am on it every day,'" she said. “I’m not.”

    Experts are concerned that the challenges, isolation and stress of remote education are weighing heavily on teachers and affecting their mental health.

    Evans’ district in Sudbury, Massachusetts, has been operating since September on a hybrid model of teaching, so she splits her time between working on campus and remotely from home. Her two youngest children, who are in second and third grade, need adult supervision with their own online schooling, a responsibility she splits with her mother, who lives with the family. (Evans’ husband, also a teacher, has to show up in-person for his job at a private school.)

    Evans, 42, keeps a color-coded daily schedule to make sure nothing falls through the cracks. But, of course, things do. And top of the list? Taking care of herself.  Since September, Evans said, she has canceled more therapist appointments than she has kept. With everything going on, she said, “it’s that much harder to justify giving myself that hour every week.”

    She isn’t sleeping. Before the pandemic, she suffered migraines every few months and called in sick on those days. Now, she has one a week, an increase she attributes to stress. She makes herself work through the pain – there aren’t enough substitute teachers to go around, and already, she said, “I have so little time” with her students. She’s exhausted, she said, but she has to keep going. “You power through and do what you’ve got to do,” she said. “I keep telling my own children this is temporary. It doesn’t feel like it, but it is.”

    Since summer, experts have warned that the mental health of the nation’s teachers – a category dominated 3-1 by women – could suffer when school resumed. That prediction appears to be bearing out. Many say their psychological well-being is suffering in ways they’ve hardly ever experienced.

    Because of the pandemic, about three-fourths of the 100 largest school districts opted for complete remote learning, an October study found, and a little over a quarter of all districts began the year with a hybrid approach. But as COVID-19 case counts climb, districts across the country have ricocheted from remote to in-person to hybrid models, and many that started with even a semblance of in-person learning have fallen back to remote education.

    Between the unpredictability, the isolation and the newfound challenges in reaching their students – who mental health experts worry are also struggling – what little mental health support is extended to teachers feels like nowhere near enough. “I spend all day staring at a screen and kind of generating enthusiasm into the void that Zoom is, and I end the day so tired, and so done, and so frustrated,” said Emma Wohl, a middle school teacher in Washington state whose district has been fully remote this year. “The moments of joy I used to have are so much rarer.”

    Last August, the National Education Association, a major teachers union, found that 28% of educators said the pandemic made them more likely to leave teaching. A study from Louisiana tracked early childhood educators’ mental health last spring, finding that rates of depression almost doubled, with more than a third of those educators indicating depressive symptoms. In a survey from August to September by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, the vast majority of teachers reported working longer hours, and only a quarter said their school offered adequate support for mental health.

    Research shows that high stress can trigger symptoms of anxiety and depression. Already, women were at greater risk for both conditions. As of the end of November, about 48% of all women exhibited symptoms of one such condition, an increase of 8 percentage points from this April and above what is normally seen, according to data collected by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 37% of men reported the same.

    It’s a theme that has emerged repeatedly since March, said Laura Wangsness Willemsen and Elisheva Cohen, two researchers who have been tracking teachers since the coronavirus pandemic began, focusing on a cohort of elementary school teachers in Minnesota. Their research didn’t initially focus on mental health, they said, until teachers kept bringing up the topic on their own. The level of stress isn’t sustainable, they said. Teachers have been operating in crisis mode since spring. By now, any surge of energy that fueled them through the pandemic’s initial months has been depleted.

    The sources of stress and fatigue are complex. Many teachers have had to switch back and forth between in-person and online learning, often with only a few days’ notice.

    Teaching from home is also a fundamentally different exercise, one that is simultaneously more invasive but also lonelier. Students on Zoom lessons often have their cameras off and microphones muted, making it harder to engage or connect with them. Normally, teachers can rely on their colleagues for consistent emotional support in quick lunch room chats. That sort of spontaneous support isn’t an option right now.

    The challenges are greater for mothers. Research has shown that in many families, moms are more often the ones supervising a child’s virtual education. Teachers experience that dynamic two times over – instructing their students virtually while also working as the primary parent to ensure that their own children don’t fall behind in their own distance learning.

    And all the while, many teachers carry the knowledge that their students – who often rely on in-person school for meals or for social support – are struggling, too. Research has shown that teachers’ mental health declines when their students are doing poorly.

    Dr. Luther Baker

    Parent Liaison

    Comments (-1)
  • A practical guide for parents: Boost your student’s success with tutorials

    Posted by Kristen Hernandez on 5/6/2019

    It’s the final countdown: just a few weeks of school left, and students are facing a multitude of tests. STAAR tests, AP tests, and of course, finals. There’s also the pressure of keeping up GPA’s in their classes, finishing assignments and projects, and making test corrections.

    How can students keep up in their classes and prepare for their exams?

    Photo - Emily Delgado Teachers offer tutorials to help their students succeed. Mrs. Emily Delgado, Associate Principal of Curriculum and Instruction, offers insight on how students can get the most out of tutorials. Join us in our discussion of how to improve your student’s performance with tutorials.

    Of course, students first need to know when tutorials are held. Mrs. Delgado explains that they are held at different times, before or after school. Every teacher is required to have at least 30 minutes a day, 4 times a week. Tutorial schedules can be found on the PHS website under the “STAFF” tab on the left side. You can click here for a direct link.

    Mrs. Delgado notes how tutorials benefit students. “Teachers can give individual lesson instruction only to a certain level with a class of up to 30 students, so not all students can get the help they need. If they need more individualized attention, tutorials are the time to get that.”

    What happens during tutorials? Teachers make themselves available during their scheduled tutorial times. Students can meet with the teachers and ask questions. “Every class is different: Some teachers have a more structured setting and guide it toward the students; others expect students to self-advocate and ask questions to get the help they need.”

    How can students get the most out of tutorials? Mrs. Delgado suggests that students come prepared with questions and understand where they’re lost. “Teachers are happy if students just attend tutorials, but if they come prepared that’s even better.” What can parents do to help students prepare for tutorials? “Parents can help students think things through ahead of time. Ask: what happened? What don’t they understand? Walk them through the steps to help them see where they get lost, and that will help give them an idea of questions to ask.”

    She emphasizes that students should not be afraid to reach out for help. “If a student is confused, they should tell the teacher. If they don’t understand, they should ask questions. Don’t waste time just sitting in the room and not getting help.”

    A great help in students’ improving their grades is re-teach, re-test. How does that work? Mrs. Delgado explains: “If a student fails a test, district policy gives them the opportunity to take the test again after they have been given targeted instruction. Re-teach, re-test is available only in tutorials. In the tutorial, the teacher will review with the student the information that wasn’t understood, then they can come to another tutorial to retake the test after they have been retaught the information. If students take advantage of this, they shouldn’t have any failing quiz or test grades for their classes.”

    What if my student’s teacher is not available for tutorials? “If teachers are not available at their posted times, please inform the grade-level Assistant Principal. Parents can keep an open communication with their student’s teachers. If their student needs help, they can call or email the teacher to let them know that the student will be attending tutorials. That way the teacher and student will both be prepared, and their time will be better spent during tutorials.”

    PHS also has the PAW Center, which is student-led tutoring for all core subjects at all levels. If students need help with homework, exam corrections, essays, or if they have questions about their classes, they can come to the PAW Center. During the school year, regular hours are Monday - Thursday 8:00-8:55 am and 4:30-5:15 pm in the E215 Computer lab.

    Please note: Since we are nearing the end of the school year and have limited staffing, the PAW Center has a different format for the last few weeks of school. During the weeks of May 5 (afternoons) and May 12 (mornings and afternoons), it is open for AP Café, which is is an informal version of PAW Center where AP students are encouraged to gather together and form student-led study groups. May 19 through May 23 (mornings and afternoons) will be PAW Center 911, where students can come by to get assistance in last minute assignments and corrections. Please note that they won’t be able to be fully staffed due to end of year commitments, so there will be a limited numbers of tutors during these weeks. Hot drinks – coffee, tea and hot chocolate – will be available for purchase every day until they run out.

    Mrs. Delgado summarizes the secret of successful tutorials: “Parents, be proactive. Don’t wait for a failed test to get help. Start right away when there is homework that the student doesn’t understand. Students, don’t wait to get help. Advocate for yourself and ask questions to get the help you need. During ACE period, you can coordinate with teachers to get help. We want our students to succeed, and tutorials can play an important part in that.”

    Comments (-1)
  • 2019 BrightBytes Technology Survey

    Posted by Kristen Hernandez on 4/25/2019

    We are partnering with BrightBytes, an educational software company, in order to learn more about our students’ school and home technology use for learning. For that reason, we are reaching out to ask you to take part in the Clarity questionnaire. Your participation is essential in helping us form a more complete picture of technology use for learning in your students’ lives.

    If you have students at multiple campuses, please complete one survey for each campus using the link provided by the campus. This process ensures each campus has the appropriate information for their student population. Multiple responses are not necessary for siblings on the same campus.

    The survey will take approximately 5 minutes. Please know that all of your responses will remain anonymous to protect your privacy. PfISD values parent feedback and we appreciate your input.

    Please use this link to begin the survey for PHS: PHS Parent Survey

    Sincerely,

    Pflugerville ISD Technology

     

    Hacemos equipo con BrightBytes, una compañía de software educativa. Deseamos aprender más sobre el uso de la tecnología para la enseñanza de nuestros estudiantes en la escuela y el hogar. Por eso, le pedimos participar en esta encuesta Clarity. Su participación es fundamental en ayudarnos entender mejor el rol de la tecnología para la enseñanza en las vidas de sus hijos. 

    Si tienen estudiantes inscritos en múltiples escuelas, favor de completar una encuesta para cada escuela utilizando el enlace proporcionado por cada escuela. Este proceso asegura que cada escuela tenga la información apropiada para su población estudiantil. Respuestas múltiples no son necesarias para hermanos que asisten a la misma escuela.

    La encuesta tomará aproximadamente 5 minutos en completar. Sus respuestas serán anónimas para proteger su privacidad. PfISD valora y aprecia los comentarios y las contribuciones de padres.

    Por favor, use el siguiente enlace para comenzar la encuesta de PHS: Encuesta para padres de PHS. (Usted puede cambiar el idioma en la parte superior a la derecha de la página.) 

    Atentamente,

    Pflugerville ISD Technology

    Comments (-1)
  • Information for Parents on overcoming obstacles to student success: Student’s lack of organization and time management

    Posted by Kristen Hernandez on 3/15/2019

    Parents, does your student struggle with getting organized and using their time effectively? This can be one of the biggest obstacles to students’ success, but we have an amazing team of counselors ready to help:Photo of counselors and staff

    Geminesse Scott – 9th grade counselor

    Christina Powell – 10th grade counselor

    Mark Canales – 11th grade counselor

    Lindsay Saylor-Carroll – 12th grade counselor

    Sarah Cable – Lead/AVID counselor

    Ana Bowie – Social Worker

    The team offers suggestions so students can get organized and manage their time effectively. Read on to find simple, practical advice that parents and students can put into practice.

    How can students be better organized?

    One of the best ways to start getting organized is to use planners and agendas effectively. AVID planners are especially useful. They have study tips, note-taking suggestions (including a sample of Cornell notes), ideas on how to stay productive all day long, and more. They help you set weekly and monthly goals. Best of all, the counselors have a supply of AVID planners available for any student who wants one (even if they are not in AVID) – all you need to do is ask!

    If students prefer to use electronic planners, they can use the calendar on their phone or find an app that works well for them. Be sure to make regular updates and check your phone often!

    Set goals. If students have the end goal in mind, it will help them stay focused and not get distracted. Set intermediate goals to work toward the end goal.

    Prioritize. Make a list of everything you have to do and decide what’s most important. Start with the most important thing first, then work down the list.

    Plan your time, then follow your plan. But also come up with a Plan B; in other words, have a strategy if you don’t complete what you planned in the time allowed.

    Designate a study time for when you get home. For example, take a 30-minute break when you get home (4:30 – 5:00), then hit the books (5:00 – 6:00). Repeat with another short break, then back to studying. Make it a habit, and as it becomes part of your routine it will be easier to stick with.

    Write down your teachers’ tutorial schedules so you’ll have them handy, and go to tutorials when you need to. Schedule them in your planner or put a reminder on phone to make it happen.

    Write deadlines on bathroom or bedroom mirror – important things for that week or month.

    How can parents help students with organization and time management?

    Help your student set up routines for study and homework. Parents should provide a safe study space and time, without interruptions. That can include taking the phone away to remove distractions.

    Work together with your student to make up a tutorial schedule. Plan which teachers your student will see in the morning and after school, then put that plan in a page protector. Students really like having a nicely-designed schedule, so help them type it out and personalize it.

    You can also make up a sign-in sheet for teachers to hold your student accountable. Converse with your student and ask what they did in tutorials.

    What things interfere with good organization, and how can these obstacles be overcome?

    The counselors observe that cell phones are a huge distraction, so they need to be put away during study time. Also, remember that students are not born with time management skills; they need to be learned. ACE period teachers help students learn study techniques that AVID students use, and those techniques can be reinforced at home.

    Where can students get more help with organization and time management?

    ·         Counselors are a great resource. View them as your academic coaches. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, because they’ll help you in a non-judgmental way. They’ll help you look at whole picture and get organized.

    ·         ACE teachers – or any teachers. They have the techniques and skills that students can learn to get organized and manage their time successfully.

    ·         Online/electronic agendas. Google it and find something that works for you. (Make sure you ask the teacher if you can use it in class.) If you find something that makes your agenda fun, you’re more likely to use it.

    ·         Read the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens. It’s kid-centered and easy to read. (In fact, the counselors recommend that parents read it, too!)

    ·         Take the initiative: use the internet for resources. For example, if you’re short on time, check out John and Hank Green’s Crash Course on YouTube for a fun and effective way to learn about a variety of subjects.

    Takeaway: To keep from being overwhelmed, choose just a couple ideas to start with and try them out this week (take advantage of time off during spring break to catch up or get ahead!). After you’ve gotten them down, try another idea or two, and so on. You’ll soon be more organized and on your way to reaching your goals.

    Comments (-1)
  • Parent Seminar on Job Skills held March 5

    Posted by Kristen Hernandez on 3/14/2019

    Photo Jay Cruz Jay Cruz of Texas Workforce Solutions and Griselda Valerio of ACC Career Pathways participated in a parent workshop on job skills and career training on March 5.

    Mr. Cruz presented information on resources available at the Texas Workforce Solutions offices for residents of Travis County and provided an overview of the Career Center. He shared a packet of information that included a schedule of Career MAPS Workshops held every week, a list of helpful links for job seekers and a career center overview with available programs. Click here for a copy of the Workshop schedule. Copies of the Career Center overview packet are available in the PHS front office.

    He also shared handouts listing free income-based Community Financial Centers that provide tax services (including tax prep), health insurance assistance, college financial aid information and financial coaching. The handouts for Community Financial Centers and tax services are available here

    Ms. Valerio discussed ACC’s Career Pathways, a program that includes free career training, certification testing and academic support. Their Adult Education Division provides free High School Equivalency classes (GED), English language classes, and College prep. You can access a copy of their brochure here.

    Photo Griselda Valerio

     

    Comments (-1)
  • For Parents: Helping Students with Homework

    Posted by Kristen Hernandez on 2/18/2019

    Homework - girl writing There’s no getting around it: homework is a big part of students’ life. And learning to manage it successfully can lead to overall success in school.

    How can parents support their students with homework? Marisa Ramos and Bonnie Nichols, Instructional Coaches (IC’s) for Science and English, respectively, provide suggestions for parents on how to help with homework.

    Ms. Nichols starts by discussing the environment at home. “It’s important to provide a time and place that’s conducive to studying so students have their own space. But parents should also check up on their student’s progress. They can look on their Focus account to see current grades and check if there is any missing homework. If teachers use Google Classroom, parents can connect to it for access to worksheets. They should also ask their student about homework and class assignments.”

    What can parents do to make students’ homework sessions more productive? Ms. Ramos speaks from her own experience. “My mom set her expectations for me – homework before fun – and that helped me learn to set priorities. I took advantage of class time and did homework in class so I didn’t have to take it home. Parents should likewise teach their students to set priorities. If students are organized and focused, homework shouldn’t take the entire night.” Ms. Nichols adds, “If students get stuck on homework, they should get help the next morning from their teacher. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.”

    Parents may run into a roadblock if they aren’t familiar with the subject their student is studying. Ms. Nichols suggests asking your student to show you their notes, or ask them to tell you what they do know. “It’s actually a great bonding experience. Even if you just get bits and pieces that can help, and the student can advocate for themselves the next morning with the teacher.”

    What should parents avoid doing? The IC’s advise the following:

    • Don’t do the work or project for the student. Parents aren’t doing their students any favors because it’s obvious who did the majority of work when test time comes.
    • Avoid distractions during homework time. Turn off the TV. That’s a great model for the student. Understanding the importance of homework starts at home. If parents set a good example and are willing to sacrifice their own TV time, that really impresses the point on the student.
    • Don’t be hyper-judgmental or critical. The student may already feel bad because he realizes he doesn’t understand the material. Don’t try to place blame on the teacher, student, or someone else. Rather, try to figure out what you and the student can do to find the solution and explore resources together.

    It can be frustrating if expectations on homework are unclear. Each class is different, so students need to ask questions. Expectations and deadlines can vary depending on the teacher, so it’s important to communicate with each teacher.

    In addition, it’s important that parents have daily conversations with their students about what they’re learning. Discuss the stresses that they are facing. Check to see where they are. Since teenagers may struggle with time management, help them to manage their responsibilities. Ms. Ramos notes that athletes especially may need help in balancing everything. Suggest they use time on the bus going to games to squeeze in some studying or homework. Guide them in setting goals and making a schedule.Homework - on computer

    Although parents should teach students to be responsible for their learning, parents should not hesitate to reach out to teachers by calling or emailing them. That gives students an example of advocating for themselves and taking the initiative. Help your student search for answers: use class resources and online searches (including Google), and guide them to ask teachers for help. Students’ success is the result of a team effort: teachers, parents, and students supporting each other.

    We also have a great resource online for parents to see what students of Pflugerville ISD are working on. You can find it by clicking here and selecting a subject under "Year at a Glance." Or you can navigate to it by going to the District website (www.pfisd.net) and clicking on the “Staff” tab. In the left column, click Curriculum, then PfISD High School Curriculum. Then you can select one of the subjects under the heading “Year at a Glance” for details. 

    Ms. Nichols and Ms. Ramos summarized by emphasizing the importance of relationships. Students learn better from teachers that they form a relationship with. Although parents may not always agree with the teachers, if they support the teachers and work together to unite as a team, everyone will benefit, and they will set the tone for their students. Students will learn from their example of how to work together, and that will contribute to their success in school and in life.

    Comments (-1)
  • News for Parents: Budgeting Basics workshop presented on February 12

    Posted by Kristen Hernandez on 2/15/2019

    budgeting

    Desiree Lopez, Amanise Coleman and Isabella Saenz of A+ Federal Credit Union presented a workshop for parents on budgeting on February 12 in the PHS Library. They discussed how our values guide and motivate us as well as help us set goals. 

    They explained that a budget is simply a spending and saving plan that helps you gain control of your financial future. They then introduced the steps to creating a practical, realistic budget.

    Step 1 – Determine where you are now

    • Identify income and expenses

    Step 2 – Organize & plan

    • Organize your expenses: Essential expenses, Financial Priorities, Lifestyle choices

    Step 3 – Implement

    • Choose a system: paper and pen, envelope system, electronic/online system

    Step 4 – Modify

    • Take small steps; pick one change and implement it, then make another, etc.

    They gave suggestions on how to increase your income or decrease your spending and showed the impact that even small changes can make over time.

    The handout helped participants figure their income and expenses and take action to start creating their own budget.

    Our next Personal Finance workshop for parents will be held Tuesday, March 26. We would love to have you join us! Watch for further details.

    Comments (-1)
  • Top question from parents: How can I help my student prepare for college?

    Posted by Kristen Hernandez on 1/7/2019

    Whether you have a freshman just starting their high school career or an upperclassman starting to apply for college, navigating your way through the process can seem confusing and overwhelming.

    Our college and career counselor, Mr. Christopher Haywood, provides guidance and insight for every phase of the journey. He is 100% focused on helping students reach the next step after high school.Portrait of Mr. Haywood, College and Career Counselor

    I spoke with him to get some practical suggestions on how to start students on their journey through high school, keep them focused on their goal, and prepare them for the next chapter in their education.

    One of the things parents need to know is when college preparation starts. According to Mr. Haywood, it actually starts in 8th grade. “One of the biggest things parents can do is to try to get students into Algebra in 8th grade, because it changes their whole trajectory in high school. It puts them in a higher math when they graduate, and they’ll generally test higher on the ACT and across the board.” However, if students don’t get into Algebra in 8th grade, it’s not too late. They should just start as soon as they can when they get into high school.

    Once a student gets to high school, they have to find a delicate balance in maintaining academic rigor by choosing classes that are challenging and setting academic goals for grades. Mr. Haywood explained that this will put them in a position to have as many options as possible available to them. “What we find is that underclassmen don’t know how their grades impact their opportunities as a senior, so they start putting in effort at the end of their junior or senior year, and that’s too late. College applications require grades for the first three years of high school, so senior year is too late to start ramping up your efforts. The first two years are the most important because your GPA can move much easier when you have fewer classes.”

    So what role do GPA and Class Rank play? “Colleges admit based on academic rigor and competition. The way you push yourself up in the ranking is to do well in the harder classes. Students ranked in the top 10% of the class get automatic admission to any public university (besides UT, which is top 6%).

    “Also, scholarships are the best way to pay for college, and the biggest scholarships come from universities. They often to go the top 10% – 25% of the class. For example, if you’re in the top 25% and you have a certain score on SAT, you may get automatic money – and that money is renewable – of perhaps $3,000 to $8,000 for the entire school year ($12,000 to $32,000 total for four years). The local scholarships are a lot lower, $500 to $1,000, so we’re talking about much, much bigger scholarships, so you can literally see your grades paying for school in that top range.”

    How can students stay on track throughout their high school career? Mr. Haywood advises that they meet with their counselor and college advisor on a regular basis: at least once a year, but meeting every semester is even better, just to check in.

    I asked Mr. Haywood to explain what the FAFSA is, who should apply, and when. “FAFSA is the free application for federal student aid for graduating seniors to obtain a grant, loan, and/or work-study (it does not include scholarships). It opens October 1 for seniors to apply. There is a priority deadline in January. There is no deadline for submitting it, but the earlier the better.” Students and parents who need help in completing the FAFSA can contact Mr. Haywood for assistance.

    What are the TSI, SAT and ACT tests, and how can students prepare for them? Mr. Haywood explained that colleges want you to graduate from high school with benchmarks that prove you’re ready for college-level classes, and by means of these tests you can achieve those benchmarks through certain scores. That way you avoid taking remediation classes, which add cost and time to your college career and don’t count toward your degree. Also, as he already mentioned, your score on the SAT and your class rank can qualify you for automatic scholarships.

    What’s the best way for a student to get accepted by the college they want to attend? By being in the top 10% of your class (top 6% for UT), students get automatic admission to public universities. If they are not in the top 10% (or 6%), there are also automatic admissions based on class rank combined with ACT or SAT score. (Check with the individual college for requirements.)

    Students who don’t qualify for automatic admissions will go through the review process. Colleges take into account the student’s full body of work, as well as their essay, resume, and letters of recommendation. It takes longer for students to find out if they are accepted, so it’s best if they can get automatic acceptance.

    What if a student is undecided on what they will pursue after high school? They should definitely meet with their college and career counselor. As Mr. Haywood observes, “Students have a limited scope because they haven’t been exposed to a lot of options, and they don’t have enough information to make such a big decision. It’s hard to be what you can’t see and hard to pursue something you haven’t been exposed to.” That’s where the college and career counselor comes in. He can provide value assessments not only by student’s interest but also by market; he has data on growing and decreasing fields to help them make an informed decision.

    Mr. Haywood offers additional advice to students on preparing for college: “Along with academics, being a well-rounded student is important. Find something at school that you’re excited about and that helps you be connected to your school. Sports are great, but finding other ways to build leadership and give back to the school is honestly going to help your academics as well. It’s been shown that those who are connected to the school are likely to do well academically. So what you put into the school is what you’re going to get out of it.”

    For parents, Mr. Haywood points out that there’s a difference between support and involvement. “Involvement from a parent’s perspective means helping your student be accountable for their grades and checking on them. Make sure students are doing what’s suggested, such as meeting with their college and career counselor. There’s a lot of correspondence that goes out from the school, so parents should make sure that they’re keeping up with it and communicating with the school. Knowing and meeting with their student’s counselor shows their involvement. We know parents support their kids, but really being involved in their education gives them the knowledge to help students execute.

    “Parents set the standard of expectations for their students,” Mr. Haywood continues. “Standards for grades should be set at ‘B’ or higher. Help students carve out quiet study time. Parents play a key role in breaking down barriers to student performance and guiding their students to success.”

    Mr. Haywood serves as a liaison between the school and the community. “I feel like the school is kind of in a bubble, and I am the person bringing outside perspective and resources within the school, because a lot of times life in school and outside is not the same. I can help students find resources, scholarships, internships, and job opportunities. I have companies calling me wanting to come to the table, and I can connect those companies with students.”

    The best way to contact Mr. Haywood is through email. Also, sign up for class Reminds and Facebook pages through the grade-level counselors, because Mr. Haywood gives them information to post.

    Following is the contact information:

    Mr. Haywood’s email: Christopher.Haywood@pfisd.net

    Principal Hunt's Blog/Alert:  Text @phsinf to 81010

    Class of 2019

    Remind Text Updates : text @mrssaylorc to 81010

    Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/PHSClassof2019 

    Class of 2020

    Remind Text Updates: Text @k6af3e to 81010

    FACEBOOK:  https://www.facebook.com/PHS2020/ 

    Class of 2021

    Remind Text Updates: Text @mrsholmesP to 81010

    FACEBOOK:  https://www.facebook.com/PHS2021

    Class of 2022

    Remind Text Updates: Text @scott22 to 81010

    FACEBOOK: fb.me/PHSPanthers2022

    Comments (-1)