It is November Already @ PHS!

Posted by Zachary Kleypas on 11/5/2021

Greetings Panthers,

Happy Friday!

Can you believe it is already November? With November comes the holiday seasons, but none more important than the one occurring on Thursday, Nov. 11th - Veterans Day. A sincere thank you to all of our Veterans who have demonstrated bravery in protecting and serving.

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Another important holiday this month is none other than Thanksgiving! It is hard to believe we are only 10 school days away from our well deserved week long Thanksgiving Break. 

Students, how will you maximize those next 10 days academically? Remember, when we come back from that break, we only have 3 weeks until the December holiday break. One of those weeks will involve midterms (stay tuned for that schedule). So time will fly by.

Please make sure you are attending tutorials, turning in all of your work, studying for tests, and completing corrections and retakes as needed. 

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PfISD Website Translation Feature:

Did you know that you can view this blog and other PfISD web pages in different languages? Click on the language button on the top left of the screen and select your language.

¿Sabe que puede ver este blog y otras páginas web de PfISD en diferentes idiomas? Haga clic en el botón de idioma en la parte superior a la izquierda de la pantalla y seleccione su idioma.

Bạn có biết rằng bạn có thể xem blog này và các trang web PfISD khác bằng các ngôn ngữ khác nhau không? Nhấp vào nút ngôn ngữ ở trên cùng bên trái của màn hình và chọn ngôn ngữ của bạn.

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Project Jamii (Mentor Program):

You may have seen on the news or social media the amazing story of a group of dads in Louisiana banning together to create “Dads on Duty” to be present, visible, and available in a school in which students were misbehaving (to an extreme).

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Pflugerville High School does not need a Dads on Duty for the same reasons as that school, however, we do have a specific need for dads (and moms, and grandparents, and community members) who would be willing to spend thirty minutes to an hour each week to be a mentor for a student(s) here at PHS.

If you do not know this about me yet, let me tell you that mentor programs are one of my favorite things! There are so many reasons, but I will just give you a few:

  1. In today's world, many students are not getting the time, attention, love, and support they need to thrive. That is not passing blame, but rather exposing an opportunity for a mentor.

  2. So many adults can think back to an official (or unofficial) mentor or person in their life who had a lasting impact on who they are today. Mentors can be that for our kids.

  3. I am of the mindset that there are no “bad kids” but there are many kids (especially post remote learning) who are making, have made, or could make “bad choices” that are going to impact their future, if not for a mentor to help intervene.

At the previous middle school I was at, we had nearly 75 mentors who would visit with kids regularly to check in, hang out, ask how they are doing, help them think through and problem solve issues they are having, and most importantly just be there to listen and show them there is someone who believes in them. We called the program Project Jamii (Swahili for family and community). I am excited to announce,that we are bringing this same program to the students at PHS.

All of this is what parents, teachers, counselors, admin, and other educators do daily, but I can tell you from experience, sometimes it takes an outside adult to help students see that the advice they are getting all around them is actually the right advice. That person could be you.

So what am I asking for?

I would LOVE more than anything else that anyone who has a desire to work with a young person and make a difference in their lives today and in their future, to please reach out to us by contacting one of our parent liaisons who leads our mentor program:

Additionally, we are having a mentor orientation kick-off event on Thursday, November 18th, 2021 and all past and potential mentors are invited (please see the flyer below);

Whether you have mentored officially or have no idea what it would take, I encourage you to reach out. We have easy to follow activity, ice breaker, and get to know your resources for those who are new to this type of work.

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Here is the information for our mentor orientation:

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Celebrating a Perfect Score:

In case you missed it, PHS Senior Lamisa Mahmud scored a PERFECT SCORE on her College Board AP Research Exam. Check out this great article by district, celebrating her accomplishment:

Pflugerville High School senior Lamisa Mahmud joined a rare club as she received notice from the College Board that she earned a perfect score on the AP Research Exam in May. She is one of just 375 students in the world to earn every possible point on the exam. 

“Lamisa is an incredibly bright student. There is no question of that. However, earning a perfect score on a test of this caliber shows just how dedicated and intentional she is in her academic pursuits,” said Pflugerville High School Principal Zack Kleypas.

AP exams are scored on a scale of 1 to 5, but it is possible to receive a 5 rating without a perfect score. Mahmud received maximum points in each section of the AP Research Exam, putting her in that rare group of perfect scores.

Julia Levy has taught Mahmud since middle school and seen her academic growth. She is not surprised Mahmud has achieved everything she has set her mind to in school because she is a student with incredible drive and a vision for accomplishing her goals.

“Lamisa is someone I have known and taught since 6th grade, so this recognition only affirms what I already know about her. She is curious about the natural world and knows how to systematically answer questions through data analysis,” Levy said. “To ask and answer one’s own questions requires patience, organization, creativity, and a humility to recognize the limitations within one’s own research work. Lamisa has quietly honed her research skills over many years, and her perseverance has contributed more to her success than anything I could have done for her as a teacher and research mentor.”

With a student among such rare company is an opportunity to show other students what is possible through hard work and dedication on their academic path.

“Having a student achieve this kind of recognition is such a great moment for Pflugerville High School and all of our teachers in Pflugerville ISD. Our staff devote their time and attention to students and their success, and having a student perform at this level is a testament to Lamisa and all of the many teachers who have impacted her learning along her journey. We are so proud of her and her accomplishment.”

The academic environment at Pflugerville High School and PfISD helped fuel Mahmud along her journey. Levy said she hopes that seeing Mahmud get a perfect score on the AP Research exam will encourage other students to pursue some of the programs offered that they may have been tentative to give a try and begin to push themselves as well.

“Pflugerville High School has a culture of positive risk taking when it comes to academics. We offer the advanced courses, help every student who wants to try them, and we have the ability to push the students as far as they are willing to trust us,” Levy said. “I think as other students learn of their peers’ successes, we may have some reluctant students give our advanced programs a try.”

Acing exams is not the only thing Mahmud has been recognized for either.

According to PHS college and career counselor Nick Howell, Mahmud is one of 100 finalists for the Piper Scholars Program. Schools must be invited to nominate students to the program that awards four-year scholarships to academically promising high school seniors in certain regions of Texas that need financial aid to attend their college of choice in Texas. Students must maintain at least a B average in college to remain in the program and continue to receive their scholarship.

In addition to the district article, Lamisa was recognized with a segment on Kxan: Pflugerville HS student lands perfect AP exam score, joining elite global ranks

Action Item: Student Climate Surveys:

Students, please take a moment to share your thoughts and opinions with us by completing the survey during the Nov 1-12 window.

NOTE: The link will be placed as a message on Canvas to make it easier for students to access

Topics: Grit, Self-Efficacy, Growth Mindset, Social Awareness, Emotion Regulation

Most sincerely

Zack Kleypas
Pflugerville High School

“Keep improving, always, in all ways.”