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Trinity Standard - Local News
Stories Added - October 2010
Copyright 2010 - Polk County Publishing Company

Kindness, compassion program coming to TISD
Trinity Standard -

TRINITY – In an effort to combat bullying, Trinity schools will be implementing a program to encourage kindness and compassion among students and the entire community is being invited to take part. Announced last week during a special community luncheon hosted by the Trinity Independent School District, official announced that on Monday, Nov. 8 they would officially join the Rachel’s Challenger program. On that day, special assemblies will be held for Trinity Middle School and Trinity High School students and a program for parents and community members will be hosted starting at 6:30 p.m. in the THS gym. The program is named honor of Rachel Scott, the first victim to die on April 20, 1999, during the Columbine High School shootings at Littleton, Colo. During that incident – the worst high school massacre in U.S. history – two students went on a shooting rampage, which resulted in the death of 12 students and a teacher. They also injured 21 other students directly and three indirectly before the killers took their own lives. TMS Principal John Lindsey, who introduced the program to local leaders at last week’s luncheon, noted that he had previously worked in the Dallas area where the Rachel’s Challenge program has been proven to be successful. “This truly is a remarkable program and we really want to encourage parents and members of the community to come out on Nov. 8,” he said. “Rachel’s father and sister usually come to these events to talk and answer questions.” “This is a community driven activity designed to change the school’s atmosphere,” he said, noting it would have a positive effect on students and help build a climate of love and discipline. “These are thing we need to get back to, not only just in Trinity, but across the United States,” he said. The program is based on a challenge issued by the young 17-year-old in an essay entitled “My Ethics, My Goals in Life” found by her family two weeks after her death. In it, she wrote of her believe that small acts of kindness and compassion can create a chain reaction that will spread. During last week’s luncheon, TISD Superintendent David Plymale noted that the Rachel’s Challenge program is but one of the tools local educations will be using to help improvement the level of achievement for all students. Another is a program entitled “Capturing Kids Hearts” which is designed to build on a student’s strengths while confronting negative behaviors. Plymale told those at the luncheon at by the end of the month, 25 TISD staff members will receive training in the program and that by the end of the school year he hopes that more than half of the staff will receive the instruction. The superintendent also announced a strategic planning committee composed of community members, TISD staff members and school board members is being formed to help develop a common mission, vision and goal for the education of Trinity students. As part of that process, he said he wants 3-4 business leaders and 3-4 church leaders to serve on the committee. Board members L.C. Courtney and Judy Bishop already have been named to the panel. “The TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills) test is on its way out and will soon be replaced by End of Course (EOC) tests at the high school and the STAR test, that State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness, for grades three through eight,” he said. Plymale said that in the past, TISD had purchased it curriculum from outside sources but said that soon will change as local educations begin to develop their own educational plans based on local needs. As part of this overall process, he added that the school system would continue to reach out to parents and seek their input and involvement. He said when teachers or the school contacted parents about their children in the past, too often it involved only problems involving the child. Plymale said that in the future, he wants parents to be contacted and told about the good as well as the not so good. He also wants to encourage parents to come to their child’s classroom.


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