Student dialogues about how his trip changed his life
Oct. 30, 2013
– “When I first mentioned that I wanted to travel, I didn’t know how it would happen. I just thought it would change my mindset and give me a bigger world picture,” expressed Zion Lenton a former Nitsch Elementary and current Klein Intermediate student. “I was so happy and overwhelmed when I found out that I would be able to go. It’s truly amazing.”
Nitsch principal, Carol James said that it was at a session for an after school program for fourth and fifth grade boys that Lenton expressed his desire to travel to Europe with an organization named People to People. James and the Nitsch campus immediately started to reach out to community partners to assist with his dream. Faithbridge Church conducts a Values Club mentor group at Nitsch in which Lenton regularly participates. The church group decided to assist with his request and became a sponsor.
The Nitsch staff, community, other campuses and organizations pulled resources together and helped Lenton with all supplies for his June trip. During the trip Lenton blogged frequently about his experience, and afterwards he compiled the following reflections of his time overseas.
The reason I wanted to go on the trip was to enhance my knowledge of the world and also to let kids know that they can achieve whatever they want, whenever they want. Age doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is the ability to stay positive and stay focused.
The best part of the trip for me was leaving. Leaving the ground just let me know that this was the beginning of a new life. About an hour later we got above the clouds and they looked beautiful. We were 30,000 feet in the air. I just sat back and watched as we passed by the clouds. It was the best feeling ever.
My best memories were everything from Rome to Madrid. The first thing I did when I stepped on Roman concrete was to take a picture of the first building I laid my eyes on. From there I just snapped everything! Because I was grateful for everything I saw. It was so cool. I think they totaled about 1300 pictures.
One of my favorite places was Barcelona because it was artistic and colorful. I felt like I could’ve stayed there my whole trip. Well really I could’ve stayed anywhere for the whole trip. The people I met were awesome. The other student ambassadors were extremely fun and energetic. The people in Europe were nice and I really enjoyed them. I was just so amazed by everything. One thing we did was swim in the Mediterranean Sea. It was so blue and just beautiful. It was so cold and calm at night. One night we stayed right next to it and I sat on my balcony and listened as the water slid back and forth on the surface. It was peaceful; very peaceful. I just thought about everything. I thought about my brother. That’s when I realized that I was comfortable, something I had not felt in a long time. I felt comfort as if everything was going to be alright because at that point everything was.
The trip showed me a different perspective of life. The end of the trip showed me how special traveling was because going home was never the same. The last day everyone was dealing with the fact that we were leaving in their own way. Some cried and some laughed. I played on my iPad. The great thing about the trip is we had a few laughs, saw amazing things, it was fun.
But my message to kids all over the world is that you should follow your dreams. I did and will continue to follow mine. Your whole life you should chase your dreams. No matter what anybody says and no matter what background you have. Any kid has the power to be what they want to be and don’t ever forget the people who helped you get there. That being said, I would like to extend a special thanks to Ms. Carol James, principal of Nitsch Elementary, Dr. Julie Barrett, associate principal of Nitsch Elementary, all the teachers at Nitsch and to everyone who donated and believed in me and made this trip possible. I am forever grateful.
To learn more about Zion, click here
Art students across the Klein ISD recently participated in an art contest sponsored by the Houston Northwest Medical Center and Frost Bank in which six Klein students received top positions out of nine slots available. In addition, 60 of the 90 pieces of artwork selected to be displayed on the walls of the HNMC and its urgent care centers for one year, came from Klein ISD students. A reception for the students, families, teachers and campus administrators is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013, at the hospital. Congratulations to the following Klein ISD students and their teachers who earned top honors. To view the list of students who will have their work displayed, click here
marching bands participated in the Sam Houston State University Marching
Contest on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013. Each band advanced to finals with Klein Oak
placing third with a 94.6 and winning high percussion. Klein Collins, Klein
High and Klein Forest placed fifth, sixth and seventh place respectively. In
addition, all four Klein ISD high school marching bands recently received First
Division ratings at the Region 9 UIL marching contest held Tuesday, October 22,
2013. The UIL State Marching Contest runs alternate conferences in consecutive
years, therefore, 5A bands are not scheduled this year, as the 4A/2A/1A conferences
currently taking place this time. There is not an area or state contest for 5A
bands and this competition serves as benchmark for the year. At the region
orchestra audition, Klein ISD schools did extremely well. Of the 141 chairs in
the junior high region orchestras for string and harp players, Klein ISD
students auditioned into 89 of the chairs and at the high school level filled
81 of 118 seats. For high school students, this is the first step of
auditioning for a position in one of the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA)
ISD food services recently earned a “Zero Findings” rating on a review of the
department which was conducted by the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA). This
is only the second excellent report awarded for a Houston area district in the
past two years. This critical review is conducted at least every three to five
years to ensure that food service operations are in compliance with state and
federal regulations. TDA reviews five key areas for the report which include: applications
for the National School Lunch Program free and reduced meals are reviewed for
accuracy and compliance; menus are examined for nutritional value; financial
records are audited; kitchens are inspected; and employees are observed during
meal times to see if all procedures are followed. To learn more about the Klein
ISD food services, click here.
Klein ISD joins many districts across the state as it celebrates Safe Schools
Week Oct. 20-26, 2013. The purpose for Safe Schools Week is to offer an
opportunity for everyone in education to reflect on the plans and policies in
place, which can help ensure our campuses are prepared and safe.
Klein ISD employees and the district police force work diligently every day to
provide a safe and secure environment for the more than 48,200 students
attending our schools,” stated Dr. Jim Cain, Klein ISD superintendent.
Programs in place
across the district include emergency operations plans and crisis management
teams, V-Soft Monitoring - an identification program for school visitors,
surveillance cameras, safety training and more. To view a detailed list of
security measures the Klein ISD has implemented click here.
staff and community members recently celebrated the grand opening of Eiland
Elementary’s new track. The campus received donations from the Eiland PTO, Gary
Eiland, M.U.D. #119 and the King and Spalding Law Firm to complete the project.
Following the dedication more than 50 individuals participated in a joint
beautification project with Faithbridge’s Bridging to Tomorrow group.
the landscaping also served a dual purpose, students learned the importance of
using mulch, how to plant correctly and most importantly how to work together
to support the community. To view more pictures from the event, click here.
Multiple activities are scheduled during the week
Oct. 21, 2013
– As part of the Klein ISD’s character education program, multiple campuses across the district are set to participate in Red Ribbon activities on Oct. 21-25, 2013. Red Ribbon Week is the oldest and largest week as it relates to campaigns concerning drug prevention. The week offers a chance to educate individuals about the danger associated with drugs and also an opportunity for students and communities to commit to living a drug free life.
Campuses are hosting special activities during this week. Listed are some examples of activities that will take place. Please contact your child’s campus for more details.
• Blackshear Elementary
students will participate in “Real Heroes Don’t Do Drugs” on Tuesday and are encouraged to dress up as a real hero. Throughout the day students and teachers will discuss the meaning of hero. Students will identify various heroes such as first responders, family members or friends, military personnel, famous people, etc.
• Ehrhardt Elementary has scheduled an “Ehrhardt Eagles Believe in Their Dreams” event. Students are encouraged to wear school appropriate pajamas to school to show that they want to follow their dreams by making good choices.
• Greenwood Forest Elementary
will participate and wear crazy socks and tennis shoes for their Peace Walk to show solidarity to live a drug free life.
• Hassler Elementary
students are set to join the fight against drugs by wearing camouflage. Students will also recite the Red Ribbon Week pledge as well as sign Hassler Red Ribbon Week Pledge cards.
• Klenk Elementary
students plan to “Put a Cap” on drugs by wearing their favorite hat on Wednesday.
• Kohrville Elementary
students will wear their favorite team jersey on Friday as they commit to being a “Team Player” and live drug free.
• Kreinhop Elementary
students will recite a Kreinhop Healthy Life pledge and sign a red strip of paper with their name. The Student Council will make a chain of hope with the strips and display them in the hallways.
• Northampton Elementary
will to tie into their theme “We Can Say No to Drugs” by is participating in a canned food drive to help restock NAM’s food pantry. Students are encouraged to bring a canned good item anytime during the week.
• Theiss Elementary
students will wear their shirts backwards on Tuesday as they participate in “Back Off of Drugs” day.
• Schindewolf Intermediate
students planned a twin day entitled “Friends Don’t Let Friends Do Drugs!” During this day, students are encouraged to dress like a friend or a group of friends.
Project Tomorrow is a national education non-profit organization that provides national research on the use of technology and the internet in schools. This year, the Klein ISD ranked in the top five school districts based on high levels of participation.
This year, 35,000 schools nationwide participated and only 200 were recognized for incorporating feedback from their students as they develop strategic plans, make budget decisions, enhance curriculum and determine professional development needs. As one of the 200 school districts selected, Klein ISD was also ranked with top distinctions in administrator participation and teacher participation in the survey.
Project Tomorrow is asking this year’s top 200 school districts to help develop new questions for the 2013 survey open Oct. 2 through Dec. 20, 2013. Students, educators and parents can provide their input and more, here
Students from Frank and Hassler elementary schools celebrated on Oct. 9, 2013, by walking or riding their bikes to school. National Walk or Bike to School Day is a fun way to get the community involved while promoting physical activity, safety, concern for the environment as well as a sense of independence for the students.
The day is a great wellness event that includes students, parents and the community in an effort to change the culture and create more options for getting around that is more inviting for everyone. Students were encouraged to carry signs stating the benefits of walking and biking and why they enjoy it.
There were designated meeting areas for families throughout the Gleannloch Farms neighborhood with extra support from Klein ISD police officers as well as parent volunteers. Frank Elementary had 525 students participate in this fun day and for Frank students, they were even able to cross the finish line and receive a bottle of water and tickets for prizes for participating.
National School Lunch Week kicked off on Monday, October 14, 2013. This week is designed to be a celebratory week full of events promoting the benefits of the National School Lunch Program which began in 1946.
This year’s theme, “School Lunch Across the USA” focuses on the different types of foods from all over the country. Different foods represent the various cultures in the USA whether it’s a New England chowder, Florida oranges or southwestern salsa; Klein ISD menus also reflect this great diversity. This theme allows the district to highlight and celebrate different ethnicities and cultures.
Some of the long-standing, favorite foods of students in the Klein ISD are Tex-Mex foods like tacos, quesadillas, nachos, and charra beans. Students also favor some of those southern favorites such as chicken fried steak, hamburgers, barbeque, mac & cheese and homemade rolls. Klein has also included Italian-American staples like pizza and lasagna and Asian-American foods such as Mandarin orange chicken and egg rolls on its menu for years.
The Klein ISD Nutrition & Food Services department makes changes to the menu 1 to 2 times a year based on what the students are actually taking and eating from the service lines, regulation changes and new product development.
Students are encouraged to share their food preferences with the Nutrition & Food Services team by completing this survey
In 1989, The Klein ISD opened its 13th elementary school, Kuehnle, named after two branches of the Kuehnle family who came to the area and settled at different times. This month marks their 25th anniversary.
Kuehnle Elementary opened under the leadership of Maryanna Rhemann, who served in this position until her retirement in 2008, and approximately 37 other teachers and staff. Opening enrollment was 353 students and to date, Kuehnle has 701 students enrolled. Kuehnle is home to four teachers that started as original members of the staff and are still teaching at the school today.
“Kuehnle has been the place where I have positively influenced 500 to 600 students,” said Ann McLain, Kuehnle teacher. “One former student was my teaching partner a couple of years ago,” she said.
By the year 1994, the district had begun to see rapid growth in the area. Because of the growth, Kuehnle was able to add an additional wing that contained 12 classrooms. The gym was added in 2007. Prior to the addition, students held PE classes outside or in the cafeteria in times of inclement weather.
“With the addition of the gym, students have been able to participate in more activities and we have been able to provide more equipment to them,” said current Kuehnle principal Mignon Johnson.
In 2008, Kuehnle was one of the first Klein ISD campuses to add art to their curriculum. With this addition, a science lab was remodeled into an art room for students under the direction of teacher Alana Lynch.
Kuehnle has always been recognized as a campus that really takes pride in having a family atmosphere. This began with the first principal and her southern hospitality ways. Rhemann would make sure that everyone who worked at Kuehnle was a true fit for the district and for the campus. She took pride in promoting the Kuehnle family and would hand write notes to students that had earned straight A’s.
“Having been a part of the Kuehnle faculty for 25 years, I know we do everything every day to give students their best possible learning experience with patience and compassion,” expressed Kuehnle teacher Rhonda Perri.
The family atmosphere is enhanced by supportive parents, staff and students in various ways. Fifth grade students participate in a service project each year that brings them together to help support causes such as the Ronald McDonald House or the MD Anderson Cancer Center. Fifth grade students also participate in a fundraiser each year that provides money for them to purchase a gift that they will give back to the school. In recent years, students have purchased and donated trees, murals, rugs and more with the money they raised. A reception is also held each year for graduating seniors within the Klein ISD that attended Kuehnle during their elementary years. This reception allows students to come back to the campus and see the work and changes that have taken place over the years.
Kuehnle will continue their family atmosphere by encouraging Kuehnle family members and descendants, past and present staff and students, school board members, PTO board members as well as Klein ISD staff to take part in their 25th anniversary celebration and library dedication taking place on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013, from 4-5:30 p.m. In honor of the 25th anniversary, students will enjoy an ice cream treat during the day. The festivities include a performance by the Kuehnle choir and a special library dedication honoring former principal Maryanna Rhemann.
Krahn Elementary opened its doors to 576 students in August of 1983. Named after the Krahn family that originated from Burgenbuch, Poznan in Germany, this year marks the 30th anniversary for the school.
Teachers Rica Simbles and Judy Groth were teachers that helped open Krahn and have seen the campus remodeled with many new additions to help accommodate the student growth and curriculum needs. Krahn also had a gym built which provided better physical education activities for their students.
“I’m excited about celebrating the 30th anniversary of Krahn since I have seen so many changes during my time here,” recalled Simbles. “I love teaching here because it has always been about putting our students first,” she added.
Krahn will kick off their week-long celebration for parents and staff on Tuesday, Oct. 15 with their ‘Hats off to Krahn’ day where students will make a special party hat. The week continues with a ‘Good Times’ day, an 80’s themed day and will wrap up with a storybook character dress up day. Previous administrators, teachers and staff are also invited to celebrate and read to a class. The PTO will provide ice cream sundaes, a book fair and much more in celebration of the 30th anniversary.
All former Krahn staff is invited to join together in celebrating the 30th anniversary by attending a breakfast reception, watching the storybook character parade and to share their memories of Krahn on Oct. 18 beginning at 8:30 a.m.
The Ulrich Intermediate Spanish Club knew that they wanted
to make a difference in the world by giving back. During a brainstorming of
ideas session, the studentswere introduced to The Smile Train, an
international charity which provides cleft palate surgeries to those in need.
“Our students are aware that many children in this world are
treated differently for looking different, not to mention even attending school
would be an impossibility,” said Diana Sullivan, foreign language department
chair at Ulrich.
The students sold World’s Finest chocolates and raised $1,500
that helped six children in need of surgeries.
“When I showed them the picture we received from The Smile
Train, many of the students were moved to tears to think they made such an
impact on another person’s life,” Sullivan stated. “They feel they played a
part in saving the baby’s life,” she added.
These students showed that they are thoughtful, considerate
and sensitive to others in a time where self-indulgence is an accepted way of
life. They worked hard to raise these funds and followed through on making a
After the tragic downtown hotel fire that killed four
Houston firefighters and critically injured many others, including Klein Oak
alumni Capt. William Dowling, 10-year-old Haley McCharen knew she wanted to do
something to help.
Haley began making bracelets and bows with the help of her
mother, her cousin Kyle Kleinert and friend Alyssa Ward. To date, Haley’s
business Bracelets and Bows for Heroes has taken off and raised more than $1,300
for the Firefighters Helping Firefighters organization. This organization was
established by firefighters whose goal is to financially assist injured
firefighters and their families.
On Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013, Haley presented the
organization with a check for more than $600 that she has raised selling hair
bows and bracelets.
“I hope that some of the money I raised helped his family
pay for things they need,” said Haley.
Haley hopes to continue helping the firefighters as well as
other heroes that need help one day. She plans on attending the upcoming Fire
Fest this October and sell even more bows and bracelets.
The Klein ISD includes effective character education
not as another program in the curriculum, but as a school experience that is
included in daily instructional offerings. These stories are proof that
character education has provided positive results in transforming campus
cultures, individuals and our society.
Drama students across the district are preparing for their season to start. All Klein ISD high schools are scheduled to open this semester with four outstanding plays in October.
Klein Forest is producing Blithe Spirit
, by Noel Coward. The play concerns the socialite and novelist Charles Condomine, who invites the eccentric medium and clairvoyant, Madame Arcati, to his house to conduct a séance, hoping to gather material for his next book. The scheme backfires when he is haunted by the ghost of his annoying and temperamental first wife, Elvira, after the séance. The show starts at 7 p.m.
on Oct. 17, 18
and 19, 2013
. Tickets for the play are $6 pre-sale and $8 at the door. For more information, call 832.484.4440 or visit, kleinforestdrama.org
The Klein High School Drama Department presents, Picnic
and soon emotions are ignited amongst the complacent townsfolk when a handsome drifter arrives in a small Kansas community on the morning of the Labor Day picnic. The performances start at 7:30 p.m.
on Oct. 18, 19, 21
and 22, 2013
. Tickets cost $8. For more information, call 832.484.4070 or visit, kleindrama.com
Klein Oak presents, The Uninvited
, which is a Halloween thriller about Pam Fitzgerald and her brother Roddy, an aspiring playwright, who are seeking to escape the demands of London life. They discover a charming house in the west of England which overlooks the sea Cliff End that has long been empty. The reason is soon apparent. Fifteen years earlier a murder may or may not have occurred in the house. The shows are at 7 p.m.
on Oct. 30, Nov 1 and 2
, at Klein Oak Theatre. Tickets are $5 and available in advance through the new online ticketing system and also at the box office the evening of the performance. For more information, call 832.484.4789 or visit, kleinoaktheatre.org
Klein Collins invites you to see what Arles Struvie, Thurston Wheelis, Aunt Pearl, Petey Fisk, Phineas Blye and Rev. Spikes have in common as it presents Greater Tuna
. This hilarious play written by Jaston Williams, Joe Sears and Ed Howard is about small town morals and how they are all among the upstanding citizens of Tuna, Texas’ third smallest town in Texas. The production begins at 7 p.m. on Oct. 24, 25, 26, 28
and at 2 p.m.
on Oct. 26
. Tickets will cost $6 for students and $8 for adults. For more information, call 832.484.5165 or visit, kleincollinsdrama.org
Senior citizen gold card holders (for Klein ISD residents 60 and over) are entitled to two free tickets to Klein ISD theatrical events. It is recommended that gold card members call the school in advance to check on the availability of seats. To apply for the card, click here
Juniors and seniors at Klein Forest High School experienced the Shattered Dreams program at their campus on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013. Shattered Dreams is an educational experience intended to raise awareness of the dangers associated with drinking and driving, as well as distracted driving by providing a mock accident scene where students have been injured and in some cases lost their lives as a result.
“ It’s a new twist because the program originated about drinking and driving, but now it also concentrates on distractions and driving and I think that’s what a lot of our youth have problems with understanding the importance of not texting or talking on the phone while driving,” said Klein Forest assistant principal, Charles Woods.
This year’s program used two vehicles in their mock accident scene where some students were alive but trapped in the vehicles while others were tossed from vehicles and were dead on the scene. The mock accident scene is complete with police, fire and EMS response to the scene as well as emergency room treatment, notification of family and the arrest and booking of the driver all played out in front of the students.
The program doesn’t end there; it continues to unfold throughout the school day as other students are selected by the ‘Grim Reaper’ to pose as additional victims, have their face painted white and are not allowed to speak for the remainder of the day, confirming the statistic that in the year 2000, every 20 minutes someone in Texas was injured or killed as a result of drunk driving.
A follow up assembly took place on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, where those who played many important roles in the Shattered Dreams program as well as the junior and senior class participate in a de-brief style session where students are faced with stories from law enforcement and members of the community that have experienced this reality first hand.
“This is as realistic as it gets,” said Woods. “They may be scared straight when it’s their friends and people they care about in this situation,” he added.