have lived in Canada and Russia, so I knew about cold climates, but this was a
view into the Arctic, a totally different biodome than anything I had experienced
before,” said Tammy Koonce, Klein ISD Social Studies Instructional Specialist.
been one of only 25 distinguished educators from the United States and Canada,
Koonce was elated to learn that she had been selected by National Geographic to
serve as Linblad Expeditions and National Geographic Grosvenor Teacher Fellow.
felt honored and very fortunate to have this opportunity,” said Koonce.
trip began with an overnight stay in Oslo, Norway and ended by boarding the National
Geographic Explorer, an expedition ship able to reach some of the planet’s
most remote shores, in Svalbard, a group of islands located in the Arctic Ocean
halfway between Norway and the North Pole. There, we spent several days
visiting different islands, going ashore to hike in the tundra and snow and
even got to kayak along the shores. We saw numerous polar bears, whales, walruses,
birds, reindeer and even saw a spectacular glacier calve, the breaking off of
chunks of ice at the edge of a glacier.
in Scoresbysund, Greenland, we were treated to boat cruises among the icebergs.
Later, we visited a remote Inuit village, Ittoqqortoormiit which is completely
isolated from the rest of the world for months out of the year because of the
ice. The people were eager to share their way of life with us.
were granted permission by the Norwegian government to go ashore on Jan Mayen
Island, the northern most island in the Mid Atlantic Ridge with pristine, black
next stop was Iceland where we spent a couple of days in the northwestern
Fjords hiking and taking pictures of whales and birds right at the edge of the
Arctic Circle. We disembarked in Reykjavik, had a city tour and visited the
famous hot springs of the Blue Lagoon.
was gone almost three weeks and during that time it never got dark. In
Reykjavik, it was dusk from about 2 – 4 a.m. but never got dark.
on the ship, the three Grosvenor Teacher Fellows took water samples for
salinity and temperature and charted air temperature changes as we moved. The
temperature of both air and water reflect the origin of the water currents.
These currents affect the climates of the lands they flow near.
of learning about the climate, the natural habitat and native animals, we were
also treated to an open bridge where we were able to learn about international
law and ship access to ports and open water. The captain and his officers were
eager to explain the instruments, maps and charts and how they use them.
thing that surprised me about the Arctic was the solitude. There were hours
that I would just look out at the ice, hearing only the wind and the breaking
of ice under the ship. The air was so clean and clear, the water endless, and deep
blue. It was beautiful, untouched, a fragile world in balance.
trip made me care about the Arctic region. Not just because it affects my life
and climate, but because of the beauty and the unspoiled lands and the wildlife
that depends on this region staying the way it is.
a world geography teacher I taught about the oceans and the effects of currents
on climate but to actually experience it was amazing. I want to communicate to
students and fellow educators the importance of this region and why we should
care about it. I’d like to inspire others to go and see for themselves how
different a place the Arctic is and what we can do to preserve its beauty and
out a full photo album of the journey, click here.
And to learn more about the National Geographic Grosvenor Teacher Fellow
third week in October is designated Character Counts! Week. During this week,
students and staff across Klein ISD will participate in many activities that
reflect the ways we support each other and the ways we come together and seek
common ground. Klein ISD has many programs and activities that help students
learn about and build character. With these great programs in place, many
students and staff have already shown great leaps in their character.
children who rely on free or reduced-price lunches during the school year go
home to meager or no meals on the weekends. With the help of the Houston Food
Bank’s Backpack Buddy program, Klein ISD students don’t have to face that.
Houston Food Bank’s Backpack Buddy Program provides food for students who may
go home to nothing over the weekend.
Each Friday afternoon, eligible students are given a sack of food
containing important proteins, grains, fruits and vegetables, healthy snacks
and milk in a discrete backpack. Staff members from the Klein ISD Warehouse
have nearly perfected a system that allows these meals to be delivered to the
schools quickly and discreetly.
it takes, we’ll do,” said Allan Westmoreland, Klein ISD Director of
Warehousing. After all, it’s for the kids,” he added.
has proven to be one of the strongest traits that Klein Oak sophomore Taylor
Hammons has. Despite being given only two days to live after birth, she has
more than beat the odds. Hammons is now a leader at her school and to more than
1,000 screaming Friday night fans while serving as the school’s mascot.
think she exudes the character of what the mascot is,” said Klein Oak assistant
principal Kimberly Walters. “She represents our school both inside and out of
believes that being the school mascot is not just about football, it’s about
school spirit and being a leader. She not only attends football games, but she
makes the time to attend volleyball and baseball games and even visits clubs
and organizations at their meets and tournaments.
crazy to see how far I’ve come from being a baby who wasn’t supposed to live
past two day to now being a leader in the school,” said Hammons. “Everything
happens for a reason and you should never give up.”
Oak freshman Eduardo Gonzalez was selected as an 8th grader at
Doerre to attend the JASON Argonaut summer study program in The Bahamas this
past summer. The six day adventure provided the opportunity to explore the
different research activities taking place at the Cape Eleuthera Institute such
as capturing and collecting data on sea turtles, snorkeling to compares types
of organisms and much more.
his return, Gonzalez hand wrote thank you notes to the people involved in his
selection process. He personally took the time to thank district personnel for
helping him through the interview process.
Argonaut experience has changed my life and has inspired me to learn more about
the world of science,” Said Gonzalez.
Counts in Klein ISD and these are only a few of the stories that show our
students and staff exhibiting this trait.
As part of National School
Bus Safety Week which is October 20-24, 2014, Klein ISD Police officers will
team up with Department of Public Safety Troopers, Harris County Sheriff’s
Deputies and Harris County Pct. 4 Constables to
encourage drivers to obey state laws by not passing school buses while
loading or unloading, if visual lights are flashing or stop signs displayed.
Officers will follow and/or ride school buses to identify drivers who break the
During the period when
children are entering or exiting the buses, drivers who fail to follow state
law place the children at substantial risk of injury or death.
“It is our hope that
through this initiative we can raise the public’s awareness of traffic laws
related to buses when loading and unloading and avoid any potential tragedies,”
stated Klein ISD Police Chief David Kimberly.
In the United States
approximately 26 million students ride a school bus daily (NHSTA). Texas
Education Agency estimates 1.5 million students ride school buses daily in
Texas. In Klein ISD, approximately
20,000 students ride school buses daily.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) states
that “an average of 18 school age occupants die in transportation related
crashes each year.”
According to Texas
statute, drivers traveling in either direction must stop when approaching a
school bus that is stopped and operating a visual signal. The driver may not
proceed until one of the following occurs: the school bus resumes motion, the
operator is signaled by the bus driver to proceed or the visual signal is no
It is also important to
know that if a road is divided only by a left-turning lane, drivers on both
sides of the roadway must stop for school buses when red flashing lights are
Student Council members
at Klein Oak and Klein Collins High Schools are selling T-shirts as part of
their fall philanthropy projects. “The House that Oak Built” is the fall
charity project of the Klein Oak Student Council, benefiting Habitat for
Humanity. They are selling T-shirts for $10 each and with a donation of $100 or
more, they will add the donor’s name to the back of the shirt. To purchased
“The House that Oak Built” T-shirt, please contact Susan Parent.
Members of the Klein
Collins Student Council have selected the MD Anderson Cancer Center as their benefiting charity. Their “Neon Nights for Brighter Days” T-shirts can be
purchase for $20 with $10 going to MD Anderson. The students are also accepting
monetary donations in any amount. They have set a donation goal of $10,000 and
will present a check to the organization at their Homecoming football game on
Oct. 11, 2014. To purchase a “Neon Nights for Brighter Days” T-shirt or to make
a monetary donation, visit https://kleinisd.schoolcashonline.com/Fee.
Klein Oak Chorale was recognized as one of two National Choral Award winners by
The Foundation for Music Education, a national organization dedicated to the
support and advancement of music education in schools. Each year, the
foundation sponsors a national competition called the Mark of Excellence for
choir, band and orchestra. This year’s event included 223 total entries and
more than 20 high school choirs. This also marks the first time a Klein ISD
choir ensemble has been recognized in the Mark of Excellence competition.
Congratulations to these students on this wonderful achievement.