As you walk through the doors of Vistas High School, you immediately notice the difference in the environment. The school resembles a college campus and the overall feel is a general understanding of focus and the tasks at hand. With just over 150 students on campus, Vistas allows for a more one-on-one setting with students and offers a unique learning environment that focuses on each student.
“Being an educator at Vistas is an incredible opportunity to work with many different students,” Vistas High School Program associate director,Julie Gras said. “Because we are so small we have the opportunity to help the students learn and grow to develop the full child to be successful not only here but also for post high school success.”
For acceptance into the program, students must have attended any of the four Klein ISD traditional campus for one year and then apply to the program.
“I decided to apply after seeing my sister’s progress and seeing how much she enjoyed it,” Butler said. “I didn’t really like my home campus because I was a major minority and I wanted something different.”
Vistas High School Program, is considered a “school of choice”, offers an alternative learning environment for students who struggle in the traditional campus setting or might otherwise drop out without intervention in their school experience.
“The difference here at Vistas is there is a lot of diversity,” Vistas Graduate Jalen Butler said. “There is a lot of people who care in different ways. Vistas really makes it like a family connection between students, teachers, and faculty.”
Vistas works with students to prepare them for the real world in terms of character development.
“I’ve learned that responsibility is very important,” Butler said. “I’ve also learned that in the hard times you learn that there will be people that are around and people that aren’t so you may have to rely on yourself but that’s not always a bad thing.”
Since the school first opened in 2006, over 700 students have graduated. This fall 16 students participated in the “Clapout” graduation ceremony. Some students will go directly into college while other students will wait to walk with their home campus graduation in June. Vistas has already begun sorting applications to accept new students in Jan. 2016.
On Dec. 9, 2015, over 1,000 coats and hundreds of pairs of new socks and undergarments were collected through The Claus Project from the Klein community. The goal of the annual project is to provide clothing and coats for Klein ISD students in need during the cold winter months.
“Some people don’t have the extra money or see a coat as a necessity,” Leanne Donelson, founder of The Claus Project said.
Donelson originally began the organization five years ago after being inspired on her morning commute.
“I would see some children out at the bus stops without coats and it would be really cold, especially for the high school kids early in the morning,” Donelson said.
Donelson got the idea to gather extra coats from her home and other local residents in Gleannloch Farms and distribute them to two local elementary schools.
“I started off giving the coats to Hassler Elementary and Frank Elementary for the first three years, and then in the third year realized there wasn’t as much of a need from Frank,” Donelson said. I went to Cindy Doyle with Klein ISD Community Relations and said ‘I’ve got all these coats coming in and I’m not sure what to do with them.”
Doyle suggested bringing the donations over to the Klein ISD Central Office to sort for other schools in need. Once sorted by Central Office employees, the Klein ISD Central Warehouse delivered the donations to 20 schools across the district.
Along with help from the Klein ISD Community Relations Department , The Claus Project is made possible with the help of local businesses. Brandon Billnoske Mr. Moving, has provided transportation for the coats from their drop off location to the Central Office for sorting.
“We believe every kid should have a warm coat for the environment and assisting this charity does exactly that for Klein ISD students,” Billnoske said.
If you wish to donate, monetary donations are accepted year round to purchase items for students in need. To learn more about how you can help, log on to www.theclausproject.com.
the summer of 2015 Jim Scott, husband, father of three, Klein Collins history
teacher and coach was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. It was a day that
changed the lives of the Scott family and all those around them.
after the diagnosis, the Klein Collins Football Booster Club organized the
first fundraiser for the Scott family.
all of the unknowns at that point, I was humbled and overcome with love and
gratitude,” said Priscilla Scott, wife of Jim.
and Priscilla have been married for 23 football seasons, as she puts it, and
have seen many players go on to college and do more in their adult lives. She
admits that this diagnosis has shed a new light on things, and to be able to
see the players and students pulling for their family has been powerful and
motivating for their family.
efforts began strong around the Klein Collins campus as everyone was rallying
for the same cause. A GoFundMe page was quickly set up to encourage donations
for the Scott family. The Klein Collins volleyball team organized a ‘Purple
Dig’ in honor of coach Scott, The Klein Collins student council and choir
teamed up and hosted a spirit night at the local Kendra Scott store where
proceeds were donated to Coach Scott. The Klein Collins and Klein Oak football
teams came together and sold shirts and on the night of their game, united to
show their support.
football game against Klein Oak will be in my memories forever,” said
Priscilla. “The way two teams came together to support my family still brings
tears to my eyes.”
Klein Collins student council also supported Coach Scott during Homecoming by
creating its ‘Be a Hero’ campaign. This theme encouraged everyone to embrace
their inner superhero and remember that coach Scott was one as well. To raise
money, student council sold t-shirts which were sold out quickly.
was good that we could celebrate Homecoming and honor Coach Scott at the same
time,” said Julia Wells, senior student council president at Klein Collins.
“Acknowledging what was happening to Coach Scott and his family in the midst of
a week filled with dress-up days, mums and garters was a classy move on the
part of Klein Collins students.”
describes seeing their colleagues, the schools, and the community coming
together for them as amazing. She says they have always tried to teach their
children the importance of volunteering and supporting others so to be on the
other side has been humbling.
is awful, no matter how you look at it,” she says. ‘We just take it one day at
a time and know that prayer is a must! Accepting help is not a weakness. I want
to thank everyone who has been a part of helping my family with donations,
their time, mowing the lawn, bringing food by, and many other things, but most
importantly all the prayers we have had. I can’t thank the community enough,”
date, it is estimated that Klein ISD fundraising activities have raised more than $20,000 for the Scott family. Coach Scott finished
his eight treatments of chemo this November and has started oral chemo and
radiation that will continue until mid-January. The doctors are pleased with
his progress and hope these efforts will shrink the tumor enough for surgery
later next year. Please continue praying for the Scott family, for Coach
Scott’s health and for strength to carry them into the next chapter.
and Priscilla Scott are both long-time employees in Klein ISD. Jim Scott
graduated from Baker University in Kansas where he was an All-American
Offensive Lineman. He earned his master’s degree in education from the University
of Houston. Jim and Priscilla have three children. Hayden, a Klein Collins
graduate, is currently attending Stephen F. Austin State University where he
plays football. Their two daughters, Michelle, and Lauren are both students at
Klein Collins High School. If you would like to help the Scott family, click
here for the GoFundMe page.
Corporation has again given a generous donation to Klein ISD in the amount of
$38,200. This donation will fund the JASON Argonaut program for one teacher and
one student during the summer of 2016. It will allow the teacher and student to
work side-by-side with scientists and engineers in the field.
The donation will
also enable Klein to bring a JASON researcher to the district. The researcher
will encourage students to enter Science, Technology, Engineering, and
Mathematics (STEM) fields by highlighting his/her work. The donation also
allows Klein ISD to send two members of the science team to the JASON National
Conference in Ashburn, VA. The conference provides a unique opportunity to
obtain key resources that allow us to enrich the curriculum as we continue to
provide a high-quality Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)
education program for the students in Klein ISD.
JASON is a hands-on
supplement to the Klein science curricula and can be used to place students in
challenging, real-world situations where they are connected with top scientists
and engineers. Jason Learning curriculum consists of Science, Technology,
Engineering and Math (STEM)
students through deep connections to STEM role models
within the Klein core curricula
to state standards
articles, hands-on lab activities, video games / digital labs, and other
to higher and lower levels (emphasis in Klein ISD will be at the intermediate
information on JASON, click
Intermediate partnered with Sam Houston State University this year for the 8th
Annual Texas Children’s Hospital (TCH) Toy Drive. Toys donated through
Ulrich will go directly to the children at TCH. Ulrich teachers Colleen
Salinas, student council sponsor, and Sarah Eaton, girls athletics and PE
teacher, will be involved in the toy distribution this year with many SHSU
Sports Management graduate students. They will visit children room by room.
By partnering with Sam Houston for this toy drive, Ulrich students will see the
importance of compassion and giving to those less fortunate.
Forest recently hosted the Essilor Foundation Vision Program which
provided eye exams for approximately 100 students from Greenwood Forest,
Kaiser, and McDougle elementaries. Students with signs of visual difficulties
will receive glasses.
A big thanks goes
to Bridging for Tomorrow for sponsoring the Essilor Foundation's Vision
Program. A special thanks goes to Dr. Way and Dr. DeLaPena who donated their
time and services to ensure our students can see to learn.
Congratulations to Klein Oak High School CTE teacher Allanda Nichols, who
is the recipient of the inaugural School Champion Award from ChildBuilders, a
local nonprofit organization that provides programs and services to promote
positive mental health in children.
Nichols uses the ChildBuilders LoveU2 and Parents Under Construction
curriculum in her classroom and is one of only five candidates nominated by the
ChildBuilders staff which periodically visit classrooms to ensure that the
curriculum is being projected correctly. This curriculum teaches students
important skills to help them lead healthier social and emotional lives.
Twenty-eight years after he left the doors of his alma mater at Klein Forest High School, Steve Jackson, former National Football League (NFL) Coach and Player, returned to his home campus bringing words of wisdom and a Golden Football.
On Friday, December 4, Jackson presented Klein Forest High School with a commemorative Golden Football as a part of NFL’s Super Bowl High School Honor Roll at a celebratory pep rally in the Klein Forest Gym. In its preliminary year, the program will annually recognize Super Bowl players and head coaches by highlighting champions on and off the field. This season the NFL anticipates honoring over 3,000 coaches and players on more than 2,000 high school campuses.
“We are excited,” Klein Forest Principal Pat Crittendon said. “The Super Bowl is big and so is Klein Forest. Having us recognized that we develop Eagles that soar, is a feeling that can’t be beat.”
The Golden Football tradition will follow after every Super Bowl and will allow honorees to deliver the honors to their respective campuses.
As an honored school, Klein Forest High School will be provided with NFL Character Curriculum and is now eligible to apply for grants up to $5,000 from the NFL Foundation to be used to support and grow their high school football.
When asked if he would participate in the grant writing process, Jackson responded he would do whatever the school needed him to do. Even though facilities, technology and equipment has changed, Jackson said the love and support of the athletes and the game has not.
In addition to presenting Klein Forest with the Golden Football, Jackson donated $500 to the school’s football program to help support the growth of the athletic department. Jackson is currently in the works with school administration for him to provide a permanent program to help educate young male athletes.
“I am starting a mentoring program,” Jackson said. “It is going to be here at Klein Forest where we will teach young male students how to become professional athletes. Everyone is going to become a professional at something. It may not be sports, it may be whatever it is they choose to do in life and I just want to help them to be a part in guiding and being a mentor for the kids.”
Jackson’s program, Project 24 in correlation with his respective jersey numbers in the NFL, is set to begin as early as January 2016.
“Project 24 is his [Jackson’s] project about what he said, ‘you earn it and you give it back’. He is giving back to those students because he feels not only did ‘I’ achieve but others behind ‘me’ can also achieve and join me,” Crittendon said.
Project 24 will focus on mentoring young male athletes both on and off the field to become young professionals.
“Texas high school football is so, so competitive. Everyone has the best uniforms, the best facilities, and everything is equal. It’s just coaching and people coming together saying we’re all going to win this one goal. Whether it is the district championship, state championship, playoffs, it is everyone coming together.”
Jackson’s inspiration comes from his own upbringing and support system which he wants to in turn provide to athletes.
“One thing I want everyone to do, is to dream big,” Jackson said. “I started off as a young kid at Klein Forest High School, I never thought that I would be in the NFL. I never thought that I would get a college scholarship. I never thought I would be All-American. I never thought I would start four years in the big ten. I’m just an average guy just like everyone else. I was fortunate enough to be around good people growing up and in high school, good coaches who made me believe in myself that I could achieve more than what I thought I could.”
KLEIN, TX - On Nov. 17 - 18, 2015, Klein ISD hosted tabletop exercises for campus principals and those administrators who oversee safety and security at the campus. Brad Spicer and Chris Powell from SafePlans conducted the training. SafePlans is an Active Shooter Training plan designed to create disaster preparedness. There were four sessions over the course of the two days.
“As a leader in a public school, our responsibility to ensure safety is a top priority, and being trained by a professional group among all of our district administration has been invaluable,” Brill Elementary principal Dayna Hernandez said. “The modules, table top exercises, and time to collaborate with other administrators aligns our practices with safety measures. Our training modules have been on-going, and followed up with time to complete written plans, and then share interactively with our staff.”
The training was based upon a fictional incident whereby students posed threats and an active shooter incident occurred. Participants had to analyze the situation, consider their threat assessment protocols and how they would respond to the situation given the various dynamics.
“As mentioned in the training, it is better to know now where your strengths and weaknesses are as opposed to finding out during the actual event,” Ulrich Intermediate principal Jeffrey Bailey said. “I feel as a campus we are better prepared today to handle different situations on our campus than ever before thanks to the leadership of Klein ISD and the help of SafePlans.”
The sessions were designed to create a no-fault learning environment to test campus and district responses in relation to their emergency operation plans. Feedback from the participants was positive and the training provided an opportunity for open dialogue and feedback for administrators throughout the district.