Spring 2016

ATPE News is the official publication of the Association of Texas Professional Educators, the largest educator association in Texas. The magazine addresses the most important issues affecting public education in the state. Learn more at

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42 | atpe news students also. I say, "This is the most important part of your journey. Don't forget all the lessons you've learned, but remember you have to work hard." One student's mother told me that when her son was choosing courses for eleventh grade, his counselor told him his course load was too difcult. He said to his mom, "Mrs. Balakrishnan taught me to challenge myself. I am ready to be challenged." I get goose bumps when I hear things like that. That is when I know I've been successful. continued from page 25 NAVIGATING THE HEALTHCARE MAZE healthcare situation. "We're paying more and getting less," she says. "We have fewer choices because HISD, like every other employer in Texas, is cutting the benefts to keep costs lower. And at this point, people are going to have to change their mindset and take responsibility for their own health and well-being." "The only way to avoid astronomical healthcare costs is to keep yourself healthy," she continues. "How do you get people to start thinking that way? If someone tells me 'I'm always tired,' or 'I get headaches,' then I'll ask, 'Did you get enough rest? How many hours? What are you eating?' Kids are Google savvy, so I'll tell them to search the Internet, fnd out the answers, and then come and tell me what they learned." Cano also works to be sure that school district employees understand what resources are available to them. And she teaches them to use the system, because, she says, "School nurses are now on the front lines." Many thanks to Houston ATPE members Amelia Cano, Mary Gibson, Ruby Blackmon, Sharon Gerstacker, Dawn Martinez, Marlene Studivant-Moore, and to ATPE Regional Representative Cynthia Villalovos, for assistance with this article. continued from page 30 OUT OF THE CLASSROOM AND INTO THE COMMUNITY For FPE members, the thrill of giving was addictive. "We just wanted to keep making more boxes and bringing them in," said sophomore Cassandra Partida, FPE's secretary. "We realized that anything we do makes a diference, even if it's just a little." The event was such a success that immediately after its completion, the group decided to assemble and deliver more boxes in the spring. For their next efort, Cassandra says she would like to see the group surpass their current expectations: "I would love if we could set a goal for ourselves to do even more boxes than we did last time." In addition to the Jared Box Project, FPE members regularly tutor at local schools and volunteer at Reach Unlimited, a group home for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. "We try to jump at volunteer opportunities," said Cassandra. "Since we want to teach, it's really nice to volunteer in a school and see how other teachers manage their classrooms." Being part of FPE provides opportunities for Cassandra and her fellow students to give back to their community on a larger level and to continue sharpening the skills they will need for their future profession—but it's about building connections, too. "We've become closer through volunteering and through attending the ATPE Summit," said Cassandra. "It's a great environment to be around people who have the same ambitions as you." continued from page 21 DANCING WITH THE DAFFODILS continued from page 13 YOUR ALLY YOUR VOICE The easiest way to fnd these proposed changes is to visit the TEA website at Go to "About TEA," select "Laws and Rules" and then either "Commissioner Rules" or "SBEC Rules." Scroll down to the "Proposed Rules" link. Under each rule, there is an option to send public comment. Before you click there, remember to write down the name of the rule and what part of it you think is problematic. The site creates an email addressed to the TEA's rules section, but it doesn't automatically write in the specifc rule you are looking into. As your ally and your voice, ATPE provides input regarding new education-related rules. But don't let that stop you from voicing your own opinion as well!

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