ATPE News

Winter 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 ATPE.org.

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40 ATPE NEWS continued from page 13 that you have to do is modify the student's classwork until they get back to normal. Athletes need time to recover mentally as well as physically. What are some policies that you've helped imple- ment to improve sports medicine? ImPACT® (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) is a computerized exam that athletes take prior to the season to establish a baseline. Then, if an athlete suffers a concussion, they retake the exam to help determine the extent of the injury and the information can be shared with the team doctor and concussion management team. A decision can be made as to when return to play is appropriate and when to start the concussion management protocol. Another thing I'm really proud of is the implementation of a program called "Who We Play For" that deals with sudden cardiac events in young athletes. We do electrocardiogram (ECG) tests on all of our high school athletes. Our athletic trainers perform the ECG screenings and send them off to be read by a cardiol- ogist electronically. If a student has any glitches in their read- ing, we don't let them participate until they are cleared. Several students have been disqualified from athletics because they had a problem. Their parents didn't even know and they got treat- ment so they could participate safely. At one time, we were the only school district that was paying to get these ECGs read. I'm also proud of our partnership with an infection control company here in Lubbock called GermBlast. GermBlast provides a comprehensive, state-of-the-art sanitation system to com- bat the growing danger of quick-spreading infectious disease. GermBlast disinfects all of our athletic facilities. We've even had them disinfect every elementary classroom and do treatments on all of the buses we travel on. Out here in West Texas, some- times we have to travel five or six hours and the students are con- fined to that bus. But sickness is down and the service pays for itself because of the money we get from the state for attendance. What's the community's reaction been to the dis- trict's proactive work? We are very fortunate to have a supportive school board and administration that allows us to have a positive impact on our student athletes. Health and safety is our number one priority, and kids and parents are very appreciative that we have licensed athletic trainers to provide quality comprehensive care. continued from page 16 important to know that a resolution of a criminal complaint that includes probation, community service, counseling, or anything beyond an outright dismissal of the charge may re- sult in a required sanction. The minimum sanction for a mis- demeanor-level prosecution is an inscribed reprimand on the educator's certificate. The minimum sanction for a felony-lev- el prosecution is a suspension for the period of any probation or community service. Because of this new rule, all educators should get advice about how their agreement to resolve a pros- ecution might affect their certification. continued from page 20 put in place for the benefit of students. At the very least, the DOI law should require enhanced state oversight for districts that take such actions as hiring uncertified teachers not regu- lated by the State Board for Educator Certification, exceeding statutory limits for elementary class sizes without parental notice, and employing teachers without annual contracts. Continued from page 27 them understand the importance of reading with their chil- dren every day. "Teachers can really help parents understand how to pick out a book," says Finck. "Whether they're going to a library or a bookstore, sometimes parents just don't know how to choose. The kids may run over and grab a book with an interesting character on the cover, but it may not be the right book for their level." Finck also notes that teachers can help create a culture of reading by building in 10 to 15 minutes of independent reading time during the school day (the time can also be spent reading with another child), and by making books visible in the school by decorating the walls with book covers. Another resource for teachers, just launched by iWRITE, is an interactive journal for elementary students. Activities in the journal encourage kids to write for fun and help off- set the negative attitudes about writing that are often creat- ed by standardized testing. A mascot, "i" The Guy, speaks to students via comic book bubbles and offers writing prompts using silly sayings, personality charts, and character develop- ment exercises. Students Helping Students When Williams first told her Iggy stories, visited classrooms as a guest author, and met students like Demacio, she quickly realized how critical writing and publishing could be to build- ing confidence and self-esteem, and to opening the doors to future opportunities for students. In addition to becoming published authors, students whose work appears in the an- thologies soon become public speakers, role models, and lead- ers. Like Williams, they visit classrooms in Title I schools and help inspire a new generation of writers. "Melissa's approach is successful because she's doing three things," says Finck. "One: she's taking her own skills and pas- sion around creative writing and inspiring children to have the skillsets to become writers, too. Two: she's working with teachers so that her process is passed to educators who can incorporate the lessons in their own classrooms. And three: she's celebrating the work of those children in publishing their stories. They have something to aspire to. Her passion is just infectious, and people want to be involved."

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