Friday, December 21, 2012

Make Winter Break Work for You

“Someday is not a day of the week.”

If you’re like me, you’ve been planning for weeks for the time you’ll enjoy with family and friends during winter break. Spending time together is such a precious gift. These special moments should always be cherished because they pass so quickly.

No matter how busy or idle you stay over the vacation, enjoy it to the fullest. Take time to do at least one thing you absolutely love to do, even if it’s something simple. Besides spending time with my children and grandchildren, my husband and I also enjoy dancing. That’s how I like to personally become refreshed and renewed.

As you reflect over 2012 and anticipate the year ahead, please know how much I appreciate your contribution to our great school district. Here’s hoping 2013 will be a banner year for you and for Mesquite ISD.

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Mesquite ISD Continues
Strong Focus on School Safety

Dear Mesquite ISD Parents and Staff,

In light of the tragic shooting last week in a Connecticut school, we want to reassure you that safety is a top priority in Mesquite ISD. All of our campuses have safety procedures in place for checking in and screening all visitors.

We thank our staff members for their commitment to providing a safe environment for each student each day. As we continue to diligently follow our school safety protocols, it is imperative for all of us to be alert regarding campus visitors.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected in Connecticut.


Linda Henrie

Dr. Linda Henrie
Superintendent of Schools

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Whole Experience
of a Mesquite ISD Education

At Mesquite ISD, we strive to develop the whole child. Besides our strong scholastic offerings, we offer much more to help each student reach his or her full potential. For example, our highly revered fine arts programs are going strong here whereas they are shrinking at many school districts across the nation.

Building on this ‘whole child’ philosophy, we constantly push student participation in extracurricular activities on our campuses. We believe this can increase student development and success while adding to school enjoyment. Accordingly, we offer a wide variety of activities to appeal to a full spectrum of student interests and aptitudes.

The impacts of extracurricular activities range from simple to sublime. Some clubs or activities give a student confidence and a peer group to relate to at school every day, while some allow leadership development for a future career. Regardless, our teachers and counselors can help recommend good options for all students, as we want everyone to enjoy the whole MISD experience.

From your perspective, how can involvement in school activities enhance a student’s education?

Monday, November 26, 2012

MISD’s Athletic Department Offers
Great Football Program and Much More

Been to a high school football playoff game? Needless to say, it’s an exciting season for Mesquite ISD’s program. We’ve even fared well enough to garner news media coverage:!/news/sports/Mesquite-Hosts-Several-Playoff-Games/180641691

If you’re like me, you take pride in our football program’s success and in our athletic program as a whole. We had four teams reach the football playoffs this year, and three teams made it that far last year.

Also in 2011-12, consider these impressive statistics for the other sports offered to our students. Mesquite ISD produced:

• Three MISD high school volleyball playoff teams.
• Five high school cross country teams that competed in the regional meet, with our North Mesquite girls’ team becoming district champions.
• Six high school basketball playoff teams, including boys’ and girls’ teams.
• Seven high school soccer playoff teams, including boys’ and girls’ teams, with West Mesquite High School boys’ and Poteet High School girls’ earning district championship levels.
• Two high school district tennis champions.
• Seven high school regional golf qualifiers.
• Three high school baseball playoff teams, with Mesquite High School becoming district champions.
• Three high school softball playoff teams, with John Horn ending as district champions.
• Ten state track qualifiers.
• Forty high school swimmers qualifying for regional swim meet.
• Seventy-three student/athletes receiving athletic scholarships.

Congratulations to all our athletes, their parents who support them and of course to our coaches and athletic department. Thanks to our student bodies, bands, cheerleaders, drill teams, mascots and more who cheer for our athletes, too. It takes a great deal of support to reach the top levels MISD has achieved.

Hope to see you at a sporting event soon.

Friday, November 16, 2012

MISD’s Board of Trustees
Respected at National Level

Our district’s faculty, parents and community aren’t the only ones impressed by our Board of Trustees. As the winner of the 2011 CUBE Award for Urban School Board Excellence, this well-respected group of seven is now even recognized at the national level.

Recently Board President Robert Seward, Board Member Dr. Cary Tanamachi and I addressed the Iowa Association of School Boards’ (IASB) annual conference. IASB invited us and paid our expenses so that we could address some 2,000 registrants about the traits of a top-notch school board.

Our main message was two-fold. We stressed the importance of the Board staying focused on policy-related issues rather than on day-to-day school operations. We also reiterated that in every single decision, our Board takes into consideration what’s best for MISD students.

I am thankful for a Board that not only provides excellent guidance and leadership for our district, it sets an example for other boards to follow. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Mesquite ISD Ranks 24th in Dallas
Morning News’ Top 100

Have you heard the good news? Mesquite ISD ranks 24th in The Dallas Morning News’ 2012 Top 100 Places to Work competition. Among other winners, MISD is profiled in the News’ November 11 Sunday edition’s special supplement.

Top 100 is a unique collection of local businesses in Dallas, Tarrant, Denton, Collin, Ellis, Johnson, Kaufman, Parker, Rockwall and Wise counties. MISD’s high ranking is based on results from a surveyed performed by an independent research firm. Survey measures included qualities such as leadership, compensation, training, flexibility and diversity.

This honor follows our earlier announcement this year for being named as one of the Dallas Business Journal’s Best Places to work. 

Many thanks to our employees who make Mesquite ISD a model of workplace satisfaction and for the strong support we enjoy from our Board, parents and community.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Donation Week Showcases
Mesquite ISD’s Greatness

“Everyone can be great because everyone can serve.”
Dr. Martin Luther King

The genuine caring of the people in the Mesquite ISD community is one of my favorite things about our district, and I’m not alone in this. Many of our employees, students and parents talk about the welcoming, family-like atmosphere here.

It will be easy to witness that spirit of giving and kindness during our Districtwide Donation Week that runs November 5-9. During this annual initiative, each school picks a community project to benefit Mesquite Social Services’ Christmas Project or the Clothes Closet run by our Council of PTAs.

In 2011, we collected nearly $35,000 in donations, including money for clothes, nearly 600 toys, more than 350 pairs of socks and 25,000 food items. Not only was each campus involved, but some of our district employees participated as well. Our district’s maintenance workers, for example, pitched in by delivering our donations from our campuses to the beneficiaries.

Thank you for your community involvement and for being a part of MISD’s greatness.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Good Nutrition Focus of Mesquite ISD
All School Year Long

“Just Taste It Tuesdays” are offered once a month in elementary, middle school and high school cafeterias. On each of these special days, students will be introduced to a seasonal vegetable such as squash and sweet potatoes.

This is one of the new cafeteria initiatives under way this school year in Mesquite. Our menus feature a heartier and wider variety of vegetables and fresh fruit in response to new government guidelines that shift focus from the main course.

During November’s Good Nutrition Month and throughout the school year, keep in mind that good nutrition fuels kids with energy for school and the extra-curricular activities so important to their full development. Let’s also remember to support the healthy taste-testing programs under way on every campus.

For more nutrition tips, visit these websites:

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Red Ribbon Week Involves Community Sponsorships & Creative School Events

It is Red Ribbon Week, and this drug prevention campaign is inspiring creative expressions on our campuses and in our communities. Ask your MISD students and neighbors what their schools are doing in the spirit of Red Ribbon Week. Please visit our district’s Facebook page throughout the week to see photos and descriptions of some student activities related to this important awareness campaign.

The annual Red Ribbon Celebration brings millions of people together to raise awareness of the dangers of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. The movement also encourages prevention, early intervention and treatment services. It is the largest, most visible crusade of its kind observed annually in the United States.

While our district stands for these Red Ribbon themes all year long, this week marks an extra effort on behalf of our children. MISD is committed to drug prevention through education, and teachers and counselors incorporate anti-drug messaging in a wide range of classes from science and physical education to art, music and more.

If you shop at Albertson’s on Motley this week, you’ll receive a “gift” as part of a Red Ribbon Week school/community partnership. Albertson donated grocery sacks that Range Elementary students decorated with anti-drug messages.  We are grateful for the generous support we receive from the Mesquite community on special campaigns like this.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Forum for State Representative Candidates Set for Tuesday

A forum that will feature Texas House District 107 candidates Republican Kenneth Sheets and Democrat Robert Miklos will take place Tuesday, October 23, in Mesquite. The public event, produced by the Mesquite Chamber of Commerce Legislative Issues Committee, will take place in the G Building on the west side of Eastfield College.  It will begin at 6 p.m. and last about an hour.

The candidates of the redrawn new district 107 will make opening and closing statements. They will also field about eight preset questions that they haven’t been given in advance.

To see a map of Texas House District 107, and photos and short bios of the candidates, visit

Keep in mind that the early voting process in Texas begins Monday, October 22, and runs through Friday, November 2. Whether you vote early or on the official November 6 Election Day, don’t miss this chance to take a stand in Texas’ future. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Election Time Nearing; Early Voting Only a Week Away

Interested in casting your vote early for the upcoming General Election? If so, the early voting process in Texas starts Monday, October 22, and runs through Friday, November 2.

Whether you vote on the official November 6 Election Day or beforehand, just be sure you let your voice be heard. It’s critically important for people who care about public education to participate in the political process. The people we elect chart the course for our state, and in the 2013 Legislative Session they’ll do so facing incredible economic challenges.

Polls show that Texans support public education, including increased funding for schools. However, Texas has posted some of the worst voter turnout rates in the country over the past 10 years. In fact, only 32.3 percent of registered voters in Texas participated in the 2010 General Election – the lowest in the nation.

Let’s show our pride in our great state during this election. Don’t miss the opportunity to have a say in Texas’ future.

For your reference, here are two informative,
nonpartisan websites:

Monday, October 8, 2012

Wear Your Favorite College Shirt Friday

It’s Mesquite ISD’s fall College Week, and this Friday our district students, faculty and administrators will wear shirts representing a wide range of schools. We hope our community members join in and wear college spirit wear on October 12.

On our campuses this week, you’ll find fun facts posted about different colleges and universities. Students will also see data on various careers after high school. Find out more about what your students and neighbors are learning by asking them, “What career fields interest you?” and “What do you aspire to do after high school? Attend technical school? Community college? Enter the military?” Help them explore all their options or connect them to your professional contacts when possible.

Please help us set high standards for our students and encourage them to dream big. Our district’s goal is to prepare our students to be college-ready after high school if that's the route they choose to go.

What was the wisest advice you received from someone who influenced your career path?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Dr. Ralph Poteet: An Icon for Leadership

This weekend an icon for leadership in education passed away after a brief illness. Dr. Ralph Poteet served our district and community for 22 years as superintendent. During his tenure, his remarkable vision for MISD began to take shape. By the time he retired in 1986, our district had grown to 29 schools, including his namesake, Dr. Ralph H. Poteet High School, our fourth high school. We continue to enjoy his other accomplishments such as KEOM, instructional television and the Russell Planetarium.

Through his accomplishments so great and ahead of his time, Dr. Poteet remained a humble, selfless supporter of our district. His attendance at multiple school activities spoke volumes to the students who witnessed his deep commitment to education. The words “Respect, Honor and Pride,” reflecting his initials, mark the halls of Poteet High School. They were carefully chosen because those words personify this gentleman to his very core. Needless to say, we will miss him, and we hold on to the vision of his leading in the 2012 graduating class to begin its Commencement Ceremony. His life has touched us all and will continue to do so for decades. 

Thank you, Dr. Poteet, for establishing the standard of excellence through a time of challenge.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Labor Day Means More Than Time Off School

Since 1884, we Americans have been observing our Labor Day federal holiday on the first Monday in September. The first Labor Day, however, took place on a Tuesday in 1882. Every year since, it has become a time for our nation to pay tribute
to the contributions and achievements of American workers.

Here’s a quote from the Albert Einstein that seems especially fitting:
“A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depend on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.”
For me, Labor Day also gives me a chance to reflect on the history of our great nation. The American worker created so much of our strength, freedom and leadership. This day of commemoration also symbolizes the end of summer for many Americans.

What does the holiday mean to you?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Get Set for Back-to-School Time; What's Your Favorite First-Day Memory?

The beginning of the school year is an exciting time.  There is an eagerness to see friends again from the previous year, an anticipation of victories in athletics or fine arts, and a determination to accomplish individual goals.  Though the school supply list has changed, purchasing a new box of crayons or new notebooks with organizers was a highlight to a new beginning.  Employees throughout our district have worked all summer to help assure a great first day.  Your support is vital is establishing the importance of learning and education.  The Dallas Morning News put together a helpful list of back-to-school suggestions for parents and students, whether starting to kindergarten or heading to college. Please join us as partners as we begin 2012-2013.

 We only have about a week to go before school starts! What's your favorite back-to-school memory?

Friday, May 25, 2012

A weekend of Celebration and Reflection

On Saturday and Sunday, senior classes of five high schools will cross the stage at the Culwell Special Events Center to receive their diplomas. Next Thursday evening, the graduating class of Mesquite Academy will receive their diplomas at First Baptist Church in Sunnyvale. This is the goal students have worked 13 years to achieve and a tremendous accomplishment. Then on Monday, Memorial Day, we will pause to remember and honor those who died in service to our country.

Both occasions deserve respect and words of appreciation. Please remember to thank those who have supported the success of both commemorations.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Value of Public Education

On Thursday night and Friday I attended an Institute at the Cowan Center. Ninety-five year old Dr. Louise Cowan gave a wonderful 45-minute lecture on leadership in education. One of the things she shared with us was the value of public education. In this time when public education is criticized so often, it was nice to hear someone remark that education is a gift and is the heart of civilization. Indeed, Dr. Cowan continued, it is the hope for the future. If we all thought of education in those terms, would our conversations be different? If so, in what way?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

New Beginnings and New Challenges for the New Year

This is the time of year for making resolutions to improve in some way as well as an opportunity for new beginnings. Students have a chance to get a fresh start if they need to give their study habits or grades more attention or perhaps practice more to perfect a skill or talent.

Of course, this semester brings the state testing program, as well; it includes STAAR for students in grades 3 – 8 and the end-of-course tests for current 9th graders. Each freshman who began the 9th grade this year will take four tests that will count as exit-level exams. Our district has posted information about STAAR on our website, provided information to students, and is preparing to send a letter home to parents/guardians. We want to be sure everyone has the necessary information to help our students be successful. If you have a need for communication that we have not addressed, please send us your suggestions. STAAR is much more rigorous than TAKS and will require more effort from all of us. Thank you for your support in helping our students achieve higher levels of learning.