, Port Arthur, Texas

December 6, 2010

SUPERINTENDENT TALK: Conference offers insights for those attending

Johnny E. Brown
The Port Arthur News

— The Superintendent, several Board members, administrators, principals, teachers and Parental Involvement participants, attended the 38th annual NABSE (National Alliance of Black School Educators) conference in Fort Worth, Nov. 17-21.

Founded in 1970, NABSE is currently led by Beaumont Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Carrol A. Thomas. states that there are over 100 NABSE affiliates throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and the Caribbean. Some of their activities include: local, state, and regional conferences; tutoring/coaching sessions; training programs; scholarships; newsletters; recognition programs; position papers; student trips; and monitoring local, state, and federal directives.

This year's convention was host to over 4,000 educators and supporters. Panel discussion, plenaries, workshops specifically tailored to principals and special education instructors, research roundtables and clergy symposiums were just a few of the highlights of the convention.  The District is very thankful to the Superintendent, the Board and the principals that allowed this trip to become a reality. When we attend conventions and conferences, we walk away with a sense of pride that our District is doing the right thing for our students. We know that the information we receive will not only be beneficial for our students, but for our community as well.

PAISD believes that learning does not end once one enters into the teaching profession. We are constantly coming up with new ways to keep our faculty and staff energized about teaching through professional development.  In order to ensure that our students are receiving the best education, we have to find different ways to present the classroom materials.

We cannot continue to use 20th century logic to teach our 21st century students.  Our instructional coaches and reading coaches held meetings on Dec. 3. Our instructional team is very important to the District because they oversee the day-to-day activities of our teachers. They are there to assist as well as guide them. On Dec. 4, our elementary and secondary teachers participated in an all-day training at Memorial High School. Ignite! Learning partners with schools, districts and communities to create educational environments that engage, motivate, challenge and build confidence for students and teachers.

According to, “Per President Barack Obama's education plan, the high school drop out epidemic begins well before high school, and the middle grades are a crucial, but often overlooked, segment of the educational pipeline. In addition, sixth-grade students who do not attend school regularly, who undergo frequent disciplinary actions, or who fail mathematics or English have only a 10 percent chance of graduating high school on time.” This program promotes critical thinking, supports classroom instruction, builds teacher capacity and integrates existing technology. PAISD is a very diverse district. It is because of this diversity that we focus on the best ways to ensure that all students' needs are being met. The Multilingual Department, led by Dr. Bertha Garza, held the first part of the Sheltered Instruction Observation protocol on December 4th at Memorial High School.

The Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) is a training developed to facilitate high quality instruction for ELLs in content area teaching.  Participants will understand the research-based framework of the sheltered instruction approach for English Language Learners, become familiar with the eight components of effective sheltered instruction lessons, and practice observing and evaluating sheltered instruction lessons.  Beth Wilson of Region Five will lead this training.

The Port Arthur City Council of PTAs will hold their annual Christmas Celebration Wednesday, December 8th starting at 10 a.m. in the P.A. Public Library gallery. The theme will be, “Spirit and Community Service.” Each person attending the December meeting is asked to donate an unwrapped toy to be given to a local agency for distribution to needy children. The District will host the Fine Arts Winter Showcase December 8-9th in the Memorial High School auditorium, starting at 6 p.m. The middle schools will perform on Wednesday and the elementary and high school will perform on Thursday. The public is encouraged to come out and support this event.

Dr. Johnny E. Brown is the Superintendent of Schools for the Port Arthur Independent School District.