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Travis innovation reflects on district

If you’ve driven down Shawnee Street recently, you have probably noticed that Travis Elementary has been almost completely transformed.
From the road, you can see the most prominent of Travis’ changes — a front entrance façade that brings an authoritative focus to the school’s main entrance.

I regularly drove by Travis this summer, watching the school take on a new shape. I even went inside once when the school was under construction to see how things were shaping up from within the school’s walls.

But it wasn’t until last week that I got to see the school in a finished state that I was truly awed. While the school maintains its original 1950s architecture in some areas, the newly remodeled parts have successfully transformed the school into a bridge between the 20th and 21st centuries — and a great learning environment for students.

But Travis is changing in other ways as well. While the staff and students loved Principal Steve Huff, it was time for him to retire and pass on the leadership of Travis to Ryan McCabe.

Mr. McCabe came from Ennis Junior High School as assistant principal, and was excited to work with the younger learners at Travis.

Parents got a chance to meet Mr. McCabe earlier this week. With a new principal comes new ideas about learning.

In my own visit to Travis last week, I learned about a new program called “Cool Kids,” which is just as awesome as it sounds. This program shows children how to peacefully deal with conflict and diligently carry out their responsibilities.

Cool Kids TV episodes will demonstrate skills children need to effectively deal with situations they encounter as children, but the skills will serve the students well past their elementary years.
Travis Counselor Shannon King, Mr. McCabe and all the Travis teachers are very excited about the implementation of this program.

The students are expected to follow the “Cool Kid Rules,” which are a set of guidelines for students to apply to every aspect of their lives — playground politics, school work, respecting peers and authority figures, and self esteem.

King has introduced the idea of “Cool Kid Cub Necklaces” to go along with the Cool Children program.

Any student seen using the Cool Kids behaviors in any given situation will be awarded a bead. Any staff member (including janitorial staff, office staff and teachers) can give a bead to any student. Most students love to be recognized and rewarded for something positive.

I’m sure they will be on their best behavior since they could be rewarded at any time. Children can also receive beads for academic performance.

Travis has always been a great school with dedicated teachers, administration and staff, but this program should take them to the next level of success.

Travis is changing, inside and out. This is true for the rest of the district, as well. As the student population evolves, Ennis ISD has been there, adapting to the changing needs.

For students to learn, they must be reached.

The district has a long history of responding to the needs of students. When technology use became ubiquitous in students’ worlds, the district installed SMART Boards at every campus.

When the district wanted to do something about the dropout rate, it created the Horizons program to accommodate students at risk for dropping out, and made high school graduation an attainable goal for them.

There is no way of knowing how students will learn 10 years from now, but it is sure that Ennis ISD will observe trends and come up with a unique way to respond.

Liz Crawford is a staff writer for the Ennis Daily News and covers education and county government. She can be reached at liz@ennisdailynews.com

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Posted by on Sep 25 2009. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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