Volume 8 Issue 7 |   September 30, 2011               Duncanville ISD Smugmug Photo Galleries


DHS Student Named National Merit Scholar
Upcoming Events
New Advisor Enhances College-Bound Culture
DHS to Offer PSAT
Parent/Teacher Conference Days
Central Elementary Begins Pilot Program
Campus Candids
In the News…
Order the 2011 Panther Tale Yearbook
Pink Out at Panther Stadium
Special Olympians Bring Home the Gold
Engaging Hearts and Minds
Duncanville ISD Bands Hold Fundraising Drive
DHS Officer Announcements
Hitting a High Note
Athletic Update

District Strategic Plan

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Upcoming Events

  • September 30 – End of first six-week grading period.
  • September 30 – The DHS varsity Panther football team will face Midlothian HS in the 2011 DHS Homecoming game. Kickoff is at 7:30 pm, and students are invited to a Homecoming 5th Quarter celebration in the DHS West Gym and Cafeteria from 9:00-11:30 pm. Tickets are $7 for the after-game soiree.
  • September 30 – Duncanville High School’s Choir Boosters will host their annual Lasagna Dinner from 5:30 – 7:00 pm in the DHS East Cafeteria. The food (salad, lasagna, garlic bread, and dessert) is being catered by Yum Yum, and entertainment will be provided by the Swingers Show Choir and Chamber Singers. Tickets are $8 and can be purchased at the door or in advance from any varsity choir student or by calling (972) 708-3761. To Go orders are also available.
  • October 1 – Reed Middle School is partnering with Keep Duncanville Beautiful to host a Duncanville Park Cleanup Day from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm. Students, staff, parents, and community members are invited to participate, and an appreciation lunch will be provided. Download the flyer for more information.
  • October 1 – Deadline to register for the Scrapping for the Athletes event. CLICK HERE to download a flyer and the registration form.
  • October 3 – Start of second six-week grading period.
  • October 6-7 – Parent/Teacher Conference Days. See our story below for more information.
  • October 7 – Report cards issued; no classes for students due to Parent/Teacher conferences.
  • October 10 – Student Fair Day/ Staff Development, no classes.

DHS to Offer PSAT

It’s college prep for the low price of $20 - Duncanville High School will offer the PSAT exam on Saturday, October 15. Touted as one of the best ways to prepare for the SAT and ACT, which are required for college admission, the PSAT is also the test for high school juniors that determines National Merit Scholarships, National Achievement Scholars, and National Hispanic Scholars. Students can start pay for their PSAT in the DHS Counseling Center. Please bring money to Ms. Backus. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity!

Campus Candids

Student Spotlight

Duncanville High School junior Jaquan Cole was recently named one of the best football players in the metroplex by the US Marine Corps Recruiting Station (RS) Dallas. Each week during the high school football season, fans have the opportunity to vote online for a Marine Corps Elite Warrior of the Week. Jaquan won the honors for Week Two. He was nominated for the title after rushing for 208 yards with two touchdowns in the Panthers’ 25-17 win over Garland HS. Playing football for the past six years, Jaquan says he is excited about what this award could mean. “I’m happy to be a Marine Corps Elite Warrior of the Week. Hopefully the title will get me noticed and will bring recognition to Duncanville as well.” Jaquan hopes to play football for Texas Christian University upon graduation from DHS.

Fairmeadows PTA Report

During Fairmeadows Elementary’s September PTA meeting, parents signed up to volunteer for future school events, including field trips and Texas Culture Day.

Fairmeadows PTA President Ms. Morin sold t-shirts during the September meeting. The sale of shirts, chocolates, etc. will be used to provide fun activities and opportunities for Fairmeadows students.

Acton Holds Second Parent Fair

Acton Elementary parents were invited to information sessions led by staff members, and were introduced to local businesses during the school’s second annual Parent Fair on Saturday, September 24.

Homecoming Hoopla

Duncanville High School’s 2011 King and Queen will be named at the Homecoming game on Friday, September 30. All of the nominees (pictured above) along with princesses and princes were photographed by Panther Prints journalists. See their photo gallery by clicking here.

Engaging Hearts and Minds

Daniel Intermediate sixth grade math teachers Janson Cato, Natasha Reed, and Tiffany Taylor recently used their Web 2.0 and theatrical skills to help students gain a better understanding of factors. They created an “autopsy” video of the number 12. After viewing this innovative introduction, students could hardly wait for some hands-on math time. You can view their video on YouTube by clicking here.

Duncanville ISD Bands Hold Fundraising Drive

A fundraising drive is currently underway for Duncanville ISD's high school and middle school band programs, but gone are the days of door-to-door sales – this drive is digital. Schools have partnered with QSP to offer magazine subscriptions and best-selling books online. Anyone wishing to donate can click here to buy, renew, or extend a magazine subscription and purchase book items. A portion of the sales benefit Byrd, Kennemer, Reed, and Duncanville HS bands.

Hitting a High Note

Several Duncanville High School choir students are on their way to regionals, after recently hitting a high note at the district round of the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) competition. Regionals will be held October 15. The students who advanced are Garrett Kheshtinejad, Harrison Adkins, Jordan Curtis, Kristin Hill, Marcus Howard, Sarah Good, Sasha Johnson, Taylor Gordon, Tyler Guse, Vashelle Jackson, and Will Jameson. Congratulations to these students and the entire DHS choir for their hard work and dedication!

DHS Student Named National Merit Scholar

Receiving recognition for years of academic astuteness, Duncanville High School senior Shanan Ahmad was recently named a 2012 National Merit Scholarship Commended Student.  Shanan is one of only 34,000 high school seniors in the US to receive this distinction. “This validates all of the hard work that I feel I’ve put into my schooling,” she commented.

Each year, approximately 1.5 million high school juniors from across the country take the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQTR). Their reading, writing, and arithmetic skills are assessed in preparation for the SAT. But the PSAT/NMSQTR is not only an assessment tool; it also provides entry into National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) competitions. Of the 1.5 million yearly test takers, only about 50,000 of the nation's highest scoring students receive National Merit Scholar status.

Although Shanan will not continue in the 2012 competition for National Merit Scholarships, she hopes that the elite nature of a Commended Student title is enough to secure some college funding. Recently finishing her application to the University of Florida, Ahmad also plans to apply to Yale University and the University of California at Berkeley. “I’m looking for an environment to further my development – a place where I can better myself and help better others,” she said. Ahmad plans to major in Psychology, English, or History.

Shanan has attended Duncanville ISD schools since the sixth grade, and is looking forward to her last year. “Duncanville has taught me how to stand out in my own way, find a group of friends, and make a name for myself among 3,900 other students.” When asked what advice she would give to younger students, Ahmad replied, “Enjoy every moment.”

New Advisor Enhances College-Bound Culture

Striving to prepare students for success upon graduation, Duncanville ISD is receiving some extra help in creating a college-bound culture. Duncanville High School is one of 120 schools across the state to receive a full-time college advisor from the Advise TX College Advising Corps. “It’s our goal to increase the number of low-income, underrepresented students attending and completing post-secondary education,” explained Duncanville High School’s new advisor Kevin Westerman.

Headquartered at the University of Texas at Austin, Advise TX also has chapters at Texas A&M University, Texas Christian University, and Trinity University. Each chapter recruits, hires, and trains their own graduates to serve as advisors in selected partner high schools. Westerman is a recent graduate of Texas A&M, and was hired in June to start training in July. “We went through six weeks of training and preparing to gain the knowledge and skills needed to be a college advisor,” commented Westerman.

According to the organization’s website, Advise TX operates under a near-peer model with advisors who are close in age to the students they serve. “I get to talk to them about all of the things that I wish I would have known when I was going through the college admission process five years ago,” said Westerman. “I applied for the job because I thought that working with high school students as they try to go to college would be a life-changing experience, and it has been so far.” The program allows for one year of full-time advising, with an option to continue on for a second year.

Back in the halls of a high school, Westerman says he’s currently helping students sign up to take the SAT and ACT tests. He’s also helping seniors get started on their college applications. “My goal is to meet with every senior at DHS and get to know him or her as a student,” commented Westerman. “I want to have an impact by increasing the number of students who apply to college and the number who attend post-secondary education. I also want to help students receive as much financial aid as possible.”

Parent/Teacher Conference Days

As part of the district’s commitment to enhanced parent communication, Duncanville ISD has designated two days in the 2011-12 school calendar for Parent-Teacher Conferences. All Duncanville ISD schools will host Parent-Teacher Conferences on October 6 and 7.  Teachers will be available to meet with parents on Thursday evening, October 6, from 5:00 to 8:00 pm and on Friday morning, October 7, from 7:30 am to 12:00 noon.  Regular classes will be in session on Thursday, October 6; however, there will be no classes for students on Friday, October 7. 

Parents of students in all grades may schedule appointments by directly contacting teachers or schools.  Parents of students in grades 7-12 may also use the online scheduling process to set up an appointment with their child’s teacher(s).   
The online scheduling feature requires a Home Access account, which is the district online parent portal for viewing grades, attendance, and more.  Parents who do not have a Home Access account may click here to learn how to establish an account with their child’s school.  Please be aware that registering for an account may take a couple of days to process and complete.  Parent-Teacher Conference times may also be scheduled by directly contacting the child’s teachers or school.  

Please know that if parents wish to meet with a teacher but October 6 or 7 are not convenient times, an alternate day and time can be scheduled with teachers at any time during the school year.

Central Elementary Begins Pilot Program

Central Elementary successfully kicked off its Early Act First Knight (EAFK) character education pilot program on Thursday, September 22. Costumed knights and warhorses dazzled the crowd of students, staff, parents, and community members in a real-life Tournament of Champions. While showing off their jousting, lance, and sword skills, the knights explained the purpose of the program - teaching knightly virtues and Rotarian values such as tolerance, responsibility, confidence, perseverance, discipline, respect, honesty, compassion, friendliness, and service.

Central is partnering with the Duncanville Rotary Club to pilot EAFK, and is the first North Texas school to offer it. Character education curriculum consists of ten-minute daily lessons on a different virtue each month. Throughout the year, the school will host five knighting ceremonies, transforming the school auditorium into a banquet hall and honoring students who have demonstrated the spotlighted virtue.  The ceremony will be performed by an EAFK knight, and families will be invited to share in the honor in an effort to encourage parent/school relationships. Two students per class, per grade level will be recognized at each knighting ceremony.  Their teachers will write accolades describing how they demonstrated the virtue, and each student will receive a medallion and certificate upon recognition of their honor.

Throughout the program, Central Elementary will also receive several visits from Duncanville Rotary Club members. In addition to monetary sponsorship, they are committed to the program through mentorship. “This is an exciting opportunity for our campus and the district,” said Central principal Tracie Johnson. “Focusing on a child’s character is one of the major components of Duncanville ISD’s ‘Vision of a Learner’, and EAFK is a way of doing that on a daily basis. We’re always looking to find more ways to recognize students for who they are and what they do well.”

In the News…

Duncanville High School alumna and Indiana Fever forward Tamika Catchings was named the 2011 WNBA Most Valuable Player on September 22. The 1997 graduate led the Fever to the top seed in the Eastern Conference, averaging 15.5 points, 7.1 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.0 steals. Currently the league’s all-time career steals leader (775), you can read about Tamika’s numerous achievements and accolades on the WNBA website. There you can also see a video of the MVP recognition. In honor of being named the WNBA Most Valuable Player, Catchings will receive $15,000 and a specially-designed trophy. Want more news? You can also read an article from USA Today and ESPN.

Another former Duncanville High School student is gaining global recognition. Byrd MS student Adam Smith founded the technology company Xobni, which produces a plug-in for Microsoft Outlook that pulls useful information from emails and contextualizes it according to sender. He was named one of the Top 35 Innovators Under 35 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Technology Review, and Bill Gates used Xobni in a public demo at a Microsoft conference. You can read about Smith and his company by clicking here.


Order the 2011 Panther Tale Yearbook

The 2011 Panther Tale yearbook is available for pick up at the high school. If you have missed the purchase of any of the past yearbooks you may purchase any of the books beyond last year for a reduced price of $25. You may pick those up in Room I117 at the high school.

The 2012 yearbook is also available for order, and will be delivered prior to the completion of the school year.

Reserve your copy today!

Pink Out at Panther Stadium
It's the color of breast cancer awareness, and we're inviting everyone to wear pink with Panther pride.  On Friday, October 14 the Duncanville ISD Athletic Department will host its second annual Pink Out Day. Those who have fought both winning and losing battles with cancer will be honored during the DHS varsity football game against South Grand Prairie HS. The game kicks off at 7:30 pm at Panther Stadium, and it's our goal to see a stadium full of "Panthers Knockout Cancer" t-shirts. Order yours now for $10-12 by contacting Christina Valderas at (972) 708-3966. All proceeds go to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization. Thank you for your support in purchasing t-shirts and promoting cancer awareness!

Special Olympians Bring Home the Gold

Duncanville’s Special Olympics team traveled to La Porte on September 24-25 to compete in the State Sailing Regatta and State Kayaking Competition. Members brought home twelve gold medals from the sailing competition and eight gold, five silver, and two bronze medals from kayaking. See how Duncanville High School’s Special Olympians scored below.

Anthony Pacheco – Gold
Ashley Gonzalez – Gold
Robert Siders – Gold

Anthony Pacheco – Gold, 200 M Unified Tandem; Bronze, 200 M Singles
Ashley Gonzalez – Gold, 200 M Singles
Danny Hyman – Bronze, 200 M Singles
Kevin Pacheco – Gold, 200 M Unified Tandem
Robert Siders – Gold, 200 M Tandem; Gold, 500 M Singles; Silver, 200 M Singles

DHS Officer Announcements

Duncanville High School would like to recognize the following students who have been elected officers of their organizations for the 2011-12 school year.

Business Professionals of America
President – Mariah Cuellar
1st Vice-President - Abby Vasquez
2nd Vice-President - Josh Lockhart
Secretary - Alejandra Gonzalez
Treasurer - Stephanie Salas
Historian - Juan Berrios

SkillsUSA Animation Chapter
President - Franklin Escobar
Vice President - Cody McMillen
Secretary - Julie Quiroz
Treasurer - Anica Arias
Historian - Willie Thomas III
Parliamentarian - Jordan Campbell

SkillsUSA Audio Video Production Chapter
President - Lance Williams with Sara Hamby
Vice President - Brenda Vazquez with Nick Sanchez
Secretary - Janesha Moses with Raquel Battson
Treasurer - Monique King with Jared Pina and J’Michael Colclough
Historian - Ryan Youngblood with Dulce DeAnda
Parliamentarian - Zach Card with Rigoberto Castillo and Mark Crutcher
Reporter - David Lara with DeVaughn White

Athletic Update

Duncanville High School’s varsity football team is now 1-0 in district and 3-1 for the season after their victory over Grand Prairie HS on Friday, September 23. You can read a recap of the Panthers’ 42-27 win on myduncanville.com or watch some of the game’s highlights on this week’s edition of Duncanville Weekly News. The Panthers take on Midlothian HS on Friday, September 30 in the DHS Homecoming game. Kickoff is at 7:30 pm at Panther Stadium.

DHS JV football teams were in action in Midlothian on Thursday, September 29, with a loss by the Red Team and a win by the Blue.  The Blue Team currently leads the district in wins.  JV teams will play Mansfield at home on Thursday, October 6.

The Freshman teams faced Midlothian at home on Thursday, winning both games.  The teams travel to Mansfield on Thursday, October 6.

Congratulations to the DHS varsity tennis team – they are now 4-0 in district and 12-5 for the season after wins against Mansfield and South Grand Prairie high schools. They face Mansfield Timberview HS on Friday, September 30 in an away match beginning at 3:00 pm.

The JV tennis team increased their record to 3 and 1 last night with a 19-0 victory over South Grand Prairie.  This week we would like to congratulate Jonathan Buckner for an impressive win against their number 2 player, as well as Cherisse, Desiree, Amber, Manny, and Alex for showing great sportsmanship to their opponents as well as their own team. Keep  up the good work JV.

Duncanville High School's JV and varsity volleyball teams defeated Grand Prairie HS on Friday, September 23 but fell to Mansfield Timberview HS on Tuesday, September 27. Varsity is currently 2-4 in district play. Freshman, JV and varsity teams face off against Mansfield Legacy HS at home tonight (9/30) beginning at 5:30 pm.

The Duncanville HS swim team is hosting their annual DHS Invitational Swim Meet on Saturday, October 1. The meet kicks off at 9:30 am in the Duncanville Natatorium. Go, Panthers!

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