LaPoynor ISD fills three buses for hurricane relief efforts

(Watch video above recorded live with Superintendent James Young on site.)

By Michael V. Hannigan/HCN

It was a lesson in humanity … and LaPoynor ISD aced the test.

Wednesday afternoon, three LaPoynor school buses pulled into the Help Center parking lot in Athens to unload nearly 45,000 items collected for Hurricane Harvey relief.

It was an incredible sight and triple the original goal, according to LaPoynor ISD Superintendent James Young.

“We thought if we filled just (one bus), that would be an outstanding effort,” he said, “and that bus was filled up in two days.”

It only took a week to collect all the items.

Young said the effort at the district mirrored what was happening in the community.

“The people in the community there around LaPoynor are very, very caring people, and when they saw the devastation in the Houston area their hearts went out to (the people there),” he said.

School district officials wanted to help, so they came up with a plan.

“We decided to put a little contest together by grade level and the families in the community, the kids in the district, the administrators working there all pulled together to really make this come to fruition,” Young said.

Jannell Dunnington of the Athens Unit Salvation Army said that the donations were practical, everyday items.

“Our folks that are down in South Texas that are in Houston and Rockport and La Marque, and there are so many cities that have been effected,” she said. “This is something that can go in their hands and be used immediately, whether it is the people who have been effected or the workers who are down there.”

She praised the LaPoynor effort.

“The Henderson County Help Center, the Salvation Army Athens Service Unit could not have done this without a community coming together, LaPoynor community coming together, and saying it’s Texas and they’ve been effected, therefore let’s do something about it,” Dunnington said.

The relief supplies will be sent south a little bit at a time with area churches.

“Churches know that there are people down there hurting and that there are people down there that need their help,” Dunnington said. “That’s what we’re seeing from our church community in Henderson County and all over the State of Texas. They want to be a part of the healing process and healing begins with someone putting a hand to someone else and saying, ‘I’m there for you.'”

(Follow Michael V. Hannigan on Twitter and Instagram @mvhannigan)

LaPoynor ISD dropped off three bus-loads of hurricane relief supplies at the Help Center Wednesday afternoon.

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Athens ISD receives most distinctions ever from state

By Toni Garrard Clay/AISD Communications Coordinator

All five Athens ISD campuses and the district as a whole have once again “met standard,” according to the Texas Education Agency. In addition, Athens High School and South Athens Elementary each received an impressive five academic distinctions.

“Under the modern system of school evaluations — which is more rigorous than any system that came before it — this is the most distinctions our district has ever received as a whole,” said AISD Superintendent Blake Stiles. “While we know test scores don’t tell the whole story behind a campus or a child, we’re always pleased when there’s an opportunity like this to celebrate.”

At the high school, distinctions were designated in academic achievement in mathematics, academic achievement in science, academic achievement in social studies, top 25 percent student progress, and postsecondary (after-high school) readiness. At South Athens, distinctions were designated in academic achievement in ELA/reading, academic achievement in mathematics, top 25 percent student progress, top 25 percent closing performance gaps, and postsecondary readiness.

“We have an amazing staff that is committed to student success. There is a common vision and belief in what we’re doing and where we’re going,” said South Athens Elementary Principal Claudia Stiles. “Our students have an outstanding work ethic and the best attitudes. … And we are especially thankful to our parents and the community, because we know it takes a village to raise a child.”

Continue reading “Athens ISD receives most distinctions ever from state”

PODCAST: Update on Athens ISD construction

Interview with Athens Independent School District Communications Coordinator Toni Garrard Clay. (8-23)


– Athens ISD construction is on schedule and on budget.
– Construction is mostly complete at all campuses except for the high school.

QUOTABLE: “We are on schedule and on budget. That is very important to us.”

FURTHER READING: Here is Clay’s story on the school district construction.

Projects complete at three AISD campuses; work continues at AHS

A view of the east end of new construction work at Athens High School, which will house new classrooms, kitchen and cafeteria. The cafeteria is expected to be open by Christmas, and the balance of work at AHS should be finished in the summer of 2018. Students were greeted at the beginning of the school year with six brand new science classrooms and two new labs.

By Toni Garrard Clay/AISD Communicaitons Coordinator

Athens ISD Director of Operations Barry Choate summed it up succinctly when he called the amount of construction that took place across the district this summer as “intense.” Major work took place at four of the five campuses and continues at the high school.

Inside the main building at the high school, six new science classrooms and two new labs greeted students on the first day of school. While the rooms are located in the same space as the old science hall, they are entirely new. “That space was bulldozed,” said Choate. “We dug up the floor and put new plumbing in and used a new configuration for the rooms.”

Continue reading “Projects complete at three AISD campuses; work continues at AHS”

AUDIO: Athens Middle School students experience solar eclipse

SUBJECT: Interview with Athens Middle School Principal Jennifer Risinger about students studying the solar eclipse. (8-21)


– Ties directly to some of the things 8th graders will be tested on this year.
– Students are excited.
– It’s a rare experience

QUOTABLE: “NASA and a lot of people have put out some great resources tying this event directly to our curriculum.”