Texas community colleges launch Texas Guided Pathways

Austin, TX — The Texas Success Center (TSC), a division of the Texas Association of Community Colleges (TACC), is pleased to announce the partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Greater Texas Foundation, T.L.L. Temple Foundation, and the Teagle Foundation to launch an ambitious five-year effort to implement Texas Pathways reform across all 50 community college districts in the state.

Texas Pathways is an integrated, system-wide approach to student success based on intentionally designed, clear, coherent and structured educational experiences that guides each student effectively and efficiently from the selection of their high school degree program, to entry into higher education, to attainment of high-quality credentials and careers.

Texas Pathways is patterned after the American Association of Community College (AACC) Pathways Model launched nationally in 2015. Texas Pathways is built upon three important design principles.

1) colleges’ program redesigns must pay attention to the entire student experience, rather than to just one segment of it,

2) a guided Pathways redesign is a framework that helps unify a variety of reform elements around the central goal of helping students choose, enter, and complete a program of study aligned with their goals for employment and further education, and

3) the redesign process starts with student end goals for careers and further education in mind and “backward maps” programs and supports to ensure that students are prepared for employment and education at the next level.

The opportunity for quality employment and a rewarding adult life largely depends upon completing an academic credential. The state’s new plan for higher education 60x30TX, recognizes that for Texas to remain competitive and prosperous it will need 60 percent of its 25- to 34-year-olds to hold a quality certificate or degree by 2030.

“Greater Texas Foundation (GTF) is pleased and excited to support the TSC’s Texas Guided Pathways initiative. GTF supports efforts to ensure all Texas students are prepared for, have access to, persist in, and complete a postsecondary education. The design principles of Texas Guided Pathways embody each of the components of our mission in a highly structured, scalable, and student-focused way. We look forward to working with TSC on this important endeavor to improve education outcomes for students across the state,” said Ralph Rushing, Chair & Interim Chief Executive, Greater Texas Foundation.

“Community colleges play a critical role in educating our future workforce, and thirteen colleges in East Texas serve about 25 percent of all Texas community college students. Pathways will ensure more Texans succeed in college and that our region is economically competitive,” said Dr. Wynn Rosser, President & CEO, T.L.L. Temple Foundation.

“Building on emerging research and experience in the field, Texas Pathways reflects the Texas Success Center’s commitment to support all 50 Texas community college districts’ student success efforts through a comprehensive implementation of this model,” said Dr. Cynthia Ferrell, Executive Director, TSC. She continued, “And we are so very grateful for the support of our partners at these incredible foundations as we all work to make all make Texas students successful.”

“We expect that Texas Pathways will have an enormous impact to students and the state given its scale across the more than 700,000 students who attend a Texas community college. It has the potential to radically change how students enter and get through the higher education system and efficiently achieve a quality certificate or degree,” said Jacob Fraire, President & CEO, Texas Association of Community Colleges. 

SOURCE Texas Association of Community Colleges

Irving ISD welcomes students displaced by Hurricane Harvey

Irving Independent School district is helping displaced Houston families and students who are living in Irving. For many of these students, their schools were damaged or permanently closed due to Hurricane Harvey. Approximately 47 students from the Houston area have enrolled and are attending Irving ISD schools. Three students who attended Irving ISD temporarily returned home.

As more South Texas families arrive in Dallas, the number of students expected to enroll will increase over the following week.

Upon arriving in Irving, each student is immediately enrolled into one of the Irving ISD schools. The students qualify for the federal Mckinney-Vento Homeless Assistance program and receive items including school supplies, backpacks and school uniforms In addition, the students are assigned to the free breakfast and lunch program.

Evacuee families are given the chance to work with an Irving ISD counselor to gain information about resources they might need.

“About half of the students are living with family members,” said Adam Grinage, Deputy Superintendent of academic services. “We expect them to be here a little longer. The other half of the students are in the evacuee centers. They are still transitioning to determine if they will return to their homes. Those kids probably won’t stay here too long.

“Fortunately we were prepared. We met the week before the hurricane happened in an anticipation of getting kids. We had backpacks ready along with school supplies and school uniforms. We made sure every student had these essential materials.”

The Irving Schools Foundation (ISF) reached out to Irving ISD to offer free school supplies. The ISF runs a free ‘store’ set where teachers can get supplies for their students.

“We made sure our students had a buddy with a similar schedule so they weren’t just coming in and didn’t know where they were going,” said Anika Horgan, principal of de Zavala Middle School. “They were typically nervous, but the welcome and just having everything they needed made the transition seamless.”  

Irving ISD has a coordinator who directs the responsive services for the families. These services involve providing access to food outside of the normal school hours and other resources within the community. As of now, the families’ needs are being met. The only concern the school district has is ensuring the students feel safe, comfortable, and wanted.

“We open our doors to any student, any day, for any situation,” Grinage said. “We recognized there was a great need to open our doors for kids no matter where they come from or who they are. When they come in our doors, we don’t think if they’re are going to be here for just a week or a month. Once they are with us, they are ours until they leave. 

“We treat them like they are anybody else, in fact, we probably pay more attention to them just to make sure there are not emotional needs or physical needs that we need to pay attention to.” 

Before the hurricane hit Houston, Irving ISD received 14 students.

Austin Middle School accepted two evacuee families.

“We have taken up a collection of goods like food, diapers, formula, and items of clothing as well,” said Karen Smith, the campus secretary at Austin Middle School. “We donated through the Irving Police Department to give to Irving Cares and we are still collecting money.”

Schools located in Aransas County were so heavily damaged they are closed indefinitely.

“One of the moms’ of a student we have accepted from the hurricane said, ‘No more Houston, I’m tired of fighting,’ after her apartment was destroyed,” Smith said. “We will open our arms for them and try to make them feel as welcome as we can. It’s so important for them to continue their education and try to get normality. We just take them in and treat them like they are one of us. Once they enroll and become a Bronco, they are always a Bronco.”

To make the students feel welcome and secure, their arrival as displaced is not broadcast to the other students. The school is focusing on treating the students as normally as possible.

“We have to do it this way because it doesn’t matter where they come from, they are here and this is home. This is where they feel loved and supported,” Smith said. “I am overwhelmed by all of the aid we have come across.”

“The teachers were told to collect things and bring them to the station at the school, and the officers would collect them and take them to Irving Cares,” said Officer Greg Spivey at Austin Middle School. “Money is actually a better way to donate than items because of all the logistics of getting them down there. If you earmark something for hurricane Harvey relief, then all of that money will only be spent for hurricane Harvey.”

“As a facility, we went ahead and decided to announce a fundraiser to our staff and our students,” said Sean Flynn, principal of Lively Elementary. “If they paid five dollars, they would be able to wear jeans for the day and all of the proceeds would go towards the Red Cross to help with the hurricane relief.

“So far we haven’t received any new students, but we are prepared and ready to go. We have a home for them and classrooms. We are excited to have new students and provide them with all the assistance we can.”

During their fundraiser, Lively Elementary raised $2,541.10.

“Irving ISD believes that all students are welcome,” Anika Horgan said. “The response was so immediate that not only did I as a principal ask ‘what could we do’ but other faculty, staff, and students were asking ‘What do we need to do and how can we help out?’ Irving was quick to reach out and prepare the schools because new students were coming. It’s just the whole community aspects of saying, ‘How can we make sure we are providing everything the families need?’ It really shows how, not only the Irving community can come together but also how can Irving ISD come together.”

Keep Irving Beautiful seeks volunteers for annual Trash Bash

Keep Irving Beautiful (KIB) invites the community to attend the 26th annual Trash Bash on Saturday, Sept. 30, from 9 a.m. to noon.

Volunteers will meet at T.W. Richardson Grove Park, along the Campion Trails, for a morning of community service, food, and fun. For the sixth consecutive year, the Trash Bash is being held in conjunction with National Public Lands Day, and will be one of many similar events occurring across the country that day. The nation’s largest single-day event for public lands raises awareness of environmental issues like litter, and encourages everyone to lend a hand to make a difference in their communities. Volunteers of all ages are invited to participate. KIB will provide supplies such as litter pickers, trash and recycle bags, and gloves. Lunch will be provided after the cleanup, and volunteers will have the opportunity to register for prize drawings and learn about reptiles, fossils, and water conservation at various exhibits. KIB is also holding a canned food drive to benefit the Baptist Benevolent Ministries of Irving (BBMOI). Volunteers who bring a canned or other non-perishable food item to donate will receive an event T-shirt (while supplies last).

T.W. Richardson Grove Park is located at 333 E. Interstate Highway 635 (LBJ), Irving, TX 75039.

Please register online by Sept. 22, at http://www.cityofirving.org/KIB. For more information call the Keep Irving Beautiful office at (972) 721-2175.

SOURCE Keep Irving Beautiful

New statewide law prohibits texting while driving

AUSTIN – Effective Sept. 1, texting while driving is illegal across the state of Texas as the result of a new texting-while-driving ban passed during the 85th Texas Legislative Session. The law prohibits motorists from reading, writing or sending electronic messages while driving.

“One in five crashes in Texas is caused by distracted driving,” said TxDOT Executive Director James Bass. “We are pleased the Texas Legislature recognizes the extreme danger caused by texting and driving. The new law sends a very clear message to Texans to put down their phones and focus on the road. We are hopeful this new law will help save lives and reduce injuries.”

Last year, 109,658 traffic crashes in Texas involved distracted driving. Those crashes resulted in 455 deaths and 3,087 serious injuries.

While distracted drivers risk injuring or killing themselves and others, they also now face penalties under the new statewide law. A first offense is punishable by a fine up to $99; any subsequent offense carries a fine up to $200. Drivers should be aware that some cities have additional ordinances that are more restrictive. Exceptions to the new law include emergency communication or electronic messaging when the vehicle is stopped.

For those under 18 years of age, Texas law already bans all cell phone use while driving, including hands-free, except in the case of emergencies. Additionally, drivers are currently banned from texting and using hand-held cellular devices while driving in school zones. School bus operators also are prohibited from using cell phones while driving if children are present.

To help educate the public on the new law, TxDOT will be posting information on portable roadside message signs as well as permanent signs along interstate and U.S. highways.

SOURCE Texas Department of Transportation

Irving High School Football Weekly Roundup: Week 3

Irving vs. Little Elm, lost 10-34

Takeaway: Little Elm picked Irving apart through the air and took advantage of 4 turnovers to go up 28-0 by the half and cruise to a big win. 

Key Tigers: The lone spotlight for the Tigers was RB James Miles, who picked up 139 yards on the ground on 16 carries, including a 76 yard touchdown run.

Next Tigers Game: Irving (1-2) @ Duncanville (3-0)
*Thurs, Sept. 28th at 7pm

Irving PPG – 19.0
Duncanville PPG – 45.0

Irving Points Allowed Per Game – 32.0
Duncanville Points Allowed Per Game – 10.3

Irving Yards Per Game – 158.0
Duncanville Yards Per Game – 459.7

Irving Yards Allowed Per Game – 273.0
Duncanville Yards Allowed Per Game – 199.3

MacArthur @ Rockwall-Heath, lost 9-48

Takeaway: Rockwall-Heath picked up 350 yards on the ground, including four touchdowns on the ground, as Rockwall-Heath picked up the big home win. 

Key Cardinals: QB Brion Lopez was 10 for 18 with 116 yards and an INT and also rushed for a score.

Next Cardinals Game: MacArthur (1-2) @ South Grand Prairie (1-2)
*Friday, Sept. 29 at 7:30pm

MacArthur PPG – 12.0
South Grand Prairie PPG – 17.3

MacArthur Points Allowed Per Game – 33.3
South Grand Prairie Points Allowed Per Game – 23.3

MacArthur Yards Per Game – 264.7
South Grand Prairie Yards Per Game – 235.7

MacArthur Yards Allowed Per Game – 316.0
South Grand Prairie Yards Allowed Per Game – 287.7

Nimitz @ Richardson, won 43-35

Takeaway: Tied at 14 heading into the second quarter, the Vikings took a second quarter lead on great special teams play and never looked back. 

Key Vikings: QB Chance Hernandez was 13 for 16 with 86 yards. He also ran 11 times for 60 yards and two scores. RB Derrick Hamilton rushed 18 times for 106 yards and a score, and RB Willie Lawson rushed 8 times for 51 yards and a score. Camron Henderson and Justin Sherman broke the game open for the Vikings, returning a 100-yard kickoff return and 50 yard punt return for touchdowns, respectively. 

Next Vikings Game: Nimitz (1-2) vs. Grand Prairie (1-2)
*Friday, Sept. 29 at 7:30pm

Nimitz PPG – 26.3
Grand Prairie PPG – 22.7

Nimitz Points Allowed Per Game – 36.3
Grand Prairie Points Allowed Per Game – 32.3

Nimitz Yards Per Game – 300.7
Grand Prairie Yards Per Game – 304.3

Nimitz Yards Allowed Per Game – 337.7
Grand Prairie Yards Allowed Per Game – 354.3

District 7-6A Standings:

DeSoto 3 0 0 1.000 1-0-0 2-0-0 0-0-0 W3 +61
Duncanville 3 0 0 1.000 2-0-0 1-0-0 0-0-0 W3 +104
Cedar Hill 1 2 0 0.333 1-0-0 0-2-0 0-0-0 W1 -24
Grand Prairie 1 2 0 0.333 0-1-0 1-1-0 0-0-0 L2 -29
Irving 1 2 0 0.333 0-1-0 1-1-0 0-0-0 L2 -39
Irving MacArthur 1 2 0 0.333 1-1-0 0-1-0 0-0-0 L2 -64
Irving Nimitz 1 2 0 0.333 0-1-0 1-1-0 0-0-0 W1 -30
South Grand Prairie 1 2 0 0.333 0-1-0 1-1-0 0-0-0 L1 -18

Toyota Music Factory crescendos into debut

The newly renamed Toyota Music Factory debuted to the public on Saturday, Sep.9 with a performance by the rock band ZZ Top.

“This has been a long time coming; we’re thrilled it’s here,” said Danny Easton, COO of Live Nation North America Concerts. “From our standpoint and Live Nation’s standpoint, it gives us so much more flexibility as promoters and bookers in the market because of the different configurations and the way we set up the building. We’re excited about the volume of acts we are getting involved with in the next 30 years.”

Development on the venue began over a decade ago, and ARK, the site’s developers, came on roughly five years ago. Easton says Irving was chosen because the city really wanted the project and was in a central location.

“To have a partnership with a city that is really desirous of a facility like this, that’s a big plus to start with,” Easton said. “If you look at Dallas-Fort Worth on a map and you put your finger in the center of it, it’d be pretty much Irving. We feel like we’re really giving people a shot to come from all over the Metroplex. It’s really not that far of a drive from Fort Worth, from Frisco and all of those places.”

The venue, which opened a week later than expected due to construction delays, has been in full-court press over the last month to meet an early September deadline.

“We had one of the wetter spring and summers on record and so we had a bunch of little weather related delays,” Easton said. “It just cumulatively balled together to put us behind. Rick (Lazes) and Noah (Lazes) of the ARK group have been working the construction crews as hard as they possibly could. It’s been pretty much a sprint to the finish.”

A day before its debut, the $200 million Irving Music Factory gained Toyota as a title sponsor. The car company recently moved its headquarters to Plano. That means the Pavilion at Irving Music Factory will now be called the Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory.

One of the amenities of the new space is the artists’ lounge that Easton hopes will attract prime time performances.

“I’ve been backstage to a lot of places in the country and I would put the backstage amenities here up against anywhere that I’ve been, which were key for us,” he said.

The 2,000 seat indoor venue hosts a $40 million convertible concert venue that has the ability to open up to an outdoor seating area and accommodate up to 8,000 fans. The pavilion also has the ability to convert into a smaller, more intimate venue.

“It’s the first time in the world anyone’s built a building that can have an indoor facility and also turn it into an amphitheater in a few minutes,” said Rick Lazes, co-founder and CEO of ARK. “That gives us a lot of flexibility no one’s ever done before.”

The opening marks a new wave of entertainment destinations for the Irving area with the Westin Irving Convention Center Hotel opening later in the year.

The site will continue rolling out more than 25 restaurants, entertainment venues, the Alamo Drafthouse, and office space through the remainder of the year. According to Lazes, a new site will open roughly every two weeks for the remainder of the year. The last piece will be the Sambuca restaurant opening at the end of the year before a final New Year’s celebration.

Graphic novels exhibit puts comics in spotlight

The Irving Arts Center became a little more animated with the new exhibit: “BAM! It’s a Picture Book: The Art Behind Graphic Novels.”

Featuring the works and publications of five popular children’s graphic novel authors/illustrators, including author of “Miki Falls” and how-to-draw instructor Mark Crilley, “Babymouse” author Matthew Holm, author of the “Lunch Lady” series Jarrett Krosoczka, New York Times bestseller and author of the “Big Nate” series Lincoln Peirce, and Eisner Award-winning author of “SMILE” Raina Telgemeier, the exhibit formally opened on Sept. 9.

The exhibit comes to the Irving Arts Center courtesy of The National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature (NCCIL) in Abilene, Texas. The Irving Arts Center has been partners with NCCIL for many years and each year hosts several exhibits from the organization.

“I was particularly interested in getting this [exhibit] to Irving, because it focuses on graphic novels,” said Marcie Inman, director of exhibitions and educational programs for the Irving Arts Center. “A lot of their other exhibitions tend to be picture books for younger kids. Graphic novels really span into the pre-teen and teen years. With this particular exhibit, it’s really nice because we have some books geared towards elementary-age kids as well as middle school kids and teens. I really wanted to have something a little different that would appeal to older kids.”

Inman enjoys bringing NCCIL exhibits to Irving because of both their educational and artistic value.

“The whole genesis behind NCCIL was wanting to give artistic credibility to these writers and illustrators as well as recognizing that children’s literature is an important genre,” Inman said. “These are some of the first books kids are exposed to and it needs to be good literature. Part of the whole success of early childhood and elementary-age books is the combination of words and images.”

To celebrate the new exhibit, the Irving Arts Center put on a comic-drawing event, “Comically Yours,” on Sunday, Sept. 10. Children were encouraged to draw their own comic books using the works of the authors featured in the new exhibit as inspiration for their works. Shelia Cunningham, an art instructor for events at the Irving Arts Center, said being both writer and artist is not as easy as people may think and she respects the often times difficult work these authors/illustrators do.

“The illustrators are fabulous. I think it’s really hard for illustrators to distill big ideas down into one little panel or have that very graphic representation for what’s going on [in the story],” Cunningham said. “I think it’s really hard, but they do a super job.”

Kathy McMahon, an employee with the Irving Arts Center, started reading graphic novels at a young age. She said one reason these novels are so popular is because they appeal to people of all ages and all interests.

“I grew up with comic books, and of course they were very engaging back then,” McMahon said. “I began to appreciate the fact that, even as adults, there are graphic novels that appeal to mystery or adventure, and it’s very much a medium for all ages.”

Marcie Inman feels graphic novels are not just appealing and entertaining for children, but they can also serve an educational purpose in teaching children who have trouble reading regular books.

“I think scholars and academics are starting to recognize the benefits of graphic novels for young readers,” Inman said. “In studies, they show that kids who may have problems reading or may have some learning issues often do very well when they’re exposed to graphic novels with the combination of the images, the text and the way to follow the narrative. It’s really starting to improve reading levels for certain kinds of young students.”

The exhibit will be on display in the lobby of the Dupree Theater until Jan. 28.

Set the date!

Irving Main Street Event
September 15 – 6 to 10 p.m.
September 16 – Noon to 5 p.m.

Irving Heritage District 217 S. Main St. Irving, TX. Free Admission, Free Parking.This annual street festival in the heart of the Irving Heritage District celebrates the hometown feel of Irving with attractions for all ages. Each year thousands of people attend this family affair, which offers live music, the Manifolds on Main Street Car Show, free rides and activities for children, food and shopping.

Ballet Folklorico at Cozby Library
September 16, 2 p.m.

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with a performance by Sima Ballet Folklorico! Stop by the Cozby Library and Community Commons to enjoy the bright costumes and traditional Mexican music and dance. All ages welcome to attend.

Back-seat belt use overlooked aspect of traffic safety

COLLEGE STATION — While the overall use of safety belts has increased over the decades, a look into the back seat of many vehicles today tells a different story,” said Bev Kellner. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service traffic safety program manager, College Station.

“According to a recent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety survey, four out of the five adults who admit to not using a safety belt in the back seat said they are least likely to use them during short trips or when using a taxi or ride-share service,” Kellner said.

The survey exposes a common misperception among vehicle passengers that sitting in the back seat of a vehicle is safer than sitting in the front.

“Using a safety belt in the back seat is just as important as using one in the front seat,” Kellner said. “It may have been true in the past that the rear seat was safer, but that’s not really the case now thanks to new technologies and improved vehicle manufacturing.”

The tendency to not wear safety belts in the back seat of a taxi or ride-share vehicle could become a habit for the non-use of back seat safety belts in a regular vehicle, she said. This was validated by the study, which showed those who reported most of their trips as a rear-seat passenger in hired vehicles were also less likely to use rear-seat safety belts in their personal vehicles.

“As it becomes a habit for people to use their safety belts, it can become a habit not to as well, especially if there’s a mistaken perception that the back seat is already a safe space,” she said. “A habit that develops when using a service like a taxi, Lyft or Uber can carry over into the use of a personal vehicle.”

In its study of 1,172 respondents, the IIHS study found that among respondents who said they had ridden in the back seat of a vehicle during the preceding six months, 72 percent said they always used a back seat belt while 91 percent said they always use their front seat belt.

The study showed adults 35 to 54 were the least likely to fasten their safety belts while in the back seat of a vehicle. Only 66 percent of this age group buckled up in the back seat, while 76 percent of adults 55 and older and 73 percent of adults 18 to 34 reported buckling up. In addition, women and adults who had attended college were more likely to use a safety belt in the rear seat. Only 57 percent of passengers in hired vehicles reported always using their belt in the rear seat.

“Another misperception addressed by the IIHS study is that rear-seat passengers feel in a collision their non-use of seat belts will not have any effect on the driver or front-seat passengers,” Kellner said. “But the fact is any item or person in the back seat can become a ‘projectile’ to be tossed around the interior of the vehicle and kill or badly injure other passengers. That’s one of the reasons you should never hold a child in your lap while inside a vehicle. In the case of rollover crashes, unbelted passengers, whether in the front or rear seat, can easily be thrown from the vehicle.”

“Front-seat occupant safety has received a great deal of attention and vehicle manufacturers have taken great strides by enhancing protective features in those positions,” said Joseph Colella, owner of Traffic Safety Projects based in Charleston, South Carolina, and a nationally recognized traffic safety expert. “While rear seats have not received the same level of attention and progress, crash statistics prove that buckling up properly is crucial for all occupants, regardless of their seating positions. Unless everyone in the vehicle is properly restrained, none of the occupants are optimally protected.”

Kellner said while the study noted the main reason people gave for not buckling up in the rear seat was they felt it was safer, other reasons included not being in the regular habit of using a safety belt, belts were uncomfortable or fit poorly, and belts were difficult to find and use.

“The survey also showed not having a law that required rear-seat passengers to buckle up was an impediment,” Kellner said. “Fortunately, in Texas our law requires all passengers — both front and back, including those in multi-passenger vehicles — to use their seat belts. It also requires children under 8, unless taller than 4 feet, 9 inches, be put in a car seat used according to the manufacturer’s requirements.”

Kellner said while it is the responsibility of the rear-seat passenger to buckle up, technology and others in the vehicle can help ensure they do.

“Another interesting part of the IIHS study was that almost two-thirds of occasional or non-users of rear-seat safety belts said an audible reminder would make them more likely to buckle up,” she said. “Unfortunately, only a very small percentage of vehicles currently on the road have such reminders. But drivers and other passengers can have an influence on rear-seat passengers by politely asking them to buckle their safety belts.”

The study also showed having more comfortable belts would improve the likelihood of rear-seat passengers using them, Kellner said.

“Those surveyed said softer or padded belts and adjustable shoulder belts that don’t irritate the neck would be preferred, as would somewhat looser or less restrictive belts,” she said. “But even though passenger comfort is desirable, a little discomfort or annoyance while buckling up is a small price to pay for one’s personal safety and the safety of others.”

Serving Irving, Las Colinas, Valley Ranch, Coppell and DFW International Airport