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Audience: Charles Kappus and Homepage

They come from every corner of the LBJ campus, headed down "A" hall as soon as the lunch bell rings. Anticipation and hunger converge nicely, and a wonderful meal awaits every staff member participating in the FSP program's well-planned themed lunch. On Wednesday, Jan 25th, it was chili dogs; in February, 2017 it will be cupcakes. If the amazing staff lunches of the past are any indication (there have been pasta days, salad days, taco days, etc.), you don't want to miss it.


"My students plan the menu under my direction," said Kendel Ritter, teacher in the FSP program. "We decide what we need for a supply list. Then my students go around to staff with the sign-up list, and we send out reminders as the event gets closer.  As items come in, they mark off the list, sort the food items, and stock them into refrigerator or counter item.


"On the day of the lunch (chili dogs), we boil water, turn on crock pots to heat the hot dogs and chili, chop onions, clean tables, and set up serving areas," Ritter continued. "Involving them in these activities allow them to show skills on specific goals they can be graded on. The big reward for the student is: if you don't help out the team, you don't get to try the food."


Ritter, now in her 14th year of teaching, wants her special needs students to acquire valuable real-world skills. Her program, formerly known as FSP (functional skills program) has been renamed "Intensive Global Support" (IGS1), and it serves 16 middle school students ranging in ages from 11-14.


"The vision for my program is to give students the necessary tools for each individual to become a contributing member of our community and/or society," she said.  "I want my students to learn to build on the skills they already have acquired.  We started making hats in our class, and we donated them to hospitals just before winter break. This one project focuses on all of my students' goals. I want them to be respected for their abilities and accomplishments, not judged for their differences."


As with any teaching assignment, Ritter faces a range of challenges every single day.


"Many students come to middle school thinking it's too hard," she explained. "Getting them to believe in themselves, to make short term goals they can reach and build up to bigger goals is key. Once they reach these goals, confidence soars and goals grow. The most rewarding aspect of teaching these students is watching them overcome obstacles."


Ritter, who works with fellow teacher Estevan Lucero, is supported by two incredible paraprofessionals, Ms. Cheri Clayton (who has been working at LBJ since our school opened), and Ms. Lisa Ullola, who came to LBJ at the end of last year.


Like an LBJ orchestra performance or band concert, the staff lunches are a celebration of learning and a joy to attend.


"I would like to have one per month January through May for a total of five this year," Ritter said.


The LBJ teachers can hardly wait.

Posted by: Charles Kappus
Published: 2/4/17

Audience: Charles Kappus and Homepage

LBJ students are always looking for a great book for nightly reading or SSR, a literary place you can escape to whenever and wherever you find the time. I just finished an amazing book titled "365 Days of Wonder: Mr. Browne's Book of Precepts" by author R.J. Palacio.


This is a book of precepts -- principles to live by -- that is set up like a daily diary with a quotation for every day of the year.  Along with the precepts are letters and emails from "characters" Summer, Charlotte, Julian, Jack, and Amos, as well as essays from Mr. Browne, an English teacher.


Here are some of my favorite quotations:


"The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up."


"Just love life and it will love you back."


"You're free to make your own choices, but you will never be free of the consequences of those choices."


"Life is like a roller coaster with all its ups and downs."


Some people may think you have to read "Wonder," an earlier and more traditional young adult novel by R.J. Palacio (the pen name of author Raquel Jaramillo) before you read this "spin-off" book. I don't think so. This book not only keeps me interested in reading; it inspires me as well. I love it!


Review written by Alexus Romo, student reporter for the LBJ Howl.

Posted by: Charles Kappus
Published: 1/25/17

Audience: Charles Kappus and Homepage

The LBJ Middle School campus is utilized by many groups for many reasons. It is a voting site, a venue for performances, a place for sports leagues, a center for worship and discussion.  Since 2010, it has also been the home of the Civil Air Patrol, an organization that works in conjunction with the United States Air Force to serve our nation.


There are 60,000 members of the Civil Air Patrol nationwide, proud to be "vigilant civilian volunteers."  CAP members conduct 85% of all inland search and rescue missions within the United States.  The group also provides education and training to young people interested in aviation or a career with the military.


The Cadet Squadron based at LBJ is the 811th and includes 22 cadets ranging in age from 11-20, 12 of whom are current or former LBJ students.  Four of the 22 cadets hold private pilot certificates and two more have soloed in gliders. 


When current squadron commander Major William Fitzpatrick took over the group in November, 2013, the mission of the 811th changed from a drill and ceremonies focus to flight training, operational management, and aviation advocating.  The program has 14 single engine aircraft, two gliders, and one hot air balloon.


The balloon has been in the group since October, 2013, when the former "New Mexico Sunrise" was renamed "Phoenix" after recovering from an unfortunate crash.  The Phoenix retired in June, 2016, and the envelope was replaced in October of that year, resulting in a new balloon named "Integrity" (currently part of the fleet).


Another connection to LBJ is the "Leadership" elective class, which uses CAP curriculum and is currently taught by a CAP officer, Lt. Garland Harris.


The Civil Air Patrol group at LBJ meets Thursdays from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. in portables 9 and 10. Activities include aerospace education, physical fitness training, drill and ceremonies, as well as other topics. The meetings are open to the general public and anyone interested in joining the group is invited to attend.





Posted by: Charles Kappus
Published: 1/20/17

Audience: Charles Kappus and Homepage

LBJ Librarian Lisa Finke loves getting books into the hands of students.


"My main goal for the LBJ Library is to get students to check out books and read them," Mrs. Finke said. "The most challenging thing about this job is finding books for students who tell me they don't like to read."


There are certainly enough books to pick from. Mrs. Finke reports that there are 11,816 books available for checkout including 7,007 non-fiction books and 4,809 fiction books. "I know we have something for everyone," she added.


Mrs. Finke is always adding new materials to the library, including the newest and most popular books kids want to read. Money for new materials comes from three places: our school, general obligation bonds, and the mill levy (a kind of tax) on property.


The look of our Media Center is also new, thanks to a remodeling project that is currently in its final stages.


"The remodeling project is being done in four steps," Mrs. Finke said. "Step one was to pack up all of the books; step two was to tear out all of the metal shelving; step three was installing new wooden book cases and shelves. The last step is to unpack all of the books and this will take place sometime at the beginning of January.  Some of the book cases are movable, so it will be easy to change the layout if desired."


Mrs. Finke said there are no plans for a Book Fair this year.


One of the reasons Mrs. Finke is such a great librarian is she is passionate about reading herself.


"I am just about done with a book called "I Will Always Write Back," Mrs. Finke said. "It's a true story about a girl in Pennsylvania and a boy in Zimbabwe who are pen-pals. They become best friends, and once she realizes that he lives in horrible poverty, she helps him and his family survive. Eventually he is able to come to the United States to attend college. It's a great story! You can check this book out from the LBJ library."


This story was written by Alexus Romo, student reporter for the LBJ Howl.





Posted by: Charles Kappus
Published: 1/10/17

Audience: Homepage, Athletics, Our School and Staff/Teacher Contacts
Physical Exam & Concussion forms must be turned in to Coach Andy BEFORE a child can participate (this includes tryouts).  Take the Physical Exam form with you to your primary health care provider for a physical.  PHYSICALS are good for one year and can be used for multiple sports.  In addition, ALL students must have a concussion form and grade check of ALL classes turned in before they can tryout.
Posted by: Patricia Garcia
Published: 8/13/16