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How Some FISD Staff Spent Summer Vacation (August, 2008)

Teacher Pam Graham, far right, with students in ArgentinaStudents and parents may have seen a few FISD teachers at the pool or a ball game this summer but many FISD teachers also used their vacation time to reach out to others, meet with students and teachers in foreign countries, or spend hours working to improve FISD.

A group of teachers who attend Preston Trail Community Church visited Indonesia to host coaching clinics and training sessions for Indonesian children with FISD coachesbasketball and soccer associations, according to Rusty Oglesby, Wakeland teacher.

The team also included Treci Oglesby, Tysha Al-Tihri and Chris Cox, all of Wakeland and Jon Maupin of Staley.

“It was a life-changing experience for each of us,” Rusty Oglesby said. “We discovered how truly blessed we are in Frisco to have all we could ever want.”

Indonesian children with FISD coaches

The group worked with sports organizations from Indonesia but in afternoons they went out to work with children who live on the streets – most of whom were orphaned by war or the huge tsunami of a few years ago.  The coaches trained a soccer team on a dirt field and brought the team two new uniforms that had been donated by the head coach of Duncanville High School, Oglesby said.

The flight from DFW to Indonesia took the team 36 hours with layovers, he said.

Here at home, several staff members from Bright Elementary joined Principal Susie Graham and St. Phillips Episcopal Church to volunteer with the summer lunch program sponsored by Frisco Family Services. The school employees met at Stonebrook Village Apartments to serve lunch and play games with children who live there, many of whom attend Bright.  Many local churches and volunteers worked with the program throughout this summer.

Pam Graham, FISD co-leader speech pathologist, also traveled a long distance as a representative of the Rotary Club International Teachers Exchange Program. She visited Argentina to teach Argentinean students about the United States and visit with Argentinean teachers and Rotary Clubs. Teachers from Argentina have visited Frisco through the program, as well. Graham took pictures and items representing life at Frisco schools to share with the Argentineans, including photos of the school cafeterias, football games and classroom activities.

“Buenos Aires is an amazing city. I left on June 15th and returned on July 14th. During the four weeks, I lived in five different households all over the city. Each home was totally different but great in its own way. I typically worked with the English program at each school and talked about our schools in Frisco. At times I would provide support by modeling “typical”’ American English. Probably my greatest contribution however, was in sharing life in Frisco and the United States with students who may never travel to the U.S.,” Graham said.

Other FISD teachers spent part of June working on an electronic resource binder to use as a primary resource of lesson planning and assessments at the middle school and high school level. This binder will help Frisco teachers across the district horizontally align their math and science curriculum so that there will be no gaps if a student is rezoned to another school, according to Angela Bilyeu, Roach Middle School math teacher and member of the electronic resource binder committee.

“As a team we are excited to be a part of such a wonderful experience. We hope that teachers, veterans and first years alike, will take advantage of the hard work put into this project,” Bilyeu said, adding that teachers and students will benefit from new rigor and depth in lessons. “We are also excited to watch as this living document grows and is nurtured throughout the school year by our expert teachers in FISD.”

Kenny Chandler, Director of School Improvement, noted that more than 100 teachers and central office staff have worked on the resource binder project, many putting in lots of after-school and summer hours to bring about its completion.