NLHS Offers Orientation for New Graduation Plan for Freshmen in 2014-2015

North LamarTexas has introduced new graduation plans for high school students. While current high school students do have some new options for graduation, the law directly impact incoming 9th grade students.

North Lamar High School will host an orientation on Monday, April 28 for parents and students who will be freshmen during the 2014-2015 school year.  Beginning at 5:00 p.m., teachers and student representatives will have information stations set up in the high school cafeteria on classes, organizations, and clubs offered at NLHS.  Then at 6:00 p.m. in the NLHS auditorium, the new graduation plans will be explained so families can make the right course decisions.

The Texas Legislature has changed high school graduation requirements for student who will be freshmen during the 2014-2015 school year.  The one graduation plan, called “Foundation High School Program (FHSP), allows more flexibility for high school students to pursue either higher education or a career pathway.  In addition to the FHSP, students will have the opportunity to earn endorsements and performance acknowledgments.

Parents and incoming freshmen are encouraged to attend the orientation April 28 at North Lamar High School and to decide the best path for your student’s graduation plan.

North Lamar HS Bands Earn Sweepstakes

Symphonic and Concert Band AwardsThe North Lamar High School Symphonic and Concert Bands brought their best to the University Interscholastic League (UIL) Concert and Sight Reading contest on April 16 in Mt. Pleasant.  Both bands earned Superior ratings (1s) from all three judges in concert and all three judges in sight reading.

“The compliments were enormous of both bands performances and behavior throughout the contest,” said Jason R. Smith, NLHS Associate Band Director.  “They have been working for a couple of months for their concert prepared performance. The students first perform selections they have been working on.  Then they walk off stage into another room and are given seven minutes to study a piece they have never seen before.  Rules are they cannot play, sing, count, clap, or make any audible reproduction.”

The University Interscholastic League (UIL) Sweepstakes are earned by combining the band’s marching performance back in October with the Concert and Sight Reading contest in the spring.

“It has been a very successful spring for all aspects of our band program,” said NLHS Band Director Randy Jones.  “We could not be more proud of the work and dedication our students have shown this spring.”

Seniors pictured with their Sweepstake honors also include their first division award for the Symphonic Concert Band at Senior band members representing the North Lamar Symphonic and Concert Bands and showing awards earned during the spring are, beginning front row left, Essence Corpus, Katherine Neuse, Haley Blount, Taylor Reavis, Victoria White, Katelyn Wood, Kathleen Dawson, Jamie Ellis, Emily McIlyar, Jessica French, and Erin Stone.  In back are Kirt Preston, Joseph Beshirs, Bailey Bolton, Ben Drake, Mitchell Lacey, Conner Johnson, Stetson Henderson, Lane Pierce, Chad Kautz, Tori Sullivan, Rebekah Wiley




2014-2015 Kindergarten and Pre-Kindergarten Registrations in Progress at North Lamar ISD

North LamarKindergarten and pre-kindergarten registration for students planning to enroll at North Lamar Independent School District for the 2014-2015 school year are now in progress through April 30 from 9:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.  Parents are encouraged to register their child at W. L. Higgins Elementary or Aaron Parker Elementary in order to plan for an adequate number of students.

The only qualification for those entering kindergarten in the fall is that the student must be five years of age on or before September 1, 2014.

Qualifications for pre-kindergarten students include: be four years of age on or before September 1, 2014; unable to speak and comprehend the English language; or from a family whose income qualifies the child to receive free or reduced lunches; or homeless; or the child of an active duty member of the armed forces of the United States who is ordered to active duty by proper authority; or the child of a member of the armed forces of the United States who was injured or killed while serving on active duty; or the child has ever been in the conservatorship of the Department of Family and Protective Services following an adversary hearing.  Those attending Higgins must have transportation at midday.  Pre-kindergarten will be offered only for children according to the above criteria provided an adequate number of students preregister.

Items needed for both kindergarten and pre-kindergarten registrations include: child’s birth certificate; child’s shot record; child’s Social Security card; verification of residence in NLISD; and custody paper if applicable.  Verification of family income is needed only for pre-kindergarten.

For more information or to inquire about later registration hours, call Higgins Elementary at 903.737.2081, Parker Elementary at 903.732.3066, or North Lamar ISD Administration Building at 903.737.2000.

For Lamar County Head Start registration, call Parker Elementary School or the Head Start Office at 903.737.7469.

Special services are available to eligible children from birth through age 21.  For questions or concerns regarding a child’s abilities, please call ECI at 903.885.6437 or North Lamar ISD at 903.737.2031.

Dawson Announces Retirement

dawsonAfter 26 years at North Lamar Independent School District, Superintendent James A. Dawson announced his retirement during last night’s board meeting.

Dawson joined the district in 1987 as principal at North Lamar High School.  The office of superintendent was added to his responsibilities in the spring of 1989.  The following fall North Lamar’s Board of Trustees named him superintendent without the additional duties as principal.

As superintendent for 25 years, Dawson has been instrumental in the growth of many areas: the passing of a $11,500,000 bond in 1994 for the present day high school; an addition to Aaron Parker Elementary in 1996; the state-of-the-art James A. Dawson athletic facility in March 2006; and a successful $4.68 million dollar bond election for the construction of new science and computer labs at the high school in the spring of 2010.

Dawson is passionate about his job and is North Lamar’s biggest fan.  He attends as many student activities as possible and has been known to see performances in three corners of Texas, all in the same day.  Dawson efficiently balances a $23 million dollar budget while overseeing a fleet of 44 buses that run the district’s expansive routes.   One might even find him directing the afternoon traffic, substituting in a classroom, delivering birthday cards, or extending a hand shake to one of the 472 employees.

“Mr. Dawson ranks among the top superintendents in the state,” said NLISD Board President Paul Drake.  “His service to the district is immeasurable. He’s one hundred percent North Lamar.”

An avid number cruncher, Dawson has been instrumental in maintaining the district’s healthy budget.

“When the district needs something, he finds the money to get it done,” said Drake.  “And still within the last decade, he has been influential in lowering the tax rate for ten consecutive years.”

Board member Dr. Robert White added, “No one individual cares more about our students and public education than James Dawson.  He is always the first to arrive on campus each day and the last one to leave at night; a mark of his unwavering dedication.”

North Lamar’s School Board will meet next Monday night with TASB to see what the next step is in finding a new superintendent. Knowing that it will be a big task to fill Dawson’s shoes, it is the hope of each board member to have one in place before Dawson leaves.

“Mr. Dawson will be missed by all; from the administrators to the kids.  He’s a great asset,” said Drake.

White concluded, “He will be greatly missed and difficult to replace.  It has been a privilege for me to have served on the Board of Trustees during his leadership of the North Lamar District.  I wish him many full and happy years of much deserved retirement.”

Dawson will complete his 48th year in public education before retiring at the end of June.

North Lamar Science Team Attends ExxonMobil State Science and Engineering Fair

North Lamar High School seniors Sam Erickson and Carsen Rast

NLHS seniors Sam Erickson and Carsen Rast

It was during a teacher workshop last summer that Teresa Bussell was moved with an idea; one that would involve North Lamar High School seniors Sam Erickson and Carsen Rast.  The North Lamar biology instructor challenged the two advanced level students to devise a procedure of comparing milk proteins using a method of analysis called SDS-PAGE electrophoresis.

Sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) is a technique for separating proteins based on their ability to move within an electrical current, which is a function of the length of their polypeptide chains or of their molecular weight. This is achieved by adding SDS detergent to remove secondary and tertiary protein structures and to maintain the proteins as polypeptide chains. The SDS coats the proteins, mostly proportional to their molecular weight, and confers the same negative electrical charge across all proteins in the sample.

Erickson and Rast were to compare three varieties of milk: pasteurized, ultra-pasteurized, and fresh milk straight from the udder.  To begin they spent a couple months during the fall semester researching their project.  Once enough information was gathered, they ordered supplies necessary to help them begin their experiment.

In January 2014, the teens had the opportunity to go to the National Center of Therapeutics Manufacturing (NCTM) at Texas A&M University – College Station where Bussell had attended the teacher workshop.

“At the NCTM, we were able to conduct more trials of the experiment using their upgraded facilities,” said Rast.  “The lab coordinator, Matt Johnson, was extremely helpful to us throughout our experimentation and even gave us tips for the science fair competition.”

With minds churning from the trip to College Station’s state-of-the-arts facility, the boys returned to their high school science lab to conduct one more trial.  From there they analyzed the results and formulated a conclusion to their semester long project.

“The fresh milk did contain more protein than both heat treated varieties in case anyone is curious” said Rast.  “However, our purpose was more geared toward perfecting the procedure of comparison.”

After coming up with their conclusion and gathering their notes from the semester, the pair prepared for the school’s science fair competition by presenting their findings to teachers, parents, and peers.   Judges awarded Erickson and Rast with the first place ribbon that allowed them to advance to the East Texas Regional Science Fair at Kilgore College on February 28.  There they claimed third place in the senior division biological category.

“We also went home with the Metric System Award and the American Chemical Society Award,” added Erickson.  “Our winnings qualified us for the ExxonMobil State Science and Engineering Fair in San Antonio, which we attended from March 21 to the 23.”

Concluding Rast said, “The judges were impressed with our innovative methods of analysis, but it was not enough to claim a prize among the other top tier projects from all over the state.”

Both boys gave credit to Campbell Soup and the North Lamar school board for supporting them during their senior research project.