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Reese Briggs, Superintendent

ReeseI would like to thank the Hemphill ISD Board of Trustees and the Hemphill community for the opportunity to be a part of this outstanding district.  I grew up in Bridge City, Texas and received my BA from UT-Arlington and my M.Ed. from SFA.  I have served public education since 1987 in various capacities to include teacher/coach, athletic director, assistant principal, campus principal, assistant superintendent, and superintendent. My educational experience prior to Hemphill has been at the following Texas public school districts: Midlothian, Splendora, Deweyville, Humble, Cleveland, and Kountze.

These are exciting and challenging times in education.  With recent changes in school law, we are now able to create more meaningful career/college pathways for our children than before.  At the same time we must continue to be good stewards of our financial resources during a time where state funding remains low.

Hemphill ISD has a strong tradition of excellence in academics and extracurricular activities lead by a fine staff of professionals and supported by a wonderful community.  It is truly a blessing to be surrounded by school and community leadership committed to providing an exceptional education for all of our children.

My wife, Mary Ann, and I are excited to be a part of the Hemphill community and are honored to work with you and your children.
HISD At-A-Glance
Back to School/Fall 2019

During my back to school address I challenged each of us to not only do our part in stopping the hate that leads to senseless acts of violence as experienced in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, but to also try and think of ways where we may be part of the solution.  So many of these violent acts are carried out by young people and/or against young people.  As educators we work directly with our young and have an awesome opportunity and responsibility to make a difference in the lives of our children.  So again, I challenge each of us to learn, reflect, collaborate, and share in the effort to stop the violence.  In most cases you really won’t know if you prevented a tragedy, but as we follow the unfolding lives of our students, you can feel the immense joy of having made a difference!

While we work to stop the violence we must also be prepared for the possibilities of it occurring.  HISD is taking several steps to be prepared.  Last year we created the first HISD police department and guardian program.  We also started strengthening the security of our school perimeter as discussed below.  And this year we implemented district wide active intruder response training for students and staff.  The training for staff included voluntary medical triage training followed by active shooter scenarios where members put their new skills into practice.  This was an awesome training where our staff responded excellently with appropriate care for scenario victims. While we hope to never have to put these skills to use, it is great to know that our staff has the skills to help if needed.  Thank you to all our staff and students for doing so well in the three days of training! 

I am excited about the HISD initiative to promote student opportunities with Angelina College!  We have had opportunities here in Hemphill for a while but, due to limited enrollment, the availability has been limited.  Through this initiative authored by Mr. Griffin, HHS students attend morning classes at HHS to fulfill graduation requirements and are then transported to the AC Lufkin campus where they may work toward earning a wide variety of Associate Degrees and/or certifications.

The A-F ratings now include campuses and that raises the stakes a little more.  I continue to hold that our students and schools are much more than a single performance on a test.  But we must also acknowledge that it is the system by which Texas public schools are rated and the STAAR does provide an indicator of how our performance compares to other districts across the state.  As such we will continue to strive to perform at or above state average on all criterion or norm referenced assessments.  

This past year HISD received an overall rating of 85 (B) which was 3 points higher than the previous year.  This is the result of your instructional efforts and expectations for student success.  Our HS maintained an 82 (B) and MS increased 10 plus points to 78 (C) while also receiving Distinctions Earned in both Social Studies and Comparative Academic Growth!   The 59 (F) received at our elementary has initiated Targeted Improvement and our faculty and administration are committed to developing and implementing a plan for success.

Welcome New Hornets!


 

Elementary:   Morgan Hart, Christina Leach
Middle School:  Morgan Horn, LaDorsha Bailey, Gaylan Chadwick
High School:  William Wood, Skylar Quick, Matthew Quick, Amanda Holden, Sharon Ray  
Shared Services Co-op:  Walker Ann Wilson
Support Staff:  Lisa Whittemore, Lynsey Neely, Kelli Noble, Josh Bennett, Johnny Boyett, Shannon Boyett

It is taking longer than desired but we are wrapping up the Fencing and Access Control projects this month.  Both projects create a much more secure campus for our students, staff, and visitors.  We will soon be issuing entry devices and explaining procedures for their use.  

Security Tip from ESC 7


 

Personalized Scams Overview
Cyber criminals continue to come up with new and creative ways to fool people. A new type of scam is gaining popularity— personalized scams. Cyber criminals find or purchase information about millions of people, then use that information to personalize their attacks. Below we show you how these scams work and walk you through a common example. The more you know about these scams, the easier it is for you to spot and stop them.

How Does it Work?
Email or phone call scams are not new, cyber criminals have been attempting to fool people for years. Examples include the “You Won the Lottery” or the infamous Nigerian Prince scams. However, in these traditional scams cyber criminals do not know whom they are targeting. They simply create a generic message and send it out to millions of people. Because these scams are so generic, they are usually easy to spot. A personalized scam is different; the cyber criminals do research first and create a customized message for each intended victim. They do this by finding or purchasing a database of people’s names, passwords, phone numbers, or other details. This type of information is easily available due to all the websites that have been hacked. It is also commonly available on social media sites and in publicly available government records. The criminals then target everyone they have information on.

One common trick cyber criminals use is fear or extortion to force you into paying them money. The attack works like this. They find or purchase information on people’s logins and passwords obtained from hacked websites. They find your account information included in such a database and send you (and everyone else in the database) an email with some personal details about you, including the original password you used on the hacked website. The criminal refers to your password as “proof” of having hacked your own computer or device, which is of course not true. The criminal then claims that while they hacked your computer they also caught you viewing pornography online. The email then threatens that if you do not pay their extortion fee, they will share with your family and friends evidence of embarrassing online activities.

The catch is, in almost every situation like this the cyber criminal never hacked your system. They don’t even know who you are or which websites you’ve visited. The scammer is simply attempting to use the few personal details they have about you to scare you into believing they hacked your computer or device, and to trick you into paying them money. Remember, bad guys can use the same techniques for a phone call scam also.

What Should I Do?
Recognize that emails or phone calls like these are a scam. It’s natural to feel scared when someone has personal information about you. However, remember the sender is lying. The attack is a part of an automated mass-scale campaign, not an attempt to directly target you. It is becoming much easier for cyber criminals today to find or purchase personal information, so expect more personalized scams like these in the future. Some clues to look for:

  • Whenever you receive a highly urgent email, message, or phone call be very suspicious. If someone is using emotions like fear or urgency, they are trying to rush you into making a mistake.
  • When someone is demanding payment in Bitcoin, gift cards, or other untraceable methods.
  • When you get a suspicious email, search on Google to see if other people have reported similar attacks.
  • Ultimately, common sense is your best defense. However, we also recommend that you always use a unique, long password for each of your online accounts. Can’t remember all your passwords? Use a password manager. In addition, enable two-step verification whenever possible.

Our Previous Quote to Ponder:


Don't limit a child to your own learning, for he was born in another time. - Rabindranath TagoreIsn’t that the truth!  Our students are growing up in a much different world than us and it is ever changing.  So we must teach them to be life-long learners, to break through perceived limitations and make new realities.  I find it interesting that Tagore lived from 1861 to 1941 and yet his words continue to ring true!

 

This Issue’s Quote to Ponder:


 

Learning is like rowing upstream: not to advance is to drop back. - Chinese proverbCool sites/Apps:

The following is a great site to learn more about the programs and initiatives under HB 3:

https://tea.texas.gov/About_TEA/Government_Relations_and_Legal/Government_Relations/House_Bill_3

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