Swine Flu Information

This is a transcript of the information sent to parents by our Schoolmessenger automated phone system.

Swine Flu Precautions at White Oak ISD

White Oak ISD is monitoring all available information concerning the Swine Flu Cases. The district has taken several precautions to insure the health and safety of our students. Let me share the information and actions taken as of today;

1. There are no confirmed cases of Swine Flu in Gregg County or the counties that boarder Gregg County.
2. WOISD has increased cleaning and disinfecting efforts in all area of the school.
3. White Oak ISD faculty and staff are monitoring personal hygiene practices, especially hand washing for all students.
4. In compliance with yesterday’s UIL ruling, all interscholastic events have been postponed until May 11, 2009.
5. All WOISD district trips have been postponed or canceled at this time. As more information is available, trips will be looked at on an individual basis. Any trip that puts our students in close contact with students and/or adults from areas outside White Oak ISD will most likely be canceled.
6. Parents and Guardians are strongly encouraged not to bring students to school with a fever. Any student that has a fever should be taken to the doctor and examined immediately.

The administration at White Oak ISD is taking this situation very seriously. We want to thank our community in advance for your help and cooperation in this matter.

What did I learn in San Antonio?

The Lamar Superintendent’s Academy School Board Conference was held in san Antonio and here are a few of my thoughts about the information shared on Saturday. Ian Jukes was the speaker and is well know world wide as an advocate for educational reform. You can learn more ablut Mr. Jukes at http://web.mac.com/iajukes/thecommittedsardine/Home.html the Committed Sardine Website.


What did I learn in San Antonio?

Lamar Superintendent’s Academy 2009



            This entry is just a few notes about the information I received at the Lamar Academy Convention in San Antonio, Texas. What did I learn?

            I learned that Ian Jukes is from British Columbia, Canada and played professional football in the Canadian League (that did not count due to it not being the NFL).

            I learned the TTWWADI’s are a formidable resistance to change in the process of educational reform. That’s The Way We’ve Always Done It = TTWWADI.

            I learned that the Solid Rocket Boosters on the Space Shuttle were limited in size by the width of the tunnels along the railroad system that delivered them to Florida. The railroad with was determined by the width of wagons being built in the early 1800’s and the wagon widths were determined by the ruts in the existing roads in Europe before America was settled. The width of the ruts in the roads in Europe were determined by the wheels of Roman War Chariots some 2300 years ago and the Roman Chariot was designed to be the width of two horses rear ends. THEREFORE, the size of the Solid Booster Rockets on what is arguably the most sophisticated peace of technology on this planet was determined by the width of two horses’ rear ends 2300 years ago!!

            On a more serious note, I learned that we are on the very edge of an Exponential Growth Explosion. This is one of the factors that must be considered when planning for the education of future generations. Changes will happen faster than ever before and we need young people that are comfortable in this climate of change. The statement was made that our young people live in The World of Fundamental Uncertainty. This will only become more common in the future. Change is the constant that our students will have to embrace and use to their advantage.  

            I learned that there are Several Exponential Global Trends that are driving the decisions about change in the education process. Here they are;

1. Moore’s Law was first introduced in the mid 1960’s and stated that technology will be twice as powerful and half the price every two years. Since then the theory holds true with the exception of what was once every two years is down the every twelve months. As Bio-technology and Nano-technology begin to advance, the time line will be cut to every six months.

2. Photonics or Fiber-optics have almost unlimited potential to increase the speed at which information is delivered. The amount of bandwidth being purchased per one dollar is tripling every four months. It is possible that we can see speeds one trillion times faster than today in twenty years.

3. The Internet had 20 users in 1990. Today there are 113 new users added every minute. Do you know about MySpace, YouTube, Wikipedia, Ebay, Skype, Second Life, Twitter, Podcasting, Blogs and Web 2.0? These represent a new form of communication and information delivery system that the Digital Native considers essential to existence on earth! You might also note that you have not seen any of these advertised on TV and yet hundreds of millions of people use them every day.

4. The term Infowhelm describes the situation where we have access to more information than we will ever use. Much of this information is “Disposable” due to the accelerated rate of change we have been discussing. By the time you here about it, it’s obsolete. Imagine, information that is as perisable as fresh fruit.

5. Biotechnology is on the rise and is the sum total of all the trends we have previously discussed. Invetro “no kill” meats, grown body parts and genetic mapping. The statement was made at the session that “The difference between Science Fiction and Reality is that you have to make Science Fiction somewhat believable.” Remember Exponential Times!

6. The things discussed in trends One through Five have already taken place. Now for number six. Nano-technology. This is described as “technological fusion” or the combination of all the trend we have been talking about. Technology that gets smaller and more efficient is not a stretch of the imagination. Think about stereo equipment. Start with wall components then boom boxes then IPhones and tell yourself that little programmable nanobots are not possible.

            These six things are part of the exponential explosion that our students must be prepared to participate in and be successful. It is our job as Digital Immigrants to insure that our Digital Natives have the knowledge, skills and confidence needed to be a part of this ‘new world’.

            I will end with a ray of hope for the good old teachers of my generation. None of this calls for the abandonment of the core curriculum that is basic to all successful learners. There will always be a place to practice the core subject areas and instill core beliefs in our students. We need to insist that our young people respect the values that make us who we are. There is no substitute for honesty, work ethic and self discipline. However, we need to look at the world around us and change the delivery systems to meet the needs of our students. There is no place for a school system that is training 21st Century Learners to succeed in a 1950’s world.


House Bill 1555

Next Tuesday, April 14, The House Public Education Committee will consider HB 1555 for passage to the Full House. here is my letter of support that was sent the The Equity Center and Representitive Merritt’s office.

April 8, 2009

To: Chair and Members of the Texas House Public Education Committee

I Michael E. Gilbert, Superintendent of White Oak ISD, support HB 1555 and urge the Committee to vote it to the floor. HB 1555 is the only school finance bill that fully restores the student centered, formula driven system and it improves equity, decreases recapture by setting all three allotments (BA, GYA and EWL) at the 95%tile of wealth represented by the Austin ISD yield.
White Oak ISD is a high performing Class AA school district in East Texas. We are suffering in the current system from low target revenue, slow to no growth and little difference between actual enrollment and WADA. Without a dynamic fundamental change in this system (not a band-aide), we are looking at bankruptcy within the next five to six years. This is a no frills/no fat district at this time. Any further cuts will drastically affect the education of the students of White Oak. WE NEED YOUR HELP!!


Michael E. Gilbert
Superintendent of Schools
White Oak ISD