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Comprehensive up-to-date news coverage produced and written by the Dickinson ISD Public Information Department.


DHS recognized with Outstanding Student Council honor for 2019-2020

The Dickinson High School Student Council was recently named an Outstanding Student Council by the Texas Association of Student Councils (TASC). The honor is based on documentation of student council organization, specific project areas, participation in TASC programs, and an evaluation by the school administrator.

"The achievement serves as a benchmark for what a well-rounded student council in Texas should do to be effective. This is truly a significant accomplishment," said TASC in the notification letter. "As of April 19, only 337 student councils in Texas earned this recognition in 2019-2020. You are in an elite group," they added.

Congratulations DHS Student Council students and sponsors.

Chaffin's Studio: McAdams teacher creates HD video instruction for students
With Covid-19 forcing classrooms all across the state to remain closed, teachers like McAdams JHS eighth grade history teacher Bryan Chaffin are doing all they can to provide high quality instruction to students at home through video lessons.

Chaffin, who has a passion for creating high quality videos, has set up a home studio, complete with lighting, professional audio equipment and a DSLR camera, to create high quality and engaging instructional videos for his students. 

“I know that to be able to engage my students online, the presentation has to be held to a certain visual standard,” said Chaffin. “And with online learning being a totally visual based learning environment, you have to overemphasise the visual aspect of things.”

Rather than just creating a powerpoint or online presentation, Chaffin choses to record himself teaching the lesson in order to create a classroom feel for his students. 

“I found it very valuable from the very beginning of distance learning to have my voice and my face presenting the lesson,” said Chaffin. “When a student becomes comfortable with you in class, their engagement and learning increases. Being able to have my face and voice in video form is one step closer to making them feel more comfortable with the online platform.”

Although Covid-19 has created unique challenges for teachers and students during this time, Chaffin believes that there are always positives to be found.

“If there is a silver lining in any of this, it’s that students who may not get as much individual help and accommodation in a classroom setting are getting it now because there is more time for me to respond and be able to do things for them individually,” said Chaffin. “I think it’s helping a lot more students be able to receive personalized individual help from their teachers.”

Rachel’s Hangout: Using Zoom to stay connected with students
In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, teachers like McAdams Junior High 7th grade ELA teacher Rebecca Rachel are going above and beyond to stay connected with students.

In addition to providing educational support and instruction, she established “Mrs. Rachel’s Hangout,” a Zoom video chat where students can log in once a week for 30 minutes to see their friends and talk about whatever they like.

Topics in the hangout range from showing off family pets, practicing music and preparing for college to more in-depth subjects like the stresses the students feel while staying home during the pandemic.

“The thing I constantly tell my students is that we are a family,” said Rachel. “We are in this together and we are here to learn, laugh and play together. This is us and we are going to watch out for each other.”

Although the hangout is not required for students to attend, Rachel says that many of her students do attend.

“It gives students the opportunity to connect and communicate with their friends who they only get to see during school,” said Rachel.

Dickinson ISD music education programs receive national recognition


Dickinson ISD has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from The NAMM Foundation for its outstanding commitment to music education. 
Now in its 21st year, the Best Communities for Music Education designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students. To qualify for the Best Communities designation, Dickinson ISD answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, and support for the music programs. Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

“Our music programs are a source of great pride for our schools and for our community.  Dickinson ISD has a long-standing tradition of musical excellence that is passed down from generation to generation of music students.  We are honored to receive this award in recognition of our hard-working, dedicated, and talented students and music educators. We look forward to the continued growth of our district’s musical programs and the enrichment that music brings to our students’ educational experiences and to their lives," said Billye Smith Ed.D. Dickinson High School Principal.

This award recognizes that Dickinson ISD is leading the way with learning opportunities as outlined in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The legislation guides implementation in the states and replaces the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) which was often criticized for an overemphasis on testing-while leaving behind subjects such as music. ESSA recommends music and the arts as important elements of a well-rounded education for all children. 

Research into music education continues to demonstrate educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music. After two years of music education, research found that participants showed more substantial improvements in how the brain processes speech and reading scores that their less-involved peers and that students who are involved in music are not only more likely to graduate high school, but also to attend college as well. Everyday listening skills are stronger in musically trained children than in those without music training. Significantly, listening skills are closely tied to the ability to: perceive speech in a noisy background, pay attention, and keep sounds in memory. Later in life, individuals who took music lessons as children show stronger neural processing of sound; young adults and even older adults who have not played an instrument for up to 50 years show enhanced neural processing compared to their peers. Not to mention, social benefits include conflict resolution, teamwork skills, and how to give and receive constructive criticism.

A 2015 study supported by The NAMM Foundation, “Striking A Chord,” also outlines the overwhelming desire by teachers and parents for music education opportunities for all children as part of the school curriculum.

“Dickinson ISD is committed to providing our students with a well-rounded education, and music education is a very important component.  Study after study supports the positive impact of music education on learning, brain development and creativity, self-discipline, building relationships, and relieving stress.  We are extremely proud to receive this special recognition from The NAMM Foundation, and we will continue the long history of high-quality music education for students in Gator Nation," said Carla Voelkel, Dickinson ISD Superintendent.

About The NAMM Foundation
The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its approximately 10,400 members around the world. The foundation advances active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving, and public service programs. For more information about the NAMM Foundation, please visit

The mission of the Dickinson Independent School District is to ensure that all students have safe and successful learning opportunities that help them reach their full potential and add quality throughout their lives. 

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