TAAE Holds Annual Conference
The Texas Association for Alternative Education held its 29th Annual Conference and Exhibition at the San Antonio El Tropicano Hotel from February 6th -8th, 2019. There were 241 attendees at the conference this year. Those attendees came from as far south as the Valley, as far west as El Paso, as far east as Longview, TX and as far north as Denison, Texas. This year’s conference theme was #JustBe. This year’s two major keynote speakers were Dr. Donald Brown (From Sp Ed to PhD) and Dr. Craig Boykin (GED to PhD). Both speakers shared their messages of the journey life presented to them and the challenges they overcame to reach their current level of excellence. Many in attendance asked to have both speakers back next year. The session presenters shared academic and hands-on learning tools for members to take back to their classrooms. The conference provided local campus tours at Cooper Academy at Navarro and Estrada Achievement Center to observe other alternative classroom settings. A silent auction was held to promote the Taylor Marceau Scholarship.
A highlight to the conference is the awarding of scholarships. This year, TAAE awarded three-$1000 scholarships. Ms. Laurie Rath, TAAE Secretary and Scholarship Committee Chair (Dean of Students at College View HS) presented the three scholarships and informed the conference attendees about Taylor Marceau, the person the scholarship is named after. The three recipients were Amari Walker, Alyssa Romine, and Austin Cox . Amari Walker is a graduating senior from Lamar ISD. Her principal is Mr. Randall Donnell. Several family members attended to support Amari during the scholarship presentation. She nervously thanked TAAE for the award and shared her plans to attend Wharton County Junior College and eventually transfer to the University of Houston for a Bachelors in Nursing. Alyssa Romine is graduating from Malcolm Rector Technical High School in Nacogdoches ISD. Her principal is Mr. James Adams. Some of Alyssa’s family members attended the presentation with her. She also thanked TAAE for the scholarship. She is to attend Angelina College and eventually transfer to Stephen F. Austin for a Bachelors in Marine Biology. Unfortunately, Austin was not able to attend the award ceremony to receive his plaque. He is a senior at Hope High School in Calhoun County ISD. His principal is Mrs. Dwana Finster, an active TAAE conference committee member. Austin will be attending the University of Houston, Victoria Campus. Congratulations to these three scholarship winners. The scholarship committee did an awesome job scoring scholarship applicants. Due to the high achievements of the applicants, three scholarships were awarded this year instead of two.
TAAE offers professional development for all stakeholders who serve Alternative Education Centers and Discipline Alternative Education Programs. The TAAE conference allows collaboration throughout the state for any alternative school that wants to be a part of this organization. This includes DAEP, School within a school, School of Choice, Charter, and Juvenile Justice Centers. These connections can and do continue after the conference. Many members create lasting contacts that allow them to ask and answer questions that benefit the students they teach throughout the year. “I have personally made connections that helped us transition to a completely different curriculum and have continued support in the implementation of it,“ states Mrs. Shannon Jackson (Perryton ISD), TAAE newly elected Treasurer. It is the perfect place to network with people who understand our school's specific needs and issues. Many attendees become active and apply to do breakout sessions and keynote in future conferences. We want our association to grow and have more in attendance. Next year our conference will be held in Houston. We look forward to seeing more schools present, more bus tours, and even more exhibitors to make this association one of the best in the state. Please check out the site at www.taae.org. Learn more about our association and the numerous ways that you, your school, district, or company can take an active role now and the many years to come. TAAE’s Executive Director is Mr. Stan Reed. Other members of the board are as follows: Mrs. Janna McCollough, President (Everman ISD), Mrs. Emily Feagan, Membership Liaison (College View HS/DAEP), Mrs. Peggy Little, Past President (Marble Falls ISD,) Mr. John Schaefer, President Elect (Mexia ISD.)
Dr. Lisa Rogers, Vice-President (Groesbeck ISD)