Windham partners with Mullin ISD, TDCJ. Begins new High School Diploma program in prison

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Texas’s first in-prison High School Diploma (HSD) program in more than 30 years is underway, with a new class of 42 female HSD graduates recognized in December, 2014.  This unique program began with approximately 30 other young women earlier in the year, thanks to a unique partnership among Windham School District (WSD), Mullin Independent School District (ISD) and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ).

Dr. Clint Carpenter with Political Officials 
TDCJ offenders who were incarcerated at the time they had nearly earned a diploma were given an opportunity to attend classes at the San Saba Unit, with WSD providing desks, computer equipment and high school software.  Mullin ISD provided the teaching staff for these students behind bars, who met the eligibility criteria for enrollment in Mullin ISD courses, according to Texas Education Agency guidelines.  WSD provided administrative oversight, and TDCJ provided classroom space and security services.  The program opened on February 18, and the first graduation of 27 took place in June amid cheers from graduates, parents, and teachers. Contagious pride in accomplishment and intense emotions were on display as each student received their diploma from Mullin ISD and a certificate of completion from WSD. The program’s second class of 42 diploma recipients was also recently honored at San Saba, along with eight GED recipients.

Carpenter-Speaking-to-San-Saba---DSC 2772Students in this program gain course credit in subject areas needed for the Texas HSD.  Diplomas are awarded when all coursework and required state assessments are passed.

"We are exceptionally proud of these graduates for working hard to earn their diplomas despite tough circumstances.  They have turned their negative situations into personal, family success stories," WSD Superintendent Dr. Clint Carpenter said.  "Mullin teachers have provided excellent instruction to these young women, and their families have given the women the backing needed to make positive changes in their lives. This becomes a better story for generations to come.  We thank TDCJ and Mullin ISD for the exceptional support they gave to make this program a reality."

 

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WSD employees have from July 3, 2015 to July 17, 2015 to make changes to their insurance benefits for Plan year 2016 (which runs from Sept. 1, 2015 to Aug. 31, 2016). Go to www.ers.state.tx.us to create your login and password. You may need to establish an online account.

When you access ERS Online, you will see your insurance enrollment and personal contact information. During Annual Enrollment time, click on "Benefits Enrollment" to make changes to your benefits for Plan Year 2016. A video member tutorial showing employees how to make annual Enrollment changes is available on the ERS website.

If you will be making changes that require Evidence of Insurability (EOI) approval, such as enrolling in or increasing the amount of optional term life, adding dependent life, short/long term disability you will need to submit an EOI online.

If you don’t want to change your benefits, you do not need to do anything. Your current benefits will continue in plan Year 2016.

Go to the ERS website to find out more information about Annual Enrollment.

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WSD donates more than $20,000 statewide in 2015 State Employee Charitable Campaign - Windham School District employees opened their hearts and checkbooks in September and October of 2015, donating $20,000.82 to the State Employee Charitable Campaign (SECC). Using payroll deduction, cash or check donations and profits from a statewide sale of "We Are Windham" polo and t-shirts, WSD employees generously made gifts to local, state and national charities of their choice.

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Huntsville Item - Thanks to investments in treatment and education opportunities, offenders in Texas have better chance now to make it in free world - Wardric Thomas sits on a bench outside the bus station on 12th Street, grinning as he enjoys his first cigarette in two years. Thomas served the past 24 months in a Texas prison for narcotics charges. It's Friday morning and Thomas is one of about 40 former inmates who just walked out of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's Huntsville "Walls" Unit as free men after paying their debts to society. He's waiting for the Greyhound bus to show up to take him to his hometown of Houston where he intends to begin again. Thomas hopes to keep the Bradshaw Unit in Rusk in the rearview mirror.