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Brandon Elementary:  The Center for Excellence
"The mission of LISD is to educate and equip all students for success through exceptional learning experiences."
Christmas Door Contest
Brandon staff and students did an outstanding job decorating doors for the Christmas Door Contest this past week.  Winners are as follows:  Mrs. Denman, support staff (top left); Mrs. Mullins, third grade (top right); Mrs. Dorman, fourth grade (bottom left); and Mrs. Friesen, fifth grade (bottom right). Thank you to all who participated and to the students and teachers for their creative ideas and hard work!
Proud of our Bears

Current and former Brandon Bears perform in The Nutcracker, representing the Academy of Gymnastics and Dance.  Congratulations, girls, on an outstanding show!

State Quarter Collection
Fifth grade academic social studies classes participated in a learning activity that resulted in giving back to the community.  Mrs. Belcher, social studies teacher, initiated this effort at the beginning of the fall semester.  Students from each of the homerooms collected quarters and brought them to school, placed them in the state books, and then located and colored the specific states on a US map.  Congratulations to Ms. Scott’s homeroom for completing their book first. The money raised through this effort was donated to the humane society, a charity that Brandon Elementary proudly supports.


A Joyful Noise

Fifth grade Brandon students participated in a Christmas Caroling field trip on Thursday, December 11.  Students visited and sang Christmas carols for residents of Larkspur, Pinecrest, and The Meadows as well as for LISD employees at the administration building. 

'Twas the Night Before Christmas
Brandon third grade HOSTS students were in for a real treat on Wednesday, December 10.  School and community members, Mark Keith, Ella Kegler, Julie McReynolds, Brent Rich, and Allyson Langston, entertained the various classes with the beloved Christmas story, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas!  Thank you to each of these enthusiastic volunteers for sharing their talents and time with our Brandon students.

Science Spectacular

Fourth Grade GT classes at Brandon conducted a science fair, held Thursday, December 4.  The event was a huge success, with coverage by our local news.  Sponsors of this event were Mrs. Barnett and Mrs. Usher, both fourth grade science and math teachers.  Thank you to all those who supported this event.  We look forward to continuing this worthwhile learning experience next year.
T-Shirts Galore!

Approximately 100 Brandon students earned Accelerated Reader t-shirts this month for outstanding achievement in reading. Congratulations to all of these excellent readers, and keep up the great work!
Brandon Parents are the Best

Members of the Brandon PTK provided the faculty with a delicious and beautifully prepared Christmas breakfast on Thursday, December 4.  Thank you so much for all you do to support the children, faculty, and staff of Brandon Elementary!!
Scripps Spelling Bee: Important Dates
Monday, December 1:  Following the morning announcements, students, who are interested in participating, will pick up the spelling study list from Mrs. Taylor in Room 137. 
Monday, December 8:  The written spelling bee will take place in the cafeteria at 1:00 pm.  No guests allowed, please.  The top 25 spellers will be chosen from this test, and their names will be announced on Tuesday, December 9.
Tuesday, December 16:  The public spelling bee will be conducted in the cafeteria at 1:15 pm.  Guests and families are invited to attend.  If you  have any questions, please contact Cinda Taylor, Brandon Instructional Coach, or Dr. Walter, Brandon Principal.

Brandon Students Travel in Style

Students who sold 15 or more items in the recent Big Kahuna Fundraiser for Brandon Elementary were rewarded with lunch at Cici's Pizza via a limo ride filled with music, fun, and excitement.  Thank you to all students and parents who helped make this year's fundraiser a big success!

Former Brandon Bear Making a Difference

Former Brandon Bear and 2014 LHS graduate, Joshua Marcotte, visited Brandon Elementary and his former teacher, Cathey Friesen, on Friday, November 14.  Marcotte recently completed basic training with the Marines and is beginning his service in the department of Intelligence.  Marcotte visited with a class of fifth graders regarding the benefits of an education.  His words were quite profound, as he stated, "Your education is the only thing someone can't take away from you!"

Honoring Our Veterans

The annual Brandon Veterans Day program was held on Tuesday, November 11, 2014.  Thank you to the many veterans who participated in this program.  It was a pleasure and a privilege to have you as our guests on this special day.  The program was organized by Brenda Walker, Brandon Counselor, and the Brandon Student Council.  The program included the posting of colors, poetry readings, the President's proclamation, and several musical performances by Brandon students, under the direction of music teacher, Lori Meadows.  Thank you, veterans, for your service to our country. 

LISD Turkey Trot

Congratulations to our Brandon students who were medal winners in the LISD Turkey Trot held at LHS on Friday, November 14. Students from all elementary schools in the district participated.  Congratulations to all on an outstanding job!
Celebrity Reader Day
Wednesday, November 12, was designated as Celebrity Reader Day at Brandon Elementary.  The celebrity guests read to our students for approximately two hours, as they rotated through the campus classes and grade levels.  Celebrities included a special guest from Romania, invited by one of our Brandon students, volunteer community members, LISD middle school principal, LISD school board member, Miss Teen Texas, and members of the football team, cheerleading squad, and drill team.  Children were entertained with storybooks and biographical works, as well as an informative slideshow presentation on Romania.  We would like to extend our thanks to the many who participated in this effort.  The following individuals made this exciting day for children possible:  Eric McCoy, Terry Mark, Trey Cumbie, Worth Gabriel, Victor Travis, Ghazala Khan, Tara Watson Watkins, Tom Paxon, Dennis and Joan Rankin, Kassidy Brown, Kristen Carr, Rev. Cindy Doran, Marcus Williams, Abby McCarty, Macy Moore, Flora Avant, Ella Kegler, Jeff McReynolds, and Allyson Langston. 

Red Ribbon Week
Students actively participate in various dress up days to support awareness of the dangers of drugs.  In addition to the creative slogan days, students participated in classroom activities, enjoyed and gained insight from a creative lesson by their counselor, Brenda Walker, and listened to guest speakers from the community.     Love drug free!!

HOSTS:  Help One Student to Succeed
HOSTS is a volunteer program at Brandon in which community volunteers and GT fifth graders work one on one with third graders on reading activities. We certainly appreciate the time and interest our mentors provide to this program.  If you are ever interested in serving as a mentor, please contact HOSTS director, Sheila Skelton, at 936-633-7629. 
Brandon Students are Standouts
in Lufkin ISD's Panther Run

Accelerated Reader Incentive
Monthly, during morning celebrations, students are recognized for AR achievement.  When students reach specified point goals, they are presented with shirts.  Students earning this reward will be allowed to wear their shirts on Mondays with standardized dress and Fridays with jeans if they choose.  Congratulations to our October recipients, and we look forward to many more Brandon Bears earning t-shirts throughout the year!
Fifth Grade:

Fourth Grade:

Third Grade:

Toothpaste Tasters!
Fifth grade GT students made Panther Paste while studying mixtures and solutions in the science lab with instruction from Brandon teacher, Teresa Roe.  They invited Dr. Goffney, Mayor Brown, their school nurse, and several LISD principals to complete the consumer testing of their toothpaste product. This was a wonderful learning experience for the students and a lot of fun as well.  Students enjoyed the school and community members who volunteered their time to use and critique their product and, again, would like to thank them for their participation.



Way to Go Awards for the Week of October 6!!

Homecoming Spirit Week at Brandon!

Lufkin High School students and Dr. Walter successfully encouraged Brandon students to participate in Homecoming Spirit Week!
Way to Go Awards for the Week of September 22!!

Congratulations to all Brandon fifth graders who participated in the student council elections for president and vice-president.  We are pleased to announce that Peyton Mathis has been named Student Council President and that Helen Klare Keith and Journie Thomas were elected as Co-Vice Presidents.  All students participating prepared and delivered exceptional speeches during a school-wide morning assembly on Wednesday, September 24, 2014.  The additional outstanding candidates were Pierce Parks, Tangela Ross, Cierra Giles, Ci’Nya Berry, Fenley McCullough, Rohan Sohini, and Aidan Henson.  We look forward to a wonderful year with our student council membership under the direction of these fine leaders. 

From left to right, Helen Klare Keith, co-vice president, Peyton Mathis, president, and Journie Thomas, co-vice president. (See slideshow below.)


Fantastic Turnout for Grandparents Day
Brandon celebrated Grandparents Day on Friday, September 6 with an amazing number of grandparents and relatives participating in the event.  Visitors enjoyed a delightful music program, refreshments, pictures with their grandchildren, and a record breaking book fair.  Thank you to all the family members, staff, and volunteers that made this such a memorable day for our students.

                         Way to Go Awards

The following students received the Way to Go Award for the week of September 1:  Cathan Deason, Desirae Giles, Gracie New, and Paris Rains!! Way to go Brandon Bears!!
Way to Go!!
Brandon educators always want to recognize and show appreciation for positive character traits in students.  In an effort to do this, children will be recognized throughout the school year for demonstrating good character, citizenship, and leadership.  This week two students were recognized, Levi Ladden and Chandler Frankens! 
                         Levi Ladden                                   Chandler Frankens
Brandon Bears Off to a Great Start for the New School Year

       2014-2015 Brandon Elementary Faculty and Staff
                  Looking Forward to a Fabulous Year

Brandon Teachers Celebrating 5-STAAR Distinctions

Meet the Teacher: Brandon Elementary
Wednesday, August 20, 4:00-6:00 pm

Please join us and meet your child's teacher.  Class rosters will be posted on our library windows.  Welcome to a new year at Brandon!
Summer Reading in the Park

Our summer reading program has begun!  Please join us at Jones Park at 11:00 each Wendesday during June and July!

Lunch Will Be Served at Jones Park
  • Free for all children 1 to 18
  • Monday - Friday
  • 11:30 am to 1:00 pm
  • At the Pavilion across from Garrett Primary
  • Lunch must be eaten at the park

Accelerated Reader 100+ Point Party

Brandon students who earned more than 100 points in the Accelerated Reader program this year were rewarded with a party on Thursday, May 22.  Students enjoyed basketball, skating, and games along with a pizza party.  Congratulations to these dedicated students, all 121 of them!
Father Daughter Dance
On Friday, April 25, Brandon hosted our first Father Daughter Dance. A wonderful time was had by all who attended.  We look forward to making this special event a regular tradition at Brandon.

Cindo de Mayo Celebration
To celebrate Cinco de Mayo, Brandon Elementary hosted a Chalupa Dinner for students and their families.  This event was held in the evening on Monday, May 5.  Those in attendance enjoyed a deliciuos dinner, prepared and served by Brandon staff, were entertained with a faculty talent show, and had the opportunity to visit Brandon's annual spring book fair. 

Muffins for Moms
In honor of Mothers Day, Brandon celebrated moms by hosting a Muffins for Moms before school on the morning of Thurday, May 8.  This was a special time for our students and their mothers. 

Brandon Scholars Program Donors
"Brandon Bears Educating Brandon Bears!"
Thank you to the following donors for your generous contributions:
Dr. Srinivasa Rao
Dr. Savitha Balakrishna
Mr. and Mrs. Peikert
Vikram and Sailaja Suraparaju
Sarah & Joe Murray in honor of "Erin Bonner"
Dr. Lila Cherry in memory of
Dr. P.A. Varghese & Mrs. Molly Varghese
Dr. Sunil Cherry in honor of Saehin Cherry
Joe E. Rich, Sr. in memory of John Bradford
Lorraine and Michael Dorman in honor of Clark, Mallory, & Evan Dorman
Sandy McEntire
April Sebesta
Joshua & Heather Resch in honor of Betty Harrison
Rebecca Hunt in honor of Cathey Friesen

Fun Run
More than 100 Brandon students ran in the Fun Run on Friday, April 25.  The Fun Run was established to help raise funds for the Brandon Scholars Program, "Brandon Bears Educating Brandon Bears."  Thank you to Mrs. Vann for coordinating this worthwhile and enjoyable event.  The winners of the Fun Run are as follows:
3rd grade:  1st place- Charlie Deaton, 2nd place- Cailyn Crow

4th grade:  1st place- Carter Williams, 2nd place- Kolby Kovar

5th grade: 1st place- Jordan Moore, 2nd place- Mathew Gorman

5th Grade GT Classes Host Easter Egg Hunt
for Dunbar Kindergarten Students

Attention Dunbar 2nd Grade Parents!!!
Click on the link below to see more information on the Bridge to Brandon, an informational seminar, held April 30 and May 14, providing information on the transition from second to third grade.


Brandon Scholars Program - 
    Brandon Bears Educating Brandon Bears!
Brandon Elementary is implementing a scholarship for seniors.  If you are a former Brandon Bear and interested in applying, please click on the links below for guidelines and application.
In support of the Brandon Scholars Program, each Monday for the remainder of the school year will be designated as a jeans day.  The cost to participate in "Monday Jeans Days" will be $2.00 each time.  Students must wear standard dress code shirts with their jeans.  All funds collected will go toward the scholarship program.

Principal's Awards
Students from 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades, in the pictures below, were awarded the Principal’s Award by Dr. Elizabeth Walter during morning celebrations on the week of March 24. These students were recognized for their leadership skills, kindness, excellent attendance, and academic achievements.

Good News Club
Students from 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades, in the pictures below, were named to the Good News Club by Dr. Walter during morning celebrations on the week of March 24. These students have exhibited positive behaviors that have been recognized by faculty members.

Brandon Bears Love Kanetra

A celebration of Kanetra Loyd's life was held on the front lawn of Brandon Elementary on Friday, March 21.  Kanetra, a fifth grader at Brandon, died on Monday, March 17.  Her fellow classmates, along with the entire Brandon family, shared a very special time together on Friday at noon, honoring her and her memory.  Kanetra's parents and family were in attendance and were presented with several gifts of remembrance from her classmates. Kanetra always had a smile on her face, loved the color pink, and was adored by all those who knew her.  Along with a variety of tributes, pink balloons were released in her honor at the end of the ceremony.  Many thanks go out to the students and staff members who coordinated this effort, Dr. Walter for making it possible, and Rev. Cindy Doran for her special words for the family and children.  Kanetra will certainly be missed.  May she rest in peace.

Brandon Pride Days
A new initiaive at Brandon Elementary is to introduce children to community and cultural experiences that may possibly be new to them.  The first Brandon Pride Day was held Wednesday, March 5, thanks to the generous contribution of Mr. and Mrs. Jim Alexander of Jack Alexander, Ltd.  Fifth grade Academic students were taken to the Manhattan Fine Dining Restaurant in Lufkin.  Leading up to this outing, teachers discussed topics such as proper manners and attire for such an event.  Students began the day full of excitement and anticipation.  They certainly were not disappointed, as they returned to school, enthusiastically sharing their experiences with others.  Teachers and other chaperones were very pleased with these students, commenting that the students' actions reflected that they had certainly listened to the discussions regarding proper etiquette. Many thanks to Manhattan for not only serving our students, but taking the time and care to discuss with them many of the particulars associated with operating an establishment such as theirs.  Once again, the faculty and staff of Brandon would like to sincerely thank the Alexanders for their generosity in making this event possible for these students.  

Nighty Night at the Zoo
     Fifth Grade GT students attended Nighty Night at the Zoo, a longstanding tradition of Brandon Elementary, at the Ellen Trout Zoo on February 27 and 28. This activity is a much anticipated science and engineering exercise each year. The educational opportunity to experience science in a zoo, behind the scenes and at night, is a rare and fascinating one. 
     Along with other activities, the students had the opportunity to take a tour of the facility at night and visit areas that are normally off limits to the public.  The reptile room and cat house were among these areas. Students made recordings of the sounds present at night in a zoo. They participated in ZSI (Zoo Science Investigation), and watched Rainforest Rap, later creating and performing their own versions. 
     The engineering component of this field trip involved creating a crate, according to specific guidelines and criteria, for transporting a hippopotamus. On the morning of the 28th, students participated in an A-Z tour. While students found animals with names beginning with each letter of the alphabet, they also retraced the steps of their evening tour, making them aware of the vast differences between the zoo during the day and the zoo at night. 
     Many thanks go out to Charlotte Henley and Alissa Booth of the Ellen Trout Zoo and Jennifer Stover, LMS magnet teacher and former Brandon science teacher. These ladies served as tour guides and instructors for the event.   GT teachers, Cathey Friesen, Cinda Taylor, and Brooke Vann, prepared students for and accompanied them on this trip. Parents provided dinner, breakfast and lunch for the group and three of our Brandon dads volunteered to stay overnight with the students. We appreciate everyone who had a part in making this event possible for our students. It was an adventure they will remember for a lifetime. 

Black History Month Program
     Students of Brandon Elementary presented a Black History Month program on Monday, January 17. The program began with student presenters, including members of the Young Gentlemen’s Club, recognizing the honored guests. Guests included members of LISD administration and school board, along with other community leaders. 
     Special music was presented by LHS teacher, Mr. Joseph Goffney. Journie Thomas, fourth grader at Brandon, presented an excerpt from the famous Martin Luther King speech, I Have a Dream. The audience showed their enthusiasm for his performance with a standing ovation. Helen Klare Keith recited Maya Angelou’s poem, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” Many Brandon students were involved in the event. Some participated in a spirit dance, paying tribute to this special occasion; some were involved in an educational and entertaining short story, narrated by Blayre Brent, entitled “If There Were No Black People,” and all Brandon students joined in singing “Free at Last” and “Ev’ry Voice and Sing.” Emma Carlile shared her beautiful voice with a solo during one of the musical performances. She also, along with Destini Dodd, emceed the event.
     Thank you to Dr. Elizabeth Walter for organizing this event and all those who made it possible. A special thank you goes out to all of the guests and parents who took time out of their schedules to attend the event. The faculty and students of Brandon Elementary appreciate your involvement in events such as this one and your continued support of the Brandon students and campus. 

Lufkin Kiwanis Club 2014 Spelling Bee

The Brandon Elementary spelling team took first place in the Kiwanis Club Spelling Bee held Saturday, February 8.  Team members include:  Taha Nazeer (Captain), Lahari Surparaju, and Stori Thomas.  Pranav Rao was Brandon's representative in the individual competition, earning 2nd place.  Sponsors for the team were Lisa Denman and Amy Reynolds. 

National Wear Red Day
In support of the American Heart Association and National Wear Red Day, Brandon staff members wore red to raise awareness in the fight against heart disease in women.

Digital Learning Day
Lufkin ISD celebrated National Digital Learning Day on Wednesday, February 5. Brandon students accessed online resources for research and used software programs to enhance the curriculum.  This was a helpful, enjoyable, and enlightening experience for students.

Boston Market

The Boston Market, a fifth grade GT research project, was held Thursday, January 30th at Brandon Elementary. This marked the 10th year for this much anticipated Brandon event. The purpose of the annual project is to make students aware of how the colonies developed an economic system that enabled them to become economically successful and independent from Great Britain. Each student chose a trade, dressed in appropriate clothing for that trade and time period, and displayed a tri-fold presentation board to showcase his or her research. In addition, the students performed the Virginia Reel, a traditional dance of the time period. Social studies teacher, Brooke Vann, coordinates this event.  Thank you to all the parents, guests, and community members who attended the Boston Market.

Safety Patrol

A Safety Patrol has recently been added to the Brandon Elementary campus by assistant principal, Oscar Encarnacion. The Safety Patrol is comprised of 5th grade students nominated by teachers or selected by Mr. Encarnacion. Members are assigned various duty spots within the school to help ensure that students follow hallway rules, get to assigned busses on time, and follow general safety protocol.  We are very proud of our students for taking on this responsibility and know that it will only enhance the safety of our campus! 

School Board Appreciation & Instructional Focus
Brandon Elementary, Garrett Primary, and Dunbar Primary presented the instructional focus at the January school board meeting. The presentation revealed the connection of ideas, strategies, and applications regarding mathematics from pre-k through fifth grade.  Brandon fifth grade students ended the presentation by working with school board members, administrators, and directors on math problems such as those seen in the fifth grade classroom. This activity, similar to the popular television show, "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?," was a lot of fun for all who participated and the audience members as well.  The January school board meeting was also designated as a time to recognize and honor the hard work and dedication of our school board members.  Dr. Elizabeth Walter, along with Robin Stowe of Slack Elementary, presented a gift of gratitude to school board member, Andra Self. 

Principal's Awards
Students from 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades, in the pictures below, were awarded the Principal’s Award by Dr. Elizabeth Walter during morning celebrations on the week of January 13. These students were recognized for their leadership skills, kindness, excellent attendance, and academic achievements. Congratulations to all the recipients, and thank you to all the family members who attended the celebrations. 

Good News Club
The students represented in the slideshow, below, were named to the Good News Club by Dr. Walter during morning celebrations on the week of January 13. We are always looking for good news at Brandon! These students have exhibited positive behaviors that have been recognized by faculty members. Good job, good job; keep up the good work! We would like to thank the parents who were able to join us for the morning celebrations.

2013 District U.I.L. Brandon Elementary Awards
Maps, Graphs, and Charts
(5th Grade)
Zoey McMillan, 1st place; David Cassity, 2nd place; Hunter Jones, 3rd place
Music Memory (4th Grade)
2nd Place Team: (Mia Bradley, Aidan Henson, Carolina Negrate, Reagan Crow, Malaya Fuellen, Levi Murrell)
Number Sense
(4th Grade) Aubrey Lindsey, 3rd place; Rohan Sohini, 5th place
(5th Grade) Taha Nazeer, 1st place; Tyler Li, 2nd place
Oral Reading
(4th Grade) Helen Klare Keith, 1st place; Olivia Soule, 2nd place; Autumn Squires, 5th place
(5th Grade) Blayre Brent, 1st place; Emma Carlile, 2nd place; Kade Carr, 3rd place
Ready Writing
(3rd Grade) Chip Buchanan, 1st place; Chloe Camp, 3rd place; Sarah Thornhill, 4th place
(4th Grade) Autumn Squires, 2nd place; Katelyn Wallace, 4th place
(5th Grade) Jackson Warden, 1st place; Emma Carlile, 4th place
(3rd Grade) Kassidy Knapp, 1st place; Pranav Rao and Jeremiah Wright, 2nd place tie
(4th Grade) Dylan Vinson, 1st place; Journie Thomas, 4th place
(5th Grade) Minhal Khan, 1st place; Yousuf Mir, 2nd place; Emmeline McClain, 3rd place
Storytelling (3rd Grade)
Grant Ashby, 2nd place; Kendall Horn, 3rd place; Micah Warren, 6th place

(Brandon Elementary U.I.L. Participants)

Brandon Spelling Bee
Congratulations go out to all participants of the Brandon Elementary Spelling Bee.  The event took place Wednesday, December 18 on the campus.  Thank you to all participants for the dedication and hard work put forth. To the parents who so eagerly supported the efforts of their children, we certainly thank you.  At Brandon we believe that events such as this one are extremely worthwhile for students.  This year's Individual Champion is Pranav Rao. Three other students earned a place on the team as well.  They are, in alphabetical order, Taha Nazeer, Lahari Suraparaju, and Stori Thomas.  The alternate team members, in alphabetical order, are Chiip Buchanan and Sree Karnati.  Thank you to Mrs. Reynolds and Mrs. Denman for sponsoring this event.  To view more photos of the spelling bee, please select Brandon Slideshows and Videos.

(Pictured left to right) Chip Buchanan, Sree Karnati, Stori Thomas, Lahari Suraparaju, Taha Nazeer, and Pranav Rao

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