PAISD EDUCATION NOTES
Whether it was called Ropesville, Tarpon, Mustang Island, or Port Aransas, we want the students of Port Aransas ISD to know the history of our community.
At a meeting arranged by PAPHA (Port Aransas Preservation and Historical Association) officer Kristi Golston, a group of PAISD administrators, three classroom teachers and four members of PAPHA sat down to discuss the importance of incorporating our island history into the curriculum required by the state.
After a brief tour of the newest exhibit, “Taming of the Channel – an Epic Story,” we grabbed a cup of coffee and a muffin and got down to business at the museum.
Rick Pratt, the museum director, gave the group a brief history of PAPHA and how the museum was born. He then discussed the 7,000- plus photos of island history that have been archived and how they can be used for instruction in our schools.
Devan Rasnick, a first grade teacher, and Heather Collins, a second grade teacher, both at Olsen Elementary, attended to represent the grade levels where children are first taught the concepts of a community and the importance of the past, present and future of a community.
Kristi Longanecker and other middle school teachers helped PAPHA board member Betty Bundy by writing curriculum for a grant a couple of years ago. Kristi was unable to attend the meeting, but we look forward to hearing her history connections and ideas for middle school students.
Pete Barello, a high school history teacher who had read some of the history books written by Dr. John Guthrie Ford (also at the meeting), got excited about perhaps combining some of the old maps of the island with the modern GIS (Global Information Systems) capabilities and teaching this concept to high school students. He also was very interested in using some of the pictures from the current exhibit for his classroom instruction.
Travis Longanecker, the high school principal, had some very cool ideas for the high school students but I want to keep that a secret for now.
Gina McKeever, the middle school principal, had ideas of bringing the history into the classrooms through not only history classes, but also by teaching cross-curricular lessons in language arts, science and math as well.
I discussed bringing elementary students to the museum to see the exhibits to enrich and extend the concepts taught in the first and second grade classrooms.
The PAPHA board members want to expose our students to the rich island history and the operations of the museum so they will grow up having ownership in not only the past, but also the present.
The conversations were enthusiastic and enlightening for all who attended. While we are just in the planning stages, I know great things will come from this group for the students of Port Aransas ISD.
Our next meeting will be to brainstorm more ideas of how to ensure that our “island” students learn the history of this great place. We will also discuss putting together a manual with the help of Ford for use in planning the history connections in the classroom. Exemplary thinking – don’t you think?