Well, another weekend has come and gone, and here I sit wondering where it went. Friday night was the Lewisville High School Hey Day event at LHS stadium. I can't really estimate the crowd with any accuracy, but I wouldn't be surprised if there were 1,000 people there. They had a lot of booths with community organizations, local businesses, student groups, and feeder schools. We got there around 6, and hung out for awhile, but left before most of the ceremonies got under way. The kids got bored, and we all knew that there was a plate of snow crabs waiting for us at Tierney's.
Saturday was a fun day of shooting down at Elm Fork range; a buddy borrowed an AR-15, and I took my SKS, and we burned up a couple hundred rounds. I'm really coveting the AR, and that's probably somewhat due to nostalgia, since that's basically what we used in the Corps.
Sunday morning, we shot video of men's roller derby action in Denton: Denton County Outlaws versus Twin City Terrors. It was a very exciting game with one of the biggest comebacks I've ever seen. Men's derby is the same game as women's derby, but seems to be played quite differently. It's less about grace and speed than it is about power and agility. I'll get that posted soon; I'm just a little behind in processing video. I've got video from the August 6th LISD workshop uploading now as I type this.
Lewisville Lake is currently at 518.53 feet elevation - about 3 1/2 feet low, and 84% full. Corps of Engineers records show that the rainfall we had over the weekend barely registered. I was a little surprised by that.
Erin Floyd is a storm-chasing photographer in Lewisville who has graciously offered to join us and provide periodic weather updates. She posted her first one tonight. We're glad to have her.
Yes, I'm fully aware that this is a double-standard, but where the heck were teachers like this when I was in high school? I know it's wrong, but I would have gotten over it. Anyhow, she was convicted and got 5 years prison over it. To me, that seems excessive, and based more on a moral judgement of her conduct than of its impact on others - which is what should be the basis of our laws. If it had been up to me, she would have lost her job, her teaching certificate, and been ordered to do community service and serve a few years probation.
Our Land Commissioner and Texas Republican Jerry Patterson has aspirations for higher office and is playing political games with Texas children. The announced candidate for Lt. Governor voted last week to withhold $300 million that Texas voters demanded go to Texas public schools. Patterson, the Chairman of the 3-person School Land Board that made the decision to keep the money in an account his office controls, even though voters approved a constitutional amendment to send that $300 million to our kid's classrooms last November. Tell Jerry Patterson to obey the voters' will, and release $300 million to fund public education.
I'm guessing that the information released about LISD's failing to meet AYP standards must have come out after the LISD board meeting since it wasn't discussed. I'll be interested to see how it's discussed at LISD meetings going forward. Here's a link to the story about it:
As to lake levels, I watch the lake levels, too. But it seems like it's hard to tell whether the lake levels stayed the same because rain didn't run into the lakes or because the Corps released water. I generally interpret the negatives in the "deltas" column that happened during rain to indicate that water has been released down stream. Not sure if this is accurate though.
Also, I've always been told to look at Ray Roberts and Lake Lewisville as a single reservoir. The Corps generally stores water in Ray Roberts due to its smaller ratio of surface area to volume and releases it to Lake Lewisville as needed. The result is that Ray Roberts may be kept higher than Lewisville but to get a sense of overall reservoir supply you have to look at them combined.
Regarding the AYP issues, there are a few things he didn't point out in that article. A large majority (71.4%) of Texas districts (PDF) didn't meet the AYP standards. Plenty of media outlets are carrying the story about how the local district didn't make the cut, but they often bury the statewide statistics deep in the article (or in the case of the Leader, omit them altogether). The national standards were created as part of NCLB because it sounded so great at the time: All we have to do is keep raising the standards, and by 2014 everybody will pass, right?
As a side note, the AYP sanctions specifically target low-income schools. If a school accepting Title I funds (>%40 low-income) doesn't meet the standards two years in a row, parents can take their kid to a new school, and the money for transportation comes out of the Title I funds for the low income school. If a non-low-income school fails two years in a row, however, the school isn't subject to the same sanctions. -BC
Good points - I had seen the AYP reports, but not really had time to digest them. Long story short though, I no longer believe that many of the accountability measures out there really measure what they need to, or indicate much more than what kind of students districts are dealt, instead of what they do to improve things for those students.
I think LISD is on the right track strategically in seeking to implement some community-developed, locally defined accountability.
Yes, ideally we could make our kids so smart and bursting at the seams with knowledge that they all will pass, and we could meet that ridiculous 100% goal. That's not realistic, but it shouldn't keep us from working hard to bring up the kids who are failing. I just worry that this over-emphasis on passing these high-stakes tests is taking away valuable time that could be used for real learning - not just test-cramming.
You are correct in your think about lake releases. It can sometimes confuse the lake level issue, especially after a rain. The easiest thing to do is take a look at the Army Corps of Engineers Ft. Worth District Reservoirs table, noting all the numbers including release rates.
A release indicates the Corp is concerned about runoff bringing the lake above conservation level and possibly reaching flood pool level faster than a delayed release can bring it back down. Keep in mind that the Corp’s operating philosophy is not one of adequate water supply, but rather flood control.
You are also right on target regarding keeping an eye on Ray Roberts in particular, because it is directly upstream. But you also have to look at rainfalls upwards toward the south of the Red River line (likie Grayson Co.)that feed the Trinity Basin.
In order to get the bigger picture for Lewisville water supply, you also have to look at all of the Trinity Basin lakes that are part of the Dallas Water Utilities system: Lake Lewisville, Lake Ray Roberts, Lake Grapevine, Lake Ray Hubbard, and Lake Tawakoni (and eventually, Lake Fork and Lake Palestine).
With Castle Hills's Denton Co. Fresh Water Supply District 1A, as you know, the focus is on Lake Lewisville and via their supplier, Upper Trinity Regional Water. UTRWD has to keep an eye on a lot of factors in play, and like the City of Lewisville, pay for every drop they draw into their system.
And then there are additional wrinkles, such as the fact that Irving gets part of its water from Lake Chapman, but does it by transferring water to Lake Lewisville. Again, that plays into the release rates and conservation level.
In general, it is a complex puzzle. But the Army Corps table is a great place to get at least some of the pieces. If it all starts to sound like a convoluted version of "whack-a-mole", you have the right picture.
Thanks for jumping in, Neil. I had a good conversation with Carole Bassinger, director of public utilities for the City of Lewisville yesterday, and she didn't go into as much detail as you, but basically said the same thing. She also said something to the effect that DWU prefers to draw from Lewisville Lake when they can, because it's easier.
Most importantly, she said that we appear to have made it over the hump, and it's all downhill for the rest of the year.
I'd like to find a good way to summarize the Corps numbers so that we can give our readers an indication of where things stand. The lake level is not ideal, but somewhat indicative in that if it's way low, there's a problem. If it's way full, things are better. The other thing about giving the level for Lewisville Lake is that we have a lot of boaters and anglers who care about that.
I'm open to any suggestions for a way to summarize where things stand.
Thank you very much Neil. I recall you gave me a good tutorial on this a couple of months ago.
To me, the crux of all the talk about lake levels, water supplies, and conservation, is: All communities in North Texas need to do their part to safeguard our fresh water. The recent drought revealed some disagreement about conservation. I've practised Stage 1 for two years and my yard is fine. But if we have a large city, say Arlington, that refuses to join the conservation effort there will be trouble.
Arlington's City Council needs to grow some backbone, wasting water affects us all. Your leadership is needed to make all our communities accountable to each other.