Showing parents how to help their children succeed

Serving schools and families since 1990

Subscriber Spotlight

Two experienced educators in east Texas add School Success Tip of the Day to their parent involvement outreach plan to provide daily advice to parents—in addition to Early Years that they were already sending home.

This RFE Subscriber Spotlight is based on an interview with Joan Ragland, Instructional Technology Coordinator, and Lisa Jeffrey, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum for the Hudson ISD in Texas.

With an unbelievable 70 combined years of experience, this duo of educators is dedicated to providing meaningful information to parents through a variety of channels—so that everyone gets what they need, however and whenever they need it.

Located in east Texas, 6 miles down the road from Lufkin, is one of the largest 4A school districts in the state (a sports classification category based on enrollment size). Famous in the past for pumping units that were sold around the world for oil wells, the quiet community of Hudson is now filled with housing developments and retirement centers adjacent to national forests and plenty of recreational areas, making it a bedroom community for many who work in Lufkin. Serving about 2,900 students, Hudson ISD is a Title I school with four campuses that is also part of a co-op with the Stubblefield Learning Center.

Two educators spearhead the district’s parent communication efforts as part of their long list of responsibilities. Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum Lisa Jeffrey has 21 years of experience, 11 of them in Hudson. She has taught 1st, 3rd, and 5th grades, and was a principal and curriculum director before assuming her current position. Joan Ragland is the Instructional Technology Coordinator and will complete 50 years as an educator when this school year closes. Forty-two of those years have been at Hudson, with the first eight just down the road at what she refers to as a “little bitty town” called Apple Springs. Joan taught 7th grade science for many years. When she started to contemplate retirement, the district created another job opportunity just for her that she eagerly accepted. Consequently, since 1998, Joan has been instrumental in successfully bringing the district onboard with technology.

“My job is to work between the smart techie people and the teachers,” says Joan. “I get everybody on the same page and make sure the teachers don’t feel intimidated. And I’m going on my third and fourth generation of kids. I not only taught the kids, I taught their parents and grandparents too! It’s a neat place to work from.”

As elsewhere across the country, teaching at Hudson ISD looks quite different this school year, with remote instruction on Tuesdays and Wednesdays because of COVID-19 (with the possibility to extend to other days if necessary). There have also been extensive power outages with undependable internet due to the extremely cold winter in Texas. Because of these challenging circumstances, Joan and Lisa are working even harder to help keep parents engaged in the learning process. In January 2021 Lisa decided to add both the elementary and secondary editions of School Success Tip of the Day in English and Spanish to the district’s subscription. They’ve had the monthly publication Early Years since 2018 in both languages as well.

“We like to send Early Years home with the little kids because some parents still like to have that hard copy in their hands to stick on the fridge. It gives them ideas to help them talk to their children and activities that they can do with their kids,” says Lisa. “We really delved into digital products last year that could be accessible for children or families that were being quarantined. We looked for a product that we could send home through social media because that seemed to be the one place where we could get everybody’s attention. We got a postcard advertising School Success Tip of the Day and decided to give both the elementary and secondary editions a try.

And that’s where Joan’s expertise comes into play. She wanted the Tips to stand out on their Facebook page, so she created a format for them that aligns with the style of their other posts. She combines both editions of the daily Tips into this format.

Not surprisingly, Joan also has a process for creating and distributing the Tips in the format she developed.

“As soon as I get the Tips for the next week on Wednesday, I immediately go in and do the formatting. Then I schedule them to go out at 6 o’clock every morning,” says Joan. “If I receive bigger batches of Tips, I can format and schedule more weeks at a time. I can ask my RFE Customer Service Representative to send me more Tips when they are available, and she will gladly do that for me.”

Even though the Tips have only been going out for a short time, parents and teachers are already starting to notice—in a good way!

“Many of our parents have a middle school child and a primary child, so having one post for both editions works out just right,” says Lisa. “By presenting School Success Tip of the Day in the way Joan designed, they don’t get lost. And we also don’t run the risk of over-communicating, which parents told us we were doing last year in the early stages of quarantine.”

Since Joan and Lisa are parents themselves in addition to being experienced educators, they appreciate Early Years and School Success Tip of the Day from both perspectives.

“We enjoy the products, we really do,” says Lisa. “And we read every new issue that comes out!”

With a diverse student population including nearly 53% economically disadvantaged and more than 32% falling into the at-risk category, Hudson ISD is served well by these two experienced educators, especially with the impact that COVID-19 has meant and continues to mean for schools in Texas and nationwide. Being the caring professionals that they are, they will evaluate and learn from their outreach efforts as they always have, keeping parents and students in this quiet east Texas community ready to face the challenges of today and tomorrow, whatever they bring.

To check out Hudson ISD, visit: https://hudsonisd.org/

To learn more about their RFE publications they subscribe to, visit:

School Success Tip of the Day  https://www.rfeonline.com/tip-of-the-day/

Early Years  https://www.rfeonline.com/ey-new-2021/

We’d love to find out more about what you are doing at your school and how our publications help you fulfill your mission. Contact our Fulfillment Manager, Carol Ann Fox, to arrange for a time to chat. Email carolann.fox@wolterskluwer.com, or call her directly at 540-340-7384. She’ll make sure we see you and your school in a future Subscriber Spotlight!
Joan Ragland and Lisa Jeffrey

Joan Ragland and Lisa Jeffrey

Instructional Technology Coordinator, and Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum
Hudson ISD, Lufkin TX