Intermediate School

News and information from Argyle ISD’s Intermediate School.

Hilltop and Intermediate Watch D.O.G.S. program helps dads get involved

by: Brianna Vela

Dr. Brent Robinson’s profession may be in dentistry, but his most rewarding job is being a father to his son and daughter in 1st and 4th grade. 

The Argyle Independent School District’s Watch Dads of Great Students (D.O.G.S.) program allows him to participate even more in his children’s lives. 

Dr. Brent Robinson spends time with daughter Ava Johnson (10) at recess.

Dr. Brent Robinson spends time with daughter Ava  (10) at recess.

Hilltop Elementary and Intermediate School first adopted Watch D.O.G.S. into their schools during the 2013-2014 school year.

Part of the National Center for Fathering, this program allows father figures to volunteer at least one day out of the school year to participate in a variety of school activities. 

Dr. Robinson says this type of interaction with his children at school is not only essential, but enjoyable. 

“Nothing beats being able to come see your kids work together with other kids,” Dr. Robinson said. “Watch D.O.G.S. is a day-long event with a wonderful schedule.”

 Throughout the day, activities may include studying with students, eating lunch with them, monitoring recess activities and assisting with the school’s traffic flow.

Hilltop Elementary Counselor Michael Ball says the children reap great benefits from this experience as well.

“You can just tell how much it means to a student when their father takes off a day of work to be with them,” Ball said. “It creates conversation for kids and their dads at home. Dads have a better understanding of what the actual school day looks like and how hard all of the kids and teachers work.”

Dr. Robinson agrees.

“You only get one chance to watch your child grow up,” Dr. Robinson said. “It’s your responsibility to get involved. If you are not involved in your children’s lives, then you are missing out.”

For more information about Argyle ISD, visit



Over 600 students receive take-home Chromebooks

by: Brianna Vela

As technological advancements are being implemented into classrooms nation-wide, Argyle Independent School District has allowed students to take some of this technology home.

Librarian Mary Ann Ryley helping students use Chromebooks

Librarian Mary Ann Ryley helping students use Chromebooks

Six-hundred and forty students from the district have been issued new Google Chromebooks. These laptops feature a keypad and touch screen that all operate through Google’s app system.

The district’s 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th grade students have the opportunity to use these devices throughout the school-year in their English, History, Science and Math courses.

Argyle Intermediate School students using their Google Chromebooks.

Argyle Intermediate School students using their Google Chromebooks.

Argyle Middle School Principal Scott Gibson says the district’s goal is to create “21st century learners.”

“It helps students learn the way they grow up,” Gibson said. “Those kids who were 7-years-old when the iPhone first came out in 2007, are the ones who grew up with smartphones. This is what they know.”

Each of these students has been given their own Argyle ISD Gmail account. This allows them to store all class materials in Google’s cloud system.

Administrative intern and 7th grade science teacher Trevor Baker has been providing tutorials on how to use the Chromebooks.

He teaches students about the Google Drive system and apps the school district is allowing them to use. He says teachers will provide further instruction, depending on their class’ curriculum.

“They also learn how to set up file folders and share them,” Baker said. “This helps them learn how to collaborate with others.”

To learn more about what else is going on in the school district, visit



Argyle ISD students learn about Aplastic Anemia to rally behind classmate

by: Brianna Vela

Corbin Johnson, 13

Argyle ISD supports 7th grader, Corbin Johnson (13)

Corbin Johnson sat in the auditorium Wednesday morning among his classmates to listen to Cook’s Children’s Hospital child life specialist, Laura Sonefield, discuss Aplastic Anemia.

Diagnosed with the condition in 6th grade, 13-year-old Corbin never expected to have gained popularity among his peers this way.

It means a lot to me. It really does,” Corbin said. “Not everyone knew me, but now more people do. It makes me excited and nervous all at the same time.”

Aplastic Anemia is a blood disorder in which the body’s bone marrow does not produce new blood cells.

This condition has kept Corbin homebound and hospitalized since early 2014.

Sonefield has been working with Corbin since the beginning of his diagnosis. She says her job includes visiting Corbin often and normalizing this process for him.

“A big part of this is helping students understand,” Sonefield said. “A lot of time elementary students and middle school student fantasize about what is going on when they don’t have answers. When Corbin is able to come back to school, support from his classmates will help him be able to transition back into the school setting.”

Corbin is currently being taught at home by 7th grade English instructor, Erika Adams.

She has never had Corbin in any of her classes, but looks forward to the opportunities she gets to work with him each week.

“From the first time that I met Corbin, I have continually been amazed at how optimistic he is,” Adams said. “Even when he has to get platelets, is running a fever and is very fatigued, he trudges on, works hard on school work and is delightful to be around. I have learned a great deal from him and his outlook on life.”

She says English students are researching the disease and reading stories about people who have overcome Aplastic Anemia in order to learn what Corbin is going through.

To rally support from the community, Argyle Independent School District will be hosting “Corbin’s Carnival” on Saturday, October 25 from 4 to 8 p.m.

Various books with bake sales, silent auctions, games and more will be inside the Argyle High School cafeteria and gym. Concessions will also be available.

The district encourages everyone in the DFW area to attend.

“It is important for the community to support and participate in various fund raisers for Corbin and his family,” Adams said. “You never know what your giving can do for this family in need.”

More information regarding “Corbin’s Carnival” will be published soon.

Follow Argyle ISD on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates.


Few, but significant changes made to STAAR testing

by: Brianna Vela

Logo via the Texas Education Agency

Logo via the Texas Education Agency

Students have been taking the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) test since the 2011-2012 school year.

Now that the state has begun to see implications of the exams, changes have been made to improve the standardized testing of 3rd through 8th grade students.

Argyle ISD Assistant Superintendent Chris Daniel says the biggest change includes the introduction of new math TEKS and a new Math textbook adoption.

“We have new math and science textbooks,” Daniel said. “Every hard copy of a book has an online version which comes with embedded videos, practice problems, and other supplementary material.”

The Texas Education Agency has rewritten the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for Mathematics.

Many of the math standards or TEKS have moved either up or down a grade. For example, fifth grade will not have divisibility rules within the curriculum. Divisibility rules has moved to third grade.

Because of this change, all districts will only be receiving each student’s raw score. TEA will review all of the scores in the summer of 2015 and set new performance standards. Once that is complete, then the district will receive a passing/non-passing report.

Additionally, students in grades 5 and 8 will be waived from the Student Success Initiative (SSI) for only this school year. In other words, they will not be required to pass the math portion of the STAAR test to move to the next grade.

Another change to this year’s STAAR testing affects the seventh grade students taking eighth grade level math courses.

According to Daniel, Pre-AP seventh graders from across the state will be required to take the 8th grade level STAAR math exam. By choice, Argyle Middle School students were already taking this exam, but now it is being required state-wide.

Daniel says it is important for parents to stay up to date with what their child is doing in class.

“One way they (parents) can help is by taking advantage of the digital resources that are available through this new textbook adoption,” Daniel said. “It’s not just a pdf version of the textbook online, but there are interactive elements as well.”

To learn more about Argyle ISD, visit



Challenge Day Club students lead through “Joy Girls”

by: Brianna Vela

Challenge Day Club is an organization at Argyle High School that encourages students to serve as positive role models in their community.

An initiative of this program includes “Joy Girls” which allows female officers from the club to have conversations with 5th and 6th grade girls about bully prevention.

Co-vice president Payton Pels says this initiative deeply resonates with her experiences at that age.

Payton Pels (17) handing out papers to student in Joy Girls.

Payton Pels (17) handing out papers to students in Joy Girls.

“I had struggles during Intermediate School.  I dealt with bullying and not fitting in with all of the groups I wanted to be in,” Pels said. “It is important to let these girls know they can be friends with everyone and be kind to one another.”

Challenge Day Club sponsor Jeanna Sutton has enjoyed watching her students giving back to their community, especially to students within the school district. She says the skills they are applying through initiatives like “Joy Girls” can be taken with them to college and further into adulthood.

“When I was their age, I wasn’t serving like they serve,” Sutton said. “It’s awesome to watch them spread joy and make a difference. They can see that there is joy in serving other people.” 

Ashton White (17), Madison Gladys (17) and Peyton Pels (17) talking to 5th and 6th grade girls about  bully prevention.

Ashton White (17), Madison Gladys (17) and Peyton Pels (17) talking to 5th and 6th grade girls about bully prevention.

Madison Gladys, co-president of the club says communication plays a key role in how the organization helps students.

“That’s how this club works,” Gladys said. “We provide someone to talk to whether it is “Joy Girls” or any of our other programs.”

Co-vice president Ashton White transferred to Argyle High School when she was sixteen. Being a leader in Challenge Day Club has helped her easily adjust to a new community and figure out how to give back.

“Intermediate school is a time when you are figuring out who you are and there is a lot of insecurity with that,” White said. “Our hope is to teach girls how to grow up without being mean and not let their insecurities result into bullying.”

To learn more about Argyle ISD, visit:




Schedules and lockers help students gain independence

by: Brianna Vela

Eager 5th and 6th graders headed to Argyle Intermediate School Thursday afternoon to begin prepping for the new school year.

Student schedules handed out at Argyle Intermediate School

Student schedules handed out at Argyle Intermediate School

Parents and students gathered in the cafeteria to collect their class schedules and receive their locker assignments.

Intermediate School’s newest principal, Renee Funderberg, waited inside to meet and greet each student with Popsicles.

Principal Funderberg greeting students at Argyle Intermediate School

Principal Funderberg greeting students at Argyle Intermediate School

“It’s about getting to know these 5th and 6th graders and getting to know the parents,” Funderberg said. “I am really looking forward to being a part of a great community. This is a learning experience for me.”

Out in the hallway, students and parents brought scrapbook paper, shelf organizers, mirror and photographs to begin decorating lockers.  The children were also able to drop off their school supplies.

Argyle Intermediate School students decorate their lockers.

Funderberg says she wants the students to be well prepared before school starts on Monday, August 25.

“This puts them at ease their first day,” Funderberg said. “Now they’ve been here, they’ve gotten to see the schools and they able to get their lockers organized before we hit the ground running on Monday.”

Lacey Wilson, parent of a 5th grader, says she is no stranger to the intermediate campus.

She has already had a child go through the school and is looking forward to helping her son start his 5th grade year off right.

Lacie Wilson helps son learn locker combination

Lacey Wilson helps 5th grade son learn locker combination

“We (family) love the intermediate campus,” Wilson said. “It is a good stepping stone between Hilltop Elementary and the Middle School. This campus gives my child a little more independence.”

Parents will have another opportunity to meet their children’s principal and teachers at Parent Orientation on Thursday, August 28.

To view more photos from Argyle Intermediate School’s locker decoration day, click here.

To learn more about Argyle ISD, visit