November 2017 Around Town 3

Courtyard Hotel 
Opens In Flower Mound

Courtyard by Marriott Dallas Flower Mound opened in late September in Flower Mound. Featuring an innovative lobby space, with a stunning three-story atrium, and Courtyard’s latest contemporary room design, the new Courtyard property is the first hotel in Flower Mound and provides flexibility and choices that allow guests to optimize and elevate their travel experience.

Located at 4330 Courtyard Way, the 146-room hotel offers guests convenient access to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Historic Downtown Grapevine, Texas Motor Speedway, River Walk Flower Mound and LEGOLAND Grapevine.

The five-story hotel features an indoor swimming pool, fitness center and guest laundry, and offers more than 9,000 square feet of meeting space to accommodate functions of up to 400 people as well as on-site catering. The Trinity Ballroom, featuring Riverwalk views is a perfect venue for a wedding reception or corporate event.

Courtyard constantly researches trends and evolves to meet the changing needs of its guests. The latest room design offers hybrid zones for working, sleeping, relaxing and getting ready. Indirect lighting and a neutral, tone-on-tone color palette makes for a soothing and calm environment.

The new room design is intuitive and thoughtful, offering flexible yet comfortable spaces that enable technology.

The Courtyard Dallas Flower Mound also offers the Refreshing Business lobby environment, where guests can enjoy an open and bright area outside of their rooms. Along with media pods, complimentary Wi-Fi and a variety of seating zones, the redefined space is ideal for everything from pop-up meetings to social gatherings. The lobby also features The Bistro – Eat. Drink. Connect, offering casual, flexible seating; easy access to food and high quality, healthy menu options for breakfast; and light evening fare, including snacks, cocktails, wine and beer.

Throughout the hotel, guests can connect with ample electrical outlets. The business library features several computer terminals, along with a printer and separate computer stations dedicated solely to printing airline boarding passes and checking flight status.

Green has been Courtyard’s signature color since Marriott launched the brand 30 years ago. Now it is even greener with the introduction of a guest recycling program for the environment. Receptacles for paper, glass, plastic and metal are conveniently located by side exits.


Leadership, Growth, and Unity Gained from Senior Trip

The Liberty Christian Spiritual Life Department and a group of Upper School teachers took the Class of 2018 to Pine Cove for the school’s annual senior retreat September 22–24 for a time of refreshment, teaching, worship and fun.

“This year, we focused on two main topics: loving your neighbor and becoming a kingdom leader,” Chris Searcy, campus pastor, says. “We believe these seniors will be special because they lead from a foundation of love, just like Jesus does.”

At the retreat, seniors discussed what it practically means to be a servant leader. They studied the story of the Good Samaritan and thought about which character in the story they identified with the most.

Students also enjoyed free time to swim, zip line, ride horses and canoe, as well as play sand volleyball, gaa-gaa ball, and basketball.

On a more serious note, seniors shared in an open mic forum words of encouragement to their classmates, as well as their concerns about their senior year.

The boys and girls each had their own separate group time, where boys discussed with each other what it meant to be men in 2017, and the girls visited about what they saw when they looked in the mirror, comparing and contrasting that image with how God truly sees them.

“I loved how our entire grade got together and became more unified after our competition and through worship,” senior Garrett White says. “Because of it, we are now more powerfully bonded.”

The retreat began with senior moms giving goody bags for the bus ride filled with snacks and glasses stamped with 2018, and it concluded with a time of prayer.


The Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute is recognizing Texas Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, with the organization’s 2017 Legislative Champion Award.

“Texas’ strategic investments in mental health are a credit to Senator Nelson’s unwavering leadership and her compassionate vision,” Andy Keller, president and CEO of the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute, says. “Senator Nelson worked tirelessly to secure funding for state hospitals and jail diversion programs and championed efforts to improve access to care for children with high needs in our state’s foster care system. The many significant advancements made in mental health policy and funding over the last three legislative sessions simply would not have been possible without Senator Nelson, and we are proud to call her a Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute Legislative Champion.”

As chair of the Senate Finance Committee, Nelson authored a budget with an estimated $7.6 billion appropriated for mental health–an increase of roughly $800 million over the last budget.

“We have made significant strides when it comes to increasing access to mental health care in Texas. There is more work to be done, and I will keep pushing to make sure that mental health services are prioritized,” Senator Nelson says.

Nelson represents District 12, including portions of Tarrant and Denton Counties. She is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and the highest-ranking Republican in the Texas Senate.

Donald Elementary 
Fifth-Graders Use Emojis to Learn about Character Traits

When you walk into Grace Guajardo’s fifth-grade English language arts classroom at Donald Elementary, a buzz of student learning is obvious to any visitor. Students can be seen across the classroom in comfy corners or at whiteboard tables partnered with classmates utilizing Lewisville ISD district-issued iPads to complete classroom assignments. A pure example of one of the district’s four cornerstones, Student Experience.

Recently, Guajardo’s students were spotted deeply involved in one fun assignment—using emojis (various small images, symbols and/or icons used in electronic communication) to give students a visual to learn about different character traits.

“Fifth-graders love emojis; they wear them on clothing, have emoji-covered backpacks, and constantly try to convince me to allow their use in stories typed on iPads,” Guajardo says. “This lesson is the perfect way to incorporate character analysis and emojis.”

Using the Pic Collage app on their iPads, students picked the best emojis that matched their personalities. From smiley faces to silly-face emojis, students arranged them into a collage anyway they liked, as long as there was a description linking the emojis to their personal character traits.

It was apparent students were digging the assignment, especially fifth-grader Alex Lambert.

“Today, we used emojis to describe ourselves,” Lambert says. “There are so many fun emojis to choose from, but I used a smiley face for joyful; a volleyball for athletic; the OK-hand symbol to show I’m confident and OK talking with new people; and the thumbs up for being adventurous, because I like to try new things.”

The emoji activity was part of a two-day lesson to teach Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills [TEKS]: Explain the roles and functions of characters in various plots, including their relationships and conflicts.

For the first day, students discussed what defines a character and identified character traits found in the picture book Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney. Then students inserted a list of character traits in their reading notebooks using strong descriptive words. For the second day, students described themselves using emojis to define their character traits and then elaborated how they exhibited the traits.

Thanks to emojis, it is Guajardo’s hope to see her students inferring information about characters based on their actions and describing characters with strong, higher-level words with future assignments.

Forestwood Middle School 
Students Get into Character

When an actor prepares for a role in a play or a movie, there are many tricks to help get into character. First and foremost, actors do their homework way before rehearsals even begin, which is exactly what Forestwood Middle School Theatre Arts students are doing for their upcoming production of Ed Monk’s “Booby Trap,” a story about an American soldier sitting in a combat zone, trapped by a landmine. As he waits to see what will happen to him, scenes from his past, present and future unfold around him.

“To be able to fully commit to the characters and the story, we are learning everything we can about the U.S. military, including the service members, their families and past and current wars,” FMS Theatre Arts teacher Crystal King says.

To help with this, King organized a field trip to the American Fallen Soldiers Project’s National Gallery in Addison, Texas. The gallery was built to honor, respect and forever memorialize the American military service members who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the nation; comfort their mourning families; and inspire all Americans to know and recognize the price paid for their freedom. The project itself provides an original hand-painted portrait of America’s fallen soldiers by artist Phil Taylor. Upon completion, each portrait is personally presented to the family.

During the visit, students received a tour of a gallery of portraits of fallen service members led by Taylor and his wife, Lisa Taylor, who also explained the artistic process to paint each portrait.

Inside the gallery, students studied each portrait and the hanging plaques next to them, which present information about the fallen soldiers’ lives, including what military branch they served; why they decided to join the military; and how they passed away.

Students were able to walk away from the field trip with more than just knowledge for a future acting role.

“The biggest impression this experience has had on me is that there are so many people in this world, but only few are courageous enough to protect and be brave for our country,” seventh-grader Halle Jackson says.

At the end of the tour, students met and listened to two guest speakers; a Gold Star family member Alicia Allbaugh who lost her brother Jeremy Allbaugh in military service, as well as retired United States Air Force General Mike Skinner.

FMS Theatre will perform “Booby Trap” for a University Interscholastic League One-Act Play competition on November 1 at Lewisville High School. Two back-to-back public performances of “Booby Trap” and “Women and War” are set for 6 p.m. November 9 at 6 p.m. at Forestwood Middle School, 2810 Morriss Road. Tickets are $3 for students and $5 for adults.

Bridlewood Elementary Egg-Drop Experiment Reaches New Heights

Bridlewood Elementary fifth-graders participated in a memorable lesson to test their question and collaboration skills by creating a contraption to safely land an egg unscathed after being dropped from various heights.

This year, Bridlewood Principal Robin Block and fifth-grade science teacher Patricia Jordan wanted to take the lesson to greater heights—literally. Enter Flower Mound Fire Department firefighters from Station 4.

First, student groups were challenged to create and design a contraption that would prevent a raw egg from cracking when dropped from 25, 35 and 50 feet by an FMFD firefighter at the top of a fire engine’s extended ladder.

“We knew it was going to be exciting, but to see the students’ faces when the ladder went all the way to 50 feet was amazing,” Jordan says.

“We had a great time helping out with the egg-drop experiment,” Flower Mound Fire Department Captain Ronnie McCarroll says. “The excitement each student showed during their experiments was a lot of fun to see.”

Through designing their own contraptions with no more than three materials of their choice, students were able to discover the difference between testable questions and non-testable questions. In addition, they were able to expand on learning to collaborate with one another to create a design and construct it together.

“I feel that having to collaborate will help them in the future with jobs and with everyday living,” Jordan says. “Students had to get out of their comfort zone and work with others that maybe they had never worked with before.”

Even if their designs failed, students were more than thrilled to participate in the experience.

“It was so much fun to watch other students’ creativity in their egg contraptions, and it didn’t really matter if it worked or not because we learned from it,” fifth-grader Asher Zytynski says.