SOC Students Visit Collin Community College

Collin College – Resumes and Cover Letters

A group of students 18 years of age and older were taken to Collin Community College’s  McKinney campus on March 21st to participate in a resume and cover letter writing workshop. The goal was for students to gather information and resume writing criteria, which would support their career fair field trip in April. Prior to the workshop, the students visited the campus library, recreation area, registration, and admission office.

The portfolios were donated by Preston Trail Church.

Spring Brings Rejuvenation

Students are back from a well deserved break.  They are rejuvenated and ready to finish the year strong.  In speaking with students, here is what some had to say.

“One positive thing of coming back to SOC is the teachers.  The way they treat you and how positive they are.  That is one of the things that makes me excited to be back.  Especially to see Mr. C and Coach.”  – Oziel

“Coming back to the SOC I will hopefully be done with two or more classes.  I know everyone will be excited about being back to work hard towards graduation.  Also can’t wait to see my teachers who support me.”  – Kendall

Personally I am excited about being back from our break as well.  Hopefully everyone is well rested and ready to finish the year strong.  GO SOC!!!!!!




Spring Time, SMART Period, and Soccer

Welcome back to school at the Student Opportunity Center!

We have just returned from our restful spring break and are eagerly looking forward to the remaining eleven weeks of the 2017-2018 school year. As you may know from previous posts, The Student Opportunity Center has implemented a Student Movement and Relaxation Time period into the school day. During this SMART period, students have thirty minutes to attend one of many different activities offered by teachers and staff, as well as some community volunteers. At the SOC the students can choose from activities such as art, walking club, cosmetics, basketball, relax in the courtyard, soccer, etc. This designated time period has been created to encourage students to blow off steam or to kick back and relax so that they may mentally reset and prepare for classes after lunch. SMART period runs from 1:25-2:55. After SMART period students return to class for fourth period having burned off extra energy or cleared their minds from outside stresses. The SOC implemented this program with that goal in mind. An added benefit that the SOC has received from this program is that many students build camaraderie and community with their fellow classmates. This is crucial for a school like the SOC that gets its population from many different home campuses throughout the district. Students should be excited and motivated to come to school. For some students, SMART period can be the hook that brings them into the world of education.

In keeping with Frisco ISD’s mission to know every student by name and need, in addition to the SOC’s mission to encourage, empower, and educate students for success, teachers and staff regularly participate with the students during their activities. Not only does this build better relationships with the students, but it also benefits the staff members by offering them some movement and relaxation before their fourth period of the day. For example, you can often find Ms. DeGraff creating art with her students, Mr. Hawley and Mr. Ellett playing basketball in the gym, Ms. McColloch walking around the grounds with her students, Ms. Greenan enjoying some quiet time in a book with her students; Mr. Mochowski, Mr. Trevorrow, and even the Student Resource Officer, Daniel Baughman playing soccer with students on the field.

North Texas and its beautiful spring weather has brought with it an increase in the number of students choosing soccer outside with Mr. Mochowski, Mr. Trevorrow and Officer Baughman. Many students even bring the appropriate shoes, clothes, and gear in anticipation for SMART period soccer. Commonly the students will be at the gate to the field quicker than the teachers; they are excited, energetic, and have even pre-chosen their teams, not without a little bickering over who gets Mr. M, Mr. T, and Officer B of course. The students look forward to soccer so much that when the field is wet or untrimmed, they can be found in the courtyard playing short-sided street soccer matches. Some students even use their lunch time to multitask by eating and juggling or passing the ball around. Once they have all finished eating, you better believe that they have organized a pick-up game in the courtyard.

As a teacher at the SOC and with all the classroom benefits of SMART period aside, the joy and happiness that students show moments before kick-off and during matches gets me excited to come to work every day. I am constantly smiling around this group of students, and I am proud of the strong and capable young adults that they are becoming.

Below you can see some photos of the staff members and the great students from the SOC enjoying the world’s most beautiful game.

pic1pic 7pic 3pic 4pic 2pic 6From all of us here at the SOC, we hope that your spring break was as great as ours and that the remaining eleven weeks of school bring happiness, joy, accomplishment, and all good things to your lives.

One of the goals in Restorative Practices is for students to learn to value and regularly use pro-active positive ways that build and help maintain a peaceful classroom community. Also, the shift towards restorative classrooms is recognizing and using the inherent value of misbehavior as an opportunity for social and emotional learning concepts. For example: How do students interpret values? Is their definition for values the same as your or other students? Through Restorative Practices such as community circle activities, these questions can be answered and establish a common definition. Students can conclude that values are stable long-lasting beliefs about what is important to them and/or that these can become standards by which they can order their lives and make good choices. Are our students at SOC making those choices?

So, what are your (and their) values? Which are the most important ones for you and/or your class?
“Caring, trust, friendship, cooperation, teamwork, honesty, integrity, courtesy, etc.”
During restorative activities, ideas such as values or beliefs can be discussed, students develop an understanding of the concept, learn how to participate in circle dialogues, and practice applying the concept to their daily lives. If we as teachers want values to live beyond a slogan or poster, take time to teach them in interactive ways like role-playing, reading and writing stories about values in action, and asking students to recall their life experiences and relate them to their values.

Practicing Teamwork, Trust, Respect, and Relationships


SOC and Restorative Practices

Spring is Coming

Banner Pic

Image from Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray.


Punxsutawney Phil will break his hibernation this morning in hopes of Spring. Legend says we will have 6 more weeks of Winter should Phil cast a shadow. Regardless, the seasons are inevitable and proper planning should always be observed. The Student Opportunity Center is no different; though we aren’t looking over our shoulders at our shadows, we are looking forward.

As the people of Punxsutawney make their pilgrimage to Gobbler’s Knob, we here at S.O.C. are preparing for our yearly pilgrimage to Collin College. F.I.S.D. and Collin College have collaborated on a College and Career Showcase and Job Fair. This event will be split between The Preston Ridge (Frisco) and Spring Creek (Plano) campuses for C.C.

Spring Creek Campus:

March 27, 2018

9:00 a.m.- 1:00 p.m.

Preston Ridge Campus:

April 12, 2018

9:00 a.m.- 1:00 p.m.

Upwards of 75 students from the Student Opportunity Center will be attending the Career Fair at the Preston Ridge campus in April. Collin College has graciously given our students Special Guest status and will not charge them an admission fee. (We are currently negotiating the travel expenses and will have information forthcoming.)

Prior to these two dates, the Spring Creek campus is offering a week of workshops and break-out sessions regarding hard and soft career/academic skills. These include:

  • Linked-In (what is it and how do I get connected?)
  • Resume/Cover Letter Writing
  • Networking Basics
  • Practicing your 60 second elevator pitch
  • Professional Headshots

The dates for these sessions are March 19th-March 23rd. We have not decided which of the sessions our students will be attending but are looking at the calendar and will have specific details later this month.

As part of our preparation for the event(s), a group of students took the pre-assessment for the T.S.I. (Texas Success Initiative), Collin College’s entrance exam, on Monday. Students will take the full exam in March. This will be the 2nd round of T.S.I. testing conducted here at S.O.C. this year.

Though Punxsutawney Phil only emerges for a short time and quickly retires to the comfort of his home, we here at S.O.C. work tirelessly to offer our students myriad opportunities to develop, benefit from, and showcase their many talents and strengths.

Mark your calendars. Spring is coming!

*Highlights from last year’s Career Fair:




Our students have an afternoon “recess” period, known as SMART (Student Movement And Relaxation Time).  One of the options for our students is Art, where students have the opportunity to express their creative side.  With and extensive collection of donated items, students can color or make jewelry in a relaxing environment.

Often we have holiday specific crafts for students to enjoy.  Back in October, students had the opportunity to make haunted houses from cookie kits.  The houses were challenging to keep together, but nonetheless fun to do.  And eating the extra candy was a bonus!WP_20171030_13_38_00_ProWP_20171030_13_38_04_ProWP_20171030_13_38_06_ProWP_20171030_13_38_51_ProWP_20171031_13_41_32_ProWP_20171031_13_41_37_Pro

So that simple “Nothing……ZERO”

The numbers we use today are called Arabic, but in fact they began life in India as early as 500 A.D.

The first recorded zero appeared in Mesopotamia around 3 B.C. The Mayans invented it independently circa 4 A.D. It was later devised in India in the mid-fifth century, spread to Cambodia near the end of the seventh century, and into China and the Islamic countries at the end of the eighth.

Indians devised a system that could cope with vast numbers. They developed a different symbol for every number from 1 to 9. The symbols are very close to what we use today. In the Christian world, they were using the Roman numeral system (I,II,III,IV,V,VI,VII,VIII,IX,X,etc.). Adding and subtracting using the Roman numeral system was very difficult.

A symbol was discovered in a temple in Gwalior, India. It is considered the holy grail of numbers. It is the symbol for the number ZERO. A new revolutionary idea since the days the Sumerians invented the counting system. Now it is not the first time it was written, but the first recorded time it was used for a distinct purpose.

While the Romans and the Christian world used numbers to record their conquest and how many dead bodies there were after a war, the Indians used numbers to advance commerce and banking.

Indian astronomers also excelled beyond the Christian world. They were able to work out that the earth spins on its own axis and that the earth moves about the sun. Over in Europe, Copernicus would not figure this out until a thousand years later. Indian scientists were also able to calculate the earth’s diameter to within one percent of its actual measurement. All of this was possible because of the symbol zero and the other nine digits.

Mathematicians were in an Enlighten period throughout the Islamic world. New formulas and equations were being derived and new methods of calculations were being explored. Mathematics exploded in the Islamic world.

Zero found its way to Europe through the Moorish conquest of Spain and was further developed by Italian mathematician Fibonacci who used it to do equations without an abacus, then the most prevalent tool for doing arithmetic. This development was highly popular among merchants who used Fibonacci’s equations involving zero to balance their books.

In the year 1201, Fibonacci wrote a book called “The Book of Calculations” after witnessing how the symbol zero and the digits one through nine were used in the market places on the shores of Northern Africa. Because of how money was being handled in these market places and the ease at which calculations were done, the era of the Roman numerals died a slow death. Well not exactly slow, but by the 16th century, the Indian figures, now commonly called Arabic numerals, finally triumphed.

Today we use the ten digits: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9, and zero without ever thinking of where they came from…, but now you know.


Information was gathered from the following sites:

By Jessie Szalay, Live Science Contributor | September 18, 2017 12:29pm ET:

1 The Story of Numbers (0 and 1) Indian Numerals or Arabic?


TNT Program at the SOC

Students had an amazing opportunity on Dec. 12th & 13th as they explored possible careers in technology during Teamwork & Technology Day at the SOC.  This was made possible by the ‘Grant for Great Ideas-Frisco Education Foundation’.  For two days students put on their creative hats while they “played” with a variety of hands-on activities that exposed them to new technology & careers.  Vendors who participated included Nokia, the Movie Institute, Microsoft, iCode, and several others.  Some of the activities included creating a movie, writing computer programs, programming autonomous vehicles, building race cars, and racing one another!





C.A.R.E Center

This year the SOC has introduced the Curriculum, Academic, and Restorative Education (C.A.R.E.) Center.  When students need help with social-emotional learning (SEL) skills, they visit the C.A.R.E. Center to work with Mrs. Luce.  SEL skills are the skills students need to be successful in class and in life.

For more information on SEL, please see the presentation below.

We are also using mindfulness in the C.A.R.E. Center. For more information about mindfulness, please see the presentation below.

A Day in the Arts

In November, our students had an opportunity to participate in a program called A Day in the Arts Part 2 on our campus. Last year, the students volunteered to participate in A Day in the Arts which was funded by the Grant for Great ideas in collaboration with Frisco Education Foundation. We had lots of supplies leftover and the students enjoyed the program last year, we wanted to offer a second strand to students this semester. One River Art Studio in Frisco donated their time, instructors, and easels which allowed our students to explore oil painting and free artistic expression! What an amazing day for talented artists!