RSVP and Itinerary for the March 15th trip to Texas Southern University

We are very excited to explore the four year college experience as a pathway to a career this Saturday, March 15 at Texas Southern University. Please take a moment to review the  itinerary. To go along with this month’s theme, we are asking mentors to wear a college t-shirt either from your alma mater or from your favorite college.


Come prepared to share a little bit about your journey to college as a way for students to understand the successes and challenges you faced towards your degree path after high school.

So that our trip coordinators may prepare small group activities, please let us know if you will be in attendance. Should you have any questions, please contact Monique Calderon at


SWAP Saturday March 15th to Four Year College

TSUSWAP Students & Volunteers — SWAP on March 15th will be to a four year college –  Texas Southern University.

More details will follow – keep your eyes on this blog.

Meet by 8:15am at the Spring Oaks Middle School bus loop.  We’ll return to the bus loop by 1:30pm.

High School students – – if you plan to attend please bring your parent consent form.  Download a form here or ask for one by emailing or Nirka Flores at

If you are a SWAP volunteer – please let Sondra know if you are coming – Sondra’s email is

Looking forward to another great day!






SWAP at Medical Center 12/7/13

We have another fun adventure in store for us!  Saturday 12/7, SWAP heads to the Medical Center to learn about medical professions.  Detailed itinerary and plan for the day.  Please, please read it over before Saturday.

URGENT! Please let Amy Taylor know if you will attend –

If it is at all possible for you to come and volunteer, please do! We could sure use you!!   Please email ASAP if you are coming so we can order the food and get the small groups in order.

8:00-8:15 a.m. – Chaperones arrive/student check-in/breakfast at Spring Oaks Middle School (SOMS)

8:15-8:20 a.m. – Chaperone briefing/students load buses

8:20-8:25 a.m. – Final bus count

8:25-8:30 a.m. – Field trip overview and expectations for the day

8:30 a.m. – Depart SOMS for The Health Museum

9:00 a.m. – Arrive at The Health Museum/students and chaperones break into small groups

9:00-10:15 – Exhibit exploration in small group rotations (starting points noted below, and groups

should rotate through all of these exhibits – some may take less time than others)

ß Small groups 1& 2 start at Resolved: Texas Vietnam Heroes exhibit

ß Small group 3 & 4 start at Disease Detectives

ß Small group 5 & 6 start at Amazing Body Pavilion

ß Small group 7 & 8 start at You: The Exhibit

10:15 – Reconvene group at McGovern Theater for “Planet You 3D” short film

10:55 a.m. – Film ends and students load buses

11:00 a.m. – Recount students, reset expectations and depart for Medical Careers Panel at M.D.

Anderson Smith Research Building

11:10 a.m. – Arrive at M.D. Anderson Smith Research Building for Medical Careers Panel

11:15-11:45 a.m. – Medical Careers Panel and Q&A

11:45-11:55 a.m. – Small group breakout

12:00-12:30 p.m. – Small group debrief/Birkman Interest review with Career BINGO

12:00-12:55 p.m. – Lab tour rotations in small groups (to run in tandem w/small group debrief and


12:30-12:55 p.m. – Lunch in small group

1:00 p.m. – Depart M.D. Anderson Smith Research Building for SOMS

1:30 p.m. – Arrive at SOMS/student pick-up


Directions and Location

Directions from SOMS to The Health Museum (1515 Hermman Drive)

End at The Health Museum (1515 Hermann Drive)

Note: buses may need to drop off students behind the museum on LaBranch Street, pending traffic.

Buses will need to park on a nearby street or at Hermann Park while the group tours the museum. Trip

coordinator will call the buses back to the museum at 10:45 a.m.

Directions from The Health Museum to M.D. Anderson Smith Research Building (7777 Knight Road)

End at M.D. Anderson Smith Research Building. NOTE: buses will drop students off at the main entrance.

Buses should be able to remain parked in the driveway until program conclusion or they can park at the

far end of the parking lot located at the front of the building. Buses should be ready to board students at

the main entrance by 12:55 p.m.

Directions from M.D. Anderson Smith Research Building to SOMS

End at Springs Oaks Middle School


Trip Overview and Expectations

So that students can best understand the purpose of today’s trip and how they can maximize this

experience, chaperones will provide an overview of the trip along with expectations for each stop and

guiding questions students may want to consider. See below for what to share with students during each

leg of our journey.

Our Field Trip (share en route to The Health Museum)

Overview: “Today, we will explore careers and opportunities in the health and medical field. We hope

that you will gain a deeper understanding of what it means to work in the field of medicine and the

various ways you can play a role in advancing science in this way. First, we will head to The Health

Museum where you will get to explore the wonders of the human body and think more purposefully

about how you might want to pursue studying the human body as a career. Next, we will visit a research

center at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center for a panel of medical doctors (M.D.s) and research scientists

(Ph.Ds) who will share more about their work and what it takes for them to work in this field. After

that, you will tour an actual science research lab. Finally, you will discuss the day and career possibilities

through your Birkman Interests in your small group. We will then have lunch and return back to school.”

Expectations: “We are visiting a museum where there will be lots of people not associated with our

program and we will visit an actual science research lab where very sensitive information and samples

are held. Therefore, it is very important that you remain in your small group and with your small group

leaders at all times. Follow instructions at all times and continue to show people at the museum and the

doctors and scientists we meet today just how exceptional S.W.A.P. students are.”

Questions: “Throughout the day, you are encouraged to think about how you might want to play a part

in the medical field. Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself while you visit the museum

and listen to people in the medical field share their work: 1) What is it about science or medicine that

I may enjoy most? 2) Would I prefer to treat people who encounter illnesses and disease or would I

prefer to study the causes of illness and disease in an effort to develop a treatment or cure? 3) What

does it take to become a doctor or research scientist? 4) What type of person would enjoy work in the

medical field? 5) What do my Birkman Interests indicate about the ways in which I can contribute to the

field of medicine? Additionally, you are encouraged to ask questions of the doctors and researchers you

will meet today as it will allow you to get the most of out of your day and help you understand what it

actually takes to work the health sciences.”


SWAP Visits Everest Institute and ITT Technical Institute

Early on a Saturday morning (November 9th) 30 students and 15 volunteers headed out from Spring Oaks Middle School to Everest Institute and ITT Technical Institute in north Houston.

This was technical school month for the “Students With Amazing Potential” (SWAP) group. Students got hands on training with medical bandaging along with dental hygiene (certificates are offered in these areas). Students also received a pleasant surprise with fresh baked chocolate chip cookies from Everest!!

On the second tour, students got a talk on preparedness to attend ITT as well as a presentation on different majors including, paralegal studies, electrical engineering technology, computer information systems to name a few (associates of applied science (AAS) and bachelors of applied science (BAS) offered in these areas), along with a tour of the ITT facility off I-45. One of the instructors discussed cyber-security with the group, as well as LINUX operating system being the foundation for building apps to mobile electronic devices.

I was amazed at the attentiveness of the sixth graders throughout the tours. The group followed up with lunch and a small group session in the Upper Room Community (Chapelwood United Methodist Church). Here, SWAP Birkman Bingo, which is catching fire, along with discussion of electives offered at Spring Oaks Middle School was taking place, and to think all of this took place in less than 5 hours.

As a volunteer, I could think of no better act of service outpouring of love having planned this outing with my Upper Room Missional Leadership Cohort (MLC) triad and participating in this outing with SWAP. As a Christian whose vocation happens to be an educator, I have always searched for opportunities to serve God in ways that can use my gifts, talents, and experiences. The SWAP program is one of those opportunities because it focuses on the adage of ‘teaching a man how to fish verses just giving him a fish’.

 I hope and pray that these outings and interactions with these students will yield produce in the lives of these students where they will be able to grow up and experience a higher quality of life. To God be the Glory.

Stephen W. Washington, Ed.D

Birkman Worksheets and Activities for SWAP Day at Technical Institutes

The SWAP team leaders and volunteers are equipped with bags for their small groups with each student’s Birkman & Areas of Interest, Bingo Cards (3 different variations), Chips, Instructions and candy — all to assist them in identifying career opportunities for the SWAP students.   This Saturday’s SWAP will be visiting Everest Institute and ITT.


Areas of Interest – SBISD SOMSElectives My Dreams2 Instructions for Swap Bingo Swap Career Bingo 5

November 9th SWAP visit to two Technical Institutes

November 9th is another SWAP Saturday!

We will be visiting two technical institutes:  (a) Everest Institute (medical careers) and (b) ITT Technical Institute (technology options).





Volunteers please arrive at Spring Oaks Middle School (SOMS) no later than 8:15 am as we have a firm departure at 8:30 am.

Breakfast will be provided at SOMS.  We will spend about an hour or so at each location with sponsor-led interactive tours.

8:30 am: Depart from Spring Oaks Middle School to Everest
9:00am-10:10am: Everest Institute Tour
10:30-11:40 am:  ITT Technical Institute Tour
12:15 pm-1:00pm: Lunch/debrief  Chapelwood United Methodist Church (Upper Room)
1:30pm: Arrive at Spring Oaks Middle School




Oct 12th SWAP is a field trip to ASTROS – need your RSVP

Screen shot 2013-10-02 at 10.48.22 AMAttention SWAP volunteers!

The Oct 12th SWAP field trip is to the ASTROS.  Ginny Itz is preparing worksheets that will outline the career opportunities at the ASTROS, and they will be color-coded by Birkman colors (yellow, red, green, blue).

We need to RSVP #’s because we will be getting a boxed lunch at the stadium.

If you are a volunteer and plan to attend the 4/12 field trip – please let Amy Taylor know NO LATER THAN 10/9 at or text your name and RSVP yes to the SWAP Assist line – 832-900-2226.

Buses will pickup the students at SOMS bus loop at 8:15.  Volunteers are to ride the buses too.  Meet at SOMS bus loop.  Breakfast will be served at the bus loop.


• Time of tour at ASTROS: 9:30-11:00

• Lunch: 11:00-11:45

• Small groups: 11:45-12:45

• Head back to bus loop: 12:45

• Parent pick up: 1:30