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Making Social Media Work for Community Organizations

August 26, 2016

This is the first in a series of posts based on Erik Johnson’s presentation, “Getting Your Message Across,” about how community organizations can effectively use social media.

Erik Johnson Profile Picture

Erik Johnson

Most of us use social media to connect to friends and family, follow blogs that address our interests or keep up with the daily news. But community organizations and the volunteers who work with them must recognize the unique role that social media plays in their supporters’ lives in order to make the most of these platforms. On August 25, the Coppell Gifted Association invited Erik Johnson, Vice President of Marketing Technology for ClubCorp, to speak to a group of community organizers and volunteers about how they can best use social media to reach the Coppell community.

“Social media brings your story to life,” Johnson said. “Facebook and other platforms allow your organization to pull out the stories that show why you exist.”

Although social media sites like Twitter and Instagram are appropriate for some organizations, Johnson focused his remarks on Facebook, citing statistics that show 71% of Internet users have a Facebook account and 50% of those users check it every day.

According to Johnson, the goal of your organization’s Facebook posts should be to compel your followers to engage with your stories by commenting or sharing your posts, which will, in turn, ensure that your posts are seen by those user’s friends and so on. In order to make content engaging, Johnson recommends that organizations follow a rule of thirds: “You should spend equal time posting about Appreciation, Advocacy and Appeals,” he said.

Appreciation posts should be exactly what they sound like–posts that highlight volunteers, sponsors, donors or other organizations that have helped your group. Johnson recommended that these posts lead with the activity. In other words, a great advocacy post would read: “XYZ Company volunteers braved the heat to set up booths for our Spring Carnival. We appreciate them so much!”

Johnson said that Advocacy posts show your followers that you care about the things they care about. Posting original content or re-posting news articles associated with your cause (education, child development, community sports, etc.) elevates your credibility as a source for information and increases the likelihood that your followers will engage with your page.

Appeal posts focus on what every organization needs: volunteers and money. And while these kinds of posts are important to groups, they should be interspersed with other the other two kinds to prevent donor/volunteer fatigue.

“Most importantly, an organization should be real and transparent on social media,” Johnson said. “You must listen to your followers and respond to every single comment, even the negative ones.” He recommends that organizations acknowledge any negative comments and indicate what they are doing to address the situation. Then, if necessary, take up the issue in an offline format like email or by phone. An exception would be if the group receives any dangerous or disturbing comments. These should be deleted immediately.

For more information on the Coppell Gifted Association or to become a member, click here.

9th Annual Creative Writing Competition, deadline Dec 7, 2016

August 22, 2016

Our 9th annual Creative Writing Competition is open to all writers in 4-12th grade in the categories of STORY and POETRY. Please see our “Competitions tab” for more information.

CW Poster 2016

Summer Scholarship Opportunity

July 8, 2016

Coppell Gifted Association is offering summer scholarships for up to 20 Coppell ISD educators for the UNT Gifted Education Summer Conference on July 28-29. You may select either the 1 day or 2 day option depending on your summer schedule. Scholarships will be offered on a first come, come first served basis.

If interested, please first email Once you receive notification that a scholarship is still available, then register yourself (using the online link below)  and receive reimbursement for your payment. Get your 6 hour GT update on your own time!

Sessions include: Teaching for Deep Learning with Gifted Students, Teaching Critical Thinking with Debate and Deep Reading Seminars, It’s More than Technology: Engaged and Connected Learning, and Teaching for Creativity and Innovation.  Space is limited. Register today!

Details about the conference and online registration link:

2015-16 Creative Writing Book Release Party Pics

April 15, 2016

We had a great time at the 2015-16 Creative Writing Book Release Party. Special thanks to Asim RoyChowdhury for providing us with these pictures.


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Meet the 2016 CISD School Board Candidates

April 11, 2016

Candidate Information:


There are eight candidates running for three school board positions this spring.  The CGA posed several questions to the  candidates running this year.    The questions were:

  1.  Tell us a little about yourself and why you’ve decided to run for a school board position.
  2. What unique qualities would you bring to the school board?
  3. How have you been involved with Coppell ISD prior to running for school board?
  4. What do you see as the biggest challenges for the district in the next five years?
  5. Are you in support of the Coppell ISD bond that has been proposed?
  6. How important is serving the needs of gifted kids?
  7. How does Coppell ISD currently serve gifted kids and how does that compare to other districts?

Leigh Walker and Mary Duran are running for Place 1.  Jill Popelka, Bac Nguyen and Jonathan Kirby are running for Place 2.  Anthony Hill, Ron Hansen and Pankaj Jain are running for Place 3.  So you can read the complete response from each candidate, we have placed their responses into their own page, and the links are below:

Leigh Walker’s Responses (Place 1)

Mary Duran’s Responses (Place 1)

Jill Popelka’s Responses (Place 2)

Bac Nguyen’s Responses (Place 2)

Jonathan Kirby’s Responses (Place 2)

Anthony Hill’s Responses (Place 3)

Ron Hansen’s Responses (Place 3)

Pankaj Jain’s Responses (Place 3)

Please note that Coppell Gifted Association does not support or endorse any candidate and offers these responses as a service to its members to help you make an informed decision on Election Day.  Regardless of who you support, please get out there and have your voice heard on May 7th.

Any grammatical or spelling errors within the candidates responses are their own – we’ve simply compiled their answers as submitted.

Voting Information:



Early Voting

April 25-May 3

Election Day – May 7 (Sat)

Early voting locations will be at Coppell Town Center, Vonita White Admin Building, Valley Ranch Public Library,  as well as other locations in Dallas County.  To see the complete list of early voting sites,  please click here.  On Election Day, you must vote in your precinct.  To find your precinct, visit the Dallas County Elections website.








Creative Writing Competition Continues…

April 5, 2016

As published in the Coppell Gazette, April 5, 2016:

The Coppell Gifted Association Creative Writing Competition is in its eighth year, and in that time it has seen a host of talented young writers, from grades 3-12, enter their work. The competition has been a tremendous encouragement to many aspiring authors, giving them a chance to get their work out there and even read selections aloud at the annual book release party.

“I started the competition in 2008. We were concerned that standardized testing and writing prompts had resulted in less emphasis on creative writing. We hoped that by creating a competition that celebrated these talented young authors, it would encourage them to continue to tell their stories and inspire them to find their voice,” said founder Elizabeth Chappell.

In the beginning, there were only three judges and two of them, Matt Bowden and Kim Smith, still remain, reading new bouts of entries every year. The competition has grown since 2008.

“I think we had a little over 100 entries — many of them hand written!  The original categories were Fiction, Non-Fiction, Graphic Novels, Poetry, Script and Fan Fiction,” Chappell said.

Over the years, the categories have shrunk to just two: Story and Poetry, and is only open to students in grades 4-12. But in every other way it has grown. This year they have received 677 entries and have 38 judges to read them.

“It is amazing to think of how many students have submitted their work over the years, and how many may have been inspired to continue writing,” Chappell said.

“I first submitted my work in the first year and continued to do so all the way until I graduated high school in 2013, winning several 1st place and honorable mentions along the way. It was a tremendous encouragement to me as a young writer still finding her footing,” Aimee Hyndman said.

This year, Hyndman is returning to the CGA Book Release Party but in a different way. This past September, her first book, HOUR OF MISCHIEF, a Young Adult Steampunk Fantasy novel was published by Curiosity Quills Press.

“While writing was always my passion, the CGA Creative Writing Competition gave me the confidence and practice I needed for when I eventually started submitting my work to agents and publishers,” Hyndman said.

“There is a tremendous amount of talent in this town and I know that some of these kids will be joining me someday soon as published authors. On that day, I’m sure they will look back as fondly on this opportunity as I did. We owe this competition, and especially Elizabeth Chappell, a lot,” Hyndman said.

If you would like to come to the book release party, stop by the CHS Commons on April 11 in the CHS Commons starting at 5:45 p.m. where there will be readings from the winners and from Hyndman’s book, as well as copies available for sale.

Creative Writing Competition 2015-16 Results

February 18, 2016

Congratulations to all of the passionate student writers who entered the 8th Annual CGA Creative Writing Competition! Over 45 judges have spent the last two months reviewing the story and poetry entries. We wholeheartedly thank the judges for their time, dedication and effort.


All pre-ordered Finalist Books will be distributed at the:

CGA Book Release Party

April 11, 2016

at CHS Commons

5:45p start

Books are available for pickup starting at 5:30p

  • 1st Place recipients will have the opportunity to read a brief (4 minute) excerpt of their winning story.
  • Honorable Mentions and 1st place winners will be called to the stage for recognition and photo opportunities.
  • Students who are published in the book may enter a drawing at the party for a GoPro Hero video camera. Must be present to win.
  • Guest speaker: Aimee Hyndman, CHS graduate and published author.

We will need your parent’s permission for your entry to be published in the book. They can go to

Click here to order books.