Sunday, March 18, 2018

Beginning a School Time Capsule Project

A School Time Capsule Project can be started within a few weeks in any school serving grades from 3 through 12. It only requires a principal and staff who want to see over 80% of the parents of their students actively involved. They become involved by writing letters to their child both recording their dreams for their students and writing family history stories they want their child to pass on to grandchildren someday.


Two annual writing projects in Language Arts Class achieve these goals. The first is a letter written by students to their parents and other important adults in their life.  That letter asks for a letter back to the student answering two questions of the adult: 1) "What are your dreams for me?" and 2) "Will you write me a story from your history that you want me to pass on to my children someday?"

About two weeks after that first letter, when most students will have received and studied the letters received back from all the people they wrote to, the second writing project happens.  It involves the students writing a letter to themselves about their own futures.

All these letters are then placed into one self-addressed envelope for each student.  These envelopes are then placed into the School Time Capsule, usually a 500 to 700-pound vault located in a central location in the school lobby.

Before these writing projects each year students and parents are given back the letters they wrote the year before. Children change a lot in one year. The quality of the letters almost always improves year to year.  It is good for both parents and students to see those changes reflected in their letters.

The only big change in the annual letter writing is in the 8th and 12th grades when students, and everyone writing to them, write letters planning dreams for a decade into the future.  These are the letters that remain in the vault for a decade.  At their class 10-year reunion these letters are returned.


We are now planning the 4th such reunion at Quintanilla Middle School which, after 14 years of the School Time Capsule Project, is one of the highest performing middle schools of all 33 DISD middle schools. 

The reunions are always planned a week or more before Career Day so that the returning former students can volunteer to speak that day with current students about their lives after middle school and how they chose their professions.

As students become more future-focused they also become more well-motivated. Behavior problems decrease. The School Effectiveness Indices (SEI) scores for all schools with active Time Capsule Projects have risen this past decade to be among the highest in all of Dallas ISD.  See more details about progress in Time Capsule Project Schools in this report filed last November: http://schoolarchiveproject.blogspot.com/2017/11/school-time-capsule-project-update-11-6.html

To begin this project you must simply schedule the two writing projects for all students in all grades. Plans to secure a vault must be made, but you do not need the vault to begin. It only needs to be secured before the next school year. A 43 cubic 700-pound vault is now recommended, but if your school has classes closer to only 100 students each, a smaller vault will be adequate.  We are currently ordering the 700-pound 43 cubic vault from Costco.com that sells for $900, online at https://www.costco.com/Cannon-43.8-Cu-Ft-Executive-Series-Safe%2c-60-min-Fire-Protection.product.100341405.html  Smaller vaults are available but this vault gives potential for growth in the amount of materiel students can store in their letters. Larger envelopes can be used to allow all the letters to be collected for storage until the 10-year reunion.

Below are examples of directions recommended for students for the writing of that first letter to their parents, and other adults in their lives such as grandparents.  They were written using  https://readable.io/text/ so that they are written for three different reading levels.

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Directions for 3rd through 5th grade students for the first Time Capsule Project writing lesson:

What are your dreams for me?  
Time Capsule Project Letter Student Directions
Elementary School  3-8-18

Write a letter to each of the most important adults in your life. Write to your parents, grandparents, other relatives, or even school staff.    

Ask them to write you a letter telling their dreams for you.

Ask them to write one story from your family’s history. It can be a story they want you to someday tell your own children. 

Your parents and/or relatives will finish their letter. Read it with them. Ask them questions so you can best understand their letter. 

Bring the letters you have received to school. Bring them on the day your teacher says you will write a letter to yourself. In this letter write your dreams for your own future.

Place all these letters into one envelope. Put your name and home address on the envelope.

Your envelope will return to you in one year.


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Directions for 6th  through 8th grade students for the first Time Capsule Project writing lesson:

What are your dreams for me?  
Directions for the first Time Capsule Project letter
Middle School 3-8-18
Write a letter to each of the most important adults in your life. Write to your parents, grandparents, guardians or other relatives. You may even write to school staff you may be close to.  Write to adults from whom you would like a letter describing their dreams for you.  

You may write your letter in any language.

You will write such letters each year.  You change a lot in one year.  You will write letters to the adults observing your changes.  They will describe how their dreams for you have changed as you change.

Ask them to each write one story from your family’s history. It can be a story about themselves or any relative.  It should be a story they consider valuable. It should be a story they want you to pass on to your children someday.  

When your parents and/or relatives finish their letter, read it at home with them. Ask them questions so you understand it.  The goal is for you to understand the letter.

Bring all the letters you have received to your Language Arts Class. Do this on the day planned to write a letter to yourself. On that day your teacher will give you an envelope. It will hold all the letters you have received. Place your name and address on this envelope. You will then write a letter to yourself about your own plans for the future.

You will also place the letter you write into this self-addressed envelope.  You will place that envelope into the School Time-Capsule.  This will happen each year until you graduate.

Every year you will receive back this envelope with your letters. The only differences will be in the 8th and 12th grade. Those years you will write letters planning your life 10-years into the future.  Those same years the relatives writing to you will also describe their dreams for you 10-years into the future. These 10-year letters will remain inside the school time capsule for 10 years.

In 10 years your class will have a 10-year reunion. At that reunion you will receive these envelopes back. School staff will invite you to speak with the then current students in your former middle school.  You will give your recommendations for success to them. You will describe life after middle school.


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Directions for 9th through 12th grade students for the first Time Capsule Project writing lesson:

What are your dreams for me?  
Directions for the first Time Capsule Project letter
High School Students 3-8-18
Write a letter to each of the most important adults in your life. Write to your parents, grandparents, guardians or other relatives. You may also write to school staff you may be close to.  Write to adults from whom you would like a letter describing their dreams for you.  

You may write your letters in any language.

You will be writing such letters each year.  You change a lot in a year.  You will write letters to the adults observing your changes.  They will describe how their dreams for you have changed as you change.

Ask them to each include one story from your family’s history in their letter. It can be a story about themselves or any relative.  It should be a story they consider valuable. It should be a story they want you to pass on to your children someday.  

When your parents and/or relatives finish their letter, read it with them. Ask them questions so you understand it.  The goal is for you to understand the letter.

Bring all the letters you have received to your Language Arts Class. Do this on the day planned to write a letter to yourself. On that day your teacher will give you an envelope. It will hold all the letters you have received. Place your name and address on this envelope. You will then write a letter to yourself about your own plans for the future.

You will also place the letter you write into your self-addressed envelope.  You will place that envelope into the School Time-Capsule.  This will happen each year until you graduate.

Every year you will receive back this envelope with your letters. The only differences will be in the 12th grade. That year you will write a letter planning your life 10-years into the future.  Your senior year the relatives writing to you will also describe their dreams for you 10-years into the future. Your senior year letters will remain inside the school time capsule for 10 years.

In 10 years your class will have your first 10-year class reunion. At that reunion you will receive these envelopes back. School staff will invite you to speak with the then current students in your former high school.  You will give your recommendations for success to them. You will describe life after high school.  You will give the recommendations you wish you had received. You can also talk about the recommendations you did receive and now regret not having followed.

But for now, plan the future you want and describe how you will achieve it.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Costco sale on 43-cubic ft vault continued till 12-31-17!

I found out yesterday that the $775 sale saving $125 on the 43-cubic ft vault has been extended until 12-31-17!  For those of us working as volunteers on the Time Capsule Project, this is news to spread!

This is the new vault delivered to C. F. Carr Elementary School:

This is the new vault at Carter High School.  Both vaults remain on the pallet so they can be easily moved if another location is decided on for them in the school.  Due to planned remodeling at Carter such moves are certain. Then they will be taken off the pallet in the permanent location.


Monday, December 18, 2017

What are your dreams for me? Tell me a story from your history. Students letter to parents.

Suggestions to students:

Write a letter to your parents, and/or other adults, asking them to write a letter back to you about their dreams for you, and a story from their history.

(Term “parent” below includes important adults you would like a letter from: aunts, uncles, grandparents, any adult who is special in your life.)

First, select the people to whom you would like to write a letter.  They should be the most important adults in your life, each of your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, pastor, teachers, anyone to which you would like to write a letter asking them to write back to you answering your question: “What are your dreams for me?” The number of letters is your decision, but at least one. You can send letters to relatives who do not live with you or who even live in other countries.  It is certain they would love to get your letters.

Second, write separate letters to each adult in the above list, i.e. one for your dad and one for you mom. Your letter to them, and their letters back to you, can be in any language that you understand, or that you can have translated for you. 

Third, ask them to also write one story from their family or community history into their letter to you. That is why you write separate letters to each adult.  They all have different histories to share with you. It should be a story from their history that is also your history, stories they would like you to someday tell your children. These can include stories from your community history and events. This is also why you want to include older members of your family, people with more history from your family.

Find the street addresses of the people you want to write to you and bring that information back to class for the envelopes if they do not live with you.

Such letters will be written each year to request another letter from parents and/or others. You change a lot in one year.  The goal is for parents and the other adults to observe your changes and write about how their own dreams for you as they also are changing.  They are probably gaining more detail each year as you grow.

The stories written about can be about the person writing the letter, or grandparents, or aunts or uncles, a valuable family story that they want passed on to your children someday. These letters will help you gather a collection of valuable family stories by the time you graduate.

When any parents, or other letter writer, is finished with their letter and gives it back to you, immediately read it. Ask the person who wrote the letter any questions you may have about the letter. You must clearly understand it.  The goal is clear communication. Priceless conversations can happen at this time. You are encouraged to ask questions. Be certain to say thank you.

After these letters are collected and brought to school, the next step in this process will be when you write a letter to yourself about your goals for life.


Sunday, December 10, 2017

Suggestions for Christmas letter writing, encouraging priceless family talks!

Time Capsule Project schools are encouraged to have the following writing assignment before Christmas break, but any school can do this without a time capsule as well.  See the wonderful gains by Time Capsule Project schools, due partly to such letters, described below in the posting dated 11-6-2017.  Browne Middle School went from the danger of a 5th year as IR in 2016/17, to meeting standards with 4 distinctions instead! All students wrote such letters home for the first time! Letters like this help to change school climate toward being more goal-focused and grounded in personal family history.

Students will bring home these letters that they write in class to deliver to the people they are intended for.  Such letters by students have led to as many as 80% of recipients writing potentially priceless letters back to the student. As students read these letters and ask questions it could lead to some priceless family conversations, especially over Christmas break, conversations about dreams, goals, and family history. It will help fill the gap with their own culture too many of our students suffer from. It will help ease the multi-cultural blending we are all part of.

A more sound foundation for academic achievement is built.

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Suggestions - Time Capsule Project First Letter(s),
to each parent and/or other important relatives
(Term “parent” includes all important relatives student would like a letter from.)

This is a description of the letter writing process that is the first step in each year’s Time Capsule Project letter writing. 

First, any older letters students may have written in previous years that are in the school’s time capsule are returned to students.  They must be read and studied again by students who wrote them, and by each of the parents who wrote letters last year.  This is in preparation for the current year’s letter writing process.

Have students write a persuasive letter to each parent. Students will be asking for each parent to give their response to the question: “What are your dreams for me?”.  Students will ask for as many details as the person writing is comfortable with. Students also ask for each parent to write one story from their family history, or community history, that parents want the student to remember.  They consider it valuable enough that they want the student to pass it on to their own children someday.

As students consider to whom they will send such letters, they should think of older family members who have a longer history and possibly more stories of interest that they may write about. All letters can be written in any language both student and writer understand, or that the student can have translated.

Such letters will be written each year to request another letter from parents and/or others.  Every student changes a lot in one year.  The goal is for parents and the other adults to observe those changes and write about how their own dreams for the student are changing and gaining more detail each year as the student grows.

The stories written about can be about the letter writer, or about grandparents, or aunts or uncles, a valuable family story that they want passed on to the students’ children someday. These letters will help students gather a collection of valuable family history stories by the time they graduate.
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When parents are finished with their letter and give them to the student, the student should immediately read them. The student should ask the person who wrote the letter any questions they may have about the letter.  They must clearly understand it.  The goal is clear communication. Potentially priceless conversations happen in the process during such conversations.

This letter will go into the self-addressed envelopes along with all the letters received from parents and other adults. This will be repeated each year.

In the 8th and 12th grade all letters written will be focused 10-years into the future.  What do students hope they will be doing and how will they get there? These are goals 10-years into the future.  The final 8th grade and 12th grade letters, and letters parents and others have written about their dreams for students 10 years into the future, will all remain inside the student’s self-addressed envelope and inside the vault for 10 years.

Emphasize that life plans almost always change.  The goal is to develop the ability to change, with education providing many more choices to be available during any change.       
12-10-17 Bill Betzen, bbetzen@aol.com

Monday, November 6, 2017

School Time Capsule Project Update 11-10-17

The School Time Capsule Project exists to motivate students toward the highest achievement possible.  That achievement is driven by students who know where they came from, their roots, and where they are going, their plans. Students and parents must discuss as much as possible the history they share. With that foundation students focus more completely on their own goals by constantly updating them. Such grounded student motivation is the mission of the School Time Capsule Project.

After 14 years of improvements due to constant input, one of the 6 active Time Capsule Project middle schools have had the highest annual School Effectiveness Indices (SEI) score of all 33 Dallas ISD middle schools for three of the past 4 years!  This past year that number one school had been in danger of being a fifth year IR, failing, school.  Instead, with full, all grade, involvement in the Time Capsule Project, and most parents writing letters to their child, the school not only met standards but achieved 4 distinctions, and their School Effectiveness Indices went from only 47 to 61, the greatest one year increase in a DISD Middle School in 8 years, and the highest SEI among all 33 middle schools!

On 10-19-17, when the most recent SEI data was released, it was also discovered that four of the five DISD middle schools with the highest SEI's this past year were Time Capsule Project Schools!  (The School Effectiveness Indices (SEI) is a DISD measurement of school performance that has been used 20+ years to measure performance in each DISD school every year.) 

It must be emphasized that there are only 6 active Time Capsule Project middle schools among the 33 DISD middle schools, and four of them are among the highest 5 middle school SEI scores in all of DISD.  There are two additional inactive Time Capsule Project schools which have no letters written in recent years.  They are not counted as "active" and all have SEI scores below the 6 schools counted as active. 

See page 2 of the 2016-17 Summary List at https://mydata.dallasisd.org/SL/SD/SEI/Default.jsp for the middle school listings which are repeated in the chart below. Notice below that the 'worst' SEI for an active Time Capsule Project school still places them better-than-average as 13th best among 33 middle schools. 
Dallas ISD Middle Schools in order by 2017 School Effectiveness Indices Scores

The Time Capsule Project is expanding this year to 14 more schools, including elementary schools for the first time. From third grade through 12th grade there will be two annual lessons:

1.   Students write a persuasive letter to their parents, and/or other relatives, asking for them to write a letter back. Students ask for two things in these letters: "What are your dreams for me?" and "Please write one story from your personal family history that you want me to pass on to my children someday." Over 80% of families respond and write potentially priceless letters.  Students then talk with anyone they asked to write a letter about what they have written. Students must be certain they understand the letter. Such conversations can be priceless, reinforcing family relationships.

2.   The resulting letters from lesson 1, or copies if the family wants to keep the originals, are brought back to Language Arts Class where each student prepares one self-addressed envelope to hold them. Then the student writes their second letter, this time to themselves about their own goals and dreams. All letters then go into that self-addressed envelope for each student. These envelopes go inside a 500-pound, or larger, School Time Capsule Vault in the school lobby. (Vaults can come from COSTCO for $500 to $800. For less than $100 the needed 10 shelves can be purchased and installed by volunteers.)

The previous year’s letters are always studied by students before the next letter-writing actions. In 8th and 12th grades all letters are written focusing on goals 10 years into the future. Students know they will be invited back for a 10-year reunion to pick up their envelopes, usually scheduled just before Career Day. At that reunion they will be asked to return and speak on Career Day with then current students about their recommendations for success, their profession, and life after 8th or 12th grade.

The fourth such 10-year reunion will happen this year at Quintanilla, the first Time Capsule Project School. It is still a 95% high-poverty school, but Dr. Hinojosa, DISD Superintendent, last summer named Quintanilla as the best middle school, the model middle school inside DISD.

The newest recommendation is, when possible, that a school secure the large 43-cubic-foot vault below, now on sale at Costco for $775. With such a large vault every student can be given a large 9"x11" envelope to use in storing their envelopes every year in the vault.  Each year students can read what they have written before as they plan that years letter.  Ultimately the school can leave all letters in the vault for the 10 years.  Fewer letters will be lost. The 10-year reunion will become more significant, especially with letters from parents and other relatives each year.

Quintanilla has had SEI scores among the top 20% of DISD middle schools every year for the past 4 years. Such progress will now happen much more rapidly in new Time Capsule Project Schools due to improvements outlined above. It will not take a decade!

One or more volunteers are needed to function as Time Capsule Masters at each school to help manage the Time Capsule Project.  They sort and help teachers return each year the letters from the previous year by each student.  Once the 10-year reunions begin, these volunteers help manage the reunions. This is exceptionally rewarding volunteer work. I have done it for over a decade, one of many volunteers with many wonderful stories to tell from the Project. We need more volunteers, at least one at each school.

Last year Browne had all students in all grades write letters as described above. Parents responded wonderfully! The photo below shows today’s Browne Time Capsule with the results:

Notice that the shelf for this year’s 8th grade class, 2018, as well as next year’s 8th grade class, 2019, are already filled with letters. These are the letters written last year by then 6th and 7th graders.  They will be returned to those students, and read, before this year’s letter writing. By the end of this year new letters will fill these shelves. The only difference will be that shelf “2018” will hold letters about dreams and plans for 2028. Those letters stay on that shelf until 2028.  

It is recommended 6th and 7th grade classes write letters at the beginning of the year to have the greatest effect on achievement that year. It is best 8th graders wait until the end of their 8th grade year to be able to reflect on more of their middle school experience as they write their letters planning 10-years into the future. Such future-focus by all students was one of many factors that helped Browne achieve the highest SEI scores of any of the 33 middle schools in DISD for 2016/17.  

The year these letters were written by all Brown students the SEI for Browne went up 14.2 points in just one year to being the highest SEI score for any DISD middle school!  Browne went from 5th year IR to not only meeting standards but also achieving 4 distinctions!  See https://www.dallasisd.org/Domain/621 

A School Time Capsule Project only works in a school that is already a high functioning school under solid leadership. Once you have that, and add to it the grounding in family history and planning for the future reinforced by the Time Capsule Project, you have even greater achievement due to stronger student motivation. Positive student behaviors increase!  

School Time Capsule Vaults should be located in the highest student traffic area of a school, usually the lobby, to remind students daily of their parents’ letters, and their own plans.
For more details on this open-sourced, low budget, volunteer-based project, see http://www.StudentMotivation.org, and the attached blog. Please share.

If you want to help another Dallas ISD school purchase a vault to start their Time Capsule Project, please send donations to: Time Capsule Project, c/o Lulac National Education Service Center, 345 S. Edgefield Ave., Dallas, Texas 75208. If you want to help a specific school, talk with that principal to see if they are willing to start a Time Capsule Project, and then specify which school you want your money used for.

You also may just buy a vault and bring it to the school, and help install the needed 10 shelves inside the vault.  This is a very flexible system!  Help your local schools!  Below is one large vault on sale until 12-31-17 for $775 from Costco, a large 770-pound 43 cu. ft. vault.


Any school can start a Time Capsule Project on their own with any modifications they may want.  We only ask that if you come up with what is considered a very successful improvement, that you share the details with us so more students can benefit.  The students are the only reason for this project.

Finally, this is year old data that is still correct if you looks at the DISD Data Portal enrollment for today: Sunset High School has the largest senior class relative to freshman class size of any of the 22 non-magnet high schools in DISD.  This chart was made a year ago, October of 2016, but shows how Sunset is the best at keeping student to graduation.
Sunset stands out for many reasons due to Mr. Tony Tovar who turned it around during his 7 years as principal, and due to the wonderful staff who remain at Sunset.  It also stands out due to the future-focus, one grounded in family history, that these students begin in the middle schools feeding into Sunset: Rosemont, Quintanilla and Greiner who all have active Time Capsule Projects.  Then the same focus continues with the Time Capsule Project at Sunset.


Friday, September 22, 2017

Government Response to 4-21-15 Supplantation Complaint against Dallas ISD.


Here is the 9 page 9-22-17 letter from the U.S. Department of Education, Office For Civil Rights, that closed the 2 year 5 month old complaint filed 4-21-15 by 15 DISD parents, and residents. Find a summary of the complaint at http://schoolarchiveproject.blogspot.com/2015/06/title-vi-complaint-against-disd.html.


During these 2 years and 5 months over 300 pages were given to the government documenting these allegations. There were several in-person interviews.  This is the response.  It closes the case by giving technical grounds for not doing an investigation into each one of the 15 allegations identified. It does not invalidate a single one of the 15 allegations.  Comments are welcome: bbetzen@aol.com .

Mike Miles, the superintendent during the 3 years this situation was created, resigned 6-23-15.  That was 3 weeks after a comprehensive report on the evening news about these allegations. If that resignation had not happened, the continued fighting of this case would have been necessary.  The degree of the supplantation has definitely lessened in DISD since that resignation. Work still continues to document the extent to which it may continue, and to determine how widespread it is throughout Texas, and in other states.  (See the creation of the School Equity Spreadsheet.)

Few things destroy racial equity more than the hidden, ongoing supplantation of need-based federal funds. 













Sunday, January 22, 2017

What are your dreams for me?

A parent’s dreams for their child drive school achievement.
(This was also written up in the Dallas Morning News in October 2016 at https://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/commentary/2016/10/03/letter-writing-campaign-boosted-quintanilla-middle-schools-scores)
Due to ongoing improvements in student achievement in schools with active Time Capsule Projects, Dallas ISD is preparing to place the two letter writing lessons from the Time Capsule Project into the DISD Language Arts curriculum.  Beginning in the 3rd grade, and then annually through the 12th grade, all students will have these two connected letter writing lessons each year. A 10-year Time Capsule component may be seen as an additional alternative.

With these two lessons added to the writing curriculum, hopefully a core of volunteers will form at each school to help in the writing and collection of letters from students, and then the storing and returning of them to students a year later.  This will happen for all students except, of course, the students no longer at the school, the students who went on to middle school or high school the previous year. Those final year letters are not returned for a decade.  They must be stored for the reunions that volunteers help plan and coordinate in 10 years.  


This is exceptionally rewarding volunteer work! Observing students begin to become serious about planning their futures, and then the reunions, are all powerfully positive events. Volunteers see progress happen, and students who are proud of achievements.

The letter writing instructions change for students in their final year in their school before leaving for the next school in their educational process.  The letters written the last year in a school are written with plans and dreams focused 10 years into the future.  These final envelopes remain in the school time capsule vault, or are otherwise stored, for a decade, until the class 10-year reunion.  It is recommended the final letters be written during the last month in the school year. These letters will be documenting plans as they existed at the end of this time in the child's education in that elementary school, or middle school, or high school. 

Needless to say the complexity and quality of the letters will grow from year to year.

The first letter writing assignments are recommended for the start of each school year in all grades except the final grade in each school.  That final 10-year letter should be written toward the end of the school year.

The letter writing process starts with students writing one or more letters to their parents, and/or other important people in their lives. They write this letter to ask for a letter back about that person's dreams for them.  This "What are your dreams for me?" letter also requests one story from their family or cultural history to be included in the letter. It is a story that the person writing the letter considers so valuable they would like that story to be passed on someday to the student's children.

Such a story would strengthen a child's awareness of their own heritage, their roots, and their community history.  These letters will provide priceless connections, priceless records of family stories.  A different story should be told each year.


A note from the school is attached to each student’s letter written.  The note will reinforce details about the letter writing assignment. It recommends everyone writing a letter go over it with the student before the student brings the letter back to school. Priceless conversations will happen.
Back at school with the letter(s), the first thing students do is prepare a self-addressed envelope for all these letters.  The return address on the envelope should include their teacher's name, the date, and the school's return address. It will be addressed to them at their home address with email address and cell phone number also recorded on the envelope.

Students then write a letter to themselves about their goals and how they will achieve them.  This student letter may include other stories students want to remember. When finished, each student places their letter, and all their other letters from parents, relatives and others, into the self-addressed envelope they prepared. This completed envelope is then placed into the school’s time capsule, on the shelf dedicated to each student's class, or it is otherwise stored by the school.
Each year the previous year’s envelope is returned to each student before the next letter writing process. In their next request letter to each relative students include the letter written by that relative the year before. The year-old letters are read before new ones are written to update dreams and plans, and to see what was being thought about a year earlier. How has the writer of the letter seen the student change?  

Students may want to reclaim these older letters to have a file of them at home that will grow over the years.  It is a growing process. 

Students are reminded of it often if they are in a school with a 500-pound Time Capsule Vault bolted to the floor in the school lobby that they pass daily. They see the vault and maybe they are reminded of the letters that are in it from their family. Hopefully the vault is even under spotlights to increase visibility and reinforce the value of planning for the future.
This year will be the third 10-year reunion at Quintanilla Middle School. It will be in April or May of 2017 for the 8th grade class of 2007. It’s scheduled before Career Day to secure volunteers for Career Day from the students coming to the reunion to pick up their decade old letters. 

On Career Day 2017, these volunteers from the Class of 2007 will talk to current students about life after middle school, their employment and preparation for it, and what they would do differently if they were 12 again.
Such annual goal-focused letter writing is now moving into the elementary grades in several DISD elementary schools. Writing this letter to parents and other adults prepares a student to be more open to what they will receive back in the letters they will receive.  
It is never too early for a child to discuss their life plans with parents and others. 

As the years pass, with this letter writing between parent and child happening, the potential for parental involvement in school will grow.  Parents will improve in their understanding of what is happening in school. Their understanding of goals possible with education will improve. They will be more comfortable asking questions.

The School Effectiveness Indices for the involved schools will continue to rise, especially above schools with a less active Time Capsule Projects.   See some of the data and history of this project as it improved over the years. See http://schoolarchiveproject.blogspot.com/2016/10/dallas-isd-time-capsule-project_28.html

1-22-17 Bill Betzen, bbetzen@aol.com