School Board Studies District-Wide Improvement Plans
Tuesday, October 17, the GISD School Board met for their regularly scheduled meeting in the board room at Groesbeck High School. The meeting was called to order at 6:35 pm and all board members were present.
Superintendent Dr. Harold Ramm began the meeting by recognizing National Principals Appreciation Month, and President Micah Morgan gave the principal of each GISD campus a certificate. The board expressed their gratitude and appreciation for the work done by the principals as the difficulty of the job increases with each passing year.
Dr. Ramm continued with district information, stating that student enrollment is about the same as last year, and with snapshot day coming up to determine UIL alignment, the district is on the bubble but will most likely remain a 3A district. Ramm also spoke on the legality of bussing students in from other districts (as GISD does with about seventy students from Marlin) by referring to other places and cases in the past. The Marlin Superintendent has reached out to Ramm and wants to establish an inter-local agreement for this year but will not be interested in continuing next year. The students enrolled from other towns bring in roughly $600,000 for the district, which will need to be kept in mind when working with the budget for next school year. Board member Bill David Sadler asked about test scores of the students from Marlin that are now enrolled at GISD, but faculty expressed that test scores are similar to those of local students.
Next, Maintenance Director Jackie Ancelet updated the board on masonry lentils that were removed at the high school. Craig Rossell removed the thirty bad lentils free of charge but the replacements will have to be made by hand. The work is considered maintenance so won’t require three bids moving forward and cost will be cheaper than expected since fewer lentils needed replacement than estimated originally. The playground at H.O.Whitehurst campus is being inspected, and the three and four year olds are no longer allowed to use the playground, as it has been deemed unsuitable for younger children. Principal LaDena King chimed in, saying that the school has ordered some Little Tykes equipment for the younger children. Morgan noted that with the lentil project now being projected cheaper than expected, some of the money dedicated to that work may be spent on the elementary playground should the bond pass. Investigations are being done that may save $400,000 of the $600.000 proposed for lentil work, but savings are not yet guaranteed. One set of security doors has been reinstalled at the middle school, but the district will wait to continue work until the bond election is over and the district can assess the financial state of funds with or without bond money.
Lisa McKinnon briefly reviewed the investment policy, as district investments are safe, simple, local and legal. When the new superintendent begins work for the district he or she will need to complete training, but that can be addressed at a future meeting. A motion passed unanimously to approve the investment policy.
Assistant Superintendent, Keri Thoele presented information about the campus and district improvement plans. The district will revamp RTI programs campus wide to focus on targeted intervention time with all students. Thoele and, Enge-Washington Principal, Beth Westoff wrote a grant for $100,000 that will primarily be used to pay teachers and other individuals to do after-school tutorials and additional education on Saturdays and in the summer. The plans for improvement are dynamic and easy to change so that goals within reach can be grasped. Intervention with students is a structured process on each campus; training has been completed by faculty and curriculum is in place to raise test scores. Students at Enge-Washington will keep a writing portfolio with a sample of writing from the beginning, middle and end of the year so teachers can actually see and work with progress for each student.
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