By Angela Jackman, Parents4LISD
The Lewisville ISD Board of Trustees met in their regular monthly meeting Monday night, February 10th, 2014. These are our unofficial notes of the proceedings. Official minutes are generally posted after the following month's meeting when they are approved by the board. Agendas and minutes are posted here. Meeting video can be found here.
1) Mrs. Chantell Upshaw will be the principal for the Marcus High School 9th Grade Center.
2) Barbara Brown (LISD Chief Technology Officer) received the Lifetime Achievement for the Advancement of Technology in Education award.
3) Dr. Penny Reddell reported on the Texas Academic Performance Report ("TAPR"). LISD compared favorably to the state and region averages in reading, math, science and social studies. ACT and SAT scores compare favorably and LISD's drop-out rate is low.
4) The Gallup Q12 Employee Engagement Report was presented. 78% of the staff responded; results reported that 45% of the staff was "fully engaged," 45% was "not engaged" and 10% was "actively disengaged." The student indexes showed that 54% were "hopeful," 33% felt "stuck" and 13% were "discouraged."
5) Lori Rapp addressed Instructional Materials Adoption. The district will adopt new math and science materials with funding from the Instructional Allotment Fund. The district will present teacher feedback in March.
6) The 2014-15 Financial Forecast reflects possible savings of $4 million in the current year. The 2014-15 budget will include $100 per student for technology funding. LISD spends over 65% on instruction, which is about 4% over the state average. LISD spends about 2.2% on administration, compared to the state average of 3.6%.
7) Students and teachers from DeLay Middle School presented Inquiry by Design as used by English / Language Arts for reading and writing.
8) Mr. Perry presented a construction update. Progress continues on the aquatic center and the two ninth grade centers. A topping out celebration is planned for Flower Mound 9th grade center for February 21.
9) The board approved a resolution regarding proposed electric regulatory changes.
10) The board approved an agreement with Serenity High.
11) The board called an election for Places 6 & 7, and joint election agreements with Denton and Tarrant counties.
12) The board also approved all items on the Consent Agenda, including appointing an Ombudsman.
(video time noted at the beginning of major topics)
(01:16:00) Mrs. Carol Kyer reconvened the meeting in open session.
(1:13) Personnel items as presented by the administration and discussed in closed session were unanimously approved. Mrs. Chantell Upshaw was unanimously approved as principal for the Marcus High School 9th Grade Center. The Athletic Coordinator Head Football Coach for Marcus High School will not be approved at this time.
(1:20) - Awards, Recognitions and Presentations:
(1:20:33) Dr. Waddell recognized Barbara Brown (LISD Chief Technology Officer), who received the Lifetime Achievement for the Advancement of Technology in Education award. LISD now has the largest network in Denton County.
(1:24) - Requests to address the board:
(1:24:44) Mr. Stephen Dubner, on behalf of the Lewisville Education Foundation Board, reported that the Foundation has 452 scholarships and seven teacher fellowships to award. They are sponsoring a golf tournament on April 7.
(1:26:16) Eileen Viglione, a parent, is not against technology, but is not in favor of issuing iPads to elementary age students and would like the district to reconsider students taking the devices home. She feels that the option to opt out isn't realistic. The iPads are often not used for homework at home. Technology addiction is a real issue, and some children are genetically predisposed to it. There have been breaches of the LISD filters, exposing students to inappropriate content, whether intentional or not. If the board is pushing to have iPads go home with the students, are they prepared to offer new curriculum about the dangers of pornography?
(1:29:15) Sondra Lewis, a parent and teacher, is concerned about technology used by students during passing time and during lunch. LISD recommendations for students include limiting screen time, especially time that limits socializing. Students are skipping breakfast, lunch and bathroom breaks in order to play on their devices. Ms. Lewis feels that eliminating using technology devices during passing periods and lunch would be a positive step to balance technology use in schools.
(1:32:05) Brian Webb offered support for the Serenity High School agreement on the agenda.
Public Hearing on the 2012-13 Texas Academic Performance Report
(1:34:05) 2012-13 Texas Academic Performance Report - Dr. Penny Reddell explained that the Academic Excellence Indicator System ("AEIS") report has been replaced by the Texas Academic Performance Report ("TAPR"). The new standards phase-in has been delayed one year. Dr. Reddell presented graphs showing LISD (aggregate and various groups) versus Texas overall and versus LISD's region in reading, math, social studies and science. LISD compared favorably. Last year 30% of LISD's students were economically advantaged, and this percent has increased. The STARR metrics also measure students' progress as compared to their scores previously, but this is a very complex measure. It is possible to meet the standard for performance, yet not show progress. LISD's writing progress was behind the state's average measure, and the district is working to address this. LISD's percent of graduates who go on to higher learning institutions exceeds the state and the region. LISD's annual drop-out rate is low. Average SAT And ACT scores for LISD compare very favorably to the state and region.
Mr. McDaniel asked for further clarification about the difference between "standards" and "progress." Dr. Waddell explained that under the previous system, some districts performed very well, but there was not a way to measure whether their showed growth. One of the problems with the new metric is the case of a student who performs very well on the test one year, because there is little room for further "progress" in the next year.
Mrs. Cox asked for clarification about which grades were receiving additional work with writing. Dr. Reddell explained it was for grades Pre-K through 12.
(1:57:00) Gallup Q12 Employee Engagement Report - Ms. West introduced Dr. Ryan Darby, a Gallup consultant, who presented an overview from a Gallup survey about employee engagement. The 2013 staff response rate was 78% for LISD. LISD is in the 46th percentile regarding staff engagement compared to other school districts. LISD had 45 % of staff who were "fully engaged," 45% who were "not engaged" and 10% who were "actively disengaged." Two areas of promise were employees' commitment to quality work, and opportunities to learn and grow. Two areas of opportunity were employees' progress, and knowing the district's expectations for its staff.
The student indexes showed that 54% were "hopeful," 33% felt "stuck" and 13% were "discouraged." Among students, 55% were "fully engaged," 28% were "not engaged" and 17% were "actively disengaged" in learning. With regard to student well-being, 55% are "thriving," 33% are "struggling" and 1% are "suffering."
Mrs. Cox asked how many students participated in the student poll. Fifth through 12th grades were polled, and about 25,000 participated.
Mrs. Cox asked who selected the questions, and was there an opportunity to give feedback versus only "check the box." It was solely a "check the box" survey; this ensures the most anonymity. Gallup designs the questions and has been working on this project for about 10 years. Dr. Shane Lopez is one of the lead designers of the questions for the student poll. Dr. Darby will address the board regarding this survey again March 17th.
(2:09:22) Instructional Materials Adoption - Lori Rapp pointed out some highlights. The SBOE issued Proclamation 2014 which provided for new instructional materials for Science and Math. A team of teachers has reviewed the materials. The funding will come from the Instructional Allotment Fund. The K-8 math teachers will be implementing new texts for the 2014-15 year. With regard to the timeline, the district started the review process in September 2013. Beginning in January, the district encouraged community feedback on the LISD website with regard to the instructional materials options. 25 people have responded. Next month the district plans to present teacher feedback, and the district hopes to be ready for a vote by the board in April.
(2:13:28) 2014-15 Financial Forecast - Dr. Burnett said that work on next year's budget has begun. The assumptions about growth and taxable values are included in the analysis. At this point, the planning rolls expenditure information forward. Dr. Burnett believes the district could possibly save $4 million in the 2013-14 budget. Next year's budget includes an allocation of $100 per student for technology.
LISD spends over 65% on instruction, which is about 4% over the state average. LISD spends about 2.2% on administration, compared to the state average of 3.6%.
"Instruction-related" includes teachers and aides in the classroom, library and media services, and staff development.
Dr. Burnett noted that a budget workshop is scheduled later this spring.
(2:19:15) Budget Amendments - Dr. Burnett presented information items regarding two budget amendments. LISD budgeted the Camey Elementary construction assuming that Food Service would pick up the cost of kitchen equipment, which is about $450,000. The second item is a reallocation because instructional supplies for the 9th grade campuses were double-budgeted.
(2:20:16) Management Fees Under Certain Cooperative Purchasing Contracts - Dr. Burnett explained that there are statutory requirements to periodically present management fees for coops. The fees pay for the cost of running the coops. No further action is needed on this item.
(2:21:00) Summer Hours for 2014 - Dr. Burnett presented the schedule that the district will be using for the summer.
(2:21:23) Inquiry by Design Presentation - Dr. Haynes presented Dr. Brockman to give an overview of the academic update report. Mr. Eric Simpson brought some middle school students from DeLay who showcased "Inquiry by Design" in English/ Language Arts ("ELA"). Holly Reynolds and Lisa Fletcher, two teachers at DeLay, presented videos of students learning through Inquiry by Design. The process strives to create a culture that supports reading and writing in the classroom. The students have time for Silent Sustained Reading("SSR"). The students maintain a Writer's Notebook that fosters creativity and reflection. The process works to create flexibility and rigor in ELA.
Mrs. Cox asked how the process has been different this year. The teachers feel like it's a change in culture. The students read daily during SSR. They periodically write letters to the teachers about what they are reading and their reflections about the book.
Mrs. Vaughn complimented the students who participated in the presentation.
Mrs. Latham hopes that the students will share their story with others in the community.
Mrs. Cox asked if there was a cooperative effort with the library to work with students to encourage reading. A teacher explained that the librarian gave the students a chance to select a "blind date" - to choose a book that was wrapped and not visible. They then had a chance to begin reading the book, then select a new one if it wasn't going well with their first choice.
Mrs. Cox complimented Mr. Simpson for his work in the district.
(2:40:40) Financial Reports - Dr. Burnett presented reports for year-to-date through December 31, 2013.
(2:41:21) Construction Update - Mr. Michael Perry introduced Mr. Mel Rasmussen who reported on the progress on the 9th grade campuses. They anticipate a topping out celebration for Flower Mound on February 21st. The work is going well at both campuses.
Mr. Perry reported that they continue to make progress on the aquatic center. Camey construction is well under way. They have started demolition at Griffin.
Mr. McDaniel asked what would protect tennis students from errant balls at Flower Mound. Additional poles and netting have been installed.
(2:44:45) Electricity Regulatory Changes - A resolution was adopted regarding proposed regulatory changes in the electricity market. Mrs. Latham, Mrs. Cox, Mrs. Vaughn, Mrs. Kyer, Ms. Duke and Mrs. Sheffield voted in favor of the resolution; Mr. McDaniel opposed.
(2:45:17) Serenity High School Agreement - The Board unanimously approved entering into an agreement with Serenity High School for students coming out of drug and alcohol treatment programs.
(2:45:40) Call for Order of Election for Places 6 & 7 - The Board unanimously approved the motion.
(2:46:15) Joint Election Agreement and Contract for Election Services for Denton County - Mrs. Latham had a question because the cost amount in the contract was left blank. Dr. Burnett explained that Denton County will not know the final projected expenditures for the election will be until they determine which entities are participating in the election. Dr. Burnett estimates that the cost to LISD will be about $35,000.
The Board unanimously approved the motion.
( 2:48:10) Joint Election Agreement and Contract for Election Services for Tarrant County - The Board unanimously approved the motion.
(2:48:38) Consent Agenda: Mr. McDaniel pulled 2.d.8. The other items on the consent agenda were approved unanimously.
(2:49:33) Consent Agenda item 2.d.8 (Contracted Services for Human Resources Administrative Duties and Ombudsman Services):
Mr. McDaniel wanted to understand why the district needed to hire a contract person at this point.
Ms. West said this director position was vacated by Pat Barges last August. They chose to wait to see what new systems could provide before deciding what position should be filled. The district feels it needs an Ombudsman position to address employee complaints and to help struggling teachers. Lisa Rayburn, the proposed appointee, is a retired administrator who has helped the district with interviewing teachers and has worked with teachers, principals and administrators.
Mrs. Latham asked why the district waited so long to try to fill this position. Ms. West replied that the district wanted to consider their needs and options that new technology provided before deciding what position to fill.
Mr. McDaniel is concerned about bringing in someone new for a temporary position, then hiring someone else in July / August. He doesn't see the value of additional expense and training for just six months. He is concerned about the risk of mistakes while the temporary person is learning.
Ms. West replied that any difficult situations would involve consultations, and would likely have two people present. Ms. West doesn't feel like a lot of training would be required. Lisa Rayburn has 30 years of experience.
Mrs. Cox asked if anyone was in the Ombudsman position now. Nobody is.
The motion passed with Mrs. Latham, Mrs. Cox, Mrs. Vaughn, Mrs. Kyer, Ms. Duke and Mrs. Sheffield voting in favor; Mr. McDaniel opposed the motion.
(2:56:10) The board convened into closed session for a student discipline appeal.
(3:38) The board reconvened into open session. There was no motion regarding the student discipline appeal, so the item died. The meeting was adjourned.