Board Briefs
News from the Spring Branch ISD Board of Trustees

Summary of Meeting

Board Briefs - Oct. 28, 2013

Board of Trustees Regular Meeting Agenda

The Spring Branch ISD Board of Trustees recognized 36 high school seniors, including 18 National Merit Scholarship Program Semifinalists and 17 finalists in the National Hispanic Recognition Program, during its recent October monthly meeting.

Trustees also honored district employees and community volunteers, and a public hearing was held on SBISD’s extraordinary performance on the 2013 School Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST). For the 11th consecutive year, SBISD has been awarded the highest possible rating of Superior Achievement after earning the highest score possible under the state’s FIRST financial rating system.

Special Presentations

Employee & Volunteer of the Month

SBISD Trustees recognized three incredibly dedicated employees, Memorial High School Head Athletic Trainer Rochelle Abrams, Athletic Director/Head Football Coach Gary Koch and SBISD Police Officer Mike Hanks as October Employees of the Month. On August 29, Athletic Trainer Abrams, Coach Koch and Officer Hanks provided immediate assistance to a football official who collapsed on the field at Grob Stadium. The official needed cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and an automated external defibrillator (AED), as well as medical treatment at Memorial City Memorial-Hermann Hospital. Their immediate support is credited with saving the official’s life.

“I cannot adequately express how proud I am of Rochelle, Gary Koch, Mike Hanks and others who provided support except to say that should I find myself in a position where I needed medical attention, I would thank my lucky stars should they be in the vicinity,” states Paige Hershey, SBISD Executive Director of Athletics.

October’s Volunteers of the Month are Chuck Torres, Patrick Campbell and Richard Yuill. The three men were matched with Spring Woods Middle School sixth-graders through the SBISD SpringBoard Mentoring Program in 2006. This past May, they witnessed the graduation of their three mentees from Spring Woods High School. This fall, all three men recommitted to mentoring new middle and high school students.

They’ve also been “program champions” at AMEC, a local oil and gas engineering and project management company. “These three men exemplify what it means to be a caring and devoted volunteer in our district. Their efforts in helping students achieve success directly support SBISD’s T-2-4 goal,” their nomination states.

National Merit and Related Honors

Earlier this fall, 36 SBISD high school seniors were named among the nation’s best and brightest. Eighteen students from three high schools – Memorial, Spring Woods and Stratford high schools – were honored as National Merit Scholarship Program Semifinalists during the Board meeting.

This year’s Memorial High students named as National Merit Semifinalists are Kendra Andersen, Brenna Black, George Chen, Yae Jee Hong, Grant Kirchhofer, Nam Hoon Lee, Rajat Mehndiratta, Matthew Nguyen, Mary Margaret Rotan, Stephen Snow, Jonnathan Sullins and Wan Seo Park.

At Spring Woods High, this year’s National Merit Semifinalist is Nicolas Turnbough. Stratford High National Merit Semifinalists are Nathaniel Barbour, John Ryan Hormell, Katherine Kennedy, Hannah Lindsey and Reason Russell.

Students become eligible for the national scholarship program when they take the PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test as juniors. Semifinalists represent less than 1 percent of the high school graduating class in Texas and rank as the nation’s highest scoring elite. These students will now compete for National Merit Finalist awards, which will be announced in spring 2014. More than 16,000 students nationwide have been named Semifinalists.

Seventeen SBISD students were named finalists in the annual National Hispanic Recognition program. These students, also known as National Hispanic Scholars, include Memorial High’s Briana Burns, Benjamin de Alvarez, Marcus De Ayala, Anna Economos, David Hartmann, Romelia Herrera Valle and Vitoria Moreno-Costa. At Spring Woods High, Christian Rice is a finalist.

At Stratford High, finalists are Abril Brugo, Leila Wahab, Axel Gracia, Hernan Cepeda, Abigail Brown, Diana Ruiz and Emily Crawford. Westchester Academy for International Studies has two finalists in this category. They are Adam Kassir and Jabob Saenz.

To earn this highly regarded recognition, students must be at least one-quarter of Hispanic/Latino descent, attain a high performance level on the PSAT, and have a GPA of 3.0 or higher at the end of their junior year. About 5,000 students nationally earn this recognition.

One senior was named a National Achievement Scholar. He is Nathaniel Barbour of Stratford High. The National Achievement Scholarship Program recognizes academically talented African-American students. About 1,600 semifinalists in this category were named nationally. They will compete for 800 scholarship awards worth more than $2.5 million that will be issued in the spring, according to the program.

No Place for Hate Designation

For a third time in recent years, staff members employed in the Wayne F. Schaper, Sr. Leadership Center, formerly known as the SBISD Administration Building, have been awarded the No Place for Hate Designation through Houston’s Southwest Regional office of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). League Board Member and Spring Branch community resident David Harberg presented the award.

To earn this annual designation, employees took part in several activities designed to increase understanding, appreciation and respect for and among staff members who work together daily. Dozens of SBISD campuses have also earned the No Place for Hate Designation for their efforts to create inclusive and respectful school environments.

Superior “FIRST” Rating

For the 11th consecutive year, SBISD has earned a rating of Superior Achievement from the Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas (FIRST) for the 2011-2012 school year. The Texas Legislature created the School FIRST system in 2001 to recognize high quality performance in the management of financial resources by public school districts.

Once again, SBISD earned the highest possible rating of Superior Achievement with a top score of 70 possible points in the rating system. The district received a perfect “5” score in every category possible. In addition to a presentation by SBISD Controller David Bender, a public hearing was held on the district’s School FIRST rating. SBISD’s Financial Department is led by Karen Wilson.

Stay in School Program

Among other Consent Agenda topics approved, Trustees voted unanimously to move forward with a memorandum of agreement between SBISD and the City of Houston Juvenile Case Manager Program. Under this program, two case workers provided by the City of Houston at no cost to the school district will work with eighth- and ninth-grade students on truancy-related issues at five schools. These schools are Northbrook and Spring Woods high schools and Landrum, Northbrook and Spring Woods middle schools.

Under this program, case workers work with students before they have unexcused absences. They also work with parents and families, including making home visits during the school year and summer. The City of Houston has provided this program in Houston ISD for several years.

In other action, the Board of Trustees:

  • Approved other routine Consent Agenda action items
  • Discussed the district’s One-Way Dual Language Program
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