Bus Drivers Recognized
Spring Branch ISD Trustees and Superintendent Dr. Scott Muri recognized district bus drivers Sammy Agunbiade and Drew Langworthy on Monday, Nov. 23, at the November regular meeting. Agunbiade was transporting students from Westchester Academy for International Studies to the Guthrie Center on Friday afternoon, Nov. 20, when the bus malfunctioned and caught on fire. Agunbiade was able to immediately pull over and get all 30 students off the bus and to a safe area, where they were met by Langworthy, who, nearby, had heard the incident over the radio system and drove over to help. Their quick actions made local and national news, and the drivers were the first to earn “I Am SBISD” medallions from Dr. Muri. The bus was destroyed, and the cause of the fire is under investigation.
Spring Branch ISD bus drivers Sammy Agunbiade (second from right) and Drew Langworthy (second from left) were recognized for their quick actions during a Friday, Nov. 30, school bus fire. Agunbiade and Langworthy made sure the 30 students on board were safely removed from the bus and reached their destination. With the drivers are Board President Chris Vierra and Superintendent Dr. Scott Muri.
CenterPoint Presents Check
The district was also presented with a check for $207,194.40 from CenterPoint Energy for participation in its Energy Load Management Program. Utility costs were identified by the Financial Advisory Committee in 2013 as a point of emphasis for the district, and the Energy Load Management Program has netted the district nearly $900,000 since 2006. This year’s check was earned for reducing energy usage on the afternoon of Aug. 11 between 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m.
Kevin Sarvis (right) of CenterPoint Energy presents a check to SBISD as part of the Energy Load Management Program. With Sarvis are Superintendent Dr. Scott Muri, Board President Chris Vierra and Jadelyn Waters, SBISD energy management specialist.
Sights and Sounds Around Spring Branch ISD
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IR School Public Hearings
Trustees conducted a public hearing on required progress reports from three elementary schools that are first-year Improved Required (IR) under the Texas Accountability Intervention System (TAIS). Terrace Elementary, Treasure Forest Elementary and Woodview Elementary schools failed to meet target scores in one or more of four indices, triggering the Improvement Required status and entering a defined process. Year 1 IR schools can exit TAIS by hitting targets for two consecutive years. Trustees also heard a report on measures to bring up scores of English Language Learners (ELL).
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Trustees approved the IR plans for Hollibrook and Spring Branch elementaries. Hollibrook is a Year 2 IR school; Spring Branch is a Year 3 IR school. Schools in IR have five years to show improvement. Those public hearings were conducted at the Nov. 9, 2015, workshop meeting. Trustees will hear progress reports from Landrum Middle and Northbrook Middle schools at the Dec. 14 regular meeting. Both Landrum and Northbrook are in Year 2 of Improvement Required.
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Trustees further heard an update on the plan to improve scores for the district’s English Language Learners (ELL), encompassing some 12,000 students, nearly a third of the district’s enrollment. Dr. Muri said that while ELL has been much discussed this fall and will be addressed in the strategic plan, there remains an urgency to do something now. Associate Superintendent for Teaching and Learning Patti Pace and BIL/ESL/LOTE Director Gretchen Holtsinger identified three areas of concern for ELLs: low academic achievement across the board; low exit rates (many in a program for five years or more); and a “lack of program fidelity” over the years. Going forward, they’d like to: develop a district BIL/ESL mission statement; develop consistent models across the district; train and hold campus leaders accountable for fidelity; use appropriate grade-level curriculum; and continue Quality Teaching for English Learners (QTEL).
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Trustees approved the 2014-15 financial audit. Auditors from Whitley Penn gave SBISD all unmodified opinions in both areas for the fiscal year 2015, reporting to trustees on Monday, Nov. 9. Whitley Penn Partner Celina C. Miller told trustees that while the current school finance system is challenging, SBISD’s processes and controls are sound. Spring Branch ISD received the highest and best opinion from independent auditors for its financial processes and statement, and compliance with major federal programs.
Audit Results for FY 2015 >>
Annual Financial Report >>
Trustees also approved on third and final reading an update to the board policy that governs the District Improvement Team.
District Improvement Team Policy >>
Trustees further approved a lengthy consent agenda. Items on the consent agenda are taken as a whole, unless an item is removed by a trustee.
Board Agenda >>