The School Zone: News


Opening Remarks

Newly appointed SBISD Superintendent Jennifer Blaine, Ed.D., noted that it was a huge honor and occasion of personal pride, for her to address her first regular Board meeting as its leader. She said that the opening of school on August 15 had a smooth start, and teachers and others involved did an amazing job. Dr. Blaine thanked Texas legislators for supporting the key needs or public education during the recently held 86th Legislative session.

Special Presentations

Trustees conducted five separate special recognitions. Members of the district’s Personalized Professional Learning, or PPL Team, were awarded the #IAMSBISD Award for work on several professional development events this summer. Community Superintendent Jennifer Parker said the “lights never turned off” with this group as it planned back-to-back events exemplifying the district’s core value of Collaborative Spirit.

PPL Team: Alana Morris, director; Lesli Brown; Diane Rios; Rebecca Singley; Jessica Waltman; Adrian Rutherford

Spring Woods High recent graduate Hunter Brown, now attending Rice University, won Trustee praise and recognition for making campus history by placing first out of more than 470 students in the Congressional Debate at the National Speech and Debate Association in June. He was the first Spring Woods High debater to finish so well. Debate’s Coach Vicki Beard was also honored. 

Hunter Brown/Vicki Beard

Two local legislators, Reps. Jim Murphy (District 133) and Jarvis Johnson (District 139), were recognized for support of SBISD goals during the recent 86th session of the Texas Legislature. The past legislative session resulted in school funding reforms, helping improve the district’s financial situation, which had been harmed by runaway state recapture payments. Additional school funding has led to many recent, positive district actions, from increased employee pay and salaries to expanded school operating budgets and student programming.

Reps. Murphy and Johnson praised Trustees, parents and community members for focusing on education reform as a high priority, and the two men joked about their own political views, but without any sign of disrespect. “Jim and I actually had some knockdown, drag out [fights],” said Johnson. “We actually did!” Murphy shot back, sounding a bit like a comedy duo. 

Texas Reps. Jim Murphy, Dist. 133, and Jarvis Johnson, Dist. 139

Recognitions were awarded to the principals and directors of three SBISD campuses named Texas Honor Roll Schools recently by the Educational Results Partnership (ERP), a nonprofit group focusing on data analysis to improve student achievement and career readiness. The schools honored by ERP were Memorial Middle, Nottingham Elementary and Spring Branch Academic Institute, or SBAI. This year, ERP issued 855 honor roll citations to Texas schools.

Principal Ellen Green, Memorial Middle; Roy Moore, Nottingham Elementary; and Lynn Barry, past director, and Patricia Kassir, current director, SBAI

Landrum Middle School Principal Steven Speyrer earned special recognition after his campus was recognized by the N2Learning group with a School Transforming Learning distinction this past summer. The middle school was one of just a few so honored in Texas. To be considered for the award, a school submitted an essay and video detailing its transformation. Landrum is noted for its focus on data-driven instruction to meet students at their current levels, and for expanding social-emotional supports through wider access to student enrichment options.

Principal Steven Speyrer, Landrum Middle

Citizens Participation

Several SBISD residents spoke about topics of interest from their particular point of view. These included a suggested walkway with Memorial High School redevelopment, a request for review of cell phone policy related to middle school student use, and two appeals for Board backing of flood detention on Memorial Middle School playing fields. 

First Reading of Policy

Trustees held a first reading (LEGAL, LOCAL) involving Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) Policy Update 113. New or amended policies come before the Board at least three times before approval. Policies are also posted on the Board’s website.
(Legal, Local) TASB Policy Update 113 Memorandum
(Legal, Local) TASB Policy Update 113  

Action: Requests for Consideration/Approval

Trustees approved unanimously (7-0) two separate requests. First, Trustees approved the 2019-2020 Graduation schedule for high school seniors. Under the plan, five graduations will be held on two days, May 22-23, with four high schools graduating on Saturday, May 23.

In separate action, Trustees approved an order authorizing the issuance of up to $255 million in bonds as the second installment of bond issuances related to the voter-approved 2017 Bond. In all, $898.4 million in bonds will be used for renovation and construction, including rebuilding of nine elementary schools and one middle school. At this time, $497.4 million in bonds remain to be sold.
Proposed Schedule for 2019-2020 Graduation Ceremonies
Order Authorizing Issuance of Bonds

Consent Agenda

Trustees unanimously approved the consent agenda, a collection of items considered routine and generally voted on as a whole, or all together. No items were removed from the agenda.

Trustee Chris Gonzalez abstained on items 7C #4 and 7J.
Consent Agenda Action Items

School Opening Update

Superintendent Blaine told Trustees that the district had an “incredibly smooth” start to the new school year. Leadership and senior staff who observed opening on Thursday, August 15, were “amazed on how engaged the students were on Day 1.” In addition, Dr. Blaine shared a positive Aug. 26 enrollment report: SBISD has enrolled 34,746 students, or 95 more students than originally projected. A Communications Dept. produced video was also shared.

In the Zone Video: August 2019

Guidance and Counseling Update

Associate Superintendent of Academics Kristin Craft, Ed.D., and Lance Stallworth, executive director of student support services, described recent changes in the areas of guidance and counseling to enhance the social-emotional health of all SBISD students. Tyra Walker, hired recently, will direct counseling and student support. Director Walker then gave a full report describing how the newly merged department and team members will interact with district values and T-2-4 goal, new state legislation, and current student needs. For Walker, SBISD’s guidance and counseling team and system of care is crucial to providing “a home away from home” setting for all students.
Guidance and Counseling Update: Supporting the Academic and Social Emotional Needs of our Students

The next scheduled meeting of the SBISD Board of Trustees will be a workshop held Monday, Sept. 9, 2019, at 6 p.m. This meeting will be held in the Wayne F. Schaper Leadership Center located at 955 Campbell Road.