The School Zone: News


Sights and Sounds Around Spring Branch

Trustees watched the second edition of In the Zone, a monthly wrap-up of events around SBISD. This month’s guest anchor was Kenneth Spivey, an eighth-grader at Spring Branch Academic Institute.
In the Zone

CenterPoint Energy SCORE Program Rebate
CenterPoint Energy Load Management Program Incentive Check

Drew Scatizzi (left), CenterPoint Energy; Board President Josef Klam; Marc Fowler, CenterPoint Energy; Robbie Siems, SBISD Manager of Energy Management and Low Voltage; Travis Stanford, SBISD Director of Planning and Construction; and Dr. Muri.


CenterPoint representatives Drew Scatizzi and Marc Fowler presented SBISD with a combined check including a rebate from its School Conserving Resource (SCORE) program and the annual incentive for the district’s participation in the Load Management Program. SCORE helps facility managers and administrators make more energy-efficient investments in equipment, while the Load Management Program provides incentives to decrease electric demand on request during times of peak grid use, in the summer, for example. The SCORE rebate was $97,387.77; the incentive check was for $176,254, for a total of $273,641.77. The district’s total over the life of the incentive program is more than $1 million.

First Reading of Policy

Trustees heard on first reading two local policies – one concerning local revenue sources and bond issues; the other dealing with employee standards of conduct, searches and alcohol/drug testing. Policy liaison Karen Peck said the policies will be posted on the board’s policy website for public comment. Policies generally go through three “readings” where trustees can suggest amendments and other changes to the policies. Policies are generally approved on third reading.
Board Policy Website
CCA (LOCAL) – Local Revenue Sources, Bond Issues
DHE (LOCAL) – Employee Standards of Conduct, Searches and Alcohol/Drug Testing

Approval of Memorial High School Master Plan Advisory Team (MPAT) Recommendations

Trustees unanimously approved a master plan recommendation for Memorial High School from the Master Plan Advisory Team, a 57-member committee comprising community members, parents, students and MHS and district staff. Over five meetings this fall, the MPAT developed a master plan for redeveloping the MHS campus, to be completed in phases over the course of Bond 2017 and potential future bond programs. Opened in 1962, MHS has seen numerous additions and renovations with the original “window wall” construction showing signs of age and wear over the ensuing years. The master plan calls for moving the current tennis courts along Gaylord to the practice field that runs parallel to Piney Point Road, across from Spring Branch Middle School, and constructing a three or four story, approximately 140,000 square-foot classroom building on the former tennis courts’ footprint. Jennifer Henrikson of Stantec, the architectural firm working with the district on the project, said the MPAT did a great job of integrating all the things that were important to the different users of Memorial High school, including parking, parent drop-off and traffic flow, placement of the turf field (on the existing track along Gaylord), maintaining trees and green space and keeping the MHS identity.  Students will also be kept on campus during construction, with allowances made to keep construction away from students and classroom activity.

Around $99 million was allocated for Phase 1 of the reconstruction of Memorial High School in the $898.4 million bond package, approved by an 80 percent margin on Nov. 7, 2017.
MHS Bond Webpage
MPAT Presentation to Trustees 12-17-18

Approval of 2019-2020 Course Catalogs

Trustees unanimously approved course catalogs for middle and high schools for the 2019-20 school year.
2019-20 Course Catalog for Middle School
2019-20 Course Catalog for High School

Consent Agenda

Trustees unanimously approved the consent agenda, a collection of items considered routine and considered in a single action. Trustee Karen Peck abstained from voting on two items related to Texas Association of School Boards (TASB), citing that she has done work for TASB and received a stipend. Any item on the consent agenda can be removed by a trustee for separate consideration. Board President Josef Klam removed item 7(D) so he could give more attention to a proposed addendum to an updated Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Spring Branch-Memorial Sports Association (SBMSA). Klam said that SBMSA is an “important part of the community” and that the partnership between SBISD and SBMSA is a real one. The addendum addresses improvements to be made at Spring Branch Education Center. The SBMSA item was approved 6-0, with Trustee Chris Vierra abstaining due to a family member serving on the SBMSA board.
Consent Agenda (7)

Discussion of District of Innovation Exemption

Trustees heard a proposal to consider an exemption from the Texas Education Code as a District of Innovation. The exemption, which must pass muster through a defined process, would allow SBISD to reconsider teacher certifications for career and technical education (CTE) instructors who are qualified industry professionals and special education teachers who teach certain CTE courses. Executive Director of Student Support Services Lance Stallworth said that the exemption would allow the district to expand its CTE and dual credit course offerings.
District of Innovation Proposal for Exemptions
District of Innovation Proposed Revised Impacted Board Policies

CTE Task Force Final Report

Trustees heard the final report from the CTE Task Force, a 64-member committee which has spent eight months developing a vision and recommendations for CTE in Spring Branch ISD. Task force members conducted interviews with students and others about CTE and conducted off-site visits to CTE facilities in districts both in the Houston area and around the state, which district CTE director David Sablatura said were “invigorating.” Task Force co-chair Monelle Rougeau of the Region 4 Educational Service Center said that in successful CTE programs she saw innovation, flexibility, buy-in from all parties and lot of industry partnerships. Co-chair James Shaddix said that the main model should be a career center, with additional academies and “schools within a school,” and should seek to eliminate roadblocks to student participation. A robust CTE program would be the “single greatest opportunity for this district to make major gains on T-2-4,” Shaddix said. Board President Josef Klam said that the district’s greatest asset is the community, and by increasing partnership opportunities you give them “one more way to engage.”

Trustees will discuss the recommendations more fully at the January workshop meeting.
CTE Task Force Final Report
CTE Task Force Presentation

Legislative Update

Dr. Muri said that he and Trustees are preparing for the opening of the 86th Texas Legislature on Jan. 8, 2019. District priorities for the legislative session are heavy on school finance reform, which has gotten a lot of attention in the interim between sessions and promises to be a top issue for legislators. The final report from the Texas School Finance Commission was due later in the week, Dr. Muri said. Trustee Chris Vierra said that Governor Greg Abbott’s plan – into which SBISD had opportunity to provide input – isn’t final yet but appears tied to the school finance commission plan. Trustee Minda Caesar said that she’s been meeting with trustees from other districts and sharing legislative information and strategy. She implored the SBISD community to pay attention while “the legislative momentum is there.” Trustee Pam Goodson said this would be a good opportunity for Trustees and the superintendent to “go out and present and educate” the community on legislative issues that impact Spring Branch.
SBISD Legislative Webpage

Closing Remarks

Dr. Muri reminded everyone about the coming Winter Break and asked that everyone stay safe over the holiday.


The next meeting of the SBISD Board of Trustees will be a workshop on Monday, Jan. 14, 2019, at 6 p.m. at the Wayne F. Schaper Sr. Leadership Center.