The School Zone: News

Opening Remarks by Superintendent

Dr. Muri first congratulated Memorial High School journalism teacher Holly Hartman on being named Region 4 Teacher of the Year. Hartman goes on to compete for state teacher of the year. Dr. Muri said that state finalists will be named soon.

Executive Session

Trustees met in executive session to discuss routine personnel matters, which were approved upon return to open session.

Second Reading of Policy

Trustees heard on second reading several LOCAL policies and the remaining policies in TASB (Texas Association of School Boards) Policy Update 109. Much of the TASB update has already been approved. Board policies typically go through three readings and are approved on the third reading.
LOCAL policies/Remaining TASB Policy Update 109

Endorsing Slate of Candidates for TASB Board of Directors

Trustees approved endorsement of a slate of candidates for the TASB Board of Directors. Action had been postponed from the July 25 workshop meeting to gather more information from the TASB candidates.
TASB Endorsements

Academic Performance Update

Dr. Muri led a discussion of academic performance, based on the multiple measures established by the board last September. SBISD’s measurements include T-2-4, the district’s overarching goal of every student completing military training, a technical certificate or a two- or four-year degree. That data and post-secondary (after high school) enrollment data will come later this fall. SBISD has improved from 36 percent post-secondary completion to 44 percent in a little more than five years.

SBISD students exceeded or approached their targeted growth based on MAP (Measures of Academic Performance), using a national average of 50 percent as a baseline. SBISD students exceeded the baseline in math, at 58 percent, and approached the baseline in reading, at 48 percent. Dr. Muri said those numbers – 58 for math and 48 for reading – would be the new baselines.
SBISD students feel connected to their schools – 63 percent say they enjoy school and feel comfortable there, compared to around 50 percent nationally. Students are administered a survey which reveals their attitudes about school.
More SBISD students are post-secondary ready this year. From a baseline of 37 percent, SBISD students improved to 44 percent, or seven percentage points, hitting the district goal.
And SBISD closed every performance gap – economically disadvantaged and non-economically disadvantaged; English learners and non-English learners; students with disabilities and students without disabilities; African-American and white students; and Hispanic and white students. Dr. Muri noted that the gaps were narrowed while both numbers – the high and the low or the “floor” and the “ceiling” – grew.
“This is really good news for our system,” said Dr. Muri. He noted that the successes even after Hurricane Harvey disrupted lives and shut down the system for 10 days, an ice storm that closed the system for two days, and the school shootings in Parkland, Fla., and just down the road in Santa Fe.
Summary of T-2-4 Measures of Success
Readiness for Digital Expansion

Dr. Muri kicked off the discussion by noting how students can experience learning in a number of ways today, through technology, and how the district might make technology more accessible for students, especially for the district’s 57 percent of students who live in poverty. Chief Academic Officer Kristen Craft noted a number of technology initiatives last year – VILS at Northbrook and Spring Woods middle schools, the Summit platform at Westwood Elementary and the Academy of Choice, and the On Ramps program at Stratford High School (and now at Memorial and Northbrook high schools) – and said that each school expands based on its unique needs. Associate Superintendent for Research and Design Elliott Witney discussed a Readiness Rubric that administrators use when determining what kind and how much technology a campus needs, followed by Chief Information Officer Christina Masick describing the technology logistics process.

A map based on the student technology access survey revealed areas where students live without access to technology. Dr. Muri mentioned that Houston will be one of the first cities where 5G wireless is rolled out, but still could take years before its real potential can be recognized here. Students now can check out wifi “hot spots” to access the internet, he said, an option that hasn’t been “fully tapped” yet. Trustee Pam Goodson said she’d like to see wifi expansion in the district made a priority.
Several Trustees asked about the curriculum marketplace of vetted online resources that was created last year. Dr. Muri said that the marketplace had been “put on hold” as the ItsLearning software for teachers was implemented. He said that ItsLearning is “loaded with resources” and that attention would soon be turning back towards the marketplace.
Readiness for Digital Expansion
Readiness Rubric
Student Device Deployment Checklist
Legislative Agenda
Dr. Muri said that during his testimony last week before a Texas House committee on the SKY Partnership between SBISD, KIPP and YES Prep, legislators seemed surprised that although the district should be eligible for additional funding for its charter students, a quirk in HB 1882 disallows that funding. He said he’s already heard from Sen. Paul Bettencourt about adjusting the legislation to make SBISD eligible for around $2 million annually.
Board Legislative Liaison Chris Vierra said that the district’s legislative priorities haven’t changed much in years, and that she’s working on a reorganized and updated document to present to Trustees. Board President Josef Klam said that he likes that the priorities document is public so that it can be used by anyone who goes to the Capitol on SBISD’s behalf.
Closing Remarks
Dr. Muri repeated praise for Community Relations Officer Linda Buchman and this year’s Convocation. He also noted that school opens Thursday, Aug. 16, and that area drivers should take extra caution.
The next scheduled meeting of the Board of Trustees will be a regular meeting on Aug. 27 at 7 p.m. at the Wayne F. Schaper Sr. Leadership Center, 955 Campbell.