The School Zone: News


Superintendent’s Opening Remarks

Dr. Muri said that he and several Trustees visited legislators in Austin last week and were encouraged both by their reception and what they heard, especially on school finance. He said the work would continue as the legislative session progresses.

Approval of 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 Academic Calendars

Trustees unanimously approved the academic calendars for the next two school years. Both school years will start in mid-August and end before Memorial Day, with a full week off for the Thanksgiving holiday. Calendars were developed by the District Improvement Team and posted for public comment.
2019-2020 Academic Calendar
2020-2021 Academic Calendar

Approval of Engagement Pathway for District of Innovation Exemptions

Trustees unanimously approved a 30-day engagement pathway for several District of Innovation exemptions around teacher certifications for CTE, dual credit and certain special education teachers. The proposed exemptions will be posted online for 30 days to receive public comment. District of Innovation exemptions require a two-thirds vote by the Board of Trustees to become active.
DoI Proposal for Exemptions
DoI Engagement Pathway Proposal for CTE Certification, Public Engagement
DoI Proposed Revised Impacted Board Policies

Second Reading of Policies

Trustees heard on second reading two local policies: CCA (LOCAL) Local Revenue Resources, Bond Issues and DHE (LOCAL) Employee Standards of Conduct, Searches and Alcohol/Drug Testing. Board policy liaison Karen Peck said the changes to the policies are minor and that no comments have been received. The policies go on to a third and likely final reading before approval.
Policy CCA (LOCAL)
Policy DHE (LOCAL)

CTE Task Force Recommendations

Trustees looked at the vision statements and recommendations proposed by the CTE Task Force in its report to the Board in December, in a discussion facilitated by Executive Director of Student Support Services Lance Stallworth. Generally, while Trustees appeared to agree that all 10 visioning statements had merit, they particularly liked the equity and access for all students to Career and Technical Education, the student agency in what’s offered and the continued collaboration with industry. Recommendations were offered under five main categories: Model(s) and Logistics, Programming, Instruction, Connecting to the Real World and Communications and Awareness. Discussion centered around student knowledge of and access to CTE programming, transportation to facilities, class scheduling issues and facilities. Trustee Karen Peck noted that some things require little effort or money to implement and should be done right away. CTE Director David Sablatura and district staff will use Monday’s discussion to create a “road map” for going forward and come back to Trustees at a later date.
CTE Task Force Final Report
CTE Task Force Presentation to Board

Writing Instruction

Trustees heard an update of writing instruction in SBISD. Dr. Muri said that STAAR assesses writing at the fourth- and seventh-grade levels. He said that SBISD sent all its fourth-grade writing for STAAR to the Region 4 Education Service Center for independent assessment, which had four recommendations for improvement: stamina (writing a lot), sentence boundaries (punctuation, etc.), word choice and organizational structure. Chief Academic Officer Kristin Craft said the district is engaged in three strategic initiatives for teachers to improve student writing: a real-time writing coach, a teacher’s college and use of a local company, ABYDOS, which offers intensive training in writing instruction. The writing coach provides “very specific training” to teachers, Craft said, training after hours and on Saturdays that teachers are attending. The Teachers College provides professional development opportunities for teachers, while ABYDOS is a course to “train trainers,” she said. Craft said writing is integrated into every subject. Trustee Pam Goodson said that as a Trustee she sees a lot of “real world” student writing and is not impressed. Dr. Muri said that the staff also has concerns and “that’s why we’re here tonight.”
Writing Instruction Presentation

Executive Session

Trustees met in executive session following the public portion of Monday’s workshop to discuss personnel matters.

The next meeting of the SBISD Board of Trustees will be Monday, Jan. 28, at 7 p.m. in the Wayne F. Schaper Leadership Center, 955 Campbell.