By CHERIL VERNON
The Palestine Independent School District's Board of Trustees unanimously approved to extend PISD Superintendent Jason Marshall's contract by one year after his evaluation was approved during the regular meeting Thursday.
The approval will extend Marshall's contract until 2017. The Texas Association of School Boards encourages school boards to administer a superintendent evaluation tool in January.
As usual, the board met prior to the regular meeting in closed session from 6 to 7 p.m. However once in open session at 7 p.m., the board went back into closed session at 7:45 p.m. and returned at 7:59 p.m. to approve the evaluation and contract for Marshall, as well as other closed session items.
The board meeting was moved to Thursday instead of Monday due to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
One big part of Thursday's meeting was the recognition of the the PISD Board of Trustees for School Board Appreciation Month.
Marshall thanked the PISD Board of Trustees for their service to the district and their community. The board includes: Wade Hobbs, president; Stanley Sokolowski, vice president; Janie Sepulveda, secretary; Dana Staples, Rickey Ferguson, Dyna Tutt and Michael Bennett.
Using the Texas Association of School Board's 2014 theme “Hearts & Hands for Kids,” Marshall read a resolution for School Board Appreciation Month. In addition, each trustee was presented with a basket of goodies that featured the “Hearts & Hands for Kids” theme.
A special video made by the PHS Audio/Video Technology & Communication Department to recognize the board was viewed by those in attendance. At the beginning of the meeting, A.M. Story Intermediate choir students led the Pledge of Allegiance and sang a special song for the board members. During closed session, the trustees were served a special meal by the Culinary Arts department.
In addition, each campus has honored the trustees in various ways throughout the month.
“It is our privilege to be part of a team — because that is what we are — a team. We are thankful to be a part of this,” Hobbs said.
In honor of School Board Appreciation Month, Chartwells (which provides the food service at Palestine ISD) made a donation to the East Texas Food Bank in honor of the PISD Board of Trustees. The East Texas Food Bank donation will actually help Palestine students through its BackPack program, which helps to alleviate child hunger by providing hungry children with nutritious and easy-to-prepare food at times when other resources are not available, such as weekends and school vacations.
Also during the meeting, Marshall discussed the district goal development process for the 2014-15 school year. After the campuses develop their goals, the goals are presented to the campus teams and ultimately to the District Action Team for final recommendation to the Board of Trustees. The superintendent and school board ensure that the goals of the Team of 8 parallel the overall goals of the district which have been recommended by the District Action Team. This entire process is usually completed by the April board meeting.
The Team of 8 (the seven members of the school board and superintendent) and the District Action Team develop goals based on data and findings throughout the district to ensure the district is on target to meet state and federal student accountability standards, as well as financial standards.
District goals must ultimately promote the mission of PISD: to foster relationships that excite, engage and empower students and the community to achieve success. Rough drafts are expected to be presented no later than the March school board meeting with the final goals to be recommended for approval by the April board meeting. Marshall indicated he plans to work one entire month ahead of this schedule.
Also during the meeting, the board:
• HIRED Katrina Gray to teach second grade and Gena Eikner as a permanent substitute.
• ACCEPTED the resignation of Southside teacher Courtney Snow.
• HELD the first reading of the 2014-15 district calendar. The board had the opportunity to look over two proposed calendars the district is considering with input from its employees.
• APPROVED Junior High/High School Course Guide for 2014-15.
• APPROVED consent items which included minutes of the Dec. 16 regular meeting, bills paid in December, financial report, monthly investment report, tax collection report, budget amendments and donations.
• HEARD the financial report given by PISD Director of Business Services David Atkeisson.
• HEARD the Superintendent's report which included an enrollment report, election update and Texas Association of School Administrators Midwinter Conference update. The TASA Midwinter Conference will be held Sunday through Wednesday in Austin. Besides attending the TASA conference, Marshall also will be testifying in the school finance trial in Austin next week. Marshall said the board will call for a school board election in May at the February meeting. Two seats will be up for election, currently held by Sokolowski and Bennett.
• RECOGNIZED Palestine High School athletes named to the 2013 All-State Football Team including Brian Gummelt, Brian Thlang, Benjamin Luckett and Christopher Winfield (filmer).
• RECOGNIZED Junior Rotarians Alicia Guzman and Benjamin Luckett
• RECOGNIZED PHS Students of the Month Kayla Mitchell and Christopher Winfield