The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

December 11, 2013

WISD board hears technology initiative update

By CHERIL VERNON
Palestine Herald-Press

PALESTINE — Westwood Independent School District Board of Trustees heard a report on the WISD's One-to-One Technology Initiative during the regular monthly meeting Monday at Westwood High School.

WISD Technology Director John Folmar and the campus principals discussed how students and teachers were using their new technology.

This year, the junior high and high school students each received a portable computing device (tablet) for academic technology initiatives.

Students in lower grades are now using the Netbooks previously used by the older students. In addition, Wifi was installed district-wide.

Teachers have received training in “flipped” instruction and innovative methods using the tablets. Some teachers have embraced the tool and the principals hope to see more teachers follow suit in the future with additional training.

Also during the meeting, WISD School Safety Coordinator Janelda Robinson gave a report on the state-required safety audit, which was approved.

Robinson noted the district has added a lot of cameras, lighting and fencing to make the campuses safer, as well a requiring all employees to wear identification badges. Students at the junior high and high school campuses also have to wear identification badges.

The district's employees also received safety training.

Robinson said more training is needed in case of a nearby train derailment or chemical spill or the possibility of an active shooter.

During open session, parent Mindy Cretsinger spoke on behalf of WISD employee Roger Mays, calling him a strong Christian male role model for local youth and male teens.

Mays was recently reassigned from his position as Westwood's athletic director and coach. Mays teaches math.

In other action, the board:

• AUTHORIZED the district to bid to purchase two used school buses from Groesbeck Independent School District for no more than $125,000

• TABLED bids and GMP for remodel of the home behind Westwood Elementary School for conversion to special needs/behavior intervention classrooms

• DISCUSSED policy changes related to House Bill 5. House Bil 5 made significant change to the accountability process and to graduation requirements. TEA and the State Board of Education are still working to finalize the details regarding courses required for the new diploma categories.

• DISCUSSED: board training requirements and distributed the framework for school board development to trustees

• APPROVED TASB instrument to be used in the annual evaluation of the superintendent. The board also discussed moving the evaluation to a different time of the year in the future.

• APPROVED the consent agenda which included: minutes of the Nov. 11 board meeting and Nov. 14 special board meeting; fundraisers; second reading of Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) Policy Update 98; acknowledged plans for Texas Accountability Intervention System and PBMAS (Performance Based Monitoring district reports) continuous improvement; approved changes in signature cards for high school activity account at First Bank & Trust.

This also included the second reading of the revised policy for Transportation Management District Vehicles Policy CNB (Local) and DH (Local), which gives the district more authority to restrict employee use of alcohol during school-sponsored training or trips.

• RECOGNIZED students of the month and teachers of the month for each campus

• RECOGNIZED student representatives to the board, DaQuinton Anderson and Ramiah Byars

• RECOGNIZED FFA students for their wins at district and state competition and the volleyball team for their excellent season.

• REVIEWED calendar of events, distributed superintendent evaluation forms and discussed future agenda item requests

• HELD a closed session but no action was taken once the board reconvened in open session