Board Notes: February 13, 2018

Thanks to the Garland ISD Board of Trustees, Rowlett High School’s Eagle Theatre Company will take the trip of a lifetime this summer. RHS is one of just 20 schools across the globe to be invited to perform at the 2018 American High School Theatre Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. Trustees voted to help fund this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity at their Feb. 13 work session.

The board also recognized other student and staff accomplishments. Austin Academy for Excellence eighth-grader Gracie Graham received an Evidence of Excellence award for winning the district’s 2018 Spelling Bee. She bested dozens of other elementary and middle school competitors after 26 rounds by spelling the word “zinnia” correctly. Ten schools received Evidence of Excellence recognition as well for earning 2017 CREST Awards from the Texas School Counselor Association. CREST stands for Counselors Reinforcing Excellence for Students in Texas, and the award is given to schools that demonstrate a commitment to improving the lives and achievement of students in academic, career and social domains.

Trustees named Shay Kimble and Melissa Ramirez-Pham as Going the Extra Mile (GEM) award recipients. Kimble is a Special Education aide at Cooper Elementary School who has a gift for building relationships with students. She also advocates for whatever will benefit them and assists outside the classroom with additional tasks that support the campus and staff. Ramirez-Pham works at O’Banion Middle School as an elective teacher and the AVID coordinator. She arrives early, leaves late and is 150-percent dedicated to her students. O’Banion staff cannot imagine the school without her. She creates high-quality, weekly lessons for teachers, raises funds to ensure that AVID students have access to added enrichment activities, and attends all extracurricular events at the campus.

During the discussion items section of the work session, the board talked about new goals that are in development following a board retreat in January. They include the areas of student achievement, fiscal responsibility and district marketing. The board will now work with administrative staff to plan implementation strategies.

Trustees also received an update on the district’s student management plan. GISD is celebrating a positive increase in conferencing with students, as well as a positive decrease in exclusionary discipline and student detentions. For more celebrations and additional details, view the presentation in the board agenda.

During the action items section, Trustees approved extra campus updates as a result of savings from completed bond projects. Phases 1 and 2 came in approximately $6.75 million under budget, and the remaining funds will be used to provide heating and air conditioning replacements, as well as updates not included in the original scope of work.

Additional board meeting information can be found in the online agenda and archived video, chaptered by agenda items.