by Janette Blackwell
The highlight of the November 18 Woodville ISD Board of Trustees' meeting was news of a partnership with Lamar Institute of Technology Careers Program, which will help Woodville students to identify their strengths, recognize opportunities and chart the paths to their ideal occupations. The potential long term value of the partnership may be difficult to overstate, considering its effects upon students' lifelong contributions to their chosen fields, personal and job satisfaction and overall success in life; advantages to businesses; and community impact.
On December 12, the Lamar Institute of Technology Careers Program will begin offering free certificate courses and career training to middle school and high school students. Parents and middle school students will want to be sure to attend the LIT Parent Career and High School Readiness Programs, also on December 12. Coach Ivey, who teaches the middle school career class, enthusiastically describes the December 12 LIT meetings as providing information on career futures, what to expect (including wage ranges), educational requirements and personal aptitude identification. During the second semester, he said, LIT professors will add to students' career planning tools. For example, eighth graders may earn certification on what jobs are available in southeast Texas, and "High School 101," to prepare them to make the most of high school. In his middle school career class, Coach Ivey provides information for parents and encourages them to talk with students about careers and planning for the future; and each student learns how to make plans, set goals, research careers and identify a career of choice.
In unanimous votes of confidence, the Board elected President Trey Allison, Vice President Jimmy Tucker and Secretary Brenda Maloy to continue in their roles for the coming year.
Assistant Superintendent of Finance Cody Jarrott presented the October financial reports, investment report and capital projects budget, each of which the Board voted to approve.
Jarrott also confirmed that the anticipated QZAB funds were received November 13, enabling the District to move ahead with the Entegral energy efficiency and conservation projects.
The District received insurance proceeds to replace the damaged Highway 69 marquee sign; however, costs have increased significantly, and those monies will serve to offset the expense of the current digital model, now on order. While the invoice price is $43,000, a negotiated $13,000 discount lowered the District's price to just over $30,000.
Superintendent Glen Conner explained that the present wireless network provides about 33 access points, but heavier technology demands require around 123 to cover the need in all District-owned buildings. Upgrading the wireless network will benefit students (directly supporting the District's strategic goal "... to promote the use of technology in the classroom as a day-to-day instructional strategy"), in addition to Entergy's security controls and the HVAC system. Costs include $65,000 for the Cisco equipment and a one-time charge of almost $30,000 for licenses (and their future upgrades) to total $94,000. The Board deliberated and approved the upgrade to the District's wireless network.
The Board also considered the need to fill Randy Carter's position on the Appraisal Review Board of the Tyler County Appraisal District after two terms of service. Cathy Bennett was approved without opposition as the District's representative.
Superintendent Conner recommended Tyler County Extension Agents Doug Weir and Jennifer Page as adjunct staff members for student attendance purposes, and the Board approved both unopposed.
The Board approved exercising its 13 votes for candidate Calvin Jones of Corrigan ISD for the Polk County Central Appraisal District Board of Trustees.
Glen Conner's Superintendent's Report included the following:
•Entegral began mobilizing to implement its TASB energy program in the District during the week of November 18. Replacing the Summit's HVAC chillers is the priority, and the equipment is ready for installation, according to Cody Jarrott. The timeline for all required projects should be complete on or about February 16, 2014. Because workers' on-campus presence near students is required, Conner emphasized that Entegral's code of conduct requires background checks on all its subcontractors.
•Superintendent Conner will present an update for administrators on legislative changes in the Texas Education Code on December 10.
•The November 8 auction grossed $110K for the District and returned 44 properties to the tax rolls, producing increased income for the District.
John Cooley, intermediate school principal, said that the intermediate school's campus improvement team uncovered that parents want more knowledge about technology and grades information. He discussed solutions to parents' and students' math difficulties, including an afternoon math program for parents.
Principal Chuck Lowery recounted that Wheat Elementary hosted an activity-packed movie night Friday, November 15, at the Summit. Students chose "Hook" as the movie of the night, snacks were sold to benefit Relay for Life and the required annual explanation to parents of the Title One reduced lunch program and funds was presented. Students out-numbered the 55-60 parents who attended the event.
Woodville High School Principal Neil Hennigan cited pep rally attendance and enthusiasm as examples that student involvement is thriving. More than 500 students from 10 area schools attended the November 7 concert sponsored by the Spanish Department and Spanish Honor Society. Hennigan also commended 10th to 12th grade students who, as part of their career planning, completed the ASVAB test (the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, which measures acquired abilities, helping to predict military occupational success). Hennigan also proudly reported, "Our teachers are not settling for mediocrity, but continue to press themselves to improve their teaching skills" to assist students in excelling and actively participating.