Summary Report & Media Highlights
December 12, 2016
Board of Trustees Regular Agenda:
Board Agenda
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Sights and Sounds Around Spring Branch ISD
Trustees watched a short video featuring a VANGUARD classroom with SBISD educator Angela McNeil, a fourth-grade teacher at Westwood Elementary. The SBISD Vanguard Team provides a professional development model where teachers have opportunities to grow, assume new responsibilities and explore the development of personalized learning experiences as part of instructional design, all while receiving recognition for their efforts.
Watch video

Recognition of Spring Branch Health Fitness Teachers Association
Trustees recognized the Spring Branch Health Fitness Teachers Association (SBHFTA), which was honored recently by the Texas Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (TAHPERD) with a Distinguished Service Award. SBHFTA was started more than 30 years ago by then-physical education coordinator Marty Urand and today maintains its presence as a vibrant and growing organization with more than 140 members and a prestigious list of alumni who have gone on to be leaders at all levels of education. The board also acknowledged Director of Student Wellness Rebecca Fuchs, who is retiring and who has built on the group’s tradition of excellence.
Board President Karen Peck (left) with Darlene Evans (Shadow Oaks Elementary), Terri Doherty (Ridgecrest Elementary), Art Nevarez (Edgewood Elementary), Rebecca Fuchs (Director of Student Wellness), Jessica Lopez (Buffalo Creek Elementary) , Samuel Karns (Advanced Movers Coordinator) and Superintendent Dr. Scott Muri.

Recognition of Darlene Evans, Shadow Oaks Elementary Intervention Specialist
Trustees recognized Shadow Oaks Elementary health fitness teacher Darlene Evans on being named Elementary Educator of the Year by the Texas Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (TAHPERD). Evans has earned a slew of awards over her 31-year career, including one for a leading role in SBISD’s recognition as an Action Based Learning National District Showcase Award in 2015. Before coming to SBISD she was an award-winning teacher in Houston ISD, including Teacher of the Year and Health and Physical Education Program of the Year. Darlene was a member of the University of Houston’s nationally ranked volleyball team while in college and was a four-time All-American while playing for the United States Volleyball Association.
Board President Karen Peck (left) with Darlene Evans and Dr. Muri.

Recognition of #IAMSBISD Award Recipients
The #IAMSBISD campaign recognizes members of the Spring Branch ISD community who represent the best qualities and demonstrate the core values of SBISD. Medallions are awarded by Dr. Muri and senior staff and recipients receive instant recognition through social media and are invited to be recognized at that month’s regular board meeting. Community Relations Officer Linda Buchman recognized Community Youth Services crisis counselor Nashema Hatten for her #CollaborativeSpirit. Hatten started her career as a CYS social worker in SBISD in 2008, after interning in the district the prior year. In her role as CYS crisis counselor, she works with students, families and staff experiencing trauma in their lives, offering resources and referral for help beyond the SBISD realm. Supervisor Pat Waldrop says that Hatten “exemplifies all that is good as crisis counselor . . . she is an amazing co-worker and many seek her counsel.” She’s also vested in the district personally – her two children attend SBISD schools and she serves as PTA president at Terrace Elementary.
Board President Karen Peck (left), Nashema Hatten, Community Relations Officer Linda Buchman and Dr. Muri.
Superintendent Dr. Scott Muri surprised Associate Superintendent of Research and Design Elliott Witney with an #IAMSBISD for #LimitlessCuriosity for recently completing his doctorate and becoming “Dr. Witney.” Muri recognized Witney for the hard work of completing his Ed.D. Witney joined the district in 2012 as Executive Director of Strategic Initiatives and Innovation and was promoted to assistant superintendent last summer, a position in which he leads a team responsible for driving innovation at the classroom, campus and district levels, and implementing the district’s strategic plan.
Board President Karen Peck (left), Dr. Elliott Witney and Dr. Muri.

Public Hearing
Chief Information Officer Venu Rao gave an overview of the district’s compliance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). CIPA requires an Internet safety policy, technical protections (such as content filters) in place and a public hearing on compliance. Rao said the district is in full compliance with the law and qualifies for the E-Rate program, which reimburses districts for certain Internet technologies related to the Internet. Rao, who is retiring at the end of 2016, also took time to recognize his team leads and technology staff. There were no comments from the public.
CIPA Public Hearing

Report of School Board Member Training for 2016
Board President Karen Peck reported that all trustees have completed required training for 2016. The report is required by Texas state law.

Approval to Activate a District of Innovation Exemption for Texas Education Code 25.082(a) – 7-Hour Day Rule
Trustees unanimously approved SBISD’s first exemption from Texas Education Code since becoming a District of Innovation in April, removing the district from the requirement that a school day last seven hours. Superintendent Dr. Scott Muri asked trustees to take a moment and reflect on the importance of the action and congratulated the board on a job well done. The seven-hour rule exemption was sought for campuses to have early dismissal days, allowing time for staff development and parent conferences. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has stopped granting waivers for early dismissal days and instead advises districts to seek District of Innovation status. Trustees set for themselves a requirement that DoI exemptions pass by a supermajority, which requires five of seven to vote affirmatively.

Approval to Activate a District of Innovation Exemption for Texas Education Code 25.0811(a) – First Day of School Rule

Trustees also unanimously approved an exemption from Texas Education Code that prohibits districts from starting school before the first Monday in August. The District Improvement Team (DIT) had asked for the exemption while planning the academic calendar for 2017-18. The DIT requested the exemption so it could look at alternative start dates that would allow the calendar to be more balanced between semesters.

Both exemptions are effective immediately.

Adoption of Policy: EB (LOCAL) – SCHOOL YEAR
Trustees unanimously adopted a local policy to support the District of Innovation exemption for the first day of school. The policy was posted for 30 days on the Board’s website for public inspection and comment. A two-thirds affirmative vote is required for policy related to DoI exemptions.
School Year Policy

Adoption of Policy: EC (LOCAL) – SCHOOL DAY
Trustees unanimously adopted a local policy to support the District of Innovation exemption from the seven-hour day rule. The policy was posted for 30 days on the Board’s website for public inspection and comment. A two-thirds affirmative vote is required for policy related to DoI exemptions.
School Day Policy

Consent Agenda

Items on the consent agenda are considered as a whole. Trustees have the privilege of lifting items from the consent agenda for separate consideration. Trustee Chris Vierra asked that Item 9A – Request for Approval of Budget Status Summary Report with Budget Amendment as of November 30, 2016 – be removed for separate consideration. Trustees then unanimously approved the remainder of the consent agenda.

Vierra took the opportunity to note that the audited 2016 budget includes money not spent and that Trustees are looking at extending the staff salary supplement given this year in lieu of a raise. Dr. Muri will bring a proposal back early next year, based on those audited numbers and results on the current compensation study being conducted.

Trustee Josef Klam then brought up that new projections show the district this year will send $67.4 million to the state in recapture this year, an increase of $1.4 million over the $66 million forecast in the current budget. Trustee Chris Gonzalez said that it’s challenging to be good stewards on the district’s funds.

Trustees unanimously approved Item 9(A).

Consent Agenda

Strategic Plan Update: Aligning Measures of Success to the Strategic Plan Roadmap
Associate Superintendent of Research and Design Elliott Witney led Trustees through more discussion of measures for the district’s T-2-4 goal, which would double the number of SBISD students successfully completing a four-year or two-year degree, technical certification or military training. Witney called T-2-4 a “moonshot” and said that establishing measures is difficult because no one has ever done T-2-4. Trustees questioned not individual measures but whether the proposed measures “move the dial” toward T-2-4. Witney said the challenge is not over-emphasizing the four-year degree part of the goal while at the same time preparing every student to earn a four-year degree.

Discussion of State A-F Academic Accountability System

Dr. Muri led a discussion regarding the state’s A-F accountability system for schools and districts. The Texas Education Agency on Dec. 1 announced indicators for grade assignments and on Dec. 30 will release draft grades to state legislators and on Jan. 4, 2017, to districts. The grades will be released publicly on Jan. 6, 2017. But Dr. Muri noted that while the coming grades are draft only and not actionable, they’ll get lots of media coverage and the perception of those grades will stay strong with the public. He said schools within a district and districts themselves will be force-ranked –10 percent A’s, 30 percent B’s, 45 percent C’s, 10 percent D’s and 5 percent F’s.*

Dr. Muri said he was concerned that the grades will be based largely on STAAR (the state’s accountability system) and amount to a letter grade that’s based on a single measure from a “moment in time.” He said SBISD believes in multiple measures and that the district finds it difficult to come up with five measures that are meaningful while the state uses one measure. He said he expects the Legislature, which convenes Jan. 10, 2017, will have the grades so they can tweak and make adjustments during the session.

Trustee Klam said he thinks that the A_F system is being done to promote a false narrative that some students are trapped in failing schools, leading to talk about a voucher system. Dr. Muri said that the state and district will always have failing schools because the system says that 5 percent of schools will fail.

Trustee Chris Gonzalez said that she was astounded by the lack of transparency around the rankings and that they’re coming out during and around the holidays. Trustee Vierra said that it was important that the Spring Branch community hear and understand SBISD’s story rather than the state’s version of that story.
TEA Notification
A-F Indicators

* Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Morath told reporters on Dec. 16 that schools and districts would not be force-ranked and that the Texas Education Agency was committed to a model “where it's mathematically possible that 100 percent of districts could get an A.”
Texas Tribune article

The next Board of Trustees meeting is the workshop on Monday, Jan. 9, 2017. The next regular meeting is Monday, Jan. 23, 2017.

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