Summary Report & Media Highlights
January 9, 2017
Board of Trustees Workshop Agenda:
Board Workshop Agenda
Board meeting videos now available online

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

Trustees unanimously approved a District of Innovation exemption removing SBISD from the first day of school rule, which states that public school in Texas will not start before the fourth Monday in August. Trustees had approved the exemption at the Dec. 12, 2016, regular meeting but wanted to reaffirm that decision by correcting a typographical error in the meeting notice that referred to a different part of the code.
Board Briefs December 2016

Special Education Programming Overview

Director of Special Education Joni Warren presented trustees with an overview of special education programming and service. Warren first acknowledged that the acronyms and jargon of special education can be confusing. She said, in response to a series of articles in the Houston Chronicle, that in her 18 months as director of special education in SBISD, she has seen no evidence that anyone has been denied special education services because of a state cap on those services. Assessments drive special education services, she said, and can be requested for a student by a teacher (with parental consent) or by parents themselves. Two things are required to be assessed as needing special education: a disability, and an educational need for specially designed instruction. Initial evaluations are up, she said – through November 2015 the district had 177 requests, while through November 2016 the district had 220 requests.

A Performance Based Monitoring Analysis System (PBMAS) evaluation by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) found that SBISD special education scores improved in all subjects in grades 3-8 STAAR, while improving from a Stage 3 to Stage 2 of intervention (on a 0-4 scale, with zero being best) and requiring no level of intervention or monitoring from TEA. But challenges persist, she said: scores declined in STAAR End of Course (EOC) exams, and special education students are suspended at a disproportionate rate. SBISD special education will focus on quality instruction, better collaboration and communication with parents, monitoring processes and continuing to support campuses.

Warren introduced Melissa Montgomery, a 20-year-old student in the TOPS (Transitioning Onward Promotes Success) program who followed the Hunters Creek feeder pattern and who now holds a job and is learning to live independently. Warren said that Melissa exemplifies the T-2-4 journey. Melissa briefly addressed the board, thanking the district and “everyone for what they’ve done” for her.
Special Education Presentation
Glossary of Special Education Acronyms

Research and Design Innovation Report

Skyler Rossacci, Ed.D, of the Research and Design Department presented an overview of the Teachers Guild, a group of teachers from 11 campuses across the district participating in a “design thinking” pilot program while considering the question: “How might we cultivate curiosity and problem-solving in our students through active and authentic STEM? The design thinking process involves five steps: empathize – seeing the world through the eyes of those you’re creating for; define – synthesizing what you learned through empathizing; ideate – brainstorming and picking ideas to move forward with; prototype – building “low resolution” models to work with; and testing.

While Rossacci and her team are looking to expand design thinking in SBISD, participants now are involved in a national challenge where, of 67 ideas presented, 11 favorites were chosen and five of those were from Spring Branch ISD. Lessons learned include discovering that prototyping doesn’t always mean getting it right the first time; start tiny and learn fast; and that the best prototypes change over time.

The successful design thinking pilot has created enthusiasm across SBISD, Rossacci said, and participants loved the process. She said her team is learning how to scale the innovations, and that the process empowers educators to be bold and help deliver on the strategic plan goals and T-2-4. “Design thinking plus supportive culture,” she said, “equals empowered teachers.”

Trustee Pam Goodson, who at Convocation in August implored SBISD educators to “be brave” and to “be bold,” noted that students identified as gifted and talented (GT) have long been going to the Bendwood facility one day a week, into an environment that supports innovation. She said she’s always thought it was unfair that other students didn’t have that access. “I think we’ve broken through,” she said, referring to the encouragement given to teachers across the district. “Students everywhere can participate … I commend the courage of those teachers. Kids are the benefactors.”
Teachers Guild Presentation

Spring Branch ISD Demographic Study

Bob Templeton of Templeton Demographics presented a demographic study to trustees, providing both a current snapshot and a 10-year forecast of district housing trends and student enrollment. Annual job growth in Houston is less than 1 percent, but could resurge with slightly higher energy prices in 2017. Still, Templeton said, even in the down economy housing has continued to “roar,” specifically home values. Some 12 percent of 2016 home sales in the district were new homes – mostly north of I-10 – with an average new home sale price of more than $572,000, and average existing home sale price of more than $588,000. “We haven’t seen this home value growth in Texas in 30-40 years,” Templeton said. Many are bought by people from out-of-state, he said, people who are typically used to paying more for less house. More than 1,300 lots are available to build on, with more than 900 future single-family lots in various stages of development.

Millennials (those born roughly in the 1980s and 1990s) aren’t interested in buying a home, and are waiting to start families, said Templeton. He didn’t think the boom in new multifamily housing (apartments) would impact enrollment, noting that more school-age children come from older apartment complexes. Notably, though, as those older apartment complexes are torn down, they likely will be replaced with single-family homes, which could lead to a decline in enrollment.

Templeton said SBISD could add some 550 students in the next five years, bringing enrollment in the fall of 2021 to 35,656, up from 35,150 today. SBISD could enroll more than 36,700 students by 2026, a gain of 1,550 students. Templeton provided projections for elementary schools, middle schools and high schools, with the most confidence, he said, in secondary schools. “The (student) growth right now is headed towards middle schools,” said Templeton.
Demographic Presentation

The next Board of Trustees meeting is the regular meeting on Monday, Jan. 23, 2017, at 7 p.m. in the Boardroom at the Wayne F. Schaper Sr. Leadership Center, 955 Campbell.

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