November 16, 2020 Meeting
The Campus Spotlight featured Dripping Springs High School addressing social-emotional learning. Principal Angela Gamez reviewed the school's efforts, using Stanford's Challenge Success model. Students Ian Driggers and Melissa Richardson shared their perspective and highlighted Service Day and the Kindness Club, the SEL student group. Teachers also are involved in the SEL committee. Ms. Gamez talked about the Student Leadership Class and PALS. Ms. Gamez talked about helping students finding a good college fit, and efforts to expand connections with staff and parents.
Above and Beyond:
Above and Beyond awards were presented to Katie Anderson (Dripping Springs Elementary), Hilary Barnett (Dripping Springs Middle School), Shauna Doyle (Rooster Springs Elementary), Zach Fenderson (Dripping Springs High School), Soledad Gutierrez (Sycamore Springs Elementary), Julie Jameson, Paula Mathews, and Jennifer Mays (Sycamore Springs Middle School), and the entire Walnut Springs Elementary staff.
- DSISD parent Christopher Roberson commented on safety protocols and germ spread.
- DSISD parent Monica Willis commented on teacher workload and facemasks.
- DSISD parent Sara Blakeley thanked the board and commented on teachers.
- DSISD parent Megan Balsdon commented on remote learning and facemasks.
- DSISD parent Colleen Wu commented on facemasks and remote learning.
- DSISD parent Erin Brewer commented on teachers, remote learning and facemasks.
REORGANIZATION OF THE BOARD
- Ron Jones and Barbara Stroud were sworn in after being re-elected to the board.
- Officers were elected: Barbara Stroud as president, Dr. Mary Jane Hetrick as vice president, and Shannon O'Connor as secretary.
BOARD DISCUSSION ITEMS
Keenan Smith provided an overview of the Town Center project, which is a joint effort between the city of Dripping Springs, the Dripping Springs Community Library, and Hays County. He reviewed the goals of the project and the potential community benefits. Mr. Smith shared a layout of both Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the project, and presented renderings of various buildings. He outlined the access/right of way area and utility infrastructure, including water/wastewater lines. Mr. Smith also referenced Phase 3, which would occur later. He introduced Councilwoman Taline Manassian shared information on timeline and explained the critical timing of the real estate agreement. TIRZ Board Chairman Dave Edwards also provided some information. Several questions from the board were addressed.
Learning and Innovation:
Assistant Superintendent for Learning and Innovation Karen Kidd referenced the L&I Update, and mentioned Pre-K instructional materials adoption, teacher training on remote teaching, Learning Forward's upcoming Virtual Conference, Special Services update, Dyslexia Parent Night, technology update including construction plans, and Community Services update. Dr. Kidd shared an overview of campus staff visits at all schools, feedback, and survey data. She outlined five themes: lack of planning time, more work with less effectiveness, inflexibility of schedule, model sustainability, and staff mental health. The most emphatic request was for more time to plan. Dr. Kidd shared results from a written survey, including a response from nearly 60 percent of teachers who stated they would not be comfortable if students under the age of 10 were not masked. Dr. Kidd also explained that TEA has recently released direction regarding instructional models. The DSISD Leadership Team will have discussions using this feedback to determine what adjustments can be made. Executive Director of Human Resources Tiffany Duncan discussed the additional challenge of students changing learning formats temporarily. Interim Superintendent Brett Springston gave an overview of the findings and previewed some potential solutions.
- Chief Financial Officer Cedric Menchion introduced the monthly Business Services reports.
- The annual Risk Management Report was made available for trustees.
Facilities and Operations:
Project Manager Mike Garcia provided the monthly bond construction update. He reviewed all projects included in the bond program, all of which are complete or in progress. The design phase recently started on the Walnut Springs conversion to the Administration Building. He gave updates on the Transportation project, the Walnut Springs Elementary construction project, and the DSHS renovations. Director of Facilities and Construction Clint Pruett gave a summary of the wastewater project at DSMS, which involved a new line to a connection point in Arrowhead and decommissioning of treatment plant on school property, as well as agreement with the developer of the Arrowhead subdivision. He also reported on progress regarding a traffic signal being installed at 290 and Tiger Lane following ongoing work with TxDOT. Mr. Garcia displayed several photos from both elementary construction projects. Projected completion for Elementary #5 is June 2021 and for the new WSE July 2021.
Executive Director of Human Resources Tiffany Duncan shared that TEA introduced some COVID protocol changes. She pointed out additional nurses and permanent campus floating substitute teachers, and talked about use of staffing agencies for hard-to-fill positions. She referenced previously approved leadership positions in L&I and Special Services will be posted.
Interim Superintendent Brett Springston referenced the monthly legal fees, district enrollment (7,297), elementary classroom ratios, and a notice regarding additional subdivision lots.
Board of Trustees:
Board President Barbara Stroud introduced the option of returning to in-person board meetings, and said that logistical issues are being considered including meeting in the high school cafeteria. This will be revisited in the coming months, but not pursued immediately.
The consent agenda was approved.
BOARD DISCUSSION/ACTION ITEMS
- A resolution designating authorized school depository representatives was approved.
- A waiver from the Annual Financial Report Nov. 27 due date requirement was approved.
- The construction delivery method of CMAR (Construction Manager at Risk) for the administration building renovation was approved.
- Votes for the Travis County Central Appraisal District were approved.
- A resolution for a one-time lump sum employee retention incentive of $500 was approved.
- Because this Friday’s football game has been cancelled by our opponent, the DSHS Homecoming will be moved to the last home game against Seguin HS on Thursday, Dec. 3. A “reverse parade” will be held on Dec. 2 at 6 p.m. around the high school campus, with student clubs and teams lined up around the campus, with spectators driving by.
- On Nov. 11, seven Dripping Springs High School seniors signed national letters of intent to continue their athletic careers at the collegiate level: baseball players Brennan Frickel and Cameron O'Banan, basketball player Ally Beck, lacrosse player Charles Hunt, golfer Samantha Miethke, soccer player Charleigh Phipps, and softball player Madyson Torres.
- DSISD schools and offices will be closed the week of Nov. 20 for Thanksgiving week.
- In preparation for the third grading period, students will be given the opportunity to change learning formats from remote and in-person learning. The window to make a change will be open from Nov. 30-Dec. 11; parents will be notified prior to the start of that time.
- Mr. Springston thanked several groups he has met with over the past few weeks. In addition to many staff members, he has visited with the PTA presidents from all schools, Community Ambassadors, the Dripping Springs Ed Foundation board, the Rooster Springs Elementary PTA, and the TIRZ Board.