December 14, 2020 Board Meeting
The following information is provided as a quick reference of discussions and decisions that took place during the open session of the Dripping Springs ISD School Board Meeting. The official meeting minutes are maintained in the Office of the Superintendent and posted on the website.
The Campus Spotlight featured Walnut Springs Elementary's focus on social-emotional learning. Principal Melinda Gardner introduced a video that provided an overview of activities including "You Matter" letters and read-alouds, counseling lessons and "minute meetings."
Dripping Springs High School Principal Angela Gamez gave an overview of the AP Scholar awards, including various levels of recognition: National AP Scholars (all from Class of 2020), AP Scholar With Distinction (which she introduced), AP Scholars with Honor and AP Scholars.
Cross Country State Qualifiers:
Cross Country Coach Marisa Tuzzi summarized the Tiger's successful season, highlighted by a fourth-place team finish (5A) for the girls and a 15th-place individual finish by Caleb Lopez on the boys' side.
Outgoing Board President:
Trustee Carrie Kroll was honored for serving as board president for five years.
Interim Superintendent Brett Springston introduced employees who are retiring in December: Homero de la Cruz (Transportation), Stuart Fyall (DSMS) Glenda Hjornevik (RSE), Susan Maxey (Special Services), Sharon Shepard (DSE), and Jane Stewart (WSE).
No one submitted comments for public forum.
BOARD DISCUSSION ITEMS
Bond Advisory Committee:
Bond Advisory Committee Chair Andrew Hutton provided background on the Bond Advisory Committee, a nine-member group that meets quarterly to monitor progress and implementation of the 2018 bond program. He explained the committee's charge and responsibilities, which include a semi-annual report to the board. Mr. Hutton highlighted the relevant credentials of committee members and shared a list of past meetings. He reviewed both completed and ongoing construction projects. Mr. Hutton summarized the major topics for discussion that the committee has held, as well as two recommendations that committee has made.
Executive Director of Communications Dale Whitaker introduced the quarterly communications report and answered board member questions.
Learning and Innovation:
Assistant Superintendent for Learning and Innovation Karen Kidd reviewed the Student Success Report, sharing information on diagnostic tools and formative and summative assessment results, broken down by grade level and subject. She reported that a wellness series is being held for teachers and staff. Dr. Kidd thanked retiring Director of Special Services Susan Maxey and reviewed the monthly L&I report. She also gave some information about remote and in-person learning, in terms of teacher assignments and attendance policies.
Chief Financial Officer Cedric Menchion introduced the preliminary budget parameters, which will be on the board agenda in January. He also referenced health insurance increases and the possibility of salary increases, for which a recommendation will come at a later time. He discussed projections for new positions, which includes staff for the fifth elementary school.
Assistant Director of Human Resources Glenn Chapin introduced the monthly HR report and pointed out information on hardship leave and the quality of campus communication regarding staff member needs.
Interim Superintendent Brett Springston shared announcements on volleyball playoff results, football playoffs, public input on a name for Elementary #5, bus schedules for early release days, and winter break closure dates.
Board of Trustees:
Board President Barbara Stroud mentioned a walk-through was held at Walnut Springs Elementary, which Mr. Jones commented on. She introduced a discussion regarding the new administration building and suggested collecting board input, and possibly visiting Georgetown ISD's administration building.
The consent agenda was approved.
BOARD DISCUSSION/ACTION ITEMS
- An amendment to the 2020-21 calendar to include an additional half day (March 9) for elementary students was approved.
- The 2021-22 academic calendar was approved. A major change from previous years is that secondary schools will not have half days during final exams (will still have a half day on the final day), to allow more time for teacher development throughout the year.
- An amendment to the asynchronous learning plan was approved.
- The budget planning calendar was approved.
- A bond amendment was presented as an information item. Because board action is not necessary, the agenda item was postponed indefinitely.
- The purchase of attendance credits (to fulfill Chapter 41 requirements) was approved; this item was previously approved but additional language was needed in the meeting record.
- An extension of paid leave for use if an employee must take off work due to a workplace exposure was approved.
- An extension of emergency sick leave for COVID-related reasons that is available to employees was approved.
The Board adjourned into closed session to discuss matters permissible by law.
The board approved the recommendation to hire Nadine Hogan as Director of Special Services.