By Curtis Rippee, MISD Board of Trustees President
Welcome to the McKinney ISD Board of Trustees Monthly Board Report. The purpose of this report is to provide the community with insight into the monthly meetings and topics the McKinney ISD Board of Trustees are addressing. We hope you will find this helpful in your understanding of what is happening within our great school district.
The Board conducted its Work Study on March 19 and regular Board Meeting on March 26. During the Work Study, the Board heard presentations on Advanced Academics, the Gifted & Talented program, and a report from Region 10 Education Services Center on the district’s ESL (English as a Second Language) program.
Marita Cleaver, Coordinator of Advanced Academics, gave a presentation regarding MISD’s Advanced Placement and College Readiness program. In the program, students take Advanced Placement (AP) exams for the purpose of receiving college credit. In 2012, 1,988 students took at least one AP exam. These same students took a total of 4,403 exams. Individual exam results are given scores of 1-5, and MISD students scored 3 or higher 64% of the time. The national average is 56%. MISD students scored a 5 on 13% of the exams when the national average is 8%. The board also learned that the Texas ACT Council presented McKinney High School and McKinney Boyd High School with the 2012 College Readiness Award for having a significant increase in its ACT composite score over the past five years while, at the same time, increasing the number of students taking the ACT Assessment. Only 170 high schools or 9% of all Texas high schools were selected.
Karen Green, Coordinator for the Gifted and Talented program, updated the board on the current ALPHA (gifted and talented) program. The purpose of the ALPHA (gifted and talented) program is to identify gifted students and nurture their special abilities and needs; thereby, assisting them in translating their gifts of potential into productive performances and products that are commensurate with their abilities. The goals of the Alpha (gifted and talented) program are to provide opportunities for developing 1) critical, creative thinking and problem solving strategies, 2) strong self-concepts, 3) intellectual and creative abilities and 4) self-directed and life-long learning skills. Ms. Green emphasized the program’s current efforts to identify under-represented student groups who qualify for the program. The program currently assesses approximately 27% of the elementary student population or more than 3000 students for this program. Approximately 7% percent of MISD students currently participate in ALPHA. The program engages students with various curricula designed to accelerate the depth and complexity of instruction and emphasizes the importance of keeping high performing students challenged academically to prevent disengaged behavior and underachievement.
A team from the Region 10 Education Services Center presented the results of a recent audit of MISD’s ESL (English as a Second Language) program. The District engaged Region 10 to perform the audit due to concern over recent TAKS and STAAR scores. The audit noted various needs for improvement as well as program strengths. Principle among the needs for improvement was the need to create a program policy manual that would describe the District’s policies and procedures governing the program. The team suggested that such manual would institute annual evaluations and require standardized record keeping, both of which would lay the groundwork for improved planning and coordination between campus and district administration and would ultimately ensure greater consistency within the program. In addition, the audit team identified several strengths of the current ESL program. Specifically, the team commended the district on its passionate and dedicated Bilingual and ESL teachers who exhibit great enthusiasm for their work and caring concern for the students. They also commended the district for its parent outreach programs, low teacher turnover and overall professional development plan. The Administration informed the Board that many of the audit team’s suggestions were already underway as substantial improvements to the program continue to be a very high priority.
On March 26, the Board conducted its Regular Board Meeting. At the meeting, the Board heard a presentation from students from Evans Middle School. The students exhibited how they were using iPad Minis in the classroom to learn mathematics, specifically quadratic equations. The Board had the privilege of a “hands-on” experience with the iPad’s when the students led each of the Board members through the various apps the students use in their class work on a daily basis.
Agenda items included discussion and approval of a maximum class size exception waiver for five classes in four elementary schools, the renewal of the food service management contract with Aramark for 2013-2014, approval of a contract to repair the drainage and sub-grade of the turf playing field at McKinney High School.
The Board also approved a resolution calling on the Texas Legislature to reject all attempts to divert public dollars away from public schools in the form of vouchers, taxpayer savings grants, tax credits or any other mechanisms that have the effect of reducing funding to public schools.
The Board conduct edits Work Study meeting on Tuesday, April 16 and its Regular meeting on April 23. The Work Study meetings are normally held on the 3rd Tuesday of the month and the Regular Board meetings held on the 4th Tuesday of the month.
MISD Board of Trustees
Curtis Rippee – President
Kathi Livezey – Vice President
Maria McKinzie – Secretary