April 11, 2017
Northwest Board Notes: April 10 Meeting
The Northwest Independent School District Board of Trustees met yesterday - Monday, April 10 - during a regularly scheduled meeting. This is a recap of the major actions and reports from the meeting. To see every item that was discussed or voted on, click here.
District planning tuition-based pre-K program for 2017-18
Pre-K at Northwest ISD could expand to include a tuition-based, open-enrollment option for families in the coming school year, if approved at a coming board meeting.

Trustees heard about the proposed half-day program, which would exist alongside the qualification-based pre-K program (available for those who demonstrate specific financial situations, are dependents of active-duty military personnel or meet other circumstances). The tuition-based program would be available to any children who are 4 years old by Sept. 1 and live within Northwest ISD boundaries, subject to available space and a lottery system. Children of district employees who meet the age requirement would also be eligible for the half-day program.

Through the lottery system, families would apply during a registration window, with the selections determined by mid-July. A waitlist would then be available for families whose children were not selected. If approved as recommended, the program would be available at Hughes, Justin, Lakeview, Love, Nance, Peterson, Prairie View, Roanoke, Seven Hills and Thompson elementary schools.

The Texas Education Agency provided the following rates for half-day pre-K tuition: $420 per month or $3,778 per year. These classes would follow the same schedule as the qualification-based pre-K program: 7:40 a.m. to 11:20 a.m. for the morning session, and 11:20 a.m. to 3 p.m. for the afternoon session.

Northwest ISD would look toward expanding the tuition-based program in future years if this year's program indicates more families would be interested.

Election contracts finalized
Northwest ISD trustees approved joint election contracts with Denton, Tarrant and Wise counties, the final legal touches before the school board and bond referendum election on May 6.

Early voting is scheduled to take place in each county from Monday, April 24, to Tuesday, May 6. Two issues affecting Northwest ISD will be on the ballot: places on the Northwest ISD school board and the district's $399 million bond referendum. Two trustee places feature multiple candidates this year, while incumbent Mel Fuller is running unopposed for his place. On the bond referendum side, voters will decide whether to approve the district's call to sell bonds that would be used to build new schools; expand some existing schools; and further fund student programs, technology expansion, building repairs, and safety and security upgrades.

For more information about the trustee elections, click here. For more information about the bond election, click here.

Student transfer process changes discussed
Christie Hobbs, general counsel, discussed changes to the transfer process. Two board regulations were revised in March to prepare for growing student enrollment.

Under the revised regulations, the district annually determines which campuses are open or closed to transfers based on enrollment data, available space, and instructional staff. Students who request a transfer to a closed campus may be placed at the closest open campus. Beginning April 1, the district is closed to out-of-district transfers, except for certain grandfathered students, students moving into or out of the district mid-year and employees' children.

Intradistrict transfer students, those who already reside in the district, may stay at their current campus, provided they are in good standing, meet the transfer criteria, and apply within the application window. These students are not guaranteed a spot within their feeder pattern through graduation and must reapply upon promotion to the next campus - for example, going from elementary to middle school.

Annual applications are required and must be submitted online during the application period. The time for submitting applications for transfer students is May 15 to June 15.

Textbooks, instructional materials approved for 2017-18
Trustees heard from curriculum leaders about the district's choices for textbooks and instructional materials for the coming school year, approving the recommended choices.

Northwest ISD annually looks at textbooks and instructional materials, reviewing proposals from an education committee with campuses and their teachers. Campuses vote on the proposed options, and the final selections are presented to the state's Board of Education for approval.

At the board meeting, a variety of titles were approved for world languages, CTE and math courses offered by the district. These materials are paid for with the district's instructional materials allotment provided by the state.

In other action, the board
  • Recognized the district's student ambassadors, who recently completed training regarding the overall state of public education and Northwest ISD as a whole. These students learned about issues facing the district, as well as how the district operates, and serve as individuals who can provide information to peers and community members.
  • Recognized the district's technology and instructional technology departments for earning Northwest ISD a No. 8 ranking in the Digital School Districts Survey's large school district category. The survey judges district responses in regards to how they implement technology benchmarks and honors those that demonstrate pioneering technology uses in education.
  • Renewed a contract with Aramark to serve as the district's food services provider.
Nance Elementary School students led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Trustees recognized Cara Carter and technology staff for the district's recent Digital School Districts Survey Award.
Trustees recognized the district's student ambassadors.