Trustees call election for proposed bond package
Northwest ISD trustees unanimously voted to call an election for the district's proposed $399 million bond package, which will add new facilities and expand some existing schools.
The bond proposal was recommended by the district's long-range planning committee, which is composed of 39 community and staff members. As part of the proposal, new facilities would be constructed and capital support would be used for curriculum, extracurricular and technology needs. Approximately 66 percent of the recommended bond will address student growth.
As mentioned in the Board Notes from the Jan. 23 school board meeting, major highlights of the proposed bond package include:
- Three new elementary schools (Elementary Nos. 19-21)
- A replacement school for Haslet Elementary
- Renovation of the existing Haslet Elementary to serve as a district instructional facility
- Expansions of Byron Nelson and Eaton high schools (to 3,200 students)
- Expansions of Medlin and Tidwell middle schools (to 1,200 students)
- Expansions for three to-be-determined elementary schools (to 850 students)
- A district aquatic center to serve all campuses
- A classroom addition to Beck Elementary to allow growth for current enrollment
- Outdoor fieldhouses for Byron Nelson and Northwest high schools
- Renovations to some existing schools to improve conditions (furniture, roofs, etc.)
- Renovations to some existing safety features at school (new uniform entrance with approach camera and improved reception safety features, lockdown control improvements, door hardware, replaced security cameras, etc.)
- Funds for land acquisition for future schools/facilities
- Equipment and building improvements for CTE, fine arts, extracurricular and technology needs
2017-18 academic calendar approved
The district academic calendar for 2017-18 is now set, with school beginning Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, and ending Friday, June 1, 2018. The proposed calendar is based on the most popular option in a recent community poll.
Major holidays begin with Thanksgiving break, which for students is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 20, to Friday, Nov. 24, while the winter break for students is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 25, to Monday, Jan. 8 (with early-release days on Thursday, Dec. 21, and Friday, Dec. 22). Teachers come back Jan. 8, while students return Tuesday, Jan. 9. In the second semester, spring break is scheduled for Monday, March 12, to Friday, March 16.
Parent survey yields positive results
About 2,600 parents and guardians responded to a recent Northwest ISD survey seeking input about their opinions of schools and the district. According to Education Service Center Region XI, which conducted and managed the survey, results were highly favorable.
Some key highlights from the survey include that 94 percent of respondents feel welcome at their children's schools, 95 percent agree their children feel safe at schools, 98 percent believe their children's schools are clean and well-maintained and 91 percent feel their children receive instruction preparing them for the next level of education.
Bid process for new construction projects approved
Northwest ISD will soon begin a competitive sealed proposal process to accept bids for coming construction projects.
With this process, the district will not know what companies have submitted bids to contract work and will rely on their expertise and cost submissions to determine what companies will assist the district in these projects. Once bids are accepted, the following projects will be worked on:
- An ingress/egress roadway at Eaton High School to Willow Springs Road
- Maintenance parking near the Northwest ISD central complex and drainage improvements at Haslet Elementary and Chisholm Trail Middle School
- Districtwide athletic improvements (such as new turf at fields, tracks being resurfaced)
- A replacement Northwest ISD Stadium scoreboard
Discussion heard about adding teachers, staff to meet increased enrollment
Trustees are faced with a decision on how to meet the needs of a student population expected to grow by 1,112 for the 2017-18 academic year.
Eaton High School will need the most new teachers - 24 recommended - to meet these needs, as it will add a senior class next year. More teachers and other staff positions will also be needed at various locations around the district. Their exact locations will largely depend on enrollments at schools.
Teacher-student ratios will also be looked at by trustees to determine what best meets the needs of Northwest ISD students while remaining fiscally responsible with taxpayer funding. Trustees are scheduled to vote on new staffing for the 2017-18 academic year at their Feb. 27 board meeting.
Families saving money with advanced academic courses
Families of Northwest ISD students are saving money thanks to AP courses, as discussed in a report on career and college readiness.
Students participating in AP courses have earned college credit that amounts to a total savings of $3,575,203 on college tuition districtwide - or about $3,336 per student enrolled in AP courses. This was saved by taking and passing AP tests, which provides college credit. More than 60 percent of eligible Northwest ISD students are now taking AP courses at some point in high school. Similarly, dual-credit enrollment has dramatically increased, providing high school students with another avenue to earn college credit and save money.
In addition to AP courses, Northwest ISD students are earning a variety of certifications they can use in their future careers. These certifications range from areas such as Microsoft Office specialization to CPR and first aid.
In other action, the board
- Honored Beck Elementary for receiving the School of Character distinction. Beck received this distinction for its work instilling a positive atmosphere in regards to academics, student behavior and campus climate.
- Recognized Adam Feind for being named CTO of the Year by the Texas K-12 CTO Council. Mr. Feind received the award for his leadership, fostering of community involvement, innovative use of technology, impact on learning and partnerships.
- Recognized new or existing Adopt-A-School partners: Alliance Community Fellowship (a Peterson Elementary adopter), Texan Diner (a district partner) and Northwest Metroport Chamber of Commerce (a district partner).
- Honored CoServ for their donation of $8,103.68 to the Pike Middle School PTA, which will be used for valuable programs to directly assist children in the school.
- Recognized Kristy Schluter and Marcie Conrad, who were vital coordinators of annual elementary UIL events, providing elementary-aged students with rigorous academic contests.
- Recognized Kensey Methvin, winner of the 2017-18 budget manual design contest. Kensey, a student in the Academy of Media Arts & Technology, also received $100 for her artwork, which will serve as the cover of the district's budget manual.
- Accepted donations of nearly $157,000 from booster clubs, PTAs and other community donors for use at district schools. These funds will primarily go to a variety of specific purposes, such as booster clubs paying for athletic- or arts-related initiatives.