May 30, 2018
Northwest Board Notes: May 29 Meeting
The Northwest Independent School District Board of Trustees met yesterday - Tuesday, May 29 - 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.
Final budget workshop focuses on new student support positions
Trustees took part in a final budget workshop before the start of the regular board meeting, primarily focusing on the district's new positions being added as part of the staffing requests process.

In their conversations, trustees indicated that one of the district's most important tasks is providing support for students, beyond what they already receive from teachers for education. Specifically, the trustees focused on intervention and approving new staff members to help students who may be deemed at-risk - who are more likely to drop out or struggle academically.

The staffing requests - which were later approved by trustees during the regular board meeting, as seen in the section below - includes a new district at-risk coordinator position, new high school intervention counselors, a behavior interventionist, speech pathologists and more. These positions were included in the staffing request to help provide students with support beyond the classroom environment.

With scheduled budget workshops now complete, the district will begin the budget approval process with trustees during regular board meetings. As with all board meetings, community members are welcome to attend these meetings, and they can provide feedback at the input portion at the start of board meetings. As part of the approval process, public participation is part of board meetings before trustees approve or deny a budget and, later, approve or deny the tax rate.

Employee compensation plan, staffing approved
Trustees approved the administration-recommended 2018-19 compensation plan, providing a 2 percent raise - based on a paygrade's midpoint - to new and returning employees, as well as staffing requests.

Before approving the 2 percent raise, trustees looked at all options from a lack of change to the compensation plan to increases at 0.5 percent increments. They decided to approve the raise to remain competitive with area school districts, which helps attract and retain the best teachers and staff members possible.

In a related discussion item, trustees approved staffing requests for the 2018-19 school year. These approved requests are for new positions, such as adding additional reading specialists, campus technicians, speech pathologists, behavior interventionists and more. Before providing the since-approved requests, departments reduced their original requests in an attempt to help the district save money while also best meeting the needs of students.

District's new strategic framework approved
Trustees approved Northwest ISD's new strategic framework, which was created from the input of students, teachers and staff. Panels of these stakeholders set out to update the district's goals, mission statement, vision and more.

Those involved in the creation of the framework said it needed to be updated to emphasize Northwest ISD's development of the "whole child" - including academics, physical and emotional health, character and all other aspects. The 2018-22 strategic framework is similar to the district's previous strategic framework - which was scheduled to last from 2014-18 before being reviewed this year - with additional language to emphasize the development of the whole child as well as personalized learning opportunities.

"I want to thank everyone who participated in this summit," said Dr. Ryder Warren, superintendent of schools. "Your work helped ensure that our revised Strategic Framework reflects our community's desires for education in Northwest ISD. Their feedback was invaluable, and I cannot thank our community enough."

To see the strategic framework, click here. This framework will now guide all decisions made by the district, just as the previous strategic framework did. Above all else, the core belief that kids come first will continue to steer the district's decisions.

Those involved with the framework creation process said it was a valuable experience and were excited to help the district.

"I felt honored to be a part of a process where my voice, the student's voice, was just as important as any teacher or administrator in the room," said Logan Parham, a Byron Nelson High School senior. "I quickly learned why our school district is so successful: It takes every stakeholder's opinions and molds it into a Strategic Framework that benefits everyone."

For more information regarding Northwest ISD's new strategic framework, click here.

Ron Hastings sworn in, board leadership updated
Ron Hastings was sworn in as the school board's newest trustee at the meeting, and existing members Mark Schluter and Josh Wright were also sworn in to begin new terms.

Notably, Mr. Hastings' swearing-in returns the board to its full seven members, as he is filling a vacant seat. Mr. Hastings brings an educator's background to his new position, having served as a teacher in Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD before becoming a counselor in the same district. He later became an assistant principal at Northwest High School in 1999 before becoming associate principal, then the district's coordinator for counseling services. He ended his career in Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD as that district's director of counseling and campus support, retiring in 2017.

Overall, Mr. Hastings has more than 30 years of experience as an education professional.

In addition to adding a member, the trustees updated their leadership composition by unanimous votes. They selected Judy Copp as their new board president, Dr. Anne Davis-Simpson as their new vice president, and Lillian Rauch as their new secretary.

Trustees approve first package of work on Lance Thompson Elementary site
Trustees approved the first bid package of civil work on the site of Lance Thompson Elementary School in Harvest, which will allow the district to begin construction a month sooner than originally planned.

Examples of work involved in the first package include earthwork, landscaping, irrigation and utilities. With the approval, construction efforts on the Lance Thompson Elementary School site will begin in the next few weeks. Following the work of the first package, the second package will include aspects such as drilled piers and concrete paving. District facilities staff will present trustees with information on bids for the second package at a June board meeting.

Lance Thompson Elementary is scheduled to open for the start of the 2019-20 school year. To learn more about the school's namesake, click here. To learn more about the school's design, click here.

In other action, the board
  • Extended the contract for AlphaBest to continue operating the district's after-school services for elementary students. It will continue to operate these services through at least July 31, 2019.
  • Recognized the district's elementary Writers of the Month for being selected by their schools for excellence in writing.
  • Recognized Pike and Wilson middle schools, Thompson Elementary School and the Outdoor Learning Center for earning Project ADAM distinction for heart safety.
  • Recognized staff members who take part in Junior Achievement, a program that allows students to gain business and entrepreneurship experience.
Eaton High School students led the pledge.
Eaton High School students led the pledge.
Trustees recognized students from all elementary schools named elementary Writers of the Month.
Trustees recognized students from all elementary schools named elementary Writers of the Month.
Trustees recognized district schools that have received Project ADAM certification for heart safety.
Trustees recognized district schools that have received Project ADAM distinction for heart safety.
Trustees recognized educators who lead the Junior Achievement programs at their schools.
Trustees recognized educators who lead the Junior Achievement programs at their schools.