Oct. 24, 2017
 
Northwest Board Notes: Oct. 23 Meeting
 
The Northwest Independent School District Board of Trustees met yesterday - Monday, Oct. 23 - 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 purchases land for future schools
Trustees approved the district's recommendation to purchase roughly 148 acres of land in Northlake for $6.7 million. The land is anticipated to be used for a future high school, middle school and stadium complex.

The land is located to the south of Mulkey Lane and west of Cleveland Gibbs Road. In terms of the district's geographic area, the land is located in the northern portion of the district, and the construction of schools here would provide long-term relief for Pike and Medlin middle schools as well as Northwest and Byron Nelson high schools.

Northwest ISD regularly purchases land to meet the requirements of the district's increasing student population. The district adds more than 1,000 students a year. There is currently no specific timeline for when schools on this land would open, as school construction is influenced by enrollment growth in different areas of the district and whether voters approve bonds funding construction.

Joeris named construction contractor for Elementary School No. 19
Joeris General Contractors has been named the construction manager for Elementary School No. 19, which is anticipated to open in 2019.

Construction is currently set to begin May 2018 at an elementary school site in the Harvest development in the northern portion of the district. The school will be the first to use Northwest ISD's new prototype elementary design, which will be used in the district's subsequent elementary school projects.

Elementary School No. 19 will be the district's second elementary school under construction, as the 18th is currently being built near U.S. Highway 287, F.M. 156 and Bonds Ranch Road in the southern portion of the district.

Construction delivery method approved for Byron Nelson addition, district natatorium
Northwest ISD will use a construction manager at risk delivery method for its Byron Nelson High School and district natatorium projects, as approved by trustees.

Byron Nelson High School's expansion is scheduled to begin construction in April 2018 and finish construction in phases from July 2019 through July 2020. The district natatorium is expected to begin construction in November 2018 and open in July 2020. A location has not yet been determined, but the district plans to find a central location to minimize distance schools have to travel to reach the facility.

Construction delivery method approved for Kelly Box Agricultural Science Center expansion, two elementary school renovations
Northwest ISD will use a competitive sealed proposal delivery method for its Kelly Box Agricultural Science Center expansion and Hatfield and Prairie View elementary schools' renovations, as approved by trustees.

The Kelly Box Agricultural Science Center will receive a small expansion and some renovations, with construction anticipated to begin in March 2018 and finish in September 2018. Timelines for Hatfield and Prairie View elementary schools' renovations are still being determined, as these will only include partial roofing upgrades and HVAC replacements.

Northwest ISD continuing with District of Innovation exploration
Trustees approved the district's plan to explore the Texas Education Agency's District of Innovation process, and the district will now form a committee and take input on possible options afforded by the program.

The TEA's District of Innovation distinction allows school districts to become exempt from some state requirements, such as some school calendar mandates, if included in a written plan. To become a District of Innovation, school districts must go through a process involving community input, a written plan, board approval and state approval. Many districts across the state have already applied for, been granted and used the District of Innovation distinction.

Northwest ISD will now begin formulating a plan in November by looking at what other school districts have done and what may work for this district. The plan would be presented to the board later, when they will provide input and decide whether to move forward, if the committee does determine it wants to become a District of Innovation.

Academic and professional reports presented
Trustees heard from Dr. Rob Thornell, deputy superintendent for curriculum and instruction, and Dr. Stephanie Espinosa, executive director of curriculum and staff development, with their reports on academic and professional development, respectively.

Dr. Thornell discussed how district students are exceeding requirements from the STAAR test and end-of-course exams as well as other factors, such as attendance. The majority of elementary schools achieved better areas of growth over the previous academic year, indicating improvement of up to 10 percent in different categories, such as math or reading.

Byron Nelson and Northwest high schools both improved their average SAT scores over the past three years. Similarly, participation in high-level courses such as AP math increased at both schools, and more students earned a 3 or higher on AP tests in both schools.

Dr. Espinosa discussed the ways the district supports its teachers and staff, including the district's professional learning team. The district's Professional Learning Framework is a comprehensive guide to professional learning opportunities within the district. The district strives to provide differentiated professional learning for teachers.

This year, the district's Engage professional learning institute offered 219 sessions to more than 800 attendees, where fellow educators shared their successful lessons and strategies. The majority of attendees - 98.8 percent - felt presenters conveyed material well, and a majority - 88 percent - wanted to learn more about their presenter's topic.

In other action, the board
  • Recognized the district's finance department for receiving the ASBO Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting and the GFOA Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting.
  • Recognized Martha Yorston for winning the GEM Award for her work providing support to district staff and community members.
  • Recognized AXA Advisors for serving in the district Adopt-A-School program, as the company has adopted Byron Nelson High School to support.
  • Recognized Sunfinity Solar for serving as a district Partner in Education.
  • Recognized LoanStar Home Lending for serving as a district Partner in Education.
  • Approved a resolution to further aid schools affected by Hurricane Harvey.
Prairie View Elementary School students led the pledge.
Prairie View Elementary School students led the pledge.
Trustees recognized the finance department for awards in financial transparency and accountability.
Trustees recognized the finance department for awards in financial transparency and accountability.
Trustees recognized Martha Yorston for winning the GEM Award for outstanding customer service.
Trustees recognized Martha Yorston for winning the GEM Award for outstanding customer service.
Trustees recognized AXA Advisors for supporting Byron Nelson through the Adopt-A-School program.
Trustees recognized Sunfinity Solar for serving as a Partner in Education.
Trustees recognized Sunfinity Solar for serving as a Partner in Education.
Trustees recognized LoanStar Home Lending for serving as a Partner in Education.