Quitman ISD becomes district of innovation

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Quitman school board trustees approved a plan for QISD to become a district of innovation at last week’s school board meeting. The unanimous vote approved the concept passed by the 84th Legislative session in House Bill 1842 which provides traditional independent school districts the opportunity to be designated as districts of innovation. To access these flexibilities, a school district must adopt an innovation plan.

Potential benefits of becoming a district of innovation include: local control where the district decides which flexibilities meet their local needs; customization with districts can create an innovation plan for a level of school, grade level or a single campus; autonomy where a district must submit a plan of innovation to the commissioner of education, but approval is not required; and flexibility where districts will be able to implement practices tailored to the needs of their students and community.

QISD has developed a five year district of innovation Plan beginning March 2018 and concluding March 2023, unless terminated or amended earlier by the Board of Trustees in accordance with the law.

Five areas of the QISD plan includes first day of instruction, teacher probationary contracts, designation of campus behavioral coordinator, inter-district transfer students and teacher professional development.

Concerning the first day of instruction, the district seeks greater flexibility to allow the District Calendar Committee to better balance the first and second semesters and provide more instructional days prior to state testing.

On teacher probationary contracts, the district would like to have the ability to renew the probationary contract on additional year period, for a maximum of two school years, for all teachers who are new to the district who have been employed as a teacher in public education for at least five of eight yers preceding employment by QISD.

In the area of campus behavior coordinator the district will decide which employees and systems to involve in maintaining student discipline rather than a single person designated as campus behavior coordinator. Disciplinary responsibilities will be included in an employee’s job description when applicable. Time and resources can be spent on fostering positive school culture and implementing multi-systematic prevention and intervention programs.

The district is seeking exemption from the one-year commitment in accepting transfer applicants and allows the district to rescind a transfer for students not meeting local transfer criteria at any time during the school year.

Concerning teacher professional development, the district will exercise local discretion in determining the areas of need, content, duration and frequency for professional development for its instructional and non-instructional staff.

Upgrades at Bud Moody Field were approved by the board. The football field parking area will be leveled and upgraded with asphalt, striping and more handicap parking spots. There will also be another entrance and exit added to the lot off of Morris Street. The parking lot improvements were awarded to Marcum Power Washing for $44,000.

The football field project includes: removal of all grass and re-crown the field; grading work; additional dirt work necessary; removing all curbs from the old track; install new drainage boxes and add additional piping for drainage if needed; relocate control valves to the south end of the football field; replace sprinkler heads and piping, add one additional station to visitor and home sidelines; and install Bermuda grass. The bid went to Deen’s Irrigation for $51,712.50. “Tommy (Deen) does nearly every bit of his work. I looked at the other company and they sub out a lot of their work,” Steve Schoon, QISD Maintenance Director said. “Tommy is ready to go to work and he did such a great job on our softball field.

Lance Morrow and Chrystal Ballard presented the case for buy Chromebooks for all junior high students. “Being a lifelong Bulldog always took great pride in knowing our school did whatever they could to make sure we had the best of everything,” Ballard noted. “I cannot begin to say what a wonderful opportunity this will be for our kids especially those who do not have access to wireless at home.” The board voted unanimously to buy the Chromebooks at a cost of $104,727 from SHI Government Solutions.

In other matters the board approved:

• District calendar for 2018-19

• TASB update 110.

• Budget amendments for walking track at Quitman Elementary School and softball field scoreboard.

• Suddenlink commercial service order and agreement.

• Inter-local agreement with wood county and QISD for may 5 General Election.

• Consent agenda of previous minutes, financial statement, check payments and donation.

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