Devine ISD talked about Chromebooks, hot spots, cyber security career readiness, and the possibility of a walking/talking graduation, contract renewals, and a survey about a program utilizing teachers and administrators to carry guns on campus through a program called Guardian during their monthly meeting. The regularly scheduled meeting for the Devine ISD school district was held online this past Monday April 20, 2020.
88% want Guardian Program
Grandjean pointed out that the Guardian plan was as he said, “Rock n’ and roll n’.” Out of 589 responding to the survey, 88% said they would support a Guardian Program in the district and 11% said they were not in favor.
Speaking first, Dr. Grandjean presented his superintendent’s report to the board.
100 Chromebooks on the way
He spoke of delays in technology orders and acquisitions due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Delivery of 100 Chromebooks, ordered earlier this year, has been delayed with the onset of the COVID-19 virus.
To enhance the new distance educational model for students, Special Programs Coordinator, Mrs. Beadle, in conjunction with the Mr. Garza, Director of Technology have ordered hotspots that will be placed in the parking lots at the elementary and intermediate campuses. The hotspots will allow parents and students to access the district Wi-Fi as they pull into the school parking lots. In this way assignments can be downloaded to their computers, taken home for completion, and brought back and uploaded for turn-in. They are also working with another school district to provide hot spots for other areas in the district. Dr. Grandjean spoke of personally going out to areas in the district where students may have connectivity issues and some need of technology, like Bigfoot, Gusville, Great Oaks and Transportation Drive.
Grandjean pointed out that it was “contract recommendation day” and in reference to this topic he spoke of his goals to maintain highly qualified teachers in the district and retain staff. He also spoke of working with Region 20 to establish an accountability system training program for district school administrators. “Because,” he said, “For us to start making moves from being great to even greater, we all need to have an astute understanding of the Texas Accountability System and how it works.” Texas school ratings and state financial support is directly tied to the Texas Accountability System.
New Career Readiness
Regarding career readiness programs in the high school, Dr. Grandjean introduced a new career preparation program for Cyber Security that is planned to start next year. The program is available through Region 20 and an extension of Carl Perkins grant money. Through the program an instructor for the district program would be certified as well.
“As we know Cyber Security is one of the fields that has a shortage and could be a great opportunity for some of our students, ” Grandjean pointed out.
Refunding via lower interest
He reported on the results from district refunding that was approved at a previous meeting. In the meeting they had agreed that they would not take any action on refunding unless they were able to get an interest rate lower than 3%. The original rate was 4.158%. They were successful in that they were able to refund at a rate of 2.351% interest rate. This will give the district around $164,000 in savings over the next 14 years.
Graduation 2020 plans
Regarding a graduation program for the 2020 Seniors he reported that at this time they plan to have a “walking/talking” graduation program. He said they were waiting to hear from the commissioner report on Tuesday to start putting together their plans and set a date so that students and parents can possibly start creating their own plans.
Remote Learning Guidelines
He ended by pointing out that the Remote Learning Guidelines had been posted and he has not heard any negative feedback on the plan. Board member, Chris Davis, shared a text from a parent that he had received on the program that said, “I’m not sure who came up with this but I think it is awesome and fair. If you had anything to do with it, thankyou.”
$40,360 for student insurance
Board president Nancy Pepper introduced the items on the consent agenda which were approval of the board minute and renewal of the student athletic and catastrophic insurance purchase in the amount of $40,360 from The Brokerage Store. Carl Brown made a motion to approve the items which was seconded by Keri James. Motion was approved unanimously, 7-0.
The first Action item of the evening was to approve the food service contract with Southwest Food Service Excellence,(SFE). Jaime McLaurin with SFE, and Director of Nutrition for Devine ISD, reported that they had recently opened three new meal distribution sites in the district, one in Bigfoot, another close to Viva Zapata restaurant, and a third by the old Independent Grocery Store location. She also reported that in March they had served 4,638 meals and that so far in April they had served 4,921 meals to students. They have been able to keep all staff employed and safe during this time by rotating them in shifts of 3 for each serving period at all locations. She also pointed out new popular menu items and special programs they had introduced this year. A motion to approve the contract was made by Phillip Fitch and seconded by Carl Brown. Motion carried with a unanimous vote of 7-0.
Booster Scholarships increased
Second action item, as presented by Abigail Bendele, was to consider and take possible action regarding request for both the Athletic Boosters and Band Boosters to be able to increase the amount of the their scholarship funds to $2,500. The Athletic Boosters plan to give 20 scholarships totaling $2,500 this year. The Band boosters are still in the process of scholarship submissions, but want to increase their total amount to $2,500 as well. The current scholarship amount for both organizations is currently $2000. The motion was made to approve the increase by Carl Brown and seconded by Henry Moreno. Motion approved unanimously, 7-0.
Third action item was to approve the 2020-21 Instructional Calendar as presented by Daryl Wendel who pointed out the details of how they came up with the recommended calendar. A motion was made to approve the calendar by Phillip Fitch and seconded by Keri James. Motion approved unanimously, 7-0.
The fourth action Item also presented by Daryl Wendel was to consider and take possible action to ratify textbook committee recommendations. A motion was made to approve the recommendations by Keri James and seconded by Henry Moreno. Motion approved unanimously, 7-0.
Contract and hirings
At 7:17pm the board went into closed session and return with 3 action items. They approved unanimously to extend the contracts of all professional employees as recommended by Dr. Grandjean. They approved unanimously to extend the contracts of all school administrators as recommended by Dr. Grandjean. . They approved unanimously the hiring of Tiffany Balencia to teach science, Tracey Carr for the position of counselor and Kendall Velazquez to teach ELAR.
By Candace DeJesus