Devine ISD receives B rating overall accountability, A rating on financial spending

Academic expectations and performance filled the agenda of the Devine ISD School Board meeting held on Monday February 24. This theme was underlined by individual recognition of UIL Academic and Band Students, a presentation of board priorities by newly hired Superintendent, Todd Grandjean, and capped off with a public hearing of the Texas Academic Performance Report, (TAPR) report card for Devine ISD.
Student Recognition
FCCLA Students presented community driven projects through which they will be competing at their State contest in the spring. Devine Middle School All-Region Band Qualifiers, DHS All-State Band Qualifiers, UIL Solo and Ensemble State Qualifiers were presented by Tom Settles (DMS Band Director). District UIL students from the Elementary, Intermediate and Middle school campuses were presented by Campus UIL Directors Nicole Lafond, Melody Riou and Greg Geries. All three enthusiastically praised student academic performance in the contests that brought home the 1st Place UIL Academic Team trophy for all three campuses.
Board Priorities for Success
Superintendent Todd Grandjean presented a monthly report on Board Priorities. They are as follows:
1. Increase student success and continue a tradition of student achievement
2. Continue successful partnerships with the community, teachers and parents to support our schools and achieve student success.
3. Align facilities and technology improvements with needs and career opportunities
4. Maintain Highly Qualified teachers and retain staff
5. Increase trade career opportunities and continue to develop enhanced technology resources for all students

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Public Hearing on TAPR, Special Ed Compliance and Safety
In the 2019 TAPR, Devine ISD received a B rating for overall accountability and meets requirements determination status for Special Education. Assistant Superintendent Daryl Wendel and Director of Special Education Valerie Dykstra presented a public hearing on the report for the district. TAPR provides performance information about every public school and district in the state. It provides a comparison of student performance on each campus in reading, writing, math, science and social studies. It also looks at other student success indicators that include career readiness, attendance, graduation and drop-out rates. While the B rating does mean there is room for improvement, there are various positive marks for Devine students. TAPR shows that Devine students perform above the state and local average in participation, attendance, graduation rates, dual credit classes, career or military readiness and career and technology courses taken while maintaining a much lower drop out rate. The TAPR also awarded the district an A rating for their financial spending.
In closing his TAPR presentation, Assistant Superintendent Daryl Wendel pointed out that along with looking to the information found in the report for an understanding of overall district performance along current state grading structures, “We are also always looking to insure that we get each student a full year of educational growth and achievement,” he added.
HVAC and Lighting Project Update
The district is in the process of upgrading their HVAC and Lighting infrastructure to include energy saving installations throughout the district. Cameron Hollomon of the Way Companies reported that the HVAC mechanical units were 85% completed, the lighting installations are 95% complete and they are set for a post-inspection of the project on March 3, 2020.
Board Action Items
Darren VanFossen, Director of Operations and Custodial Services at Devine ISD asked the board to consider and take possible action to approve application for payment #3 in the amount of $206,409 to the above-mentioned Way Companies for their HVAC and Lighting work being done for the district. Motion to approve was carried unanimously, 7-0.
Motion to approve was also unanimous, 7-0, for the purchase agreement for the TASB Energy Cooperative Member Purchasers Fixed-Rate Transportation Fuel Program as presented by Shannon Ramirez, Director of Finance for the district.
Closed Session
The Board entered closed session to discuss personnel, superintendent’s goals and evaluation instrument, implementation of security personnel or devices and discussion surrounding purchase, exchange, lease or value of real property.
The board reconvened in open session at 10:05 p.m. Carl Brown moved and seconded by Henry Moreno to adopt 2020 Superintendent’s Goals and Evaluation Instrument as presented. Motion carried unanimously, 7-0. Henry Moreno moved and seconded by Keri James to adjourn. Motion carried unanimously, 7-0. Meeting adjourned at 10:06 p.m.
The next DISD School Board Meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 23 at 6:30pm at the Devine ISD Administration building at 605 W. Hondo Ave., Devine, Texas. Board members in attendance were Nancy Pepper, Renee Frieda, Henry Moreno, Keri James, Carl Brown, Philip Fitch and Chris Davis.
By Candace De Jesus
Staff Writer

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