Unnamed Devine campus gets “random intruder detection audit”, results discussed at meeting

Devine’s Ciavarra Elementary Principal Magdelena Strickland said students and teachers are gearing up for UIL competitions, and discussed other campus intiatives going on.

By Anton Riecher
In his monthly superintendents report Todd Grandjean told the board that due to increased fentanyl overdoses in Texas the district is now stocking Narcan nasal spray at two campuses. The spray is administered to treat opioid overdose.
“We don’t feel we have a problem but better safe than sorry,” he said.
He also reported that he and assistant superintendent Daryl Wendel continue to conduct campus safety visits each week to monitor compliance with new state mandates and safety protocols.
Grandjean reported on a state mandated intruder detection audit conducted Sept. 19 by the Texas School Safety Center. Those conducting the audit were unable to gain access to the campus in question and, upon being granted access, were repeatedly questioned by faculty as to their reason for being there,
“Upon entering the front office they had to follow our safety protocols, the certain things required when you are a visitor,” Grandjean said.
No doors accessing the building were found unlocked or propped open, he said. However, one door lock to a secondary building failed to keep the auditors out. No students were present in the unnamed building.
Inside the school, auditors found one classroom door unlocked. The classroom was being used by teachers with no students present, Grandjean said.
The TSSC requires that the results of the audit be revealed during a public meeting. However, a portion of the audit is discussed only in closed session. The board went into executive session to meet with TSSC school safety expert Robert Jaklich.
For full video coverage of the board meeting, visit the Devine News YouTube page at youtu.be/8E54GR5xoNI.
In other business, Abigail Beadle, district special programs director, gave a report on the English as a Second Language (ESL) program designed to teach English language skills students whose primary language at home is other than English.
“Devine ISD serves approximately 107 (ESL) students,” Beadle said. “When I started here that number was in the upper eighties so it has gone up quite a bit.”
Of those students identified as needing ESL services only 97 are signed up for the program, she said.
“What that means is we do have a handful of students whose parents deny services, which is their right,” Beadle said.
Ciavarra Elementary Principal Magdelena Strickland reported to the Devine ISD school board Monday. Teachers are busy coaching students at Ciavarra Elementary in preparation for the Dec. 9 University Interscholastic League competition.
“They are staying after school and having meetings to get ready,” Strickland said.
Four teachers have been assigned to help students of all grades prepare for the competition, she said. Specifically, second grade students are being coached on storytelling and creative writing, third grade students on storytelling and fourth and fifth grade students on numbers sense.
In addition, fifth graders are being coached on maps, graphs and charts, Strickland said.
In other developments at Ciavarra, first and second grade students have completed taking the mCLASS assessment, a means of measuring development of reading skills. Kinder students have also completed mCLASS assessment.
“Our reading interventionists are classroom teachers now have more data to identify students in need of small group instructions,” Strickland said.
Pre-kinder teachers have completed their teaching strategies assessment to better support their students through the learning process, she said. Each child gets nine different assessed areas – social, emotional, physical, language, cognitive, literary, math, science and technology, social studies and the arts.
The pre-kinder faculty have also completed a basic skills assessment in which students are tested for letter identification (upper and lower case), letter sound, positional words, colors, shapes, number identification, how high they can count and, finally, if students can write their first and last name.
Strickland joined two other Devine ISD principals – Kandi Darnell of Devine Middle and Michael Gomez of Devine Intermediate – in receiving special recognition from the school board in honor of National Principals Month.
“Principals are a vital part of our children’s education as they set the tone for their school by working collaboratively with teachers to set high academic standards, set performance goals and utilize best practices for achieving those goals,” Superintendent Todd Granjean said.
During the public comments portion of the agenda Nancy Saathoff of the Devine Ex Teachers Association took the opportunity to than the district for its help with this years’ homecoming celebration that included the 50th anniversary reunion for the Class of 1972.
“We had a wonderful event,” she said.
Saathoff also said she is acting as coordinator for the Youth Art Exhibit at the Devine Chamber of Commerce Devine Fall Festival on Nov. 5.
“Devine ISD is going to have over a thousand kids’ art represented on Nov. 5,” she said.
Previous to the Monday night meeting, the board met on Oct. 11 regarding a grievance complaint. The district released the following statement following the meeting:
“Renee Frieda moved and seconded by Chris Davis that the board has determined that the level 2 grievance was appropriately handled by Superintendent Grandjean. However, the Board wants to reaffirm to you our commitment to creating a culture within Devine ISD that supports the growth and development of every student.”
According to the Texas Education Agency, a level one grievance is a formal grievance submitted in writing to the school principal. The resulting action can be appealed to the superintendent as a level two grievance usually resulting in a conference related to the complaint.