Breckenridge Texan

BISD Board of Trustees honored for School Board Appreciation Month

BISD Board of Trustees honored for School Board Appreciation Month
January 30
16:00 2020

Students and faculty from throughout the school district honored members of the Breckenridge Independent School District’s Board of Trustees at their January meeting, as part of School Board Appreciation Month.

Breckenridge Junior High School art students presented the board members with clipboards decorated with Buckaroo green and various Buckaroo-themed designs. Then, first graders from East Elementary  read inspirational statements to the board and presented them with coffee mugs. Two North Elementary students read a poem and handed out flower pots and seeds. South Elementary brought a cake and a signed card from the students for the board members.

From Breckenridge High School, FFA students presented the board members with Buckaroo ornaments they designed and created in class. Additionally, students from the woodshop program presented wooden Buckaroo cut-outs made from the wood floor of the old high school.

Breckenridge Junior High School art students presented the BISD Board of Trustees with decorated clipboards in honor of School Board Appreciation Month. See more photos of the student presentations at the end of this article. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Campus Reconfiguration

During his Superintendent’s Report, interim superintendent Earl Jarrett talked to the board about the possibility of reconfiguring some of the BISD campuses, including a scenario that would close the North Elementary campus. Jarrett first broached the reconfiguration topic in November.

“Originally, I mentioned it because we’re at a disadvantage with the state accountability system because we have a campus that only has one tested grade,” he said. “North Elementary is a … second and third grade campus, and the third grade is the only tested grade. And, a big portion of the accountability system is ‘Are your students showing growth?’ Do they grow from one year to the next, a full year’s growth? So, you get some credit on the accountability system, even if they’re not quite on grade-level, if they’ve grown a full year. Because there’s only one (tested) grade on that campus, there’s no way to show growth. That’s the first tested year.”

The accountability system Jarrett referred to is the State of Texas’ system of grading schools and school districts based on scores on the STAAR (State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness) test, how much the school has progressed over the past year, how specific groups of students performed in relation to state goals, as well as other factors.

This year was the first year that individual schools received letter grades by the TEA. BISD received an overall grade of a “B,” but North and East received an “F,” Breckenridge High School received a “C” with a score of 79, and the junior high and South Elementary received scores of “D.” The district immediately implemented an improvement plan to try and remedy the situation. (Click here to read more about the accountability grades and the district’s plan.)

One issue with reconfiguring the campuses is that, after this year, the Texas Education Agency might not allow school districts to change up their campuses to “get around the accountability system.” Jarrett said that, based on conversations with TEA representatives, he thinks that after this year’s accountability ratings come out, the TEA will have new rules about when schools can and cannot reconfigure their campuses. This year, he said, TEA has already denied some districts that tried to combine campuses because of their accountability ratings.

Jarrett said that he has discussed the situation with other BISD administrators. “The administrative team asked if it’s not time to consider closing the North campus. That came from the administrators…should we not consider, as part of this, closing North due to the facility?”

The last time BISD buildings were re-roofed, North did not get a new roof.

One scenario Jarrett suggested is to make East Elementary have pre-kindergarten through second grade; South Elementary would have third, fourth and fifth grades; the junior high would be fore sixth, seventh and eighth graders; and the high school would remain a campus for ninth through 12th grades. North Elementary would not be used as a school.

“I’ve been thinking about this,” Jarrett said. “Strictly for accountability reasons, it might not be compelling, and strictly just for efficiencies, it might not be compelling. But, due to the timing of this window that we’ve got with TEA to adjust the campuses for accountability, then, maybe the two of those combine to create a compelling reason to think about it.”

Jarrett said he and the administrators were not ready to make recommendations to the board but would conduct more research into the situation, if the trustees wanted him to. “Obviously it’s a lot of work for a lot of people,” he said. “I guess what I’m asking is, would yall want me to even look into that, to run a study on the efficiencies of closing that campus, how it would affect accountability?”

A thorough presentation will be given at a later meeting, answering questions about how possible such a reconfiguration will be,  how much money the district would save if North is closed, how it would affect staffing, etc.

“Because that’s a big thing,” Jarrett said about the staffing issues. “As we discussed this, there were concerns by the administrators who may have been in the district several years ago when there was a reduction in force, and that’s an emotional thing. I have been through that personally, and some of the administrators have been through that. That’s never fun. You want to avoid it at all costs.”

The school district can’t reduce the number of teachers, but there might be a couple of service areas that might not need as many employees if the campuses are reconfigured, he said. “No more money than you would save, I would suggest … that you keep those people on with the understanding that you might not hire somebody back when you lose somebody,” Jarrett said.

Several of the board members asked questions about the various possibilities, and then affirmed that they want Jarrett and the administrative team to continue looking into the reconfiguration situation.

Highlights on Learning

In the regular section of the board meeting on “Making a Difference – Highlights on Learning,” Lynn Richardson, an eighth grade language arts teacher at BJHS, was presented with a certificate for her outstanding work in creating a successful program in her classroom using the StudySync  curriculum. She has used StudySync to create stations in the classroom so that students can rotate from station to station to enhance their learning.

School board president Graham Reaugh presents eighth grade teacher Lynn Richardson with the certificate from the Board of Trustees in appreciation for her work to help her students succeed in the classroom. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

February Professional Development Day

The Board of Trustees agreed to amend the current academic calendar to move a professional development day from Feb. 14 to Feb.28, so that the faculty can attend a workshop.

The original calendar for the 2019-2020 school year featured Feb. 14 as a professional development day for the Breckenridge Independent School District staff and a day off for the students. However, at their board meeting on Monday, Jan. 20, the BISD Board of Trustees approved a change to the schedule, moving the student day off to Feb. 28. All Breckenridge schools will be in session and following a regular schedule on Feb. 14.

The new schedule will be updated on the BISD website. Click the following link to download the revised schedule: BISD 2019-2020 Calendar-Revised

Other business

In other business, the school board decided:

  • to move the March board meeting to Tuesday, March 17, since the regular time for the meeting would be during Spring Break.
  • to approve the West Texas Food Service Cooperative 2020-2021 interlocal agreement
  • to take no action about installing a fence in the parking lot on North Liveoak Street to alleviate problems related to use of the parking lot that are affecting a homeowner until the homeowner can be presented with information about the fence.

The following students were honored as Students of the Month:

Myles Russell, a kindergarten student, is honored as the East Elementary Student of the Month by Principal Barbara Collinsworth and his teacher, Laura Thomas. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Brenda Palacios receives a certificate as North Elementary’s Student of the Month from Principal Prairie Freeman. Brenda is a third grader in Lori Durham’s class. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Kendra Palacios, a fifth grader in Stephanie Skiles’ class, is honored as the South Elementary Student of the Month by Principal Kenna Rainey. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Zaea Ragle, an eighth grader, is honored as the Breckenridge Junior High School Student of the Month by Principal Mary Perkins and teacher Chelsea Escalon. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

East Elementary students read inspirational passages to the BISD Board of Trustees in honor of School Board Appreciation Month. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

North Elementary students read a poem to the BISD school board. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

The Breckenridge High School woodworking class created Buckaroo wooden cutouts for the school board members. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

 

Story by Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan

Cutline top photo: Breckenridge FFA students McKenly Roberts and Rylan Sims, along with their teacher Austin Hanna, presented Buckaroo ornaments to the school board members, including Paul Lippe, pictured shaking hands with Rylan. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

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