Board Notes: February 14, 2023

Presentations and Recognitions

Denton ISD’s Board of School Trustees recognized several groups and individuals at Tuesday night’s meeting, including three Denton ISD counseling staffs who received the Texas School Counselor Association’s (TSCA) CREST Award. The award is given annually to the top counseling staffs in the state.

Counseling staffs at McNair Elementary, Sam Houston Elementary and Rodriguez Middle School received the prestigious honor – marking the 12th consecutive year that at least one Denton ISD campus has received a CREST Award.

The Rodriguez Middle School counseling staff consists of Lead Counselor Stephani Mohon and Impact Counselor Michael Rooney. McNair Elementary’s counseling staff consists of Counselor Deanne Harrup, and Sam Houston Elementary’s counseling staff consists of Counselor Lacy Fraser.

Additionally, trustees also recognized Amy Lawrence, Denton ISD’s Director of Counseling Services. Mrs. Lawrence was a recipient of The Council of Women School Executives (TCWSE) Bravo Award, which is given annually to exemplary practitioners, innovative programs and initiatives that promote community and parent involvement.

Lastly, trustees recognized Marin Woodard, a second-year teacher at Ginnings Elementary as part of the board spotlight. Ms. Woodard strives every day to make math and science exciting for her fourth grade students, and her innovative teaching style engages students by “planting seeds” for each of them to explore opportunities and careers in the STEM field. 

Workshop Items

Discussion of Legislative updates for 88th Legislative Session
Trustees discussed the Board’s goals for the 88th Legislative Session, which include teaching and learning, culture and climate, growth and management, and opportunities for students. The district’s goals specifically are to develop and maintain a culture where learning remains our first priority, honor the dedication and professionalism of all staff, recruit, employ and retain high quality teachers, and support college, career, military and life readiness. Currently, of the 2,739 bills that have been filed, 421 of those are related to public education. 

Discussion of Employee Health and Wellness Clinic
Chris Bomberger, Executive Director of Child Nutrition and Benefits, presented and gave the Board an update on a district wellness clinic aimed at promoting physical wellness, mental health and social-emotional well-being to Denton ISD employees, spouses, and their dependent children.

Mr. Bomberger explained that in a survey to district employees, of the 743 participants, 74% indicated they utilized one of the district’s insurance plans. Additionally, a majority of responses indicated that their greatest obstacle in going to an urgent care clinic or primary care physician was cost or lack of time.

“Time is something we never get back,” Mr. Bomberger said. “For our teachers and instructors, this was the most heavily responded piece [to the survey].

This topic of a clinic is very crucial for our employees.”

The clinic, which would be operated Monday-Friday, would offer urgent care, primary care including chronic disease management, health improvement/wellness services and occupational health services. The clinic would be free for those with a PPO plan and $30 for everyone else.

Trustees later approved the clinic under the new business portion of the meeting. 

Report Items

Discussion of 2022-2023 calendar modification due to inclement weather
Due to the inclement weather that forced the district to be closed Jan. 31 through Feb. 3, Denton ISD presented a calendar modification to ensure students maintain continuity of learning.

The district adjusted Feb. 20 from being a staff and student holiday to a bad weather make-up day to comply with TEA expectations regarding make-up days. This will now be a full instructional day.

“Our options [for make-up days] were Feb. 20, take a day during Spring Break or come back after Memorial Day,” Denton ISD Superintendent Dr. Jamie Wilson said. “We went ahead and made an announcement as early as we could to let families know this is the best option. In preparation for this decision, we visited with several teachers around the district. They said we know we don’t like it, but we prefer this, and we need to capture some instructional time. We’re blessed to have two days to turn into instructional days before Memorial Day.”

The district will also utilize April 7 as a bad weather day, which will now be a full instructional day. The district proposed to modify the half day on March 22 to a full school day, modify the half day on April 19 to a full school day, and modify the half day on May 17 to a full school day to ensure compliance with minimum instructional minutes.

“The proposed calendar has two primary goals,” Denton ISD Area Superintendent Charlene Parham said. “The first goal is for the continuity of learning for our children. Two is to remain eligible for state waivers. We have to have two bad weather make-up days in our calendar in order to remain eligible for state waiver days.”

While eligibility for state waivers is important, Dr. Wilson added that instruction is the most vital piece of the calendar modification.

“You can waive the days, but you can’t waive the learning,” Dr. Wilson said.