SSISD adds 4 staff days to next year’s calendar
Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

Jan. 9, 2007 - The District Wide Advisory Council’s meeting Wednesday, Jan. 17, will include time spent drawing up a calendar proposal to be presented to the school board for approval during the February board meeting.

�We�ve asked for four additional days of staff development next year so teachers will not have to be out of the classroom so much,� Superintendent Patsy Bolton said Wednesday morning.

The TEA approval of the staff development waiver was announced during Monday night’s regular school board meeting.

Also during that session, the board also heard an update from the project manager and architect for the construction projects at Sulphur Springs High School and Early Childhood Learning Center.

He indicated the project is progressing on schedule, which could see the projects finished in time for at least part of the new areas to be viewed during the campuses’ open house nights held the first week of March in conjunction with Texas Public Schools Week. 

This month, by proclamation from the governor, is School Board Recognition Month. Bolton expressed appreciation to the school board members for volunteering their time for the benefit of SSISD students.

�Serving on a local school board is no easy task, especially in today�s climate of change and economic uncertainties. It�s a hug responsibility, one which has an effect on virtually every aspect of our schools. In January, we encourage our campuses and community to help honor the contributions and dedications of our local school board members. These locally elected citizens, who work without pay, make decisions that influence and direct the education of our youth,� Bolton noted.

She also encourages community members to “take a moment to thank our local school board members for making the time to share their vision and voice about the future of our children. We proudly salute these education advocates as they provide leadership for student achievement, academic programs, district funding and school districts.”

Bolton also noted that many of the school board members have varied backgrounds in education, or serve in other important positions in the community. Board President Judy Gillem, Vice President Foy Williams, Secretary Carolyn Thomas, board members Jack Chubb and Jacquelyn Brice are all retired educators. Board member Norman Sanders is a law enforcement officer and Don Sapaugh is a banker. 

�These folks serve on the board of education because they are interested in providing the best education possible to the students in Sulphur Springs. Their deliberations and decisions are always focused on �what�s best for the kids,�� Bolton said.

During an executive session, the board reviewed the superintendent’s performance and voted to add another year to Bolton’s three year contract, extending it through the 2009-2010 school year.

The board, following the closed session also approved Shawn Carter to replace Fred Weeks at Houston Learning Center. Jamie Lawson will be teaching math and science in place of Betty Lawson, who left the Douglas Intermediate School post to accept the position as PEIMS and assessment coordinator.

Angela Edwards was also approved to serve as the coordinator for a transition preparatory program for which the district received a $250,000 grant. Edwards will work with her replacement as a Bowie Elementary first grade teacher for a period of time to ease the transition for her students.

The grant will take effect next month, and will involve a cooperative effort with Cumby Independent School District and Como-Pickton Consolidated Independent School District, as well as at least two local day care facilities.

�We are the only district in our service area to receive this,� said Sherry Garrard, SSISD Grants Coordinator.�

The program will partner the school districts, who had already submitted school readiness intervention program form, and have pre-kindergarten and/or Head Start programs. 

�The goal is for all children to enter school ready to learn and be very successful,� Garrard said. �Pre-K and Head Start will be extended to day care facilities. We�ll start with Ms. Mona�s. ... it will help expedite all the documentation a teacher does and also accelerate student learning. The younger they are the more they absorb like sponges.�

The grant will purchase instructional supplies and curriculum, provide training and teach Edwards to train local staff, and involve Region VIII representatives Phyllis Roundtree and Nina Williams, as well as the community. The program is also a pilot program conducted in the state which will help TEA develop prekindergarten and kindergarten accreditation.

�We are excited. We will receive information and training and support through Circle [curriculum developed by early childhood education specialist Dr. Susan Landry] that few school district in Texas have access to,� Garrard said.

In other matters during the Monday night school board meeting, the board approved the low bid for new band uniforms, modeled by high school band student Jordan  Owens.

Band director Charles McCauley explained that band uniforms generally have a six to eight year life span. The uniforms currently being used by the band are eight years old and in desperate need of replacement.

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