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Key Agenda Items

Board Of Education Meeting Agenda

September 10, 2020

*More details on each item and additional areas of concern during the COVID-19 pandemic can be found below the list.

  • (A.2) Approval Of A Resolution Concerning Virtual/Remote Instruction And Election Day Virtual Learning
  • (D.2) Approval To Modify Certain Requirements Of Board Policy DNA(LOCAL) In Light Of The COVID-19 Impact On Normal District Operations
  • (F.1) Consider and Take Possible Action to Approve the Formation of a Local Innovation Plan Committee to Draft a Local Innovation Plan
  • (I.1) Vendor Awards for Purchases over $100,000
  • (I.2) Donations for Districtwide and School-Specific Programs
  • (I.3) Grant Funds in Support of Districtwide and School-Specific Programs

Impact (I), Leadership (L), Equity (E), Stewardship (S), Collaboration (C)

A.2 Approval of a Resolution Concerning Virtual/Remote Instruction and Election Day Virtual Learning (L, I)

The Board will consider a resolution seeking approval from the state to extend the virtual learning transition period an additional four weeks through October 30, 2020 in light of the continuing risk of COVID-19. Additionally, the resolution would seek approval for an E-Learning Day for Election Day (November 3, 2020) to allow campuses to be safely used as voting centers.

D.2 Approval to Modify Certain Requirements of Board Policy DNA(LOCAL) in Light of the COVID-19 Impact on Normal District Operations (L)

The Board will consider approval of temporary changes to the requirements for the Teacher Appraisal and Development System in light of the shift to virtual instruction. These changes suspend the requirement that lesson observations for teacher evaluation be unannounced and at least 30 minutes in length. Virtual observations will be announced, at least 20 minutes in length, and will include a pre-conference. In-person observations will follow the existing guidelines.

F.2 Consider and Take Possible Action to Approve the Formation of a Local Innovation Plan Committee to Draft a Local Innovation Plan (I)

The Board will consider moving forward with the process of designating HISD as a District of Innovation (DOI). This item was originally on the agenda for August, but the Board postponed the vote to September. This vote would only be to initiate the process of appointing a committee to formulate the DOI plan. The Board will approve the list of committee members at a later meeting. The committee’s proposed DOI plan requires approval from both the Board and the District Advisory Council. The DOI plan drafted by the committee would be limited to the constraints the Board set in May 2020 in its DOI resolution, which only allows for exemptions from state requirements for the first day of the school year, certification for teachers in Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses, and minimum attendance necessary to receive course credit. Learn more about Districts of Innovation.

Core Value Evaluation: Impact

District of Innovation status allows school districts the flexibility to provide innovative solutions to meet the needs of their students, schools, and community. As of right now, most of the districts in our area are DOI districts that have the flexibility to start the school year a week or two before HISD, which gives their students additional time for learning, helps combat summer slide for students not getting enrichment during the summer months, and gives teachers additional time to prepare students for state exams. HISD does not, leaving our students behind their peers in other districts. Moving forward with the DOI process allows a committee of teachers, school leaders, and community leaders the opportunity to create a DOI plan constrained by the resolution the board passes.

I.1 Vendor Awards for Purchases over $100,000 (S, L)

The Board needs to approve vendor awards greater than $100,000 and ratify vendor awards under $100,000.

Vendors: Brigade Fire Solutions, LLC; Cintas Corporation No. 2; AED 123, LLC; HeartSafe America, Inc.; Henry Schein, INC.; Tactical Medical Solutions, LLC; Evolve Holdings, Inc.; Intrado Interactive Services Corporation; Mitinet, Inc.; Bailey Bark Materials Inc; Kaduceus Holdings Inc; Nasco Education LLC; Priefert Mfg Co Inc; Realityworks Inc; W W Livestock Systems W W Manufacturing Co Inc; Renzulli Learning, LLC; Nessy Learning LLC; ECT Montessori; Forecast5 Analytics, Inc.; CEV Multimedia, LTD; T-Mobile USA, Inc.; Oakwood Solutions LLC dba Conover Company; DFA Dairy Brands Corporate, LLC dba Oak Farms Dairy Houston; Coca-Cola Refreshments USA, Inc. dba Houston Coca-Cola Bottling Company; City Supply Co, Inc.; Edward Don & Co.; Pasco Brokerage, Inc; Southwest Texas Equipment Distributors dba: Mission Restaurant Supply; Balfour Company; Butler Business Products, LLC; Corporate Incentives; DBS Texas; J. Harding & Co.; Marketing Magic International LTD; SHI Government Solutions, Inc.

I.2 Donations for Districtwide and School-Specific Programs (S, L)

All donations greater than $5,000 must be approved by the HISD Board of Education.

Donors: Phillips Family Foundation and R. Maynard Holt III; Houston Independent School District (HISD) Foundation on behalf of the Kinder Foundation; HISD Foundation on behalf of Valero Energy Foundation; Christian Community Service Center (CCSC); Reliant, an NRG Company; Reliant, an NRG Company; Assistance League® of Houston; CCSC; Knowledge Arts Foundation dba TEACH; Hewlett-Packard

I.3 Grant Funds in Support of Districtwide and School-Specific Programs (S, L)

All grant funds greater than $5,000 must be approved by the HISD Board of Education.

Grantors: Hanban; Qatar Foundation International (QFI); Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts; Harris County Department of Education (HCDE) and the Education Foundation of Harris County

Other agenda items to be voted on during the meeting:

  • (A.1) Approval of personal services performed by the Superintendent.
  • (B.1) Appointment of HISD Representatives to the City of Houston Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone 8 Board Of Directors for a two-year term.
  • (B.2) Review and discussion of the Board Operating Procedures Manual compiled by the Board’s Ad Hoc Committee on Operating Procedures with feedback from the full board.
  • (B.3) Adoption of a resolution to designate a day in honor of Vanessa Guillén.
  • (D.1) Authorize the renewal of partnerships With AVANCE-Houston, Inc.; Gulf Coast Community Services Association; Harris County Department Of Education; and Baker Ripley, for Head Start Prekingergarten collaborative programs.
  • (D.3) Approval of the revised 2020–2021 local calendar for the Teacher Appraisal And Development System reflecting changes made to the academic calendar due to COVID-19.
  • (D.4) Approval of the revised 2020–2021 local calendar for the School Leader Appraisal System reflecting changes made to the academic calendar due to COVID-19.
  • (D.5) Authority to submit a final Attestation/Asynchronous Plan outlining virtual learning to the Texas Education Agency for state funding purposes.
  • (E.1) Approval to renew the contract between Meyerland Performing And Visual Arts Middle School and Harris County Protective Services For Children And Adults for the Community Youth Services Program.
  • (F.2) Approval to adopt Texas Education Agency Innovative Courses for use in Career and Technical Education Programs.
  • (L.1) Submission of the district’s quarterly investment report.

Areas of Concern:

Although normal school board operations have been interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, there are still items the school board must address and new areas of concern created by the current crisis. Houston GPS would like to highlight the following items:

1. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the HISD Board approved four emergency constraints last April to guide district administration in ensuring virtual student learning, as well as student and employee health and safety. The timeline for the progress measures designed to monitor these constraints expired in August and the Board originally planned to approve new progress measures last month. After the progress measures were delayed, the Board decided to forgo new measures for the emergency constraints and instead schedule a series of workshops to finish developing the Board’s goals, which will guide the district for the next five years, and move up the monitoring timeline for these more permanent measures. These goals are one of the most important responsibilities of the school board and deserve careful consideration, but the Board must work efficiently and collaboratively to keep to the necessary timeline to meet not only state requirements, but also the proposed monitoring start date.

2. The closure of the district, while necessary to ensure the safety of the HISD community, has exacerbated inequities amongst students. [email protected] H.O.M.E., the district’s online education portal, was launched to ensure student instruction could continue from home. The final Board monitoring report for its emergency constraints shows that throughout the spring and summer most of HISD students were not engaged with virtual learning through the [email protected] H.O.M.E. Clever Portal. As highlighted above, the most engagement HISD saw was 48% of students, which declined to 17% by the end of the school year. While this data does not capture some students who were engaged on other online platforms, it does show that HISD has struggled to reach students virtually and capture clear data for student engagement in online learning. With at least six weeks of virtual learning scheduled for this fall, the Board must continue to receive updates from administration about what additional efforts are being made to ensure all students are able to continue their learning remotely.

3. The HISD Board should terminate their legal actions against the TEA. The Board is using taxpayers’ dollars from unassigned funds, running HISD into a deeper deficit, to pay for their lawyers. Before the district stopped responding to public information act requests due to the COVID-19 closure, the Board reported a $283,575.63 bill for their lawyers, which ONLY covers April 2019 through December 2019. With delays in court due to COVID-19, the lawsuit has moved slowly. Although, the Texas Supreme Court might issue a ruling as soon as September 2020, there still remains the possibility of extensive litigation. Especially now, when the school district is facing hurdles with making sure students have access to instruction and basic necessities, the Board and district finances should be focused on our kids. The Board is currently posted to consider their engagement with O’Hanlon, Demerath & Castillo, the law firm handling the TEA lawsuit, at the September meeting. This is an opportunity for the board to decline further engagement with this external law firm.