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Key Agenda Items

Board Of Education Meeting Agenda

November 12, 2020

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

  • (A.3) Consideration And Approval Of The Federal Legislative Priorities For The 117th Congress, 1st Session, And State Legislative Priorities For The 87th Texas Legislative Session
  • (B.1) Consideration and approval to name Dr. Grenita Lathan as lone finalist for Superintendent of Schools
  • (B.2) Consideration And Approval Of Resumption Of Superintendent Search
  • (B.3) Approval To Accept Resignation Of Trustee Wanda Adams And Discuss And Consider Options, Timelines, And Procedures To Fill Vacancy In District IX By Appointment Or Special Election
  • (D.1) Approval Of District Improvement Plan For 2020–2021
  • (E.2) Approval Of The Executive Summaries Of School Improvement Plans For The 2020–2021 School Year
  • (F.1) Authority To Award, Negotiate, Execute, And Nonrenew Contracts For External Performance Campuses For 2021–2022 Through 2025–2026 School Years
  • (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 District-wide and School-Specific Programs

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

A.3 Consideration And Approval Of The Federal Legislative Priorities For The 117th Congress, 1st Session, And State Legislative Priorities For The 87th Texas Legislative Session (L)

HISD sets national and state advocacy priorities that reflect the needs and values of the district. These priorities guide district leaders as they meet with legislators and advocate for laws that would benefit the students in HISD. Priorities for this school year’s legislative sessions include measures that would provide additional funding for various district programs and measures that would address safety and instructional access during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. A full list of national and state priorities can be found on the District’s web pages dedicated to legislative advocacy.

B.1 Consideration and approval to name Dr. Grenita Lathan as lone finalist for Superintendent of Schools (C)

The Board will consider naming Interim Superintendent Lathan as the only finalist for the permanent Superintendent position. Dr. Lathan has held the interim position for over two years. The Board has considered other options for Superintendent in the past, including the brief appointment of Dr. Abelardo Saavedra, which triggered a TEA special investigation.

B.2 Consideration And Approval Of Resumption Of Superintendent Search (C)

The Board will consider resuming its search for a permanent Superintendent. In early 2019, the Board conducted a national Superintendent search, which was suspended by the District’s TEA appointed conservator before a candidate could be named.

Core Value Evaluation: Collaboration

For both item B.1 and B.2, the Board must work collaboratively in their decisions about the future of the superintendent position. In the past, this has proved to be a divisive, hot-button issue for the trustees, and we hope to see a measured, student-centered conversation this time around. Our evaluation of these items will be focused more on the discussion and process, rather than the resulting trustee votes.

B.3 Approval To Accept Resignation Of Trustee Wanda Adams And Discuss And Consider Options, Timelines, And Procedures To Fill Vacancy In District IX By Appointment Or Special Election (L)

The Board must consider options to fill the vacancy for the District IX trustee position, previously held by Wanda Adams, who is resigning following her election for Justice of the Peace. Due to timeline restrictions, the Board must appoint a trustee, rather than hold a special election, by December 12, 2020. Trustee Adams will continue to serve until her successor is chosen by the Board.

D.1 Approval Of District Improvement Plan For 2020–2021 (I)

Each year, the District is required by state law to submit a District Improvement Plan (DIP), a comprehensive, district-wide plan to support the improvement of student performance. The DIP is based on a needs assessment conducted by the district and data broken down by different student groups. Because the Board just passed their 5-year goals last week, this year’s DIP is not aligned to the new goals, but will be starting next year. The full version of the proposed DIP is on file with the district and can be requested by anyone interested in reading through it.

Core Value Evaluation: Impact

The District Improvement Plan guides district and campus staff for the next year in the improvement of student performance for all student groups based on state standards. The DIP is extensive and covers all areas that support student academics, including special programs for students specific groups of students, information about higher education admissions and career opportunities, dropout reduction, and professional development for staff. The Board must carefully evaluate the DIP to make sure it maximizes the supports all identifiable groups of students need from the district to reach academic goals.

E.2 Approval Of The Executive Summaries Of School Improvement Plans For The 2020–2021 School Year (I)

In additional to the DIP, the Board is charged with approving the executive summaries of individual School Improvement Plans (SIPs) each year. Each campus develops its SIP, a comprehensive, campus-level performance objectives. SIPs are reviewed by school support officers and area superintendents. Full versions of each campuses SIP will be available on the campus website after this item has been approved.

F.1 Authority To Award, Negotiate, Execute, And Nonrenew Contracts For External Performance Campuses For 2021–2022 Through 2025–2026 School Years (S, L)

Last June, the Board significantly revised its policy concerning charter campuses, strengthening the academic and financial oversight of external performance campuses and adjusting the timeline for renewing, contracting, and declining to renew charter agreements. The Board must consider 5-year contracts with charter organizations that have been recommended by the administration after a rigorous review process in line with the updated Board policy. Campuses not recommended for contracts will not be renewed by the district. This year, only two campuses, Young Scholars Academy for Excellence and Young Learners School, face nonrenewal. The administration will work with families from these campuses to consider other district enrollment options.

Core Value Evaluation: Leadership

Approval of new contracts for charter campuses is the first step in implementing the Board’s new charter policy. These 5-year contracts include much stronger financial and academic reporting than in the past and are subject to another in-depth review after year three of the contracts. The Board must approve these contracts and non renewals early so families have the opportunity to participate in the full scope of options in HISD’s school choice model. The deadline for the first wave of magnet school applications will be due soon, so delaying approval for this item will make it difficult for administration to give families from non renewed campuses the same consideration as other applicants.

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: AFMA, Inc dba Core Office Interiors; Gateway Printing & Office Supply, Inc.; Hertz Furniture Systems, LLC; Indeco Sales, Inc.; J. R., Inc.; Kaplan Early Learning Company; Kay Davis Associates, LLC; Lakeshore Equipment dba Lakeshore Learning Materials; Liberty Data Products, Inc. dba Liberty Office Products; Lone Star Furnishings, LLC; McCoy Rockford, Inc. dba McCoy Workplace Solutions; School Outfitters, LLC; School Specialty, Inc.; Smarketing Business Systems, Inc;. Staples, Inc. dba Staples Project & Commercial, LLC; Tesco Industries, LLC; Today’s Business Solutions; Wells & Kimich, Inc.; Worthington Project Furniture, LP; Genuine Parts Company dba NAPA Auto Parts; 4Imprint; Gameday Sports Apparel; J. Harding & Co.; Marketing Magic International LTD; MECA Sportswear, Inc.; Cypress Lawn & Turf Equipment Inc.; John Deere dba Deere & Company; MasterTurf Products and Services, Inc.; Pioneer Manufacturing Co. Inc. dba Pioneer Athletics; Professional Turf Products L.P.; Balfour Campus Supply; Taylor Publishing Company dba Balfour Publishing; Daikin Applied Americas Inc. dba Daikin Applied; Johnson Controls Inc.; Synovia Solutions, LLC; DePelchin Children’s Center; Southern Tire Mart, LLC; New Directions dba Bilingual Therapies; Cumberland Therapy Services, LLC; EBS Educational Based Services; Harris County Department of Education; Invo Healthcare; Gary D. Stromberg; Maxim Healthcare; Prime Healthcare Staffing; Specialized Assessment & Consulting, LLC; Therapia Staffing, LLC; Therapy Staff LLC; A Ambassador Limousine & Transportation, Inc.; Corporate Services International; GBJ Inc., dba AFC Transportation; Huerta Bus Service; Kerrville Bus dba Coach USA; Royal Carriages Limousine & Charters; Sam’s Limousine & Transportation, Inc.; A YANCY Life Transition Center; Brightways Learning; Center for the Collaborative Classroom; Cloud 9 World Corp.; EduGuide; Franklin Covey; Moving Forward Institute; NCS Pearson, Inc.; Rethink Autism, Inc.; Success for ALL Foundation; Brandt Constructors & Facility Services; Post Oak Construction; Westco Ventures, LLC; Propane Specialty Services LLC; New Direction Solutions dba Bilingual Therapies; EBS Educational Based Services ; lnvo Healthcare Associates; Maxim Healthcare Services; MCA Communications, Inc.; MCA Communications, Inc.; Longhorn Bus Sales, LLC; Masters Transportation, Inc.; Thomas Bus Gulf Coast GP, Inc.; Sports Field Solutions; Thomas Turfgrass; Houghton Horns, LLC; Jim Melhart Piano and Organ Company dba Melhart Music Center; TouchMatch Acquisition, LLC dba TouchMatch, LLC; Intrado Interactive Services Corporation; Montessori Connections LLC dba ETC Montessori

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: Houston Independent School District (HISD) Foundation on behalf of Capital One; HSPVA Friends; Lillie Robertson; Twain Parent Teacher Organization (PTO); Alliantgroup LP; Art Connect Houston; Bregman Cares / At Bats for Autism (AB for AUTISM); Ever PPE; Group One Automotive and Sterling McCall VIP Services; Kroger; Payless; St. Paul United Methodist Church; Tellepsen Family Downtown YMCA; HISD Foundation on behalf of The Brown Foundation; HISD Foundation on behalf of No Kid Hungry

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: Office of the Governor Criminal Justice Division; Texas Education Agency (TEA); U.S. Department of Education (USDE) through the TEA; U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs; Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation (MHOF); U.S. Department of Education (USDE); The Moody Foundation

Other agenda items to be voted on during the meeting:

  • (A.1) Approval of personal services performed by the Superintendent.
  • (A.2) Approval of the Board’s monitoring calendar, a schedule of presentations tracking progress toward the District’s goals.
  • (B.4) Appointment of a new Board Of Education representative to the SchoolSafety and Security Committee.
  • (D.2) Authority to negotiate and execute an interlocal agreement with Houston Community College for adult education programs.
  • (E.1) Approval of the updated 2020–2021 academic calendar.
  • (E.3) Approval of fall 2020 class-size waiver requests for Kindergarten through 4th grade classrooms that exceed 22 students.
  • (G.1) Consideration And Approval Of An Affiliation Agreement With Stephen F. Austin State University for field instruction of student teachers.
  • (H.1) Approval of waiver of the job order contracting project limit for field sports netting and batting cage fencing at Mirabeau Lamar High School.
  • (I.4) Approval of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for fiscal year ending on June 30, 2020.
  • (J.1) Approval of 2020–2021 internal audit goals.

Summary of the Meeting on November 5th:

On November 5, 2020, the Board met for its monthly agenda review meeting, where they voted on the second and final reading of their board goals and constraints, which will guide the district for the next five years. The Board has been working on these goals for a few months through a series of facilitated workshop and approved the first reading of the proposed goals at a special meeting on October 22, 2020.

The proposed goals included three required by the state for early literacy, early math, and college, career, and military readiness. They also included a goal centered around reading for special education students and a goal concerning literacy for economically disadvantaged kindergarten students. The full language of the proposed goals and constraints that the board considered can be found on the agenda for this meeting.

During discussion about the proposed goals, the board was divided on including the goal around literacy for kindergarten students, with proponents citing research about the importance of supporting students early to close achievement gaps and opponents concerned about adding stakes to assessments already being administered by the district for kindergarten students. The trustees voted 5 to 4 to remove this goal. With that change, the Board approved the 5-year goals with a 7 to 2 vote.

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. The closure of the district, while necessary to ensure the safety of the HISD community, has exacerbated inequities amongst students. The district has been offering both in-person and remote learning since October 19, as required by state regulations for funding. Many students have struggled with remote learning and will likely need additional supports to remain on pace with their learning before the pandemic. The addition of face-to-face learning comes with potential disruptions to maintain the safety of students and staff. With learning split between multiple models of instruction and students still facing uncertainty due to the pandemic, the Board must continue to receive updates from administration about what additional efforts are being made to ensure all students are able to safely continue their learning regardless of learning environment. To review HISD’s reopening plan, visit the district’s reopening page.

2. In June 2020, the Board approved changes to district policy regarding charter and other external performance contracts. As part of these changes, Board policy now requires the district to notify charter organizations if the district intends to revoke or fail to renew their agreements by October 31. The Board plans to consider the approval and nonrenewal of charter contracts at the November 12 board meeting as outlined above.

3. In June, the Board made a commitment to examine the role of police in the district to confront systemic racism and police violence against people of color. Considering the disproportionate discipline and forced interaction with police that students of color, especially black boys, face in public education, this is a pressing equity concern. Initially, the Board and administration were going to have a workshop on the topic in September, but experienced some delays. The committee is hosting this workshop tomorrow, November 10 at 5 pm. The agenda and ways to watch the workshop can be found on the Board website.

4. In the past, the Board has faced last-minute changes to the district budget and budget approval votes that cut close to the deadline for the district. Last year, the Board was able to pass a budget without delaying until the end of June, but this was the first time if several years. In order to ensure the budget is passed within a reasonable timeframe and not subject to late amendments, the Board should set its budget priorities early to guide the administration in developing the 2021-2022 budget.