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Agency hired to staff, train substitutes

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Livingston ISD LogoThe Livingston school board entered into a contract with a staffing company for substitute teachers, heard an update on a junior high afterschool program and approved a plan for funds in the monthly gathering for October.

Fred Bentsen with management and staffing company Education Support Services ESS presented a plan to take over substitute teacher operations for the district. The company provides solutions to education staffing and currently offers the service to Denton, East Central, and Lufkin ISDs among their 23 in Texas. They currently serve over 800 districts in 30 states, which support over 4 million students daily.  

As part of the service, they pay their employees weekly and give more support to substitutes by offering affordable health insurance and handle the recruiting process, background checks, training, liability, and payroll services for districts.  The Livingston board approved a contract with ESS, scheduled through June 2022.F. Sunnie Frazier, junior high campus coordinator of the Boys and Girls Club afterschool program, gave a progress report to the board. The afterschool program serves primarily 35 sixth-grade students at Livingston Junior High from 3-6 p.m., Monday through Friday. 

The program has a capacity of 150 students, and they are beginning to reach out to parents of seventh graders about joining. The program targets “bubble” students who are one standard deviation above or below the STAAR test passing rate. They began with sixth graders, so that they may benefit from attending the program all three years while enrolled at the junior high. 

The afterschool program helps students focus on fine-tuning academic skills. Recently, they have worked on dictionary skills and journaling to improve creative writing. Sixth grade world history teachers are collaborating with the afterschool program and a “traveling around the world” activity, where students have their own “passports” and receive stamps when successfully completing tasks. The goal is to visit Asian countries in the fall term and European countries in the spring, coinciding with the sixth-grade world history curriculum. 

Students also participated in a cooking activity Friday as they completed their segment on Germany by making German Pfeffernüsse cookies. Sixth grade math teachers have applauded the recent achievements by students engaging in afterschool activities.  The afterschool staff incorporated math facts in all daily activities and found that students were making improvements in their classroom          performance.  Students engage in enrichment activities every day, which include soccer and basketball. The afterschool program is funded through a five-year grant from Texas Education Agency, but Frazier emphasized, “The program doesn’t have to end in five years.  If additional funding can be found, the program can continue. The Texas Education Agency measures factors of student improvement by evaluating ELA test scores and attendance.”  

The goal for the spring semester is to double the enrollment to 60 students taking advantage of the program. During the summer, the Boys and Girls Club will allow attendance of 150 students that continues for six weeks, from late June through July, 8 a.m.-3 p.m., Monday through Friday. In addition to academic support, the summer program also includes field trips and sports clinics.

LISD Chief Academic Officer Janan Moore presented information on Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER II) funds during the public hearing. The board approved the ESSER II budget, which includes a 4% retention stipend along with other salary costs. Money will be allocated to technology devices and software programs to increase student learning. ESSER II funds also include indirect costs associated with district operations. 

Also approved was the consent agenda, comprised of the financial statement, payment of bills, overnight trips, and the 2021-2022 district improvement plan. 

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