By Chris Edwards
WOODVILLE – At its regular monthly meeting on Monday, the Woodville ISD Board of Trustees had several presentations to get through before tackling its regular agenda.
To start things off, the board recognized four of its educators for the WISD “Teachers of the Year” awards.
The faculty members who were recognized were: Mandy Livingston (Elementary campus); Kristy Toronjo (Intermediate); Krystal Haynes (Woodville High School) and Kayla Conner (District-wide).
The board also recognized the Woodville Middle School One Act Play cast and crew members for their District-winning performance, along with director Melanie Spivey.
The students who were recognized were: Makennah Fowler, honorable mention in the cast; Karson Weaver, honorable mention – cast; Sophie Hill, top performer; Kelsi Risinger, all-star cast; Rhea Williams, all-star crew; Ruby Shirley, honorable mention in the cast and Mollie Scarberry, top performer.
Following those presentations, public hearings were given to outline WISD’s annual performance report for the 2021-22 school year.
Curriculum Director Ashley Weaherford presented the performance report, which used eight sections to gauge the district’s overall performance; ranging from financial performance to accreditation. The accreditation section was absent from the 2021-22 performance report, Weatherford noted, due to Texas Education Agency (TEA) not requiring it after the pandemic height of 2020-21.
Overall, Weatherford said WISD is “making lots of progress,” despite a C rating. “We are headed in the right direction,” and noted the climb back from the pandemic regarding education variables.
Weatherford also presented on the district’s ESSER funds and noted that the available round of the grant funds will end September of 2024.
One expenditure the board greenlit for Business Manager Cody Jarrott to complete the purchase of during Monday’s meeting was the purchase of a 14-passenger activity bus.
The funds will come from the district’s third round of ESSER money, and Jarrott said the district had two quotes on two different vehicles, one that is gas-powered for $83K and another, with an Eco Boost engine, for $91K. He said a third bid is what the district is awaiting, and once received, will proceed with the purchase, after the board’s approval on Monday.
Another presentation that was delivered prior to the regular agenda came from WISD Superintendent Lisa Meysembourg. Meysembourg presented an update on the design process for the forthcoming new Woodville Elementary School campus and the CTE building.
Meysembourg said that an initial design, rendered in January, had to be modified, due to some features that went outside the project’s budget.
The floorplan Meysembourg presented, along with renderings of the front of the new WES building, displayed a campus with high-security features, along with thoroughfares designed for more than 200 cars to be able to pick up students in the pick-up lanes.
“We are making sure logistically we have good traffic flow for cars and buses,” Meysembourg said. She added that a route planned through the middle of the plot of land sets it up for any future development, which could come “20 years later, or whenever,” she said.
One feature that was included in the new design’s floorplan is to move the district’s IT facilities to the new elementary campus, however, if the district cannot afford to do so, as an alt-bid item, it will remain housed in its current location.
Another feature Meysembourg highlighted was that one wing of the building will serve as a shelter in the event of catastrophic weather.
Meysembourg said the final plans will be approved when the district gets close to budgeting time.
Health Education Curriculum approved
One item under the list of action items on Monday’s agenda was for WISD to adopt a new health education curriculum, which includes content on sexuality.
The district’s nursing and health services director Kara Davis delivered a presentation on the recommended curriculum, “Just Say YES (Youth Equipped to Succeed)”, which she broke down, via a slide presentation, as to what type of topics would be covered, grade-by-grade.
The instruction would begin in the fourth grade, and be grade-level appropriate, she said. Other factors, she noted, is that the program, which utilizes expert guest speakers to come to campus to speak to the students, is also tailored to community appropriateness, and the upper-level classes that address sexuality in more detail emphasize marriage and long-term monogamous relationships regarding sexual activity. The cost to the district for the program, annually, is $5,400, and it was approved, with all but Josh McClure voting for it.
McClure addressed concerns he had, following Davis’s presentation, as to whether or not students might be pressured into taking the class. Davis said the students will not be allowed to take the instruction, unless permission is signed by a parent or guardian.