Weatherford Democrat

March 10, 2013

WISD board pleased with district’s safety, security directions


Weatherford Democrat

— Safety and security is a sensitive topic that continues to be at the forefront of discussion, and Weatherford ISD board members were pleased to hear the district has several processes in place to address these types of issues.

Grant Priess, WISD executive director of Safety, Security and Operations, presented a report at Tuesday’s school board meeting that included conducting additional safety drills, a stronger communication between the district and area law enforcement/first responders, and an increased awareness by staff members.

“Following the tragedy in Connecticut last December, the focus of safety has come forward again,” Priess said. “We asked our principals to revisit their emergency plans and to look for anything that the District could do in order to make our schools safer.”

Priess said one element that is included in the May 11 bond package is to include secure entries (vestibules) at the main entrances of each of the district’s 11 campuses.

“The secured entries would force visitor traffic directly through the office area before entering the main portion of the building,” Priess said. “This would be a much safer method than what some of our campuses currently have in place.”

Priess also said both he and the fire marshal are visiting each campus to help determine where the safest locations would be for students and staff to go in the case of a tornado, for example.

“There may be areas that are safer than we had once determined, so it never hurts to readdress these locations,” Priess added.

Additionally, Weatherford ISD and the Weatherford Police Department have teamed up to have uniformed officers make campus appearances during the day.

“They may be there five minutes, 10 minutes, or longer … but it’s the awareness piece that will make our students and staff members continue to feel safe,” Priess said.



Other business

In other action, Hall Middle School Principal Debbie Braudaway provided a campus report highlighting recent accomplishments by students and staff members so far this school year.

“Great things are happening at Hall,” Braudaway said. “We are continuing to ‘Cross the Line’ and will not be satisfied until we are able to reach every child.”

Braudaway said she and her staff have brought back the Roo Award of Excellence (recognizing kids who are working hard and trying their best), and the campus recently had a successful Curriculum Fair Night (purpose was to help students transition from elementary to middle school). Also, the school’s one-act play, “The Lottery,” took second place in UIL competition.

Weatherford ISD Director of Bands James Buckner informed board members he has been researching the need for new high school band uniforms.
The marching band’s current uniforms, he said, are about 12 years old and many are beyond repair.

“Our current uniforms are made of wool, and they are very warm and scratchy,” Buckner said. “The proposed uniforms are lighter, cooler, form fitting and are made from a polyester blend.”

Buckner also said prices for the newer uniforms are slightly less than traditional wool uniforms, but they still have about the same lifespan of around eight years.

Executive Director of Special Programs Patti Young followed Buckner by presenting her Departmental Work System Review.

“Eighty-five percent of our special education students are in one or more general education classrooms,” Young said. “We are so thankful that our Board, administrators and teachers believe in the inclusion process.”

Young also said her department’s mission statement is to “provide quality services and innovative resources to empower students with special needs to succeed in the global community.”



Approved

Trustees approved the following items:

• Adding First Financial Equity Corporation to the District’s list of authorized investment providers.

• Contract for election services with Parker County Elections Administration.

• Personnel retirements: John Allison, director Career and Technology Education (11 years with the district); and Linda Starnes, Ikard Elementary principal (41 years with the district).

• Resignations: Jonathan Banks, WHS Social Studies teacher; Janissa Ivy, Crockett Elementary Special Education teacher; Larry McBroom, WHS P.E. teacher/coach; Gale Niedermayer, WHS PASS teacher; Stephen R. Waller, WHS head football coach; and Kristiane Webb, Tison reading specialist.



Bullock advances

In 2011 as a fifth grader, Avery Bullock took second place in the Crockett Elementary spelling bee.

Last year, as a sixth grade student, Bullock took first place at the Crockett competition and was a contestant at the area spelling bee.

This year, Bullock not only took first place in the Hall Middle School Spelling Bee, but she also won first place in the Area Spelling Bee.

With that win, Bullock advances to the regional competition March 20 at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth.



Braudaway honored

Hall Middle School Principal Debbie Braudaway was the recent recipient of the 2012-13 Instructional Leadership Award presented by Tarleton State University in Stephenville.

This award is given annually to recognize the superior accomplishments of educators representing the 65 schools participating in the Effective Schools Project at Tarleton.

One administrator and one teacher are selected each year. Braudaway was the recipient of the administrator award.

In a previous assignment as an elementary principal, Braudaway was successful in leading her school to “Exemplary” status for five consecutive years.



Weatherford College Optimist Club

This newly formed club is comprised of local college students with a desire to make a difference in the community.

As a service project, the Weatherford College Optimist Club members volunteer at Hall Middle School, mentoring selected at-risk students who may benefit greatly from the guidance and encouragement of nurturing mentors.

To date, eight club members are mentoring a total of 18 seventh and eighth graders at Hall.

Their goals are to:

• Assist students to improve their grades in core courses.

• Encourage the students to develop to their fullest potential.

• Help the students develop their own vision for the future.

• Develop an active community partnership.

Members include Sunny Brous, Assistant Director of Housing, serving as an advisor; Teresa Hiser, president; Mark Davidson, vice president; and Jacob Thomas, Jake Mudge, Kelly Belding, Pender Morrow, Gracie Peck, Marissa Cabezuela, Mandy Fallin and Jonathan Horton. Dr. Molly Harris, speech and theatre professor at Weatherford College, is the club’s sponsor.