February 27, 2019 Board Meeting Summary

Board honors outstanding students and educators

Student Innovation Challenge

Four Lowery Freshman Center students were selected to participate in the Student Innovation Challenge at the TASA Midwinter Conference in Austin. The program was sponsored by the DLR Group. Four teams of ninth-graders produced a video based on a challenge presented by DLR. Teacher sponsors for the project were Dawn Geshwender and Carrie Rivera. The students included Giana Abraham, Alison Goridkov, Alex Kretzschmar and Tariq Mahamid.

All-State Musicians

The Texas Music Educators Association announced the selection of 14 Allen ISD students for positions in this year’s All-State music groups.

Band and choir students completed the audition process on January 12 and Orchestra students were notified of their selection in late November. These students then rehearsed with outstanding guest conductors prior to a concert before the TMEA membership on Feb. 16 in San Antonio. The 2019 All-State Selections are:

Band

  • Lowery Freshman Center – Bryan Chen
  • Allen High School – Gavin Bell, David Chen, Lucinda Gatesman, Gabrielle Harvatin, Ethan Mathew, and Hope Merriam

Orchestra

  • Lowery Freshman Center – Grace Droge
  • Allen High School – Joie Cheng, Edward Cho, Wenting Du, Lauren Jin, and Nicholas Payne

Choir

  • Allen High School – Mia Rodriguez

Regional Elementary Science Fair

Elementary students from Allen ISD competed in the Elementary Regional Science Fair on February 4 and 5. The regional fair is an opportunity for students grades 1 through 6 to compete against students from nearby areas. Allen ISD had 40 projects advance from the district fair, and of those 15 projects (16 students) won a regional award. View the board book to view the entire list of Allen ISD students who received an award.

Employees of the Month

Each month, the Allen ISD Human Resources Department recognizes one elementary teacher, one secondary teacher, and two district employees (anyone other than a classroom teacher) as the Employees of the Month. The monthly recognitions are sponsored by The Foundation For Allen Schools and Credit Union of Texas.

The Board of Trustees was proud to recognize the following honorees:

  • Elementary Teacher of the Month: Megan Patterson at Green Elementary.
  • Secondary Teacher of the Month: Keith Hyatt at Allen High School.
  • Employee of the Month: Caleb Straughan in the Facilities Department.
  • Employee of the Month: Jesika Goodson in the Transportation Department.

Board Receives Demographer’s Report

The Board of Trustees received a demographic update from Brent Alexander with School District Strategies. Mr. Alexander discussed the new home activity report and long-term enrollment projections for the district, and focused on the new residential projects that are scheduled within Allen ISD’s boundaries.

Allen ISD’s enrollment reached a record high of 21,494 students in the Fall of 2018, and has grown by 1,218 students over the past five years. In 2018, new home builders started 735 homes (most in 10 years) and closed 630 homes (-10% vs 2017). The demographer expects enrollment growth to continue, with a low forecast of an additional 401 students, a moderate forecast of 984 students, and a high forecast of 1,278 students over the next five years.

Board Receives Updates on Texas Legislature

Dr. Maroba Zoeller, Chief Governmental Relations Officer, and Deron Robinson, General Counsel, provided an update to the Board of Trustees on the 86th Session of the Texas Legislature. Dr. Zoeller and Mr. Robinson updated the Board on several education-related bills, including Senate Bill 3 that aims to provide full-time classroom teachers with a $5,000 raise in 2020. As currently written, the bill would not provide a raise to non-classroom teachers such as librarians, counselors, diagnosticians, or other support staff.

Public Hearing Held for Texas Academic Performance Report

The Board of Trustees held a public hearing to discuss the results of the recently published 2017-2018 Texas Academic Performance Report (TAPR). The TAPR focuses on the performance of students in each school and the district as a whole. Allen ISD earned an A rating in each domain and overall. All campuses earned the rating of “Met Standard” (the highest rating available) in each domain and overall. All secondary campuses and 14 of the 18 elementary campuses received one or more distinction designations. The full report is available in the board book.

Board Approves Purchase of Mobile Device Pilot Program

The Board of Trustees approved the purchase of mobile devices so the district can engage in a pilot program of technology devices in the classroom. Feedback on the various devices will be received from both teachers and students throughout the rest of the 2018-19 school year.

The summer of 2019 marks the 5th consecutive year of a standard lifecycle management strategy for instructional technology devices supporting teaching and learning across the district. The District is currently evaluating the effectiveness of the existing strategy and its resulting impact on teaching and learning as future planning occurs for the next 5 years.

Learner Services has worked closely with Technology Services, as well as with campus and classroom professionals, to develop a new District vision for mobile technologies in the classroom moving forward. As a continuation of these collaborative efforts, the District would like to move forward with a pilot program that would place a collection of sample devices into the hands of students and teachers in order to gain valuable feedback concerning the use and effectiveness of these tools. This pilot program will aid the District with selecting and purchasing the most appropriate solutions to engage students and positively impact instruction. This comprehensive pilot allows the district to target all levels of instruction (K-12).

The cost for this initiative is $234,079. Included in these costs are mobile devices for teachers and students identified through the pilot program, and associated licenses and services for deployment and operations.

Board Approves Resolution for Credit by Examination

The Board of Trustees approved a resolution regarding credit by examinations, the list of exams offered by Allen ISD for acceleration and credit, and the described scoring conversion process for Avant assessments.

Recent revisions to Credit by Exam (CBE) rules by the State Board of Education necessitate that a district develop and/or approve audit processes in respect to the validation of examinations of acceleration in grades K-5 within the district, both internally and externally created, and for any district-created credit by examination assessments utilized for secondary credit acquisition or recovery. Allen Independent School District utilizes exams of acceleration for grades K-5 provided by the University of Texas at Austin and Texas Tech University and would thus request that the board of trustees approves the audit processes posted by these examination providers.

As the number of assessments available to districts for acceleration (elementary) or credit (secondary) has increased significantly in recent years, we would request an updated approval of the examinations offered within Allen ISD. It should be noted that, at the secondary level, attainment of original credit for core content courses through credit by examination is discouraged in most cases, both for developmental and course planning reasons. The majority of learning goals of students seeking these credits can be attained through strategic course planning, and still permit the student to receive full instruction in the fundamentals of these core courses. For that reason, administrative approval is required for original credit acquisition via credit by exam for core content area courses, as noted.

In addition, a wider range of assessments for Languages other than English (LOTE) credit than is currently available through Texas Tech University and University of Texas at Austin has become available through a new provider, Avant assessment. Approval of the use of these examinations within Allen ISD would allow us to more widely recognize the broad range of languages other than English spoken by many of our students. As the scoring structure of the Avant assessments does not align to the traditional 100-point scale, a scoring conversion template will be utilized to determine whether a student has attained credit. This score conversion process is currently in use by several other districts utilizing Avant LOTE assessments.

Next Board Meeting 

The next regular meeting of the Allen ISD Board of Trustees is scheduled for Monday, March 25 at 7 p.m. at Allen City Hall.