by Michael G. Maness
CISD President Curtis Pittman convened the full board Tuesday evening, Aug. 16. Board member Kenneth Adaway led the invocation, and Pittman led the pledges of allegiance to the U.S. and Texas flags.
The board approved the Employee Handbook that included only one change: all employees will move to direct deposit.
Colmesneil ISD, according to Superintendent Angela Matterson, have clarified their handbooks on graduation. The guidelines are specific and will be enforced. There were provisions for those with illnesses. But for those who just skip school—if they don't have the mandatory attendance, they will not graduate. There was also a remedial process, documented all the way, to make contact with the student and parent at specific intervals to make certain all is fair and all know exactly where they stand as graduation nears. Pass or fail, the school was going to go the extra mile to make sure the student had every opportunity to make that important threshold and graduate.
Use of the Chromebook was also clarified. They have about 215 and do not charge, a great benefit for students, yet a few students have abused this asset. The board approved for the school to clarify and stiffen policies that will curb abuse and even charge for clear abuse of the Chromebook. The Chrombook is a handheld computer, similar to an IPad, that is required for some classes, and is part of the school's desire for the students to get the best cutting-edge education to face the real world of computers.
The board approved an innovative salary raise for their senior most teachers. The current TEA pay schedule for teachers maxes their salary in 20 years. Recognizing the value of senior teachers, the CISD approved a 1.5% raise for each additional year up to 30 years.
Matterson said, "Our teachers rock! They are rock stars!"
In addition, Matterson explained further the appraisal process for new and experienced teachers. There was quite a discussion on the attendance and possibility of needing another first-grade teacher. Matterson had presented the board with a detailed spreadsheet of attendance broken down by each grade, Pre-K through 12th, with totals for the previous 12 years. This important history showed a steady increase over the last few years. Importantly, they have a first-grade waiting list, with three students wanting and ready to come (currently enrolled in another school). Matterson will wait for the first six weeks to assess, after which, if high attendance is maintained, they will be able to consider adding a teacher—good news all the way.