By Chris Edwards
WOODVILLE – Woodville ISD Superintendent Glen Conner gave an update on a program which will allow high school students to gain college credit in an academy-type situation.
The program, which is the ongoing fruit of a partnership between Stephen F. Austin State University, Lamar Institute of Technology and several area high schools, was first announced by Conner in March when WISD signed memorandums of understanding to indicate district interest in the program.
At Monday night’s board meeting, Conner said that a name has been chosen for the program and more particulars were available. The program, which will operate under the name Deep East Texas College and Career Alliance, will use the old Angelina College teaching center building in Jasper.
At present, WISD, Spurger, Jasper, Kirbyville, Newton and Burkeville schools have signed MOUs. The program will offer a variety of classes, which will all be for college and high school dual credit. Tuition is $150 per class, or $50 per credit hour. Conner said the program will also offer students who have dropped out an opportunity to earn their GED. Program administrators are looking to foundations such as T.L.L. Temple and the Aspen Foundation to secure funding.
Conner gave some key dates for the program’s beginning. May 13-14 will be for prospective students and their parents to become oriented with the program and May 20 will be the day the schools who have expressed interest will sign MOUs to proceed with the alliance between their districts and the two higher learning institutions.
“This will be a huge, huge benefit and asset to our kids in the future,” Conner said.
Lady Eagles honored
Prior to the action items on Monday night’s agenda, Conner and the board of trustees recognized the members of the Lady Eagles 2018-19 basketball team. The team made it to the State 3A championship game in San Antonio in February where they played Chapel Hill for the title.
Several of the team members were on hand, along with coach Troy Carrell, to receive a plaque from Conner and the board. Carrell spoke about the athletes, and how they all held high, professional standards off the court as well as on it. “I was really proud of them,” he said.
“We can’t tell you enough how proud we are of each of you and how you represented our school,” WISD Board President Jimmy Tucker said.
Salary increases discussed
WISD Business Manager Cody Jarrott gave the board information about a proposed 3% midpoint raise for all certified teachers in the district for 2019-20.
The proposal, which would come at $1,303 per faculty member, is preliminary, Jarrott said. The proposed salary schedule also includes raises for instructional aides, administrative employees and custodial, maintenance and transportation employees. Jarrott said that WISD already pays faculty and staff above the state minimum, and that with the preliminary raises, a teacher with eight years of experience would make $41,027 annually versus the $36,020 state base salary.
Jarrott said the proposal was for the board’s information, but void if the state decides a different approach with teacher salaries. “We’re proposing this absent of the state letting us do something different,” he said.
WISD awarded EmpowerED grant
In his monthly report to the board, Conner said the district was awarded a grant through T-Mobile’s EmpowerED program, which will allow all WISD students to have WiFi access as well as a device to use the service.
The program will pay for the service, devices and will provide the district some extra funds to purchase additional devices. All of this will come at no cost to WISD.
The EmpowerED program aims to provide school-age children with reliable access to the internet in school and at home. “We believe mobile access holds the power to close the ‘homework gap’ by giving students the tools they need to plug in to 21st century learning and opportunity at any time, from anywhere,” the EmpowerED website states.