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May 10, 2016
The Granbury ISD Board of Trustees met for its regular monthly meeting on May 9, 2016, and adopted a change to local district policy regarding student participation in commencement exercises.
Trustees took action to allow students to walk the stage during high school graduation ceremonies if they meet all local requirements but have not passed all state-required standardized tests.  The change was necessary because the Texas Education Agency and its private testing company, ETS, had announced that results from spring state exams would not be sent to school districts until June 3 – one week following Granbury High School’s scheduled graduation.
Other problems exist with State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR).  During testing this spring, numerous technical problems existed that wiped out work while students were completing online tests, superintendent Dr. James Largent reported to the board.  In addition, some school districts – including Lewisville ISD – have questioned student results and have paid to have exams rescored with numerous errors discovered.
“This action is the result of our complete lack of faith in our state testing system,” commented Dr. Largent.  “Our state legislators should take a hard look at the testing mess we have experienced this year and in years past and determine if we have gotten our money’s worth for the billion dollars we have spent on testing in Texas.  Surely, in 2016, having students take multiple-choice ‘bubble tests’ is not the best measure of student success.”
The amended policy is:
"A student who has satisfactorily completed all coursework requirements for graduation but has failed to meet applicable state testing requirements shall be allowed to participate in commencement activities and ceremonies."
Students must still meet all other requirements, including receiving a sufficient number of academic credits, maintaining satisfactory attendance, and other curricular mandates.
In personnel matters, the board took action on professional employees currently on probationary contracts.  Some were moved to term contracts, while others will continue on probation for a required minimum number of years.  Board members also received notification of retirements and resignations.
Reports made to the board included:
  • Dr. Largent reported that current construction work at GHS is moving ahead on schedule.
  • The superintendent presented an overview of property owned by the school district.
  • Athletic director Dwight Butler presented an overview of athletics and community education programs. There are approximately 1,700 students involved in athletics in grades 7-12, representing about half of students in those grade levels.  Student athletes have maintained a higher grade point average compared to other students. Teams were very successful competitively this year, and many advanced to post-season action. Many students also received numerous academic honors, and several rank high in their respective classes. The department also oversees driver’s education, summer camps, drug testing, and other programs.
  • Financial statements, cash flow and investment report, and a bond expenditure report for March 2016 were presented to the board by assistant superintendent Dobie Williams. 
Board members approved minutes from the last regular meeting, budget amendments, and a bids for renewal of:  instructional supplies and equipment for career and technical education classes; library books, e-books, class sets, reference materials, and video media; insurance for student extracurricular activities.  Trustees also approved participation in the Region 10 Education Service Center’s child nutrition cooperative program as well as a number of purchases of technology items and career and technical education program items.
Donations reported to the board included:  $2,850 from the Acton Elementary School PTO for fifth graders to attend Camp Grady Spruce; $2,584 from the Oak Woods School PTO for water fountains.                                      
Trustees will next convene for their regular monthly meeting on Monday, June 20.  Board meetings are held in the GISD Board Room located next to the Administration Building at 600 W. Pearl Street.

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