At the November 11 meeting of trustees of the Blanco Independent School District all members except for Bernie San Miguel were present.
The meeting began with the Student Spotlight. Elementary Principal Linda Romano presented the Elementary School’s Fall Student Council Members. The 5th graders are nominated and elected by their peers as being responsible students.
“Some of the things that these young folks do,” explained Principal Romano, “they do their meetings through working lunches and recesses… fundraising… they are in charge of community relations through our marquee… and they were a big part of the planning in our Red Ribbon week.” Fall Student Council Members are Andres Elizondo, Chayne Klein, Ava Romero, Gage Nichols, Shae Jester and Cadence Drum. Ms. Mangold is their sponsor. There will be a different elected Student Council in Spring.
Middle School Principal Keitha St. Clair presented the Teacher Spotlight. “In my first month of being the new Blanco Middle School Principal, I was presented with the daunting task of replacing the much respected Vicki Bibb. She had been the Librarian [at the Middle school] for many years and people loved [her] very much. It was very difficult to… find a replacement. We formed a committee, we took it very seriously… and the clear winner was Veronica Hernandez.” Principal St. Clair went on to praise the work and ideas Ms. Hernandez has already accomplished including introducing the “Readbox”, a play on the popular Redbox movie rentals, hosting a book tasting with the Library set up as a formal dining area, and purchasing favorites from the Scholastic Book Fair to add to the Library. “The biggest problem we have at BMS now,” said Principal St. Clair, “is that everyone is begging to go to the library.”
Director of Curriculum and Special Programs, Dr. Rick LaBuhn, then took the floor to give the board an update on the district’s curriculum program. “The system that we use here in Blanco has changed, this year, in name and also in content. We use the Texas Curriculum Management Program Cooperative… formerly known as CSCOPE.” said Dr. LaBuhn. TCMPC provides content support for an online curriculum management system known as the TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) resource system. “What’s important to note about this is, the State adopts the TEKS… and the TCMPC system gives an outline to make sure we teach these TEKS and that we follow them in a timeline so that they are taught in time to assess the students in their STAAR exams. [The difference between TCMPC and CSCOPE is that] the TCMPC does not provide sample lesson plans. Those are up to the teachers.” He then took the Board through the process of the TCMPC syste;, more information can be found on the TCMPC website, www.tcmpc.org.
Dr. LaBuhn also went into the focuses for each campus. The Elementary School is utilizing the Leap Forward program to asses where the students have struggled the most based on previous data. They are also looking at which areas are the hardest to teach in order to go over new strategies. The Middle School is using “data digs” to review STAAR assessments from the last two years to highlight areas of concern. At the High School the focus is on writing. “Every single district in Texas without exception, their lowest scores are in writing from 4th grade on.” said Dr. LaBuhn.
Superintendent Dr. Buck Ford reported that on October 15 Emergency Services Personnel from across Blanco County visited each campus. Dr, Ford reported that,“This walkthrough is part of our continuing relationship with local First Responders to coordinate emergency procedures and plans. I want to Thank our First Responders… for their dedication to keep Blanco schools safe for our students.”
Dr. Ford. also reported that the No Child Left Behind act of 2001 requires each local education agency to report their progress toward meeting the Highly Qualified Teacher Requirement. Blanco ISD has met this requirement with a percentage of 100%.
After a break for Executive Session, the board reconvened and approved the hiring of Linsey Balmos as High School Counselor and Jessica Schwind as 6th Grade Math Teacher.