Students from all three Blanco ISD campuses and Superintendent Dr. Buck Ford expressed thanks to BISD trustees at their regular meeting January 11.
Dr. Ford read a proclamation from the governor of Texas praising trustees for their dedication and their efforts on behalf of all the children of Texas and thanked them for their “countless hours of unpaid labor.”
Blanco Elementary students, introduced by principal Mrs. Reininger, presented each trustee with a hand-drawn, framed portrait.
Middle school students gave each trustee a School Board Appreciation Kit, including a Twix bar, “for when you are betwixt a rock and a hard place,” rubber bands “to stretch the budget,” paper clips “to hold it all together,” and Hershey Kisses, representing “hugs and kisses” to the board.
The Blanco High student council president gave each trustee a hat, saying “Hats off to you.” Certificates of appreciation were also given to each trustee.
President Matt Herden, rummaging through his candy, expressed his thanks, saying, “It’s nice to get a little sweetness out of the job.”
In the Spotlight on Students portion of the meeting, Blanco Middle School principal Jesse Salazar introduced ESOL teachers Linda Collard and Horacio Villegas and their five students and parents.
Villegas then gave a computer presentation of a student-composed song, “School Days” accompanied by photos of the students.
Dr. Ford reported that the school district has purchased two acres of property at 1015 Elm Street, adjacent to Blanco Elementary.
“It’s wonderful to have the property for the district’s future use,” commented Matt Herden.
The district has also purchased a Suburban school vehicle to transport a student to Hernandez Elementary School in San Marcos, a center for severely hearing-impaired students.
In response to a question by trustee Bernie San Miguel, Dr. Ford explained that a current district employee will drive the vehicle.
Trustee Charles Riley introduced David Gish, the head athletic trainer at Texas State University, to explain the advantages to the district of hiring an athletic trainer to be present at home events.
In addition to those duties, according to Gish, the trainer would be a paid staff person who could teach a sports medicine class, recently approved by TEA as an “innovative class,” which would give students graduation credit.
The trainer could also teach CPR and First Aid, as well as provide some rehab services to injured athletes, as an adjunct to their prescribed physical therapy.
Gish stressed that the trainer would work under the direction of a physician and would be able to provide first aid at sporting events.
The starting salary for a certified trainer, according to Gish, is roughly $45K per year, including salary and stipend.
Dr. Ford presented an action plan to trustees for meeting the district goal of preparing graduates “to be college and post-high-school ready.”
He stressed that the plan would be pre-K through graduation and would “create and maintain a college-going culture.”
Programs already in place on the district’s campuses include career days, availability of high school courses at the middle school, and dual-enrollment college classes as well as AP classes at the high school.
Community colleges play an important part in creating this culture, according to Dr. Ford, citing facilitating college visits and the assistance of ACC personnel in completing financial aid forms (FAFSA) and college applications.
In fact, according to Dr. Ford, all students complete an ACC application and are accepted to community college upon graduation.
All sophomores and juniors take the pre-SAT and PLAN (pre-ACT) tests, and 86% of high school students take the SAT and/or ACT test, scoring above the state average.
“This is a work in progress,” concluded Dr. Ford, adding, “We are excited that the board has given us four goals to focus our energy on.”
In the Open Forum portion of the meeting, parent Shauna Doherty addressed the issue of having continued lunch visits with her children at Blanco Elementary School.
Matt Herden responded that she needs to fill out a complaint form and go through the administrative process.
Thanking her for her comments, Herden concluded, “There is nothing we can resolve for you tonight.”