At the January 10 meeting of the Blanco ISD trustees, Curriculum Director Kathy Anderson reported state and federal scores for the Blanco school district and for individual campuses. Based on the state Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS), Blanco ISD received a Recognized accountability rating and four Gold Performance Acknowledgments (GPAs) for the following: College-Ready Graduates (based on the graduating class of 2009), Recommended High School Program (class of 2009), Texas Success Initiative in English-Language Arts, and TSI in Mathematics. The ratings are as follows: Exemplary, Recognized, Academically Acceptable, and Academically Unacceptable. Blanco High School received an Academically Acceptable rating, with the four GPAs listed above. Blanco Middle School earned a Recognized rating with Gold Performance Acknowledgments (Commended) in Science and Social Studies. Blanco Elementary earned an Academically Acceptable rating with a Gold Performance Acknowledgment of Commended in Science. The rating of 90% is higher than the state average of 88%. The district and all campuses met the federally-mandated Annual Yearly Progress goals in Reading, English-Language Arts, and Mathematics. These scores are based on TAKS scores in grades 3 through 8 and grade 10.
Superintendent Dr. Buck Ford reported that January has been proclaimed School Board Recognition Month, quoting Governor Rick Perry, that “it remains important for each community to retain control of its educational system” and recognizing members of school boards who volunteer their time. Dr. Ford presented each trustee with a certificate honoring them “for dedicated leadership.” Student representatives from each campus also honored trustees with gifts. Blanco Elementary student Cade Phelps presented each trustee with a hat and candy, stating, “You wear many hats, and we want to honor you by giving you one more.” He also read a tribute to trustees, incorporating the names of candies in clever puns, ex. “The Good and Plenty work you do.” Blanco Middle School students read original poems to trustees which one student used sign language to present, and Blanco High students presented a video produced by creative writing students, in which children of trustees thanked their parents for their hard work and support of education. They also presented trustees with blue Blanco Panthers stadium cushions with the words, “We’re Behind You” on them. On the wall behind each trustee was original student artwork consisting of a photo of his or her head on a Blanco Panthers football player torso. Trustee president Matt Herden thanked students for their gifts, acknowledging, “For some strange reason we do like our job—we take it with gravity.”
The monthly “Spotlight on Students” portion of the meeting featured Blanco Middle School eighth grade band members and their mentors Brandon Aly and David Shirk. Members present included Dub Albrecht, Thomas Kirkscey, Aaron Fudge, Arianna Flores, Courtney Marshall, Maria Ackerson, Michael Bagley, Bryce Burson, Emily Torre, and Michelle Plouff. Not present was Cade Wagner. Principal Jesse Salazar thanked band members for their contribution to the student body and for their “outstanding achievements so far this year.”
The Spotlight on District Personnel featured Special Education Specialist Madeleine MacNeal, Behavioral Specialist Becky Yerger, Speech-Language Pathologist Kim Brownell, Vision Services Specialist Theresa O’Shaughnessy, and Technology Specialist Shirley Randall. Special Education Director Kathryn Rutherford praised the team for their efforts in meeting the needs of students.
In his Superintendent’s Report Dr. Ford announced some upcoming events, including the TASB Winter Governance and Legal Seminar February 24-26 in Corpus Christi, which some trustees will be attending. The Citizens Advisory Committee, charged with implementing the Facilities Study, will meet again on January 17 at 6 p.m. at Blanco High School. Dr. Ford gave a legislative update, reporting that Texas Comptroller Susan Combs has forecast a $27 billion budget shortfall, which will translate into a projected 5-10% drop in state funding for education. Dr. Ford said, “We are looking at ways we can deal with it.” He also announced May 4 as the date of an election to vote for Trustee Places 1 and 2, seats currently held by Troy Immel and MaryAnn Weaver. February 12 is the first day to file for a place on the ballot.
Principals of Blanco’s three schools reported on campus programs related to the district goal for students to be college and post-high school ready, including career and college awareness and Career Days at the lower levels, and the availability of college-preparatory and college-level classes at the upper levels. Blanco High principal Dustin Barton reported that twenty-six 2010 graduates earned 240 college credits before graduation and that 96 percent of graduating seniors completed Austin Community College applications before graduating, enabling them to enroll in college after graduation.
Dr. Ford announced that Blanco ISD has been awarded $1212.00 in Tech Prep funds through a grant from the Capital Area College Tech Prep Consortium. The funds will be used to “reimburse travel and substitutes for teachers who attend Tech Prep professional development and to purchase supplies and equipment under $500 for articulated courses as outlined in the budget submitted.” Finally, trustees voted to approve a resolution authorizing the tax resale of a lot in Lake of the Hills, which was struck from the tax rolls at previous tax sales. The bid for the property is $1,114.59.