Northwest school district launches online ‘Dashboard’

Northwest ISD now has an interactive website highlighting student achievement and other successes.

The website, launched earlier this month, has a link on the district’s homepage at www.nisdtx.org. It’s called the Community Dashboard.

The new page includes data on student performance on college entrance exams, scholarships, dual credit courses, volunteer and community outreach and more. All those were part of the community-based accountability measures of success approved by the school board in June 2013.

“There are 30 different areas we are reporting on,” said Robert Thornell, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. “We’re going to use it as a bragging tool.”

The website also brings the district into compliance with House Bill 5′s evaluation of performance in the community and student engagement, according to Thornell.

Along with the academic achievements, the Community Dashboard has tabs showing the participation and success of students in fine arts and athletics.

“Throughout the year, our students achieve high levels set by the region, state and nation,” said NISD Superintendent Karen Rue in a press release. “That data is reflected and celebrated on the district’s online dashboard.”

Taxpayers can also find the budget and tax information on the dashboard.

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Northwest ISD issues another $75 million in bonds

Northwest ISD trustees Monday night approved the second issuance of bonds from the $255 million bond package approved by voters in August 2012.

The action paved the way for another $75 million in bonds to be issued.

“It moves us along nicely with Eaton High School,” said Northwest Superintendent Karen Rue.

NISD Chief Financial Officer Jon Graswich told the board the district will be working with financial adviser First Southwest Co. to get the bonds to market quickly.

“The yields are low right now,” Graswich said. “We’re going for 4 percent interest rates. I don’t know if we’ll get it, but it’ll be close.”

The bond sale will not affect the district’s tax rate of $1.4525 per $100 of valuation, which the board approved Monday night. Staff said the payment can be supported within the current debt service rate of 41.25 cents. The district has a debt service fund balance of $16.75 million.

The $75 million issuance, along with the previous $50 million, leaves $130 million in bonds left to be sold. The district also has $45 million left to be issued from a $260 million bond package approved in 2008.

The tax rate approved by the board Monday was the same as last year’s, with a maintenance and operations rate of $1.04. The district’s tax roll grew to $11.248 billion from $10.64 billion last year.

The average home value in the district grew from $189,511 to $205,419.

No one spoke at the public hearing on the tax rate before Monday’s meeting.

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Feind named to technology post

Northwest ISD has named Adam Feind the district’s new chief technology officer.

Adam Feind

Feind comes to Northwest from Midway ISD, where he has led the district in strategic planning and one-to-one virtual desktop initiative for the past 16 years.

“We are thrilled to welcome Mr. Feind to the Northwest ISD family,” said NISD Superintendent Karen Rue. “Mr. Feind brings a strong background in strategic planning, networking operations and instructional technology. I look forward to him sharing his expertise with NISD and assisting in the planning for future-ready learners.”

Feind will oversee technology, instructional technology and applications software at NISD. He will join the district this month.

Prior to a career in education, Feind served as a LAN manager for Providence Health Center and a computer operator for Brazos Electric Cooperative.

“I am excited to be a part of a school district that strongly aligns with my goals and vision for education,” Feind said. “I am eager to meet the staff and build upon the foundation already created in Northwest ISD.”

Feind received a bachelor’s of business administration in computer information systems from Baylor University. He is a Certified Education Technology Leader (CETL) and is one of 15 technology leaders to hold this certification in the state of Texas.

As a member of the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), a professional association for school district technology leaders, Feind strives to grow tomorrow’s leaders through engaging learning environments. Last year, he was instrumental in leading a team from Cisco, along with other school districts, to restore network, telephone, wireless and internet access to West ISD elementary campuses for staff and students after the April 2013 fertilizer explosion in the community.

“I look forward to touching the lives of students and enhancing the learning experience in NISD,” Feind said. “Technology should be ubiquitous, accessible and robust, and I look forward to bringing Northwest ISD to the next level.”

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Rue named regional Superintendent of the Year

Northwest ISD Superintendent Karen Rue received a thumbs-up from the school board last week when trustees voted unanimously to increase her salary by 3 percent.

Karen Rue

But the praise and recognition didn’t stop there.

Monday, the district announced its leader had been named the Education Service Center Region 11′s Superintendent of the Year.

“I am truly honored,” Rue said. “The NISD board of trustees is a visionary team. I am so fortunate to be surrounded by a hardworking school board, dedicated staff members and talented students.

“I share this recognition with the students and staff in Northwest ISD – a district that believes in putting kids first.”

Rue was nominated by the NISD board for her strong leadership skills, dedication to improving educational quality, ability to build effective employee relations, student performance and commitment to public involvement in education.

Sponsored by the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB), the Superintendent of the Year program has recognized exemplary superintendents for excellence and achievement in educational leadership since 1984.

Rue is one of 20 regional winners across the state.

She has served as superintendent of schools in Northwest ISD since 2005 and is leading a transformational change in education at NISD and Texas to ensure all students are prepared for the digital age in which we live.

In her tenure at NISD, Dr. Rue has managed three successful bond elections and led district initiatives such as Community-Based Accountability, the expansion of NISD academies, development of the district’s Outdoor Learning Center and a student tablet and netbook deployment.

Currently, she is president-elect of the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA), is vice president of the South Central States for Urban Superintendents Association of America (USAA) and serves on the executive committee for the Texas School Coalition.

ESC Region 11 serves 77 school districts and 55 charter schools in north central Texas.

This was a unique year for the award because a record number of women superintendents were nominated. Of the 77 traditional school districts in the region, 11 have female superintendents at the helm (14 percent). For the first time, the majority of candidates for the Region 11 award were female (80 percent).

The state committee will interview regional winners in Austin on Aug. 22 and 23 and select five finalists.

The Superintendent of the Year will be announced Sept. 26 at the TASA/TASB Convention in Dallas.

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Northwest ISD approves budget, makes hires

Moments before approving its general fund budget for the 2014-2015 school year, the Northwest school board filled two positions created in this year’s plan.

Budgeted expenses total $164 million, while revenue is tabbed at $161 million.

The $2.75 million difference will be made up with money from the fund balance.

“I believe the budget presented is one that is thoughtfully deliberated and one that is specific to meeting the goals of our strategic plan,” said NISD Superintendent Karen Rue.

Earlier in the meeting, the board held a public hearing on the tax rate, proposed to remain at $1.425 per $100 valuation. Final approval is set for the board’s meeting in August.

General fund expenditures increased by $11,924,681 from this last school year, reflecting a projected enrollment increase of 1,092 students.

Most of the general fund budget is for personnel – salaries and benefits.

This year’s plan includes two newly created positions.

Jamie Farber

The board named Northwest High School’s lead counselor, Jamie Farber, the district’s director of counseling.

In the new role, Farber will direct, implement, supervise and evaluate all aspects of the districtwide counseling programs and related services.

“I am thrilled to welcome Jamie Farber in this new role and look forward to seeing her perform in this new capacity,” Rue said. “She is talented, dedicated and focused on serving our students, families, staff and communities.”

Farber has 19 years of experience in education. She has served as a counselor at NHS since 2007.

Before joining NISD, she was a counselor and teacher at Arlington ISD.

She earned a master’s degree in education from the University of North Texas and a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Farber was recognized as a semi-finalist for the American School Counselor of the Year this year; the Texas School Counselor Association Secondary/High School Counselor of the Year in 2012; and Educator of the Year for Communities in Schools of North Texas in 2012.

She is a member of the American Schoool Counselor Association, Texas Counseling Association and the Texas School Counselor Association.

She will begin her new duties in July.

“I am honored to fulfill the new role of director of counseling for Northwest ISD,” Farber said. “I am grateful for the opportunity to work with amazing counselors throughout the district and to be able to serve all of our students, campuses and communities.”

Kyle Seipp

The board also hired Kyle Seipp as its director of college and career readiness.

Seipp taught math and coached at Northwest High School from 2005 to 2010 before taking a job with the University of Texas in Austin at the Institute of Public School Initiatives.

At the institute, he worked with school districts to “achieve college readiness goals and instill fidelity of implementation of the design principles of early college high school while building capacity and enhancing productivity.”

In his new position, Seipp will oversee the development, implementation, assessment and continuous improvement of programs aimed at increasing student access to post-secondary education and employment opportunities.

“I am beyond excited to return to the best team in the nation,” Seipp said. “I look forward to enhancing opportunities for the students at NISD. Northwest made it possible for me to be able to excel in my position at the university, and I am excited to be back.”

Seipp earned a bachelor’s degree in math from Texas State University and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Lamar University.

He also has principal and superintendent certificates.

Like Farber, he will start in July.

“Mr. Seipp brings his exceptional educational leadership to Northwest ISD,” Rue said. “We are excited to have him re-join the NISD team to serve the students as they prepare for their future.”

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Northwest ISD Superintendent Karen Rue receives raise

Like her employees, Northwest ISD Superintendent Karen Rue will receive a 3-percent salary increase in the next school year’s budget.

At their meeting Monday, trustees approved “revisions” to the superintendent’s contract, which included the raise.

“As we went through the evaluation process we commended Dr. Rue and very much appreciate the job she has done,” Trustee Mark Schluter said.

Trustee Mel Fuller added: “We appreciate you for always looking for ways to grow the district and move us forward.”

Her annual base salary is $258,708, effective July 1.

In January, the board extended her contract through June 2018

She joined the district in 2005.

“Thank you very much for your vote of confidence,” Rue told the board.

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Northwest School Board to consider OLC project

Work should soon begin on Northwest ISD’s outdoor classroom.

At its meeting Monday, the board will consider using the construction manager at-risk delivery method to administer planned improvements to the district’s Outdoor Learning Center.

In the 2012 capital bond program, the district allotted $10,000 for projects at the OLC.

The center is a 195-tract, formerly known as Texas Lil’s Dude Ranch, just outside Justin. It is used to create hands-on learning experiences for students, giving them opportunities to study water sources, erosion, wildlife, soil and grasses in a natural setting.

There is also an emptied pool-turned-archaelogical dig, flowers and shrubs planted by students and a pond-study station.

During the meeting, the board will also consider seeking requests for proposals for a real estate broker.

District officials believe the resurgence of housing developments within NISD warrants the need for such services. The broker would pursue school sites as directed by the district and would assist in negotiating, feasibility studies and the closing process.

The board will also:

  • review changes, reflecting the 3-percent pay raise approved at the last meeting, to the employee compensation handbook.
  • evaluate accepting gifts to the district in the form of bequests of money and property.
  • consider a memorandum of understanding with Communities in Schools of North Texas for the Back To School Fair.
  • hear reports from the school health advisory council and the employee wellness center.
  • discuss board policy updates, as outlined by the state.
  • consider extending contracts with Smith and Associates as the district’s employee benefit consultant; Bene-Marc for student insurance; O’Donnell’s Landscape Services for the district’s lawns and athletic fields; and Durham School Services for student transportation.

The meeting, which begins with a closed session at 6 p.m., will be held in the Northwest ISD Board Room, 2001 Texan Drive in Fort Worth. It is open to the public.

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Northwest ISD names principal for V.R. Eaton High School

A Rockwell ISD administrator will take over the reins of Northwest ISD’s third comprehensive high school.

Dr. Carri Eddy

At its meeting Tuesday, the school board named Dr. Carri Eddy principal of V.R. Eaton High School.

“It is my pleasure to recommend Dr. Carri Eddy … ,” said Northwest ISD Superintendent Karen Rue. “Dr. Eddy is highly thought of in her current school district, Rockwall ISD. She brings with her the knowledge of opening secondary campuses and insight on building a school culture and community. We are thrilled to welcome her to the NISD family.”

Currently Eddy is the director of secondary campus services in Rockwall ISD, where she has served since 2005 as principal of Utley Middle School and associate principal of Rockwall Heath High School.

Eddy has worked in Forney ISD and Mesquite ISD for nine years as a teacher, high school assistant principal, fine arts coordinator, registrar and safety officer.

“I am very excited about the opportunity to lead the students, staff, parents and Eaton High School community in developing the traditions that will make Eaton High School one of the best high schools in Texas,” Eddy said. “I cannot wait to meet the students who will fill the halls and learn about their individual talents and dreams.”

Eddy earned doctorate and master’s degrees in education administration from Texas A&M Commerce. She has a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Texas-Arlington.

Eddy was named a ‘Top 5 Finalist’ for the HEB Excellence in Education Award for Secondary Principal of the Year in 2012-13.

EHS is named in memory of Wise County resident and rancher V.R. Eaton. He is the father of Messenger publisher Roy Eaton.

Eaton served as a member on the first Northwest ISD school board and assisted in the organization of the district’s consolidation.

The school will open in August 2015 with ninth and 10th grades only, totaling approximately 1,000 students.

A grade level will be added each year until EHS has ninth through 12th grades in the 2017-18 school year.

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Northwest School Board approves employee raises

Northwest ISD employees will get a raise next year.

At its meeting Tuesday, the school board approved a compensation plan that includes a 3-percent increase from the midpoint of each paygrade for the 2014-2015 school year.

The pay hike increases the budget by $3,231,000.

The change will increase the new hire pay scale by $1,650, establishing the starting salary for a new teacher at $50,150 for the 2014-15 school year.

Last year, trustees approved a 2-percent pay hike for its employees, including Superintendent Karen Rue.

Also at the meeting, the board restructured its own leadership in the wake of the May 10 elections. Board president is Josh Wright, vice president is Mark Schluter and secretary is Devonna Holland.

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District adds jobs

Northwest ISD plans to grow – then grow some more.

At its meeting Monday, district officials approved a second staffing request for the 2014-2015 school year.

“This second request is the result of further analysis of instructional programs as well as departmental needs for our fast-growth district,” Dr. Gary Gindt, assistant superintendent for administrative services, wrote in the cover sheet in the agenda packet. “[It] is designed to respond to current staffing needs while also establishing the foundation and structure necessary for a rapidly growing district.”

The plan adds:

  • five secretary positions;
  • a fifth girls coach and sixth boys coach at the middle school;
  • a maintenance technician for V.R. Eaton High School;
  • a painting technician;
  • a PEIMS clerk;
  • an irrigation technician;
  • a preventive maintenance technician;
  • a chief technology officer;
  • an administrative assistant to the chief technology officer;
  • a director of application software;
  • an outsourced operation manager;
  • a director of college and career readiness; and
  • a director of counseling.

The board also approved reclassifying a family involvement aide, a director of purchasing and a benefits specialist.

These changes will have a potential budget impact of $1,028,323.

In February, the board added 138 positions, including 11 for V.R. Eaton High School and 68 regular education teachers.

These additions increased the budget by almost $7 million.

District officials anticipate 1,146 new students when school opens next year.

IN OTHER NEWS

The council also:

  • named Mary Seltzer principal of Lakeview Elementary School in Trophy Club and Ron Myers principal of Byron Nelson High School in Trophy Club;
  • nominated superintendent Dr. Karen Rue for the Texas Association of School Boards Superintendent of the Year award;
  • added the following courses to the high school course selection guide: social media marketing and money matters (elective courses at Steele Accelerated High School); dual-credit courses including Learning Frameworks (at Steele AHS only), OnRamps Dual Enrollment Program, OnRamps Pre-calculus, OnRamps Statistics; and college prep math and English.
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    Students choose mascot, colors for new Northwest high school

    The blue and green Eaton Eagles will soar against their opponents come 2015.

    At the recommendation of a committee of students and parents, the mascot of Northwest ISD’s third comprehensive high school, V.R. Eaton High School, will be the Eagles and the color scheme blue and green.

    A committee of 16 students from each of the three middle schools that will feed into the high school – Tidwell, Wilson and Chisholm Trail middle schools – compiled a list of 16 mascots and color schemes, which was narrowed to two by a panel of parents.

    All sixth, seventh and eighth graders at the three middle schools voted on the two options, and the prevailing recommendation was presented to the board at its meeting Monday.

    “One of the kids said, ‘We want to win. And not just in athletics. But we want a school that is known to be a winner in academics, in athletics, how they embrace their peers, how they’re welcoming,’” said Damon Edwards, executive director of secondary education, who led the committees. ” … These choices will help establish the groundwork for that rich tradition and culture for students at Eaton High School.”

    V.R. Eaton

    The school, which is named after the father of Messenger owner and publisher Roy Eaton, is slated to open in August 2015 with freshmen and sophomores only.

    Current enrollment projections indicate the school will open with approximately 1,000 students. Another grade level will be added each year until the campus has ninth through 12th grades in the 2017-18 school year.

    PARKER NAMED DAMON’S SUCCESSOR

    The report on the Eaton High School colors and mascot was Edwards’ last as an employee of NISD.

    He will join the Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City ISD, northeast of San Antonio, as assistant superintendent of student and academic services. The board named Linda Parker, a Wise County resident, his successor.

    Linda Parker

    “Dr. Parker is an experienced educator with proven leadership skills in Northwest ISD,” Dr. Karen Rue said. “She has shown tremendous commitment to the district’s vision and core beliefs, and I’m confident she will excel in this role.”

    Parker brings 28 years’ experience in education, including 17 years in the classroom and 11 in administration.

    She is currently principal at NISD’s Byron Nelson High School, where she has led the campus since its opening in 2009.

    She has served the students and staff of Northwest ISD since 2001. Prior to coming to NISD, Parker worked in Boyd ISD and O’Donnell ISD.

    “I am excited to serve the community, staff and students in this new position,” Dr. Parker said. “I am looking forward to continuing to bring positivity and leadership to an organization that is focused on student success and achievement.”

    She earned her doctorate in education at Nova Southeastern University. She holds a master’s degree in education from Texas Woman’s University and a bachelor of science degree from Texas Tech University.

    She was selected as a member of the 2013-2014 Principals’ Visioning Institute, where she trains and works with fellow principals across Texas who are focused on the transformation of education.

    She is an adjunct professor for Dallas Baptist University and has presented across the state at various conferences such as the Texas Association of High School Principals and the Conference for Advancement of Mathematics Teaching. She serves on the board of directors for the Texas Association of School Principals.

    Parker will finish the school year as principal at Byron Nelson High School. A new principal will be named before the end of the current school year.

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    Bill Poe takes Texans’ AD job; Marble Falls coordinator to lead Texans

    Bill Poe will lead the Northwest Texans this fall.

    Bill Poe

    The Northwest school board Monday night approved the recommendation of Executive Athletic Director Susan Elza to hire Poe as the Texans’ head coach and campus coordinator.

    Poe previously served as the offensive coordinator at Marble Falls, working for Todd Dodge.

    “It’s an outstanding district that is committed to excellence throughout the district and in athletics,” Poe said about Northwest. “It’ll be a great fit for me and my family. I’m obviously excited for the opportunity.”

    It will be Poe’s second head coaching job. He previously had a two-year stint on the sidelines at Longview Spring Hill, going 6-14.

    His father, Ron, was the longtime head coach at McKinney and guided the Lions to a state title. The football stadium in McKinney is named for the elder Poe. His brother Matt is the head coach at Pottsboro.

    Bill Poe takes over a Texan program that has made the playoffs in three of the past four seasons and is coming off a pair of 8-3 seasons under Bill Patterson. Patterson last month accepted the head coaching job at Sherman.

    “There is a great foundation there,” Poe said. “They’ve been in the playoffs three of four years and unfortunately got stopped in the first round. The challenge is to build on that foundation and take it to the next level.”

    Poe planned to arrive Tuesday at Northwest to meet with the staff and players.

    “I’ll be starting full-time [Tuesday] morning. I’ll have a staff meeting and meet with the players,” Poe said. “We’ll hit the ground running.”

    Poe said the program has pushed the start of spring football back a few weeks until May 5.

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    Espinosa named NISD director

    A former Wise County principal has been named to an administrative position at the district level for Northwest ISD.

    Stephanie Espinosa

    At the recommendation of Superintendent Karen Rue, the school board on Monday named Stephanie Espinosa the district’s executive director of curriculum and staff development.

    “Dr. Espinosa brings creativity, organization and a strong background in curriculum and instruction,” Rue said. “I am confident she will keep us on target with our focus to graduate every student future-ready.”

    Espinosa has served students and families in Northwest ISD since 2007. Currently she is principal at Lakeview Elementary School and was the principal of NISD’s Seven Hills Elementary School for five years.

    Her experience spans from the classroom to an assessment specialist to an assistant principal in the Fort Worth and Crowley school districts.

    “I am excited to serve the students and staff of Northwest ISD in this new role,” Espinosa said. “I look forward to collaborating with teachers and principals as we strive to create life-long learners.”

    Espinosa earned her doctorate in education administration from Nova Southeastern University in May 2013 and her master’s degree in education administration and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Texas Christian University.

    Last year, she was one of 50 Texas principals selected to participate in a cohort of top public school campus leaders at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. As an educational consultant for various school districts in Texas and Oklahoma, she trains principals and district leaders on school-improvement models and standards-based instruction.

    Espinosa will finish the school year as principal at Lakeview Elementary School. A new principal will be named before the end of the current school year.

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    Northwest Board promotes Alexander

    The Northwest ISD board of trustees Monday named Jennifer Alexander the executive director of student services.

    Jennifer Alexander

    She replaces Cindy Brown, who will retire in August.

    Alexander has served as the district’s assistant director of special education since 2010.

    For 14 years before that, she worked in NISD as a special education supervisor, educational diagnostician and a special education support teacher.

    Prior to joining NISD, she was a special education teacher and a speech therapy assistant in Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD.

    “I am thrilled to begin this new chapter in my career at Northwest ISD,” Alexander said. “I have a passion for public education, parent and community relationships, curriculum development and successful student outcomes. This position allows me to focus on my love of student learning.”

    Alexander will earn her doctorate at Nova Southeastern University in May 2014. She has a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction and a bachelor’s degree in communication disorders from the University of North Texas.

    She has served as an instructor for crisis prevention (CPI) and a Texas Behavior Support Intervention (TBSI) trainer. Alexander has been selected for numerous leadership roles in Northwest ISD such as campus leadership teams and the National Institute of School Leadership.

    “Alexander is uniquely qualified for this position,” said Superintendent Karen Rue. “I am confident in her abilities, and I look forward to seeing her excel in this leadership position. She has been instrumental in coordinating services for students through K-12 and has built strong relationships with campus leaders and parents.”

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    NISD to name directors, coach

    Northwest ISD trustees are expected to fill three vacancies at Monday’s school board meeting.

    The agenda calls for the board to name an executive director of student services, an executive director of curriculum and staff development and a head football coach for Northwest High School.

    The new hires will replace Cindy Brown, who is now the district’s executive director of student services; Rob Thornell, who was promoted to assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction in December; and Bill Patterson, who accepted the head football coaching job in Sherman March 24.

    The meeting begins with a closed session at 5 p.m.

    The board will then convene for a budget workshop, during which they will discuss the district’s organizational structure, compensation and insurance plans.

    Discussion on the latter will continue in the regular meeting when officials consider the proposed medical premiums and an increased contribution by the district.

    Trustees will also consider:

    • an interlocal agreement with Education Service Center as the third-party administrator for various benefits including online benefits enrollment; dental and vision administration; life insurance provider; voluntary life insurance; supplemental disability provider, accident plan and cancer plan; and the retirement savings plan.
    • renewing its contract with ARAMARK as the district’s food service provider.
    • extending by one year a contrct with GCA Services for custodial services.
    • revisions to the student code of conduct.
    • reports on demographics, construction and February financials.

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    Northwest school board to apply for waiver

    Northwest ISD will seek a waiver for several school cancellations this academic year.

    NISD and surrounding districts closed due to severe weather and treacherous road conditions on Dec. 6, Dec. 9, Dec. 10, Feb. 11 and March 3.

    Two bad weather days built into the school calendar – Feb. 17 and April 18 – compensate for the Dec. 6 and Dec. 9 school cancellations.

    Now the board seeks a waiver from the Texas Education Agency for the other three days.

    Other options to recover the missed instructional days include extending the school day, extending the school year and attending school on Memorial Day.

    The board will also:

    • recognize the district’s financial services department for earning its fourth Award of Merit for Purchasing Operations from the Texas Association of School Business Officials.
    • consider issuing a letter of no objection to Hillwood, allowing them to develop land not originally included in the original foreign trade designation. NISD would not be forfeiting any existing inventory tax revenue.
    • be invited to the Fitness Fun Fest, which is 4 to 9 p.m. Saturday, March 22, at Texas Motor Speedway. Use of the facility was donated for the event. The student councils at Northwest and Byron Nelson high schools organized the event to promote healthy lifestyles. It includes walking the speedway concourse, carnival games, live music and a special visit by Olympian Johnny Quinn. There will also be food and drink vendors. Cost is $10 per person or $30 for the entire family. Proceeds benefit MD Anderson Cancer Center, American Heart Association and Orange Out.
    • hear a district effectiveness report on transportation and an update on the 2014-2015 budget.

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    Northwest trustees extend Rue’s contract

    Northwest ISD plans to hold onto its leader a little longer.

    After meeting in closed session Jan. 30, trustees voted unanimously to extend the contract of Superintendent Karen Rue.

    “It’s an absolute joy to be a part of this team and to be a part of what we’re accomplishing here in Northwest ISD,” Rue said. “It’s been a great journey, and I know that our kids are getting what they need to step forward on their journey.”

    The one-year addition stretches Rue’s contract through June 2018. She joined the district in 2005.

    During budget-writing last summer, she received a 2 percent salary increase, bringing her total annual salary to $252,144.

    Later in the meeting, board president Mel Fuller noted that eSchool News named Rue one of six 2014 Tech Savvy Superintendent Award winners in the nation.

    She was the only Texas superintendent to receive the honor this year.

    According to information posted on the eSchool News website, Rue is described by colleagues as a “transformational leader” who recognizes the importance of 21st-century skills in preparing students for their future.

    To help students develop these skills, the district has equipped all classrooms with projectors, document cameras and other interactive technologies.

    Last August, every high school student received a Dell Latitude 10 tablet, and all middle school students will receive a Dell tablet next year.

    Rue also oversaw the design and implementation of a district mobile app for Apple and Android devices. The first phase of the app, which was released in October, includes district and campus news updates, a staff directory, campus locations, a department phone list and an option to receive push notifications.

    The second phase, which was implemented last month, features access to grades, attendance records, lunch account balances and attendance boundary information.

    “We appreciate your hard work and your service, and it’s a privilege to serve alongside you,” board secretary Devonna Holland said.

    2014-2015 STAFFING

    At another meeting Monday, the board discussed a staffing plan for the 2014-2015 school year.

    District officials anticipate a growth of 1,146 students in the next school yer. To match that, they conducted a campus-by-campus analysis and developed a plan that adds the following 138 positions:

    • principal, office manager, associate principal, five other professional and three paraprofessional positions to prepare for the opening of V.R. Eaton High School in 2015;
    • 68 regular education teachers;
    • two associate principals, one each for Northwest High and Byron Nelson High;
    • two counselors, one each at Chisholm Trail Middle and Granger Elementary;
    • two assistant orchestra teachers, one each at Tidwell and Medlin middle schools;
    • nine elementary specials teachers – art, music and P.E. teachers for each Beck, Peterson and Roanoke elementary schools;
    • seven special education teachers;
    • six special education positions – a Brailist, physical therapist, two speech pathologists and two behavior interventionalists;
    • one STAR (Strategic Techniques for Academic Results) teacher at Peterson Elementary;
    • eight paraprofessionals – associate principal secretary, four campus assistants, receptionist and two P.E. aides;
    • nine special education paraprofessionals;
    • two pre-k assistants; and
    • 10 contingency positions.

    The projected budget increase for the positions is $6,912,990.

    The plan will be up for approval at the board’s next meeting, Feb. 24. Once further work has been completed on next year’s budget, officials will present a final staffing plan.

    IN OTHER NEWS

    During the Jan. 30 meeting, which was delayed from the traditional Monday date to Thursday due to a school administrators conference in Austin, trustees also:

    • increased by $35,728 the contract for enhancements to the Northwest High School subvarsity stadium. This includes mounting speakers on poles instead of the press box, installing an HVAC system in the press box and adding a discus and shotput area which conforms to UIL standards. The guaranteed maximum price approved last year funded all the essential work. Following its completion, officials identified several enhancements, which would typically be covered by contingency funds. “But every once in a while, we’ll have a project where we spend all of our money,” said Dennis McCreary, assistant superintendent for facilities, planning and construction.
    • set a guaranteed maximum price of $5,080,727 for expansion at Peterson Elementary School.
    • accepted a $100 contribution to the Northwest ISD Education Foundation from the United Educators Association in the name of the board of the trustees for school board appreciation month.
    • heard a five-year financial forecast and reports on December financials, construction and the crisis communication center.

    At its meeting Monday, the board:

    • hired SHW Architects to provide the design and project administration for work at the district’s Outdoor Learning Center.
    • called the May 10 election for places 5, 6 and 7. Place 5 is held by Mel Fuller and place 7 by Devonna Holland. Place 6 is vacant, following the resignation of Kerry Jones.
    • recognized Susan Elza, executive director of health, PE and athletics, for being named the 2013 Region III and VI Athletic Director of the Year.
    • discussed changes to local policies, as mandated by the state. This includes board member authority, employee grievances and records, employee standards of conduct, reduction in force, teacher evaluations, school-day interruptions, grading and student attendance.
    • discussed the district’s strategic plan.
    • heard reports on the budget, construction and changes to district graduation plans as a result of House Bill 5. HB5 reduces the number of end-of-course exams students have to take in order to graduate.

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    Northwest ISD trustees to consider Superintendent’s contract

    Northwest ISD officials will consider holding onto their district leader a little longer.

    After meeting in closed session on the matter, trustees will discuss extending the contract of Superintendent Karen Rue Thursday.

    Officials delayed the meeting from the traditional Monday date due to board training.

    Last January, Rue’s contract was extended through June 2017. She joined the district in 2005.

    During budget-writing in the summer, she received a 2-percent salary increase. Her new salary as of July 1 was $252,144.

    Also during the meeting, trustees will consider increasing by $35,728 the contract for improvements to the Northwest High School subvarsity stadium. These enhancements include mounting speakers on poles rather than on the press box, installing an HVAC system in the press box and adding a discus and shotput area.

    They will also discuss setting a guaranteed maximum price of $5,080,727 for expansion at Peterson Elementary School.

    Incorporating what was discussed at its last meeting, the board will outline the parameters for the 2014-2015 budget.

    Trustees will hear a five-year financial forecast and reports on December financials, construction and the crisis communication center.

    The meeting begins at 6 p.m. with a closed session. It will be held at the Northwest ISD Executive Boardroom, 2001 Texan Dr., in Fort Worth.

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    Northwest board to begin budget process

    This fiscal year’s budget was just enacted, but Northwest officials will soon begin preparing the 2014-2015 financial plan.

    At its meeting Monday, the school board will outline the budget parameters and process.

    Trustees will also review the high school course description guide and hear reports on instructional technology, November financials and the impact of House Bill 5 on graduation.

    The meeting, which begins with closed session at 6 p.m., will be held in the Northwest ISD Executive Board Room at 2001 Texan Drive in Fort Worth.

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    Northwest ISD approves calendars

    The next two academic years will look a lot like this year for Northwest students, parents and teachers.

    At its meeting Monday, the Northwest School Board adopted academic calendars for the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 school years, which observe most of the same holidays and schedules as the current year.

    School will begin the fourth Tuesday in August – Aug. 26 in 2014 and Aug. 25 in 2015.

    Students and staff will have one holiday in September – the first Monday of the month.

    Students will have a week-long Thanksgiving break and will have two full weeks for Christmas. Classes will resume the first Tuesday in January both years.

    The last day of school is the first Friday in June.

    Each year the NISD District Education Improvement Council (DEIC), made up of parents, teachers and community members, develops and submits calendar options for the upcoming school years. Staff, parents and community offer additional input to the board.

    By adopting two consecutive school calendars, the district hopes to aid parents, teachers and administrators as they plan student and district activities.

    To view the newly approved calendars, visit the district’s website at www.nisdtx.org.

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