Huffman ISD board members taking the oath of office on Dec. 22, from left: Robin Colbert, Charles Bardwell, Patrick Keith (president), Dean Tinnin and Matt Dutton.

The Huffman ISD Board of Trustees issued awards and thanked several groups at the board meeting Dec. 12. The board also received the Texas Academic 2015-2016 Texas Performance Report (TAPR).

Dr. Joel Nolte, assistant superintendent, presented the TAPR report. The report is a comprehensive report and covers information including student assessment data, attendance, graduation rate, student population percentages, staff longevity profiles, class size information, and average SAT and ACT scores.

Some of the information in the report included the level of district students in all grades and subjects achieving standard or above results. Huffman ISD had 73 percent of its students reach or exceed standards as compared to 75 percent for the state. The report also showed a 96.2 percent graduation rate and a 96 percent attendance rate.

In 2018, Texas public schools and districts will begin receiving an A-F letter grade based primarily on students’ STAAR test results. The grades are part of a plan set forth when the Texas Legislature approved House Bill 2804 last year.

Dr. Benny Soileau, superintendent, offered his thoughts in discussing the upcoming rating system and said he “feels strongly that public schools are being unfairly labeled. In addition, the process for rating a district is confusing and difficult at best to understand, and, therefore, difficult to explain to our community.” 

Soileau also noted that the tests are given on one day in the school year. He indicated his desire that the system might be improved before implementation is final.

Receiving recognition for a great season from Board President Patrick Keith and Superintendent Dr. Benny Soileau is the girls cross country team (from left): Carley Bray, Aryn James, Kaytlyn Kuta, Mya Van Meter, Brynn Roper, Tehren Landburg, Maggie Shropshire, Emma Utley and Coach Kris Gilmore.

Huffman ISD’s Debra Nolte was acknowledged for having been awarded the Outstanding High School Science Teacher award by the Science Teachers Association of Texas. Nolte was the only teacher to receive this award out of the  group’s 7,000-plus members.

The board recognized the high school girls’ cross country team for a great season. They advanced to State and they won the district title for the ninth consecutive year. They placed first at District, fourth at Regionals, and 16th at State. The team members are Carley Bray, Aryn James, Kaytlyn Kuta, Mya Van Meter, Brynn Roper, Tehren Landburg, Maggie Shropshire and Emma Utley, and were coached by Kris Gilmore.

The board also reviewed the progress of the expansion of the canopy on the agriculture building. It is currently on schedule and will be in place for the Ag show scheduled for late January. Updates were also made on the design process of the elementary, middle and high schools – all of which are currently operating on schedule. 

Board members taking the oath of office included incumbents Patrick Keith, president; Ray Burt, vice president; Charles Bardwell, secretary; Matt Dutton, assistant secretary; Dean Tinnin; Jerry Jones; and a new board member, Robin Colbert.

David Carpenter, technology director, and Carrie Slayton, instructional technology coordinator, outlined the latest district technology initiatives: Doceri wireless projection is being utilized to allow teachers to stay in the power zone; CES computer lab curriculum was updated over the summer to include more rigorous activities and a coding component; iPads are now available in all classrooms from pre-K through fifth grade; and the technology department is working with the special education department to implement the Read and Write program. It allows assignments and tests to be read via computer to students with that accommodation. They also announced that online textbooks and supplemental resources are available for 86 courses; Google Classroom is now available to teachers with almost 400 active users to date; and the technology Learning Management cadre has 12 members at the middle and high school campuses and is currently averaging over 300 logins per day.

Huffman School District Superintendent Dr. Benny Soileau presents the Outstanding High School Science Teacher of the Year award to Debra Nolte. Photos by John Crone

Shirley Dupree, executive director of HR and communications, reported that the Huffman Education Foundation presented four teachers or teams with grants this semester, totaling $13,647. These grants were for innovative lessons and activities they have planned for their students. Recipients included: Ben Bowen Early Education Center, Amanda Pike and the kindergarten team for Alternative Seating Project; Copeland Elementary School, Natalie Lewis and Jan Fitz-Gerald for Community Garden Improvements and Composting Project; Hargrave  High School, Mrs. Prichard, for Vegetable Garden/Small Business Project; and Hargrave High School,  Nolte and the science team, Vernier Probeware.

The Foundation is in its second year of existence. It was established by parents, educators, local businesses and community leaders to support innovative educational programs.

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