WAXAHACHIE — In an effort to increase enrollment while better preparing students for post-high school careers, Waxahachie Global High School may soon undergo a curriculum overhaul, said its principal Ken Lynch.
Lynch presented the potential curriculum shift, or refocusing, during the Monday session of the Waxahachie ISD Board of Trustees. The board also approved several agenda items and recognized over 220 students and staff.
“Moving over to the new building gives us more opportunities than we may have now,” began Lynch as he presented the potential change in the school’s format.
The school would remain a college-ready campus focused on the STEM model, he continued. However, the proposed Global High Academies would focus on STEM Engineering, which is already offered, International Business and Health Sciences.
Lynch further explained there would also be a dean at each of the three academies to make sure the teachers fit the needed mold and can also be used to help recruit 50-60 students a year to attend their respective academy.
Each of the deans would be required to already been awarded a masters degree and would teach dual-credit courses, as he also noted that 95 percent or more of the school’s seniors graduate with both a high school and associate degree.
The estimated enrollment of Global High Academies is upward of 600 students, or roughly 200 students per academy, stated Lynch. He added the academy model is based on a five-year plan beginning as soon as Waxahachie Global High moves into the current Waxahachie Ninth Grade Academy in fall 2018.
Mark Bosher, director of the CTE department at Waxahachie High School, has worked alongside Lynch in the undertaking. Bosher informed the trustees the district already partners with Navarro College, so parts of the health science or international business curriculum could go through the college. Because the engineering program is mostly already in place at Global High, Bosher added he feels the district will need to choose one of the other two academies — international business or health science — to plan to fully support from in-house.
Board member Clay Schoolfield asked if Global had considered extracurricular course or activities, to which Lynch answered informal questionnaires showed some students desired opportunities to participate in tennis and girls volleyball. However, Lynch also noted most students agreed they would not have enough time to compete. There will be a standard PE class offered again next year, and Lynch said he hopes to add informal tennis and/or volleyball course.
After Schoolfield clarified the question to include all extracurricular clubs and not just sports, Lynch also explained the school has a drama club that feels it could compete in the UIL, especially with the smaller district proposed by the trustees last month. Lynch noted about half of Global High students currently participate in the drama club.
BOND, NO BOND
Amy Hedtke gave an impassioned speech in regards to the recently failed $78 million bond package, often informing the board they have lost “$78 million in trust.” She asked for the board to slash the tax rate, rein in spending, revamp the hiring practices and salary levels, begin showing accountability and transparency, and encouraged the community to start a capital building fund for a new elementary school.
Waxahachie administrators showed those in attendance, which included a few of the 220-member Spirit of Waxahachie Indian Band, a special video congratulating the 5A bronze medal winners. The band finished 3rd out of 255 5A bands last week in San Antonio. Members in attendance were then awarded a pin.
Mr. Richard Armstrong, who has led the band for 16 years, was then named the WISD Teacher of the Month.
The trustees also recognized 5A state cross country qualifier Brandon Gilliland for his achievements this season. Gilliland also set the new school 5,000-meter record (15:32.4).
In other business:
• The board unanimously approved consent agenda items A-F (all items).
• The board unanimously approved to send nine book titles, which are not currently checked out by students, to the Houston area to donate to schools affected by Hurricane Harvey. Megan Mills (?), the Waxahachie High School librarian, is the originator behind the idea.
• The board heard an updated on the rezoning plans through Templeton Demographic. In January there will be a district rezoning committee developed with a goal to present a rezoning plan March 19, 2018. There will also be at least one public forum (Feb. – March 2018) and presentations given at campuses by district leadership (Feb. 2018).
• The board unanimously approved part two of a Capturing Kid’s Hearts District by Design for 2017-18 at Clift and Marvin Elementary. The program began last year.
• The board unanimously named Mottla Architects, Inc. for the renovations at Wilemon Elementary, Coleman Junior High (current high school) and the Hancock Building and authorized the superintendent to negotiate and execute all necessary documents.
• The board entered closed session at 7:07 p.m. and returned to open session at 7:42 p.m.
• The board approved for an aide position at Marvin, received a resignation from Northside, and accepted the retirement of longtime volleyball coach and algebra teacher, Bobbie Janky.
• The board approved to mark 26.7 acres of district property located at Parks School House Road and Graham Street as surplus. The land is now available for sale at fair-market value.
• The board approved to cast 834 of its 904 votes for Joe Pitts to serve the district on the Ellis County Appraisal District Board of Directors. The remaining 58 votes were cast for Tommy Hilton (CNB vice president).
• The board approved the evaluation instrument, appraisal criteria and process used to evaluate the superintendent.