By Jordan Bridges
GRAPELAND – During a meeting of the Grapeland Independent School District Board of Trustees held on Monday, March 16, Superintendent Don Jackson started the open session by providing an update on the special recognition portion of the agenda.
“Due to the situation with the Coronavirus, we asked the youth to not participate today,” Jackson said, “Hopefully in the future we will be able to honor our boys’ and girls’ basketball teams and the success they had.”
The Grapeland Sandiettes made it to the Class 2A UIL Girls’ State Tournament, falling to the Gruver Lady Hounds 59-49 in the State Semifinals.
The Grapeland Sandies fell to the 2019 Class 2A State Champs, the Shelbyville Dragons, in the regional finals 72-67.
“I know the kids are not here, but I would just want to comment on the outstanding work these athletes did this year,” Jackson said. “We are very proud of our coaches and students for taking us as far as they did.”
Other special recognition was given to Grapeland ISD administration team who worked on Friday during their spring break. They also met on Sunday during this time to help with the difficult decisions and planning brought on COVID-19.
“I never felt like I was alone. I felt like it was a collaboration of a lot of people who care about Grapeland. I really appreciate them for being here. We met again today and we will meet again later this week,” Jackson said.
Once the special recognition concluded, the floor was open to the administration team to provide their reports. Many of the administrators expressed their disappointment about the STAAR testing being waived for the 2020 school year.
“The cancellation of the STAAR is bittersweet. We know the elementary has been working hard to increase their scores. Now we won’t be able to see their improvement,” Jackson said.
Grapeland Elementary Principal Cassie Satterwhite gave a presentation to the board highlighting the improvements the fourth and fifth grade students have made in multiple subjects, when compared to last year’s results.
“We are disappointed that the STAAR has been waived. Our students, teachers and staff have been working so hard by meeting with kids individually to make improvements where they are needed and this data proves it,” Satterwhite said.
After the administration reports were given, Jackson proceeded to discuss the Superintendent Report with an update about the school’s current closure due to COVID-19.
“Today, I joined in a phone call with Mike Morath, commissioner of the Texas Education Agency, who provided us with a statement,” Jackson said. “There are 737 school systems within 100 counties that are closed in the state of Texas.”
“We are to use the CDC decision document to make closure decisions,” Jackson continued. “We are meeting with Houston County superintendents on Thursday at Crockett ISD to discuss what we are going to do next. Right now I feel like we’re out until there is a definite decision to come back in.”
In other action, the board:
• Discussed the GISD facility improvements
• Discussed the high school graduation ceremony
• Approved an amendment to the GISD drug testing policy for 2019-2020
• Approved a revision of the GISD class ranking policy and graduation standards which clarify and align policies with current district practice.
• Reviewed board policy relating to employee standards of conduct involving electronic communication with students.
• Approved a retention/early resignation stipends for the July 2020 payroll period.
• Approved the cancellation of the May 2, 2020 school board election
• Approved the quarterly investment report
• Approved the consent agenda items
Jordan Bridges may be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.