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Grapeland ISD Readies for 2021-2022 School Year

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By Will Johnson

Messenger Reporter

GRAPELAND – While the school year for students has just recently ended, the work to prepare for the 2021-2022 school year has already started in Grapeland as the Grapeland ISD Board of Trustees met in a regularly scheduled meeting held on Thursday, June 17.

After GISD Board President James Martin opened the meeting, he invited Grapeland City Superintendent Kevin Watts to speak to the board about recent flooding issues. 

“One of the issues we had – and it was a fluke – is that we got 11 inches of rain a few weeks ago. A problem that we had was with the little retention pond built behind the elementary school. I guess it was stopped up because of weeds growing around the inlet. The 11 inches filled the retention pond all the way to the top and it overflowed,” Watts said.

Following several minutes of discussion, GISD Superintendent Don Jackson indicated the district will be entering a coalition with the City to work on issues which can be improved immediately to help retain water during heavy rains.

The next area addressed pertained to the Student Health Advisory Council (SHAC). District Nurse Kristy Word spoke about what the SHAC had accomplished over the previous year and highlighted an area where SHAC and the community came together to help provide flu shots.

“Flu shots this year turned into a bit of a debacle,” she said. “Our grant that we normally have, the money got pulled.” 

Word explained the money was supplemented by a number of community members including: Chuck and Melissa Cobb along with Tim and Penny Howard who helped prepare and distribute the vaccines; Palestine Regional Medical Center who provided syringes, needles, gloves and band-aids; the Grapeland Noon Lions Club which donated $500; the Grapeland Hospital District which donated $2,500; the Anderson/Leon County Medical Society which donated $1,500; Mike Goolsby who donated $300; and Chuck and Melissa Cobb who donated $661.   

Following the SHAC report, Secondary Principal Katie Doughty and Elementary Principal Cassie Satterwhite spoke about the recently received STAAR test results.

Although state assessments were not used for state or federal accountability purposes for the 2020–2021 school year, the STAAR test was used to provide the equitable baseline data necessary to determine actual learning loss during the COVID-19 crisis and areas to address for the benefit of all Texas students.

In reference to the scores, Jackson said, “We still have room for improvement, but we continue to make progress in our systems to allow us to gather data to inspire our efforts. I truly believe that the results of this test do not define the quality of our staff and students. However, we will continue to refine our efforts and not make excuses, but COVID-19 absenteeism did play a huge part in disrupting our progress in 2020-2021.”

Also, during the meeting, renovations to the Lorena Schulz Auditorium were discussed. The superintendent indicated seats have been removed, the flooring has been removed, the asbestos has been abated and the ceiling has been demolished.

“We are now at the point where HVAC, electrical and lighting will be dispatched for an upgrade as the renovation to this community treasure continues. Any Grapeland Community donations to the school for this project will be heartily and readily accepted,” Jackson said.

In other matters brought before the board:

  • Consent Agenda items were approved.
  • The quarterly investment report was approved.
  • The district depository contract was approved.
  • TASB Update 117 was approved.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.   

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