By Greg Ritchie
GRAPELAND – Grapeland Independent School District (GISD) board of trustees met Monday, Nov. 13 to confirm the distribution of bonus payments to all district employees and hear updates on ongoing construction projects at the schools.
GISD Superintendent Dr. David Maass updated the board on the progress of several construction projects, including repairs to radios used by the football team and a portable building being refurbished and equipped with air conditioning to serve as a changing room for the Sandiette softball team.
The district also made payments for their athletic insurance policies, to add additional switches to improve the wi-fi signal in the offices and to install security tint on windows. It was also reported the air conditioning had been repaired in the high school locker rooms, there would need to be repairs to the nurses’ station at the junior high and the main doors at the Early Learning Center would be replaced to work with the new security system at the district.
GISD Elementary School Principal Cassie Satterwhite reported attendance of 316, an addition of three more students in October, after three were added in the month of September, too. Satterwhite reported low attendance from parents to the school’s many events, for which they receive grant money. The school will move from open meetings with parents to more individual conferences, hoping to increase parent involvement. Satterwhite invited board members to come and serve at car duty, to see and assist the children coming and going from school.
Junior High Principal Channin Spisak presented the students voted by teachers as the “Students of the Month,” Piper Riviera, Colin Lovett and Delilah Land. There were 125 students at the junior high with a 96% attendance rate and Spisak reported three new staff members at the school.
High School Principal Aimee Johnson also expressed concern with the general lack of participation of both students and parents with school activities. She told the board recent meetings regarding prom were poorly attended, commenting, “We can’t make kids get involved, but we can’t do it for them.” Johnson reported attendance of 155, a loss of five students over the past month with an attendance of 96.5%.
Johnson spoke about efforts at the high school to improve both attendance and grades with some exemptions given for final exams, but that students can take the final exam if they choose, in order to improve their grade, although it will not count against them. She said both she and the high school teachers are a little discouraged with the curriculum and want to make it more vigorous.
In the superintendent’s report, Maass shared a recent perfect report regarding the district’s financial situation and welcomed board members to come personally to thank district staff before the Thanksgiving break. The GISD board recently approved a $2,500 stipend for all district employees to be delivered to them before the holiday.
Greg Ritchie can be reached at [email protected]