Board OKs extra authority to Wilcox for COVID-19


Longview Independent School District trustees voted Monday to delegate additional authority to Superintendent Dr. James Wilcox during the coronavirus pandemic.

Board OKs extra authority to Wilcox for COVID-19

Mon Apr 13, 2020


Longview Independent School District trustees voted Monday to delegate additional authority to Superintendent Dr. James Wilcox during the coronavirus pandemic.

The resolution (click here to read) expands Dr. Wilcox's authority to pursue any necessary and available waivers from the Texas Education Agency without further action of the Board; and, in the event other waivers are needed, the superintendent is authorized to submit other waivers in accordance with guidance from national, state, or local authorities or agencies.

Board members will be able to ratify any waiver requests made by Dr. Wilcox under this authority at future board meetings.

Dr. Wilcox said this additional authority would remain in effect "only until the district resumes regular operations, or the board takes other action."

"This resolution is only a matter of expediency to help us better respond to rapidly changing developments [in the COVID-19 crisis]," he said. "Of course, I will continue to keep our board members up to date on any and all changes that might be made, as will our Community Relations department in keeping our community informed."

'Pass or Fail' Grading

Later, board members approved a resolution modifying student progress reporting requirements to reflect a "pass or fail" designation for all subjects in grades 1-8 during the duration of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Mrs. Melanie Pondant, Director of Secondary Curriculum, and Mr. John York, Director of Elementary Curriculum, explained the ongoing international crisis requires a change in the methods of instructional delivery systems to LISD families.

"As we strive to address this 'new normal,' our goal is to provide a continuum of high-quality services to meet the needs of all our students," said Mrs. Pondant. "Teachers are currently providing a combination of online instructional services along with more traditional paper learning packets while maintaining communication with both students and parents."

Mr. York agreed that these changes will enable the district to accommodate the difficulties of this time, while also providing a means for academic accountability.

"Modifying our grade reporting procedures will allow additional fairness for our students and flexibility for the instructional staff during this interim time," he said.

Safety Report

LISD Assistant Superintendent of Administrative and Pupil Services Mr. Dennis Williams said, as of 2:00 p.m. April 13th, Gregg County has increased to 47 cases, and "local health officials do not feel like we have flattened the curve quite yet."

Williams informed trustees that AEP-Southwestern Electric Power Co. estimates that approximately 22,000 people are without electricity in the area, as of Monday morning.

"It is not known exactly when all power will be restored," Williams told board members, adding that straight-line winds did minimal damage to district facilities.

"A greenhouse was destroyed at Ware Elementary School, ceiling tiles were blown off an overhang at Longview High School, and Playing for Keeps is operating on one-third of its normal power," he said.

Williams said staff is currently completing the district safety audit information to present during the May regular meeting.

"In this information will be recommendations to help establish our safety plans for the next three years," he said. We are also working on our Multi-hazard Emergency Operations Plans that must be presented to the board of trustees for approval."

In other business...

Trustees approved a request for Instructional Materials Allotment and TEKS Certification for 2020-2021 from Mr. Dennis Williams, Assistant Superintendent of Administrative and Pupil Services.

Mr. Williams told trustees that districts are required to annually certify to the State Board of Education and the commissioner that, for each subject in the required curriculum other than physical education, students have access to instructional materials that cover all of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS).

"Districts will be unable to order 2020-2021 instructional materials through Educational Materials System (EMAT) until certification has been received by the Texas Education Agency," he said, explaining that districts request State Board of Education-adopted materials and Commissioner-adopted materials through EMAT, and the allotment is reduced by the value of requested materials.

The board also authorized Superintendent Dr. James Wilcox to negotiate and sign performance contracts with Texas Council for International Studies (TCIS), and Longview Educates and Prospers (LEAP).

You can read the full story on that here

For more info

Trustees usually meet in the boardroom of the LISD Education Support Center, but often set special-called meetings at various locations around the district. The next regular meeting is tentatively scheduled for 6 p.m. May 11th.

For more information about the Longview ISD Board of Trustees please click here.