Trustees approve new 3rd-12th grade 'Virtual Academy'

STOCK-online-learning

The Longview ISD Board of Trustees approved creating a remote learning program and asynchronous instructional plan during their regular meeting on Oct. 11th.

Trustees approve new 3rd-12th grade 'Virtual Academy'

Mon Oct 11, 2021

The Longview ISD Board of Trustees approved creating a remote learning program and asynchronous instructional plan during their regular meeting on Oct. 11th.

Mr. John Wink, Coordinator of Policy and New Schools, explained that LISD will utilize the BrightThinker curriculum "in the four core instructional areas and any electives required for high school credit."

"The district will provide supports and instruction to students and parents through BrightThinker," he said. "The LISD Office of Innovation has developed a local remote learning program through asynchronous learning that serves as an option for families which allows students who meet local selection criteria to learn in an asynchronous learning environment."

Mr. Wink said the academy is currently only for students in grades 3rd through 12th, and families who wish to enroll their students in this program must complete an application at LISD.org/virtual/apply and submit it to their current campus principal by November 1.

Senate Bill 15 allows districts to offer a local remote learning program that provides a virtual course through remote synchronous instruction, asynchronous instruction, or a combination of synchronous and asynchronous instruction, and it allows districts to provide a board-approved local policy to determine the instructional methods and attendance-taking methods for the local remote learning program.

Mr. Wink said students enrolled in the virtual academy will be provided with a Chromebook and Internet connection. Students are required to participate in 240 minutes of instruction and must be online from 8 a.m.-12 p.m. each school day.

"If there are extenuating circumstances that prevent a student from being online and completing work from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., the student must communicate with the teacher to inform them of when they will complete the work during the day," he said.

Students enrolled in the Virtual Academy are permitted to participate in all LISD extracurricular activities, Mr. Wink added.

Dr. James Wilcox, LISD Superintendent of Schools, praised Mr. Wink and the Office of Innovation team for their leadership and creativity in "bringing this resource to our students and families."

"This is something we've been discussing for almost as long as the pandemic," he said. "Like a lot of districts, we've tried to find a way that's as practical and easy-to-use as possible, not just for our students and families, but our many excellent educators. We're glad to be able to offer this to our community." 

For more detailed information about the Longview ISD Virtual Academy please go to the website at lisd.org/virtual or download the course application here.

If you have any questions please contact the Office of Innovation at ask@lisd.org or call 903-381-2200.
 

National Merit Scholars

Board members also recognized Longview High School's latest National Merit Semifinalists, and National Merit Recognition Award winners: Iniabasi Ekpenyong, Itoro Ekpenyong, Joseph Egbe, Joshua Romero, Micah Howard, Otibhor Ihionkhan, Rylee Hunter, and Trentyn Reid (National African-American Recognition); Josue Chavez, Mason LaMaster, Matthew Guck, Sofia Massare, and Victor Aguilar (National Hispanic Recognition); Isabella Hough, Mason LaMaster, Matthew Guck, Victor Aguilar, and William Blair (National Indigenous Recognition). 

Dr. Wilcox explained that Longview High School has a long tradition of students receiving these honors, "and these students are an excellent demonstration of what a high caliber of students, families, and teachers we have in this district."

Mrs. Linda Buie, a longtime educator and current International Baccalaureate director at Longview High explained that the National Merit Scholarship Program "is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships that began in 1955."

"These semifinalists represent an elite group that makes up less than one percent of high school seniors nationally, and includes the highest-scoring Preliminary SAT test-takers in each state," she said.

Sixteen thousand students from across the country were chosen out of about 1.5 million that enter each year. About 7,500 will receive $2,500 scholarships for the college of their choice.
 

District Vax Clinics

Mr. Dennis Williams, Assistant Superintendent of Administrative and Pupil Services, reminded board members that the district will continue to host multiple vaccination clinics throughout the school year, including at varsity home football & volleyball games this season.

The vaccination clinics are set for Oct. 15th and Nov. 5th from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the LHS cafeteria and from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Oct. 22nd in the LHS library. Once vaccinated at these clinics, participants will receive a Lobo Football or volleyball general admission ticket.

These vaccination clinics are not limited to Longview ISD students or staff but are open to the entire community. However, those under the age of 18 must provide a parental consent form and be accompanied by a legal guardian. There is NO COST for these vaccinations and insurance is NOT required to receive a vaccination.

Dennis-Williams-mugshotMr. Williams said the district refuses to be passive in the face of this pandemic, "but we want to exhaust every possibility to bring down the risks for our students, employees, and their families."

"After the first week of school, when our students and staff weren't using masks, we were entering 15-20 positive student cases per day, but the rate slowed down significantly after the mask mandate," he said. "During these last few weeks we've been entering just 3-6 positive cases per week. "

Dr. Wilcox agreed, adding that, "We will continue to do everything we can to stop the spread of the virus and keep our students and staff safe."

For more information about these events please contact LISD Lead Nurse Ms. Kimberly Dans at 903-663-7191.
 

Custodial Services update

STOCK-custodial-servicesBoard members also received a presentation on custodial services from Mr. Dennis Williams, Assistant Superintendent of Administrative and Pupil Services.

Currently, the district contracts with Southeast Services Corporation (SSC) to provide janitorial services to LISD campuses and facilities.

SSC employs 93 people and manages six additional employees who are Longview ISD retained employees, for a total of 99.

The latest proposed contract extension has a total cost of $2,998,972 and Mr. Williams estimated that initial start-up costs to bring custodial services back in-house would be at least $5 million.

"In addition, there are mitigating factors due to COVID-19 and the current economy," he said. "This includes supply chain disruptions, worker shortages, and additional PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) needed when custodians have to clean areas where an infected person was known to have been."

As this was only an information item, the board took no action at this time.
 

Financial Donations

Board members also approved a donation of $10,000 from the Lobo Football Booster Club for supplies and equipment; a donation of $9,453.20 from the Lobo Baseball Booster Club for new uniforms and equipment; a donation of $8,000 from the Lobo Golf Booster Club for supplies and equipment; a donation of $5,000 from Texas Bank & Trust, a donation of $2,000 from East Texas Professional Credit Union, $1,000 from an anonymous donor, and $100 each from Randy James Hardin of Hardin Ace Hardware, the Scott Stevens Campaign Fund, and Charles Van Burkleo to help fund the Leroy Romines Memorial Tournament; a donation of $4,405 from the Lobo Swim Booster Club for a Longview Swim Timing System; a donation of $2,500 from the Lobo Football Booster Club for Lobo Basketball signs in the Coliseum; a donation of $2,304 from BSN Sports for new uniforms for the Lobo Track & Field team; a donation of $1,500 from Linebarger, Goggan, Blair, & Sampson law firm, a donation of $750 from East Texas Professional Credit Union, a donation of $150 from Bubba's 33, a donation of $100 from Pam Mercer McWilliams, and a donation of $50 from Ms. Abby Jester, to help fund the LHS Film Club's trip to the New York City Film Festival; a donation of $1,500 from Education Research and a donation of $180 from Mr. John York to help support the Longview ISD Backpack Program; a donation of $1,000 from the Texas Association of School Boards to sponsor the Post-87th Legislative Summit; and a donation of $477 from Mrs. Julie Woods to pay off a Viewette bill for a specified student.

Please click here to download the related documentation.
 

In other business...

During the course of the meeting, the LISD Board of Trustees also:

  • APPROVED the $249,000 purchase of 278 new classroom computers for LISD Career and Technology Education. Start-Up Grant funds will be allocated for this purchase;

  • APPROVED a $55,000 contract with Mrs. Christa Black of Longview for Professional Development/Mentoring/Coaching and Literacy Services to be provided at TCIS campuses (Clarence W. Bailey, Hudson PEP, and Ned E. Williams elementaries) for 2021-22;

  • RECEIVED updates from Superintendent Dr. James Wilcox on recent Senate Bill 1444 concerning Health Care Legislation in the State of Texas as well as how it stands to impact employee benefits and the Teacher Retirement System;

  • RECEIVED an update on COVID-19 cases, the district Safety Report, and Facilities Update from Mr. Dennis Williams, Assistant Superintendent of Administrative & Pupil Services;

  • APPROVED the nomination of Mr. Keith Honey, Mr. Vance Freeman, and Mrs. Julie Woods to the Gregg Appraisal District Board of Directors;

  • RECEIVED updates from Dr. Craig Coleman on the district's Office of Innovation and charter partners;

  • APPROVED the Instructional Materials Allotment and TEKS Certification for 2021-22;

  • APPROVED Minutes and Time Use Tracker for the Sept. 13th Regular Meeting;

  • RECEIVED the Sept. 2021 Financial Statement; and

  • APPROVED Budget Amendment No. 2.
     

For more info

Trustees usually meet in the boardroom of the LISD Education Support Center (1301 E. Young Street), but often set special-called meetings at various locations around the district. The next regular meeting is tentatively scheduled for 6 p.m. Nov. 8th.

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