Board approves new health clinic for students, staff

STOCK PHOTO - smiling Doctor talks with teen

During their regular meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 9, the Longview ISD Board of Trustees voted to approve a new on-campus health clinic operated by Wellness Pointe of Longview and funded by a $350,000 federal grant.

Located at Longview High School, the clinic will only be open to current students and staff members. Community members will not have access to the campus or the facility to maintain school safety and security protocols.

The measure passed 3-2, with one abstention and one absence. 

"After extensive conversations with parents, community partners, and LISD staff, the board agreed that restricting access is integral to maintaining campus safety and security," said Dr. Wayne Guidry, LISD Assistant Superintendent of Finance.

Instead, administrators identified two potential non-instructional locations for the clinic within the existing school infrastructure, avoiding displacement of academic facilities. 

Dr. Guidry explained that renovations to prepare the space are expected to cost less than $40,000.

"The competitive grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, awarded to only 77 school-based health centers nationwide this year, will cover operational costs for services tailored specifically to the district’s student population and employees," he said. 

Dr. Guidry said the most important priority is that this clinic aims to increase access to medical and mental health services for students and staff.

"We are thrilled that the expertise of Wellness Pointe — combined with federal support — will allow us to provide quality care to students in need, without any additional burden on local taxpayers," said Dr. Guidry.

Operated by Wellness Pointe, the clinic's initial staffing will include one medical provider, two mental health counselors, and support personnel. Services offered will include basic medical care, mental health counseling, optometry, psychiatry, and dentistry.

The clinic builds on the success of a similar Wellness Pointe school-based health center launched in 2022 at another district location. That facility has served over 1,300 patients in its first year of operation, providing over 4,500 medical and counseling visits.

District and school leaders emphasized that on-campus delivery of medical, mental health, and support services aims to remove barriers to care for students, increase academic success, reduce absenteeism, and improve long-term health outcomes.

"By bringing care directly to students and staff most in need, we hope to foster healthier, more equitable outcomes district- and community-wide," said Dr. James Wilcox, Longview ISD Superintendent of Schools. "This clinic will provide conveniently accessible, judgment-free services tailored specifically to our school population."

Counseling services are expected to be in especially high demand, as over 90 percent of all visits at Wellness Pointe's existing school clinic are mental-health related.

With the board's approval, Wellness Pointe will now begin preparing the high school campus location.

The on-site clinic is expected to open its doors to students and staff later this year.

Please click here to download the resolution and related documentation.

Contract with DLR Group 

Later, board members unanimously approved a $50,000 contract with architecture firm DLR Group to begin planning for a potential bond election this year. The contract will be paid from general funds.

The district sought proposals from six firms in December and selected DLR Group after an evaluation process assessing each company's qualifications, according to Dr. Wayne Guidry, Assistant Superintendent of Finance.

Based in Dallas, the DLR Group has over five decades of architecture experience and currently has 41 licensed architects in Texas on staff. The firm has worked on more than 900 renovation projects, 200 school additions, 1,400 addition and renovation combinations, and over 1,100 new school construction projects.

Dr. Guidry said the 13-member DLR team is prepared to start working with the district on planning if trustees call for a bond election before the February deadline.

"The administration views DLR Group as the most qualified firm for the planning work based on their extensive Texas school architecture experience spanning decades and over 3,000 educational projects," he said. "This expertise is expected to benefit planning efforts moving forward."

Please click here to download the resolution and related documentation.

Superintendent's Report

During the Superintendent's Report, Dr. Wilcox honored the LISD Board of Trustees as part of School Board Recognition Month, as Dr. James Hockenberry, Assistant Superintendent of District Services, presented award plaques, gift baskets, and student artwork to LISD board members, explaining that the theme this year is "Locally Elected, Community Connected."

"In Texas, school board members are elected by community members who trust them to do what's best for students," he said. "This connection ensures that board members are accountable to local voters, attuned to the needs of their communities, and dedicated to a brighter future."

Although showing appreciation should be a year-round process, Dr. Wilcox said taking advantage of the designated month "ensures that these important people receive some of the thanks they deserve."

"Our school board members are volunteers who shoulder critical responsibilities and often make difficult choices for our district, all without pay," he said. "Their goal is always focused on the future success of the children in our district."

Read the full media release here.

Additionally, the Superintendent's Report included the monthly District Services summary; a Charter Partner update; an Office of Innovation update; the RAPTOR safety data report with the latest visitor management system statistics; and the most recent campus data monitoring analysis, which tracks key performance indicators including student attendance, discipline, and academic growth. 

Dr. Wilcox also provided updates on current district facilities projects focused on improving or replacing aging district facilities as needed, and the latest information on grants the district has received thus far in the 2023-24 school year.

District Donations

Board members unanimously approved the following donations:

  • $6,460 from the District Charter Alliance (DCA) Action Fund to supplement the LISD Backpack Program; and
  • $5,000 from Christus Health to provide training room equipment and supplies for Lobo Athletics.
  • In other business...

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

  • DISCUSSED the superintendent transition process during executive session, including authorization to seek proposals from search firms, as well as assignment, duties and responsibilities of administrative personnel. Board member Mr. Brett Miller moved that the board approve the "Request for Proposals: Selection of Superintendent Search Firm," as discussed in closed session, authorizing district counsel Kelli Karczewski to forward the RFP for response and consideration no later than Jan. 31, 2024.

  • RENEWED the activation of video surveillance in certain Special Education classrooms, (pursuant to Texas Education Code 29.022). This is considered for approval by the board annually.

  • APPROVED a waiver of penalty and interest totaling $354.66 for 2022 taxes for account No. 120009;

  • APPROVED the Minutes and Time Use Tracker for the Dec. 11, 2023 regular meeting;

  • ACCEPTED the financial statements as of December 2023; 

  • APPROVED the 2023-24 First Quarter Investment Report;

  • APPROVED amendments to 2023-24 District Calendar;

  • APPROVED amendments to Board Policy DC (LOCAL); and

  • APPROVED Budget Amendment No. 5.

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. Feb. 12, 2024.

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