The Whitehouse ISD Board of Trustees met Monday night and along with many other decisions, approved the academic calendar for the 2017-2018 school year. The first day of instruction is set for Wednesday, Aug. 16 and the final day is listed as Thursday, May 31, 2018.
The early start to the school year came from the new District of Innovation plan also approved during Monday’s meeting. That plan has been discussed by the board for several months and has been on the district’s web site for public viewing and input. Dr. Trampas Bass, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction said there had been no input or questions from the public.
A panel of teachers and administrators met to put together several options and this calendar was their final choice. Leading that group was Forrest Kaiser, Principal at Higgins Elementary.
Superintendent Dr. Chris Moran stated that the early start date will allow for some additional days off during the school year.
“We heard loud and clear from the teaching staff that they need some time mid-fall to have a four-day weekend where they can recharge and the kids can recharge,” Moran said. “It will also provide some additional opportunities for staff development.”
The current calendar shows the winter break at eight days. The 2017-18 calendar reflects 11 days. The number of instruction days for students will remain at 175 as it is for 2016-17.
A construction report from Steve Hickey, WRL General Contractors, gave the board several areal images showing the progress on the sports complex at the high school campus and the maintenance building on the Bascom Road property.
“We are pretty much on schedule,” Hickey said. “Our goal is to be done with this portion of the project by the end of July. We told the administration that we don’t see a problem with them having a baseball camp on the new fields in August.”
Hickey gave a timeline for the remaining phases as to when they expect to receive bids on the junior high construction and bring those to the board in mid-May. He expects to appear before the board mid-May will bids for the junior high construction. Following that in June will be some road infrastructure at the new Brown campus and then the bids for the building itself. Hickey plans to have those before the board in mid-June.
The last big package is the high school and he says those should be ready for the board’s review and approval in mid-July.
Moran updated trustees on road construction near the new Brown Elementary site.
“The City of Tyler and our Smith County Commissioner Cary Nix, the city engineer and the county engineer met with the school district over spring break and we talked about the future street plan for Tyler which includes collector roads,” Moran said. “The county is interested in improving Rhones Quarter. And if you are not aware, Rhones Quarter is becoming a four-lane road all the way to pretty close to 346 and Paluxy will be going four-lane all the way to 346 prior to 2024.”
Moran explained how they hope the plan with come together for WISD.
“We are more interested in the east/west connection,” he said. “The city of Tyler has received our interest in their half-cent sales tax list. We are purposing that they consider connecting through Paluxy to Rhones Quarter across the northern boundary of our school property.
This would take a coordinated effort from the county, on Oscar Burkett, from the city for Brandon Drive and the school district as we construct a road.
We are working on that partnership with the county and the city to bring that east/west connection between Paluxy and Rhones Quarter. We believe that would be of real value to our parents and those traveling to Brown Elementary. We are excited about that as an opportunity.”