The Whitehouse Independent School District board of trustees, in regular session Monday, Dec. 11, voted to approve the new attendance zone boundaries effective for the 2018-2019 school year.
Three individuals from the Rosebrook community spoke during the meeting, expressing concern about moving their children from one school to another.
“They did a great job of speaking to the board and I think the board appreciated that information that they’d given, but overall it’s [boundary plan]been well-received by the district as a whole,” said Dr. Chris Moran, WISD superintendent.
“A lot of the feedback occurred during the process of the school boundary advisory committee, talking to neighbors and residents, before any kind of recommendation was given,” stated Moran.
A projected completion date for the new Brown Elementary School campus is June 2018. According to Moran, this will “absolutely” give the district time to ready the school and classrooms for opening the 2018-2019 school year.
“We are planning ahead now for furniture and technology and for those types of moves to occur so we’ll be ready the first day of school,” Moran commented.
The board also approved the Play It Safe curriculum, which according to the curriculum website is “an evidence-informed, age-appropriate risk reduction program for Pre-K through high school age students.”
Descriptions presented to the board state the program utilizes scripted presentations, dolls that wear bathing suits under their clothing and are used when discussing “private parts” and short movies featuring “Tick Tock, a friendly watchdog whose alarm goes off when he sees danger.”
Whitehouse ISD plans to use the curriculum in kindergarten through fifth grade classes, according to Moran.
“The training that will happen on the Play It Safe gives students a correct understanding of what is and what isn’t appropriate,” Moran said. “Our teachers go through training each year as it pertains to abuse, how to notice signs of abuse and when to report.”
“We want to make sure our students are safe and if there’s any kind of abuse going on anywhere, that they have the tools and resources to make an outcry and know who to talk to and when to talk to an adult about what’s going on,” Moran explained.
The high school gymnasium’s new name was officially approved as C.L. Nix Wildcat Arena. Nix was a Whitehouse High School basketball coach for 30 years, leading the team to a championship in 1978.
The current junior high gym, which was the high school gym at the time, had been named for Nix. The high school has since been relocated and the current junior high will be razed this summer.
“We wanted to make sure that the honor was preserved,” Moran said. “In fact, we’re going to have a 40th anniversary celebration at January nineteenth’s basketball game. We’re inviting all the State champions back to be recognized prior to the game.”
The only item tabled was a proposal to change to the high school exemption policy, which allows students to be exempted from certain semester exams provided their grade point average and attendance meets specific requirements.
“Essentially there was a proposal to amend the current exemption policy and it was put forward because attendance rates at the high school had dipped a little bit and we were looking for a way to motivate students to be present for school and to do well in their classes,” stated Moran. “The board gave input back to us and we are going to consider that input and come back in January with a recommendation.”