Johnson City Record Courier
Weather Overcast 68.0°F (61%)
Extra-Curricular Activities Bring Academic Rewards
Thursday, October 13, 2011 • Posted October 13, 2011

At the October 10 regular meeting of the Johnson City ISD Board of Education, high school Principal Julie Storer reported that students currently involved in extra-curricular activities have significantly higher passing rates than their non-participating peers.

"Not counting academic UIL, 86% of our students are involved in at least one extra-curricular program," said Ms. Storer. "Participating students have a passing rate of 98% in all of their classes. School-wide, the passing rate is 91%." She went on to say that those students who are not involved in any extra-curricular activities at school have a passing rate in all their classes of only 48%.

It was Ms. Storer’s opinion that organizational skills, the work ethic, no-pass/no-play and other intangibles that result from participation in extra-curricular activities contribute to their academic success. Superintendent David Shanley said that some parents who might consider taking their children elsewhere are relieved when the youngsters get involved in school activities and opt to keep them here.

It was reported that the current district enrollment of 710 students is staying fairly constant with 208 students enrolled at the high school.

Assistant Superintendent A’Lann Truelock reported on a new election law that allows County entities, in those years where general elections are held, the flexibility to move elections to November. "If we change our elections to November," she reported, "we will have to change a lot of things including such things as terms of office." She said that Johnson City currently does not want to move its elections to a November date but that it had the option to change its mind prior to December.

"We use the same voting equipment as the County," reported Dr. Truelock. Superintendent Shanley said, "We have to decide before December. If the City changes to November then we will have to do the same. If they hold firm, then my recommendation is to not change it. If the Board takes no action then it stays as is." The Board opted to take no action being content to leave the elections as currently scheduled in the month of May.

The Board passed a resolution requested by County Extension Agents Todd Swift and Gretchen Sanders that provides local school boards the opportunity to recognize county Extension agents as adjunct staff members, and to county students participating in 4-H/Extension educational activities "in attendance for Foundation School Program purposes."

Mr. Shanley reported that the district has been in need of a new scoreboard at the football field for a long time. "I don’t see a new stadium being constructed any time soon," he said. He recommends that a new one be designed and constructed at the present site with the help of a loan to the School Board by the Johnson City Bank. "I wouldn’t recommend buying it but it is defensible when donated by the bank board," he said. The bank board would provide a loan to the School District in the amount of $17,000 and then the bank would make the payments over a period of five years. "They have been very generous with us over the years," said Superintendent Shanley. He said that two basic designs are being considered and that Ms. Storer and Mr. Braden will assist with the selection and actual design. "It is movable," he said. The Board approved the measure.

Superintendent Shanley reported that the Blanco County Appraisal District informed the School District that tax certificate fees and earned interest that have been accumulated over time should be returned to the taxing entities that participated in the district during the years in which it accumulated. The question for the School Board was how to allocate the funds being returned. They could be applied to the mortgage on the Appraisal District building or they could be applied to the School District budget for 2012. "I feel we should apply the monies to the budget allocation rather than to the mortgage," said Mr. Shanley. The Johnson City ISD share is estimated to be about $72,469. Ms. Keene moved that the funds be assigned to the 2012 budget and the motion carried unanimously.

By taking no action, the Board opted to refrain from joining in litigation against the State of Texas, specifically the Texas Education Agency, over what is perceived by many to be inequities and inadequacies in school funding as mandated to the State. Dr. Truelock provided a summary of the litigation and Mr. Shanley indicated that although he feels the lawsuit is justified, "the Commissioner of Education warned us to be careful what we wish for." Since 1968 there have been seven such lawsuits filed against the State.

High school principal, Julie Storer, requested Board support for efforts to improve the announcement and presentation of scholarships to those students who earn them. Several Board members, particularly Ms. Keene, Mr. Broadbeck and Mr. Thompson expressed their support saying that any changes being considered in the announcement and presentations could be reversed if they didn’t pan out. "We obviously have a high school principal who has her heart in student success," said Mr. Shanley. The Board expressed its support to Ms. Storer’s proposals without taking a formal vote.

The issue of student fees was discussed including student-parking fees, and those required of some programs such as FFA where students choose to participate. There is a $10 parking fee that, according to Ms. Storer, allows the school to verify whether or not a vehicle is authorized to be parked on campus. The proceeds of student fees go into funding Red Ribbon Week, Wounded Warrior and other programs benefiting the students. She indicated that students and staff have designated parking places.

There was a presentation to the Board regarding the granting of high school credit for courses taken at the middle school. Ms. Storer said that if a student fulfills all the conditions that high school credits require while at the middle school, then high school credits may be granted. There is a list of those middle school programs, including band, which could qualify for the granting of the credit.

Mr. Shanley reported that he has been designated as a "Mentor Superintendent." He will have the privilege of mentoring those who want to become superintendents or who are new to the position. "I want the person who comes here to have the same experiences I have. I consider the designation to be an honor."

Mr. Chris Voron, Director of Special Education, made a presentation to the Board regarding the fiscal planning challenges relative to the Pre-school Programs for Children with Disabilities (PPCD) in the district. He indicated that needs vary greatly from year to year and that students with more significant developmental delays often require more staffing and might require assistive technology devices to assist in communication.

He said that students that qualify for PPCD program are often in need of related services such as physical therapy or occupational therapy. Infants and toddler (birth to age 3) identified with visual or hearing impairment immediately become the fiscal responsibility of the school district.

Mr. Voron said that parents of any child that are concerned about their child’s speech, language, or learning can have their child tested at no cost to determine if he or she qualifies for special education services. Any child with a disability aged 3 through 21 living in the Johnson City ISD service area has the right to a free appropriate public education. Those parents who would like their child evaluated for special education services or who have questions about the process can call Chris Voron at 830-868-7410.

By Keith J. McClellan

At the October 10 regular meeting of the Johnson City ISD Board of Education, high school Principal Julie Storer reported that students currently involved in extra-curricular activities have significantly higher passing rates than their non-participating peers.

"Not counting academic UIL, 86% of our students are involved in at least one extra-curricular program," said Ms. Storer. "Participating students have a passing rate of 98% in all of their classes. School-wide, the passing rate is 91%." She went on to say that those students who are not involved in any extra-curricular activities at school have a passing rate in all their classes of only 48%.

It was Ms. Storer’s opinion that organizational skills, the work ethic, no-pass/no-play and other intangibles that result from participation in extra-curricular activities contribute to their academic success. Superintendent David Shanley said that some parents who might consider taking their children elsewhere are relieved when the youngsters get involved in school activities and opt to keep them here.

It was reported that the current district enrollment of 710 students is staying fairly constant with 208 students enrolled at the high school.

Assistant Superintendent A’Lann Truelock reported on a new election law that allows County entities, in those years where general elections are held, the flexibility to move elections to November. "If we change our elections to November," she reported, "we will have to change a lot of things including such things as terms of office." She said that Johnson City currently does not want to move its elections to a November date but that it had the option to change its mind prior to December.

"We use the same voting equipment as the County," reported Dr. Truelock. Superintendent Shanley said, "We have to decide before December. If the City changes to November then we will have to do the same. If they hold firm, then my recommendation is to not change it. If the Board takes no action then it stays as is." The Board opted to take no action being content to leave the elections as currently scheduled in the month of May.

The Board passed a resolution requested by County Extension Agents Todd Swift and Gretchen Sanders that provides local school boards the opportunity to recognize county Extension agents as adjunct staff members, and to county students participating in 4-H/Extension educational activities "in attendance for Foundation School Program purposes."

Mr. Shanley reported that the district has been in need of a new scoreboard at the football field for a long time. "I don’t see a new stadium being constructed any time soon," he said. He recommends that a new one be designed and constructed at the present site with the help of a loan to the School Board by the Cattlemen’s National Bank. "I wouldn’t recommend buying it but it is defensible when donated by the bank board," he said. The bank board would provide a loan to the School District in the amount of $17,000 and then the bank would make the payments over a period of five years. "They have been very generous with us over the years," said Superintendent Shanley. He said that two basic designs are being considered and that Ms. Storer and Mr. Braden will assist with the selection and actual design. "It is movable," he said. The Board approved the measure.

Superintendent Shanley reported that the Blanco County Appraisal District informed the School District that tax certificate fees and earned interest that have been accumulated over time should be returned to the taxing entities that participated in the district during the years in which it accumulated. The question for the School Board was how to allocate the funds being returned. They could be applied to the mortgage on the Appraisal District building or they could be applied to the School District budget for 2012. "I feel we should apply the monies to the budget allocation rather than to the mortgage," said Mr. Shanley. The Johnson City ISD share is estimated to be about $72,469. Ms. Keene moved that the funds be assigned to the 2012 budget and the motion carried unanimously.

By taking no action, the Board opted to refrain from joining in litigation against the State of Texas, specifically the Texas Education Agency, over what is perceived by many to be inequities and inadequacies in school funding as mandated to the State. Dr. Truelock provided a summary of the litigation and Mr. Shanley indicated that although he feels the lawsuit is justified, "the Commissioner of Education warned us to be careful what we wish for." Since 1968 there have been seven such lawsuits filed against the State.

High school principal, Julie Storer, requested Board support for efforts to improve the announcement and presentation of scholarships to those students who earn them. Several Board members, particularly Ms. Keene, Mr. Broadbeck and Mr. Thompson expressed their support saying that any changes being considered in the announcement and presentations could be reversed if they didn’t pan out. "We obviously have a high school principal who has her heart in student success," said Mr. Shanley. The Board expressed its support to Ms. Storer’s proposals without taking a formal vote.

The issue of student fees was discussed including student-parking fees, and those required of some programs such as FFA where students choose to participate. There is a $10 parking fee that, according to Ms. Storer, allows the school to verify whether or not a vehicle is authorized to be parked on campus. The proceeds of student fees go into funding Red Ribbon Week, Wounded Warrior and other programs benefiting the students. She indicated that students and staff have designated parking places.

There was a presentation to the Board regarding the granting of high school credit for courses taken at the middle school. Ms. Storer said that if a student fulfills all the conditions that high school credits require while at the middle school, then high school credits may be granted. There is a list of those middle school programs, including band, which could qualify for the granting of the credit.

Mr. Shanley reported that he has been designated as a "Mentor Superintendent." He will have the privilege of mentoring those who want to become superintendents or who are new to the position. "I want the person who comes here to have the same experiences I have. I consider the designation to be an honor."

Mr. Chris Voron, Director of Special Education, made a presentation to the Board regarding the fiscal planning challenges relative to the Pre-school Programs for Children with Disabilities (PPCD) in the district. He indicated that needs vary greatly from year to year and that students with more significant developmental delays often require more staffing and might require assistive technology devices to assist in communication.

He said that students that qualify for PPCD program are often in need of related services such as physical therapy or occupational therapy. Infants and toddler (birth to age 3) identified with visual or hearing impairment immediately become the fiscal responsibility of the school district.

Mr. Voron said that parents of any child that are concerned about their child’s speech, language, or learning can have their child tested at no cost to determine if he or she qualifies for special education services. Any child with a disability aged 3 through 21 living in the Johnson City ISD service area has the right to a free appropriate public education. Those parents who would like their child evaluated for special education services or who have questions about the process can call Chris Voron at 830-868-7410.

This article has been read 69 times.
Comments
Readers are solely responsible for the content of the comments they post here. Comments do not necessarily reflect the opinion or approval of Johnson City Record Courier. Comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.
Comments powered by Disqus