John Tyler and Robert E. Lee high schools operate on a modified block schedule, where some classes meet daily and others meet every other day.
However, a 2011 staffing report suggested the district move to a seven- or eight-period day at the high schools. That, coupled with new state accountability standards and a new testing system, prompted the district to re-evaluate the high school schedules.
Dr. Christy Hanson, TISD's executive director for secondary education, said the district surveyed all faculty at Lee and John Tyler as well as the campus committees, and they decided unanimously the change would be best.
In addition, a committee comprised of the high school principals, athletic directors and administrators in performing arts, career and technical education, and guidance and counseling also supported the move.
Dr. Hanson said the change will help to decrease lost instructional time and allow for immediate remediation or enrichment when needed. In addition, it will allow for more consistency with students having their math, science, social studies and English language arts classes daily.
With the modified block schedule format a student could go more than a week without instruction in a class if there was a holiday and they missed a day of school in the same week.
Board member Brad Spradlin questioned the decision, saying the district made an argument in favor of block schedules years ago.
Dr. Hanson said she could not speak to the decision made years ago but could speak to the present.
“This is right for our students at this time based on what we need to do to get the students where they need to be,” Dr. Hanson said.
The board also heard a report from Bob Roseman and Ramsey Starks of Prothro, Wilhelmi and Co. about the district's audit. The firm issued an unqualified, or clean, opinion, and Roseman said there were no findings.
“The school district is in great financial condition, and that is not the case for all school districts and we recognize that,” Roseman said.
He praised the work and cooperation from Tosha Bjork, TISD's chief financial officer, and her team as well as Jan Coker, the district's internal audit director, and the audit committee.
In other business, the board:
—Approved a resolution that would defer implementation of a state requirement to count performance on the state's end-of-course exams as 15 percent of a high school student's grade in the respective course.
Under the state's new standardized testing system, high school students have to take 15 end-of-course exams throughout their four years, and each of these is supposed to count toward their course grade. However, last year, the Texas commissioner of education gave school districts the option of deferring the requirement, and he did so again this year.
—Accepted the resignation of Karyn Hacker, principal of the Wayne D. Boshears Center for Exceptional Programs, TISD's school for students with special needs. Ms. Hacker has worked at the school for more than 30 years and is retiring effective in June of this year.
—Approved the hiring of Susan Limmer to be the principal at Bonner Elementary School. Ms. Limmer, who is assistant principal at Griffin Elementary School, worked as the assistant principal at Bonner for 15 years. She said she is excited about the opportunity and committed to serving the entire school community and district to the best of her abilities.