In the final board meeting of the 2018-2019 school year, College Station trustees approved a new math course that will begin in August.
The new course is designed to help students who come to the district from other countries and who have limited English proficiency and limited math knowledge.
Penny Tramel, chief academic officer for the district, told the board some students come with schooling equivalent to fourth grade through ninth grade and are expected to take algebra.
The students — estimated to be about a dozen at College Station’s two comprehensive high schools — would be “hand-placed” in the course by teachers and campus administrators. Officially, she said, the course will be an elective, not a math course, and students can be enrolled concurrently with or before taking algebra.
“They feel like it would really increase the success level of the kids that are coming to us without language and the math skills that they need,” Tramel said. “They feel like as we continue to get more and more ESL students that have lower language proficiency that this course would be invaluable.”
During the May 21 meeting, the board members began a discussion about the timing of the schools’ annual enrollment reports. Currently, the reports are given in December, but the trustees talked about moving that timing to October or into the spring with implementation of any changes taking effect the following calendar year. The discussion will continue at the June meeting.
The board also approved the district’s long-range technology plan to cover 2019-2024 and the textbook adoption for elementary and middle school English language arts and Spanish language arts.
Following previous discussions about letting private practice counselors see students on campuses during the school day, the board approved the required policy changes to allow it. This includes changing the student attendance policy to make sure students are excused from class during the time they are meeting with the counselor.
The board began discussions during the May meeting about having more EpiPens, which deliver epinephrine in case of severe allergic reactions, available to staff members for use in emergencies. Currently, certain district employees are trained in administering the medication and are assigned an EpiPen, and unassigned EpiPens are available to school nurses.
If the district wants to continue having unassigned EpiPens, a state policy change means the district must expand access to any time the school is open for events, College Station Chief Administrative Officer Molley Perry said.
This would mean having them available in areas around gyms and auditoriums where people might be after regular school hours and would require all district employees be trained in proper administration.
The board will continue the discussion and could make a decision during the June 18 board meeting.
The board approved an Educator Profile, which goes along with the previously approved Learner Profile, to help set a standard for teachers in the district.
“We want to get the right people,” Tramel said. “We also have great people already, so we want to be sure that we have something to guide and focus our professional learning. We feel like this will help us do that.”
The five sections of the Educator Profile are the following: Builds positive relationships and learning environment; communicates and collaborates effectively; embraces learning; works with passion and commitment; creates digital learning environment.