Athens Review, Athens, Texas

September 20, 2013

School news good

AISD head tells of year’s start

Jeff Riggs
The Athens Review

Athens — The entire Athens Independent School Board meeting appeared positive Thursday.  The beginning appeared to set the tone as Trustees found out how things went early in the school year.

“It was a smooth start,” AISD Superintendent Blake Stiles said of the beginning of the school year. “For example, the bus routes got kids home sooner than last year.  We changed the start times at a couple of campuses.

Stiles said the remedy had to do with which grade levels were released at what times.

“AMS (Athens Middle School), for example, releases all car riders before the buses get there,” he said.

Stiles said both AMS and Bel Air Elementary have been problem areas for traffic in the past.  Bel Air has been problematic because of its location, with only street access.

AMS has been a problem because of traffic in State Highway 19, next to the school. One way to take care of this is to change the schedule of which grade levels are released, and changing the time that buses get to campus.

Stiles said enrollment for AISD this year is 3,387. 

“The high school is larger this year because we graduated a class of only 188 seniors, and added almost 300 freshmen this year to replace those.  This made the campus larger,” he said.

He said the district also enrolled more kindergarteners than what were lost, primarily in Bel Air Elementary.

Stiles said that with the growth of the elementary schools in AISD, he believes that the future will require more classrooms.

The Board voted to change policy concerning corporal punishment.  Now, with the child receiving the punishment, there must be at least one present who is of the same gender as the student.  That can be either the administrator delivering the punishment, or the witness to the punishment, who can be any AISD employee.

Stiles said teachers do not deliver punishment.  It must be administrators.

“I don’t want to put teachers in that situation,” he said.

He added that a paddle is the only tool for corporal punishment.

One action item considered by trustees was training for seven district administrators.  Among those seeking the training will be Blake Stiles, Diana Vaughn, Sharon Reed, Winston McCowan, Ginger Morrison, Rosalie Dennis and Vicki Weatherford.  The cost will be $13,965,

The personnel will attend the Texas Association of School Administrators Academy for Transformational Leadership. 

The training is intended to support districts/campuses in improving student performance by assisting in the development and implementation of school improvement plans, among other initiatives. 

The district administrators will participate in eight days of intensive study and training throughout the school year.

Another action item involved sending eight members of the Athens High School FFA officer team to serve in the National FFA Courtesy Corps at the 86th National FFA Convention and Expo. 

The Board approved a travel request for these students and their teachers, to attend and represent AISD in Louisville, Ky. from Oct. 30 through Nov. 2.

AISD Assistant Superintendent Dr. Janie Sims said the plan specifically involves the   the student officers who have been chosen to assist with the National Dairy Cattle Career development event. The trip will be funded by the Athens Young Farmers, the Career and Technical Education Department of Athens High School  and FFA fundraising efforts.

Yet another action item involved attendance at the TASA/TASB (Texas Association of School Administrators/Texas Association of School Boards) Convention from Sept. 27, to Sept. 29 in Dallas. 

Attendance at the convention assists in satisfying state-required training hours for board members.  Total cost is $7,778 for the group to attend. 

The Board also selected delegate and alternate representatives for the TASB Assembly.  Board President  Robert Risko was selected to serve as the Delegate and Steve McElhany was chosen as the Alternate.

The Board also approved the purchase of Microsoft licenses for district-wide technology operating systems at a cost of $20,732.

The Board also voted to nominate Jack Bailey to the Henderson County Appraisal Board of Directors.

In executive session, three employees were hired.  They are Linda Johnson, Lori Hayes and Linda Yarbrough.  There also was one resignation, that of Athens High School math teacher Krystal Healy.