10 31 2014

VISD trustees honored as part of appreciation month

By Britne Reeves
Staff Writer

January is School Board Appreciation month
and the Van ISD Board of Trustees were
treated to special performances and gifts by students and staff.
Mackenzie Marquess and Jacob Savage led the Pledge of Allegiance and students from Van Intermediate kicked off the presentations with a brief play about the “10 things that make Van great.” Van Elementary submitted a donation to a charity on behalf of the school board and the Van Middle School Choir performed a song with art teacher Holli Bryant. Van Junior High presented a video title “After High School Comes College” and expressed their thanks to the school board while Van High School students presented personalized picture frames to the board members.
East Texas Medical Outreach
The board heard a presentation from Russell Hopkins of the East Texas Medical Outreach, asking permission to use Van ISD facilities again to put on the clinic.
“We have had a lot of requests to duplicate our outreach health clinic from last year. In six months, we put together a medical clinic that provided 335 free medical patient visits. We offered everything from glucose tests to dentistry. The location worked really well for us and we want to recreate that.”
The board approved the use of the VISD facilities for the East Texas Medical Outreach health clinic.
No date has yet been announced for the clinic.

Computer Labs
Superintendent Don Dunn reported that the “computer labs were in bad shape across the district.” The computers that are in place now are no longer efficient, Dunn said.
“We outfitted all the labs six years ago and we put refurbished computers in. They are slow; they can’t handle the programs that we need. The computers are inefficient which causes frustration on the teachers and technology department. Our technology department is doing everything that they can to keep these machines alive without them crashing. They are really bad.
“So, we have met and tried to come up with a plan to replace those to get them up to speed. We need desktop computers for state testing and some other programs, so we have to have them. We are trying to just outfit the labs to get to the point until we no longer need them because we have the iPads coming. We need about 200 computers and hopefully we can get them for about $500 a computer.”
The board went on to approve the technology purchase to replace the computer lab computers.

iPad Initiative
Dunn said he hoped to see all the students of VISD outfitted with an iPad in the next four to five years.
“Next year, we are plan on giving out iPads for grades sixth through 10. Preliminary plans are for us to put in Internet infrastructure in the middle school. We also have decided to outfit 90 percent of the high school with infrastructure,” he said.

High School Sound System
Danny Morrow presented the board with news regarding the sound system in the high school gym. “November 2013, the board authorized improvements to be made to the high school gym sound system. Based on that, the sound specialists did an engineering study on the acoustics and they felt that they would recommend the same or similar type of system currently in place. It would not sound any different without addressing the acoustic system,” he said.
It was Morrow’s recommendation that the board table the item. The board then went on to table the matter.

The board also took the following action:
—Dunn reported that there were 106 new student transfers that brought in $757,900;
—All board members met the requirements of the Board Member Continuing Education Credits;
—Heard a presentation by Donna Wallace on the Van ISD Texas Academic Performance Report. Wallace reported that Van ISD was in good standing and was continuing to improve during the 2012-2013 school year;
—Approved Aubrey Gillen as a SHAC member;
—Approved a new roofing consultant for repairs to Van ISD roofs.
—Danny Morrow updated the council on the baseball and softball batting cages and also reported that most of the large maintenance projects were completed.

Recognitions
Principals of the district presented the December and January employees of the month:
—J.E. Rhodes Elementary – Lisa Chitty and Jennifer Plunk;
—Van Intermediate – Becky Yowell and Darsha’ Blalock;
—Van Middle – Misty Johnson and Holli Bryant;
—Van Junior High – Kevin White and Misty Florey;
—Van High – Kim Welch and Scott Doring.

The Vantastic Award was awarded to:
—Speech and debate students Mackenize Marquess and Jacob Savage;
—Maintenance man and groundsman Don Stevenson;
—Students Wyatt Santos, Red Doring, Tanner Hopkins, James Page, Tony Wilkerson, Mariah Maxfield, McKenna Rainwater, Cody Tomez, Jordan Austin, Amanda Crestwell and Megan Weber for helping employees of Van ISD during the Dr. Pepper basketball tournament.

Photo by Britne Reeves Holli Bryant and the choir from Van Middle School entertained board members with a rendition of Phillip Phillips song, Home on Jan. 20.

Photo by Britne Reeves
Holli Bryant and the choir from Van Middle School entertained board members with a rendition of Phillip Phillips song, Home on Jan. 20.

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