|Houston County Courier - Local News
Copyright 2017 - Polk County Publishing Company
High Tech Education Offered In Latexo ISD
By Alton Porter
Latexo Independent School District (LISD) now makes available high technology equipment to students on a one-to-one basis, meaning each student is individually provided with a tablet or personal computer to use to do schoolwork. Dr. Stacy Easterly, LISD Superintendent, announced this significant development to the district's board of trustees at a regular meeting of the trustees on Thursday, Jan. 26. "Currently, in place, we're oneto- one in grades 1 through 12," Easterly gleefully told the board members in her monthly report to them at the meeting. "Kindergarteners and firstgraders have tablets. Secondgraders through seniors have Chromebooks – laptops and personal computers. Their devices go home with them in grades 5 through 12." Easterly added, "Each teacher uses an interactive lightboard, projector and laptop. "We recently provided homebound services for a student through a robot we had that went from room to room for him to be able to be at school virtually. So, he was able to finish out his classes. "And we implemented single signage for the students, so that (they can sign on using one password) to get into all their programs, which is wonderful." She said the district will have six new Promethean panels installed in classrooms next month, explaining, "We're purchasing new technology annually to replace old defective (units) because they go out easily." On another item in her report, Easterly noted that LISD students performed well recently in academic University Interscholastic League (UIL) competition. "I heard from Mrs. (Kimberly) Watson and Mrs. (Audrey) Cravens (both LISD academic UIL coaches)," Easterly said. "We've been attending many practice events (and the students are) winning many of their competitions." Easterly noted that student "Charles Rothrock has made perfect scores twice this year on (UIL) math contests – very good. Charles' scores are beating (those of students in) 6-A schools. It's exciting. "Our high school has gone to eight meets so far, and has come home winners with many medals." It was noted at the meeting that the Junior High School academic UIL team placed second in district competition during the week of Jan. 23. Easterly thanked coaches Watson, Cravens, Jessica Ingle and others for the work they're doing in training the UIL participants. Concerning attendance, Easterly said, "Our refined ADA (average daily attendance) was 468.62. Our current refined ADA is at 463.45, which puts us at a minus 5.17 now, with our budget being based on 476. We're closing ranks. So, that's good." A district's daily attendance figures are used to determine how much funding its schools receive from the state through the Foundation School Program's Tier 1 initiative. "Our principals are still working on attendance – getting letters out (to parents), making phone calls, giving out prizes to classes that have the best attendance," Easterly added. "So, I think they're doing a good job trying to get the kids here. But, we've got a lot of flu, different stands of flu, RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), everything else going around. So, it's kind of hard getting them here. "Our overall attendance rate is 96.23. The class with the lowest attendance is kindergarten, with 94.25. And the highest is seventh grade this time with 97.59 attendance rate." In addition, Easterly reported that several LISD girls were among 50 who attended the second annual Country Girls Can Code Day event, sponsored by Techs4Tex Foundation in partnership with Women Who Code Austin and hosted by the Manor Independent School District in Manor on Saturday, Jan. 21. The goal of the event is to give girls (and their school sponsors) handson experience with writing computer codes and the opportunity to learn about career opportunities in that field, according to Techs4Tex Foundation's GoFundMe page. The foundation aims to give girls in rural communities the same educational opportunities that girls in more populated areas receive, the GoFundMe page states. Also, in her report, Easterly noted: - She received an acknowledgement and thank you letter from State Rep. Trent Ashby (R-Dist. 57) for the LISD officials' signing and sending in of a resolution regarding the small-school multiplier issue. Currently, the formula multiplier for small schools with less than 300 square miles is 0025 and "what we're wanting is for all small schools to be 0040," Easterly said. LISD Business Manager Jo Lane said an effect of the proposed change would be that the district would receive $527,000 more in funds each year. - The district started an anti-bullying, anti-cyberbullying campaign on Thursday, Jan. 26, with Elizabeth Bird. - Pastor Myron Waddell was retiring after five years of employment – serving in many capacities including "teacher, mentor, coach" – with the district to accept a chaplain position with the Texas Department of Corrections. Waddell's retirement took effect on Friday, Jan. 27. - She was to attend the Texas Association of School Administrators midwinter conference in Austin this past week, Sunday, Jan. 29, through Wednesday, Feb. 1. - She and the district's two principals – Sandy Simpson (Latexo Elementary School) and Kris Whisenant (Latexo High School) – and others will attend the Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) 2017 Convention and Exposition in Austin during Feb. 6-10. - The district's schools will celebrate the 100th day of school (of the 2016-2017 school year) at 2:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 6. - The two principals, the athletic director and teachers are providing information to help keep the district's Facebook page "up to snuff."