|Trinity Standard - Local News
Copyright 2012 - Polk County Publishing Company
TISD eyes security in wake of Sandy Hook
Trinity Standard -
TRINITY – Ongoing plans to beef up local school security accelerated last week in the wake of the horrific shootings that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday. During his report to the Trinity School Board on Monday night, Superintendent Dave Plymale outlined the steps the school is taking to protect local children. As part of his annual “State of the District” report, Plymale said he wanted to assure local parents that their children’s safety is a top priority. Much of the new security measures being implemented by the school actually were in the works for months prior to Friday’s mass shootings at the Newtown, Conn. elementary. That incident claimed the lives of 20 children and six adults. In his report, Plymale noted that the district recently installed a new camera system on all buses and on the school campuses and is now in the process of installing a new electronic visitor sign-in system at Lansberry Elementary School and Trinity High School. While school officials had intended to evaluate the new sign-in system for a while, they are now considering ordering the system for the Trinity Intermediate and Trinity Middle school campuses immediately. Under the system, all visitors to the school would be required to present a driver’s license or other state photo identification before being allowed on campus. The ID would be scanned into the system, a computer check would be made with the Texas Department of Public Safety and a visitor’s badge, complete with a photo captured from the ID, would be printed out. “I also will be meeting with Trinity Police Chief Steve Jones and incoming Trinity County Sheriff Woody Wallace this week to discuss security issues,” Plymale told the board. The superintendent said campus administrators also would get together with the teaching staff to discuss and review emergency procedures, including lockdowns. In his report, Plymale noted that information on the school’s emergency drills will be posted on the school’s website by the end of this week. The site is located at www.trinityisd.net. He added that campus principals will be notifying parents regarding the drill procedures and will inform them in advance when a “full scale” drill is planned. As part of his State of the District report, Plymale noted that the district finances are currently in good shape and work is underway to increase community and parental involvement at the schools. In addition, plans are being made to expand the district’s career readiness classes. He noted they are looking at a joint program with Sam Houston State University to offer criminal justice and culinary arts classes to THS students. Academic improvement Also mention by Plymale, and expanded on by Curriculum Director Steve Brownlee, was improvements in the state mandated test scores at all TISD campuses. In his report, Brownlee noted that last year the state implemented the new State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) test to replace the old Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) exam. Because of the change over, no state rating was issued based on the 2012 test results. However, based on “benchmark” tests given to students in October and November, Brownlee said the local scores were high enough to earn the district an academically acceptable rating. The benchmark tests are designed to help prepare for the 2013 exams to be given in the spring by pointing out areas where individual students need help to improve. Based on the benchmark scores, acceptable ratings also would have gone to the high school, middle school and intermediate while Lansberry Elementary would have earned an academically advanced ranking. “Trinity Intermediate missed the academically advanced rating by one student on the math exam,” Brownlee told the school board. He explained that under the new STAAR system, academically advanced is the highest rating the state now awards. Under TAKS, the ratings were unacceptable, acceptable, recognized and exemplary. Brownlee said the new system combines recognized and exemplary into a single “advanced” ranking. In his report, Brownlee outlined the remediation program now in place to help students master the portions of the benchmark tests that they failed. Brownlee also noted a second benchmark test would be administered in January to evaluate the progress being made. Other business During the meeting, the board also: • Approved the purchase and installation of a new gym floor at Lansberry Elementary at a cost of $24,900. The floor currently is concrete and the new floor will cover the concrete with a softer rubber-based material. • Approved a resolution allowing the district to retain its eminent domain authority.