FCCLA, Band and Staff recognitions highlighted Italy School Board meeting Monday

Image: For dedication and service to the Italy ISD students when a void in the classroom needed to be filled with reliability, Principal Lee Joffre presents Elmerine Bell with a personalized appreciation plaque.

For dedication and service to the Italy ISD students when a void in the classroom needed to be filled with reliability, Principal Lee Joffre presents Elmerine Bell with a personalized appreciation plaque. (Barry Byers)

Agenda of Regular Meeting:

The Board of Trustees
Italy Independent School District
Monday, April 21, 2014

School Board Members in Attendance:

  • Jaimie Velasco (Superintendent)
  • Paul Cockerham (President)
  • Cheryl Owen (Vice President)
  • Russ Lewis (Secretary)
  • Larry Eubank
  • Ida Overton
  • Sal Ramirez

The meeting began with Italy ISD Principal Lee Joffre offering student and staff recognition — first recognizing Mrs. Elmerine Bell. Bell, who was in attendance, stepped in during the second semester to help fill a void left by a teacher who had resigned due to medical reasons. Since that time, a new teacher has been hired but Joffre presented Bell with a plaque thanking her for her dedication and service to the students at Italy High school.

Joffre then presented a group recognition to the board with state qualifying members from the FCCLA class being recognized for their achievements in competition against hundreds of 1A – 5A schools:

  • Zac Mercer — 6th Place, Teach and Train
  • Adriana Celis — 6th Place, Environmental Ambassadors
  • Alexis Sampley — 6th Place, Environmental Ambassadors
  • Julissa Hernandez — 6th Place, Environmental Ambassadors
  • Chace McGinnis — 4th Place, Presentation and Sports Nutrition
  • Tia Russell — 4th Place, Sports Nutrition

Joffre then recognized Italy High School FCCLA Advisor, Jennifer Eaglen, for her efforts in what was her first year overseeing the class. Joffre presented Eaglen with a certificate in recognition of her dedication to the Italy FCCLA program. Joffre stated, “Getting six students to the state level as a first year teacher, although Eaglan admitted during her hiring she had no experience with the FCCLA program, is an tremendous accomplishment.” Joffre added, “Eaglen went as far as to rent a house during their three-day stay in Corpus Christi to help our students practice what they learn in Family Consumer Science classes.”

At the request of Joffre, McGinnis and Russell gave a brief summary of what was required of them during the competition. Eaglan admitted the duo shared a brain.

Eaglan followed by saying, “I was so proud of the students since none of them knew what to expect,” including Eaglan herself.

Gladiator Regiment Band
Band director Jesus Perez stepped over to an awards table where several trophies and plaques were on display. Each trophy had a story and the collection represented the tremendous year both the Junior High and High School bands have enjoyed.

Perez reminded the board of the Gladiator Regiment Band’s Sweepstakes win earning 1st division with straight ones which advanced the band to Area for just the third time in the school’s history. From there, the band advanced to the Area Finals which was a first time accomplishment for the program.

Perez then explained how the band members earned a clean sweep during their concert competitions with one judge commenting, “I eventually laid down my pen, closed my eyes and just listened. With the music that good at this level, as a judge, you just want to enjoy it.”

Perez talked briefly about Alexis Sampley (11th), Sarah Levy (9th), and Trevor Davis (11th) who represented Italy at the ATSSB Area Central auditions. These students advanced to the area round by placing at the top of their sections at the Region 8 auditions back in December. Levy, a flutist, advanced to state for the first time in the school’s history. ATSSB stands for Association of Texas Small School bands.

And with that, the board members began digging into the meat of the meeting.

Item #5 — Consent Agenda:
Larry Eubank moved to approve the consent agenda and Cheryl Owen seconded the motion.

Item #6 — Superintendent’s Report:
Italy ISD Superintendent Jamie Velasco mentioned that an architectural firm will soon be conducting interviews and doing surveys as they canvas the entire campus in hopes of creating a package that would upgrade the facilities as a whole.

Mr. Velasco also touched on the importance of school bus safety belts for passengers but that the board would have to consider all factors, particularly financially, before choosing to make the upgrades. Seat belt training would be required and liability issues with or without the seat belts would have to be considered. Mr. Velasco commented, “Although buses today are safer with the higher back designs to support the neck and head, we the board need to decide if more needs to be done. I will be contacting other school districts to get an idea of their policies and any actions they have taken regarding this matter.”

Mr. Velasco also discussed areas the school has recently saved money and listed the school’s total fund balance as $2.94 million dollars. He also reminded everyone that early voting for the upcoming city council and school board elections are April 28th – May 6th.

Item #6,B — Campus Principal Reports*:

STAAR/EOC/TAKS testing dates/Remediation Times
Principal Joffre passed out a detailed description of his upcoming report before addressing the board. The report featured STAAR/EOC/TAKS testing dates and listed remediation times that were currently available for students that needed more individual help with their course work.

Attendance Rate
The report shed light on the current attendance rate at the school of 97.37%. Joffre explained how the current attendance rate is higher than the state wide average of 95.7% and the highest at Italy High School for at least the last 12 years. Joffre praised his teachers, students and parents for working hard to reach this goal.

Passing Rate
The report continued by showing that 98% of junior high and high school students passed all their classes during the past two six week grading periods with 100% of seniors ready to graduate.

College and Post High School Readiness

  • 87% (33 Students) of seniors have applied to post high school institutes
  • 68% (26 students) of seniors have been accepted to post high school institutes
    • One of which was accepted into the army
    • Waiting for notification of others
  • 45% (17 students) of seniors have applied for at least one scholarship

4/29 — Dual Credit Parent Meeting at 6:30 p.m. in the school’s cafeteria for students in grades 8-11 interested in taking Dual Credit courses

5/21 — TSI Testing on campus

  • Teachers planning TSI Prep for 8th grade – Current Sophomore (or juniors not yet qualified)

Marty Haight Scholarship

Mr. Joffre announced that the Haight Family has setup a scholarship to honor the memory of Marty Haight and his passion for helping young people to be successful:

  • A male or female student who displays the most sportsmanship in athletics — $500.00
  • A male or female student who demonstrates a giving attitude — $500.00

2014-2015 Upgrade Plans
Principal Joffre also discussed ongoing plans to upgrade and relocate the Junior High science lab in an effort to keep to keep junior high students separated from high school students as much as possible.

Item #6, D — Stafford Elementary School
Stafford Elementary Principal, Ms. Pamela Thomas, gave the board a quick update on the goings at at the elementary. Principal Thomas discussed STARR testing dates and other upcoming events such as FIeld Day.

Item #6, D — Athletic Director’s Report
Italy High school Athletic Director and Head Football Coach, Charles Tindol, praised the Lady Gladiator Softball team on their recent accomplishment of being the district runner-up and reminded the board their playoff game will be in Corsicana with Italy taking on Mart on a one-game bi-district showdown to determine who advances to area. Coach Tindol mentioned that all school board members would be able to attend the game free of charge and a list with their names would be provided at the entrance.

Coach Tindol also updated the board on the progress of the Gladiator baseball team which has already secured the district championship with two games still remaining on their district schedule. The Gladiators are also automatic bi-district champions and enter the playoffs as a 1 seed.

Furthermore, Coach Tindol complemented Italy’s track 400m relay girl’s team for recording their fastest time of the season to earn a 6th place finish during this year’s Texas Relays. Relay team members are Kortnei Johnson, Kendra Copeland, April Lusk and Janae Robertson.

Coach Tindol explained Kortnei Johnson’s 2nd Place finish in the 100m dash during the Texas Relays was the difference being about the thickness of their shirts, it was that close. Johnson ran an 11.88 while the leader ran an 11.85.

WIth even more track news, Coach Tindol announced that 2 Gladiators and 7 Lady Gladiators will be competing at the Regional meet in Abilene inside Elmer Gray Stadium on the ACU campus.

The following athletes will be representing Italy’s track and field team at regionals:

  • Eric Carson — Triple Jump, Long Jump
  • TaMarcus Sheppard — High Jump
  • Kortnei Johnson — 100m dash, 200m dash, 400m relay
  • Halee Turner — 100m hurdles, Triple Jump
  • Janae Robertson — 200m dash, 400m relay, 800m relay
  • Cory Chance — Shot put
  • Kendra Copeland — 400m relay, 800m relay
  • April Lusk — 400m relay, 800m relay
  • K’Breona Davis — 800 relay

Coach Tindol also discussed a recent meeting he had with Robert Hodge, Jr., regarding a new system of getting referees to the Junior High games earlier. Hodge offered to step in and remedy the situation for next season.

Item #6,D — Maintenance Director’s Report
Maintenance Director Michael Chambers began by complimenting his crew of Bobby McBride, Lynn Lambert and Brad Chambers for their efforts recently with the upgrades to the softball and baseball fields. Along with new outfield walls, both fields received new scoreboards which are up and operational. Also, several personalized signs for players on both fields were installed along with school flags and banners to enhance the parks.

Chambers stated that a new school bus has been ordered and then the new suburban recently ordered is already in service at the school.

Chambers also discussed adding an additional drop ceiling in the dome to help with sound and lighting concerns.

Chambers added that three security cameras were coming soon and plans were in place to order three more for next year.

Executive Session-Discuss Personnel (Texas Government Code 551.074)
The board then convened into executive session for a short period of time.

The board then emerged from executive session, approved the remaining items on the agenda and then board president, Paul Cockerham, adjourned the meeting.

Teacher Appreciation Week: May 5th — May 9th