From left Carla Windfont, Crosby ISD and the Texas Association of School Boards, “Master Trustee” Matt Dutton, and Benny Soileau, Huffman ISD superintendent. Photo by Bruce Olson

Board moves ahead with DOI plan

On Aug, 22, the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) presented Huffman ISD Trustee Matt Dutton with a Certificate of Leadership. The recognition was made at the opening of the monthly board meeting by Carla Windfont, a board trustee from Crosby ISD, representing the statewide organization. 

“We, as board of trustee members and as fellow educators, ask our teachers and everyone to continue their education. As a school board trustee, we do it with volunteer hours and not as paid services. This particular board member spent six months last year learning how to go across districts and see best practices for school board members – best practices on how you collaborate and research tough subjects that you are passionate about and then to advocate for them,” said Windfont as she called Dutton forward.

Windfont highlighted Dutton's work as a participant in the program, which included visits to other school districts and board members around the state. Dutton then presented informative reports about other district policies and best practices to Huffman’s trustees.

“It is a great honor, as a neighbor, to say he has earned the title of Master Trustee,” Windfont said as she presented Dutton with a certificate of recognition. 

Following the presentation, Asst. Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Joel Nolte recapped the attendance on the first day of school. 

“This afternoon our first day was 3,370 students, which is very similar to last year when the number was 3,374,” Nolte said. 

He said the number, as in the past, would rise during the first week or two before stabilizing. During the past three years the number had increased in a range of 50 to 150 students. Nolte assured the board that the district was set up to handle those numbers going into the rest of the year.  

Nolte also updated the board on progress toward becoming a District of Innovation, which the trustees had authorized in its previous meeting to evaluate and move forward.

“We got a lot done,” Nolte said. 

He said the District of Innovation Committee was created Aug. 1 and met Aug. 11. The committee included teachers, parents, campus administration and local business owners. As a result of its evaluation and reviews, the committee prepared a formal plan for the board to consider as a recommendation to go forward. 

The plan consists of the three activities Huffman ISD will take responsibility for to set policy rather than to rely on state mandated requirements. They are teacher certification and career education instructors, the length of the instructional day, and class size and notice of class size.

After discussion, the trustees advised the committee to move forward. The next step is to publicly post the plan for 30 days on the district website, review public input and incorporate as appropriate, submit it to the District-wide Education Improvement Council and advise appropriate state education agencies of the action. The plan will be in effect for five years. 

When asked when the plan would take effect, Nolte explained the target to get it approved is October. He said the specific date, whether in October or a little later, will depend on getting the program fully explained to parents, residents, teachers and staff.

In other business, the board approved the purchase of the first three of the six buses approved in the 2016 bond issue and authorized a student trip to Walt Disney World and Universal Studios in Orlando, Fla. The Falconette dance team, choir and band will take the trip during the March spring break in 2017. The trip will be fully paid through fundraising events, the booster club and individual payment. 

The next Board of Trustees Meeting will be Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. in the Board Room of the Administration Building, 24302 FM 2100.