As a result of the forced accommodation of both Kingwood and Summer Creek high schools in one location following Hurricane Harvey, many Summer Creek students, parents, teachers and administrators discovered they preferred the condensed class schedule instituted for scheduling all the students. 

 In addition, the schedule seemed to be advantageous in both operational efficiencies and the academic performance of the students. As a result, surveys of Summer Creek High School parents and staff were conducted to determine if they would support a waiver from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to continue utilizing the innovative bell schedule as a pilot program during the 2018/19 school year. Of 719 survey questionnaires returned, 87 percent were from parents and 13 percent from staff. Once totalled, 85 percent of the respondents preferred the pilot program and 15 percent preferred the regular school hours.“The Summer Creek community expressed strong support for a continuation of a modified schedule this year,” said Jamie Mount, director of public communicaations for Humble ISD.

“Principal Brent McDonald and the Summer Creek staff developed a schedule that they are excited to implement. The schedule includes an enrichment period built into the school day and optional tutoring that begins at 1:55 p.m. to meet individualized student needs. This schedule is unique to Summer Creek, developed based upon input from the Summer Creek community,” she said.

At the July 10 meeting, the board authorized the waiver to be submitted to the TEA for approval. TEA Commissioner Mike Morath provided verbal approval to Superintendent Elizabeth Fagen July 26, to be followed in writing. When Fagen announced the approval, she said. “Necessity is the mother of invention, and Hurricane Harvey pushed us out of normal comfort zones. Summer Creek High School implemented a non-traditional schedule last year because of Harvey. This year, they are implementing it by choice. I want to thank Commissioner Morath for being open to flexibility. I also want to thank State Representative Dan Huberty for his support of educators working in ways that they believe best serve their students. This pilot schedule was strongly supported by the Summer Creek community.”

The Summer Creek Bell Schedule for 2018/2019 is available to the public at the Humble ISD website, humbleisd.net, on the front page of the Summer Creek High School page.

The July 10 Humble ISD Board of Trustees meeting resulted in numerous items being approved in one fell swoop via a “Consent Agenda.” It was packed with authorizations and approvals and its approval was done with a single vote. In that agenda were four items from which questions have arisen. Mount provided additional detail about some of the approved items.

Is anything new in the Code of Conduct?

“There are no substantive changes from last year,” said Mount. She added that the Code of Conduct is approved by the board of trustees and submitted annually as a requirement of the TEA. She noted that it is contained in the Humble ISD Parent/Student Handbook toward the end and is listed as “Code of Conduct” in the index.

“The handbook is in the process of being updated for the coming year now that it is approved, but it is unchanged in terms of the Code of Conduct,” said Mount.

 What is the Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Program (JJAEP) and how is it funded?

The Memorandum of Understanding regarding the program was also approved July 10. The memorandum is an annual renewal of the interlocal agreement between the Harris County Juvenile Board and the district regarding the operation of the program. Every expelled student in Harris County must be placed in the program or its equivalent. Humble ISD does not expel students when expulsion is discretionary and only places students who have engaged in conduct requiring mandatory expulsions into the JJAEP program. In the event the district expels a student on a discretionary basis, the cost will be $110 per student per day for discretionary seats. Some school districts take advantage of an option in the memorandum to prepay for those seats based on their past history. Humble ISD will not purchase any discretionary spaces from the program, but in the event that the district does expel a student on a discretionary basis, the cost would be paid at that time.

“Humble ISD does not pay for JJAEP. If a student from Humble ISD is assigned to JJAEP, the state covers the cost,” said Mount.

 Why was the superintendent’s contract already renewed and did she get a pay increase?

 The superintendent’s five-year employment contract was also renewed July 10. Mount explained that the contract with Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Fagen is for five years but is reviewed and extended on an annual basis. This is the same procedure that has been used with prior district superintendents. The review usually occurs in the summer months. Regarding any salary change, Mount said, “This year, Dr. Fagan received the same two percent raise that the teachers and staff did.”

Is the district still hiring?

Also noted at the July 10 board meeting was the fact that more than 400 teachers and staff have already been hired for next year. Some have asked if there are still jobs available for the coming year. Mount said there is always some level of hiring in progress in a school district as large as Humble ISD, with more than 3,000 full-time teachers and all of the other staff and administrative requirements. She said the district uses a single employment process for all positions. It starts with the initial application on the district’s web page at humbleisd.net. Also listed on that page are the specific employment opportunities currently available. She encouraged interested people to review the opportunities posted on that page.

 

Bruce Olson
Author: Bruce OlsonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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I have been married since 1970 to Kerry, my best friend and a great Australian woman. I served and survived Vietnam in the U.S. Air Force. I fought forest fires in the summer while in college, where I earned a B.A. in economics from Oklahoma State University and an M.B.A. from the University of Texas. I retired from Continental Airlines. I have a son and two granddaughters in Kingwood, and a daughter and two grandsons on a farm near Mazabuka, Zambia. I am now enjoying life as a grandfather, Tribune correspondent and Humble ISD guest teacher when not traveling to Zambia or Australia.