Sept. 27, 2016
 
Northwest Board Notes: Sept. 26 Meeting
 
The Northwest Independent School District Board of Trustees met yesterday - Monday, Sept. 26 - during a regularly scheduled meeting. This is a recap of the major actions and reports from the meeting. To see every item that was discussed or approved, click here.
New mobile app slated to launch soon
Northwest ISD will soon launch a new mobile app for iPhones and Android smartphones, which students, parents and community members can expect to download in early October.

The app will allow users to receive alerts directly to their smartphones as well as add events to their personal calendars from the district and school websites. News from the district and schools will be aggregated, and users can select their schools to focus on content from particular campuses. Other notable features include maps to schools and staff directories.

A committee composed of district administrators, staff, parents and community members provided input on the new app, which integrates directly with the Northwest ISD website. 

Trustees updated on construction planning and progress
Sarah Stewart, executive director of construction, provided trustees with an update on planned and current construction projects, including Middle School No. 6 and additions to Schluter Elementary and the support services building.

The site plan for the district's next middle school places it across the street from Eaton High School's football field and track, between Eagle Boulevard and U.S. Highway 287. Notable features of the school include an interior courtyard, collaboration areas, turf fields and athletic and fine arts wings. Construction is scheduled to begin late this year, with a planned opening of August 2018.

The site plan of Middle School No. 6 (seen at right; Eaton High School is to the left).

For current projects, the district is expanding Schluter Elementary to include new classrooms and meet growth needs. New kindergarten, fifth-grade and art classrooms will be added, along with a new stage. Its courtyard will be renovated, and a new play area will also be built.

Parking additions will be made at the support services building, with additional employee/visitor parking at the front, a maintenance employee parking lot and a fenced parking lot for Northwest ISD vehicles. These additions will provide better parking for visitors hoping to reach the district clinic or special program offices.

District policy updated to keep pace with state education law changes
Trustees passed updates to the district's policies to keep pace with changes in the state education law - primarily relating to special education video recording.

The Texas Education Agency and Texas Legislature worked together to create a new law requiring school districts install video monitoring in special education classrooms when requested by parents, guardians, teachers or school board members. As such, the district has updated its policies to regulate how these cameras are used, including limiting their use in situations to protect personal privacy, such as not allowing the cameras to record in any restrooms in a special education classroom. Any recordings made for this law will be held for six months.

Importantly, to protect student privacy, these videos are only viewable in certain scenarios, including incidents that meet criteria set by the Texas Family Code.

Other updates to board policy relate to changes to abide by the replacement of the No Child Left Behind Act by the Every Student Succeeds Act at the federal level. These changes are regulatory in nature, ensuring the district applies to the federal law in areas such as district contracts, staff appraisals, pest management, special education, prekindergarten and graduation committees.

In other action, the board
  • Recognized the cast and crew of Northwest ISD's "The Lion King Jr." middle school musical. The annual districtwide event played to a packed venue during its three performances this month.
  • Recognized Business Essentials as a member of the district's Partners in Education program.
  • Approved two new easements at the site of Middle School No. 6 to improve drainage. Construction on the new school, to be located near Eaton High School in the Haslet area, is scheduled to begin late this year.
Business Essentials is honored for being a district partner.
The cast and crew of the district middle school musical are honored.