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Sulphur Springs ISD Considering A Policy For School Facilities Name Designations

Some Sulphur Springs ISD Board Polices were discussed at this week’s regular school board meeting. Sulphur Springs ISD Superintendent Michael Lamb told the board of trustees that officials are working on a draft of a potential new policy for school facilities name designations. Assistant Superintendent Josh Williams, then asked SSISD Board of Trustees to approve Texas Association of School Boards Localized Policy Manual Update 116, which reflects changes from the last Legislative session which require updates to the district policy manual.

School Facilities Name Designations

Lamb presented to SSISD trustees during the administrative reports portion of their March 22 meeting a working draft for (CW) Local, a new proposed policy for naming or renaming of district facilities.

When the district reorganized the elementary grade levels a few years ago, two local campuses were renamed. Early Childhood Learning Center, repurposed for students from kindergarten through third grade instead for students through kindergarten, became Barbara Bush Primary School. Douglas Intermediate School, repurposed from a campus housing only fifth graders to a campus for all students in preschool and Head Start programs, became Douglass ECLC.

SSISD
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Over time, various requests or recommendations for renaming of facilities have been made, Lamb explained. For instance, at the retirement of Rowena Johnson in Spring 2020, some community members suggested naming a SSISD facility in honor of her 50-year legacy as an educator. When Mrs. Johnson passed away in July 2020, the suggestion was again made to school officials to rename the Lamar Primary campus, where Johnson served as principal from 1993 to 2020; or even Bowie, where she taught from 1971-1991, or Travis, where she was a reading specialist from 1991 to 1993, after the distinguished educator.

Currently, SSISD does not have an official policy in place regarding the naming or renaming of district facilities. A group has been looking into the matter and has a working policy drafted. Lamb presented that policy for review and feedback.

Discussed so far for the policy is giving the board sole discretion in naming or renaming a district facility. As proposed, the board would consider a number of items in the naming or renaming process. Among considerations suggested are geographic location of the SSISD facility; whether the name considered is of historic significance to that area or to state, local or national historic events; whether a person a facility is proposed to be named after is a district graduate who has gained prominence on a local, national or international scale; if the suggested honoree is a distinguished educator or board member who has retired from service to SSISD; or if the proposed name recognizes a significant contribution of resources, equaling or exceeding 50 percent of the total value of the complex or facility.

Lamb stressed the school facility name designation policy is still in the development process. Only after receiving additional comments and conducting further research into the matter, then tweaking the policy, does Lamb anticipate potentially presenting to SSISD trustees at a future board meeting to ask them to consider adopting a policy for school facilities name designations.

Policy Update 116

Williams told trustees TASB Localized Policy Manual Update 116 includes 34 legal changes and five local changes, recommended by TASB to meet changes set by the state of Texas. The policies were presented to the board at the February school board meeting for review. Appropriate department directors and principals throughout the district also received copies of the TASB update to receive any additional comments or recommendations for any local policies that might impact their programs or campuses.

SSISD Assistant Superintendent Josh Williams

The assistant superintendent recommended approving the policies as recommended, with the notation that (FFAC) Local might in the future require minor adjustments depending on additional decisions by the school board in the future.

Williams noted the five local policies mainly include some rewording and reshuffling of the statutes between the policy and administrative code. The biggest change will be in (FFAC) local policy, which has to do with health and wellness services and medical treatment. SSISD officials recommend a change to that policy pertaining to certain medications purchased and administered by the district because the district won’t be making those purchases anymore. Those items will be provided by Hazel Health this semester.

SSISD Board of Trustees at the February meeting approved this semester to provide telemedicine services at no cost to the district and, at least initially, no out-of- pocket cost to students. Hazel Health works closely with school nurses, providing campus clinics with an iPad to access the service and an iPod Touch for nurses to use to input of the students’ patient information. Hazel Health will also provide each campus clinic with a medicine cabinet the size of a small file cabinet stocked with 12 kinds of over-the-counter medications and supplies, like lice shampoo and hair combs, antibiotic ointment, ibuprofen and acetaminophen as appropriate. Nine of the 12 items the district has historically stocked and provided, so receiving the medicine cabinet would be a savings to the district of those medication fees. These OTC medications would be offered free to students if the medical professional recommends them, which would assist the student with medication until the parent is able to get their child to their primary care physician if a visit is recommended, Assistant Superintendent Kristin Monk reported in February.

Within the legal policy, there’s also policy regarding certain certifications which require training identifying sexual abuse and human trafficking, and requirements for students who take certain higher level classes for high school credit to take ACT and SAT tests, according to the school administrator.

Author: Faith Huffman

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