School board

Members of the Houston Board of Education learned last week of two significant grants — one to enhance technical education and another to expand early childhood education — at its monthly meeting.

A third grant for expansion of the track was submitted this week.


•Recognized the Houston Middle School students of the month, Cash Copley. Courage was the character trait recognized for the month. Copley led the meeting in the Pledge of Allegiance.

•Approved a School Protection Officer for the school district following a presentation in September by 21st Century Peacekeepers of Springfield on training and arming personnel at schools. A process outlined in state and local requirements will be followed. This would be in addition to the existing school resource officer position.

•Received a presentation on the district’s routine 2021-2022 audit.

•Authorized the purchase of a 30 x 48 foot greenhouse for use by the agriculture program. Instructor Matthew Price gave a board presentation in September. The school district received a $190,505 Career and Technical Education (CTE) Enhancement Grant that pays 75 percent of the cost of expenditures to upgrade the district’s various offerings. “We are excited about this addition on campus and looking forward to what Mr. Price and the agriculture department have in store for us,” said Dr. Justin Copley, superintendent.

•Heard Dake Wells Architecture in Springfield share a presentation regarding the next steps of strategic planning for the district. “While we are still in the informational gathering phase, the next steps will include the scope of services that will likely take place within the next six-eight months,” Copley said.

•Heard a presentation from Jody Jarrett, elementary principal, and Bethany Wells, Parents as Teachers instructor, about the early children/Parents as Teachers program. As part of the program evaluation, discussions about a daycare facility will occur in the future. Jarrett also announced that the district has won a $100,000 non-matching grant for early-childhood expansion. Jarrett and Stephanie Barbagiovanni, curriculum director, tackled the grant application and received appreciation.

•Heard from Kelsen Gilbert, technology director, about a cyber investigation. At this time, there is no internal conclusive evidence explaining why some students (current/former) are receiving IRS letters. The company conducting the investigation is starting to look at third-party vendors.

•Received a report from Athletic Director Brent Hall on performance-based pay. He found no other schools using it.

•Heard Copley report that the district would submit a grant for an upgraded track facility on Nov. 16. It is a $500,000 matching proposal.

•Approved a partnership with the Army Career Skills Program that affords transitioning service members the opportunity to participate in employment skills training, on-the-job training, pre-apprenticeships and internships. There is no cost to the district. Copley said the personnel requirements of the program would be similar to that of a volunteer or student-teacher.

The board will next meet at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 13, at the high school library.

Personnel matters

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