The Sherman Independent School District’s Board of Trustees held a team of eight training and planning workshop Friday evening and Saturday morning at the SISD Service Center to review board members’ duties, receive a state-of-the-district report from Superintendent Al Hambrick and revise district goals and priorities.
Randy Hancock, a former superintendent of Howe ISD and Royse City ISD, was provided by the Region 10 Education Service Center to lead the Board through the workshop process. He started the workshop Friday evening by talking with the trustees about their governing powers.
“You only have power when you’re in a legally called meeting,” Hancock said. “You have no authority any other time. But when someone walks up to you in the street, do they know that? Absolutely not. They believe anytime they see you, they can get you to do anything they want you to do and that you have the authority and power to do it.”
Hancock explained that it was each trustee’s responsibility to inform citizens of the proper channel to handle issues and complaints. He also discussed issues in the upcoming session of the Texas legislature and mentioned the forthcoming new campus and district ratings to be released by the Texas Education Agency.
Hambrick wrapped up Friday night’s portion of the workshop by discussing the progress the district has made on the goals set by the Board during its planning session last February.
“The reason I wanted to say a few words was just to reiterate some of the things that we think are important and try to tie that to where we may go with goals we are setting,” Hambrick said. “One of the main reasons we have school is for the education of our students and to make sure that they are learning every day. So we have to continue to make sure that we are providing them with resources to make sure kids are learning every day and we have to have processes in place to make sure we can deliver what they need.”
The Board members spent much of their time Saturday reviewing the current school year’s goals and revising them for the 2013-2014 school year.
“I think (one of) the most important things that we do under the Texas Education Code, is we hire and evaluate the superintendent,” Board Vice President Kate Whitfield said. “That’s key because he’s the educational leader and the chief executive officer of our district. The other thing we do is set the goals. Only the school board is empowered by the state of Texas to set the goals for our community. We do that and I think our goals are always focused on the kids and the success of the kids — however that may be defined and however that may be accomplished.”
Through debate and discussion, the Board changed three goals and left the fourth as is for the 2013-2014 school year. The first goal states, “the district will continue to provide programs, resources, support and recognition to ensure ongoing progress in achievement for all student groups and equip all students for post-high school success.” The second goal says, “the district will provide support to ensure continuous improvement in the quality of all district instruction through traditional and innovative methods of reaching, enriching and educating our students.”
The third goals says, “the district will continue strengthening and developing partnerships with the community and industry through increased awareness and involvement.” The unchanged fourth goal states, “the district will continue to maintain a plan for effective and efficient operations with available resources.”
Once the new goals were set, Board members took some time to discuss the expectations and priorities associated with each one, though Hambrick will discuss with his staff the best courses of action to take in accomplishing the goals.
Board president Kiki Osterman said she was happy the Board had a chance to have the workshop as there’s always a lot of information to learn and review. Hancock said he was impressed with the way the SISD Board worked together.
“That doesn’t mean they always agree, but that’s when you have seven, eight people involved in a process, not all are going to agree,” Hancock said. “But they worked through it professionally. They were very responsive and had lots of good feedback. They are passionate about their roles and responsibilities as Board members, so it couldn’t have gone better.”