Parents4LISD Hosted Community Meeting

Date 2013/12/23 2:40:00 | Topic: Lewisville ISD Notes

Last Monday, about 25 parents, community members, and LISD officials came together at a church in Lewisville to discuss topics of interest relating to the Lewisville Independent School District. Parents4LISD, the group that hosted the meeting, is not affiliated with the district, but is a loosely organized group of parents seeking to hold LISD to high standards, and engage parents to know what is going on in the district. Guest speakers delivered on a variety of topics of concern to the group. LISD Board Members Brenda Latham and Angie Cox attended, as did LISD Central Zone leader Buddy Bonner, and a member of LISD’s Communications department.

Ernie Magnotti, one of the group’s founders, shared the mission of the group:

The Mission: To provide a communication interface between LISD governance and its constituency, to facilitate constructive dialog and transparency, to elevate LISD to the highest standards, and ensure that each student at LISD reaches his or her greatest potential

The group is not a political action committee, and doesn’t push a particular agenda or ideology, but some of the parents involved have their pet issues of concern. For Magnotti, who works in information technology, it’s the iPad rollout and LISD’s “1:X” technology strategy. For others, like group member Angela Jackman, it’s LISD’s Gifted and Talented (G/T) program and the recent changes that have them concerned. Still others are concerned about the proposed changes to the district’s grading policies.
Over the summer, the group organized and started a Facebook page which now has over 1,300 likes. The group spent almost $600 on a website and Facebook advertising. In addition to using social media to engage with the public and promote understanding of the issues, Parents4LISD intends to hold community meetings like this at least every other month.

The Monday meeting, which lasted over three hours, due to an agenda that Magnotti admits was overly ambitious, covered numerous topics:

- Magnotti gave some background and history of the group.

- Kristi Haslett spoke about House Bill 5, and its impact on LISD, including changes to high-stakes testing, and changes to the graduation plans students can choose from

- Carol Baugh spoke about project-based learning (PBL), its goals, elements, and challenges

- Former Flower Mound Councilwoman Kendra Stephenson spoke about the G/T program at LISD, and its recent changes, and the district’s current plans moving forward.

- Baugh spoke about how LISD uses bond funding.

- Stacey Kostas spoke about concerns over teacher morale, related to the rapid rate of change in LISD

- Tracy Scott Miller, recent LISD board candidate, spoke about drug use in LISD schools, sharing his daughter’s story, and giving tips for parents, including drug testing their kids.

- Magnotti talked about his problems with LISD’s 1:X implementation and iPad rollout, deconstructing what he refers to as some of the rhetoric around the program.

Magnotti said the next meeting will be in February, although the date has not yet been set. The topics will likely be a subset of the topics in this first meeting, and it will be shorter. "They are intended to be ongoing conversations," said Magnotti.

Download / Read the Presentation (2.5 mb PDF)

Ernie Magnotti and Carol Baugh recently volunteered to write objective recaps of LISD Board Meetings for the Lewisville Texan Journal. You can read the latest one here. Opinions expressed in the presentation are those of the authors, and facts have not been independently verified by LTJ.

This article comes from The Lewisville Texan Journal

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