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New member joins school board; Jalowy honored

East Bernard Express of East Bernard, Texas

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The East Bernard School Board swore in one newly-elected member and two returning members at the regular meeting on Monday.

Rodney Jedlicka was sworn in as the school board's newest member, and Brian Mica and Robert Goudeau were sworn in to start their next terms. The board also presented a plaque to previous member Jeffrey Jalowy and thanked him for his six years of service on the board.

They also held a reorganization of the board. Charles New will remain president, Mica will remain vice president and Ricky Kramr will remain secretary. Goudeau was appointed to vice secretary, a position previously held by Jalowy.

Continuing on with regular business, the board approved letters of commendation to the students who placed or participated at the state level in academics and athletics and congratulated the 2016 State Solo and Ensemble Contest participants, State UIL and the track and tennis teams that competed at state.

The board approved two contracts for the year. They approved a Region III Education Service Center contracted service and shared service agreement, which they have used in the past. They also approved a contract with Interquest Detection Canines for drug dog services, a different company than last year.

During the Superintendent's Report, Courtney Hudgins discussed the recent press release from Education Commissioner Mike Morath. He has decided to waive requirements for the 5th and 8th graders who failed this year's STAAR exams and will not have a retest administration. Though East Bernard didn't experience any discrepancies with the test, many districts reported issues with the state's testing vendor.

As a result of this, East Bernard stopped summer test remediation for 5th and 8th grade students who were planning to retake the STAAR test. There will still be summer test prep for high school students retaking the EOC test. Though the 5th and 8th grade STAAR retakes are no longer being administered, the district can still hold back students if they feel they're not prepared to go to the next grade.

"Even though state requirements have been waived, districts are still encouraged to use local discretion to determine on an individual basis whether accelerated instruction should be offered to support students," the press release stated.

In more STAAR test updates, Hudgins said that the state has pushed the dates to receive STAAR scores from June 15 to July 5. The district has received results for the EOC testing. In U.S. History and Biology there was a 100 percent passing rate, and in Algebra and English there was an 89 percent passing rate. On July 11, those that didn't meet the criteria will retest.

In the Elementary campus report, Principal Philip Gaudette said that, thanks to the PTO making a strong push for Accelerated Reading this year, they had thousands of AR points more than they ever had in the past. They had a splash day, an ice cream party, and five "principals of the day."

"It prepares our kids to read even better," said Gaudette.

On the Junior High campus, they have already taken a huge step to prepare for the next school year. Principal Emmett Tugwell said that every student had their schedule for next year before school was out.

Brahma Band director Kenny Peters talked about the successful Florida trip the band took. 42 out of 74 of the students went on the Disney World trip, which included a performance workshop led by a trumpet player who does music for Disney. They performed for the musician, who helped a clinic for the band.

"It was an awesome experience, the kids were so fired up after it," said Peters.

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Original Publication Date: July 16, 2016

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