Garland ISD Board meeting: iPads, Wi-Fi, AP, Pre-AP and budget approval

(GARLAND ISD, TX – Aug. 25, 2016) Preparing to roll out nearly 18,000 iPads to high schoolers in September and October, Garland ISD is enlisting community help to ensure the success of its new Ready 1:1 initiative. The Board of Trustees heard details about a GISD Ready Wi-Fi Partners program during its Aug. 23 meeting. More than 100 local businesses have already committed to providing free Internet access to district students. Wi-Fi Partners are featured on the district website and receive a window sticker for easy identification. See a list of participating businesses here. To further support the Ready 1:1 iPad rollout, high school libraries will begin offering late-night hours Oct. 3.

Trustees also learned about GISD’s inaugural Advanced Placement (AP) and Pre-Advanced Placement Institute Tuesday, which invited middle and high school teachers to collaborate on strategies that help strengthen students’ skills from one grade level to the next. The district’s AP program has experienced exceptional growth throughout the past three years. The number of AP exams taken increased 221 percent and the number of participating students increased 180 percent. Passing scores can be exchanged for college credit, which saves tuition costs. This year, students potentially earned more than 8,500 college credit hours for a tuition savings of more than $4.3 million. Students also had the opportunity to earn extra spending money thanks to the district’s National Math and Science Initiative College Readiness program, which awards $100 for every passing score on English, math and science AP tests.

The board approved the 2016-17 budget and tax rate in advance of GISD’s new fiscal year starting Sept. 1. The budget includes a 2.25 percent pay raise for staff, increasing the starting salary for new teachers to $51,500. The $1.46 total tax rate includes a $1.04 Maintenance and Operations rate and $0.42 Interest & Sinking rate.

New accountability ratings released from the state show GISD earning Met Standard. Both campuses that received an Improvement Required rating in 2015-16 also received Met Standard this year.

The board awarded Evidence of Excellence certificates to the district’s Student Nutrition Services (SNS) Department, as well as Kimberlin Academy for Excellence’s LuAnn Engleman and Sam Houston Middle School’s Debra Howard. SNS received recognition from the Texas Association of School Nutrition this summer for increasing breakfast and lunch participation. Engleman and Howard were named Texas PTA’s 2016 Elementary and Secondary Teachers of the Year.

Submitted by Tiffany Veno, Garland Independent School District, Director of Communications

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