FISD wastes no time embracing SB 149

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Friendswood ISD Trustees on Monday approved the immediate implementation of a new law allowing students to graduate without passing STAAR exams.

Gov. Greg Abbott this week signed Senate Bill 149 into law, issuing the following statement: “The Class of 2015 is the first graduating class required to pass the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) end-of-course exams in order to graduate. While it is critical that the state appropriately holds public schools and districts accountable for delivering the best possible education, we must protect Texas students from being penalized as a result of evolving testing standards. SB 149 protects students from undue penalization, and guarantees that students who meet specified requirements are able to graduate.”

Though the law allows for graduation without passing the STAAR, it is far from a free pass. “Alternative requirements” must be established for those who fail a required portion of the STAAR, and those requirements are to be assigned by “individual graduation committees.”

Those requirements could include additional remediation, projects and work samples in the failed subject. The committees also consider other factors such as attendance, hours of remediation attended, scores on the relevant tests as well as other exams.

NEW STAFF
Friendswood ISD Trustees on Monday approved the hiring of a number of new teachers and staff.

Molly Biffle will teach at Windsong Intermediate.

Kelly Browning will teach English and Krystal Chandler will serve as a counselor at Friendswood High. Brittany Eldred will teach and coach at FHS.

Adra Wedger will teach English and language arts at Friendswood Junior High.

Current staff members Melissa Hanks will now teach part time at Cline Elementary.

Current part-time nurse Michelle Hernandez and Julie Hopkins will be employed as nurses at Friendswood Junior High.

Celeste Rommell will now be employed by contract as PE teacher at Westwood-Bales.

STUDENT FEES AND LUNCH
UIL athletics, cheerleading, band and speech “participation fees” will remain the same next year.

These fees are split into two levels: Tier 1 is $150 for high school or $75 for junior high; Tier 2 is $100 for high school or $50 for junior high.

Tier 1 is the fee amount for most activities, while Tier 2 includes drill team, cross country, cheerleading and wrestling. Tier 1 fees are charged for student activities such as band, baseball, basketball, football, volleyball, swimming, track, golf, speech/debate, etc.

A $5 increase in the Floral Design I and Advanced Floral Design fee is the only proposed changes to the 2015-16 Student Academic Fees at Friendswood High. That increase is because of the cost of flowers, FISD reports, and the expansion of projects created by the Floral Design students.

Lunch prices in FISD will not change next year, the board decided. Elementary and intermediate prices will remain at $2.30. The Junior High and High School price of lunch increased to $3.20, and that price will remain in place next fall.

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