South Ward Elementary School

South Ward Elementary School

The Lonvgview ISD Board of Trustees on Monday heard a proposal to change the name of South Ward Elementary School to The Bailey School to honor Clarence Bailey, the first Black school board member of Longview ISD. Bailey was elected in 1974, four years after the district integrated schools.

Wilcox said the board asked him to find a way to honor Bailey. He said after meeting with board president Shan Bauer, this is the proposal it is presenting to trustees. 

The district will hear community and board input and the name change will be on the agenda for the next school board meeting.

Trustees on Monday also announced that Longview ISD is the only district of its size classification in the state to win a Magna Award from the National School Boards Association. The award honored the district's public Montessori program.

The Magna Awards recognize school districts across the country that are removing barriers for their historically underserved students, according to the National School Boards Association website.

Districts are put in three classifications based on size. Longview ISD is the only Texas school to get the recognition for the 5,000 to 20,000 student range. Ysleta ISD in El Paso was the only other Texas school to earn the award.

At Monday's board meeting, Superintendent James Wilcox said the district is extremely proud the Montessori program is being recognized.

Trustee Troy Simmons said about 10 years ago, he and other members of the district did a presentation at the NSBA about the Montessori program.

"We made the presentation on behalf of our district to a room full of people, many of whom had doubts about the feasibility of it," Simmons said. "Some Texas school board members had doubts that we could do it and didn’t believe we had done it without raising taxes and actually questioned the validity of the presentation we made. I am just glad to see 10 years later that the National School Board Association has recognized this district’s efforts in equity and equality among students."

Simmons also praised Wilcox and his innovation as a superintendent.

"You are doing more in this position part-time than superintendents who are full-time across the state," Simmons said addressing Wilcox. "You’ve surrounded yourself with people who are willing to buy into your vision and accomplish that. This award for this district, in the diversity of students that it has, says a great deal about what public education really can do when it has people willing to swim upstream and not just what is easy to do."

Trustees approved allowing the district to seek requests for proposals to get artificial turf on the baseball and softball fields.

Other facility upgrades were approved Monday night as well. The board authorized a proposal from Schneider Electric for an Investment Grade Audit of facilities.

The district will request an audit for boilers at the high school, Johnston-McQueen Elementary School, a chiller at the Education Service Center and a roof extension at the Ag barn.

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Kristen is the News-Journal's education reporter. A Longview native, she got a journalism degree and a graduate certificate at Texas Tech University. She covers a variety of issues, including school finance, board meetings and happenings at local schools.