The Longview ISD school board voted to let Superintendent James Wilcox negotiate with possible charter partners to take over future Senate Bill 1882 campuses.
The entities who submitted applications are the International Center for Academics & Technology, Texas Council for International Studies, Longview Educates and Prospers and Lions Pride, according to a document provided Wednesday to the board by the district.
The district still is not revealing who could take over each campus.
During the special meeting, Place 2 trustee Ava Welge asked when more information will be shared with the public.
Wilcox said once the district knows which proposed partner might run a campus, the district will have meetings at each campus.
“This is strictly preliminary; we will probably have three more reports to the board before we have a final recommendation,” Wilcox said. “Everything is tentative is now, but the team, led by Dr. (Craig) Coleman, will be working hard moving forward, and all I can promise you is that we will have a recommendation to the board before March 31.”
March 31 is the deadline for the district to apply to convert the rest of its campuses to Senate Bill 1882 charter schools.
SB 1882 is legislation that allows a school district to partner with a nonprofit entity to run public school campuses as charter schools for financial incentive.
Currently, the district has six SB 1882 campuses run by the nonprofit East Texas Advanced Academies. Those campuses are East Texas Montessori Prep Academy, Ware East Texas Montessori Academy, Johnston-McQueen Elementary School, Bramlette STEAM Academy, J.L. Everhart Elementary School and Forest Park Magnet School.
The remaining campuses are Ned E. Williams Elementary School, Hudson PEP Elementary School, South Ward Elementary School, Judson STEAM Academy, Foster Middle School, Longview High School and the Early Graduation High School.
Shawn Hara, city of Longview spokesman who is on the board of LEAP, previously said that newly formed nonprofit organization is interested in running the Longview Early Graduation High School and the East Texas Manufacturing Academy.
The open “call for quality schools” was issued in December as the district sought applicants for potential charter partnerships. In the request for proposals, the district said it is looking for four specific types of school models: Career and Technology, International Baccalaureate, Project-Based Learning and Educator Preparation Lab Schools.
The district posted information about the applicants on its website Wednesday.
TCIS has an emphasis on International Baccalaureate education. According to the district’s site, TCIS wants to partner with the district “to help shape the future of IB programs through program development, professional training, curriculum planning, marketing support and scholarship programs.”
Linda Buie, Longview High School dean of students and International Baccalaureate head of school, is the TCIS board secretary, according to its website. She also serves as the district’s director for IB programs.
Of the remaining noncharter campuses, Longview High School has an IB program. In September, Longview ISD — under Buie’s leadership — discussed a plan to take IB programs across the district.
Lions Pride is a partnership with Texas A&M University-Commerce. According to the district’s website, it hopes to partner with campuses that have a Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics based education, “with an aim toward the expansion of project-based learning.”
Of the district’s remaining noncharter campuses, Judson STEAM Academy is identified as a STEAM school. Ned E. Williams is identified as a magnet STEAM academy on the district’s website.
The remaining applicant, iCAT, wants to partner with district campuses that have a focus on the Montessori method, according to the district.
In other business, trustees approved a land swap with the Longview Economic Development Corp.
The district will receive about 7 acres — four lots — in the Longview North Business Park near the south border of Judson STEAM Academy, and LEDCO will receive a one-block site where Longview High School and T.G. Field Auditorium once stood at 400 N. Second St.
Wilcox said the district has no current plans for the land. LEDCO plans to build new headquarters at the downtown Longview location.
Trustees also approved paying $120,000 to Martin Consulting Group for advising the district on prerequisites for the 2019-21 school transformation fund — a grant program to help transform low-performing schools and create more options for students.
A document provided to the board said Martin consulted with staff on implementing the structure of the innovative management organization — one of the models eligible for grants within the school transformation fund — for the nonprofit running Bramlette STEAM Academy and Johnston-McQueen Elementary School. That nonprofit organization is East Texas Advanced Academies.
During the superintendent’s report, third- and fourth-grade students demonstrated some skills learned in coding classes.
Leslie Konvalin, a teacher at Hudson PEP Elementary, where trustees met, said the curriculum is for fifth through eighth grades.
The students used Ozobots, small robots that are shaped like a sphere, to “plow snow.”
The students can program the robots to move along a path, she said. The students attach a “plow” to the robot and have to guide it along a piece of paper on a path drawn and move cotton balls, or “snow,” out of the path.
The first step was researching snowplows, Konvalin said, because many young East Texas students had never seen one.
Konvalin said the students were assigned to program the robots to move 90% of the snow in less that two minutes. Most students went above that and cleared all the cotton balls in their demonstrations to the school board.