School board members sworn in at PAISD meeting

Published 2:14 pm Friday, May 19, 2017

Swearing in for the new school year, recognition of the district’s recent accomplishments and a look ahead with a specific five-year plan filled the latest board meeting of Port Arthur Independent School District on Tuesday.

Newly elected board members Kenneth Lofton and Dianne Brown were sworn in for the 2017-18 school year

Debra Ambroise made a motion to nominate Donald Frank, Sr. as president for the upcoming school year. The motion passed cementing Frank as its new president.

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“Thank you for the confidence you have placed in me,” Frank said.

Frank made a motion to nominate Ambroise for vice-president. The motioned passed.

Ambroise made a motion to nominate Brown as secretary for the 2017-18 school year and this, too, passed.

Dianne Brown is sworn in as trustee for the Port Arthur Independent School District Board during Tuesday’s meeting. (Lorenzo Salinas/The News)

The board recognized the PAISD winners of the Entergy Poster Contest: Linda Richards, Angie Moreno and Nelly Morgan. Richards is from Dowling, Moreno is from DeQueen and Morgan is from Tyrrell Elementary.

“First of all, I want to thank PAISD board and Porterie for their support of Entergy efficiency,” Ron Fletcher, representative for Entergy, said. “And I want to thank the school district for a lot of the savings.”

In the company’s aim toward better savings for school districts, Fletcher praised the winners’ “grandparent principles” of turning the lights off when not in the room or one’s computers in the modern age.

PAISD superintendent Mark Porterie next lauded the efforts of the Memorial Titans track and field team that went to Austin and broke several state, national and personal records.

“Our students broke records,” Porterie said with excitement.

“We work hard to make Port Arthur proud,” track and field coach Darrell Granger said.

Next, Porterie, academics and others presented the district’s five-year strategic plan.

“This is war. This is war on education,” Porterie said. “This is war to ensure every Port Arthur Independent School District student is successful.”

Porterie emphasized that students’ success was the main factor at all times. He termed the plan as a roadmap for success.

In stressing the importance of active communication and community support, Porterie said that PAISD was ready to face all challenges that would come its way.

“(Some students) may be terrible, but they’re ours,” Porterie said. “We admit they come to us with challenges — but it doesn’t matter because they’re our students.”

Porterie brought up the topic of love and its importance in securing a firm foundation for students and their education.

“How do we get teachers to teach our students with the love they have in other districts?”

Porterie also called on parents to do their role in preparing their children for learning.

He also stressed accountability and for stronger discipline.

Kenneth Lofton, Sr. is sworn in as trustee for the Port Arthur Independent School District Board. (Lorenzo Salinas/The News)

He credited the many people involved in the formulation of the district’s five-year plan and he said the plan is broken into six strands and he discussed how they would be implemented.

“Every semester we’ll hold educators and the community accountable,” Porterie said.

“We ask students to be successful no matter what happens; but, what about students who need our attention? We’re just asking parents to be parents.”

For example, Porterie asked parents to be the first ones up in the morning so they can wake their children up for school and let them know they are loved.

The first strand presented was Culture and Climate.

“Our goal is that PAISD will cultivate a culture and climate that promotes lifelong learners equipped for success in college and careers within their local and global communities,” Joanna Moore, teacher at Dowling Elementary, said.

According to her and the assembled teachers, faculty, parents and professionals, their objective is get 100 percent of PAISD students graduated with a “well-articulated path to college and/or career” by 2022.

Joe Johnson led the discussion for the second strand, District Operations.

“Our goal is to (ensure) PAISD will provide sufficient resources necessary to create an environment to support student success,” Johnson said.

He said the objective was to have 100 percent of PAISD campuses and departments have sufficient funds to effectively operate by 2022.

“We want to create a safe and secure environment conducive to learning,” Johnson said.

The third strand of the five-year plan was Family and Community Involvement.

“Our goal is that PAISD will partner with the community and provide availability of inclusive resources for greater family and community engagement,” Clarice Mitchell, math teacher, said.

“Our objective is by 2022, 100 percent of PAISD students, parents and community members will have access to various communication modes for engagement.”

Mitchell said they care about the students not only academically but personally as well.

“We want to host a family night every six weeks,” Mitchell said. “We want parents to meet every six weeks so they know what is going on.”

The next strand was Literacy, as explained by chief education reform academic officer of elementary schools Kim Vine and the Literacy team.

According to her, their objective is to make 100 percent of students demonstrate proficiency or above in reading and writing by 2022.

“We strongly believe that strong literacy skills form the foundation for all future educational learning,” Vine said.

Teacher Quality was the fifth strand that was discussed by Ricardo Seliz and team.

“Our goal is that PAISD will attain, retain and cultivate qualified teachers by developing an environment conducive to the advancement of education,” Seliz said.

The team explained their objective was to have 100 percent of teachers certified and able to demonstrate competency in their specialized content areas by 2022.

The final strand was Curriculum and Instruction.

Their team’s objective was by 2022 to have 100 percent of PAISD students taught using a “vibrant, challenging, engaging curriculum” that would prepare them for college or a career upon graduation.