Stephenville ISD board of trustees met Monday evening in a bid to fill a vacant trustee seat, to acknowledge outstanding employees and students, to hear a report on SISD’s continued efforts to maintain its “Highly Qualified” status and to discuss modifications to be made in city mandated landscaping requirements for new construction.

First in the meeting’s agenda was the swearing in of Susan Hutchinson who was appointed to fill the vacancy of Jason Westbrook’s seat subsequent to his resignation in Oct. Hutchins is no stranger to school board responsibilities, having served in that capacity from 2000-2009.

"I've jumped in with both feet," Hutchins said. "I was given the opportunity last week to go to a technology seminar in Cedar Hill with Dr. Floyd and four board members. On the way there they briefed me on issues they are facing right now, especially in relation to construction."

Recognitions were made for both staff and students. The Above and Beyond the Call of Duty lauds were given to staff from Hook, Gilbert and Henderson campuses.

“We started this a year ago,” Superintendent Dr. Darrell Floyd said. “It's an opportunity to recognize some employees in auxiliary positions that truly do a great job and go above and beyond the call of duty.”

Hook Elementary secretaries Deitra Stroebel and Carolina Meza were praised for their work behind the scenes. Gilbert Elementary’s Emily Sweet was acknowledged for her dedication as a paraprofessional and campus/crossing guard as was Jahmicah Dawes, a paraprofessional at Henderson Elementary who also works at the high school.

High College Readiness Counselor Kristi Adams was credited for her work in preparing students for post-secondary education.

Stephenville High School students were also recognized Tuesday for their achievements.

High School FFA luminaries Anya Kalsbeek, Kylie Manning, Kenna Faulkenberry, Scotta Faulkenberry, Morgan Cavitt and Holton Westbrook were commended for their outstanding results at national and state competition.

Elizabeth Afeman was recognized for her selection as the national winner of the Library as Incubator Project's Teen Read Week Art Contest.

Yellow Jacket senior Tyler Jones and sophomore Jarrett Stidham were applauded for their contributions to the football team. Jones nabbed the Built Ford Tough Player accolade while Stidham was named Grid Iron Player of the week.

Dr. Kathy Ray, assistant superintendent of personnel, instruction and administration, reported on the district’s status as a “Highly Qualified” educational entity.

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 put into play requirements to be adopted by the nation’s public schools to ensure their educational staff maintains credentials necessary to uphold the integrity of their instructional effectiveness.

For teaching staff, federal guidelines demand each member has obtained a Texas teacher certification, holds at least a bachelor’s degree and continues to demonstrate competency in the subject matter assigned. For paraprofessional staff assisting in the instructional setting, a minimum of 48 hours of higher education, an associate’s degree or a successful rating on testing administered to assess abilities to facilitate student learning is expected.

Ray informed the board the teaching staff was at 100 percent compliance with federal guidelines.

“Many districts have a problem fulfilling those requirements, but I am happy to say we are not one of them,” Ray said.

Central and Chamberlin elementary schools are still foremost in the minds of board members and district leaders. New construction landscaping and its effects on campus security were discussed when Assistant Superintendent of Business and Finance Deborah Hummel outlined an appeals application requesting a reduction in the number of trees and shrubs proposed by the city of Stephenville’s preliminary plan review for the landscaping project.

“We believe that the additional landscaping requested in the site review will limit the district’s staff the ability to see what’s going on in and around the school,” Hummel wrote in the appeal. “Both the district and the architect is concerned that the addition of trees and shrubs in playground areas will inhibit district staff to appropriately protect students from possible injury and will allow many places for predators to conceal themselves.”

The appeal proposed the city accept the architect’s design concept adjustments as more in keeping with campus security.