Westwood Way

Happenings In Panther Nation - July 2019

Nearly every day I have people come by the office to visit. Most of these conversations are very productive and help our district move forward. Occasionally, I have a person that stops me so they can share something that they heard from somebody else. I believe that most of these people have a good heart and truly feel that they are doing the correct thing.

These conversations normally are filled with vague statements and general comments and lack facts. They are laced with assumptions and normally end with the person trying to remove themselves from the situation because of the accountability that would be attached to them if they were found to be involved in sharing the information.

While the information that is shared with me may have merit, the process of how it is shared is flawed. This misguided process is one of the root causes of a dysfunctional organization. Spreading rumors and gossip creates a communication vehicle that empowers people with concerns, legitimate or not, to remove themselves from the responsibility and accountability that is associated with having a meeting with the person that can address their concern.

Operating in this manner also disregards a very important rule in The Energy Bus, Rule #6 No Energy Vampires Allowed On Your Bus!! As we learned in Chapter 18, actions of this nature will suck the life out of you and your goals and vision. Our job is to do our best to eliminate any negativity on our bus.

In the future, when I deal with people that are spreading rumors I am going to do my best to follow these four suggestions:

  • Identify sources by name. If someone is determined to share information that is damaging or hurtful, request that the source be specifically stated

  • Support evidence with facts. Do not accept hearsay. Refuse to listen unless honest-to-good truth is being communicated. You can tell. Truth is rarely veiled or uncertain. Rumors fade when exposed to the light.

  • Ask the person “May I quote you?” It’s remarkable how quickly rumor-spreaders can turn four shades of red! Equally remarkable is the speed at which they can backpedal.

  • Openly admit “I don't appreciate hearing that.” This approach is for the strong. It could possibly drive a wedge between you and the guilty, but it is a sure way to stop the regular garbage delivery to your ears.

I encourage you to consider adopting these best practices as we continue on the journey of fueling our ride with positive energy!!


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School Board Update

During the July Board Meeting, the following items came before the School Board:

Dr. Kyle Penn presented an update on the preparation of the 2019-2020 Budget. The presentation included a discussion of the proposed 2019-2020 Employee Compensation Plan.

School Board members and Mr. Stanford discussed their reflections from recently attended TASB Summer Leadership Institute in Fort Worth.

The School Board members reviewed the 2018-2019 summary of school fundraisers and booster clubs.

Mr. Stanford presented an overview of Policy Update 113. This update focuses on policies affected by changes in administrative rules and commissioner of education rulings. Policy Update 113 was presented as a 1st Read and will be submitted for adoption in the August meeting.

The School Board unanimously approved the Region 7 contracts as presented.

The School Board unanimously approved the Region 7 Purchasing Cooperative Resolution.

The School Board unanimously approved the District and Campus Plans as presented.

The School Board unanimously approved the purchase of furniture for 1st Grade classrooms.

The School Board unanimously approved the budget amendments as presented.

The School Board unanimously approved the 2019-2020 Employee Compensation Plan as presented. Within this plan, teachers and the district registered nurse will receive an average of an 11.3% increase, which will equate into a minimum of a $5,000 raise. Clerical, paraprofessional, and auxiliary staff will receive an approximate 10% salary increase of pay range midpoint. Administrative staff and counselors will receive an approximate 5% salary increase of pay range midpoint. In addition to salary increases, Science, Math, and Spanish stipends will increase $1,000.

The School Board and administrative staff continued discussing the book Instructional Rounds in Education. Chapters 6 and 7 were discussed this month. The board and administrative staff have completed this book study and will begin The Energy Bus in September.

Teacher contracts were acknowledged as presented.