Prosper school board discusses diversity training for staff, technology improvements

By Aubrey Turner
Prosper ISD's Administration Building is shown July 10. The school board recently meet to discuss diversity training and technology.

Prosper Independent School District School Board met March 15 for the regular meeting.  After the public comments about masks, the meeting continued to regular business.  

Meredith Bell was honored by the school board for outstanding work as the Secondary Science Curriculum Designer.  Additionally, Bell was recently notified that she was receiving the National Science Education Leadership Association’s (NSELA) Outstanding Leadership in Science Education award.  

Harlan Jefferson, Town Manager of Prosper, Police Chief Doug Kowlaski, and Fire Chief Stuart Blackingame thanked the school board for their help during the recent snowstorm, especially the use of the fueling facility. 

“Those of us in public safety always have a plan A and plan B, we soon realized that we did not have enough options,” Kowalski said.  “We were rapidly trying to plan a plan C, when you offered the use of your fueling facility.  We have a great relationship with the school district and we are proud to stand side by side with you and work to serve the community and the children here in Prosper.” 

The pre-kindergarten curriculum was discussed and approved.  Superintendent Holly Ferguson said, “We have a benchmark adoption for this level of education.  We need curriculum supplies that will address all academic areas and are the whole child component. What we are wanting is more theme based and play based activities for our pre-K students and early learners.”

Creative Energies is a company that works with teachers and staff in diversity training.  “What I liked about Creative Energies is that it aligns to our PISD plan,” Ferguson said.  “This focuses on equity and inclusion.  Also this is a very targeted and specific approach.  Each campus gets coaching, so they can develop a plan for the needs of each campus.  We wanted an approach that supports all of our learners, as well as all of our teacher learners.  We are all on a learning journey, and this work will never be complete.”  

“The district has been working with this group for quite a while now,” Ferguson said.  “This is a trusted group that will work with the staff.  This topic is such a vulnerable topic, and it is difficult for people to open up about their biases.  Dr. (Kimberly) McLeod, the leader of this group, has a delicate approach and works with staff to help make sure that people are working to make sure the students are getting the very best education.  With approval, this will be started tomorrow.”

Principals had indicated that they were interested in using this program.  The motion passed and will begin immediately. 

Technology improvements for Reynolds Middle School was discussed.  This is the first school in a series of improvements for twelve schools in the district.  The school district will apply for funding to assist with the updates. 

According to Ferguson, the district ensures that all students have access to age-appropriate technology on a one to one ratio.  The funding for this improvement was impressed. 

Deputy Superintendent Greg Bradley presented that a new landscaping company will be contracted by the district, as the company can handle the 21 different campuses in the district.   

“Also, we need to give some time that some of the plants on the grounds of the district have been damaged or killed during the snowstorm,” Bradley said.  “We will wait to see if those plants did survive.  We will not replant anything in the middle of the summer but will address these in the fall and spring.”  

“This is one of the contracted services that is difficult to do in house,” Bradley said.  “It is such a big project that it would be difficult to coordinate and hire people to do this job.  Additionally, retention is an issue in this work.  At this point, it makes sense for us to contract this work out.” 

The board  approved moving to the new contracted company. 

Prosper School Board meets monthly during the school year on the second Monday of the month.