PISD School Board installs new member, celebrates retirees

By Aubrey Turner
For the Prosper Press

Prosper School Board met on May 15th to honor retirees, install elected members, and to conduct a regular meeting.  The meeting began with the members honoring Mays Davenport for his years of service on the Prosper ISD School Board.  “We are glad you are here today, and are glad that you have been here for the last nine years,” Superintendent Dr. Ferguson  said.  “Your level of discernment is to be applauded, and for that we want to say thank you.”  Davenport was also given the opportunity to be an honorary Board Member in May of 2022 so that he can hand the diploma to his youngest son when he graduates. 

“I feel like Prosper invested in our teachers,” Davenport said.  “I feel like that is the key to the success of this district.  When I look out and see the people who are attending these meetings, people who started as teachers and then moved to principals and beyond, I feel that it shows that this district is invested in the teachers and staff here.”  

Bill Beavers and Drew Wilborn were sworn into their positions on the PISD School Board.  Each term is three years and is an at-large position.  

Fifteen teachers, administrators, and staff who retired at the end of this school year were honored by Dr. Ferguson and the School Board.   A short reception was given after this segment of the meeting to allow these honored attendees to be excused if they did not want to stay for the entire meeting. 

String students from two elementary schools played violin for the school board.  This program  is offered at Windsong and Johnson Elementaries and is a Suzuki Music Teaching Method.  This is the fifth year that the district has offered Suzuki music instruction.  The students played three songs from the repertoire.  

Many topics were discussed during the public comments section of the meeting, including mask mandates, Student Advisory Board, 2021-2022 curriculum, and Diversity Responsiveness Training.  One member of the PISD community spoke about enrollment and the verbiage of mask requirements still in place for the 2021-2022 year.  Parent Liz Lester cited a study of 30,000 students suggesting that masks may not be appropriate for children.  This parent stated that she has provided the school board with the data cited.  “Please do not let fear be the driving factor when deciding about masks when cold and flu season comes back in the fall,” Lester said.  “I have provided the actual science regarding masks.  Please use this data to guide your decisions.”  Stephanie Reazor suggested a Parent Advisory Board to increase transparency in the district.  

As of May, 19,708 students are enrolled in PISD,  including almost 2,600 students who joined this school year. 

“By what the demographer is telling us, we should continue this trend of increase,” Dr. Ferguson said.  “The only thing that may cause a slowdown is the lack of building supplies.  We do not allow students to enroll until they are living in the home.  Since there are not many homes that are already built and waiting for a family, we may see a slight slowdown as people are waiting for their homes to be finished.”  

The Fine Arts Department gave a report for the May meeting.  John Alstrin is the Director of Fine Arts for the district.  “Fine Arts handled this year like superheroes,” Alstrin said.  “We are 104 teachers who cover the entire district, K-12.  88% of the students see fine arts teachers during their school day.  We try to impact school culture on a high note every day, and we really are impacting the majority of students in the district.  What I saw teachers at the beginning of the school district, the teachers were teaching both online and in person.  They were truly juggling teaching in both worlds and they did such an amazing job.  Whether it is Kindergarten art or High School Choir, these classes are not clean and six feet apart.  We really had to create a think tank and get creative to make these classes happen.  Even with the masks, we were able to have reduced marching band shows, as well as other shows throughout the year in other departments.”