By Jordan Wright
The Commerce ISD Board of Trustees held open session on March 20 to recognize the achievements of the Commerce ISD Campus Teachers of the Year, as well as discuss the potential offering of non-core classes to students not enrolled in the district.
The 2014 Campus Teachers of the Year were recognized by the school district for their efforts in 2013 to assist their students in excelling in classroom learning.
The teachers being honored this year were Commerce Elementary School teacher Stephanie Pullen, who was recognized for discovering ways to integrate the usage of social media such as Twitter and augmented reality application in tablets, into the classroom and Commerce Middle School teacher Shelbie Embro both who were present to receive their awards. Commerce High School’s Bill Knutson A.C. Williams Elementary’s Georgia Greer were not available to attend but were still recognized at the meeting.
Continuing discussions begun from previous meetings regarding the newly approved requirement of the district for hired teachers to be English as a Second Language certified, a grace period for non-certified teachers, both present and future, was discussed.
While the previous layout of the policy had not factored in teachers hired at the mid-term, something that the board admits to be a rare occurrence that has not happened in years, the amendments made to the policy will allow for the hiring of new teachers for a full year but with no guarantee that their contract will be renewed for the following school year if they do not meet the requirement of being ESL certified. The requirement is still scheduled for implementation by the end of the 2014-2015 academic year.
Additionally discussed earlier in the meeting was the possibility of offering children not enrolled in the district access to classes that are not considered core to the curriculum. If approved, the policy would allow homeschooled children to participate in non-competitive extracurricular activities such as band, for a fee to be paid by the parents.
“Any opportunity to get children that are homeschooled with other kids their own age and on our campus would be a positive thing,” Board member Randy Starks said. “It would be positive not only for them but for us.”
Although the Board ultimately tabled the matter for future discussion, many members had an enthusiastic response to the idea and claim to explore the matter in greater detail at a later date.