Facilites Advisory Committee: Who are they and what does it mean for Cleburne ISD?
The CISD Facility Advisory Committee (FAC), made up of parent and community representatives, is currently engaged in researching and examining the prospect of a future bond referendum to address existing and new facilities in Cleburne ISD.
The formation of this committee stems from a unanimous recommendation for new campus grade alignments from the Academic Alignment Advisory Committee (AAAC). This panel of parent/community/teacher members presented their recommendation to the CISD Board of Trustees on September 21, following a review of District information and data focused on student learning and social/emotional development in grades 5-8.
The new campus alignments will have the seven CISD elementary schools serving Pre-Kindergarten through fourth grade students. An upper-level elementary will be established at the Lowell Smith campus to serve the fifth and sixth grades. All CISD seventh and eighth graders will be housed at A.D. Wheat Middle School. Cleburne High School will continue to serve grades 9-12.
The CISD Facility Advisory Committee will be utilizing these configurations in developing a recommendation to Trustees based on efficient, economical, prudent and extended use of current facilities. The construction of new facilities will also be part of their research and review process in relation to a future bond referendum. This effort also reflects the timeline established by members of the 2016 Citizens’ Bond Committee, whose duties included the creation of a long-range facility master plan that runs through 2027.
Below are answers to questions you may have regarding this initiative as it relates to grade level reconfigurations, facilities, academics and programs. This list will grow as we continue to post information and additional Q and A as we move along in the process. We encourage our stakeholders to submit questions using this link.
We also invite you to browse this page and check back regularly as information and videos from FAC meetings are posted. Our first video postings feature the recommendation presented to Trustees by the Academic Alignment Advisory Committee, along with the first FAC meeting. The schedule of FAC meetings is also among the information to be found here.
Frequently Asked Questions
What was the purpose and role of the Academic Alignment Advisory Committee?
The Academic Alignment Advisory Committee is composed of more than 30 participants--CISD parents and community members--including several who served on the 2016 Citizens’ Bond Committee. The volunteers serving on the AAAC were tasked with providing input and guidance relating to long-term District academic and grade level alignment options, centered on providing students with optimum opportunities for learning, social and emotional development and stable long-term school connections. The direction provided by this committee is an integral milestone in the District’s vision and roadmap for the next ten years.
What information was presented to the AAAC?
This committee met August 26 and September 2. Participants were given a brief overview of the district’s 137-year history, including the series of grade configurations that have been utilized from the late 1990s to the present. A grade configuration very close to the new alignment recommended by the AAAC was utilized in the District from the fall of 2001 through the spring of 2007.
Information/data provided to the committee were based on research and best practices in grade alignments as they relate to student learning and emotional/physical development. Performance on standardized tests by our fifth and sixth graders during the period they were housed together at Cleburne Intermediate School was also presented, along with scores following the fifth grade’s return to elementary schools and the establishment of our two 6th-8th grade middle schools.
The results of a parent and teacher survey conducted last spring in which participants provided feedback and opinion regarding a Pre-K-4; 5-6; 7-8 and 9-12 grade configuration was also reviewed, along with an online survey of secondary students making up the 2019-2020 Superintendent’s Student Advisory Committee.
How will the creation of a fifth/sixth grade campus help students?
A fifth/sixth grade configuration would allow for earlier engagement in fine arts and athletics, with introduction and exploration beginning in the fifth grade.
With the investment we have made in Career and Technical Education, earlier exposure to the program places students on the path to college and career readiness that much sooner. Educating our fifth and sixth graders on the CTE programs and courses awaiting them in high school can add connection and relevancy to what they are learning now.
A fifth/sixth grade campus would provide for expanded preparation for that giant step into middle school.
How will the creation of a seventh/eighth grade campus help students?
Wheat’s proximity to CHS will provide for additional learning opportunities and access to CTE, fine arts and athletic facilities.
There is strength in numbers. Currently, the majority of middle schools that make up the Quad-County league in which we compete can field A, B and C teams in football, volleyball and basketball due to the depth in student participation. This is something we have been unable to do with Cleburne teams divided between two campuses.
The same holds true in the fine arts, where increased depth would enhance our participation and competitiveness in UIL Academics, All-Region Band/Choir, and UIL Concert/Sight Reading and Solo and Ensemble contests.
A survey of 6th through 12th grade student representatives on the 2019-2020 Superintendent’s Student Advisory Committee strongly favored the positives of coming together before middle school and the positive impact it would have against the negative and competitive rivalry that exists between our two middle schools, which often carries over into high school.
The bond between our middle students would begin in fifth grade under the new grade alignments. Each grade level would move forward, as a unified class, through to their high school graduation.
How will the 5th/6th and 7th/8th configurations impact our fine arts programs?
The opportunity to explore band, choir, theater arts and art starting in the fifth grade would develop interests earlier, and also build on what students learned and experienced in music in the younger grades. Many of our elementary students participate in after-school art and drama programs on their campuses. As fifth graders this would now be available during the school day.
According to Golden Pride Band Director Jason Jones, the development of a pre-band program in fifth grade would reach more students and develop an interest moving forward. Sixth grade Beginning Band numbers would increase and continue to grow as students move into middle school.
Depending on scheduling, the high school band staff would have more opportunities for face-to-face time with middle school musicians due to Wheat’s proximity to the high school.
Cleburne High School Theater Arts teacher Keli Price said fifth and sixth graders would have the opportunity to participate in fine arts sooner than their peers in other school districts. With introductions to the fine arts in fifth grade, students can find their interest and begin to focus on that craft. As sixth graders, they can further advance their skills.
More students engaged in theater arts at the middle school level could mean enhanced facilities, providing students with technical theater skills and experience as they move into high school.
When will these new grade alignments take place?
A major role of the Facility Advisory Committee is to take a close look at our Smith and Wheat campuses to determine any facility needs. This will be addressed before the new grade configurations are implemented.
Why has the district organized a committee to examine the calling of a new bond referendum?
The work of the 2016 Citizens’ Bond Committee included the development and recommendation of a Districtwide Facility, Capacity and Funding Master Plan to be addressed by future bond referendums. The plan runs through 2027 and includes recommendations for land acquisitions, a new stadium and construction of new elementary schools among its list of future bond projects. The plan includes a timeline, with scheduled bond planning targeted for the latter half of 2020.
Are we running out of space at our elementary campuses?
The addition of full-day Pre-Kindergarten at all our elementary schools has required the need for more classrooms. Several of our elementary campuses are at, or close, to capacity. Placing the fifth grade at Smith would free up space at these schools.
What is the current enrollment of our campuses? What are their capacities?
With close to 20 percent of our students currently participating in Remote Learning from home, our campus enrollment numbers are somewhat skewed. Students may return to Face-to-Face instruction or revert to Remote Learning at the start of a new grading period, so these numbers will continue to vary as the year progresses.