Dripping Springs ISD trustees talk new committees and task forces at September meeting

Mental Health Task Force chair Wendy Kubenka presents to the board of trustees.

Mental Health Task Force chair Wendy Kubenka presents to the board of trustees.

Drippings Springs ISD trustees heard reports on a range of topics at their meeting Sept. 23, and discussed the implementation of new and proposed committees and task forces.

Bond oversight

Board president Carrie Kroll gave an update on progress with planning and assembling a bond oversight committee to provide feedback and scrutiny for the district’s 2018 construction and future bonds.

At the board’s Sept. 16 workshop meeting, interim Superintendent Nola Wellman presented DSISD trustees with a potential outline for the makeup of such a committee, informed by her previous experience helping to create a bond oversight committee at Eanes ISD.

Based on the proposal distributed Sept. 16, the committee would be composed of nine at-large members, none of whom would be affiliated with the board of trustees. The board would select these members from a pool of applications.

According to the same document, the duties of the bond oversight committee would include:

  • Attending quarterly meetings

  • Making bi-annual presentations to the board of trustees and producing an annual report

  • Reviewing reports on progress and ensuring that work is consistent with activities approved by the voters under the 2018 bond

  • Discussing and voting on recommendations for the board regarding any changes to bond activities

  • Conducting on-site visits to get a first-person look at bond projects

According to Kroll, an official vote on the creation of a bond oversight committee will take place at the board’s October meeting.

Safety and security

Later in the evening, district Safety & Security Manager Curt Marek outlined the composition of the district’s newest Safety & Security committee, which includes the superintendent, several board members, district parents, local public safety officials, medical personnel and others.

Marek also presented plans for the DSISD Safety 2020 Audit Task Force, a group charged with preparing for a safety audit the state performs every three years. The task force is made up of district teachers, coaches, nurses, counselors, custodians, administrators and other staff.

Mental health

Marek said the Safety & Security committee would work closely with the district’s new mental health task force, a group which will include two recently hired licensed social workers, school nurses and counselors and other staff.

More details regarding DSISD’s mental health initiative, which formally began under former superintendent Bruce Gearing in the spring, were presented by Mental Health Task Force chair Wendy Kubenka.

“Last year, there were a couple of high school principles and high school counselors that recognized some concerns and shared those with Dr. Gearing,” Kubenka said.

With Gearing, staff members considered what other districts had done to address the mental health needs of students and provide a “multi-tiered system of support,” according to Kubenka.

Reports from the last school year regarding student mental health events were among the data considered, Kubenka said. Notably, 41 secondary students and 24 elementary students had been given “suicide assessments,” meaning they were referred to counseling staff based on concerns that they might exhibiting symptoms of suicidal ideation.

Thus far, efforts to address mental health have included the hiring of several licensed professional social workers, and initiating the training of all DSISD staff to respond appropriately to student mental health concerns.
By Olivia Aldridge
Olivia is the reporter for Community Impact's Central Austin edition. A graduate of Presbyterian College in upstate South Carolina, Olivia was a reporter and producer at South Carolina Public Radio before joining Community Impact in Austin.


Early voting for Travis County's May 1 local elections opened April 19. In this file photo, voters line up ahead of the 2020 primary elections at Millennium Youth Entertainment Complex in East Austin. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
More than 8,000 Travis County voters cast ballots on first day of early voting

Early voting for the county's May 1 election began April 19 and will run through April 27.

The Delco Activity Center in Northeast Austin is one of the locations where residents can receive a COVID-19 vaccine. (Jack Flalger/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin vaccine updates: Demand slows as state begins marketing push

Appointments are beginning to go unfilled, and local health officials say demand has caught up to supply. All adults in the U.S. are now eligible to be vaccinated.

Blue Corn Harvest Leander is located at 11840 Hero Way W., Bldg. A, Leander. (Taylor Girtman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Blue Corn Harvest opens in Leander; park, pizzeria launches social club and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area.

Photo of two performers on an outdoor SXSW stage
South by Southwest sells ownership stake in company to Rolling Stone owner Penske Media Corp.

SXSW leadership called the sale a "lifeline" for the conference and festivals.

The Southwest Austin median home price topped $500,000 for the first time in March. (Nicholas Cicale/Community impact Newspaper)
SW Austin median home price reaches $530,000 in March, up 32.8% from last year

The median home price topped $500,000 for the first time in March.

Photo of people receiving vaccines in a gym
Austin Public Health lengthens windows for vaccine appointment signups

Residents age 18 and up can now sign up for appointments with APH any time from Saturday to Tuesday morning.

Austin Anthem watch party
Crowds of fans converge on North Austin to watch inaugural Austin FC game

Breweries around Q2 Stadium in North Austin brought in large outdoor screens and new employees to host fans of Austin FC for the team's historic first match.

Early voting for the May 1 election opens April 19 at a 7 a.m. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Early voting in Austin opens April 19: See what’s on the ballot, where to vote

City residents will be making decisions on eight propositions ranging from whether to adopt a strong mayor government system to whether to reinstate public camping bans.

Austin transportation officials said April 15 the range of corridor construction program projects initiated through the city's 2016 Mobility Bond remain on track for completion by late 2024. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Several Austin corridor mobility projects moving forward in 2021, program on track for 2024 completion

Transportation officials said some corridor program improvements previously planned along Guadalupe Street and East Riverside Drive are being reduced ahead of Project Connect expansions.

Jack Allen's Kitchen will be at 1345 E. Whitestone Blvd., Cedar Park. (Rendering courtesy Jack Allen's Kitchen)
7 restaurants coming to Cedar Park, Leander; new murals to go up in Georgetown and more top area news

Read the top business and community news from the Central Texas area from the past week.

The program, which began this week in San Marcos, gives Amazon and Whole Foods employees and contractors direct access to COVID-19 vaccinations. (Courtesy Amazon)
Amazon begins rollout of statewide vaccination clinics for employees

The program, which began this week in San Marcos, gives Amazon and Whole Foods employees and contractors direct access to COVID-19 vaccinations.

Austin FC supporters celebrate the official announcement of the team in January 2019. (Amy Denney/Community Impact Newspaper)
How, where to watch historic first Austin FC match April 17

Check out this list of breweries, pubs and restaurants around Central Texas that are hosting watch parties for April 17's inaugural Austin FC game.