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.


A photo of Todd Washburn.
Dripping Springs ISD confirms Todd Washburn as new superintendent

Dripping Springs ISD has a new superintendent.

The Vortex Theater off Manor Road in Central Austin has been under threat of closure due to skyrocketing real estate prices.
Music, arts communities asked to provide feedback on spending recommendations for $12 million creative space bond

After roughly a year of deliberation, the Austin's Music Commission and Art Commission have drafted criteria for how to spend the money aimed at addressing the city's rapid loss of affordable creative space.

Heart Hospital of Austin on Nov. 21 announced Megan Drake as its new chief operating officer. (Courtesy Heart Hospital of Austin)
Heart Hospital of Austin lands new COO

Heart Hospital of Austin announced Megan Drake as its new chief operating officer.

(Courtesy Larry French/Getty Images for DSW and W Nail Bar)
W Nail Bar is now open in Sunset Valley

A new nail studio has opened in Sunset Valley.

Austin FC will begin play in 2021.
Austin FC continues filling front office positions, brings on former USMNT captain as sporting director

Austin FC announced Nov. 21 it has hired former USMNT captain Claudio Reyna as its first sporting director.

Single-family home sales set a record in October despite a historically low supply. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin home sales hit October record despite all-time low supply

Continued high demand amid low supply belies the housing crisis in Austin and the need for meaningful policy changes, experts said.

Downtown Austin facing northwest
Now in City Council's hands, land code rewrite debate heats up with first vote less than 3 weeks away

Some Austin City Council members are concerned about the speed at which the process is moving.

Austin ISD's new elementary school is being built at the southeast of the intersection of Trissino Drive and Escarpment Boulevard. (Rendering courtesy Austin ISD)
Kiker Principal David Crissy named principal of new Southwest Elementary School

Kiker Elementary School Principal David Crissy has been named the principal of the new Southwest Elementary School.

Local artist Billy “Briks” Jewkes created a mural is on the outside wall at The Collective South Congress over the summer as work on the South Austin development was being completed. (Courtesy The Collective South Austin)
The Collective South Congress finishes build-out as more tenants join development

The Collective South Congress offers warehouse space for a wide range of tenants in South Austin.

Apple's Mac Pro computers are assembled at a manufacturing plant in Northwest Austin. (Courtesy Apple)
Apple breaks ground on $1 billion, 3 million-square-foot campus in Northwest Austin; expects to open facility in 2022

Apple announces construction begins on $1 billion, 3 million-square-foot campus in Northwest Austin

Sunset Valley City Council welcomed two new members and thanked two who are retiring from council for their service. From left are: New Council Members Karen Medicus and Wanda Reetz, Council Member Melissa Gonzales, Mayor Rose Cardona, retiring Council Members Ketan Kharod and Marc Bruner, re-elected Council Member Rudi Rosengarten and Council Member Phil Ellett. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Sunset Valley welcomes new council members amid city staffing transitions

New Sunset Valley city council members joined the dais Nov. 19, amid a month of city staffing transitions.

A rendering of the proposed Walnut Springs Elementary School.
Architects unveil plans for new Walnut Springs Elementary School facility to Dripping Spring ISD trustees

Representatives from architecture firm Corgan presented plans for a new Walnut Springs Elementary School facility Nov. 18.

Back to top