Two-Way Immersion ending, and 4 other decisions from Katy ISD this week, Feb. 26

The Katy ISD board of trustees recently posted a job posting online for the open superintendent position, but some board members said they did not know the posting was published.

The Katy ISD board of trustees recently posted a job posting online for the open superintendent position, but some board members said they did not know the posting was published.

Despite protests from parents, Katy ISD trustees voted Monday to start phasing out the Two-Way Immersion Model, or TWI as it is commonly known, this coming school year, citing overcrowding and cost burdens. But that was not the only key decision made by the board at this week’s agenda meeting:

TWI no longer accepting new students


Starting this fall, no new kindergartners will be admitted to TWI, and existing students will progress through the program as intended. The bilingual program is offered at Fielder and Memorial Parkway elementary schools for grades K-5.

The district said it chose to end the program as a way to relieve Fielder Elementary—which is 25 percent over its design capacity for enrollment—and because the program as a whole was too expensive for the number of students it served.

Trustees did not allow for a public comment portion at the end of Monday’s meeting, but after the adjournment parents gathered around Superintendent Lance Hindt to protest the decision. Many had worn white as a sign of solidarity, and they said they were angry the district did not offer an alternative funding mechanism for the program or provide cost comparisons for other special KISD programs.



“Let me tell you, I looked at possibly doing a fee per student [for TWI], but we can’t do that without forming an in-school, private school charter, which you have to go to state,” Hindt said to a crowd of parents after the meeting. “I don’t want you all to think I haven’t spent a lot of time on this.”

Meanwhile, west of KISD, Sealy ISD is planning to launch its own TWI program partly inspired by KISD’s model. The pilot will start with kindergartners and expand as they age through the curriculum, SISD Bilingual Coordinator Emily Eschenburg said.

Following Monday’s KISD meeting, Eschenburg said her district does accept out-of-district transfers and that she had already received some calls from KISD families about TWI. Her staff discussed the possibility of taking KISD children for the program if space allows. SISD will get its second elementary school this fall, but Eschenburg said it was not yet certain whether TWI will launch at both campuses.

Class start times changed to mitigate transportation woes


The board voted 6-1, with trustee Rebecca Fox being the lone “no” vote, to change class start times for elementary and junior high school students in the 2018-19 school year. The change was made as a way to relieve bus drivers. KISD said it needs 35 more drivers and as a result is unable to keep up with the demand for bus service.

The new class times are:

  • Elementary schools (Group 1): 8 a.m.-3:20 p.m.

  • Elementary schools (Group 2): 8:20 a.m.-3:40 p.m.

  • Junior high schools: 8:45 a.m.-3:55 p.m.

  • High schools: 7:25 a.m.-2:35 p.m.


With the new class times, bus transportation eligibility will remain the same but drivers can better stagger the routes, as a growing student population is straining the existing routes. Fox had said at the Feb. 19 work study that she disapproved of the proposed class times and would rather see high school students start last, to get more sleep. However, the majority of respondents on a districtwide survey in January indicated they preferred high schoolers to start first.

Hindt said the district would likely outline in April which elementary schools would start at each time. KISD Chief Operations Officer Lee Crews said the groups were created because the district has significantly more elementary schools than other campuses.

New instructional calendars passed—for two years


At the recommendation of the superintendent, the board voted to approve new instruction calendars for both the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years. The year will start Aug. 15 and end May 23, with a weeklong Thanksgiving break and a spring break from March 11-15.

The calendar dates were recommended based on a districtwide survey held in January and February, in which 65 percent of respondents chose the approved calendar.

New school construction contracts approved


Trustees approved contracts to build High School No. 9 and Junior High School No. 16, both of which were in the 2017 bond package. Satterfield & Pontikes Construction will build the high school and attached natatorium for $138.2 million, while Drymalla Construction Company will build the junior high school for $42.9 million. The schools’ proposed project totals were $166.8 million and $51.4 million, respectively, both of which are less than their bond allocations.

Naming committee launched for future elementary school


Submissions are open until 4 p.m. March 6 for the future Elementary School No. 41, which is being constructed in Cross Creek Ranch and will be completed this year as part of the 2017 bond package. Those interested in nominating a moniker for the new campus should submit an official form, which is available on KISD’s website. Nominations should include biographical data for the namesake in question, their significant contributions and a statement of why the school should be named after him or her, according to the district.


MOST RECENT

Fort Bend County Judge KP George announced the county was raising its coronavirus threat level from yellow to orange in a press conference Aug. 3. (Courtesy Fort Bend County)
Fort Bend County raises COVID-19 risk level as case numbers rise

In a press conference Aug. 3, Fort Bend County Judge KP George and other local officials encouraged residents to wear a mask and get vaccinated following an uptick in coronavirus cases.

 MVI Construction specializes in roofing as well as exterior and interior remodeling services. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
MVI Construction opens in Katy

MVI Construction specializes in roofing as well as exterior and interior remodeling services.

In July 2021, Montgomery County recorded 367 cases of COVID-19 in children under 12, the second-most in 2021 and over five times higher than the number in June (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Montgomery County records increase in COVID-19 cases in children under 12

The county saw the second straight week of active cases increasing by over 1,000. COVID-19 hospitalization reached 12.4% of total hospital capacity.

(Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Texas Medical Center coronavirus updates: Testing positivity rate continues to climb, surpassing 11%

Between July 26 and Aug. 1, an average of 11.5% of patients tested positive for COVID-19.

The building will house offices for several Precinct 4 entities, such as the justice of the peace. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Waller County Courthouse Annex now open

The building will house offices for several Precinct 4 entities, such as the justice of the peace.

Mahesh's Kitchen, an upscale Indian restaurant, is preparing to open in Sugar Land Town Square near the end of August. (Claire Shoop/Community Impact Newspaper)
Upscale Indian restaurant coming to Sugar Land; Freebirds Tex-Mex to open in The Woodlands and more Houston-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Houston area, including that E-bikes will not be permitted on The Woodlands Township pathways.

student writing on paper
Texas Legislature allows parents to opt for students to repeat grade levels or courses

Senate Bill 1697 is effective for the 2021-22 school year.

The county budget will be filed by September, according to Pamela Gubbels, Fort Bend County's director of finance and investments. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Fort Bend County to potentially lower tax rate by $0.006

The county budget will be filed by September, according to Pamela Gubbels, Fort Bend County's director of finance and investments.

From 9 p.m. July 30 until 5 a.m. Aug. 1, traffic going northbound from Franklin St. to Hogan/Crockett St. will be diverted to I-10. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Section of I-45 to be closed this weekend due to bridge maintenance

From 9 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Sunday, traffic going northbound from Franklin St. to Hogan/Crockett St. will be diverted to I-10.

A rendering of the Wyld Chld nightclub that will open in the Washington Corridor in the fall. (Courtesy Sekai Hospitality)
Sekai Hospitality eyeing fall opening for new Washington Corridor boutique nightclub

New York designer Marc Dizon will bring the new nightclub’s aesthetic to life.

Twenty-four campuses in the district earned Energy Star certification by the Environmental Protection Agency. (Courtesy Fotolia)
KISD schools recognized for energy conservation, saving district millions

Twenty-four campuses in the district earned Energy Star certification by the Environmental Protection Agency.