By LIBBY CLUETT
At many of this year's Mineral Wells ISD School Board meetings, students start the meeting with the pledge and spotlight one of the schools' programs.
Tuesday night's board meeting featured Houston Elementary musicians who, accompanied by their music instructor, Adam Hull, sang an original Hull character song, “You Can Be a Good Citizen.”
Children waved their hands as they sang, “So put your hands up high and wave 'em to-and-fro;
Be a good neighbor to the ones you know; Don't be afraid to let your good self show; Oh no.”
Hull wrote and recorded several songs to help his students understand character attributes through music. The group shared a CD with each board member. The character songs Hull wrote for Houston students are available for listening at www.reverbnation.com/adamhullmusic/songs.
In other business, MWISD trustees heard about history-making Mineral Wells High School students who placed first in district at the University Interscholastic League academic meet.
UIL Academic sponsor Peggy Harvey displayed the numerous trophies and plaques students won at the district meet, which she brought to the meeting carefully wrapped in a large box riding on a luggage dolly.
Harvey called this “an awesome year.” She said seven years ago MWHS's UIL academic team was small and received seven points. Six years ago the team took 30 points. They steadily rose and broke 100, then, last year, she said, they scored close to 275 points and took second place.
This March the team scored a total of 477 points, which includes nearly 50 points from the MWHS One-Act-Play company. In all, MWHS has 21 students advancing to the regional meet, possibly more if the theater students advance from area One-Act-Play competition.
At Tuesday's meeting, trustees also:
• Honored Nancy and Richard Stuart, of Chicken Express, and Richard Ritchie as April Partners in Education. Public Relations Director Mary Creighton said Ritchie has been a supporter of football programs and provided funds for team travel.
The Stuarts, she said, have provided funds for numerous projects. Since they came to Mineral Wells in 1976, Creighton said the couple and their business have been among “the most faithful donors and the the most faithful supporters.”
• Heard a report on attendance, which Superintendent Gail Haterius said is “holding steady.”
• Approved teacher contracts, including 235 contract renewals and 32 continuing contracts.
Trustees also accepted resignations, including Creighton's after 42 years in education, 39 of which were with MWISD. The district will host a reception for Creighton today, 3-4:30 p.m., in the hospitality room (P-1) of Ram Stadium. Creighton had previously retired in 1999 and continued to work for the district part time as PR director.
Other longtime district employees who will retire at the end of the year include Lynn Deisher, who teaches family and consumer science at MWHS and has been with the district for 29 years, and Cheryl Cowan, who teaches computer science at the junior high and has been with MWISD for 29 years.
Trustees also approved not renewing the contract for MWHS teacher and coach David Neal.
• Authorized Haterius to approve and sign an electrical provider contract. Chief Financial Officer Paul Hearn explained that the district's contract through the General Land Office with Reliant Energy will expire May 31. He said the district has advertised for proposals, with an April 19, 10 a.m., deadline, and he suggested giving Haterius the authority to approve and sign “the electricity contract that provides the best value to the district.”
Hearn added that he estimates the district could save close to $100,000, based on current rates.
• Approved an instructional materials allotment and Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills certification for the 2013-14 school year.