The Bay City ISD board of trustees held a regular board meeting on Monday, January 13, at which various issues were discussed and presented.
Raquel Gruver, partnerships manager for Elevate K-12 in Texas held a presentation for the board in order to consider and possibly approve a contract with Elevate K-12 for high quality live streaming instruction for Bay City High School and Bay City Junior High.
“Before Ms. Gruver talks, I’d like to say a little bit about this, so kind of reflecting back on the year and the shortages we’ve had with our teachers, we had to file for the maximum class size waiver,” Lisa Volkmer Chief Human Resources/Federal Compliance Officer for BCISD said. “We have implemented emergency permits for three of our almost certified staff members and we still currently have 12 positions across the district that are in need of appropriately certified teachers.”
“This Elevate K-12 is an alternative that we’ve looked into, that some other districts are already using, it gives us a way to provide our students with a certified teacher, but not in the regular traditional format that we’re used to,” said Volkmer.
“I wanted to just kind of briefly explain how Elevate came to be, so our CEO Shaily Baranwal is actually a former teacher, she was in the classroom and she saw firsthand how the teacher shortage issue negatively impacted the district, but more importantly the students,” said Gruver. “We really believe that all students deserve access to a live high-quality instructor.”
“I also want to mention that the teacher vacancy issue is not just a Bay City ISD issue, this is not just a Texas issue, this is actually a nationwide epidemic which really is happening everywhere and unfortunately it’s not getting any better anytime soon,” mentioned Gruver. “So, I’m not here to talk about the problem, I’m only here to talk about the solution and what we can do now to positively impact students with the live streaming of certified teachers.”
Elevate and the district have pin-pointed some current challenges that can be solved right now, specifically the teacher vacancies, which are in the seventh grade science class, as well as the high school algebra II class. Elevate would be replacing the long-term substitute teachers that are in those classes now with certified teachers.
The Elevate K-12 class is very similar to a normal class with a bell schedule; students walk in, sit down and log into their elevate K-12 platform, which is through a web browser, the students have their own individual logins and passwords that are provided for them. Once the students log in, the live instructor will be on the screen in front of the classroom, but also on the students’ individual screens. After every lesson there is a live multiple choice quiz that will pull up which the students will take, and the instructor is able to get some feedback.
“We’re only working with the absolute best instructors and the highest quality instructors, we’re only hiring about 10 percent of people that apply for us, so we actually have the luxury of having a large applicant pool,” said Gruver. “The reason for that is all of our instructors work from home, so we’re able to be really, really picky and test them and make sure that these teachers are of the highest quality.”
There was a motion made by Trustee James Scardami to approve the contract with Elevate K-12 and seconded by Trustee John Dewitt.
Claycomb Associates Architects presented to the board the construction documents for the Bay City Linnie Roberts Elementary School, for Weaver and Jacobs to solicit bids based on the construction documents for the school project and the prevailing wage rates for construction projects for possible approval on Monday night.
“We have provided the construction documents with 35, 65 and 95 percent progress,” said Cristina Marrero, Claycomb Associates, Architects assistant project manager. “Prior to this meeting a link was sent to all the board members with the latest drawings, which are at 100 percent. We’re basically asking for your approval to proceed and allow Weaver & Jacobs to ask for bids.”
“Weaver & Jacobs have been working on and sending preliminary drawings to their subcontractors and they’re ready to send it out and get hard numbers, from the information they reflect in the next couple of weeks, they will be able to provide a GMP (guaranteed maximum project price) by the next February board meeting,” Marrero said.
There was a motion made to approve the construction documents for the Bay City Linnie Roberts Elementary School and for Weaver & Jacobs to start soliciting bids.
“As far as the wage rates scale goes, the last time the board actually approved wage rates was back when we started doing Tenie Holmes, so that was a good year or year and a half,” Francis Zordilla , a representative of Claycomb & Associates said.
The rates that were presented are the most current and are the Davis-Bacon wage rates as of October of 2019, every few months the rates get updated and the school district should be adopting wage rates so that the district is covered. There was a motion made by Trustee DeWitt to approve the wage rates and seconded by Trustee Trent Tinnin.