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WFISD Board Honors Southern Hills Elementary

Southern Hills Elementary Outperforms All Texas Elementary Schools

Southern Hills becomes the first and only elementary school in the state to earn Level 2 certification



One thing you can count on at Southern Hills Elementary School is the teaching in every classroom is high quality, day in and day out.


Not just in a few classrooms or in a few subjects or on certain days. Every teacher is delivering reliably effective instruction every day, according to Marzano Research.


The company awarded Southern Hills Elementary its Level 2 Certification in the Marzano High Reliability Schools series, which certifies the consistency and effectiveness of daily instruction at the southside school.


“Reliability – that’s the point,” said WFISD Superintendent Mike Kuhrt. “Across the whole school. Every day.”


Southern Hills Elementary is the first and only elementary school in the state to obtain the prestigious Level 2 certification. Southern Hills was the first WFISD school to cross the Level 1 certification finish line, too.


Associate Superintendent Peter Griffiths announced the accomplishment Dec. 12 at the regularly scheduled WFISD board meeting.


To achieve such a status certification, teachers logged 15 to 20 training days with Marzano over the past 15 months. The training was designed to teach them the finer points of high level instruction. Then Marzano staff visited Southern Hills classrooms and observed the instruction being delivered to students during four days of site visits.


“This was the most exciting level for me out of five levels,” said Principal Naomi Alejandro. “We had to demonstrate effective teaching in every classroom. What that means for kids is beyond words.”


The school has already earned the Marzano High Reliability Schools’ Level 1 certification, which guarantees a safe and secure environment for children and a collaborative working environment for teachers.


Now at Level 2, Southern Hills has outperformed all other Texas elementary schools. “Now they have Level 2. They moved fast on this,” said Mr. Griffiths.


Nine WFISD campuses are at various stages in the certification process, with several about to achieve Level 1 status. Region 9 and a grant from the Priddy Foundation made such training and certification possible. The grant comes with a guarantee that it will continue to support these achievements for eight years.


Marzano Research serves educators by synthesizing a large body of world-renowned educational research and putting it into bite-sized pieces for today’s teachers.



Four student athletes received Academic All-State honors for achievements in cross country. They are:

  • Sarah Templemeyer from Rider High School, under the coaching of Carl Wiersema.
  • Cecilia Garcia from Wichita Falls High School, under the coaching of Deborah Gonzales
  • Alondra Hurtado from Wichita Falls High School, under the coaching of Deborah Gonzales
  • Jade Sanchez from Wichita Falls High School, under the coaching of Deborah Gonzales


To become an Academic All-State honoree, students must have an overall grade point average of 92 or above for grades 9 through 11; they must be a varsity participant in good standing; they must be a graduating senior and of good moral character.


Financial reports – September 2016

In a 7-0 vote, board members approved the September 30, 2016 financial report. The report was presented later than usual because of changes in personnel, according to Tim Sherrod, interim chief financial officer.


The District’s General Fund revenues and expenditures are remaining consistent with the prior year, said Mr. Sherrod. By finishing the budget slightly ahead of past years, making supply funds available to staff members on the Sept. 1 fiscal year start date, funds may be spent a little faster this year, he said.


Expenditures were 6.74 percent last year at this time compared with slightly more – 7.47 percent – this year. Revenues were 11.74 percent last year; 11.18 percent this year.


Revenue for the Food Service Fund was nearly the same as last year: 10.88 percent last year compared to 10.97 percent this year. Expenditures are slightly higher this year: 7.13 percent this year compared to 6.40 percent last year.


Debt Service Fund revenues were 0.12 percent last year compared to 0.18 percent this year. Expenditures remained at zero this year and last year.


Financial reports – October 2016

In a 7-0 vote, board members unanimously approved the October 2016 Financial Report. Now that two months have elapsed, the district had collected 20.51 percent of its projected revenues, compared to 19.51 percent last year at this time.


Expenditures this year have been 13.48 percent of the budget, compared to 11.06 percent of the budget last year. The money “will be spent a little quicker since we started spending on Sept. 1,” said Mr. Sherrod.


The General Fund is remaining consistent, he said. Revenues were 22.46 percent this year compared to 22.76 percent last year; expenditures were 15.83 percent this year compared to 15.98 percent last year.


The Food Service Fund revenues and expenditures were nearly the same this year as compared to last. Revenues this year are 21.30 percent compared to 21.95 percent last year. Expenditures were 16.87 percent this year compared to 16.64 percent last year.


Board member Elizabeth Yeager asked for a set of numbers – enrollment numbers, attendance data, and ADA figures – that the board used to receive as part of its financial updates. Mr. Sherrod said he would provide the board with all three updates in his next report.


Human Resources report

Human Resources Director Cyndy Kohl asked board members to approve the hiring of one teacher for Kirby Middle School.

The teacher comes to her new position with four years of experience. Board members approved the hire in a 7-0 vote.


Board of Trustee Continuing Education Training

The State Board of Education mandates annual training for all sitting board members. The Texas Association of School Boards monitors the status of all board members.


All WFISD board members have completed their required training, according to a report published in board documents.


Even WFISD’s newest board members – Tom Bursey, Adam Groves and Mike Rucker – have completed the required annual team-building training.


On Jan. 22-23, board members participated in and completed a goal-setting workshop. They met on Nov. 21-22 for the Texas Education Agency’s Lone Star Governance Workshop.


The following board members completed the required number of TIER Three continuing education hours for 2016: Dale Harvey, Bob Payton, Elizabeth Yeager, Bill Franklin, Tom Bursey, and Mike Rucker.


Consent Agenda

In a 7-0 vote, board members passed the Consent Agenda. The agenda included policy updates, a response to a statewide charter application, a personnel report, and board meeting minutes.


District of Innovation Update

The District of Innovation committee did not meet in December but will resume its collaboration in January, according to Mr. Kuhrt.


Construction Update

Board members took an afternoon tour of the Career Education Center, which is currently under construction at its Hatton Road location.


The building is expected to be “in the dry” (totally closed in) by the end of December, according to one construction representative. Construction is lagging slightly in the two-story wing, he said. Its roof is “being completed now.”


“It’s overwhelming,” said board member Bob Payton. “It’s a beautiful facility, just the steel beams and concrete.”


Board President Dale Harvey agreed. “What an awesome bulding that is,” he said.