FIRST Meeting - July 28, 2015


Our inaugural FIRST meeting kicked off Tuesday, July 28, at 6 p.m. Chief Operations Officer Paula Barbaroux welcomed team members and guests and introduced the group to district leadership staff. Ms. Barbaroux also thanked FIRST members for their service to the district and community. Ms. Barbaroux also informed team members that the membership roster will be posted on the FIRST website after the meeting. Ms. Barbaroux continued to explain the breakdown of the FIRST membership: 58 percent parents and community members and 42 percent district educators and administrators, several of which are also parents of GCISD students and live in the community.

Following her welcome, the time was then turned over to Superintendent of Schools Dr. Robin Ryan who delivered a presentation on the State of the District and District Vision.

Presentation: State of the District and District Vision

Dr. Ryan opened his presentation with a two-question POP QUIZ:

How many high schools do we have?

How much (+/- $2M) does the state send our district to fund facilities?

The theme of the presentation emphasized how GCISD is redefining education to meet the needs of our students' future. The presentation included a reference to a news article focusing on current career options, showing how GCISD must work now to create competitively skilled future leaders. From there, we examined the GCISD Portrait of a Graduate. At GCISD, it is the expectation for all students to become: Skilled Problem Solvers, Effective Communicators, Self-Regulated Learners, Collaborative Workers and Global Citizens.

Dr. Ryan explained that we accomplish this through a variety of experiences and opportunities GCISD offers students. GCISD keeps its vision on the future, striving to educate our students for their future, not our past. We bring top-quality programs and staff to the district, all while being good stewards of taxpayer dollars. Dr. Ryan then took a moment to briefly explain the financial constraints placed on the district. In 2011, the state cut $5.4 billion out of the education budget, resulting in a $14 million loss to GCISD’s operating budget. In 2013, the state added back only $1.6 million, and we’re expecting a similar addition this year.

Following his brief finance explanation, Dr. Ryan continued to discuss the education and extracurricular opportunities GCISD provides, and then shared a video about why students choose GCISD.

Dr. Ryan closed his presentation by revealing the POP QUIZ ANSWERS. GCISD has 5 high schools: Grapevine High School, Colleyville Heritage High School, Bridges Accelerated Learning Center, the Collegiate Academy at Tarrant County College Northeast (an early college high school) and iUniversity Prep: A GCISD virtual school (which actually serves students starting at the elementary level). He also confirmed that GCISD receives $0 from the state to support district facilities.

In conclusion, Dr. Ryan further emphasized the opportunities of choice our district offers and the great experiences our students gain through their education with GCISD.

Ice Breaker Activity

Director of Fine Arts Patrick Antinone got the team up and moving through a brief ice breaker activity. Team members, along with district staff, walked around to meet new new people, introduce themselves, explain their connection to the district and share thoughts about their dream job.

Meeting Process and Expectations

Following our ice breaker, Ms. Barbaroux provided meeting and process explanations and expectations to team members. First, she explained the role of the Administrative Liaisons, emphasizing they are to be a resource for FIRST members. She also let team members know that we will form sub-committees and will seek leadership roles from team members.


The purpose here was to briefly summarize and inform FIRST members of the process and their overall objective.

The process of FIRST will be to:

  • Learn about the financial position and financial strategies of the district

  • Understand the purpose and status of the GCISD Strategic Plan – Lead 2021

  • Review the evaluation of Facilities and support systems to learn about the things needed to maintain, prepare and support district facilities, the learning environment and student programs for the future.

Dr. Ryan then presented the FIRST charge, explaining that their objective for the next six months is to review information and determine whether there is a need for a new bond package, which will be a group decision. And if needed, prepare a bond package for the Board’s consideration that will be supported by a majority of the GCISD community and recommend whether a package should be presented to voters in May 2016.

Introduction of FIRST Website

Ms. Barbaroux took team members on a brief tour of the FIRST website. She then assigned homework:


Presentation: 2011 Bond Report Card

GCISD Construction Program Manager Gary Rademacher presented the 2011 Bond Report Card to TEAM members, which provides a detailed account of the projects completed and in progress this summer. Mr. Rademacher additionally shared highlights from the 2011 Bond Program.



In closing, Dr. Ryan thanked team members for their time and willingness to take part in the FIRST. He explained that this process is going to be a lot of work, and a lot of fun. It will be challenging and Dr. Ryan hopes team members and the community understands we want to carry out this process and make decisions in a way that’s good for our community. Dr. Ryan believes great schools make great a community and a great community makes great schools.