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story.lead_photo.caption New Pleasant Grove Independent School Board member Brandy Eldridge, Place 5, who ran unopposed, is sworn in. Photo by Andrew Bell / Texarkana Gazette.
Pleasant Grove Independent School Board incumbent Ross Sarine, Place 4, who ran unopposed, is sworn in.
Photo by Andrew Bell/Texarkana Gazette.

TEXARKANA, Texas — The Pleasant Grove Independent School District Board of Trustees swore in two board members and approved a district literacy coordinator position Thursday night in regular session.

The board members sworn in included incumbent Ross Sarine, Place 4, and new board member Brandy Eldridge, Place 5. Both were unopposed. They completed financial reports and signed an Oath of Office.

The board also approved the new position of district literacy coordinator to develop a program of instruction to address district-wide literacy and improve reading and writing skills among students.

Director of Learning Services Julie McClurg said the district wants to make sure they're using the best scientifically-based literacy practices and approaches to teaching reading and writing.

"We know we're good at teaching literacy at PGISD, but we want to be great at teaching literacy at PGISD," McClurg said. "For our students to get better, we have to get better. We want to set up our learners for success in all content areas by ensuring that they're reading on grade level."

New officers were elected by the board in the meeting, effectively shuffling around the positions already held in the board.

Former president of the Board Amy Damron will be replaced by new Board President Chris Barker, who was previously the vice president. Ross Sarine, previously the secretary of the board, will be taking Barker's place as VP. And Kathleen Young will be taking Sarine's place as secretary of the Board.

In other business, the board appointed Gaye Holbrook as the board's recording secretary. Holbrook is taking the long-tenured Kathie Rehkopf's place as secretary to the superintendent, as Rehkopf was previously the recording secretary, and is retiring in January.

The board held a round of applause for Rehkopf, as Thursday was possibly her last meeting in her over 35 years serving the district.

The board certified the 2020 tax roll and approved a waiver to use the Star Renaissance as an alternate seventh grade reading assessment for the school year.

Superintendent Chad Pirtle reported that the percentage of students who are remote learners is now under 10%, and total student enrollment is 2,245.

He also reported that COVID-19 case numbers are down.

Pirtle said Pleasant Grove will be hosting the Middle School UIL Academic Competition for the first time on Dec. 1 and Dec. 3, at the old elementary school.

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