Thursday, October 29, 2020

School Resource Officers Ready to Continue to Keep Students Safe as School Year Ready to Start

Last school year, the City committed to working with school and law enforcement professionals to form a School Safety Task Force to find new ways to strengthen and enhance school safety in Southlake schools. With several months and multiple recommendations under its belt, the start of a new school year also means schools in Southlake will be starting with additional safety resources.

Each school is assigned a Southlake Police Officer as a School Resource Officer (SRO), this year two additional SROs will be assigned to the high schools.

“With the creation of the School Safety Task Force we made a promise to do more to protect our children. We started to deliver on that last year, and will continue to do so this year,” said Southlake Police Chief James Brandon. “We’ve made some visible changes, and we’ve made some people won’t see, by design. Recent events have created more questions about school safety; the Southlake Police Department SROs are doing everything they can to achieve the highest standards in safety and security in every Carroll ISD school. Parents can rest assured knowing we’re here to do our best to keep their children safe.”

In addition to providing a Southlake Police Officer to each school, each SRO is a trained classroom instructor on topics such as stranger danger, dating safety, internet safety, drug, alcohol and tobacco awareness.

“All of our SROs believe that the safety of the students is paramount when responding to any situation,” notes Chief Brandon. “Working alongside parents is a key factor in that and is a top priority for SROs to help keep students safe.”

Southlake SROs make investments every day to further their mission to keep students safe and focused on learning. The success of the program can be seen in the day-to-day interactions with CISD students.

“All of these efforts resulted in zero student citations,” said Chief Brandon. “I look forward to continuing to see these types of outcomes in Southlake schools in the year to come. Our goal is to make sure students learn and have fun without worrying too much about their safety.”

The Southlake SRO program has been in place since 2005. By the start of the 2013-2014 school year, specially-trained officers were in place at each CISD elementary school and intermediate school in addition to the officers at the middle schools and high schools.

Much of the $1,600,000 funding for these officers is from the Crime Control and Prevention District portion of the City’s sales tax. In 2015, voters re-authorized the district for 20 years helping to ensure the future of SRO program and other safety initiatives.

You can learn more about Southlake School Safety on the City of Southlake website.

Making a Difference: HR Director Stacey Black is a Strong Employee Engagement Advocate

It’s easy to agree that achieving great things for the community is essential for an organization. But what approach should leaders take to make it happen? HR Director Stacey Black tackled this question almost a decade ago, ultimately leading Southlake to implement Gallup’s Q12 Employee Engagement program. The engagement of Southlake’s workforce and business outcomes have been improving steadily since.

In fact, Southlake’s current engagement scores rank the organization in the top 25% of organizations worldwide according to Gallup, and the City continues to make strides toward creating a work environment that enhances workers’ ability to serve the community.

“We were looking to strengthen our workplace,” said Shana Yelverton, City Manager. “It’s important that employees have what they need to perform at the high level that is expected, and Gallup’s model has proven to be an invaluable tool for us. Stacey’s leadership in this program has been outstanding.”

Since 2013, the City has utilized the Gallup Q12 employee engagement survey to assess engagement and guide efforts to make Southlake a great place to work. Using ‘State of the Team’ meetings to understand the thoughts behind the survey numbers, action planning, implementation and evaluation, engagement initiatives have enhanced employee wellbeing, workplace experience, and overall performance.

“We chose this model because it’s a scientifically validated 12-item survey with proven links to performance outcomes,” explains Black. “Gallup administers this survey around the world to private, public, and non-profit organizations. Since the question wording was finalized in 1998, the survey has been administered to more than 30 million employees.”

Southlake’s numbers are impressive. In 2013, the City’s results placed Southlake in the 38th percentile of Gallup’s database of organizations. In 2015, the score improved placement to the 69th percentile. In 2017, Southlake moved to the 79th percentile.

The percentage of engaged employees has increased by 36% since 2013 and is significantly higher than the number of State employees and other local government workers in Texas.

“The success of improving our environment has resulted in great results, with double-digit improvements in key areas such as lost-time injuries, absenteeism, promotions, and technical performance,” said Yelverton. “Beyond the numbers, you can also see a difference in the people, in their outlook, and their work.”

A series of changes identified through the Q12 process have contributed to the City’s increased engagement. Improvements have been made to workspaces: equipment updates and process improvements to help employees work more effectively with less frustration. Departments work to build team relationships. Supervisors are trained to provide feedback and recognition for quality work. Leaders have been intentional in changing the culture, promoting positive relationships, celebrating strengths, and encouraging growth.

Black continues to look for ways to boost engagement and the workplace environment.

She recently formed a workgroup called “Making Better Best.” Their purpose is to identify initiatives to continuously improve the workplace experience. Using Q12 Survey results, turnover trends, exit interview data, workforce demographics, and Gallup research, volunteer employees who serve on the MBB team recommend then lead the implementation of these ideas.

“The work world is changing, and many traditional practices are no longer as effective as they once were. Fortunately, we have Stacey Black to help us evolve so that we continue to be an employer of choice in the future,” said Yelverton.

Black sums up program aspirations in this way. “We want to improve the workplace by focusing on engagement – creating a workplace where people come to work knowing what is expected of them, feeling connected, and working in an environment where they want to be. Focusing on engagement becomes a strategy for a great workplace, high-performance management, and better business outcomes.”

ShopCore Works Toward Mid-March Completion of Fountains

With the new timeline set by ShopCore Properties, the completion date for the Park Village Fountains is set to occur in mid-March 2019.

In December 2018, ShopCore Properties was granted permits to complete the repair work, concentrating on plumbing and robotics. ShopCore representatives met with City Staff last month to present the expected completion date. This week, the fountain was filled with water as workers moved toward completion.

The Park Village Fountains are located on the corner of Southlake Boulevard and Carroll Avenue. The Southlake City Council approved the privately-owned lighted fountains as part of the Park Village development in 2013.

The City Southlake Fire Department Received 2018 Helping Heroes Grant

The Southlake Fire Department was selected by a team of safety experts based on their need for new or updated life-saving equipment and training to receive the 2018 Helping Heroes Grant.

Our Southlake Fire Department has utilized the grant for a weather station with a shareable subscription and Emergency Operators Center (EOC) equipment. Both tools will enhance the fire departments ability to prioritize safety and responsiveness in emergency situations.

“We are extremely grateful to Flint Hills Resources for this grant that will help the Office of Emergency Management and Department of Public Safety protect our community,” stated Emergency Manager Amanda Meneses. “This grant gives us the ability to integrate modern technology into our disaster preparedness plan and response efforts to assist in early detection of hazardous conditions.”

In 2018 the fire department responded to 3,373 calls for service. The fire department responded to fires in fewer than six minutes, 90% of the time, well above industry standards. Also, in 2018 they saved $1.3 million in property alone. With gifts like the Helping Heroes Grant, the fire department has the ability to further develop its emergency operations. In 2018 The Office of Emergency Management enhanced community preparedness by completing the Hazard Vulnerability Analysis for the City of Southlake. They are continuously working towards excellence in all matters regarding resident safety.

The Koch Pipeline Helping Heroes Grant provides a financial gift to be utilized for training, education, equipment and emergency notification needs of Texas fire departments and emergency responders. Flint Hills Resources has awarded more than $1,000,000 in grants to 53 first responder departments throughout Texas since 2012. Deanna Altenhoff of Flint Hills Resources stated that the purpose of the grant is simply based on the fact that, “We believe in supporting those who keep our communities safe.” The City of Southlake was awarded $3500 for FY 2019.

For more information regarding the Fire Department’s Annual Report click here.

End in Sight for TxDOT FM 1938 Project

The good news is that the TxDOT FM 1938 widening project has made significant progress in the last few months. The construction of the underground drainage structure has been completed, and construction of the Myers Meadows screening wall is well underway.

The not so great news is that until these final phases are completed, the area will remain a work zone. Work to be done includes:

  • Completion of a screening wall along the Myers Meadow subdivision and
  • Paving the remaining north and southbound lanes at the north end of the project.

As work continues, the light at the end of the tunnel grows brighter. Now that the drainage structure has been completed, paving operations for the remaining area at the north end of the project are expected to start in the coming weeks. In the last few weeks, crews have been focused on backfilling the massive drainage structure. The new northbound lanes are expected to be completed in the next month or so then traffic will be switched again to allow for the construction of the southbound lanes.

“We know this TxDOT project has taken much longer than anticipated, but like many construction projects, it’s hit a few snags along the way. The good news is the end is in sight,” notes Public Works Director Rob Cohen. “Once completed this FM 1938 corridor will be a great addition to the City of Southlake and provide more connectivity to SH 114. We’re looking forward to it.”

The Myers Meadow screening wall underground utility relocations have been completed allowing crews to continue the construction of the screening wall. In the last few weeks, underground piers have been completed, and concrete work on the columns has started. Once the columns are complete the next step will be to install the wall panels. Work on the screening wall is expected to last a couple more months. Once completed, the wall will be a welcome aesthetic barrier from the road for the Myers Meadow subdivision.

Stay up-to-date with construction updated by following Southlake Mobility on Facebook.

Lane switches on N. White Chapel widening project starting January 2, 2019

Update: 1/17/19 – Mother Nature had other plans for the planned lane switch and due to the recent rains, the lane switches had to be postponed a little. The new date for the planned lane switches will be Monday, January 21, weather permitting. Also, the light at the intersection of Highland and N. White Chapel will temporarily be in red flash in all directions while the barricades are set up and the signals are adjusted to accommodate the new lane configurations.

Despite Mother Nature’s attempts to slow down construction projects across the region with heavy rainfalls in the past months, the N. White Chapel widening project continues to remain on schedule. As the project moves forward, construction crews will be doing more work on existing roadways and are planning for some lane switches starting Wednesday, January 2, weather permitting.

WhiteChapelRoadReconfig 01-17-2019 update

Map indicating full lane switch at SH 114 beginning after temporary switch, weather permitting.


A major lane switch, starting towards the end of the week, will be at the north end, where N. White Chapel meets SH 114. Starting at SH 114, all traffic will be switched to the new northbound lanes for approximately 900 feet before crossing over the existing lanes to the new southbound lanes. All traffic will travel on the southbound lanes until re-entering the existing roadway approximately 400 feet south of Highland Avenue. This lane switch is only expected to last a couple of days.

Temporary lane switch, happening on Jan. 21, in preparation for full lane switch.


There will be some temporary moving lane switches earlier in the week as crews prepare for the long term switch.

Motorists also need to be aware of some changes in roadway elevation during the lane switches. Temporary pavement will be added to bridge the new lanes to the existing lanes. “Driving over the temporary pavement will feel like a speed bump, so I’d like to encourage motorists to take it easy as they cross over those sections,” notes Deputy City Engineer Steven Anderson.

Signage will be in place to help motorists navigate the lane switches. Visit ConnectSouthlake.com and follow Southlake Mobility on Facebook to stay up-to-date with Southlake road projects. Have questions about this project? Give Southlake Public Works a call at 817-748-8098.

Writing for Magazines: The Basics a 4-Week Class

Are you interested in developing the skills and know-how to write for magazines? Sign up for this free 4-week course at Southlake Library.

Do you want to see your name in print? This four-week class covers the basics of writing for magazines such as: finding ideas and matching them with markets, crafting a query letter, conducting interviews, researching, writing the article, and much more.

Each class is two hours long, and at the end of the class, each student will have a workbook full of handouts and resources for their journey in writing magazine articles.

Class Details:

Registration is required and open to teens and adults only. Register now.

Class One: October 30th | 6-8 PM | Southlake Town Hall
Finding ideas, common article types (ie. profiles, how-to, journalism, evergreen topics), and finding markets.

Class Two: November 6th | 6-8 PM | Southlake Town Hall
Know the publication, writing effecting query letters, and query follow-ups.

Class Three: November 13th | 6-8 PM | Southlake Town Hall
Researching – organizing information, finding experts, and digging for details. Interviews – strategy, scheduling, and conducting.

Class Four: November 20th | 6-8 PM | Southlake Town Hall
Writing the article – structure, grabbing readers’ attention, using anecdotes, and ending the article. Resources will be provided for additional information (organizations, groups, websites).