Van Alstyne community member Tiffany Chartier presented her prototype for a newcomer’s welcome folder at the regularly scheduled board of trustees meeting on March 20.

Chartier pioneered the idea to collaborate with local businesses to compile an official welcome packet for new families who move to Van Alstyne. Planning to integrate the project with the schools, Chartier anticipates having the elementary, middle and high schools distribute the folders to new community members when they register.

“Why should I have to go to the Chamber to get something like this when I can go right to the school?” Chartier said.

Chartier, a newcomer to Van Alstyne, came up with the idea after her husband became ill soon after moving. Though she didn’t know anyone in the community, Chartier was overwhelmed with support from local businesses and neighbors.

“The community pulled together in a big, big way,” Chartier said. “Instead of going to Sherman or McKinney where I was going to (go) because I didn’t know anything different, I really came to understand what our town was for.”

The realization of the significance of Van Alstyne’s community bond inspired Chartier to find a way to convey the sense of communal support that she experienced to new people who move to the city.

Roughly 70 businesses have already agreed to be involved with the welcome folder, with Chartier waiting until the end of April for responses to finish coming in. She anticipates including approximately 75 businesses in the completed packet.

Additionally, Assistant Superintendent David Brown discussed seven new changes that will impact the school district in varying degrees.

Brown said that one change will most likely affect booster clubs and parent organizations. The alteration stipulates that the principal on the campus where any fundraising will apply to needs to be notified of any fundraising events.

“I think that it’s not a bad thing,” Brown said. “That way we don’t have so much overlap with the fundraising on the campuses.”

Furthermore, employment termination no longer requires exit interviews, though the district wishes to continue them. However, the interviews are no longer legally mandated. In addition, school travel expenses need supervisor approval in order to authorize expenses with allowable expenses permitted by state and federal funds.

Other changes that are already in accordance with district policies include compulsory school attendance for all students, except for those who are homeschooled.

Homeschooled students instead need to provide a letter of assurance or a form outlining the start of the homeschooling period.

Additionally, student fundraising should always be voluntary and not take place during instructional time.