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Trustees hear reports on Fine Arts, Energy Management, Strategic Plan

The Ector County ISD Board of Trustees held a workshop on November 10. A recap of the agenda is below.

 

  1. Roll Call.

 

  1. Verification of Compliance with Open Meeting Law.

 

  1. In his opening remarks, Superintendent Dr. Scott Muri expressed his condolences to the family of the 3rd-grade student who passed away over the weekend. He offered deepest sympathies to the young boy’s family and extended family during this very difficult time. Dr. Muri said we are charged with the safety of our students and the employees of our system. He said he feels the District does a really good job of keeping our people safe, and he told Trustees he is proud of the work of our teachers and administrators who are going far and above their call of duty to keep each other safe. Dr. Muri reminded the board members he meets with local health and medical officials each week and they feel schools are some of the safest places to be right now because of the many precautions being required every day. Data is showing that small group gatherings are currently the leading cause of the spread in our community. Dr. Muri pointed out the masks required for students, and masks and face shields required for employees across the District are a couple of the steps that help us protect each other. He added we are teaching children to be healthy and use safe practices; and we want to be able to keep educating kids in a healthy way.

 

  1. Margeaux Conway, school counselor at West Elementary, requested to address the school board, asking them to consider loosening the mask requirements for students and teachers. She asked that staff members be able to choose between a mask and a shield rather than require both. She cited research showing masks have a negative effect on a child’s communication, cognitive development, and inhibits the ability to build relationships in the classroom.

 

  1. Reports/Discussion items.

A. Trustees heard a report on ECISD’s award-winning Fine Arts Department. From elementary through high school more than 25,000 or 79% of enrolled students, are in fine arts programs. They are successful, too. Students in ECISD fine arts have higher SAT averages, attendance rates, End of Course test scores, and graduation rates than those not in fine arts. Fine arts programs also place a big focus on giving back through community involvement and participating in public events. ECISD programs have won many awards, including the prestigious NAMM Best Communities for Music Education for six straight years, and ECISD fine arts directors hold many leadership positions in region and state organizations.     

B. ECISD Energy Management gave a presentation on the District’s energy-saving program. ECISD started on this road in 2012 with a company called Cenergistic, and now the program is run in-house with two energy specialists. Participation is very good, and staff helps by shutting down during holidays and breaks, and scheduling events so utilities can be scheduled for specific times. Replacing aging and outdated equipment through a regular replacement schedule means more efficient systems. Building audits and utility bill audits are done regularly. The annual utility budget is approximately $6 million (electric, water/sewer/gas). The average annual saving is more than $1.6 million; and over 8 years more than $13 million has been saved. The savings are posted on the Energy Management web page. Above all else, ensuring a comfortable learning environment is the department’s goal.

C. Trustees received a brief update on the work of the Strategic Plan. These updates are presented to the board quarterly. The three strategic themes of the plan are Foundational Excellence, Talent Development, and Learning Journey. Within each theme are critical projects and a 10-member Project Management Oversight Committee has been formed to make sure the work is being done on schedule. Research shows organizations fail to execute their strategies at rates between 60% and 90%. It is said, goals are important, systems work. Establishing those effective systems to ensure the plan’s goals are achieved is the job of the Project Management Oversight Committee.One of the first-year priorities is job-embedded, personalized professional learning. It falls under the Talent Development theme. It is learning grounded in day-to-day teaching practices and is designed to enhance teachers’ knowledge and skills and improve student outcomes. Things like observation, feedback, coaching, mentors, professional learning communities, and independent learning are means to establishing an effective system of job-embedded, personalized professional learning.

 

  1. There was no closed session.

 

  1. In brief closing remarks, Dr. Muri let Trustees know the self-administered COVID-19 tests arrived today and our school nurses are developing the plan to roll them out to employees. It will be done on a small scale at first, then made available to all campuses. Eventually, students will be included with parent permission.  

  

  1. The meeting adjourned at 7:21 p.m.