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Trustees discuss May bond loss & what next steps may be
The Ector County ISD Board of Trustees held its October workshop on the 11th. A recap of the agenda is below.
- Roll Call. Dennis Jones was absent.
- Verification of Compliance with Open Meeting Law.
- In his opening remarks, Superintendent Dr. Scott Muri congratulated the school board as well as all 4,200 members of Team ECISD for receiving the 2022 Outstanding School District award from the Mexican American School Boards Association. Trustees accepted the award at MASBA’s annual conference this past weekend.
- There was no public comment.
- Report/Discussion Items
- Trustees received a report using Beginning of Year assessment data. This item gave school board members a look at where MAP (Measure of Academic Progress) growth stands today when compared to scores from the fall semester of 2021. The results show above-projected growth in many of the areas tested. The Trustees also looked at how this assessment connects to projections for STAAR test performance, if the STAAR was taken right now. ECISD gives the MAP assessment multiple times each year (September, January, April, and then in June after Summer Learning), in order to measure student growth from the beginning of the year through the end of the year.
- STEM education (Science Technology Engineering and Math) is a priority for ECISD. In this update, Trustees learned this year’s work is heavily focused on strengthening teachers’ understanding of best practices – Leveling Up. Looking at student data from the 2021-22 school year shows improvement across the board: MAP Math scores, all grade levels K-8 met expected growth projections; STAAR Math data, grades 3-5, 8 of 9 measures showed growth; grades 6-8, 8 of 9 measures showed growth while one remained the same; and in Algebra I all three measures increased. Looking at Science results, using MAP, grades 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8 met or exceeded growth projections; STAAR Science for 5th and 8th grades showed growth in 6 of 6 measures and STAAR Biology show growth in all three measures. As teachers become better and better at teaching math and science, students’ results will increase. Computer Science is a strategic area of emphasis for our school district as it prepares students for any number of future endeavors. Statistics show 67% of all new jobs in STEM are in computing; just 10% of STEM graduates are in Computer Science. In just the last two weeks, ECISD announced a million-dollar partnership with the Permian Strategic Partnership and the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation to put STEM Centers in 28 elementary schools; a grant from BootUp and Amazon Future Engineer to pay for resources and professional development for Computer Science teachers; and a donation from Oncor for STEM education. This supports what parents are saying – 90% want their children to study computer science, however, just 45% of high schools teach it. ECISD is building a reliable K-12 pipeline of Computer Sciences classes for students from kindergarten through 12th grade.
- Trustees heard the annual performance update on district partnerships developed through Senate Bill 1882. This review of the 2021-22 academic and financial performance, is focused on the agreed-upon goals with Odessa Family YMCA and Third Future Schools (which operates Ector College Prep Middle School). The STEM Academy at UTPB is also an SB 1882 partnership but it began this year so there is no performance to review yet. A quick history: SB 1882 came from the 2017 legislative session, and provides benefits for districts to contract with education partners to promote innovation and improve student outcomes. The district’s partner manages the school and is responsible for outcomes, and has autonomy over personnel, curriculum, calendar, assessments, and budget. The district holds partners accountable through a performance contract. The YMCA hosts three-year-old prekindergarten classes. Key measures of Phonological Awareness (+13%), Mathematics (+14%) and Family/School Connectedness (+6%) all exceeded first-year goals; and enrollment has already increased from 115 students in 2021-22 to more than 200 this year with afternoon classes added to the morning classes offered last year. At Ector College Prep, the school’s STAAR Accountability score jumped from 58 to 86 (an F to a B) due to student Growth. Math and Reading scores increased substantially in 6th, 7th and 8th grades. ECISD has three-year agreements in place with its SB 1882 partners and is in year 2 with both the YMCA and Third Future Schools.
- Trustees discussed their thoughts about the previous bond election, in May, which did not pass, and possible next steps in regard to a future bond proposal. In a very brief summary of their conversation: Trustees wanted to look further into the reasons the bond failed; in their conversations in the community, most people agree the district’s issues/needs are not going to go away and will only get more expensive to address; any future plan must pay attention to all areas of the city and county; it must resonate with ECISD staff members and ECISD parents who did not turn out in any substantial numbers to support the May bond proposal; overall voter apathy was an issue as turnout was very low; improved customer service is needed at schools, some parents feel unappreciated; not just locally, but around the state and nation there is a lot of negativity toward the institutions that provide public services like education, fire, and police; it is [the Board’s] job to establish the vision for the school district’s future, a future well beyond our lifetimes and into the next century; we need to sit down with parents, friends, neighbors and staff to listen to their concerns, answer their questions and make sure they know we believe in this district and love this district and want the very best for the children and employees of ECISD. Trustees asked Superintendent Dr. Scott Muri to give them proposals for a bond timeline, a proposal for a bond committee structure, and help establish listening opportunities for Trustees to talk with staff members and parents.
- There was no closed session.
- In his closing comments, Dr. Muri reminded Trustees this is School Lunch Week and he told school board members to thank their cafeteria workers, or even visit a school cafeteria for a meal.
- The meeting adjourned at 8:53 p.m.