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Trustees hear reports on Career & Tech opportunities, equity efforts, and a innovative new partnership

The Ector County ISD Board of Trustees held a workshop on January 12. 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 reminded Trustees today was the start of 87th Texas Legislative session, and we hope education will remain a priority. Yesterday, the state comptroller released information on how much money will be available to spend for the new biennium, and while yesterday’s figure is better than earlier projections a shortfall of about $1 billion is still expected. Dr. Muri said this is not good since costs have risen but the state’s overall budget would be about the same as 2019. If that is the case, cuts will have to be made. State Legislators have stated that they would like to protect HB3 (the sweeping education bill from the last legislative session) which included things like raises for teachers, money for the Teacher Incentive Allotment and National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, plus funding for the Additional Days School Year in the summer. These are some of the elements of HB3 that ECISD leveraged to benefit our staff and students.

 

  1. There was no public comment.

 

  1. Reports/Discussion Items

A. Trustees heard a report on the Career & Technical Education program. Career & Technical Education (CTE) prepares students for college and career opportunities. ECISD’s CTE programs are designed for high skill, high demand, high wage occupations; offer dual credit courses allowing kids to earn high school credit and college credit at the same time; and give students the chance to earn industry-recognized certifications. More than 7,200 students are currently enrolled in CTE classes, taking advantage of more than 200 course offerings. New courses set to come to ECISD are HVAC & Plumbing (which are high need jobs in the Permian Basin), Court Reporting, Paralegal, and an expansion of Robotics. State-of-the-art CTE facilities are also on the District’s wish list for future projects.

 

B. Nearly one year ago, an Equity Task Force of District employees and community members began work on disparities in discipline among student ethnicity groups. The Equity Task Force delivered recommendations to the school board in July, and the District began implementing changes this school year. Revisions to the Student Code of Conduct, changes to discipline practices, Unconscious Bias training for employees, strategic scheduling, implementation of a Behavior Support framework, creation of an African American Studies elective course, and recruiting efforts targeted to Historically Black Colleges & Universities are all measures undertaken or being developed now. Specific, comparative data is difficult to collect at this time because of the impact of COVID-19 on school attendance in Spring 2020 and throughout this 2020-21 school year.

    

C. The Board discussed an innovative partnership to greatly expand 3-year-old Pre-kindergarten ECISD next year. Through the Call for Quality Schools, the Odessa YMCA successfully completed a rigorous process conducted by a diverse committee. This innovative partnership with the Y will help ECISD expand its pre-kindergarten program to serve more 3-year-olds beginning August 2021. The Y currently serves children 6-weeks-old to 12-years-old at its existing three locations. It plans to utilize its new building on Pagewood as the site for 150 3-year-olds with potential for expansion. Take a virtual look at this facility. The Y has a ‘whole child’ educational plan and academic model designed for literacy development and logical math discovery that lead to kindergarten readiness – one of the primary tenets of ECISD’s strategic plan. The school board must still approve this partnership at next week’s meeting and then negotiate a contract with the Y.

 

  1. There was no closed session.

 

  1. In his closing remarks, Dr. Muri called attention to January being School Board Appreciation and thanked the Odessa City Council and new Mayor Javier Joven for reading a proclamation at the beginning of the City Council meeting declaring this to be ECISD School Board Month in Odessa. Trustees will receive the proclamation at next week’s board meeting.  

  

  1. The meeting adjourned at 8:05 p.m.