Board approves agreements, officially hires principals

The Ector County ISD Board of Trustees on Tuesday tackled several items from school safety to data sharing.

  • Trustees voted 7-0 to approve an initial memorandum of understanding with the University of Texas Permian Basin and Region 18 Texas Strategic Staffing allowing ECISD to participate in the use of teacher residents from 2023-2026. This project will establish sustainably paid, year-long teacher residencies, the board recap stated.
  • Voted 7-0 to approve to renew the Optional Flexible School Program. The OFSP is available for students at-risk of dropping out and exists in ECISD in two forms – the Acceleration Academy, which enrolled 335 students this year and 61% either graduated or are continuing; then in a smaller capacity at the Community Outreach Center where 80 students were enrolled and 87% graduated or are continuing.
  • Voted 7-0 to approve a data transfer and use agreement with Stanford University. A Stanford researcher is heading a project involving ECISD’s use of High-Impact Virtual tutoring and its success in improving student achievement.
  • Voted 7-0 to approve a resolution to declare Good Cause Exception for House Bill 3 – Armed Security Officer Requirement. The new law requires, by Sept. 1, to have at least one, armed commissioned peace officer at every campus during regular business hours of the school. To meet this requirement, ECISD would need an additional 30 police officers at an initial cost of $4.5 million dollars and $2.1 million in recurring costs. State funding will provide $15,000 per campus and $0.28 per student through Average Daily Attendance (ADA); about $684,000. District leaders say it will take time to not only find additional funding but also find qualified personnel to meet this requirement, the recap stated.
  • Voted 7-0 to approve the consent agenda. This month’s consent agenda included minutes of meetings, bills for payment, acceptance of donations over $10,000, the annual investment report, amendments to the Student Code of Conduct, annual interlocal agreements with Communities in Schools of the Permian Basin, a data sharing agreement with UTPB, a list of T-TESS and T-PESS appraisers, the T-TESS and T-PESS appraisal calendar, an initial memorandum of understanding with UTPB for a Principal Fellow Master’s Program, an initial memorandum of understanding the Texas Tech University for a Principal Fellow Master’s Program, and the 2023-24 professional learning plan.
  • Report/Discussion items – Strategic Plan Quarterly Update
  • Trustees received an update on 3 data points – Student Attendance, MAP (Measure of Academic Progress) growth, and College Career and Military Readiness tracking for high school juniors.

Following that, trustees learned more about the district’s Learning Management Systems, online platforms used by teachers to deliver instruction to students. The LMS offers interactive tools not available offline, and ECISD uses two, Schoology and Seesaw. This is the 4th year of use and focus is on providing professional learning to help staff use it effectively to benefit students’ learning.

Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) are groups of educators who meet together regularly to grow professionally, and enhance their effectiveness in improving student outcomes. PLCs strategically plan backward from the results they want to achieve and then working backward to plan the steps to get there. Success is seen in dramatically improved school ratings.

Finally, cultivating talent pipelines have been developed to a sustainable system for recruiting, developing, and retaining highly-qualified educators. Specifically, this item outlined the growing teacher residency program, Future Teachers of Odessa for high school students, and Principal Fellow programs with Texas Tech and the University of Texas Permian Basin.

  • Trustees moved to closed session to discuss hiring and the purchase of property. No action was taken on the property.
  • The board voted 7-0 to retroactively hire Megan Watts as the principal at Wilson & Young Medal of Honor Middle School. She was an assistant principal at Permian High School for 9 years, and named ECISD’s Secondary Assistant Principal of the Year in 2021. Prior to that, she was an assistant principal at Bonham Middle School. She is a graduate of Odessa High School.
  • Voted 7-0 to retroactively hire Michael Skinner as the principal at Austin Montessori Elementary School. He was most recently an elementary school principal in Cleveland ISD. He has been an elementary teacher, an elementary counselor, and an elementary assistant principal, as well as a principal at the elementary and high school levels.