Board to hear update on LEAP

A program aimed at helping Ector County ISD develop and retain talent and align incentives to instructional priorities will be presented to the ECISD Board of Trustees at 6 p.m. Feb. 13 in the first floor board room of the administration building, 802 N. Sam Houston Ave.

The board will also consider a request for approval to authorize the negotiation and execution of a contract to purchase two pieces of property.

The program, LEAP, stands for Leadership for Ector’s Accelerated Performance. It is funded through a three-year $9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education. It is focused on math and reading.

There are 10 schools in the rollout — Odessa High School, Bowie Middle School, Bonham Middle School, Blackshear Elementary, Dowling Elementary, Downing Elementary, Goliad Elementary, Sam Houston Elementary, San Jacinto Elementary, and West Elementary, a news release said.

Together, these schools serve 9,739 students with 556 teachers and 10 principals.

Only 29 entities in the country were awarded the grant.

The goal of the program is to sharpen the skills of teachers to be effective instructors, and to strengthen the school’s instructional leadership teams. More skilled leaders and teachers will result in higher achievement in math and English language arts/reading for students.

There are four groups of staff members participating in professional development provided by the grant. One is a group of four teacher leaders from each of the schools participating; one is the group of 10 principals from the participating schools; one is identified “novice” teachers and their mentors from the 10 LEAP schools; and one is a group of 12 up-and-coming teacher leaders from across ECISD. The groups will meet at least once a month for the duration of the three-year grant.

“It’s building and expanding a diverse workforce, so reading and math teachers who qualify will have the ability to get stipends based on students growth, and principals will be able to,” Executive Director of Talent Jaime Miller said in an interview.

She added that there are some other programs that affect teachers who aren’t at the 10 campuses. One of those is called ATLA, Advanced Teacher Leadership Academy.

“Twelve teachers from around the district are in that and they get to work with amazing leaders and work on their leadership skills. We meet at least once a month. We just had a big conference-style three days of working together and they receive a $5,000 stipend for going through this program,” Miller added.

She added that it’s not only helping them, but those teachers are going to return to their campuses and help build capacity of leadership on their campuses.