ECISD featured in national report on tutoring

ECISD Superintendent Scott Muri talks about STAAR and End of Course results at a news conference Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2023, in the first floor boardroom of the administration building. (Ruth Campbell/Odessa American)

A national report titled Leading for Action released this week features the high-dosage tutoring offered by Ector County Independent School District in the wake of the pandemic.

During his media call, ECISD Superintendent Scott Muri said the report itself is a comprehensive look nationwide on high-dosage tutoring and its effect on students.

Starting with a pilot of 40 students, it grew to 6,000 students in the first full year and 4,750 students last year. This year, they don’t have a firm number yet.

“We use data to help us make an informed decision about which of our students are eligible, so our teachers and administrators are now looking at that student data to determine which ones will have access to that,” Muri said.

The report highlighted several examples from around the country with ECISD being one of those with a “very effective high-dosage tutoring program.”

ECISD started high-dosage tutoring during the pandemic.

“We work with multiple virtual tutoring providers. We use outcomes-based contracts. With those, we basically pay the providers for the amount of academic growth our students receive and the results have been very significant for those students that are involved,” Muri said.

He congratulated the teachers, partner companies and students who engaged in the work.

“Obviously, these results were significant and really productive for the kids. And once again, ECISD is leading this opportunity and we’re glad to share this story with other school districts around the country as they learn about the best practices associated with high-dosage tutoring,” Muri said.

For more information on this report, you can visit the ECISD website. The report is listed on the bottom of the website so community members can download it and learn more about high-dosage tutoring.

Plans are to continue high-dosage tutoring, but on a smaller scale as the federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds will run out at the end of this year.

“Our focus will be much more limited in scope because high-dosage tutoring, that one-on-one tutoring that is provided is very expensive. We currently in our general fund do not have the amount of money necessary to provide that type of service to every single student. We are grateful to the federal government over the last three years that has provided significant funding, not only for ECISD but for other school districts,” Muri said.

He added that the focus at the end of this year will be much more narrow in scope and scale as the district uses existing dollars to continue to do that “pretty important work.”

Muri said the district will continue to search for additional funds. He noted that one thing about private, philanthropic or federal grant funds is that they have an end date.

He said Texas does not fund public education well.

“So our opportunity to is to continue to work with members of our House and Senate to ensure that we have the dollars that we need publicly to support the kids that we serve every day,” Muri said.

On a separate item, Muri spoke about the fourth anniversary of the mass shooting Thursday.

“Four years ago tomorrow,” Muri said Wednesday, “I was sitting in my apartment and the phone rang and it was the chief of police for the Ector County Independent School District. He let me know that our police force had just been activated by other local law enforcement agencies because there was a mass shooting that was occurring in our community.”

“I remember dealing with the emotions of that moment. I remember talking more specifically with our police officers. I remember actually being in our police command center and listening to conversations back and forth and talking to our officers and understanding the events of that time. We realized as the minutes went by how many individuals were affected; those that lost their lives and those that were injured by this mass casualty incident.”

“Tomorrow we remember what happened four years ago. As a school system, we are wearing yellow to remember the day and to really remember for ourselves the importance of … the opportunity we have to live a healthy and productive life. We remember the seven lives that were lost in our own community and the effect that those individuals had. We’ll remember the other lives that were affected, family members, friends and others throughout our community that even to this day continue to experience trauma because of the incidents that occurred that day,” Muri said.

ECISD will join with the community members in remembrance of the mass shooting and “continue to pray that such an incident will never occur again, not only in our own community but in any community in these United States,” he added.

He reminded folks that the district offices and ECISD campuses will be closed Monday for Labor Day.