ECISD launches LEAP initiative

The district held a signing party and initial session held last week. These are the members of the up-and-coming LEAP group called the The Advanced Teacher Leader Academy (ATLA). This group consists of 12 effective, diverse teachers who want to advance their leadership skills. This part of the LEAP initiative allows teachers from around the district to apply. Participants must meet the criteria of high- performance evaluation, growth in student achievement, principal recommendations, and be chosen by the LEAP oversight team. Academy participants will participate in a year-long program of learning experiences provided by accomplished leaders from the Community Training and Assistance Center (CTAC) as well as leaders within ECISD. The program develops the instructional leadership capacity of participants, allowing them to advance practice and lead change at the school level. (Courtesy Photo)

Training has now begun in ECISD’s Teacher and School Leader Incentive Program, an initiative made possible by a multi-year, multi-million-dollar grant from the federal Office of Elementary & Secondary Education. Ector County ISD leaders announced this program with a press conference on Oct. 19, 2023.

ECISD is calling this initiative LEAP – Leadership for Ector’s Accelerated Performance – and it is initially focused on 10 schools that have a high percentage of economically disadvantaged students.

Together, these schools serve 9,739 students with 556 teachers and 10 principals. The 10 schools in the rollout are 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.

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 this 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.

The grant rewards educators who improve their practice and increase student growth with significant stipends. It also rewards effective educators and principals who take on positions at high-need schools serving a diverse student population.

“We know that investing in teachers and leaders is the right thing to do,” Superintendent Scott Muri said in the release. “Research is very clear. The No. 1 factor that increases student achievement is the teacher. And the No. 2 factor is the school leader. ECISD will be among the highest paying districts in the United States when it comes to the most effective principals and teachers.”