Board ‘amazed’ at early cradle to career efforts

Action networks focusing on early childhood and middle school engagement were formed, resources were laid and a recap of the work done since January was reviewed during an Education Partnership Leadership Team meeting.

The action networks were instructed to meet during the summer and report back to the full leadership team at its next meeting at 11 a.m. Sept. 19. Chairs and vice chairs were chosen for each action network.

Officials said the issues to be tackled by the networks are just the beginning because they can’t get to everything at once.

The Education Partnership Leadership Team has been meeting since January looking at ways the community as a whole can improve education “from cradle to career.” They met at the Complex Community Federal Credit Union Training Center Tuesday.

Work to improve education in the community started with an Education Summit in 2016 that looked at early childhood literacy, high school retention and creating a college-going culture.

Some of what’s happened in the last couple of years is Odessa College’s announcement of six commitments to the community showing that college or a certificate can be for everyone; articulation agreements between UTPB, Odessa College and Midland College allowing for a smoother transition between the two- and four-year schools; and a teacher preparation program involving Odessa College, Texas Tech University and ECISD.

The Education Partnership of the Permian Basin has received and analyzed data regarding Ector County Independent School District curriculum, student performance and information from a student survey; is continuing work toward creating a college-going culture and a community that “values all forms of education”; teacher recruitment and retention, affordable housing; and more continuous facility planning.

Those attending the meeting also discussed the idea of the Odessa Chamber of Commerce offering an internship/mentorship program and companies allowing employees to mentor or tutor students on company time.

Adrian Vega, a member of the Education Partnership Executive Board, noted that the data studied by the partnership came from studies commissioned by the Education Foundation such as a curriculum audit focusing on kindergarten through third grade, a student performance analysis and a survey of students in middle and high school.

Lorraine Perryman, chair of the Executive Board of the Education Partnership, and Celeste Potter, an ad-hoc member of the Education Partnership Executive Board, said they are amazed by what’s been accomplished so far.

“… I’m impressed, which I knew I would be,” said Potter, who is executive director of the Education Foundation. “We have a good community and when they come together and get to work great things happen. Just the resources we identified today, you know about these things but you just don’t think about them so it’s great when we work collectively.”

“We are working with Educate Midland to identify resources they have so we can have a joint list for the community to look at,” Potter added.

”They already have an early childhood action network, so when this network gets going, if their focus and direction is kind of the same as Midland’s, we might join the two or at least have them work side by side. There’s no sense in duplicating work and effort, especially when we share so many resources in this community. It’s going to be interesting coming forward,” she said.

Potter added that a revamped scholarship for future teachers is being considered by the organization’s scholarship committee.

“They’re in the process of making changes. We’ll make an announcement once we get all details worked out. The board just agreed to let the scholarship committee pursue it …,” Potter said.

She added that the scholarship, which would offer a full ride, probably wouldn’t take effect until spring semester of next year.

If things work out as hoped, Potter said an announcement could be made at the Aug. 21 concert fundraiser with Smokey Robinson, to raise funds for the scholarship.

Just The Facts
  • The Education Partnership is comprised of a cross-section of Odessans who represent various entities across the community, including members from the education, business, nonprofit and religious communities.
  • The goal is to encourage a common understanding of the educational issues and challenges facing the community from cradle to career and to work collaboratively to help solve these issues, using the Collective Impact model.
  • The Collective Impact model is based on a “framework that focuses on bringing members from different sectors within a community together to drive large scale social change,” such as education, a news release said.
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