Principals from each school introduced the top of the crop and all had racked up scholarships, awards, dual and Advanced Placement credit, volunteer hours and extracurricular activities, to name a few.
The top 10 students from George H.W. Bush New Tech Odessa, Permian and Odessa high schools were unveiled during the Ector County Independent School District Board of Trustees meeting.
The No. 4 graduate at Odessa High School hugged her parents with tears in her eyes after Principal Mauricio Marquez read her message of thanks to them.
Kristin Morton, the valedictorian from Permian High School, had her parents, Richard and Mary Morton, and brother, Ryan, in the audience Tuesday. Her brother is an OHS graduate and valedictorian who just graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas with a degree in mechanical engineering.
Asked if there was competition between them, Ryan Morton said he was an encourager and they were more like best friends than competitors.
Superintendent Tom Crowe said it was a great group of students.
“Of course I’m fortunate in that four or five of them served on my superintendent’s advisory group, so I know them very well. Of course obviously, the others are great kids, too. All the volunteer hours that they do — how do they do all that and be involved in fine arts and sports and all the things they do?” Crowe said.
He added that there are some very gifted students in ECISD.
“I hope people understand these are the top 10, but the next 20 are like that and the next 20 are like that. … I’m not sure people appreciate how bright the kids are here and the very talented kids we have, not just academically” but in all the other activities offered by the district, Crowe said.
And they also get top grades.
Crowe estimated that students at all three schools were awarded “well over” $2 million in scholarships.
Trustees also heard a presentation on STAAR and end-of-course exam results from the first administration from Annette Macias, director of accountability, assessment and school improvement and district testing coordinator.
At this point, Macias said there is no way to predict which schools may or may not earn improved ratings.
She said the three schools in their fifth year of improvement required — Ector Middle School, Zavala and Noel elementary — made good gains. Results from this month’s testing will be known in June.
Macias said we are looking at more than just the number of kids who pass each test; the state’s focus is on growth and three different standards of achievement — approaches, meets and masters.
“So we have percentages for all three,” Macias said. “In the past, we’ve only reported the percentage of kids that passed the test because that was really the only standard that the state was looking at. But now they’re not, so now they’re taking all three standards and combining the three when they look at accountability. That’s the difference now, so now when we’re reporting to the public there’s so much more than just passing the test. Now it’s the percentage of kids that are performing at those higher levels.”
As a district, in English, 57 percent of fifth-graders passed reading and 63 percent passed fifth-grade reading in 2018.
Seventy-one percent of fifth-graders passed math in 2017 and 74 percent in 2018 districtwide.
Among eighth-graders in ECISD, 61 percent passed reading in 2017 and 59 percent in 2018.
In math, 44 percent of eighth-graders passed in 2017 and 50 percent in 2018.
Crowe said the district doesn’t know what scores it needs to get campuses off improvement required.
“What we presented tonight was gains we made. We’ve got kids retaking the test right now. But we’ve seen some great gains …,” Crowe said.
He said the district had improved in five of the six areas — fifth grade math and reading English, fifth grade math and reading Spanish and eighth grade math and reading.
In other action:
Trustees voted 4-2-1 to allow the University of Texas of the Permian Basin to serve alcohol to major donors inside Ratliff Stadium during UTPB home football games.
Steve Brown and Ray Beaty voted against the request; Nelson Minyard abstained from voting.
UTPB President Dr. Sandra Woodley spoke with the board about the university’s plan to start some major fundraising campaigns for its athletics programs with a big emphasis on scholarships and this is one facet of the plan — a way to recognize and entertain large contributors, the board recap said.
Board members voted 7-0 to change the dates of the August work study and regular board meetings. Both will occur one week earlier than normal with the work study on Aug. 7 and the regular meeting Aug. 14.
This way the regular meeting will not conflict with the Education Foundation’s annual concert on Aug. 21, the recap said.
Board members voted 7-0 to approve Vice President Doyle Woodall as the Texas Association of School Boards Delegate for the coming year, and Minyard as the Alternate.
Trustees voted 7-0 to approve a low attendance waiver for three days earlier in the spring semester.
The Texas Education Agency allows districts/campuses to submit waivers for low attendance when that attendance is at least 10 percentage points below the last year’s average daily attendance (ADA). The waiver allows the low attendance days to be excluded from this year’s ADA calculations.
The waivers are for Ector Middle School on March 21 and March 22, and Crockett Middle School on March 2. All three days saw low attendance due to threats of violence at those schools, the recap said.
Trustees voted 7-0 to approve the consent agenda, a group of routine or previously discussed items presented for approval at one time.
This month’s consent agenda included the quarterly investment report; roof removal and repairs for the Alternative Center, Lamar Early Education Center; and the Print Shop; the recommendation for new School Nutrition Operations software; an agreement for the Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program; out-of-state travel for members of the Permian High boys’ gymnastics team; and sale of a tax-foreclosed property.
George H.W. Bush New Tech Odessa
1. Serena Hernandez (valedictorian)
2. Saray Navarrete (salutatorian)
3. Blake Dominguez
4. Natalie Siegler
5. Jasmine Lopez
6. Carina Heredia
7. Diane Marquez Venegas
8. Yasmin Villa
9. Jessie Ross
10. Jaden Gaddis
Permian High School
1. Kristin Morton (valedictorian)
2. Marco Martinez (salutatorian)
3. Nicole Domingo
4. Kayla Owen
5. Megan Freeman
6. Jacob Menchaca
7. Braylynn Carrion
8. Stephen M. Steen, III
9. Calyha Brown
10. Marissa Williams
Odessa High School
1. Shivani Alur (valedictorian)
2. Jazmine Brito (salutatorian)
3. Areli Romero
4. Kaylee Nunez
5. Genesis Martinez-Morales
6. Angelina Jimenez
7. Aimee Munoz Romero
8. Katelyn Dockall
9. Nathan Sanchez-Juarez
10. Jonathan Dominguez