Although it’s been out of the headlines, Ector County ISD continues to work on its equity and discipline issues with a survey that will help inform its decisions moving forward.
About a year and a half ago, the district presented data to the ECISD Board of Trustees.
“One of the data elements pointed to the fact that 4 percent of our students in ECISD are African American and yet they made up almost 50 percent of the students that were in our alternative education program,” Muri said in his media call Wednesday. “In addition, we discovered some of our African American students were disproportionately disciplined as a part of that process.”
“It raised some alarm, not only with district personnel but with our trustees so we started to unpack that problem and we created an equity committee within the system,” Muri added. “That committee has been meeting for about a year working on different ways for us to address all forms of equity within ECISD. We’re now asking our families and students and teachers what are the experiences of your children? We want to make sure that our special ed children are having their needs met; we want to make sure that our dyslexic children have their needs met; our students of poverty. We have a variety of children in ECISD, all different all unique, and we want to make sure that all their needs are being met.”
The survey, Muri said, is a chance for the district to listen to its community, teachers and students.
“Then we’ll use those data to help inform the decisions that we make as an organization moving forward,” Muri said.
The survey was sent to parents last week and parents have another couple of weeks to fill it out.
“Then we’ll spend the summer analyzing those survey data … We’re looking at our academic data; our discipline data; our access data,” Muri said. “We want to make sure that every student in ECISD has access to rigorous course work, high-quality materials, great teachers and ultimately success in life …”
On a separate topic, Muri said ECISD is excited to announce that it is celebrating the classes of 2020 and 2021 in the next few weeks.
The class of 2020 was not able to have a traditional graduation experience due to COVID-19.
“We promised them that we would provide that for them, so next week we will be hosting graduation ceremonies for the five high schools and we will welcome the class of 2020. (We would) like to inform all 2020 graduates that if you are interested in participating in that experience, you need to contact your school. Each of the high school websites has a registration page,” Muri said. “Simply let us know that you’re going to be in attendance. We want to be able to make plans for you. Those graduations are coming up next week.”
Along the same lines, Muri said one of the things the district encourages students to do is to not let high school graduation be their final destination.
“We encourage all of our students to engage in some form of postsecondary experience — whether it be service in the military, a technical school, or two-year or four-year college or university. We want to make everything available to all of our kids, so this week we’re going to begin celebrating the selections that they’ve made. So students in ECISD, if you selected a college or university or a branch of the military, this week you’re going to find a sign on your campus — a yard sign — celebrating the colleges and universities and technical schools and branches of the military that our kids have selected by.” Friday, he added, all those signs will be posted outside each of high school.
“We invite the public to drive by over the next couple of weeks — any of our high schools — to see all of the different choices and options that were presented to our students this year and to see where they’re headed off to next,” Muri said.
The primary reason students give for not attending an institution after high school is money.
“We have invested quite a bit of time. Our counselors have spent an inordinate amount of time encouraging our kids to compete the FAFSA, which is the free application for federal assistance. There’s a lot of money available through scholarships and grants to our students and that form is a required element to receive those college scholarships and those grant dollars that are available.”
“We’re working with all of our high school seniors to make sure that form is completed so kids have access to money. In addition to that, we’ve noticed that we have quite a few kids that make it to a college, or a university, or the military. In other words, they enroll but they don’t last. They don’t stand the test of time. They drop out after the first semester, the first year,” Muri said. “Last year, we developed in response to that an office called the student success office. It’s really the concept of to and through. We as an organization want to make sure that our high school students get to the next level — to a college or university, to a technical school, or to the military. And at the same time, we want to make sure they get through it.”
He added that some students need extra support or additional funding sources.
“… We developed an office that specially focuses upon our graduates in helping them for the next six years as they travel through those postsecondary experiences, so that support system was put in place just this year,” Muri said.
Online registration is currently available for those attending ECISD in the coming school year.
“We’re asking all ECISD families, if your children are going to be part of our organization next year we need to hear from you. We need to ready our classrooms, hire our teachers and make sure we have the right resources and materials in place,” Muri said. “In order to properly plan for every student in ECISD, we need to know that you’re coming and our online registration process is how you let us know that you’re going to be with us next year.”
That website is www.ectorcountyisd.org, or they can visit any one of the schools (it doesn’t have to be your school) and they can provide a chance to sign up.