In the first of several parent meetings, Ector County Independent School District President Carol Gregg and Superintendent Tom Crowe talked to two parents about accountability standards and the schools that are on improvement required status under state accountability standards.
The public meeting was held at Dowling Elementary School. Along with the two parents, Crowe and Gregg, three other board members and a handful of top administrators were on hand. Gregg said the parent meetings are suggested by the Texas Education Agency.
Gregg noted that Dowling met standard under state ratings, but students from there will move on to either Bonham or Ector Middle School. Both are on IR status based on last year’s State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, scores.
ECISD has eight schools on improvement required. Three — Ector Middle School and Noel and Zavala elementary schools — are in their fifth year of improvement required. If they do not come off the list, they will face closure or the Texas Education Commissioner will appoint a board of managers over the whole district. Bonham is in its second year of improvement required.
Crowe said Bonham has a turnaround plan that involves using the AVID program school wide starting in the fall. AVID, which stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination, is a college preparation program where students learn organizational and note taking skills, among other things.
Crowe said schools that use AVID throughout their campuses have made progress and Bonham has made strides on its test scores.
He added that he has seen changes on the campus that involve an improvement in parental involvement and the instructional model on campus. Crowe said he also has seen a positive change in the school culture at Bonham.
Principal James Ramage said the two biggest things he is working on this year are improving classroom instruction and classroom management. The majority of Bonham students are in the low socioeconomic range and they are picking up students from Ector Middle School.
Ramage said a parent meeting is scheduled at his campus, 2201 E. 21st St., on March 5. The school may be reached at (432) 456-0429.
Ramage, whose school requires uniforms, said they are working with teachers on teambuilding, morale and school spirit.
On the subject of Ector, Crowe said the board decided to put out applications for colleges and universities to partner with the district to take over management of the campus. Crowe said the University of Texas of the Permian Basin and Texas Tech University are working on applications to work with ECISD and create an in-district charter school.
Gregg said all students who live in the Ector district would be able to attend.
If a partnership went through, it would provide $1,000 more per student for UTPB or Texas Tech to work with ECISD. They would put in their curriculum and instruction and hire their people.
Crowe said the district would work with them cooperatively, but they would take over the campuses.
If a partnership is approved, Crowe said the school would come off the IR list for two years. If not, Crowe said the district would take it back over. They can continue the partnership for up to 10 years.
Gregg said the district has done many things at Ector to improve it, including bringing in additional staff to work with students to bring up test scores.
Debbie Mossbarger, the parent of a Dowling fifth-grader, said knowing that the district has a plan will help her prepare her son for middle school over the summer.
“I think it’s important for parents to be involved. We have two older girls and we adopted one, so parent involvement has always been something I think is very important. We were very involved in our daughters’ education process. They’re both graduates of college now and have good jobs, so I think it’s important that they’re encouraging that,” Mossbarger said.
“I think it’s important that parents know that the district says, ‘Yeah, there’s a problem here and here’s what we’re going to do about it.’ I think that’s important. I think it’s important that the upper management stays in touch with the little guys,” she added.
Crowe said applications are due Wednesday, a contract has to be sent to the state by April 30 and April 24 is the target date for the board to vote on it. He added that he plans to present it to the board in the first part of April.
The Ector County Independent School District Board of Trustees will have special parent meetings at some of the elementary schools that feed into middle schools that are on improvement required status under state accountability standards.
- There will be a meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Blackshear Elementary School library, 501 S. Dixie Blvd.
- Ireland Elementary School gymnasium, 4301 Dawn Ave., will host a meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday.