The Ector County Independent School District Board of Trustees will have a special meeting with its attorneys at 6 p.m. Thursday to talk about a proposed contract with the Texas Tech University College of Education to make Ector Middle School into an in-district charter school.
The meeting, which will be largely closed, is scheduled for 6 p.m. in the board room of the administration building, 802 N. Sam Houston Ave. Mike Atkins, the attorney for the school district, said he and Tatiana Dennis, also with his firm, will be on hand.
Texas Tech presented its plans at a parent meeting earlier this month at Ector.
ECISD has eight campuses on improvement required status under state accountability standards. Ector, Noel and Zavala elementary schools are in their fifth year. If the campuses don’t come off the list, they will face closure or the Texas Education Commissioner will appoint a board of managers over the whole district.
Ector has about 1,500 students. If the board approves the plan it would stay action by the Texas Education Agency and provide more state funding per student.
The district asked for applications from colleges and universities to work with ECISD and implement innovative ideas, Superintendent Tom Crowe has said.
At the parent meeting, Robert Bleisch, director of Safety Net East Lubbock Promise Neighborhood, said conditions for success will include offering tutoring, targeted teacher training, providing tools, equipment and materials to teachers, administrative support and neutralizing barriers. Barriers include irregular student attendance, poor behavior and lack of academic effort, Bleisch said.
Bleisch said the focus will be on the whole child, an innovative school schedule and rigorous academics. Reading also will be a focus because if a child doesn’t read, they won’t be going to college, Bleisch said.
Electives will include music, art, dance, theater, computers and athletics. Bleisch added that there also will be a focus on college and career readiness.
Texas Tech also will monitor attendance, behavior, homework and tests.
In an interview last week, Crowe said Bleisch enacted similar plans in California. He added that other districts wanted certain aspects of the plan, but ECISD said, “bring it on.”
Crowe said Texas Tech wants to keep most of the teachers and the principal, Charles Quintela, because Quintela’s philosophy fits right in. He added that Tech wants to train personnel at the school not to bend or give.
“You still love them and care about them, but you don’t bend,” Crowe said.
In education, Crowe said people too often expect immediate results.
“Any change worth the while takes three to five years before it just becomes the way we do business,” he said.
He said who will be working for whom is still being worked on, but the district — and Tech — want to make sure teachers still qualify for the Teacher Retirement System.
“It’s not us against them. It’s a how do we make it work for the teachers and we’ve talked about that. They want to make it work for the teachers,” Crowe said.