Board to hear presentation on middle school career initiative

The Ector County Independent School District Board of Trustees will meet in a work study session at 6 p.m. today at the administration building, 802 N. Sam Houston Ave.

The board will hear presentations on the ACCESS Program and the School Health Advisory Council yearly report and recommendations.

Members also will discuss the tax rate and budget for 2018-19.

Star Tech Group representatives Ravi Shakamuri and Regunath Subramanian will present the ACCESS Program, a three-pronged model targeting ECISD middle schools.

Area hospitals and health care professionals along with community and chamber of commerce members would partner with each of the middle schools to focus on career, education and health initiatives.

Supplemental agenda material says ACCESS would be implemented at Bonham, Bowie, Wilson & Young Medal of Honor, Nimitz and Crockett middle schools.

It would involve aligning Medical Center Health System, Odessa Regional Medical Center and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Family and Community Medicine to make an impact on the education, career and health experience of ECISD students.

The material said ACCESS institutions would work with campus specific initiatives to strengthen a student’s engagement and learning abilities that connect to the district, teachers, counselors and parent priorities.

Medical Center would work with Bonham and Bowie students; Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center with Wilson & Young and Ector; and Odessa Regional Medical Center with Nimitz and Crockett, the material said.

StarTech Group and StarCare Health Services will be collaborating on the initiative. Ravi Shakamuri, CEO of both firms, said he approached education experts to see what could be done to make an impact and help students succeed, get them engaged and see the value of education.

Feedback he received from experts was that middle school was the place to start, he said.

The material said implementation of the ACCESS program at ECISD would start with the medical community, followed by engineering, manufacturing and service industries. The end result would be to transform ECISD into a “Smart District,” ready for a 21st century learning experience.

Hospitals have some of the most successful and qualified personnel in Odessa, so Shakamuri said he wanted to see if the institutions would be interested in helping ECISD’s students improve. Their career interests would be directed to counselors who could help students with their prospective professions.

He said on-site workshops and health screenings also would be available so students could learn about diabetes and obesity.

Shakamuri also said there could be more hands-on experience at the middle schools and job shadowing and internships experiences at the high school.

He said Odessa College President Gregory Williams and Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness Don Wood are supportive of the model. Shakamuri added that the chamber of commerce and the Education Foundation could get involved as the project moves forward.

He said he needs approval from the board before going to the chamber.

The board also will hear recommendations from the Student Health Advisory Council covering C-SHAC, campus-based Student Health Advisory Councils, the benefit of students having recess before lunch, Human Growth and Development, faculty training in mental health and Communities in Schools, a dropout prevention program.

The Human Growth and Development recommendation relates to parent notification for an HGD health curriculum supplement and an online review of the curriculum. Also, a Human Growth and Development review course for juniors and seniors.

The report also will include mention of the Texas Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy recognizing SHAC, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and The Life Center with the 2018 Community Partner Award.

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