Teachers given ways to navigate riot discussion

After the events of Jan. 6 when Trump supporters rioted at the nation’s Capitol, Ector County ISD Superintendent Scott Muri said teachers were given information and tools to help answer students’ questions.
In a media call Wednesday, Muri said they anticipated questions from primarily middle and high school students, but some elementary as well.
“We knew there would be questions and thoughts and ideas that kids would want to share. We (didn’t) want our teachers to be caught off guard, so last week we sent an email that contained some resources and tools for our teachers. We sent that to all of our administrators so they could share that with their teachers. That was Wednesday night, so when our teachers came to work Thursday morning they were armed and ready to deal with any questions or thoughts or concerns that students may have,” Muri said.
The most likely spot for those conversations would have been social studies or history classes, but Muri said they knew those discussions were just as likely to happen in a math or science class.
“So we equipped all of our teachers with information so that they could address and listen to the concerns of their students and we’ll continue to do so. In fact, any time there is a national or international event that we feel might create significant conversations in our schools we want to make sure our teachers are equipped with the resources they need to engage in conversations so we will always do that,” he added.
As opposed to promoting one side or another, Muri said it was listening and guiding students in conversations.
In speech and debate, for example, he said they educate students on how to have civil discourse.
“… We can disagree on topics, but in conversations we can agree to disagree or we can discuss in a very civilized way the differences that we have. We want to make sure that we equip our students with the tools that they need to engage in civil discourse and our teachers are ready to do that,” Muri said.
On a separate topic, Muri said the ECISD Board of Trustees on Jan. 12 heard about an opportunity to partner with the Odessa Family YMCA to serve 3-year-old prekindergarten students starting in August 2021.
“We know that educating children as soon as we possibly can contributes to their lifelong learning opportunities and we’re excited to announce that we will be providing a pre-k program to our 3-year-olds starting in August of 2021. Unfortunately, we’re not able to handle all of those 3-year -olds on our own so we solicited assistance for an organization that could partner with us in the education of our 3 year olds. After an (exhaustive) search and looking through a variety of applications, we have selected the YMCA … as our partner in this work. …,” Muri said.
The partnership was sought under state Senate Bill 1882 because the school district does not have the capacity to educate those 1,000 3 year old prekindergarten students. He noted that the agreement is not yet finalized.
Currently, Muri said ECISD serves between 1,200 and 1,300 4-year-olds. The district thought it would be closer to 1,700 or 1,800 students.
“We anticipate right now about 1,000 3-year-old students entering pre-k next year. …,” he said.
On the calendar front, Muri said three calendar options for the 2021-22 school year are up on the ECISD website for public comment.
“We’ll take that feedback to our board of trustees so we can make a final decision on the ‘21-22 school year,” Muri said.
He noted that the year will be extended like this year with 180 instructional days.
Muri noted that Sunday is the deadline to pick a school of choice.
“We have many schools in ECISD — elementary and high schools — that provide really exciting choices and options for our families and that window for our families to choose a school that they are not zoned to. If you are interested in exploring one of those choices, you have until Sunday of this week to complete the choice application,” he said.