• August 22, 2019

Teams report findings for strategic planning process - Odessa American: ECISD

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Teams report findings for strategic planning process

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Posted: Friday, July 19, 2019 7:51 pm

Members of the action teams formed as part of Ector County Independent School District’s strategic planning process reported their findings at a one-day retreat this week in the Zant Community Room at Odessa College.

The process has been ongoing since early this year and it was the first chance new Superintendent Scott Muri had a chance to attend.

Sheri Sides, half of Strategic Planning for Practitioners with Jenny Preston, was in Odessa Thursday. Sides said today the group was getting reports from the action teams.

During a two-day retreat in April at Odessa College, the strategic planning team talked about the strengths of the school district, along with things they see as obstacles.

All committee members received a copy of a recently completed comprehensive needs assessment for reference. On day two, each committee member chose one of six pillars on which to work. The pillars are the key areas of the strategic plan identified by school board members in their first planning meeting on March 7. Those six pillars are:

>> Climate and culture.

>> Teaching and learning.

>> Human resources.

>> Funding and finance.

>> Facilities and infrastructure.

>> And communication and community partnerships.

Anthony Garcia, new principal at Wilson & Young Medal of Honor Middle School, talked about bringing Conscious Discipline to the district.

It is used at the early childhood centers. Garcia said it would be used for teachers to help them cope with various situations and could be used with parents, as well.

Conscious Discipline is a social-emotional learning and classroom management program, its website said.

Garcia added that although administrators want to offer as much support to teachers as possible are pulled in many directions. He noted that the first year of teaching is tough; the second year you start to “get a grip;” and by the third year you know if the profession is for you, he said.

Deputy Superintendent Stephanie Howard said one of the things educators need to remind themselves is that students act in school the way they act at home. They have to be taught how to act in the school setting.

Associate Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Lilia Nanez said the framework they’ve been engaged in all their lives hasn’t changed even when a family is suddenly making a good paycheck.

Julia Willett-Weekly, director of state and federal programs, talked about the importance of attendance for funding. The district is two points below the state average which costs it about $5 million.

Their action team found a program called InClass, a specific, research-driven attendance protocol that can increase funding for weighted average daily attendance by about $472,500.

The program would cost $125,420, she said.

Howard said when students don’t come to class, they don’t learn.

Director of Purchasing Albert Valencia presented on developing a campaign to inform campuses and the community about ECISD’s budgeting process. Valencia said the cost would be employee time and effort, but the benefit would be transparency to the community.

“By doing this, ECISD would be better supported by both employees and the community …,” he said.

Muri said a lot of work has gone into the process. It has involved large sections of the community from teachers, administrators and executives to students, parents, school board members and chamber of commerce representatives.

“It’s clear that these teams have spent a significant amount of time, energy and effort investing in the system; in our kids, so this is really good learning for me,” Muri said.

Muri said his first couple of months on the job will involve a lot of looking, listening and learning.

“So I’m absorbing all this today. I greatly appreciate the community for spending this amount of time. I believe somebody said there were several hundred people at the first gathering. It’s highly unusual for a community to gather that many people together for a strategic plan, so I think I think it speaks well of the investment that our community has in our school district. I’ve enjoyed today, and again, listening to ideas and thoughts,” Muri said.

He added that the reports helped because people described some of the current academic situations and they’re proposing solutions that will improve what they are describing.

Muri said he plans to extend the process to further flesh out the plan.

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