• February 24, 2020

Trustees eye discipline policies - Odessa American: ECISD

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Posted: Wednesday, January 22, 2020 3:49 pm

After hearing the district’s annual performance report, Ector County Independent School District leadership said they would bring back a plan and have discussions on discipline.

Among other things the report included the status of special education under state accountability ratings, discipline percentages, test scores and other data points.

The district currently has 34,000 students and is 76 percent Hispanic.

In 2018, there were 1,446 African American students in ECISD.

Thirty-eight percent of the number of actions are attributed to African American students and wound up in in-school suspension. Every time a student receives a disciplinary referral it’s considered an action.

Also in 2018, 48 percent of the number of actions attributed to African American students resulted in out of school suspension.

It was 17 percent for actions attributed to Hispanic students that resulted in in-and out-of-school suspensions.

It was 17 percent for white students resulting in in-school suspension and 20 percent in out-of-school suspension.

The board requested further breakdown of the figures and wanted to know what the district was going to do.

Executive Director of Leadership Dalia Benavides said a plan will be developed and part of that will include looking at unconscious bias.

Benavides said the data is a couple of years old.

“It’s certainly something we’ve got to fix,” she said.

Trustee Carol Gregg said the district is giving out different consequences and not dealing the same way with these students.

Board Vice President Delma Abalos said she wants to see a plan put on a board agenda.

Superintendent Scott Muri said the numbers were shocking and said it is reflective of some of the challenges ECISD faces with discipline, but there are others.

Muri said it would be brought back as a workshop for further discussion.

Trustee Steve Brown said it would be helpful to see the numbers of students as well as percentages.

Gregg said this is the kind of thing that an equity policy would be helpful in dealing with. She added that the district needs to look at the root causes of these problems.

Also in the report, it said the special education program needs substantial intervention. 

Associate Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Lilia Nanez said as a district, ECISD is required to submit an improvement plan.

“Basically, our root cause is tier 1 instruction. We see that across the board,” Nanez said.

Also, they see the regression as students move from fifth to sixth grade. One key factor, she said, is that master schedules at the secondary level aren’t enabling the special education teachers to plan with their general education peers.

Nanez said they are looking to change that.

She added that there are a high percentage of coaches that are in special education classrooms and they are out a lot. Discipline, she said, is another issue.

On a separate item regarding supplemental pay, the board approved higher stipend for teachers to tutor students.

Starting Feb. 1, the current rate will go from $22 per hour to $32 per hour. This matches the $32 per hour rate for After School Credit Recovery-Odyssey Ware.

In addition, the board approved a $40 per hour rate for tutoring and instruction at “F” campuses. Supplemental agenda material said this is needed to encourage teachers to provide the service to students at high-need campuses.

Midland pays $30 an hour, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Gregory Nelson said.

Nelson said this will also enable any teacher from any campus to provide instructional services and will enable principals to be more effective by having more highly capable teachers.

The board also approved hiring Art Martin as interim chief financial officer.

Odessa, TX

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