Board accepts deed for CTE land

ECISD Superintendent Scott Muri signs the deed for land donated by Grow Odessa for the future Career and Technical Education facility during a board workshop Tuesday. (Ruth Campbell|Odessa American)

The Ector County ISD Board of Trustees received the deed to 37.9 acres for the new career and technical education center at their workshop Tuesday night.

The property was donated to the district by Grow Odessa and is near the corner of Murphy Street and South Meadow Avenue.

Superintendent Scott Muri said the district is excited to receive the property and invited some members of Grow Odessa for the occasion. He added that he wanted to personally and on behalf of the district thank them.

“This was not something that we initiated. This is something that you all initiated and that doesn’t always happen in a healthy way in this world,” Muri said.

“But when you did that, you saw a need of your local public school system and you saw not only the possibilities today, but you had a great vision to see what this facility could mean for this community,” he added.

Trustee Dawn Miller said what touched her is that Grow Odessa took the initiative to reach out to ECISD.

Miller said this means that they’re not only concerned, but they are addressing it by reaching out and saying “I can be of service, so allow me to thank you so much for taking that initiative to be there for sand to place it in an area that we promised it would go. It’s just icing on the cake.”

Tuesday also was the day that $179 million of the $424,263,000 million in bonds passed Nov. 7, 2023, were sold.

The three proposition bond was $436,109,000, but only one proposition passed.

Muri said the interest rate was 3.77 percent instead of 3.84 percent, which will save $2.9 million over the life of the bond.

They had $338 million worth of requests. “Clearly our bonds were popular on the market today so many folks that wanted them did not get them,” Muri said.

Community National Bank bought $3 million worth of bonds Tuesday morning, Muri said.

Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s rate the district and give it high marks for solid financial profile, available fund balance, liquidity and how they manage their funds.

Bond sales will be conducted again in June and the final bond sale will happen in June or July of 2025.

“We really won all the way around,” Muri said.

In other business:

>> Trustees heard a report on analysis of the district’s coaching models to gauge effectiveness regarding teacher performance, student growth, teacher retention, and financial impact. Researchers at Texas Tech University have been studying the impact of teacher coaching efforts in the Opportunity Culture (OC) staffing model.

In the Opportunity Culture model, a multi-classroom leader (MCL) not only teaches but also coaches a team of teachers, aides and/or teacher residents on a campus. The goal is to extend the reach of the master teacher – to more students and to other teachers with daily coaching and modeling.

The MCL is paid a significant stipend for this role. Currently 20 schools are using some form of this OC model, which is showing a positive effect on student performance in both reading and math.

In last year’s analysis by Texas Tech of the MCL’s coaching role, MCLs reported they felt empowered and responsible for their campuses at elementary and high schools; middle school MCLs did not feel they were included in leadership to a satisfactory degree; and most MCLs named workload and protecting their time as issues.

After implementing tactics this year to address those concerns, highlights from a 2023-24 analysis show staff in OC roles are more likely to report wanting to stay at their current school (64% of all staff, 78% of those in OC roles); 92% of Team Teachers report appreciating support they receive from MCLs; and 91% of MCLs indicate they have protected time to coach/support teachers on their team, up from 15% in 2022-23 survey results. More coaching and training sessions are planned to enhance Opportunity Culture roles in ECISD, as the District endeavors to build a culture of coaching among staff, the board recap said.

>> The board also received a report from Curriculum & Instruction focused on Reading Language Arts (RLA) and Languages Other Than English (LOTE). Elementary RLA begins with the fundamental skill of learning to read, the cornerstone for the academic journey.

ECISD implemented Saxon Phonics in kindergarten through 2nd-grade and is seeing tangible evidence of improvement one year later. Small group instruction is also priority allowing teachers to spend time with students in a setting that allows more individual attention.

In Secondary RLA, consistent and aligned structures ensure students are reading with fluency and meaning. STAAR has combined Reading and Writing, making the connections more critical.

An example of a particular sixth-grade student was shown. The student benefited from the combination of proper small group and whole group instruction and scored 9 of 10 on the STAAR writing prompt using ECISD’s RACER strategy, which is a framework for responding to text and writing. Students in a foreign language (LOTE) can earn a Performance Acknowledgement on their diploma for achieving Bilingualism/Biliteracy, the ability to read and write in two languages. Literacy in two languages opens doors to opportunities for students and bilingual workers can earn 5-20% more than monolingual workers.

There is a focused effort to encourage more Emergent Bilingual students to pursue biliteracy. To qualify, a student maintains an 80 or higher in all English and LOTE course or through Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exams, and Emergent Bilingual students must also have successfully exited the Bilingual/ESL program. Last year 62 students qualified, this year the number is 120 so far, the recap said.

>> Trustees received an update on the ways ECISD Technology Services is impacting classrooms and learning across the district.

Technology’s priority is the classroom. The first item mentioned was the installation of interactive flat panels, a project included in Bond 2023.

Providing and improving help and support has been a priority for the IT team this year. They received 10,023 work orders; 81% started on time; 91% were closed on time; more than 25,000 Help Desk calls were answered.

The team also stepped out of ECISD to serve the community through volunteering at the West Texas Food Bank. Blended Learning is a district initiative that is not only supporting teaching and learning but also growing the next level of leaders through the #TechyTribe Ambassadors effort, a multi-year professional learning experience. ECISD has become a destination for other school districts to visit to learn about Blended Learning.

IT’s goal through all its work is to align technology and digital learning to campus/district learning goals. The Digital Learning team has provided 4,400 hours of interaction supporting some 1,900 teachers. The team does this through one-to-one meetings, grade level/department sessions, and professional learning offerings, the recap said.