New courses coming to ECISD

As a spinoff of Ector County ISD Equity Task Force, plans are to implement an African American studies course starting in fall 2021 and a Mexican American studies class in fall 2022.
The courses were listed among the initiatives being taken during an ECISD Board of Trustees workshop Tuesday.
The task force was formed in early 2020 and came about because of disciplinary statistics that showed that even though African American students make up only 4 percent of the district population, they are disproportionately disciplined.
The African American studies course will be available to ninth through 12th graders and is an elective, but not a graduation requirement, Executive Director of Leadership Robert Cedillo said.
Equitable courses with that are financial literacy and AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination), Cedillo said.
Discipline practices, universities where teachers are sought and unconscious bias training were also in the report.
Board President Delma Abalos said she didn’t think the unconscious bias training was significant enough.
Executive Director of Talent Development Ashley Osborne said the district is workin with The New Teacher Partnership.
Initially, Osborne said, the training was meant to bring awareness of what unconscious biases are and then prompt staff and board members to reflect on their own practices.
Osborne said everyone is required to take the training, but no further training has been scheduled yet.
“This (the training) should be a priority. We have a real problem in this district. It’s not enough to have a meeting here and a meeting there,” Abalos said. “This should be a priority for us because so many children have been cheated out of an education, and our community in turn gets cheated. We need to be more active in following through with this.”
“Educating all kids is one of the most important things that we do, so please make it more important,” Abalos added.
Superintendent Scott Muri said tackling equity takes a multifaceted approach.
Muri said as Osborne mentioned this involves changing people’s mindset, in part.
Muri said ECISD is looking for a company to conduct an equity audit.
Abalos said inequity has always been a problem in ECISD.
“It’s an old problem,” she said. “We’re just shedding light on it and talking about it. I appreciate you coming to the board for us to do something. It’s intolerable that those numbers exist.”
Muri noted that the work is evolving and will not be complete overnight.
On a separate item, the Odessa Family YMCA was revealed as the lone finalist for ECISD’s prekindergarten 3 year old innovation partner.
CEO Crissy Medina said the Y serves children from 6 weeks old to age 12. They YMCA has three locations around Odessa — one on the west side, one on the south side and one in east/central Odessa.
The newest facility is the former Compass Academy Charter School at 1111 Pagewood Ave., which can serve 150 3 year olds. Medina said they focus on the development of the whole child.
Medina said the YMCA’s capacity is about 430 children. Children are provided with meals and snacks throughout the day.
She said the YMCA believes the sooner a child begins their education the more successful they will be.
The board also heard a presentation on the Career Technical Education program.