Principals share student progress in WOCCISD School Board meeting

Published 11:01 am Wednesday, March 28, 2018

By Anne Payne

The Orange Leader


West Orange-Cove Consolidated Independent School District School Board President Ruth Hancock called the Board of Trustees to order at 6:01 p.m. Monday, with all the Board present in the Board Room of the Administration Building.  Several advocates for the West Orange-Stark High School Mustangs were recognized by Superintendent Dr. Rickie Harris, including Terrie Turner Salter, Orange City Council Member and Mustang parent, named as a Super Fan.  Ambrose Houston Baker, Jr., a 1978 WO-S graduate, was also recognized for his selection as Teacher of the Month.  He is a Homebound teacher on the team of the WOS Academic Alternative Center Campus and was presented the award by Beverly Richard Robinson, WOSAAC Site Coordinator.

Regarding finances, Robin Hataway had already distributed in packets to

board members some spread sheets illustrating insurance expense changes  for January, February, and March due to Tropical Storm Harvey’s impact in Aug. 2017.  Hataway added that three school district vehicles were totaled due to Harvey damage, and that it will be a while before FEMA money is made available.  The Board approved all budget amendments and items 7-0.

Hataway continued with why General Operating Funds were up and expenses down, as well as why Food Service was down in revenue and students.  Once again, things were different due to Tropical Storm Harvey’s damage, resulting in 16 service days down, equivalent to $150,000, currently facing a $66,000 deficit.  She added that Debt Service revenue is up and expenses are up, along with the 2017 Tax Collection up $450,000.

The 2018 Tax Collection is $350,000.  Hataway said $27,850 of “uncommitted” construction project money was set to pay for lights at the football stadium and chillers.

The Board approved 7-0 for contractor, Clay Richards and Architects, to rebuild the WOS Middle School, with the scope of work completed by G&G Enterprises.  Richards thanked the Board for trusting his firm.

North Early Learning Center Principal and Head Start Director Vickie Oceguera noted that spending at her school fluctuates a lot due to sicknesses of small children, resulting in an 85-percent goal on Student Academic Progress Update, instead of a desired 95-percent.

Oceguera added that 239 spots are available for the next school year for the three and four year old programs, and that North Early Learning Center is on track for this year’s achievement.

This year’s overall development is at 66-percent on a nine-week period, while other tests only span one day.

Oceguera emphasized that it is easier to understand the grid this year, so her school tested at the beginning of year, and will also do so at end of year, called progressive monitoring.

Oceguera mentioned that each Wednesday, each of her teachers participate in Teacher Development, thanks to a Head Start Grant of $24,000 projected for funding.  The Board approved the grant 7-0.  Further details are included in her Semi Annual Report and results from CLASS observations.

WOS Elementary Principal Dr. Troy Bethley said reading is a hurdle for the elementary students, but their writing has improved, according to data from the STARR test 2017.

However, the STARR was administered at the end of the 2017 school year, illustrating 54-percent passing in Reading.  Mock data for 2018 shows that 47-percent are passing in Reading thus far.  Those numbers are anticipated to rise by the end of the year.  The goal set is for a five-percent increase in April 2018.

According to Dr. Bethley, state assessment is aligned to all the TEKS.  It is determined the deepest holes and lowest standards.  For example, Dr. Bethley noted that Saturday school has been hit hard, using Mock Data for the Saturday events.  The last Saturday School had 20 in attendance, but 50 had been invited.  Tests will be coming to surface in April and May.  Bicycles are always a big incentive, reminded Dr. Bethley.  The mention of the bikes excited the Board, and eight 20-inch bicycles were agreed to be donated among the Board Trustees.

Meanwhile, WO-S Middle School Principal Sherry Hardin noted that her school is on target in most academic areas.  For example, last year’s students in reading illustrated mastery level at 39-percent, while current masterly level is 43-percent.

Hardin noted that qualified teachers are needed at the beginning of the school year, so recruitment should be a focus.  It was noted that 27 students attended Saturday school last week, but middle school must make the experience fun with such things as food and gift cards.

The last principal to speak was WO-S HS’s Wilt Alexander, a transplant this year from Corsicana, Texas.  Alexander reported that great emphasis has been placed this year on ELA Writing Work Shops early in the year.  A Mock Test was taken in December 2017.  Actual testing is slated for April 10 and 12, 2018.  IPC Skills in the academic area of Science are being emphasized in order to help the students later in the subject of Biology, Alexander continued.

An Algebra test was administered in March, but teachers had not covered completely all of the material.  After school tutorials are being held with the late activity bus running at 5:30 p.m.

He added that smaller class sizes are also helping the students in their core classes.  Alexander injected that in Corsicana, he set-up mass testing to be completed in the cafeteria, which helped turn the mind set of the students and enabled them to spread out in a comfortable arena.

Finally, Alexander informed the Board that summer school at the high school will be three weeks in June, and then another three weeks in August.  He added that, unfortunately, there might be a problem accessing the EOC at home, but it can be accessed in any public library or on most updated cell phones.

Alexander continued that students must be held accountable for their credits, with their incentive being to obtain a high school diploma.

Currently, approximately 20-25 students have not achieved credit deficits.  Phone calls to parents and home visits are planned in order to inform about students who may not graduate with a diploma.

After a short closed executive session, the Board adjourned at 8:02 p.m.