Trying to Whitewash CSCOPE

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ECISD trustees approve $100,000 ad contract

ECISD says it needs professional marketing agency to guide communicating with the public. Why?

School districts are spending your school tax money in an effort to whitewash the fact that they are:

1. Using your tax money to pay for their own private organization dues to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars. Ask how much is being paid from school tax fund for membership and convention dues to TASA/TASB (Texas Association for State Administrators/Texas Association of School Boards)

2. Spending your tax money on CSCOPE, an unapproved instruction material purchased sight unseen by your superintendent. WHY?

3. Spending your tax money to go to a national convention in California to learn about Common Core, the curriculum that Governor Perry has declined to prevent the federal government from taking control of your school district. Why does your superintendent want to turn over your district to federal control?

The following article by Lindsay Weaver describes another waste of school tax money–publicity. PUBLICITY? Maybe you need school board members who know how to communicate with the public who voted for them. FYI: School board members are told that they do not represent the citizens in their school districts. Instead, they are to bow down to the superintendent who bows down to TASA. WOW! What a waste of money. You pay the superintendent a lot of money for what?

What are the duties of superintendents? They must be doing a bad job if they need to hire an ad agency to make them look good.

Posted: Thursday, January 10, 2013 7:00 am | Updated: 5:51 pm, Wed Jan 9, 2013.

BY LINDSAY WEAVER, lweaver@oaoa.com

Posted on January 10, 2013

At a rate of $100,000, the Ector County Independent School District board of trustees unanimously approved on Tuesday a nine-month contract with a consulting and advertising agency to improve communication with the community.

The details of the contract are slim at this point, but Hunt Advertising and Consulting Inc. of Odessa was awarded the bid that expires in September and was the only bid offered to the district sometime in December.

What exactly that will fund is still in its infancy, but it will include funding advertising with local media, according to Mary Hunt, the president of the company.

The details will be hashed out in the next week to determine specific strategies, according to Mike Adkins, the director of communications at ECISD.

The need for a professional marketing firm has been apparent for years, said board trustee Tom Pace.

“We’ve been talking about it for four years,” he said. “We’ve never been able to get a plan in place that everybody was happy with. I hope this is going to do a better job for us.”

Currently, the district is capable of several internal communication mediums, such as an e-newsletter for the community, the website, Twitter, Facebook, press releases, presentations at board meetings and occasional advertising with local media. But this professional help will enhance publicizing the good news from ECISD to Odessans, trustees say.

“Very wisely we approved this contract,” said trustee Donna Smith.

All board members were present to vote 7-0 on the agenda item titled “request for approval of contract for community educational imitative services.” ECISD is home to 27,000 students and employs 3,400 people.

“We’ve been talking about it for a good while. Administration has admitted they don’t do as well to see what needs to get out there to the public,” Smith said.

Board president Ray Beaty voted for the contract because he said the district can do a better job to provide proper communication opportunities.

“So this is us taking a look at it,” Beaty said.

Since it’s been on the minds of most trustees for a few years, trustee Donnie Norwood said there wasn’t too much discussion over the item. He echoed the sentiments of others interviewed: This is a good idea.

“We have a lot of new people in the schools and in the area. And it would be a good thing to tell everyone the things we’re doing well,” he said. Norwood said through his involvement with a credit union board, marketing is an essential component of an entity and it should be a part of ECISD as well.

Pace was more candid with his opinion.

When asked if he hears from Odessans that ECISD could do a better job at communicating positive news, he replied: “Read the newspaper.”

In other news:

In its first meeting of 2013, the ECISD board listened to a presentation on a timeline for curriculum and instruction development through 2016.

Curriculum and instruction leaders Karen Kopec and Carolyn Gonzalez presented a detailed outline of the district’s five-year plan for teaching and learning in the district. Here are some of the items from the timeline:

  • Implement CSCOPE science and math K-12
  • Pilot 9-12 English Language Arts, 6-12 Social Studies use of CSCOPE “year at a glance” and “instructional focus documents”
  • Implement K-3 guided reading/writing pilot
  • Refine information literacy assessments
  • Reading specialists/coaches

Kopec told trustees that their work has now established the goal of going well beyond state assessments when measuring students’ success. She explained the different resources, training and staff development sessions.

Superintendent Hector Mendez and Chief of Staff H.T. Sanchez said that CSCOPE, the district’s curriculum management system that offers lesson plans and assignments, is “just the starting point for developing a strong, standard curriculum in our district.”

Lisa Wills, a literacy director, explained the district’s literacy framework that is being piloted in kindergarten through second-grade classrooms. Each elementary school has five teachers who are trained in the “guiding reading” model. Bilingual and regular educators are working together so all teachers are learning the same, and reading specialists are building a bank of lesson plans and videos of lesson plans for the future.

The staff from Gale Pond/Alamo Elementary School shared some of the news from their school. They gave a run-down of Gale Pond/Alamo’s scope of being a magnet school with a year-round calendar that emphasizes leadership through Steven Covey’s “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” They also showed a video featuring Gale Pond/Alamo students sharing what makes their school special. Principal Amanda Warber said their staff has a commitment to continuous learning and that they feel the district leadership is listening to its teachers and offering its support.

 

>> Contact Lindsay Weaver on twitter at @OAschools, on Facebook at OA Lindsay Weaver or call 432-333-7781.

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