Parents Want To See More Academic Improvement from DeSoto ISD
There were three citizen comments at the DeSoto ISD Board meeting on September 28. Mr. Entaune Tyson began by saying the district is moving in right direction but academics are still a concern. He said if you do not continue to improve he will consider sending his children elsewhere in the future.
Mr. Terrence Gore expressed that there were eight items he thought needed emphasis: Remote learning; Teachers needing to engage in more teaching; Teachers being available the entire school day for students; … that SEL is now a joke and waste of valuable time; worksheets or busy sheets are not cutting it; Administrators and Teachers need to be more responsive with more than just boilerplate answers; DeSoto ISD needs to follow its own plan of action; why students are allowed to log on to academic side on Friday without interaction with teacher; and expectations is that teachers monitor, instruct and engage from 8 am until 3:30 pm.
Bethany DuMond expressed that returning to in-school learning should not occur without taking the most special precautions.
DeSoto ISD Corrective Action Plans
A public hearing on the Corrective Action Plans (CAP) was then presented by Board President Karen Dixon. She said they have shared many values although they express disagreement on some issues. She went over issues the board believes are working and others they don’t believe are working.
In terms of the LSG implementation scores she said, “We had a F Score when we did our evaluation but are determined to move that up to an A score.” There were no comments from any other board members. The state conservator, Mr. A J Crabill joined the meeting saying “It’s important that your action plan be very measurable. Every month you will track your success by grading it as red, yellow or green.”
Four Areas Require Attention
Dr. Weaver said four areas have been identified that require attention: Academics, Finance, Governance and Human Resources. He said the district is not consistently implementing the improvement plan and that some items were started but not continued. In Finance the workload is not being addressed and the district must move from a low C to a high C in fiscal years 20-22, in Human Resources some processes take too long. In terms of governance, he said he must make sure the board has all the information needed to make decisions. He pledged to make sure the board had a completed board packet ten days before each meeting. In Academics Weaver said a curriculum management system with 10 of 19 target priorities must be set by February 1.
Mr. Crabill related there is an accountability process to insure that board and district would be lifted up through goals and constraints. “This is the state’s accountability mechanism, not the board’s, he stated. “Are we on track to make these improvements. You will see this item show up on every board item agenda … a performance evaluation… either we did the work or we have not … Ultimately if these steps are not adequate there will be another recourse. The children have to be served. Every six months we will have a corrective action plan for the board and the superintendent.” He concluded there needed to be a quick five minute check in every month to insure this is done and not to make the mistake of not taking it seriously.
DeSoto ISD Celebrates Achievement
Jacquinette Murphy was called on to present things to celebrate this month. She discussed how student Tyree Roberts won an Award of Excellence from College of Congress Future Medical Leaders. She then recognized the Child Nutrition Team for providing 267,000 Grab and Go meals as well as Chef Mr Jesse Ortiz Jr and the cafe chefs. Murphy continued that the Technology Team closed 1000 tickets in a courteous and swift manner, saying they have been committed and responsive.
Cora Garner, an ECHS English Teacher won an Outstanding Teacher Award. Ms. Sam Moore of Humanities Texas introduced the award. She said each year they receive over 500 nominations and for Ms. Garner to be selected means she is truly exemplary. Ms. Garner receives $5,000 check and a certificate. DeSoto ISD also receives a $1,000 check. Ms. Garner thanked the district and Humanities Texas.
Helena Castano read the proclamation honoring Hispanic Heritage Month as Sept 15-Oct 15 introducing students Dayana and Natalya Contreras who discussed their family and heritage.
Murphy then thanked Board Trustee Aubrey Hooper for his contributions to DeSoto ISD and the community. “Care more than others think is wise, risk more than others think is safe, believe more than others think is possible and expect more than others think is practical.” Hooper thanked all of his colleagues and the community. “We are always focused on the best for children. I thank this community for allowing me to serve.”
The fund and collections balances were presented without comment and the consent agenda was approved with everyone except Board Member Fleming voting in approval.