Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District’s new requirement that students pass the Texas Success Initiative Assessment in addition to having passing grades, good attendance and zero disciplinary referrals to be eligible to participate in school-led college tours has caused the district to reduce its 18 scheduled trips to two this semester.
“In an effort to get a bus load of kiddos on a trip, we’ve rescheduled for next semester,” said Melissa Alejandro, College Career and Military Readiness advisor for UCISD during the board of trustees meeting held Monday evening.
When asked about the TSI and student performance, Alejandro said it’s the math portion that is tripping them up. She added that she recommends each student who fails go to tutoring, which has a good success rate for getting students to passing level.
The TSI, a standardized test that seeks to determine if a student is ready for college-level classes, is a recently added parameter, said Michael Rodriguez, UCISD assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction.
He said the district added this element in an effort to curb students using the trip as a field day.
“If a student is passing the TSI, it means they are serious,” said board member Anabel White during discussion.
Board member Laura Perez commented that sometimes a student seeing a campus and getting a feel for college life can spur their initiative for going to college.
Rodriguez said that they can always reassess what is working for this program.
Prior to the onset of the regular meeting, a public hearing was held on the Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas.
UCISD chief financial officer Billy Collins led the presentation, which garnered no public comments.
The district’s financial integrity rating for the 2018-2019 school year is above standard, a “B” with a district score of 86. This year’s rating is a 10-point improvement from 2017-2018, when the district’s financial integrity rating was “C” with a score of 76.
Following the presentation, board member Luis Fernandez asked Collins where the additional 10-point improvement came from. Collins was unable to state the reason, but offered a follow-up conversation.
The Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas ensures that public schools are held accountable for their financial management practices, and that they improve those practices, according to the TEA’s website.
Other information discussed at the board meeting included the consent agenda, a presentation on the district’s special education program, and the districts votes for the Real County Appraisal District board member candidates.
The board approved splitting its 25 votes between Leakey Independent School District’s candidate and Nueces Canyon Consolidated Independent School District’s candidate.
The board also recognized the UHS tennis team, cross-country team and band for their achievements this semester.
Administration and staff members from Morales Junior High School were also presented a plaque of recognition from the Texas Education Agency for the school’s academic achievements highlighted in the 2019 accountability rating.
During the public forum, community member Emma Tremble spoke about a parenting class she organizes, and educator Deyanira Salazar took to the podium to acknowledge the work of counselor Barbara Chase.
Following the meeting, the board convened in closed session for deliberations of personnel employments, assignments suspension, and terminations.
The board approved the hiring of Angelica Gomez, as part of the Curriculum and Instruction team, as a dual language and migrant specialist. Resignations include Manuel Gutierrez, teacher at Morales Junior High, and Kasey Schlessiger, special education speech pathologist.