Sunday, November 13, 2016

SOS Meeting

Wednesday, November 9th, Buckholts ISD held a SOS (Save Our School) meeting. Originally scheduled to be held in the school library meeting room, the event was moved to the cafetorium to accommodate the large gathering of attendees. (That's a good thing!) Parents, students, community leaders, BISD administrators and staff, our TEA conservator and representatives from ESC Region 6 were present.

Dr. Steve Johnson, ESC Region 6 Instructional Services Director and TEA Conservator Marsha Ridlehuber await the start of the SOS meeting.

ESC Region 6's Dr John Conley II greeted meeting attendees.
Buckholts ISD is rated Improvement Required (IR is a nice way of saying "failing"). School year 2016-17 is BISD's fourth year in a row with an IR rating. Buckholts' schools are slated for closing if the student test scores are again insufficient this coming Spring. New Superintendent Nancy Sandlin, Ms. Ridlehuber and ESC Region 6 personnel are running full throttle to avoid the schools' closure. Monday, 11/07/16, in a special meeting, the school board authorized additional short term spending for Ms. Sandlin to hire additional part-time teachers and purchase needed instructional items. Ms. Sandlin has already hired one additional part-time retired teacher and interviewing others.

BISD Superintendent Nancy Sandlin opened the SOS meeting, explaining the schools status and plans to get student test scores to meet State standards. 

Dr. Steve Johnson explained ESC Region 6's involvement in the Buckholts school turnaround plan, at zero cost to the district, to a packed house in the BISD cafetorium.
Though BISD's past administration was not fully transparent to the community on the school system's accountability rating, Ms. Sandlin is keeping the community informed and what is being done to correct the problem. ESC Region 6 will have personnel at BISD weekly for the rest of this school year's instructional period. With an estimated cost of $60,000, ESC Region 6 is providing their instructional assistance for FREE, because, as ESC Region 6 Executive Director Michael Holland told the school board last Monday night, of Ms. Sandlin's passion and commitment to serving the students and staff of BISD.

The Buckholts community turned out for the SOS meeting, leaving standing room only at the back of the facility.
So what is being done? Ms. Sandlin, Ms. Ridlehuber and Region 6 instruction specialists have been evaluating staff and students to remediate State test grades. Before school and lunch time tutorials are in place. Short term specialized teachers are being hired. Teachers are receiving additional training. And, thanks to Region 6's commitment, 30 Dell work stations were deployed in the High School and Middle School computer labs at NO cost to BISD. (That's $40-50K of computer equipment!) Ipads will be re-assigned to the Elementary School computer lab. More instructional and technology improvements are rapidly being prepared and distributed.

What more needs to be done? Parents insisting on their students studying, being polite and non-disruptive in class. Students asking for help with problem study areas. Parents instilling positive behavior and discipline. Volunteering to help at school. Form a PTO. Churches can help reinforce parent/students involvement. Community leaders can be role models for polite intervention. We can ALL support or students and teachers by listening more and talking less. Ask the teachers and students how things are going and encourage the students to want to learn and praise their accomplishments. PUT THE PAST BEHIND.

Yes, it IS late in the game for Buckholts schools. BUT, it is not impossible to turn things around and save our school system. Need proof? Well, against all conventional odds, Donald Trump won the U.S. Presidential election. Who would have thought . . . . . . .

Stay positive. We can do this!

Photos from the meeting here  > >  BISD SOS Meeting