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"Glowing" evaluation of Opportunity Culture, Campus Improvement Plans lead workshop agenda


The Ector County ISD Board of Trustees held its September Workshop on the 14th.  A recap of the agenda is below.


  1. Roll Call. Nelson Minyard was absent.


  1. Verification of compliance with open meetings requirements.


  1. In his opening comments, Superintendent Dr. Scott Muri updated the Board on COVID numbers. Today’s total cases were lower than the last few weeks (37), however, he said it may be a little lower due to the fact that the Binax rapid tests used by school nurses are now expired and the district is waiting on replacement tests to be supplied. Still, he added, the lower numbers are good to see.


  1. There was no public comment.


  1. Reports/Discussion items

A. Trustees discussed revisions to board policy DEC(Local) Compensation and Benefits: Leaves and Absences. Proposed changes to this policy reflect recent changes in the law that give peace officers a maximum of three (3) days of mental health leave per traumatic event experienced in the scope of their employment. Additionally, peace officers are granted quarantine leave when ordered by the local health authority or the peace officer’s supervisor to quarantine/isolate due to possible or known exposure to a communicable disease while on duty (HB 2073). This was discussion only. It will be brought back to the board next week for a vote.


B. Trustees received an evaluation of Opportunity Culture. Opportunity Culture is one of ECISD’s strategic priorities; it is an innovative approach to staffing that multiplies the impact of highly effective teachers, giving those teachers leadership opportunities and higher pay without leaving the classroom. The key is the Multi-Classroom Leader (MCL), a teacher who heads a powerful campus team and not only serves students but provides daily support and coaching to members of that campus team. ECISD implemented Opportunity Culture at eight schools during the 2020-21 school year, and now 17 schools are using the model in the 2021-22 school year. At the end of last school year ECISD asked Texas Tech University researchers to conduct an independent review of the program and its effectiveness. Those researchers – Dr. Alexander Wiseman, Dr. Jessica Gottlieb and Dr. Jacob Kirksey – presented findings to the Trustees. NOTE: see the presentation here. The researchers observed the MCL’s pedagogy and learning, managing and leading; they performed a quantitative analysis of student classroom outcomes; and they conducted a series of interviews with those involved in O.C. The researchers received data for more than 20,000 ECISD students including STAAR assessments for 3rd – 8th Key takeaways: O.C. teaching models appear to correlate to positive, immediate academic gains for students in ECISD – associations most pronounced in reading assessments; and for students with limited English proficiency and those considered at-risk; and the magnitude of these gains is significant – association of having an MCL or a Team Teacher is equivalent to replacing the average ECISD teacher with an ECISD teacher in the top quartile.


graph showing growth with OC teacher












graph showing growth of LEP, At-risk students










By the numbers, ECISD had 27 MCLs during the 2020-21 school year that reached an average of 72% of students on those Opportunity Culture campuses, a total of 7,121 students. Now, ECISD has 59 MCLs across the 17 Opportunity Culture schools. A third set of Opportunity Culture schools is in the planning stage, targeted to begin using this strategic staff structure with the 2022-23 school year. Dr. Wiseman closed the presentation by telling Trustees that their job as evaluators is to be critical, and they don’t often come across so many glowing remarks, which suggests the program has value at this time.


C. Trustees discussed 2021-22 Campus Improvement Plans. Each school, regardless of rating, is required to build a Campus Improvement Plan to serve as the blueprint for how it will uniquely address campus-specific needs. Plans are aligned with the District’s vision, strategic plan, and District Improvement Plan. Four principals spoke with the board members about the planning process; how they conduct a campus needs assessment based on multiple sets of data over a period of five years, create problem statements that identify the root causes of issues, align those issues with the board’s goals and the strategic plan, establish performance objectives for those areas, and develop the strategies that will help their school achieve those performance objectives. These plans will be on next week’s meeting agenda for approval by the Trustees. You can see all of the Campus Improvement Plans (as well as other items on this meeting agenda) on our ECISD website -


  1. Trustees moved to closed session to discuss hiring.

A. Trustees voted 6-0 to approve Dr. Anthony Sorola as Associate Superintendent of Operations. He will join ECISD after six years in assistant superintendent roles; the past two years as assistant superintendent of human resources in Donna ISD, and four prior years as assistant superintendent of administrative services in Lufkin ISD. Twelve of his 21 years in education have come as an administrator. Dr. Sorola began his career in 2001 as a Bilingual teacher in Dallas ISD. He holds a Bachelor degree from Rice University, a Master of Education from the University of Texas at Arlington and earned his doctorate from UT in Austin where he was a Fellow in the UT Cooperative Superintendency Program.


  1. There were no closing remarks.  


  1. The meeting adjourned at 8:24 p.m.