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Trustees weigh-in on design of new middle school during June workshop

The Ector County ISD Board of Trustees held its June Workshop on the 11th. A recap of the agenda is below.


  1. Roll Call.


  1. Verification of compliance with open meetings requirements.


  1. In his opening comments, Superintendent Dr. Scott Muri talked about making two special trips to the sites for the new middle school and the new Career & Technical Education facility. The two properties are now officially owned by ECISD and signs are up announcing that. He also delivered exciting news that ECISD’s latest graduation rate is up two points from one year ago to 85.7% and that is the highest mark in at least 22 years. He reminded Trustees graduation rate lags by a year, and this official figure from the state is for the Class of 2023.    


  1. In public comment, Peggy Dean, Mariann Bagley, and Betsy Triplett-Hurt all spoke on behalf of school board member Delma Abalos being elected president of the board for the coming year. All noted her years of service to ECISD and the board’s regular plan of succession as reasons for Mrs. Abalos to be voted in as president for the 2024-25 school year.  


  1. Trustees voted to move the reorganization of board officers up to the first item. Trustees elected, by votes of 5-2, Chris Stanley as president of the board for the 2024-25 school year, Tammy Hawkins as the vice president, and Steve Brown as the secretary.


  1. Report/Discussion Items


  1. Trustees received an update from PBK Architects on the design for the new middle school. Regarding the project’s scope and sequence, the school will serve approximately 1,000 students; there is an overall projected budget of $120 million, $90 million for construction; groundbreaking is planned for January 2025 with an opening in August 2026; a community committee has discussed goals, explored some design concepts, and visited an existing middle school – Griffin MS in Lewisville – that was designed by PKG, and are now taking the feedback received to fit that concept into a plan that fits ECISD’s needs. Architects also reviewed the site plan showing how the school could best fit on the property on S. Tripp Avenue, for instance the main entrance would face west, the classroom wing would face north and south for the best natural lighting, and extra-curricular fields and practice areas on the eastern/southern sides of the school building. Trustees viewed digital renderings of different points of view of the design. The floor plan is a two-story concept, similar to the style of the three newest elementary schools (Buice, Downing, and West) with classrooms on two floors on one end of the building and athletics, fine arts, and CTE spaces on one floor on the other end. The cafeteria and a school hub sit in the middle of the building, with a media center in between the first-floor academic area and the administrative offices. Trustees discussed the design at length with representatives from PBK. Use this link, item 5A, to see the presentation, and renderings shown to the board


  1. Trustees discussed a resolution that would allow ECISD to partner with an outside organization to use part of the Travis Elementary School building for a high-quality daycare facility. Texas Education Code allows a school district to lease or allow use of an unused or underused facility for a purpose other than a district purpose. In March, Trustees voted unanimously to establish an attendance boundary for Zavala Elementary that will include students who attended Travis Elementary. As a result, Travis will be repurposed. Trustees have identified a need for a high-quality childcare provider for the Ector County community. Statistically, several zip codes in Ector County are considered Childcare Deserts due to lack of high-quality childcare centers for the number of children ages 0-5 in that area. This resolution, if approved, will establish the parameters of any future agreement to use Travis Elementary for this purpose.  


  1. Trustees received an update on the Spring 2024 MAP assessment. MAP stands for Measure of Academic Progress; it is an assessment given three times to measure a student’s growth from beginning to end of the school year, this update with show growth for students from Fall 2023 to the Spring 2024 for English Language Arts and Reading (ELAR), Math and Science. The MAP assessment measures student growth in comparison to projected growth standards. In ELAR, six grade levels (K, 2, 8, 10, 11, & 12) met or exceeded the growth projections, even as the bar was raised from last year to this year. In Math, which is administered kindergarten through 8th grade, four grade levels (K, 1, 2, 3, & 4) met or exceeded projected growth. In Language in high school, three grade levels (9, 11, & 12) met or exceeded projected growth. In Science, administered 3rd through 8th, four grade levels (3, 4, 5, & 8) met or exceeded projected growth. The work now is to dig into these results to discover causes for individual grade levels missing the targets.


  1. Trustees moved to closed session to discuss the hiring of a principal for San Jacinto Elementary.  


  1. In his closing remarks, Dr. Muri announced Sam Martinez is the new principal at San Jacinto Elementary. He has been the principal at Fly Elementary for the past eight years. He announced his intention to retire at the end of this school year, however, he reconsidered and is being placed at San Jacinto.  


  1. The meeting adjourned at 8:06 p.m.