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Educate Midland

Citizens Committee Bond Proposal 2019

By | Education, Events

The Midland ISD Master Facilities Planning Committee has officially finalized its bond recommendation for the upcoming November election. At $569 million, this bond will help to seat more children as the projected enrollment for Midland ISD continues to rise. MISD added approximately 1,400 students over the last three years, and enrollment is expected to increase another 8,600 students over the next ten years, a 33% increase. In addition, grades 9-12 are projected to add approximately 3,000 students over the next ten years, a 45% increase. Educate Midland is always excited to support opportunities for growth in the community and encourage everyone to get informed on this amazing new proposal. 

Committee Recommendation

The last new comprehensive high school was built in 1961, 58 years ago for an enrollment size of fewer than 1,500 students. Currently, secondary campuses lease nearly the same number of classrooms in portable buildings that a permanent high school would have, according to district officials. Additionally, the last new junior high school was built in 1993, 26 years ago. Therefore, it is time to make improvements in the school district as these buildings will not hold for much longer at maximum student capacity. As a part of the 10-Year Facility Master Plan, the Committee recommends that the MISD Board of Trustees call a Bond Election November 5th, 2019 summarized as follows: 

  • Construct Two New Comprehensive High Schools
  • Renovate/Expand Existing Lee High School Site
  • Fully Utilize and Repurpose Existing Midland High School Site
  • Fully Utilize and Repurpose Existing San Jacinto Junior High Site
  • Safety and Security Upgrades at Secondary Campuses
  • Technology Upgrades at Secondary Campuses
  • Select Capital Replacement at Secondary Campuses
  • Athletic / Site Improvements at Existing JH/Freshman Campuses

Fiscal Considerations

Residents may be concerned about how this will affect taxes during the duration of the bond. However, interest rates are predicted to be near record lows – 3% below the 60-year average – throughout the bond period. If the district waits, the additional interest could cost taxpayers an additional $150 million to $240 million.

However, the actual impact, when taxpayers consider the impact of the session, would not seem so much. The average $300,000 homeowner would have already had their taxes reduced by $210 per year when they began paying for the bond. Therefore, the difference in what each taxpayer is spending right now would be less than $100 per year.

“We have never had this opportunity, and we may never again. This is the most tax-friendly way possible,” said Ronnie Scott, a committee board member. 

Closing Remarks

By the time construction of the new buildings under the proposed bond are completed, it will have been over 60 years since Midland built a new comprehensive high school and over 30 years since it built a new comprehensive junior high/middle school. Once approved, it will take another five years to fully implement the attached plan. The longer we wait, the more seats we may need, and the greater the cost will be.

Six decades ago, Midland was positioned extraordinarily well for the future through school leader’s and the community’s vision, leadership, and courage. Similarly, MISD and a Committee of Citizens have come together to develop this thoughtful, coordinated plan based upon not wants, but needs that incorporate important taxpayer considerations.

VOTE!

We understand that passing this bond is only one step in many necessary steps to improving the district’s academic performance. Again, we are so excited about the opportunity for growth for our students and families and hope that you get informed, get involved, and most importantly, vote! We will be voting on if this proposal will be added to the November 5th, 2019 ballot at the upcoming school board meeting. This meeting will be held on Monday, August 19th at Bowie Fine Arts Elementary School, beginning at 4:00 pm and we hope to see you there.

For more information click here.

Program Highlight

By | Education, Events

Rope Youth- A Road to Redemption

Like many of the youth he works with, Rope Youth’s founder, Karl Baroski, had no father in his life. By the age of 5, his mother abandoned him, leaving him to cycle through foster homes for the rest of his adolescent life. Overcoming adversity as a troubled teen, Karl graduated high school and went on to play college football at Arkansas Tech University. Karl’s passion for working with at-risk youth began in college while working with the Boys and Girls Club and the Sunshine Boys center. Through his job with the Boy Scouts of America, Karl opened numerous outreach programs for kids who would otherwise not have the opportunity to be in scouts. In September 2010, Karl created the Project R.O.P.E. program to help first-time juvenile offenders. After a successful year and a half, Karl left the Boy Scouts to start Rope Youth and has since developed four programs: Project Rope, Grow, MENtor, and Propel. 

The Redirect Outdoor Program Experience (R.O.P.E.) provides juvenile offenders an alternative to formal court proceedings and offers a chance to accept responsibility and move forward in their lives. Through structured activities, this program aims to reduce the recidivism rate among offending youth and provide a positive activity for other at-risk youth. R.O.P.E. is for non-violent 11 to 17-year-old boys and girls. At least once a month the youth participate in a High Adventure activity, including horse-back riding, rappelling, caving, backpacking, hiking, swimming, canoeing, and usually involves camping. 

GROW is an all-girl self-esteem program. All GROW members meet weekly during their school lunch hour with their mentor. GROW is centered around young girls exploring their strengths and special qualities that make each student unique as they can express their thoughts, feelings, and ideas without judgment. In addition to hanging out with other girls and their program mentor, students will learn to deal with stress, express anger, make good decisions, and protect their inner self. GROW girls participate in the community, have local sleepovers, and camping trips. GROW starts in the seventh grade and continues until graduation as their mentor follows them grade by grade and school by school. 

     

MENtor is an all-male weekly mentoring program that meets during lunch hour. Most of these young men were referrals to MENtor from teachers and guidance counselors as the majority have limited family support, live below the poverty line, and are being raised by a single parent or guardian. With these disadvantages, most of these students are behind academically. The best way to overcome these challenges is to build relationships with supportive and concerned adults. MENtor’s purpose is to provide a stable, trustworthy adult presence that the student may be lacking in their life. Starting in the seventh grade, the mentor will stay with the young man the entire school year and follow him through the rest of his academic career, providing emotional support, a positive self-image, and confidence to achieve academic goals. 

     

PROPEL is a six-week prevention program for children in fourth through sixth grade. These students will learn team building and leadership skills through fun group interactions and structured activities lead by a mentor. PROPEL has frequent guest speakers from the community, including C.E.O.’s, Administrators, Youth Leaders, Professional Counselors, and other non-profit partners that have been through relatable struggles and adversity. This program aims to address current issues that students may have before they become a problem in the future. Each week addresses a critical issue that today’s youth face: 

Week 1: Leadership/Team Building Activity

Week 2: Bullying

Week 3: Self Esteem/Team Building Activity

Week 4: Coping and Relationships

Week 5: Drugs and Alcohol

Week 6: Health and Wellness/Crossfit Activity

Outdoor Learning Environment- OLE! Texas Initiative

By | Education, Events

Exciting things are happening on the campus of Henderson Elementary! After zero citations from the State Licensing Inspection and an almost full staff, the Henderson Childcare Center is set to open their doors to children on August 1st! The Outdoor Learning Environment (OLE!) sounds too good to be true, and we are so grateful for the work being done in our community to support our most early learners and their families.

The OLE! Texas Initiative is sponsored by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) as an intervention strategy to combat obesity. Research conducted at the Natural Learning Initiative (NLI) over the past 20 years has shown that a purposefully designed Outdoor Learning Environment can reduce sedentary behavior by as much as 22%. With the inclusion of on-site fruit and vegetable gardens, we can also increase food awareness and healthier choices in our youth. In Texas, slightly over 30% of children ages 2-4 are either obese or overweight, making the importance of childcare centers more prominent than ever. Childcare centers are a logical option to intervene in childhood obesity as approximately 9,000 successful centers are serving about 2.5 million kids in Texas. The NLI and other research strategies have shown that in addition to improving physical activity in the youth, being outdoors and in contact with nature can reduce the prevalence of myopia in children, reduce the effects of asthma and allergies, increase concentration and creativity, reduce stress, and provide support for other early childhood developmental domains.

From A Dream to Reality

With funding from DSHS and USDA, Midland ISD’s new Early Learning Center partnered with Texas Tech University to design the Outdoor Learning Center. Through workshops and meetings, our partners at Midland ISD, Texas Workforce Solutions, and Texas Tech University were able to take OLE! from a dream to a reality. If you are interested in building a childcare center in your local school district, here is a brief overview of how this process works: 

  •  First is the pre-workshop preparation, which involves scheduling times and meeting space, contacting stakeholders, preparing a base plan, and conducting a preference survey of teachers, parents, and at-time children.
  • This workshop is preceded by a public information session for stakeholders (teachers, parents, regulators, legislators, potential donors, and anyone who may have an interest in the project) usually the evening before or the morning of the workshop.
  • TTU faculty and facilitators then conduct the design workshop. This team is a combination of 10 – 12 individuals representing the administration, teachers, parents, inspectors, AgriLife extension, facilities, maintenance, and others who may be able to contribute. The process works to make everyone feel comfortable developing a design solution and seeks consensus among the participants. The workshop concludes with a reflection activity, action planning, prioritizing, brainstorming resources, and evaluations.
  • After the workshop, TTU then develops a final masterplan and presents it to the center and parents. The masterplan can then be used to build support for the project, inform the public and other childcare centers in the community, solicit funding, encourage volunteers, etc. It also serves as a guide for the continued development of construction documents for bidding purposes.
    • TTU also provides advice and technical support for the implementation of the masterplan, through either contracted services, volunteers, or both.

Thanks, ECAN!

In addition to creating a fabulous childcare center, this process assists in training designers so they can replicate the initiative using the same process, allowing us to impact more children by building more childcare centers across the United States. Again, we are so excited and proud of the efforts being made in our community to improve the opportunities for the youth. Thank you, especially to our Early Childhood Action Network for setting goals, the countless hours of breakout working groups and discussions, and your dedication to supporting every child from cradle to career. If you would like to get involved and be a part of future projects, please don’t hesitate to contact us at info@educatemidland.org.

Family Fun Day – Save the Date

By | Education, Events

Family Fun Day – Save the Date

On August 10, 2019, The Boys and Girls Clubs of the Permian Basin will hold their third Annual Family Fun Day. Mark your calendars for a day of free family fun, including music, games, face painting, petting zoo, jump zone and so much more! 

The Boys and Girls Club of the Permian Basin has hosted Family Fun Day for the past two years. Hosting the event alongside the Boys and Girls Club are The United Way of Midland County and UTPB’s early childhood education program, “First Five.” The event includes a large community school supply drive as a part of Family Fun Day to help under-privilaged children get a jumpstart on the upcoming school year. This year, Educate Midland is partnering with several local faith-based organizations to provide even more supplies for our children. 

Our Lady of Guadalupe and Father David Hererra, Goodwill Missionary Baptist Church and Pastor Ken Johnson, and First Baptist Church of Midland and Pastor Darin Wood expressed a desire to get their congregations involved in directly aiding the students of MISD and the Permian Basin. In the spirit of collaboration and Collective Impact, Educate Midland facilitated a partnership between the three churches and current event partners to further the success of the past two years.

This year’s goal is to provide 5,000 backpacks filled with school supplies for the children of the Permian Basin. Additionally, nearly a dozen other church bodies in the Permian Basin will join to sort and pack school supplies before the event, along with hundreds of other community volunteers. $85,000 has been raised through community and event partners in pursuit of this goal, and donations will continue to be accepted until the day of the event. 

Whether you donate your time, your resources, or join us for Family Fun Day, thank you for being an active member of our community, and for investing in our children. It takes big ideas, giving hearts and encouraging partnerships to bring communities together in the pursuit of change, and we can’t wait to see how our children benefit because of it.

Summer Alignment Programs / After School Tutoring Programs

By | College, Education

Summer Alignment Programs / After School Tutoring Programs

Elementary school teachers have one of the most important jobs: teaching children how to read. From kindergarten to fifth grade, teachers work with students to improve their reading skills and get them fully prepared for the following grade. However, who is working with students to enhance their abilities during the summer months? Studies show that low-income students can lose more than two months of reading achievement over the summer. Although low and middle-income students learn at the same rate throughout the school year, middle-income students advance their knowledge over the summer. Meanwhile, with lack of access to learning materials, low-income students are often falling behind, increasing the achievement gap between the two income groups each summer. By the end of fifth grade, low-income students can be two to three years behind their middle-class peers. 

This ongoing problem will continue to cycle if efforts are not made to change it. Our goal is to create opportunities for all students to advance over the summer through Summer Alignment Programs and after school tutoring. MISD has joined with Educate Midland and a group of our community partners to share and utilize the school system’s online math and reading tools in a variety of summer programs for MISD students. Our goal is to support our partners to facilitate a summer learning environment where students not only maintain their reading level, but excel into the next school year. 

XTO Energy’s generous funding and donations have helped us in aligning seven partners for these summer programs. For students to access the available online resources, we have donated new and repurposed laptops to YMCA, Kaleidoscope Ministries, Casa De Amigo’s, Unlock Ministries, Breaking Bread Kitchen, and the Boys and Girls Club of the Permian Basin for a total of more than 100 laptops donated for students’ use. Our seventh partner, Greater Ideal Baptist Church, did not need any technology donated but will still be utilizing the reading and math resources to track a progression of students in their summer program. MISD will also provide technical support throughout the summer to ensure the successful use of these learning tools for our students. 

There were 900 participants a day in 2018, and we are currently up to 1600 participants a day in 2019. We hope that these numbers will continue to rise each summer and our list of Summer Alignment partners will increase, allowing us to help as many MISD students as possible. Advancing reading levels among low-income students over the summer is not only possible, but achievable. 

SB 1882 – Charter School Startup and Support

By | College, Education

SB 1882 – Charter School Startup and Support

Creating opportunity for more choices in education within the community is our number one goal and one that we are very passionate about. Of the ten in-district charter schools located in Texas, four of them are located in Midland, giving MISD students the opportunity to pursue passions of their own in a flexible and innovative environment. 

Educate Midland has recently decided to assist Ben Milam International School, Goddard Junior High, and Bunche Elementary through the process of obtaining 501(c)3 status. This change is very exciting for these three schools and our community, however, this process can be rather confusing. Therefore, we would like to shed some light on how this process will work and what our involvement entails. 

While we are responsible for the transition of these three schools from district to charter, we are not running them. They will still proceed as normal, and leadership will be handed over as soon as the process is complete. The Senate Bill 1882, passed in 2017, grants additional funding to school districts that agree to work collaboratively with nonprofit partners, are focused on continuing collaboration, enhancing educational opportunities and ensuring schools provide the best programs for the children served. This opportunity for potential funding opens new doors for a unique and outside-the-box approach to education. Our goal is simply to guide these schools through this transition so that families and children are given the opportunity for choice in the community. 

We see the importance of this opportunity for these schools because their structure and vision for the future lends itself to a change in structure to a charter school. In fact, the vision already being implemented through REACH Network, pioneered by Goddard Junior High, was a driving force behind the decision to seek charter school status for the schools in question. REACH Network’s mission is to graduate students from its PK-8 curriculum prepared to fully engage and excel in high school coursework and have a strong path to post-secondary opportunities of their choice.

For a currently operating school or academy to become an in-district charter, charter organization officials fill out an application, which is then reviewed by the district. From there, a performance contract is set up and a 501(C)(3) to operate the charter. Once this is complete, Ben Milam International School, Goddard Junior High, and Bunche Elementary will run as normal, with additional freedom and advanced school subjects for each child to choose from. With the approval of Senate Bill 1882, the REACH Network, and a 501(c)3, these three schools will have successfully transferred from a public school system to a charter system, and we are honored for the opportunity to assist them in achieving this goal.

New Legislature – House Bill 3

By | Education, Legislature

New Legislature – House Bill 3

This week marked a historic moment in education as Texas State Legislature outlined the final version of House Bill 3, focused on School Finance. A lot of information of varied accuracy has been floating around about this bill, so in striving to be Midland’s local source for education information, we wanted to outline some of the most pertinent facts to help you better understand the implications of this bill.

The Basics:

HB 3 invests approximately $4.5 billion into Texas public education, reduces recapture by $3.6 billion and provides $5 billion in property tax relief. The legislation prioritizes many of the student-focused recommendations from the 2018 Texas Commission on Public School Finance.

Some Specifics:

  • New Dollars for Schools and Property Tax Relief: Increases the basic allotment to $6,160, a 20% increase above current law and compresses local property taxes by 8 cents in 2020 and 13 cents in 2021. This basically refers to the amount of money spent per pupil, or the cost associated with educating a child. Compression of local property taxes will result in local property tax relief, since Midland is a “property-rich” district. Reducing recapture means that our district won’t have as much money to send back to the state, otherwise known as the “Robin Hood” act.
  • Funding for Early Literacy: Infuses $780 million for low-income and English-language learning students in grades K-3, sufficient to fund full-day, high-quality pre-K for eligible 4-year-old students statewide, and an additional $1.1 billion in targeted resources for low-income students. This means that more money is being focused on the early critical years with options to put more money towards resources to support children with dyslexia, dual-language programs. Since Midland Independent School District (MISD) already has full-day pre-K, that money can be used towards other areas of need in early literacy.
  • Quality Standards for K-3: Expands evidence-based strategies to improve 3rd grade reading proficiency, such as reading academies and a requirement for Pre-K-6th grade teachers to demonstrate competency in the science of teaching reading by January of 2021. For us, this means the districts will be able to identify gaps in grades Pre-K-6th in reading on grade level and focus money towards solutions such as teacher training, additional literacy tools, or dedicated curriculum.
  • Outcomes-Based Funding: Provides equitable bonus funding to school districts based on the number of students meeting postsecondary readiness and access goals, differentiated for low-income, non-low-income, and special education student cohorts. This means our districts will receive more funding for more students graduating “college, career, or military ready” based on the standards TEA has placed on that definition. Passing the TSI (Texas Success Initiative test), hours enrolled in dual-credit classes, or ACT/SAT test scores are a few examples of this readiness indicators. Currently, only  about 50% of MISD students are graduating college, career, or military ready. This incentivizes plans to increase that number, like Educate Midland’s “What’s Your Plan?” campaign.
  • Strategic Teacher Compensation: Creates an optional pool of funding for districts to enact locally developed, robust teacher evaluation systems and reward Texas’ most effective educators. This is an accountability component, or a plan to allow teachers to be paid according to their added value/effort, instead of tying it to tenure or student-based outcomes (test scores.) Think of it how other professions are assessed on a performance-evaluation scale, and then compensated according to the standards set prior.
  • Dedicated Funding for Teacher Pay Raises: Requires that 30% of the increase in the basic allotment be used on pay raises for teachers, librarians, counselors, and nurses, prioritizing differentiated compensation for classroom teachers with more than 5 years of experience. This will likely be discussed and determined in the school board’s budget meeting. These raises must come from the $6,160 per pupil expense. So depending on how many children enroll in MISD or Greenwood ISD, $1,848 of that must go towards this “pot” of teacher raises.

What Comes Next:

  • HB3 has officially passed and the camaraderie amongst the Speaker of the House, Dennis Bonnen, and the Lieutenant Governor (head of the Senate), Dan Patrick, were very cordial about the agreement our government was able to reach in support of 5.4 million kids in Texas!
  • Gov. Abbott will sign the bill into law in the coming weeks.
  • Once signed into law, the Texas Education Agency, with other agency partners, will begin to create the standards for districts and charter schools surrounding what they can and cannot do with this funding.

 

Facts and figures provided by https://www.investedtx.org/

 

For more information on this landmark legislature, check out this recent MRT article. https://www.mrt.com/news/article/HB3-passage-would-mean-MISD-tax-rates-recapture-13899108.php
midland resources

How to Help Your Child Study for Exams

By | Education, Learning

How to Help Your Child Study for Exams

Watching your son or daughter struggling through a difficult class or worry about a big test, might leave you feeling helpless. While Mom and Dad can’t exactly go to school and take the exam in their child’s place, parents that establish strong study habits at home will set up their children for success in school. Here’s how to help your child study for exams:
midland resources

1. Create a study space and eliminate distractions

Studies repeatedly show that television is a distraction to students completing assignments, and it’s best to set a strict house rule: study time is “no TV” time. Eliminating TV distraction while studying will help your child increase their study productivity throughout their entire academic career.

2. Explain the difference between studying and homework

There is a fundamental difference between completing homework and studying, and it is important for your child to understand the difference. Completing their homework does not mean your child has studied for their exam. Encourage your child to study by:

    • Taking notes during the reading
    • Learn to skim material
    • Learn to comprehend reading material and summarize the information
    • Rewrite notes for longer review
    • Make flashcards for quick review

3. Encourage your child to organize their study and homework projects on a planner

Time management is a critical study skill that your child needs to master in their younger years. The ability to plan study and homework time ahead of due dates and exams will help your child to succeed in all their future endeavors. Encourage your child to study over multiple days, not the night before the exam. This is guaranteed to increase comprehension and memorization of the study material.

4. Develop critical note-taking skills

Many students will feel they have to write down every word the teacher says in a lecture, which can be an ineffective way of notetaking. Teach your child to adopt an outline form of note-taking, focusing on important key ideas. Utilize abbreviations to jot down more information quicker.

5. Help your child feel confident in their ability

Test-taking is a difficult experience for many students, so help your child feel confident in their test-taking ability. Encourage them to get a good night’s sleep the night before the exam; studying the night before rarely works, and will do more harm than good mentally. Remind your child to relax during the exam, take a deep breath and read all the directions and questions carefully. Remind them that they studied hard, they understand the material, and they are going to ace this exam!

If you’re looking for more tips and fun academic research tools, check out some of these sites:

Midland Volunteer Opportunities

Midland Volunteer Opportunities Over the Holidays

By | Volunteering

Opportunities for Giving Back Over the Holidays

The holidays are a time for us to give back. Giving doesn’t always require a gift, money or any material things. Giving is about doing for others for no personal gain. During the holidays, the best way to give is often through volunteer work. Volunteer work not only helps the community, but provides an excellent resume builder for students who lack job experience. Here’s a list of some local volunteer opportunities this winter break.

West Texas Food Bank

The West Texas Food Bank collects, purchases and distributes food to people in need across 19 West Texas counties. The Midland location is in need of Christmas pantry volunteers starting December 14th. Volunteers will need to set up and re-stock the pantry, assist clients with their food selections, and help with cleanup. The position is open to anyone 14 and up.
Sign up to volunteer at the West Texas Food Bank online.

Gifts Of Hope

Gifts of Hope serves cancer patients and their families through support, lodging, information and networking. The Midland location is in need of sign and sandwich makers, greeters, and clerical volunteers this winter break. The positions are open to anyone 16 and up.
Sign up to volunteer at Gifts of Hope online.

Breaking Bread Soup Kitchen

Breaking Bread Soup Kitchen is a faith-based food kitchen that provides meals to the hungry. Breaking Bread serves meals to the homeless, working poor, and elderly every Monday through Friday from 5:30-6:30. They are a completely voluntary organization looking for all the help they can get over the holidays.
Sign up to volunteer for Breaking Bread Soup Kitchen online.

Midland Volunteer Opportunities

Casa De Amigos

Casa De Amigos improves the quality of life throughout the Midland community by helping people help themselves. Casa De Amigos offers youth and adult education, senior services, social services and health wellness information in order to help individuals meet their needs. They need volunteers this Christmas break to clean, organize, and care for their facilities.
Sign up to volunteer at Casa De Amigos online.

7 Things To Do over Christmas Break

By | Activities, College, Travel

7 Things To Do over Christmas Break

Christmas break is here! This means a much needed, and well-deserved break from school. With extra time on your hands, you may be brainstorming how to put your time to good use. Here are a few ideas on how to enjoy your break to the fullest.

Spend quality time with your family

Once you go off to college, you most likely don’t get to see your family the way you used to. Use your break from school to enjoy quality time with your family.

Catch up with old friends

Chances are, some of your good friends may have ended up attending a different college than you. So, now that you’re home for break, it is a great time to make plans to catch up and hang out with some of your hometown friends.

Try new recipes

It’s the holiday season, which means there are plenty of seasonal recipes to try. With extra time on your hands, it’s time to put your cooking skills to the test. Pick a few of your favorite recipes and try them out. You’ll return to school with new and improved cooking skills under your belt.

Apply for scholarships

We understand school is probably one of the last things you want on your mind. However, with a break from the hustle and bustle of school, it may be the perfect time to tackle some scholarship applications. We know how hard these can be to focus on during the challenging school year, so it may be best to put forth the effort while things are a bit more relaxed.

Schedule out the remainder of the year

To finish out your school year strong, take some time to plan out your schedule for the Spring semester. Take another look at your class syllabi and ensure you are mentally prepared for the deadlines, assignments, and tests to come.

Read a book

No worries, we don’t mean a textbook. Pick up your favorite novel, or a new book you haven’t had the chance to read and dive deep into the story this break.

Netflix Marathons

This time of year is prime for new Netflix series. Park yourself on the couch, grab a snack and try tuning into a new show or re-watching an old one.

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