Big Spring ISD Announces Reconstitution Plan For Low Test Scores

Big Spring ISD Announces Reconstitution Plan For Low Test Scores
Anum Valliani
NewsWest 9

BIG SPRING - The Texas Education Agency has had their eyes on the Big Spring Independent School District for some time but not for the best of reasons. The district has been getting really low state test scores for a few years now. 

It's a situation similar to what Goliad and Moss Elementaries in Odessa had been struggling with over the past few years. When schools under perform on state mandated tests for a series of years, there's a reconstitution process, which basically means drastic changes in leadership, personnel, curriculum, resources or any number and combination of variables. 

For the schools in Odessa, reconstitution meant mandating every teacher and staff member to reapply for their positions. That's not the case at BSISD. They drafted their own plan centered on teacher development.  

"We're not trying to get rid of teachers, we're not trying to terminate people. What we're trying to do is to help our teachers become better instructors," Big Spring ISD Superintendent, Chris Wigington, said.   

Three out of four elementary schools in the district had been rated as "unacceptable" by the TEA mainly because of their low passing rates.  

"Some of it was curriculum related, professional development, some of those things that we need to address and we are addressing," Wigington said.

A team of four officials from the TEA came to the district two years ago to assess the school. 

"It was not an investigation. It was a monitoring visit. Investigation sounds like you've done something wrong but they came here to help us get better," he explained.

They also visited in January and offered suggestions that Wigington shared with the board in a regular meeting held on Thursday night. But it was surprisingly a quiet meeting. There weren't any questions on the TEA's findings nor the plan of action.

"We've built a matrix that teachers can know exactly what's expected of them and it's not a difficult plan," Wigington said.

Wigington said there's a three tier plan based on whether the teachers are meeting those district expectations. Those who aren't will receive help and those who don't the help could get the boot.  

"The number one thing is educating kids and the test is a by-product of that so it's about educating our kids and keeping our kids in heart. But at the same time, we understand the test is our accountability so we have to do what we have to do," he said.

Although the superintendent mentioned accountability for teachers and that they would be offering them development programs, NewsWest 9 doesn't know of any training programs geared towards the students.  

"We're building a team right now that has a common goal. Our common goal is to do what's best for kids, and if we get those folks in place like we need to then, like I said, we have a lot of people here who are doing a great job, if we can get those people pulling in the right direction, then the sky's the limit," Wigington said. 

The actual report from the TEA hasn't arrived yet. The information Wigington shared with the board was from his exit interview with agents. But they're expecting the official report before March.