ECISD Trying New Methods to Keep Kids in School

By Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

Ector County school leaders are hoping to fill in the empty classroom seats this year. 
They're making a big push to get drop-outs back in school. 

In addition to making phone calls and home visits, the district is holding it's truancy court at the administration building.

For the first time this year, ECISD has moved their truancy court from an actual court room to the Administration building. They're hoping that the atmosphere will make kids more comfortable and encourage them to get back to school.

"The sooner we get them in school, the better," City Probation Juvenile Case Manager Liz Macias, said. "We don't want them to have to still leave here and then be scheduled to go enroll in the campus. This way, they can go straight to school."

Ector County says dropout rates haven't changed much over the past years, but school leaders want to see them go down. That's why on Tuesday and Wednesday, E.C.I.S.D. is hoping to change things.

"Especially in this area, in Ector County, due to the oil boom, a lot of the students are seeing that they can work and make money and once they start making money they think that's a lot of money, but in reality, if they get their education, they could potentially make more," E.C.I.S.D Social Worker Letty Bernal, said..

The district summoned over 400 students, from 18-year-olds down to 6-year-olds, but they say they're mostly seeing older students.

"So far, everything's positive," Macias said. "They're excited. Again, it's a case-by-case situation, but they're excited to get enrolled and to get started this year."

But the location change isn't the only new method, district counselors are on hand to help with any problems students may have.

"It gives them a more one-to-one relationship with the school," Bernal said. 

"We are working with SAS (Student Assistance Services) closer this year so that way we can make sure that any recommendations they may have, we can process that with the court orders," Macias said.

And the district says it's an urgent situation. The T.E.A. requires that by September 29th, every drop-out must be accounted for, and that will determine the Ector County rating.

"All the districts are pulling together to try to account for all their dropouts and try to get them back in school to further their education," Bernal said.