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20130621 CSCOPE logo-FEATUREMISSION – Since the Texas Legislature recently voted to abolish C-SCOPE lesson plans, Sharyland Independent School District decided to discontinue the use of C-SCOPE. The rule by the state came after much controversy regarding social studies lessons materials.

Complaints had been made concerning some of C-SCOPE's lesson plans, specifically those in social studies. Although no complaints had been made in SISD, the district decided to discontinue the use of the program. The state's ruling only includes not using the lesson plans created by C-SCOPE. C-SCOPE was being used in over 800 Texas school districts.

Board member Rolando Peña said he had never seen something drop so fast.

SISD teachers will now be developing their own lesson plans, something most of the district has been doing since March based on standardized test results. In March, the district saw the need for a change in some lesson plans in science and other areas where the district test scores were low. District administration decided then that the district needed to tailor curriculum and lesson plans to the specific needs of the students.

Dr. Nereida Cantu, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, said she was glad that administration came forward in March to offer curriculum writing.

"We are now ahead of the game," said Cantu. "We will have a curriculum for Sharyland that is tailored to our needs."

Lesson plans will be based around the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills. School districts must stop using C-SCOPE lesson plans by this coming school year.

This last year the district spent $70,000 on C-SCOPE, and $77,000 the year before.

Superintendent Dr. Virginia Richter said the district has spent nearly $250,000 on C-SCOPE.

Richter said a recent Region One meeting included discussions of options, including districts writing their own curriculum or coming together as a region to write curriculum. A regionalized curriculum is where it might be headed, added Richter.

Items of C-SCOPE will still be available for Texas school districts, but not lesson plans or curriculum. SISD is opting to not use C-SCOPE at all.

SISD is developing curriculum during the summer and will be ready for this next school year. Curriculum will be uploaded to the district's system and available for all teachers to use.

Cantu said what they are writing is not totally different from C-SCOPE, but it is based on what the district needs.

Other Business

The board approved an expansion of the Project Lead the Way program. Currently, the program starts with incoming ninth graders and continues through high school. The program is a science, technology, engineering and math curriculum program. Students have to be pre-approved to participate in Project Lead the Way.

The expansion will now include offering a course to eighth graders. The course will be design and modeling/automation and robotics. With the expansion, a purchase of 32 engineering laptops was also approved. The laptops will cost the district under $32,000.

Peña said the program has been long overdue for SISD.

The board also discussed the district's Career and Technology Education Program (CTE).

The district wants to add more certifications to their current programs to help students have a career right out of high school. This coming students will be able to get certifications in welding and 9-1-1 dispatcher. Welding has been a class offered, but certifications had not been available. Teachers are being trained this summer.

"I don't think we've grown with it like we should have," said Fred Ramirez, board president.

The board approved creation of a Director of Research, Assessment and Evaluation position for the district. Among some of the duties, the director would help coordinate test results, submit results to the state, and research new programs, software and grants that would benefit the district students.

The board approved changes to the student handbook that will be effective this coming school year. Changes were made to policies concerning student absences, sickness and wearing leggings. Students will now be allowed to wear leggings as long as an appropriate length dress is worn over them.

With absences, administration wants to make sure if a child is sick, the child stays home for at least a full school day before returning to school. This will hopefully alleviate the passing of stomach viruses and other illnesses, said administration.

Contracts Renewed

SISD school board approved the renewal of several contracts at their recent board meeting. Some of the contracts are in the third year of a three-year contract renewal process.

Contracts for property and casualty/business, auto, boiler, and machinery/crime insurance, school leader, errors and omissions insurance, worker's compensation insurance, and Medicaid reimbursement filing services were renewed.

The board also approved renewing canine service with Interquest Detection Canines. The board asked administration to look at how many hits the canines make and look at possibly reducing the number of visits the canines make to the school.

The board approved to stay with RGV Metro for security guard services. Several bids were received, but administration said their experience with RGV Metro, including other factors, made the company rank at the top.

Although there was an issue recently where items were stolen from a building on the high school campus, the board did not think this was due to the lack of security. Athletic Director Richard Thompson said some adjustments have been made that will hopefully keep that type of incident from happening again.

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