Plans for Sweetwater campuses, school district approved

Various plans for the school district and its campuses were presented and approved at the meeting Monday night, October 15 of the SISD (Sweetwater Independent School District) board of trustees.Among them were the emergency operations plans for each campus, which were emailed to board members prior to the meeting. Discussion was held on the off-campus evacuation shelters for each campus as well as the procedures to be followed by each campus.Following approval, copies of the emergency plans will be given to local authorities and law enforcement.In addition, approval was given to the presented improvement plans for the overall campus and district, which were also given to board members before the meeting. The plans are required by the state, especially for schools under the Title I tier.The improvement plans are meant to be a working document for the entities. Along with this plan, Sweetwater Middle School (SMS) and Sweetwater High School (SHS) must also have “real deal” plans.Under the district plan, a variety of issues are laid out, such as technology, safety, discipline, facilities, performance rates and retention rates. Also noted are the strengths within the campus, in which SISD had a number of items.Included as strengths were the grade level campuses, the implementation of the C-Scope curriculum, the SOI/Bridges classes, iPad technology initiative as well as the AVID program.Furthermore, praise was given to instructional leadership, the Nolan County juvenile counseling grant, the Cool Schools grant, measures taken in marketing, community support and family access, along with the school’s website and social media presence.In addition, the end-of-course passing rates from the STAAR (State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness) test were discussed. The writing proved to be a challenge as the state seemed to look at a new process/style of writing, but the district fared better in biology than the state average.However, the state continues to raise the standards in testing, which will make an impact starting in the 2015-2016 school year, when this year’s sixth grade class will be freshman.The final plan presented and approved was the SIP (School Improvement Plan) for SHS, which was given by SHS Principal Stacy Jones. The plan has been worked on by school administration as well as an outside consultant, and is required as a result of the high school’s previous unacceptable rating. And, with the new system, the rating now stands for a two-year period.The local subgroups that fell short in the state testing were discussed, regarding how action has been taken to help the students and the evidence of success. SHS has evaluated the students’ progress and is utilizing the C-Scope curriculum and unit tests, all of which will continue to reduce the number of students in these groups.Additionally, four focus areas were noted, that have resulted in positive change. They are teacher quality, job and professional development, academic performance and improved community/family involvement and support.