What we do in the classroom is hands-on learning. Students learn through lessons that allow them to be engaged, active, and learning. Their education is the priority.
With consistent, structured curriculum, there has been an 11 point increase in math and science test scores. All classrooms are teaching the same thing so students don't miss anything.
ECISD's Literacy Initiative involves training all kindergarten through 2nd-grade teachers in the Balanced Literacy approach. Balanced Literacy classrooms focus on different types of reading experiences: read-aloud, shared reading, guided reading, reading conferences, and independent reading. Lessons consist of a number of elements that provide substantial amounts of reading and writing daily. Each day ends with an opportunity for students to share and reflect upon their learning. Each year the district will add a grade level until we have a K-12 approach to literacy.
ECISD began using CSCOPE to guide its science curriculum in the spring of 2011 and added math the following year. In the spring of 2012 our students earned the highest Exit Level TAKS science and math scores ever. In fact, Odessa High School saw a jump of 11 points in science scores that year.
Our District believes we are more effective when we work together, share ideas, and learn from each other. ECISD adopted the Professional Learning Communities model to give teachers time each week to meet and plan together and that makes classroom instruction better.
IStation is a computer-based learning system that delivers researched based reading instruction for kindergarten through 8th-grade. Right now, K-2 students are using the testing portion of IStation. The teachers are then able to pull lessons from IStation to address areas of need in order to give small group instruction. In grades 3-8 we use IStation to complement core reading programs. IStation is engaging and interactive in a game-like format that the students love. It takes into account a student’s individual reading level and ability.
In the spring of 2012 ECISD purchased new laptop computers for all teachers, counselors, media specialists (librarians), and campus curriculum facilitators. These instructors can receive a laptop after completing a series of ten computer proficiency courses. With wireless internet service available at all schools the laptops give teachers freedom, flexibility, and the opportunity to be more creative in the way they present lessons.
Texas SUCCESS is pleased to offer access to Think Through Math, an adaptive online learning program that deepens students' understanding of critical math concepts and problem-solving skills. The instructional design of Think Through Math provides motivation, computer-adaptive instruction, live state-certified teachers, and actionable data. When students use the program consistently and complete 3 lessons a week, significant gains are made in math achievement. Students receive immediate feedback as well as access to state-certified math teachers. Curriculum emphasizes the concepts and skills that are directly related to later success with algebra.
ECISD's partnership with Princeton Review is already paying dividends when it comes to preparing high school graduates for college. Introduced in the spring of 2012, the Princeton Review class is offered for free and after just one year the positive impact is undeniable:
ECISD students who took The Princeton Review scored an average of 1572 on the SAT, better than the Texas average of 1436. They also improved their SAT scores by an average of 235 points. The Princeton Review is offered to students in grades 10-12 at Odessa High School, Permian High School, and New Tech Odessa. Parents interested in their child taking this course should talk to their child's counselor or the college counselor at their school. The Princeton Review does not count for credit toward graduation.
ECISD has e-books available for all students and their families. The District uses a provider called Follett Shelf – think of it as a bookshelf on the internet.
The books can be read online vie a computer, tablet, or Smartphone – any device with internet access. Or books can be downloaded to those same devices and kept for up to 14 days – just like checking a book out of the library.
This is one more example of ECISD’s commitment to promoting technology as a resource for students and teachers, and fits into the transition of the traditional librarian to a media specialist whose responsibilities remain the same but are more focused toward on-line resources and the use of technology.
Sheila is in her 14th year as a teacher, 13 of them at Milam Elementary and all of those teaching 3rd-graders. She earned her teacher certification from the University of New Mexico. Prior to becoming a teacher, she was a trainer at Intel.
She says she most enjoys the relationships she forms with the students each year, and seeing them excited about learning.