In 2017 the Texas Educational Agency met with MISD because so many of its campuses were failing, and subsequently, Lone Star Governance was implemented. Its intention, according to MISD, is to provide continuous improvement framework for governing teams—boards in collaboration with their superintendents—who elect to a concentrated focus on one primary objective:  improving student outcomes. It was reported back in July that the district had met every goal except for one and this had not been achieved in five years. These results were further bolstered and reflected by the results of STAAR testing, which moved our district into a B rating. These results revealed that MISD is currently on a strong start to trending into growth territory after more than a decade of decline. The important question–will it continue with Dr. Ramsey’s departure and with her replacement?

An important lesson I have learned through my own experiences — as a business owner, serving on boards, through service to my church, volunteering my time and actively supporting education initiatives in Midland — no organization can sustain itself without the support of others, and cannot rely solely on one person. What makes any institution successful is a strong collaboration of quality leadership that is sustainable. My questions for any superintendent would be, simply:

Are we achieving our goals, and if not, why?

What are we doing to ensure that our leadership and learning staff are maintaining achievement goals regardless of leadership changes at the campus or district level?

As a district, we need to carefully identify and select quality leaders. Department chairs, teaching coaches, principals, administrators, district department heads — each position entrusted with management should exemplify open and honest communication with parents, teachers and students. The overall mission of MISD should be focused on student outcomes and achievement. This can be attained through workplace culture that nurtures collaboration, honesty, accountability and community.

With a new superintendent on the horizon, there is a big question mark in relation to our position going forward with a growth trajectory. Everyone wants to know … now what?

For years, I have heard educators discuss their own desires for stability in the district, to effectively move forward. Change can only be as good as the follow-through. I believe it would an unnecessary burden would be cast upon our teachers and students, alike, if drastic transformation is the result of every leadership transition. If we are an outcome-driven district, it is important to stay the course, despite staff changes of any level.

On that note, it is important to consider the merit in hiring existing employees for open roles. Promoting from within signifies the value of the career progression of employees. The concept not only has potential to increase workplace morale and engagement, it gives people with experience in our community, and our district the opportunity to continue to see the programs currently in place through.  This route could, potentially, allow our team to have more time and a better overview for evaluating the results of systems in currently place.

In brief, we have at least one year of measurement that reflects a path of progress, as reported to the school board in July 2022. We need to continue this course of action by encouraging a careful balance of collaboration, honesty, accountability and community involvement on campus and within the district. From the wise words of an exemplary former teacher and principal, “Any practice that is research-based and followed with fidelity and support, long-term, will show progress. We fail in a lack of patience and fully supporting the effort in follow-up and monitoring.” It is no secret that our educators and students have all been categorically fatigued since 2020. By keeping our focus on the efforts currently in place, it is likely that we will see continued victory in our overall academic outcomes.

 



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With focus in place, Midland ISD’s academic victories will continue

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