CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Area school districts have just received their report cards from the Texas Education Agency (TEA). One district jumping for joy is Beeville Independent School District (BISD) as they received their best report card ever.
“Man that was truly exciting. It brought nothing but pure joy,” Superintendent Travis Fanning said.
“My eyes started tearing up and I'm not a crier, but I was just so thankful because our people have worked tirelessly for our students,” said Dr. Tiffany Spicer, BISD Chief of Staff.
Fanning and Spicer were elated to share with staff on Friday, that the district received a score of 87 for the 2021-2022 school year. Back in the 2018-2019 school year, the TEA graded BISD with a 77.
BISD improved in each category.
There were no report card grades the last two years because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We promised that, to our parents and our community, that we were all about taking care of the social-emotional needs of our students first. But also that would transcend over into the academic needs of our students,” said Fanning.
Fanning and Spicer entered the district in the middle of the pandemic. Along with them, they brought one primary goal.
"We talked about the need for closing the achievement gap that had been created due to Covid-19," said Fanning. "But more so than that, just making sure that we get better and improve each and every single one of our students, here in our district."
It started with more conversations and a data driven approach.
From that, what was the difference to see the change to the report card?
“I think that our board of trustees really invested a lot of funding into our schools and making sure we had everything we need to be successful," said Fanning. "I think the utilization of our extra funds to really look at how we could provide before, during and after school tutorials for our students.”
Fanning added that they have "data rooms" for each school. It's been used to identify weaknesses and give more attention to addressing them.
Spicer said there was growth from the staff top to bottom. Changes were made to literacy and math curricula and more collaboration is happening between departments.
“Our math teachers they were working, the elementary group, and they would say,
'We say this word,' for whatever the concept is in math," Spicer started to say. "And, then high school they came over and they’re like,
‘Wait, y’all do what?’ And so, it opened the eyes of everybody to say we got to be speaking the same language. And, we need to know what you guys are doing down there at elementary, we need to know what you guys are preparing them for in high school and junior high we got to know the best of both worlds. So, it opened the door for dialogue.”
Several other districts in our area also improved their score by a letter grade: Refugio, Alice, Three Rivers, Jim Hogg County, Sinton, Orange Grove and Seashore Charter schools.
Fanning said other district leaders have reached out asking about Beeville’s success. Now they collaboratively work to make each other better. Fanning has shared is idea to focus on students social and emotional needs first.