As education in Midland begins to pivot in quite a different direction, Midland ISD board members are turning to the community for support and input.

Over the next two weeks, four open forums will be held throughout the city where board members will present the district’s plan for academic recovery – also known as the Lone Star Governance Report – to the community. The nine-page report begins with a new mission statement, “All students will graduate prepared and ready for college and career,” and is followed by a breakdown of short and long-term goals as well as substantial structural changes.

The report discusses MISD’s plan for shifting its theory of action – a change that the board hopes will help foster academic progress. Specifically, the MISD board plans to gradually give more autonomy to individual campuses by moving from its current theory of action, Managed Instruction, to Earned Autonomy within five years, and a System of Great Schools within ten years.

In short, the district will shift from a management structure that is heavily dependent on central administration with relatively little autonomy given to campuses, to a structure that empowers teachers and parents by allowing schools to operate more independently.

By changing its management structure, the board hopes to achieve three major goals by 2020 which are also outlined in the report: increasing kindergarten through second grade reading levels from 57 percent to 85 percent, increasing third through eighth grade reading and math performance levels from 52 percent to 75 percent, and raising the graduation rate from 85 percent to 95 percent.

Finally, the report strictly outlines limitations placed on the board and superintendent. For example, the superintendent must require all campuses implement and maintain Professional Learning Communities, must always keep student academic progress as the top priority, and must ensure that all improvement-required campuses have a principal with a minimum of two years in-role experience. Restrictions on trustees include not violating board policy, limiting the number of policy changes allowed in a year, and prohibiting trustees from performing duties delegated to the superintendent.

In the Midland Reporter-Telegram, MISD Board President stated that, “We think what we have adopted is that student outcomes don’t change unless adult behavior changes … We are serious about transforming the district and making a difference. This is a big part, and we cannot do it alone. We need community support and affirmation that we are on the right track.”

The forums will be held on February 21st at First Presbyterian Church, February 23rd at Stonegate Fellowship, February 27th at Greater Ideal Family Life Center, and February 28th at the Hispanic Cultural Center (conducted in Spanish) and all will be at 6:30 p.m.

Lauren Melear

Lauren Melear leads the West Texas Bureau of Texas Scorecard. When not working, Lauren enjoys spending time with her husband and their dog, as well as cooking, working out, traveling to the hill country, and cheering on the fightin' Texas Aggies.