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Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
February 27, 2013     Hays Free Press
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February 27, 2013

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EMPTY BOWLS Annual fundraiser helps restock Hays Food Bank. - Page 1C February 27, 2013 Page 3B BY KIM HILSENBECK Questions continue to sur- face about CSCOPE, the on- line curriculum used by about 70 percent of Texas school districts to help meet the state education standards, called TEKS, which stands for Tex- as Essential Knowledge and Skills. But teachers and parent~ welcome recently announced changes to how the organiza- tion that developed the cur- riculum system operates as well as the removal of some content that has been called inappropriate by groups of parents across the state. Introduced in 2002, imple- mented at Hays CISD in 2009, CSCOPE has had its share of problems in this district. Complaints from teachers in- cluded errors and mistakes in many of the lessons, assess- ment tests that did not match the lessons and lessons mov- ing too fast. Hays CISD leases the cur- riculum from the Texas Edu- cation Service Center Curricu- lum Collaborative (TESCCC), the organization that devel- ops and markets CSCOPE, at a cost of more than $100,000 a year. CSCOPE is supposed to align curriculum both verti- cally (as students progress from grade to grade) and across the state; there- fore, teaching on a timeline is -im~pbftafit to its effective- ness. But many teachers said the lessons move so fast that some chil- dren cannot keep up. In other dis- tricts, there was also con- fusion about whether teach- ers were to fol- low CSCOPE verbatim or use it as one that they were not allowed to share the content because they had signed a lengthy nondisclosure agreement that had criminal penalties attached for breaching the contract. Chapter 26, section 26.007 of the Texas Educa- tion Agency code guarantees the opportunity for parents to Manyparents were tom by teachers that they were not allowed to share the content review cla~s- room teach- ing materials. At the SBOE meet- ing in Novem- ber, member Ken Mercer made a mo- tion asking for oversight and revaew because they had of CSCOPE, which has signeda lengthy thus far oper- ated outside of their teach- ing tools. Hays CISD officials have said teachers do not have to use CSCOPE lessons verbatim but the assessments are non-negotiable. Parents raised concerns to the State Board of Education (SBOE) and Texas Sen. Dan Patrick, chairman of the Sen- ate Education Committee, about not being able to view the lessons in CSCOPE; many parents were told by teachers nondisdosure the prevue agreement that of the SBOE. Meetings had criminal were not open penalties attachedand to the minutes public for breaching the ofthosemeet- ings were not contract, readily avail- able under the Freedom of Information Act. Ed Vara, Texas Education Services District Region 13 academic director, recently told participants in a ques- tion-and-answer session at another school district that CSCOPE had no outside over- sight. "No, we don't currently con- tract with others to do that," he said. Mercer's motion was denied but the issue gained some traction when national media organizations started report- ing on potential problems. Patrick picked up the thread and called a hearing in January. In conjunction with the TESCCC and the SBOE, Patrick heard from teachers, parents and TESCCC staff. The result was several im- mediate changes to CSCOPE and how TESCCC operates; those changes are outlined in the side bar to the right. Following the hearing and results outlined by Patrick, TESCCC added this text to its website: "It has always been the intention of the TESCCC to allow teachers and school districts to share CSCOPE content with parents. That is a parent's right and the TESCCC strongly encourages parents to play an active role in their child's education. However, it was brought to the attention of the TESCCC that the user agreement teachers accept before accessing the site had language that was misinter- preted and had created con- fusion for our districts." Buda resident Will Mc- Manus, who has two current and one former Hays High School students and is a 1987 graduate himself, was glad to hear about the changes. He had several negative experi- ences with CSCOPE over the years since the curriculum program was introduced at Hays CISD. See CSCOPE, pg. 4B CSCOPE changes to be immediately implemented based on parent and teacher concerns SUBMITTED REPORT and districts may post any and all CSCOPE lessons that they Texas Sen. Dan Patrickdeem necessary. (R-Houston), in coor- In addition to these im- dination with the Texas mediate transparency and Education Service Center quality control changes, Curriculum Collaborative CSCOPE will also undergo (TESCCC), announced structural, governance, and significant changes to the other changes, including: CSCOPE curriculum man- Ending the non-profit agement system. The TES- 501 (c)3 arrangement that CCC worked with Patrick, incorporates CSCOPE. chairman of the Senate Initiating the posting of Education Committee, and CSCOPE lesson content to the State Board of Educa- their public website. tion (SBOE), to address Creating a standing curric- concerns raised at a recent ulum review panel, comprised committee hearing on the of parents, teachers, school ad- CSCOPE system, ministrators, members of the The changes that take ef- SBOE, and TESCCC board fect immediately include: members. All future meetings of theFinally, CSCOPE is TESCCC Governing Board, notifying all participating beginning with the Febru- school districts that les- ary meeting, will be public sons are not intended to be with all the respective notice taught verbatim, and the requirements being met. governing board generally The TESCCC will begin recommends that local a joint review process of all districts utilize CSCOPE CSCOPE lessons with the lessons solely as a resource. SBOE beginning with Social Until CSCOPE lessons can Studies. be reviewed through a Amendment of all Terms collaborative process with of Use Agreements, signed the SBOE and TESCCC, dis- by both teachers and districts, tricts are strongly encour- removing civil or criminal aged to review all lessons penalties associated with the at the local level, to ensure release of CSCOPE content, that lessons are appropri- Clarifying that all teachers ate for their students. PHOTO BY MARISSA MEEK Lehman One Act Play Lehman High School Theater presents its annual UIL One Act Play, "Do Not Go Gentle," by Suzan Zeder. The show is at 7 p.m. March 6 at the Lehman High School Theater. Cast and crew in the photo include (back row, I-r): Kyler McGehee (sound), Katherine Arredondo (Mildred Flumac), Jamie Gonzalez (Aunt Joanna), Josh Nichols (Col- onel Barron), Grace Jared (lights), Ashley Osorio (stage manager); (front row, I-r) Elizabeth Waiters (Kelly); Angela Riley (Lillian), Andy Garza (nobody). criminal SUBMITI'ED REPORT Hays High School criminal justice student team earned top scores at the Skills USA Criminal Justice Competition in Waco earlier this month. First place winners were Ivette Carbajal for her Innovative project, Justin Plescha for Job Interview and lleana Flores for Law Enforcement. Teams also took second and third place slots for the Criminal Justice Quiz Bowl, Crime Scene and Felony Traffic Stop. The scores qualify the group for the Skills USA state competition in April in Corpus Christi. PHOTO BYJANETQUIGLEY Bottom row, left to right, are Anthony Tovar, John Michael Ibarra-Pey- ton, Marco Soils, Justin Plescha, Skyler Moore and Matt Yevcak. Top row: Emmalyn Smucker, Lexi Garcia, Mrs. Morriss, Ileana Flores, Ivette Carbajal and Caitlin Quigley. SCHOOL BRIEFS Hays High School Life Skills & Augsm Classes The Special Programs (Life Skills & Autism classes) at Hays High School are holding a fundraiser from 5-9 p.m. Feb. 28 at the IHOP in Kyle. Diners must present the flyer to their server and purchase a drink with each meal for classes to receive 20 percent of the pre- tax profits. The money x~l be used for community trips and to buy supplies for daily living activities, such as cooking, cleaning and celebrating. Visit the Hays CISD website to download the flyer. Explore liT lllis Students of all ages are invited to explore the University of Texas at Austin this weekend. In 2012 more than 17,000 students from kindergarten through 12th grade attended Explore LIT with their teachers. They represented nearly 300 schools from 114 districts throughout the state. About 95 percent of the schools were classified as Title 1, representing a significant proportion of students from low-socioeconomic-status households. The event takes place from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. March 2 at urr Austin. Contact Tim Green, Office of theVice President for Research, 512-475- 6596 for more information. Head Start community Head Start and Early Head Start will be recruiting children for the 2013-2014 school year. Recruiting will take place from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. March 11-12 at the Hemphill Head Start. San Marcos ISD calls bond eJecUon The San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District Board of Trustees voted tmanimously to call a bond election to be held May 11, 2013. The election is for two propositions, totaling $76.98 million. Proposition 1, for $58.58 milfion, includes renovations of existing facilities and the construction of new district facilities to address aging campuses and infrastructure, provide equity across the district, increase campus security and provide space for student growth. Proposition 2, for $18.4 million, proposes to construct a multi-purpose athletic stadium for the school district. The SMCISD bond proposals are based on recommendations from a Citizens Advisory Commi~ee. student art exhibilJon Students from across the district and throughout all grade levels will have their most impressive work on display. Exhibition opens Monday, March 4 at the Old Kyle Library Building (across from Kyle Elementary). Viewing hours are from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. through March 8 and again from 11 a.m.- 6 p.m. March 18-28. The exhibit will be closed the week of March 11-15 for spring break. The official youth art month exhibit reception is from 5:30-- 7:30 p.m. March 21. Bring the whole family and enjoy an evening of art and show your support of the visual arts programs in your schools.