The Temple Independent School District Board of Trustees has been chosen by a Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) committee as the 2020 Region 12 School Board of the Year. As the Region 12 School Board of the Year, the Temple ISD Board will enter the running to be named a 2020 Texas Honor Board, one of which will become Texas’ Outstanding School Board.
“We commend the TISD school board for its outstanding leadership and dedication to providing a quality education for every student in its district,” Jerry Maze, Ed.D., executive director of the Education Service Center (ESC) Region 12, said. “We are proud to recognize these public servants for their commitment to their students, staff and community.”
“The strength of the Temple ISD Board of Trustees parallels the strength of the school district – diversity and innovation,” Dr. Bobby Ott, Temple ISD Superintendent said. “This is one of the most diverse school boards in the state of Texas in gender, race, business/industry, education-level, and tenure. They have an unparalleled mutual respect for one another, with a singular focus on doing what is right for all students and staff of Temple ISD. The TISD Board of Trustees makes it a point to use policy decisions in a way that moves past customary governance and focuses on innovation, creativity and limitless possibilities for all children.”
The Temple ISD Board of Trustees is comprised of seven members, providing equitable representation for all neighborhoods, businesses and families. Every board member has a strong connection to the school district –– whether a former graduate, employee, parent or lifelong resident. Temple ISD is a 6A school district, with more than 8,700 students in grades PreK - 12 with a staff of more than 1,250 teachers, administrators, and support personnel. The district has one high school, three middle schools, eight elementary schools, one early childhood pre-kindergarten center, and two alternative campuses.
Temple ISD has made significant gains in student achievement over the past several years. For the first time since 2001, ALL of the campuses in Temple ISD Met Standard. Additionally, Temple ISD achieved a “B” Rating from the Texas Education Agency, which is the highest rating the district has received to date. In just one year, the district moved from a “C” rating in 2018 to a “B” rating in 2019 due to a focus on ensuring student growth and closing the achievement gap. The Board is committed to preparing graduates for postsecondary success and maintains a graduation rate of over 92 percent and a dropout rate of less than 1.7 percent.
Due to the Board’s focus on college readiness, TISD continues to increase the number of students earning college credit before graduation. Additionally, the Board focuses heavily on career and military readiness, investing in a state-of-art career and technical education wing at Temple High where students have opportunities to participate in work-based learning experiences. More than 41 percent of annual graduates earn the designation of career/military ready, while the number of industry-based certifications earned in 2018 doubled and continues to improve.
The TISD Board of Trustees has provided tremendous support for innovative programs. One example is the Board of Trustees’ investment in the TISD Master Teacher Program, a program that allows master teachers to have additional time-off to coach teachers, receive salary similar to an administrator, but keeps them in the classroom. Board support for additional initiatives includes blended learning, magnet programs and joint board retreats with local colleges to design partnerships and financial opportunities for students. The Board and leadership also looks for opportunities to partner with the City and business leaders.
Student engagement is of paramount importance to the school board, who study data measures at every level. Each year the Board of Trustees review TISD’s progress toward meeting board goals. TISD’s continued improvement in state assessments and a strong graduation rate of over 92 percent shows that students are engaged in the academic process and are committed to graduating high school. The school board also monitors student attendance and maintains its goal of a 96 percent attendance rate.
For the first time in 30+ years, the district prepared a Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR), demonstrating increased transparency and the Board’s desire to highlight financial efficiencies and sound fiscal management practices. The district was recently awarded the Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting. The district also submitted its CAFR to the Government Finance Officers Association and anticipates the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from that organization as well.
The Board demonstrates its commitment to the fair treatment of all students and provides equal opportunities for all student-athletes through staffing and the development of a Gender Equity Plan for the athletics program. This high-level plan was a charge from the Board of Trustees to ensure every program provides equitable resources, no matter the gender or popularity. The plan serves as a guide and action plan for Temple ISD in its continuing efforts to maintain gender equity in its middle and high school athletics programs. It also establishes specific goals and analyzes program implementation to ensure that student-athletes receive equitable access to district resources.
Temple ISD is committed to honest, transparent, and consistent communication with its stakeholders. This commitment from the Board of Trustees has allowed the District to tell its story in a way that guarantees people connect with the district through a network distinguished by trust, influential and evolving communications, and meaningful relationships. TISD has built upon these local connections and relationships to access their community in unprecedented ways. TISD runs four columns a year in the local newspaper featuring articles from the superintendent that focus on issues of public interest, such as: reducing summer learning loss, back to school tips for families and bond construction updates.
The district has strategically expanded communications through social media and video strategies, drastically increasing outreach with parents, students, business leaders and community stakeholders. For the last two years, the district has conducted a “roadshow” circuit where the superintendent and board members meet with civic organizations and business leaders to share district updates and engage the community in district happenings. In addition, parents, staff, high school students and community members receive Ott’s Outlook, a monthly digital newsletter that provides insights into the school district and updates on programs and events.
In addition to deploying a number of new marketing strategies, the Board identified three strategic partnerships that the district needed to forge: local realtor board, local builders’ association, and the HR Recruiting Department at Baylor Scott & White Health. The Temple ISD Board has challenged and supported the district to deliberately and strategically capture any possible space or venue to share the district’s story and connect with the community.
The list of accomplishments and support for innovative programming shows that this is a highly-involved and caring board who wants the very best for every student in the district.
About TASAs’ School Board of the Year
TASA created the School Board Awards Program in 1971 to recognize school boards whose dedication and ethical service have made a positive impact on the schoolchildren of Texas. Eligible Texas school superintendents nominate their boards of trustees by submitting information that meets the award criteria and guidelines to their Regional Education Service Center where a TASA selection committee reviews and chooses a regional winner. TASA’s School Board Awards Committee, appointed by the TASA president, reviews the regional winners’ entries and selects up to five boards to be recognized as Honor Boards. Later in the fall at the TASA/TASB Convention, a committee interviews each of the Honor Boards to select one Outstanding School Board.
About Education Service Center Region 12
Education Service Center Region 12 focuses on helping schools save money and leverage resources into the classroom. One of 20 regional education service centers statewide, ESC Region 12 offers training and expert assistance to educators and school personnel in order to increase student achievement. ESC Region 12 offers effective, economical programs and services through professional development, expert assistance, direct services and alternative educator certification. Based in Waco, ESC Region 12 serves 76 school districts, 10 charters and private/parochial schools in Bell, Bosque, Coryell, Falls, Freestone, Hamilton, Hill, Lampasas, Limestone, McLennan, Mills and Navarro counties.