The superintendents of the Brownwood, Early and Bangs independent school districts all spoke during the Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce monthly luncheon at the Brownwood Country Club on Friday.
Brownwood’s Joe Young, Bangs’s Tony Truelove and Early’s Wes Beck previewed the upcoming school year and talked about various changes and accomplishments in their districts. Young, who is beginning his second year at the Brownwood helm, kicked off the presentation by discussing things the district will “try to improve on” this year.
“Our whole … mission is to create world-class educational opportunities for our kids,” he said.
Among the changes Young discussed were:
• High school dual-credit and dual-enrollment. The district has partnered with the University of Texas on three dual-enrollment courses — precalculus, English and physics — that are designed to challenge students at a college level.
• Renovations to the Coggin Intermediate School auditorium, various school parking lots and restrooms at Gordon Wood Stadium and Brownwood High.
• The consolidation of 4th, 5th and 6th graders into Coggin Intermediate School. Sixth graders will now have their own building, the former Coggin Elementary site, which previously held the 4th grade.
• The hiring of a new gifted and talented teacher for fifth and sixth grade students and an additional counselor at the high school.
• The Aspiring Administrators Academy that began last school year. The academy was designed to prepare internal candidates for district administrative jobs, and four administrative openings were filled by Academy graduates this year.
• District of Innovation initiatives. The district adjusted its school calendar to begin classes on a Wednesday and hired part-time teachers for three specialized courses that the school could not otherwise support.
• A new program called School Messenger, which will allow students and staff to communicate electronically with greater district oversight.
• A new grant award that will improve food service in the district and allow high school students to choose among six or more entrees each day.
Bangs superintendent Truelove gave an overview of his career and his district. Among the new initiatives at Bangs ISD he discussed was the district’s health science program, which will enable students to graduate as a certified nurse’s assistant.
“There’s a lot of things those kids will have the opportunity to do,” Truelove said. “[My son] got a CNA, and he used that to help put himself through college and get his nursing degree, so that’s kind of near and dear to my heart.”
There are 103 students signed up for the health science program.
Truelove talked about other career-readiness initiatives from the district and some renovations it began for the middle school library, workroom, cafeteria and field house. “That’s the thing I’m most excited about,” he said of the field house. “That’s where our visitors come. On Friday nights, we host other schools there and I’d like to treat them a little better than that.”
Beck’s presentation about Early ISD focused primarily on the district’s accomplishments. Beck mentioned Early’s high graduation rate, its emphasis on AP classes, its silver medal recognition by U.S. News & World Report and its extracurricular and athletic successes.
“We’ve got some big things going on in Early,” Beck said. “I’m excited to get going.”
Beck also mentioned the Texas Legislature’s recently-ended session, where school finance was a consistent hot-button issue. “It’s important what we [educators] do. We’ve got some people in Austin — Lieutenant Dan is at the top of my list right now,” he said, referring to lieutenant governor Dan Patrick. “I’m not sure he likes public education at all.”
The remark set up a comedic moment at the end of the meeting, as Brownwood Chamber director Ray Tipton mentioned that Patrick will be speaking at the Sept. 8 meeting of the Brown County Republican Women.
Patrick will give a presentation and take questions at 9:30 a.m. at the Depot Civic & Cultural Center.