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San Jacinto County News - Breakout

COCISD goes to 4-day week

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Community member Alec McGowen was sworn in to temporarily fill the vacant Trustee Position 2 at the COCISD Board of Trustees meeting on Oct. 24. McGowen will hold the position until an election can be held in May. Photo by Cassie GregoryCommunity member Alec McGowen was sworn in to temporarily fill the vacant Trustee Position 2 at the COCISD Board of Trustees meeting on Oct. 24. McGowen will hold the position until an election can be held in May. Photo by Cassie Gregory

Special to the News-Times

COLDSPRING — The Coldspring-Oakhurst CISD Board of Trustees approved a three-year pilot program for a four-day instructional week

At its regular meeting on Oct. 24, the board gave its stamp of approval to start in the 2023-24 school year.

Superintendent Dr. Bryan Taulton introduced the measure as a way to recruit and retain teachers in a very competitive Texas market, as well as to improve student academic achievement and attendance.

Taulton explained that extensive research had gone into the decision including interviews with other Texas school districts that have successfully gone to 4-day instructional weeks, surveys of staff, parents and guardians, and high school students, and a town hall meeting for all stakeholders. The overwhelming consensus was in favor of the move.

“The fact is there is a statewide teacher shortage,” said Taulton. “We have to do something to recruit and retain the highest quality teachers and staff. It doesn’t matter how many days a student is in a classroom if there isn’t a teacher there to give effective instruction.”

Employee salaries and hourly wages will be adjusted to adapt to the 4-day schedule without any reduction in salary, and arrangements will be worked out for students to be able to continue to participate in extracurricular activities on the days there is no school.

The program will be reviewed annually to monitor its effectiveness. Data to be reviewed include student academic achievement, size of the applicant pool for each posted job opening, student and staff attendance, and parent, student, and staff climate surveys.

In other official business, the board appointed Alec McGowen to fill Trustee Position 2 until an election for the position can be held in May. Former Trustee Ashney Shelly had to leave the position before the term was complete due to career advancement.

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County seeks details on agreement

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SanJacCountySealBy Tony Farkas
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COLDSPRING — An agreement between San Jacinto County and the city of Shepherd for permits raised questions at the Commissioners’ Court meeting on Wednesday.

County Judge Fritz Faulkner said the interlocal agreement with city of Shepherd was tabled for additional research.

Currently, the county does most of the permitting work for the city, but the city collects the fees, Faulkner said, and said commissioners will be meeting with staff in the coming week to have questions answered.

In other business, the court:

•approved the application process for a Tribal Consistency Fund funds;

•approved a change to subdivision rules to require permits from utility companies;

•approved a $5,000 limit credit card to be used by the Sheriff’s Department for inmate transportation;

•accepted a donation of bales of hay from the Blair family for use by animals at the county fairgrounds;

•approved the use of county property for Christmas on the Square, and provided funds for portable toilets;

•declared a DeWalt portable compressor as salvage;

•approved a bond renewal for Ray Atchley;

•approved a replat of Peach Creek Farms;

•approved Langford Community Management Services for administration of a PB&SC Water Supply Corp. grant;

•discussed the animal control shelter project; and

•appointed Mark Wood and Lonnie Thomas as inspectors for construction of the Innovation Center.

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Program receives grant

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TWC Commissioner Julian Alvarez with COCISD administrators and local officials including State Representative Ernest Bailes, Coldspring Mayor John Benestante, and Coldspring Chamber of Commerce President Barbara Justice celebrated the award of the TWC JET Grant to the COHS CTE program on Wednesday, Oct. 19. COURTESY PHOTOTWC Commissioner Julian Alvarez with COCISD administrators and local officials including State Representative Ernest Bailes, Coldspring Mayor John Benestante, and Coldspring Chamber of Commerce President Barbara Justice celebrated the award of the TWC JET Grant to the COHS CTE program on Wednesday, Oct. 19. COURTESY PHOTO

Special to the News-Times

COLDSPRING — Texas Workforce Commissioner Julian Alvarez visited Coldspring-Oakhurst High School for a reception to officially award the Coldspring-Oakhurst High School CTE Department a Jobs and Education for Texans Grant on Oct. 19.

The grant award of more than $189,000 funded equipment and instructional materials for the high school welding program for the 2022-23 school year and beyond.

The grant application was submitted by CTE and Special Programs Director Jeff Eichman.

“Coldspring-Oakhurst CISD was very fortunate to have been awarded as one of the Texas Workforce Commission  2021-2022 Jobs & Education for Texans (JET) grant recipients,” Eichman said. “The district submitted the JET Grant application in the spring of the 2020-2021 school year, written for the request of 14 Clean Air America Weldstation booths, 14 new Miller Multi-process welding machines, as well as other supporting instructional resources for the newly established Welding Program of Study at Coldspring-Oakhurst High School.

“The goal of the grant application was to prepare a minimum of 79 welding students for post-secondary opportunities, as well as the opportunity to earn industry-recognized welding certifications,” he said.

Eichman said the district was notified as a grant recipient in early September 2021 for the awarded amount of $189,316.

The district is waiting to hear news on whether its latest JET Grant application for the high school nursing program will be awarded. The winners will be announced in the next few months.

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Seeing the future

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tour 3

Shepherd High School Principles of Health Science students toured the health science programs at Angelina College recently to learn about the vast array of healthcare careers that are available to them. They are led by Sarah Dean, RN. Courtesy photo

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Students learn where’s the beef

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Dr. Stanley Kelly of Sam Houston State University explained to students how the muscle blade sits inside of the cow and what cuts of beef come from each area. Due to the muscles in the front shoulder being used often, the muscles in the shoulder are tough and should be cooked low and slow in order to become tender and palatable. Photo courtesy of Ashlie TaylorDr. Stanley Kelly of Sam Houston State University explained to students how the muscle blade sits inside of the cow and what cuts of beef come from each area. Due to the muscles in the front shoulder being used often, the muscles in the shoulder are tough and should be cooked low and slow in order to become tender and palatable. Photo courtesy of Ashlie Taylor

Special to the News-Times

WINNIE — Coldspring-Oakhurst High School students were treated to extensive lessons on cattle, from children to grilling.

Advanced Animal Science students and sponsors traveled to Winnie, on Oct. 27 to attend the Southeast Texas Beef Symposium hosted by Texas AgriLife Extension with the assistance of professors from the Texas A&M and Sam Houston State University Agriculture Science departments. 

Students spent the day attending hands-on sessions including an anatomy and physiology dissection lab, a blood draw for pregnancy checks on cows, performing ultrasounds on cattle for carcass traits and fat thickness, taste testing tenderness of different cuts of meat, identifying parts of cattle including where their bones are located and where each cut of meat comes from, and digestion featuring a cannulated cow. 

“Cannulated cattle are those which have a surgically placed cannula, or porthole-like device placed in their side into the rumen,” explained COHS Ag Instructor Ashlie Taylor. “This allows veterinarians and researchers to examine content digested by the animal for various purposes.”

The afternoon concluded with a lesson on safe food handling and proper cooking temperatures, followed by students being allowed to season and grill their own hamburgers. 

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