By Caleb Fortenberry
SPURGER – The Spurger ISD board of trustees met last Thursday on February 11, 2021 to discuss regular agenda items and recognize students for getting certified in welding and floral knowledge.
The meeting began at 7:02 PM with Ag teacher of 43 years, Ken Cauthen, and Ag/Floral design teacher Amber Conner boasting of the students’ success.
“These rascals work, and I like ‘em,” said Cauthen, “We need some people that are workers in this world.”
Cauthen’s inspiring speech explained further his ideals of how education is sometimes gained through work rather than books. “You cannot learn out of a book… We can look at all the pictures in the world, but you got to put your hands on something.”
Eleanor Holderman presented the Tyler county historical commission (TCHC). She spoke of many of the legendary Tyler County historical figures, specifically Dr. Josiah Wheat one of the first pioneers to settle on the Neches River, Fannie Jenkins, the last operator of Sheffield’s Ferry, and Henry Gainer, the first black pastor in Texas.
The group donated a flag to the school campaigning their #wearetylercounty promotion for the 175th anniversary of Tyler County April 4th, 2021.
Spurger ISD Superintendent, Morgan Write spoke to the board about the school’s goals and how they have been utilizing the Deep East Texas College & Career Academy (DETCCA).
Write explained the students, “can get an Associates when they leave High school,” and they are encouraged to take those courses.
Any student is eligible starting their Freshman year, but to continue, they must take the TSI exam.
Welding, Automotive technology, Criminal Justice, and Cyber Security are the degrees listed on the Career & Technology (CT) Education program. However, there are more certifications and schools to come. “There’s a fire school coming in the fall,” said Write.
The school also has ties with the Texas Workforce Commission that have certifications in Paramedic and Nationally Registered EMT.
Write also mentioned the Drop-Out Program that DETCCA offers, saying there were now night classes being offered for High school drop-outs up to the age of 24. Welding and CDL certifications are offered through the program.
Elementary Principal’s Report
“Enrollment is pretty steady,” said Elementary principal Jason Drake. Drake mentioned he went to five students’ homes that had attendance issues, with a majority of them not answering the door.
Drake also reported that the Elementary placed second in UIL, but noted it wasn’t easy to get to that position.
“This a rough year,” said Drake, “I went through seven observations this week. Our teachers are rocking it. I’ve been impressed.”
High school Principal’s Report
High school principal Amanda Hatton spoke before the board on several topics. Chic-fil-a becoming the popular fundraising activity, where all proceeds go back to students. On a non-health food day, Hatton brings Chic-fil-a sandwiches to the school and sells them for $6 per sandwich. She encouraged board members to join them and purchase some for lunch.
Hatton also spoke on a less than orthodox way of finding enrolled students who have been absent and with 36 remote learners, the probability of students not attending class can be higher.
“These kids have just disappeared on us,” said Hatton, “Usually we shut off their access to their computers to get the students to get in contact with us.”
Students have all been given Chromebook computers and internet hotspots in the event of necessary distance learning.
She also briefed the board about College, College and Military Readiness (CCMR) saying they had, “Seven students Due to take a Microsoft test.”
The school also now has instructional partners, which is a company that works with rural schools.
The instructional partners are being used to help with learning gaps.
“They help us where we need so teachers can continue to grow,” explained Hatton, “We developed a plan to address the gaps that we’ve been seeing.”
- The review board needs a new member, with one stepping down. They get paid and miles paid for.
- Spurger received an ExxonMobil grant of $500 donated to each campus for math and science. “It can be used accordingly, but for math and science specifically,” said Write.
- After two year of waiting for a $25,000 security grant, the school will receive updated security devices. “We will have cameras on the perimeter.” Said Write. The bathrooms will also have smoke detectors installed that can detect E-cigarette vapors.
- The TEA will have a presentation over the 20-21 accountability on February 24 2021.
- Boys and girls are finishing up basketball. There will not be any scrimmages or practices the following week due to quarantine issues. If there are two more wins, Spurger could be in the playoffs in Huntington.
- Spurger will not have a baseball team this year due to low participation. However, the students that do want to participate will be covering fundamentals throughout the year.