Of the 1200 school districts in Texas, over 800 use the CSCOPE curriculum. The CSCOPE is really just a product that takes the state required teaching standards of the courses (the TEKS, Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) and organizes them in an order by six weeks to teach. This ‘sequence’ of TEKS is set to a recommended pace (how much will be taught each six weeks). The TEKS can be ordered in a variety of ways, but this sequence reflects the recommendation of multiple teacher teams from all over Texas who have been teaching the subject for years.
Larger districts have central office staff who can be devoted to writing their own curriculum incorporating these TEKS – something the majority of districts which are small such as PISD are not staffed to do. Because of this, districts asked the state to coordinate a curriculum (sequence and pacing) with support materials, assessment, and guided instructional information. The result was the assignment to an Education Service Centers/ESC to develop a curriculum product that districts could use to guide consistent teaching units. Districts purchase access rights to this product through the ESC.
The concern, it seems, is focused on some of the activities – actually a few of the thousands of activities. Each six weeks unit has a ‘bank’ of lessons and activities that can be used (optional) by teachers. There are also assessments, remediation work, enrichment work, and other tools developed by classroom teachers in summer or contracted work. One lesson, in particular, has been highlighted. It is a Social Studies lesson that was seeking to have students look at political issues from the viewpoint of others. In this instance, it asked them to consider if the British might have considered the American Revolution as an act of treason – and some of the attacks as ‘terrorists’. While the intent seemed to be to get students to problem solve and think critically about political issues/actions, it is understandable how this lesson might have taken the lesson to the extreme in using inflammatory terms such as terrorism.
I believe the positive aspect of the scrutiny of CSCOPE has been to make each district review which lessons they are selecting and which they are choosing not to use. In PISD, we do not require teachers to use the lessons – though there are many excellent ones that they do use because they provide a lesson at the level our teachers seek. Sometimes, the teacher teams opt to develop their own. In this process, it challenges our teachers to continually be sure their lessons are aligned to the intent of the standard being taught.
Another concern was that the CSCOPE curriculum is not open for viewing. Since this is a copyrighted product that has costs thousands of dollars to produce, and is continuously updated – the vendor (an Education Service Center) has expressed that (just like any other marketed product) they cannot just provide it for open printing for free. They depend on subscriptions much the same way a journal or other textbook resource might so that they can continually update the contents as state standards change. They have provided samples for any who ask to show the general tone of the work. Further, the product has assessments included that cannot be public, just as the SAT or state assessments are not made public as a whole.
We feel comfortable with the use of CSCOPE. It is simply a container for our required state standards. Our teachers work closely to develop instructional exercises for the students – with CSCOPE lessons or their own – always using a clear sense of our values and the type of positive experiences we want for our students.
Yes. Pleasanton is pleased to welcome new students when there is room in classes. For 2012-13, all grades K-6 are closed. However, parents interested in transferring students in grades 7-12 may make application through the school district administration office (Brenda Rowsinsky, 830.569.1241). Students must demonstrate good attendance, academic effort, and good character/behavior to be accepted into the school district.
Yes. State law requires that students have all shots completed prior to entering the school on the first day. At the end of each school year, parents are providing letters notifying them if they need to secure vaccinations prior to the next school year. A second notice is forwarded as a reminder. In August of 2013, the school district will partner with the Atascosa Health Clinic to host a district-wide shot clinic to assist in meeting these needs. Details will be included in the letters sent in May. Transfer students should bring shot records as a part of registration OR the district will contact the sending school to forward immediately.
For more information, contact the school district nurse, Amber Anderson at email@example.com or 830.569.1301
a.The PISD Primary campus is a beautiful school with rich learning environments. Unfortunately, it was not built with the flow of traffic in mind needed for the near 800 students currently enrolled. Daily pick-up is, however, managed efficiently and safety – with parents having a maximum 15 minute wait time.
b.Parents are asked to join the car rider line and patiently wait their turn as the teachers load students into cars in a well-established routine. Parents have car nameplates that are put on the inside windshield to speed up loading.
Teachers are focused on the safety of their 20+ students during this time of day. Parents are asked to not park their cars and come to pick up students individually from the car line. This distracts the teacher from ensuring a student does not walk into traffic, push another student, or get excited and run toward the parent. It also ensures no one can take the child who is not identified. Teachers do not know parents during the first few weeks, especially, OR have clarity on who has custodial rights, etc. Further, a substitute teacher will not know if an adult has legitimate rights to be taking a child.
c.For parents who do not pick up their child via a car, a ‘walker’ pickup is made available in the rear cafeteria. Parents will be asked to sign-out the children with identification (until fully known). Any parent wanting to park and go get their child personally is asked to pick up their child in this ‘walker’ area so that ‘the car rider line is not interrupted. It is important to let the teacher/principal know that the child will be a ‘walker’ so that s/he is sent to the right area for pick-up after school.
a.PISD is blessed to have a Parent Liaison, Ms. Teresa Echigo, to coordinate the extensive parent volunteers. At registration, parents are provided a form to complete indicating an interest/willingness to volunteer (daily, for special events, sporadically). Attached to this is a form allowing for PISD to conduct a background check – as with all employees who spend time on campus with children. Community members interested in volunteering may contact Ms. Echigo directly to join the volunteer group OR contact the campus principal to offer specialized support in areas of skill, background, or interest.
b.The Parent information site on the website is under construction. Check back for rich resources of parent education links, resources for helping kids at home, enrichment opportunities, and current news in education. In the interim, contact Ms. Echigo at firstname.lastname@example.org or 830.569. 1230
a.PISD adheres to the state guidelines for bus transportation, providing door to door pick-up where possible and/or near walk to gathering sites in safe, easy access areas. Students living two or more miles from the school are eligible for transportation, as are students living in an area designated eligible due to safety concerns (i.e., must cross a busy highway, etc.).
b.For information on your specific bus access/route, contact David Zertuche, Director of Transportation at 830.569.1366 or email@example.com. The PISD website link for more information is under construction.
a.Pleasanton ISD is conducting a comprehensive evaluation of its Gifted and Talented services in 2012, using the Texas State Plan for Gifted and/or Talented to guide its review. PISD is confident that it meets all ‘compliance’ standards, but is examining how it can continue to enrich services toward recognized and exemplary programming. For a review of the State Plan, go to www.tea.state.tx.us and search for ‘gifted and talented’.
For detailed information on current GT services in PISD, go to the Academic Services link on the website and select the GT link on the far left. You may also contact the office of the Executive Director of Academic Services, Ms. Debbie Drew at 830.569.1244 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
a.Yes. Part of assisting parents and students in determining the appropriate level of challenge for students as they move into secondary study is in providing students with opportunities to explore learning at more rigorous and in-depth levels of independent study. The Texas Performance Standards Project (TPSP) serves as a guide for some of these assignments. http://www.texaspsp.org/
b.The Pre-AP projects serve this independent study focus, while also providing a preview exercise for upcoming Pre-Advanced Placement coursework. Parent and student meetings are held in May to explain the projects, answer questions, and provide resources. Students are expected to complete this work prior to the beginning of the first day of the Pre-AP classes in the new school year.
c.Teacher support is made available over the summer for students finding challenges with the assignments – so every opportunity for successful completion is in place. For students who not complete this pre-requisite, schedule changes into the core courses of study will be made in response to an indicated need for study with less independent study demands.
a.State and Federal guidelines have been revised to reflect an emphasis on healthier eating habits. These include less sodium, less fat, and increased portions of fruits and vegetables. Additionally, portion sizes (particularly for meat and cheese) have been reduced in an effort to curb childhood obesity and diabetes. Student taste buds are adapting to the move away from heavily seasoned, fried, and/or large portions during this transition.
The good news is that the students have helped through taste testing to develop the final menu selections, many of which are now being made by hand by our staff to meet the state standards AND develop flavors. Ask your child about the homemade multi-grain pizzas….they are a huge hit, selling out!
b.More detailed information about the new menus and food guidance is available on the PISD website, under Food Services link. Information on applying for free or reduced lunch prices, a calendar of the menus, and details of the new guidelines are provided. Or you may contact the Food and Nutrition Services Director, Ms. Christie Sanchez at 830.569.1367 or email@example.com.
a.No. PISD is responding to the state/federal increased guidance for ensuring that students with allergies at-risk of anaphalaxic reactions are provided a safe learning environment. Peanuts is one of a core group of foods that are more prevalent allergens, and would be included in a plan to protect a child from exposure if a need is identified.
b.The district School Health Advisory Committee (SHAC) met this year to approve the PISD CARE Plan related to emergency response and planning for students with life-threatening allergens. This can be found on the district website at the symbol CARE Plan under Parent Information (along with vaccinations).
c.If a campus is identified as having a student with a severe food allergy, then precautions are put in place to prevent exposure (including reduced presence of that product) and for immediate response in the event of a reaction/incident.
For more information, contact the district nurse, Amber Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 830.569.1301.