February 2017 State Board of Education Update

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Eight SBOE members begin new terms

2017 swearing-in ceremony

Larry Taylor, chair of the Senate Education Committee, right, administered the oath of office to eight board members during their first meeting of the year. Elected to four-year terms of office in November are, left to right, Marty Rowley of Amarillo, Donna Bahorich of Houston, Sue Melton-Malone of Robinson, Georgina C. Pérez of El Paso, Barbara Cargill of The Woodlands, Tom Maynard of Florence, Ken Mercer of San Antonio, and Keven Ellis of Lufkin.

Board elects officers and organizes committees

During its first meeting of 2017, State Board of Education members elected Marty Rowley of Amarillo as the board’s vice chair and re-elected Ruben Cortez Jr. of Brownsville as secretary.

Those two officers, along with Chair Donna Bahorich, then appointed members to the three standing committees.

Revised language arts and science TEKS win initial approval

After lengthy discussion and review, the State Board of Education on Feb. 3 gave preliminary approval to revised curriculum standards for English and Spanish language arts and reading for kindergarten through eighth grade.

If given final approval at the board’s April 18-21 meeting, the new language arts curriculum standards would become effective with school year 2019-2020. They will replace standards approved in 2008. The board postponed the initial vote on language arts standards for high school courses until the April meeting.

Efforts to update the language arts Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) began in 2015 and has literally involved thousands of public and higher education educators.

The board also approved for first reading and filing authorization streamlined science standards. Responding to frequent comments that Texas standards are too voluminous, the board began a concerted effort to reduce scope of the standards. Science is the first subject area to undergo the streamlining process.

Additional bond capacity available for charters

The Permanent School Fund’s Bond Guarantee Program will now be able to back about $550 million in additional charter school bonds thanks to action taken by the State Board of Education in February.

Board members agreed to increase the multiplier used in calculating the capacity of the Permanent School Fund. This action provides an estimated $249 million more in bonding capacity for charter schools as of March 2017 and a projected $317 million in additional capacity as of Sept. 1, 2017.

Donna Bahorich reappointed SBOE chair

Donna Bahorich

Gov. Greg Abbott on Jan. 24 reappointed Donna Bahorich as chair of the State Board of Education for a second two-year term of office, effective Feb. 1, 2017 to Feb. 1, 2019.

 The appointment is subject to Senate confirmation. The Senate Nominations Committee will take up Bahorich's appointment, as well as the appointment of Commissioner of Education Mike Morath, on Feb. 16.

Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science

PAEMST finalists
2016 PAEMST finalists and TEA program coordinators

The SBOE passed a resolution honoring the 2016 finalists for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). Pictured, from left to right, are the finalists and TEA program coordinators. Irene Pickhardt, statewide science coordinator, TEA; James Slack, statewide mathematics coordinator, TEA;  Ashley Dodson, elementary mathematics finalist from Allen ISD; Andrea Miller, elementary science finalist from Mesquite ISD; Robert Rivera, elementary mathematics finalist from Brownsville ISD; Deborah Cunningham, elementary mathematics finalist from Garland ISD; Deborah Swyers, elementary mathematics finalist from Round Rock ISD; Misty Ruth, elementary mathematics finalist from Pasadena ISD; Rubi deHoyos,  elementary science finalist from Northside ISD; Jo Ann Bilderback, math/science manager, TEA; Denise Koontz, elementary science finalist from Keller ISD; and Kirk Evans, elementary science finalist from Allen ISD. Not present:  Kelly Spradley, elementary science finalist from Little Elm ISD.

26 schools celebrate Blue Ribbon Schools award

2016 Blue Ribbon Schools logo

Twenty-six 2016 national Blue Ribbon Schools were celebrated with a luncheon and State Board of Education recognition recently.

A Jan. 23 luncheon hosted by the Texas Education Agency, the state board, the Texas Association of School Administrators, Edgenuity, Itslearning, FreshGrade and Scholastic honored these high-performing schools.

The State Board of Education also passed a resolution in their honor and presented school representatives with a certificate on Feb. 3. The schools were honored at a national ceremony in Washington, D.C. in November.

Texas schools have been named Blue Ribbon award recipients 658 times since this program began in 1982. The 2016 honorees are exemplary high performing schools as measured by state assessments. Each school has an economically disadvantaged population of 22 percent or greater. 

Learn more about the 2016 award-winning schools.

Texas student in elite group

Miguel Padilla is in a class by himself. The student from Harmony School of Innovation in Fort Worth is the only Texan and one of only 10 students in the country who earned a perfect score on his Advanced Placement Computer Science A exam during the last testing cycle.

About 58,100 students took this AP test. The State Board of Education honored Padilla during its Feb. 3 meeting. Padilla is pictured here with his state board member Pat Hardy of Fort Worth.

Miguel Padilla

February is centennial month for CTE

2017 CTE student leaders
Leaders from nine state CTE organizations attend the February board meeting

The State Board of Education approved a resolution proclaiming February as Career and Technical Education Month. The board also noted that Feb. 23 marks the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Smith-Hughes Act, a federal law that launched national support for vocational education.

Board member honors and recognition

Board Secretary Ruben Cortez Jr. of Brownsville on Feb. 24 will receive an exemplary recognition award from the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies – Tejas Foco for his contributions to education. Cortez has served on the state board since 2013 and is a former member of the Brownsville Independent School District Board of Trustees.

Ruben Cortez jr.
Marisa Perez

Board member Marisa Perez of San Antonio earned her Master’s degree in educational leadership and policy studies from the University of Texas at San Antonio in December 2016.

Perez has served on the state board since 2013.

Board member Barbara Cargill of The Woodlands will receive the Friend of Education Award from the Sam Houston State University College of Education on March 14. This award recognizes and honors individuals or businesses that have made a significant contribution to the field of education. Cargill has served on the state board since 2005, including four years as chair of the board. Past award recipients include H-E-B grocery store and Pam Wells, executive director of Education Service Center IV.

Barbara Cargill

Summary of SBOE action

A summary of actions taken by the State Board of Education at its Jan. 31 and Feb. 3 meetings will be posted here early next week at http://tea.texas.gov/sboe/actions/

Do you know a student volunteer who deserves recognition?

Each spring the State Board of Education recognizes public school students who voluntarily provide assistance that benefits other Texas children. Be on the look out for application details coming soon.