TISD Board of Trustees Approve MOU, Establishing Eagle’s Teach Teacher Pipeline Collaboration with Texas A&M-Texarkana


In a significant step towards tackling the teacher shortage in East Texas, the August 2023 TISD Board of Trustees Regular Meeting saw the unanimous approval of a Memorandum of Understanding between Texas A&M-Texarkana and the Texarkana Independent School District (TISD). This collaborative effort introduces the Eagles Teach teacher pipeline, a transformative initiative aimed at alleviating the shortage of educators in the region.

Eagles Teach is poised to amplify secondary and post-secondary educational attainment. This innovative partnership is designed to open doors to higher education for potential first-generation college students, simultaneously bolstering the education sector’s workforce and curbing the impact of poverty affecting families in East Texas.

Spearheaded by the T.L.L. Temple Foundation and the Texas Pioneer Foundation, Eagle’s Teach stands as a fully grant-funded endeavor, marking a profound investment in the future of East Texas. This strategic collaboration builds upon TISD’s existing teacher preparation program, notably the pioneering TEACH-TISD initiative. Designed to identify students with inherent teaching talents and traits, TEACH-TISD sets the stage for educational excellence by nurturing these talents, fostering diversity, and cultivating a talent pool of future educators.

Under the TEACH-TISD initiative, TISD’s inaugural P-TECH pathway takes center stage, prioritizing teacher preparation. In this innovative program, Texas High students can achieve associate’s degrees from Texarkana College with a specialized focus on teacher education, all while in high school. Upon reaching this milestone, students gain eligibility to serve as classroom aides within the district, acquiring firsthand experience in an authentic educational setting.

A pivotal aspect of this partnership lies in the collaboration with Texas A&M University – Texarkana. Through this dynamic alliance, Texas High alumni continue their journeys towards teacher certification. As they immerse themselves in TISD classrooms, these future educators gain essential hands-on experience and support. Upon graduation from Texas A&M University – Texarkana with bachelor’s degrees and teaching credentials, TISD is positioned to recruit these candidates to its teaching staff.

The initiative’s success is evident from the remarkable achievements of Texarkana College’s partnership with TISD last academic year. Impressively, 18 of the 20 students who earned associate’s degrees as well as diplomas while in high school were Texas High students. With funding allocated through the P-TECH initiative, barriers to college access are overcome, affording students the opportunity to amass over 60 hours of college credit at no cost. This strategic approach ensures that more students graduate with industry-recognized certifications and associate’s degrees, setting the stage for future success.
TISD’s visionary P-TECH expansion plans span diverse fields including Health Care, Biotechnology and Life Sciences, Advanced Technologies and Manufacturing, Construction, and Information and Computer Technology. As TISD, Texarkana College and Texas A&M-Texarkana continue to collaboratively reshape the educational landscape, the East Texas community can anticipate a brighter future for its students and the region as a whole;

Other agenda items included:
*Approval of Resolution to Initiate the Process of Designation as “District of Innovation” as Defined by HB 1842. District of Innovation is a concept passed by the 84th Legislative Session in House Bill 1842 in 2015 that gives traditional independent school districts most of the flexibilities available to
Texas’ open enrollment charter schools. To access these flexibilities, a school district must adopt an innovation plan, as set forth in the Texas Education Code chapter 12A. (TASB) School districts in Texas may now seek designation as a District of Innovation (TEC 12A). Such a designation allows the district to access exemption from certain requirements of state law. Innovation plans are about local (district) control. A new DOI plan will be developed to replace the existing one, which will expire in January 2024. The new plan will become effective December 2023 if approved at the December Board of Trustees meeting;

*Approved T-TESS Appraiser List for 2023-24. Texarkana ISD chooses to use the commissioner’s recommended teacher appraisal system, the Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System (T-TESS) that was developed in accordance with Texas Education Code (TEC), 21.351.

Annually, TISD adopts a list of approved appraisers within the district. District appraisers will be certified by having satisfactorily completed uniform appraiser training or recertification prior to conducting teacher appraisals.
The Board also received a Bond Projects Update from TISD Chief Operating Officer, Ken Reese. The next regular meeting for the TISD Board of Trustees will be Wednesday, September 27, 2023.

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