Education partnership

The boards of Temple Independent School District and Temple College discuss ways to improve an educational partnership during a retreat Wednesday.

A combined retreat of the Temple College and Temple school district boards has been a part of the district’s plans for a while.

Wednesday, the board members met in a conference room at the Temple Independent School District administrative building.

Bobby Ott, TISD superintendent, said the idea for a retreat came up during his interview for the top job at Temple schools.

“This was one of the things that I brought to the board that I thought would strengthen our partnership,” Ott said.

Christy Ponce, TC president, thanked everyone for their willingness to collaborate.

Two areas of common interest — academic and marketing — were the focus of the trustees and administrators during the retreat.

Ott said he was pleased with the outcome.

“There are so many committed minds between both boards and it was great for them to work together,” he said.

Each board was looking for ways to assist the other in its effort to provide education in the community.

“If the two education institutions in Temple can work together, then all students benefit,” Ott said. “I think we found some areas where we can improve and the next step is our administrations working together to do that.”

The board members were broken into four groups, two on academics and two on marketing.

The groups worked independently until the four groups became two, merging ideas on marketing and academics.

As early as the eighth grade, students begin planning the courses that will take them through high school and into college. Planning for dual credit classes becomes a major topic during the students’ sophomore year.

Temple College has a Texas Pathways document that students and counselors may use to determine dual credit opportunities, TC degree and certificate options, and courses that transfer to four-year colleges where articulation agreements exist.

There are at least 60 dual credit classes that are options for Temple ISD students through TC, but all are not offered all of the time, Lisa Adams, TISD assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, said.

For a particular class to be offered there has to be student interest and available faculty, Adams said.

Dual credit classes at TC require 15 students. Enrollment in a dual credit classes offered at the high school requires a minimum of 10 students.

When the groups looking at academics came together it became apparent that many of the same issues related to TC and TISD were identified by both groups.

To teach a dual credit course requires a master’s degree and 18 graduate level hours in the topic to be taught.

If the teacher meets the paper requirements for teaching dual credit, but doesn’t do well in the interview or their writing sample falls short, there’s nothing in place to help the teacher get qualified, Ott said.

“When the door gets shut, it’s over,” he said. “It shouldn’t be that way.”

The group decided there needs to be more faculty development available to the instructors, which could mean TC faculty mentoring instructors at Temple High.

Other suggestions included offering summer acceleration of dual credit classes; increase Career and Technical Education (CTE) dual credit opportunities; investigate funding of dual credit students at Temple High and TC to identify problems and struggles; increase parent education about dual credit; and connect students at the alternative high school with certificates or continuing education opportunities.

One group emphasized the possibilities of early college.

“They have been successful at Temple College, which has an early college in Taylor, and at community colleges around the country,” Lydia Santibanez, TC trustee, said.

The schools benefit students who are least likely to attend college. The schools provide dual credit at no cost to students and offer rigorous instruction and accelerated classes.

Exposing middle school students to Temple College plants a seed, Santibanez said.

The individuals working on marketing partnerships between TC and TISD had some ideas, including synchronizing media releases, social media posts and developing partnerships to share posts; get an early start for parent/student exposure to dual credit; and investigate opportunities to facilitate transitions through materials or staff.

The participants were given a tour of TC, including the simulation center in the Health Science Building.