HITCHCOCK — The school district will hold a town hall meeting with parents and community members tonight to discuss the state of Hitchcock schools.

Superintendent Barbara Derrick said the meeting at 6 p.m. at Highland Creek Camp would address subjects including test scores, student attendance and programs encouraging students to pursue a postsecondary education.

It’s also an opportunity for residents to meet with school administrators and put faces to names, Derrick said.

The district has been discussing forming an educational foundation, a nonprofit group that can raise funds and obtain grants to benefit Hitchcock schools. Hitchcock is one of the few districts in the county without such a organization, Derrick said.

“That would open us up to a lot of different grant opportunities, which can be more important for us than bigger schools,” she said.

District leaders hope to find volunteers and meet with a consultant in the coming months to help form a committee for the foundation.

In August, the school district did not meet standards under the state’s new accountability system. At tonight’s meeting, administrators will present statistics comparing Hitchcock students’ test scores with other districts and will elaborate on plans to improve academic performance across the board, Derrick said.

A partnership with College of the Mainland, which in 2012 received a Gulf Coast PASS grant, has helped build new tutoring programs and given students significant preparation for college admissions testing.

The program, in its second year, has helped significantly increase the number of Hitchcock students who go on to a postsecondary education after graduating high school, Derrick said.

The partnership encourages a “college-going culture” by introducing a course that focuses on time management, studying, resume building and other professional skills. Students are also given an opportunity to meet with financial advisers, tour college campuses and participate in tutoring programs, thanks to the grant, Derrick said.

A representative from College of the Mainland will be at the meeting to speak with community members.

“Postsecondary is so valuable now, whether it’s a four-year college or a trade school, so we’re really trying to stress that,” she said.

About 150 new students have boosted enrollment at Hitchcock schools, but attendance remains one of the biggest problems facing the district, Derrick said.

At the meeting tonight, district leaders want to encourage parents to ensure children are attending class. They have both educational and financial reasons for that. State funding depends in large part on the district’s average daily attendance numbers.

Other topics up for discussion include the “Bulldog Bistro” set to open next year, in which students in the district’s culinary arts program will manage, staff and cook for a weekly restaurant at the old Hitchcock High School building.

At a glance

WHAT: Hitchcock ISD town hall meeting

WHEN: 6 p.m. today

WHERE: Highland Creek Camp, 6205 Delany Road, Hitchcock

Contact reporter Alex Macon at 409-683-5244 or alex.macon@galvnews.com.


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