LA MARQUE — A human resources director was hired. Agreements with the University of Houston, College of the Mainland and the state’s Region 4 Education Service Center were approved. 

With those measures taken, sometime late Thursday night, La Marque’s formal plan of recovery was sent to the state.

When the Texas Education Agency agreed to pull back on plans to send a conservator to oversee the La Marque school district, it did so with several caveats. During Thursday’s school board meeting, trustees gave the final approval to many of those requirements.

That included hiring Antonio Corrales as the district’s new director of human resources and operations. Up until now, Superintendent Terri Watkins was handling human resource duties as well as running the day-to-day of the struggling school district.

The state said Watkins needed to focus her full attention on managing the district and hire someone to handle human resources.

Corrales, who for the past six years worked as the coordinator of bilingual, English as a second language programs and Gifted and Talented Advanced Programs for the Angleton school district was hired for the job Thursday. His 10-year education career included teaching and managing Gifted and Talented and STEM academy programs at a campus level.

He got into education after working in the private sector for multinational companies, according to his résumé.

Corrales’ hiring was a key piece to finishing the district’s improvement plan. La Marque’s accreditation status from the state was put on probation after three straight years of either poor financial and academic ratings and high dropout rates.

Watkins said she talked with state officials last week to go over a draft of the district’s improvement plan. She said the state asked for “minor changes” to the plan, but appeared satisfied.

The final plan, due to the TEA today, was sent to the state soon after Thursday’s school board meeting.

In addition to Corrales, trustees approved the hiring of Marcia McMahon as the assistant superintendent for curriculum. She replaces Joannie Hudson, who announced last month that she would resign.

McMahon has been the director of principal certification programs for the Region 4 Service Center. Her hiring marked a return to the La Marque school district where she was an assistant principal at La Marque Middle School and Highlands Elementary in the late 1990s.

She later was principal at Dickinson’s K.E. Little Elementary School that was given an exemplary rating by the state during her tenure. Before going to work for Region 4, she worked in the Galveston school district as the director for assessment, evaluation and compliance. 

The hirings and finalization of the recovery plan weren’t the only bits of good news.

District financial director Dianne Duron reported that the district’s finances are “healthy.” 

That report came about a year after the district was in financial disarray. So poor were finances the district considered teacher paycuts and looked at borrowing $3 million just to be able to pay staff and teachers.

The loan wasn't needed because of extra money that came from the state, but the budget was still tight.

Records Duron provided show La Marque has about $7.9 million on hand with about three months left in the fiscal year. The district averages about $2 million a month in expenses, so Duron projects La Marque will have about $2 million in reserves when the fiscal year ends at the end of August.

Duron said the district’s state-required solvency plan, which got TEA approval two months ago, projected about $2 million in fund balance by the end of the fiscal year. Having a heftier fund balance was one of the state requirements for the district. 

Duron wouldn’t make any promises, but said she expects the district could beat those projections.

“We have managed to do more with less,” Duron said. “By the grace of our staff, we are far better off than we were a year ago.”

 


 

Good news on STAAR results

The La Marque school district got some more good news on the academic front last week. After struggling to meet state marks on the first round of fifth- and eighth-grade State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness test results, retests of those who didn’t meet the mark before elevated the district to the point that it met the required state standards.

The eighth-grade reading results were not as the district hoped, but 59 percent of the students did pass the exam. The state mark on that exam was 55 percent passing.

Looking at raw data at the high school level, it appeared La Marque met the marks on those STAAR tests as well.

 

 

Contact Mainland Editor T.J. Aulds at 409-683-5334 or tjaulds@galvnews.com.

 

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(17) comments

Walter Manuel

While there is some "good news" in several areas, there's no mention of the many other areas that weren't passing.

Mark my words, LMISD will NOT meet state standards this year....[yawn]

Gary Miller

( We are far better off than we were a year ago.” ??)
A year ago they expected TEA to take over.
With 41 % of LM ISD students failing the tests over 1,000 students are failing.
Are LM taxpayers satisfied with a school system that claims improvement with 1,000's of failing students? Or the fact that those claimed to be passing only learned half the cureuculum?

George Croix

"Corrales, who for the past six years worked as the coordinator of bilingual, English as a second language programs and Gifted and Talented Advanced Programs"

Questions:
a) Does LMISD have a big issue with English as a second language?
b) For a district that fails consistently to meet minimum standards, how will further promotion of GT change that? Is LMISD hoping to have a few more higher achievers raise the total average?

JBG JBG

Mr. Manuel, I'm incline to agree with you, but Ms. Watkins is KICKING *&* and taking NAMES the way it looking to me, and it also looks as if she has finally got a group of doubters, to BUY into what she is selling! I've seen that move up close before, and I might add more than once! It is a good place to make a stand! Moreover, serious change always starts at the TOP, and by examples of it flowing downwards!!! Good Leadership ignites good attitudes! Effective leadership is once again raising it's head in LMISD. It all start here,...and moves to all the other OBJECTIVES which must be adhered to!
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Ms. Watkins is kicking up some dust, making some great moves, and I think that is good, it is a good start! The way I see it, IF LMISD is going down, it will not be this year. If Watkins WHUPPS that "Grizzly"....it might be the defining moment LMISD needs to hold on, and turn back the tide! She might have to kill it, if so,.. she will need more than that tree limb! Somebody will have to join her in the cage, and bring a MACHETE to the fight! That very well might be that new Assistant Superintendent and Personnel Manager she hired! Who are they and what will they bring to the fight? The answer to that question, will weigh heavy on weather there will be victory or defeat for LMISD!
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From what I'm seeing, the bear did not expect Ms. Watkins to scratch, and KICK HIM in the lower regions! There is no other way to do it! She must FIGHT, exalt, inspire, hold feet to the heat, reward, and LEAD LMISD out of this QUAGMIRE, and oh, I'm sorry, that Grizzly need to die!!!! Leave him lying there in the cage as a confidence builder, ..and as a reminder for what Great leadership and a dedicated TEAM working together as one, toward fulfilling common objectives can do!
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Walter Manuel

Mr. JBG, Mrs. Watkins very well indeed has a fight on her hands.

I have the numbers, but I can't put them here on the forum or I face being banned.

The numbers don't lie and on August 8, 2014 when TEA reports the districts academic standings, then you and others can say I told you so and then school board president Nakisha Paul can publically apologize to council woman Connie Trube and EVERYONE else that she lied to at last Monday nights LM city council meeting because it's Nakisha Paul that doesn't know a thing about what she's talking about when it comes to these OVERALL test scores and that's ALL that matters at the end of the day!

Nakisha Paul's pathetic AND made for Facebook public performance was just as weak as these OVERALL test scores that she attempted to brag about! [yawn]

Tamala Robinson

Missionary Man since you always have something negative to say about LMISD, why don't you take your self righteous, RIGHT WING behind to each school and volunteer your services as a personal tutor to ensure every student has a passing or acceptable test score.!! WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE ANYWAY?!!! THE only thing you are good for is "Slandering good people names!" might I add BLACK PEOPLE, who you know nothing about! You really should take MISSIONARY away from your so called self righteous title, and replace it with Bigot Man!! You and Connie Trube need to look down, because that is where you both should go with your distorted opinions of a certain group or race of people!

George Croix

What a strange comment.
Is LMISD a school district only for black people now?
It wasn't when my daughter was Valedictorian 14 years ago.
Are the students of other race I see going into the buildings just guests or visitors?
Help me here?
How is commenting about all the troubles at LMISD an issue of race?

JBG JBG

Gecroix, the troubles in LMISD are not a racial issues, and you are most certainly right. You and I and everybody knows that! Satan is back practicing his math, ..........( division & subtraction ) BUT this COMMUNITY is weaved to tight overall for him to bring us down cheap like that. Naw he is going to have to bring it this time!
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That makes me feel good! What Superintendent Watkins is finally showing in LMISD make me feel good, because I now see a light in the mist of DARKNESS, where previously there were no light! I see a spark where there was no spark. You and I both as ex managers knows one spark can cause a most horrendous and vicious fire! That is all it takes.
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In the mist of all the negatives about LMISD, I've observed something in Ms. Watkins, that you will only find in a winner. Mr. Manuel is right though, and I don't doubt for a minute, those scores are not going to be what many will be hoping for, BUT WE CANNOT BASE ANY REALITIC TURNAROUND FOR LMISD ON THOSE SCORE COMING UP NEXT WEEK, OR NEXT MONTH! You were a manager as were I, and we both know what kind of element time plays in evaluating the turnaround in a business!
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We both know as well as Ms. Watkins does how important it is to have a VISION, painted in your mind of what objective you are in the hunt for! If a leader does not have that, he/she might as well throw their hand in and quit, for how will a leader birth a vision, inside others, and exhort them to perform as a team moving toward the reality of it,...if the vision does not first exist inside themselves?
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The visions Watkins is working on is down the road, and for her it might be closer than she probably wants it to be. I don't think she was laying all her CHIPS and COLATERAL on the table gambling on these upcoming test scores! She is not who I think she is if that was her plan!!!
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Naw! Naw! I'm right about this lady and I can feel it! She has a KICK *&*, take no prisoner attitude and I see the same trait in women leaders all over this county! I see it in TCISD, COM, and also HITCHCOCK ISD. I saw it in HOUSTON!!!
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I think we all know there is much work to be done here, and there is no doubt about it, but I must say this also, IF LMISD IS GOING TO MAKE IT AND STAY ALIVE, ALL OF LMISD EMPLOYEES, STAFF, AND AS MUCH AS THE COMMUNITY AS POSSIBLE, NEED TO GET BEHIND THE LEADER, WHICH GOD HAS MIRACULOUSLY PLACED among them and follow her lead in coming out of the pit of despair, and into the light once again! You might say NOW what is he talking about? Man, that guy is always talking smack!
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Here what I'm talking about! I'm talking PEDAL TO THE METAL, maximum effort! 100%? NO ....151%!!!!!
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Say what you want but I have been praying for that Leader in LM, That Leader in TC, that Leader in League City, and that Leader in LMISD in particular, along with all the rest of them in my territory! I'll let you in on another secret, ( I'm going to put GOD on the spot here! Oh yea! ). Superintendent Watkins is going to do for LMISD what MOSES did for Israel. I'll stand on the spot with GOD, because Old JBG is not afraid! I know something.....and I have seen some things happen just like those I'm referring to,.... many times in my life! Fact of the matter is, I'm a living example of this kind of turnaround! I'll leave you with this:
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Psalms 103:7
"He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel."
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II Corinthians 12:9-10
9) And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for MY power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10) Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
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Watkins knows that though she herself is weak,...GOD is strong, and that HIS strength is PERFECTED in her WEAKNESS! Lookout devil,...you could have won, BUT....you let another DAVID come to the fight! He made the same mistake over in LM a few years ago! Something wrong with the boy, I can't "LEARN HIM" nothing!


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George Croix

Yes, Jbg, how many times have we both had to deal with people who'd rather take 3 hours to make an excuse not to do the job than 5 minutes to actually do it.
[beam]
'When I grow up, I want to be a professional excuse maker'!
Mom would be so proud......[beam][beam][beam][beam][beam]

JBG JBG

Ahhhhhhhhhaahhhhaaaa! Hooooooooooo!!!!!![beam]

JBG JBG

I for got to mention, when God asks me to help him to help others in South America, Haiti, and Africa, I have never failed him, and I never will, BECAUSE everything I have asked of HIM, He has never failed me! You can take that to the bank! Why do you figure I CONSTANTLY run my mouth about GOD all the time? It's because I know something, that why............[wink]

Walter Manuel

Tamala, you bore me....[yawn]

To call someone who's been a die hard democrat all of his life a "Right Winger" leaves me speechless nonetheless.

I'm so confused right now, I don't know whether to take that as a compliment or an insult???

I know one thing for sure, I don't support slackers and I do think about who's most qualified based on their experience and skills and not just because we're friends before I cast my vote.

Island Bred

I hear ya Missionary Man - I was rather bored with that diatribe too. We know you know more about LMISD than that poster will ever forget. This isn't really a race thing in my opinion. It's just fact these folks do not have the students best interest at the forefront. Sad but true. Keep doing what you do and know that many on here are very aware of what you do for this school district. It's very easy to accept the failing and call it success. The hard job is holding people accountable - keep up the good work. There are some good students that can't go anywhere else to learn. Your passion at least lets those clowns on the board that they aren't going to snow everyone. I for one appreciate you more than you know. I would say you have plenty of hours of volunteer hours. This ISD could use more eyes and less mouth.

magpie

jbgood you keep talking about God without him we have nothing. Keep up the good job. GOD BLESS

JBG JBG

Thank you, I "sho" appreciate it!

Walter Manuel

Thank you Margurite for your kind words.

I always just look at someone who throws out the "race" card as a weak member of society who obviously doesn't have any facts to base their attacks against someone else so they stoop to such low levels in order to try and silence, as well as, discredit the very one's who are only speaking the truth.

I will continue fighting for ALL of the children of this school district until the day the TEA sends in monitors to finally replace this current incompetent school board and then my job here will be done, but not a day sooner.

I suppose the truth really does hurt some people and makes them look as foolish as their own thoughts and actions....[smile]

Mike Meador

All I can tell you from a neighboring district, the daycare busses dropping-out their load do not contain children of the "other" race. The majority are children who live in LMISD but whose parents believe a LMISD education is sub-standard.

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