Anybody who had any fear and trepidations about the future of the La Marque schools when they were ordered to be taken over by the Texas City Independent School District needs to take a look at them now.

Flourishing is the best word I can think of offhand.

Melissa Totorici, who is the public relations director for the combined districts, talked about what’s going on to members of the combined LaMarque and Texas City Kiwanis clubs, recently.

I was impressed. Texas City seems to be leading the way in safety and security, while La Marque is spotlighting lots of talented students — talented in all directions. Children in La Marque are excelling in all sorts of wonderful venues. For instance, the One Act Play contest sent them all the way to bi-district. And the growing middle school band is funneling new musicians into a growing high school band.

Thanks to a bond issue that passed overwhelmingly, there will be new school buildings for elementary and middle school students in La Marque, and a new Guajardo Elementary School in Texas City will be built just down the street from the existing school.

At the present time, lots of La Marque students are going to school in temporary buildings, but that’s all going to change.

Texas City is making a name for itself nationally with ID cards worn by every student which can immediately locate that person. It’s not that the school is following everybody all the time, Totorici said, but in special cases, like an evacuation, they can make sure every child is where they’re supposed to be and safe.

The ID cards provide a protection inside the schools, where anyone who doesn’t have one isn’t admitted. Visitors have to check in and get a card, Totorici said.

The school constantly trains the children never to open the outside doors, Totorici added.

Children are also trained with the “If you see something, say something” admonition. And they do, Totorici said.

New courses emphasizing the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs, begin at La Marque and Blocker middle schools and feed to high school programs.

Classes in robotics, popular and growing, begin in elementary schools.

Seventh- and eighth-grade students in La Marque don’t work from books, but from tablets. Education, like everything else in today’s world, is cutting edge.

Societal and emotional needs of the students in all the schools are being met, Totorici said. Classes in bullying prevention are central to every class.

All the schools must teach the required state curriculum, of course, and all the schools must give the state mandated tests.

I know these aren’t very popular, but very necessary.

Cathy Gillentine is a Daily News columnist. She may be reached at

(7) comments

Carlos Ponce

Thank you for pointing out the bright spots in TCISD but talking with TCISD personnel I know that not all things are "well".

Brian Allen

Thanks for the positive comment AS USUAL Debbie Downer

Carlos Ponce

Brian, I didn't make it up. If you want to disregard the voices of TCISD that's your problem. I trust the teachers and administrators I spoke with. There are bright spots and I thank the columnist for pointing them out but all is not well in the ISD by the Bay.

Bailey Jones

I look forward to seeing a new generation of intellectually curious scientists and engineers. Kids are literally the only future we have.

George Croix

The ones allowed to live to become kids are going to be running the place someday....
The other millions of 'choices', we'll never know what their contributions might have been...

Gary Scoggin

See Mr. Allen’s Debbie Downer comment.

George Croix

"Kids are literally the only future we have."
So, where do these kids come from...if we keep 'choosing' them into trash cans for our personal convenience.....
Is that why the primary advocates for infanticide are so intent on importing as many as possible?

You know me pretty well. You figure 'Debbie' will win that one.....??[beam][beam][beam]

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